Closed communion - as doctrine

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Salty, Feb 2, 2010.

  1. Salty

    Salty
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    Is closed communion Biblical or is a local church going against scripture if they do practice closed communion?

    If an individual believes in closed communion and visits an "open communion" church but refused to partake, is he wrong; would it be sinful not to partake?

    Salty

    PS, this was started due to a post about a BB member trying to find a CC church.
     
  2. paul wassona

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    Is church autonomy biblical?
     
  3. pinoybaptist

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    Well, there is closed communion, and there is close communion.
    Bible Baptists in the Philippines, and some independents, practice close communion.
    That is, communion only among members of a local church.
    Primitive Baptists, and I think some who are not PB's, have closed communion, that is, communion only among members of churches, in good standing and orderly, of like faith and practice.
    I think that eventually and essentially, the Scripturality of the practice depends on how the church perceives scripture to declare it.
    I have been to churches who have open communion, and have not participated, and was not criticized for not participating.
     
  4. pocadots1990

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    I believe in open church communion because even though it is administered by the local church, if a visitor comes in and is a Christian, then they should be able to worship by taking communion too. I do not believe it is up to the church to determine who should take communion and who shouldn't. I Corinthians 11 says "let each man examine himself" so the person should determine between them and the Lord whether they should partake in communion.

    I attended a Christian college and attended the college encouraged us to attend the local churches in the community. Even though I did not join the church, I was faithfully attending the church and should not be restricted from taking communion.

    I have had a couple attend our church who believes in "closed church" communion and respect his view. On a Sunday morning, we had communion and I purposely did it at the end of the service trying not to embarrass the couple. It worked out perfectly because they just left after the preaching and we continued with the communion service. They didn't cause an argument, it was just mutual respect.

    At another church, I was an Assistant Pastor was distributing it to everyone. A missionary couple was there to present their ministry and they believe in "closed church" communion. They were very respectful when they refused to take it. I told them that we were open church but he said they didn't. Everyone else in the church saw it and were turned off by his actions. There were some other things they did that night that did not set well with the church.

    These were just a couple of instances that I have personally had to deal with.
     
  5. Tom Bryant

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    I believe in close communion moving more and more towards a more closed communion stance primarily because of the weakness about biblical salvation and baptism. Too many baptist churches accept baptism of any kind rather than only immersion after salvation.

    I have a friend who believes strongly in closed communion and if he is preaching in a church when they are having the Lord's Supper, will not participate.

    But every church has the biblical responsibility to obey what they believe the Bible teaches either in closed, close or open communion.
     
  6. pinoybaptist

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    This is news to me, Tom, and a sad one at that.

    True. Whatsover is not of faith is sin. To him who knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
     
  7. Salty

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    Yes, church autonomy is biblical provided:
    A. They do what scripture says
    B. They do not do what scripture prohibits


    For example, we all believe that Baptism is by immersion, so if a local Baptist church decided that sprinkling is acceptable, they are going against scripture even though they have local church autonomy.

    Therefore, this thread is not about autonomy, but how you would answer these three questions?

    A. Does the Bible require closed communion
    B. Does the Bible prohibit closed communion
    C. Is the Bible silent of the form of communion
     
  8. Mexdeaf

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    My understanding is that it is a matter of local church AUTHORITY more than autonomy. My former pastor felt that he did not have the authority to offer the Lord's Supper to one who was not a member of his church.
     
  9. dcorbett

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    Everybody that has posted thus far has given opinions, but no scripture.
    Please, I am asking for scripture to prove or disprove. I want knowledge - I am not debating this. I will take the scripture you post and study it and pray on it.

    Thanks
     
  10. Mexdeaf

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    I'll have to dig in my files and see what I have. I have moved on from that so I don't remember all the Scriptural details.
     
  11. Tom Butler

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    A cursory examination of Southern Baptist history shows that even prior to its founding in 1845, Baptists unanimously held to a restricted Lord's table.

    Although closed communion (meaning local church members only) is one facet of Landmarkism, even strong opponents of Landmarkism (such as R. B. C. Howell of Tennessee)was a strong advocate of a restricted table.

    This near-unanimous view held sway among Southern Baptists until the 1940s. Historians connect the rise of liberalism, particularly in our seminaries, and the decline of closed communion. Isn't it interesting that what was considered a liberal position is now adopted as scriptural by some of the most conservative Baptists?

    Please do not respond with "well, I don't care what they believed, I believe the Bible." It is an insult to giants of our denomination who knew more about scripture and most of us will ever smell. Does anyone really think those great scholars and pastors arrived at that view independently of the scriptures?

    Even the SBC's present doctrinal statement, the Baptist Faith and Message, holds the closed position:

    At the SBC convention in 2000, messengers turned back an attempt to change the B F & M to endorse open communion.

    The ordinances are local church ordinances, commissioned by the Lord Jesus himself to the local church, with Paul reaffirming that the local church is the guardian of those ordinances.

    Thus the local church not only may, it must pass judgment on whom it will allow to participate.

    To abdicate that responsibility is to open the door to all sorts of mischief and leave a congregation powerless (or at least unwilling to exercise power) to stop a Jehovah's Witness from partaking; from stopping a member disfellowshipped from another church (or this one) for flagrant, open and unrepenting sin who may seek to participate.

    With open communion, Paul could not have commanded the members at FBC Corinth to refuse to eat with the man having an affair with his father's wife, much less kick him out.
    ---------
    i also wonder if there's a connection between a watering-down of the historic Baptist views of the ordinances and the church growth movement.
     
    #11 Tom Butler, Feb 2, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 2, 2010
  12. dcorbett

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    Tom Butler said:
    I think I understand.

    Here's my quandry:
    My son is a soul winner, a true disciple of the Lord. He was saved and baptized in our Baptist church, and every Christmas, our whole family
    goes to my church for services. We have the Lord's Table, and Pastor says "please
    respect this and honor the fact that this is only for members of our local church body" and that cuts my son out, and he is more "in tune" with God's service than half the members of my church, but he doesn't partake as requested because he is no longer a member of our church. It always breaks my heart....I motioned for him to partake, but he wouldn't, out of respect to the Pastor. His wife had already exited
    to the nursery, knowing this was coming in the service and using this time to
    feed her baby instead.

    That's why I really want scripture to be able to understand why. I understand the principle, but what is the scripture that supports that principle?
     
  13. Jeep Dragon

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    I really don't understand this whole "closed" communion thing. Where in the Bible are we commanded NOT to participate in communion?

    Was Jesus administering a church service when He was explaining communion to His disciples?

    Did Jesus tell His disciples when they should and SHOULD NOT administer communion and who can and CANNOT partake?

    I don't see anything mystical about the bread. I don't see anything mystical about the wine. I don't see anything mystical about administrative authority. I don't see anything mystical about a remembrance what Jesus did on the cross for us.

    Jesus also told His disciples to wash each other's feet. Do we turn that into some kind of sacred sanctioned church ordinance :saint::1_grouphug: where only certain people can wash certain other people's feet and anyone daring to ever wash another's feet outside of the authority of one's own church will be judged of God?

    Jesus told His disciples to do this often in remembrance of Him. Period. No strings attached.

    Of course, Paul pointed out that if people partake unworthily (flippantly or without respect :sleeping_2:), God may judge them for it. God doesn't like anything people do flippantly to Him like taking His name in vain.

    Any thoughts? Am I just shooting the breeze?
     
  14. paul wassona

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    In the case of adultery where it is known publicly as open sin, communion would be closed to such an individual. Dcorbett, All I can say is all that responsibility falls on the pastor to make the call, although it's not really edifying to visitors who have witnesses to their character as being not "unworthily" partaking. We have "candlelight communion" and sorry to say, but it's more like a ritual than the ordinance. I'm not the pastor, but it would be a tad different if I was. Your son would be allowed due to your being able to vouch for him.
     
  15. Revmitchell

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    The word "unworthy" in 1 cor 11 has nothing to do with character of people but is only speaking to the manner in which the Lord's Supper is taken which is the context of that passage.
     
  16. dcorbett

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    I say that Jesus KNEW who his disciples were. Sometimes we don't know who is really saved and/or following God's will if they don't belong to our church, so I do understand the principle, but I still don't know where it is in the Bible! Tom Butler's last response had good info, though.

    of course not - we aren't catholics - we know better.


    Some churches DO footwashing. I have never been to a church that does this, but I have heard it is done.

    Again, HIS DISCIPLES being the key phrase here. He knows His sheep.

    From what I have been taught, early church had a full meal for the communion table, and some people ate like pigs! THAT is what brought Paul's comments about.

    These are my breezy thoughts for you. :tongue3:
     
  17. Revmitchell

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    Footwashing was a momentary lesson for his disciples. the Lord's Supper is commanded to be continued. The use of the word "mystical" is an unnecessary characterization of the Biblical view. It is to be taken by believers and it is to be handled at the local assembly. Serving someone who hates God the Lord's Supper as if they were one of us would be irresponsible.
     
  18. Revmitchell

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    I believe if a church member can vouch for someone then they should be permitted to participate. Former members who left in good standing and are only visiting should be as well.
     
  19. paul wassona

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    Then why is it he should examine himself? The adulterer still in that sin taking communion is like one who trods underfoot the blood of Christ. How can you leave out a man's character out of I Cor 11 ? What need is there for selfexam and judging onesself then? One in open sin obviously hasn't taken the time to do so.
     
  20. Revmitchell

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    You are to judge the manner in which you reverently take the Lord's Supper. That requires not only a physical action but the proper heart. As far as the character of anyone taking it that should be a given at all times. But it is not addressed here.
     

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