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Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Pastor David, Dec 21, 2011.
Discussion: Do you have to be baptized to take the Lord's Supper?
Baptism is a local church ordinance. Therefore, only members should participate. And all local church members are baptized.
All of the disciples who were present when Jesus instituted the ordinance were baptized.
Water baptism is the door to membership in he local church, and it may be safely assumed that when Paul instructed the church at Corinth regarding proper observance of the LS, he was writing to baptized believers.
Baptism is your public proclamation and identification with Jesus Christ. In other words, if you are not Baptized then you have not Biblically identified yourself as a Christian. The Lord's Supper is only for those who have identified themselves as Christians. Therefore, if you have not been Baptized then you should not take the Lord's Supper.
Is the LS only for baptized believers or simply believers? How do we defend it is for baptized believers, biblically?
To defend Baptism Biblically, you must first take the understanding of Covenant. I would begin by showing that Baptism is the Sign of the Covenant just as circumcision was a sign of the covenant. WHile there are distinctions between the two covenants, I would show that God would not consider you a part of the covenant community without the sign of the covenant. The Supper is a celebration of the covenant community, bringing those who identify with Christ together, eating and drinking in fellowship, worshiping the Lord within covenant. I wish I had time to develop this idea, but while Baptism does not save you, it is the only means the church has in recognizing believers from the world
Secondly, I also reject the idea that the phrase "simply believers" is an accurate term. While Baptism does not save you, a person who is not Baptized is not identifying with Christ. Why would they want to identify with Christ in the Lord's Supper but not in Baptism? Only Baptism identifies you with Christ, not a mere statement that you believe. Biblically, believers were Baptized.
A church should not recognize people as being believers who have rejected publicly identifying with Christ.
Yet, Christ identified the thief on the cross as a believer and there is no record of his baptism.
What of those who become believers but have not had the opportunity to be baptized yet. In our church, we meet in a hotel with no swimming pool so logistically, baptism is difficult to do. We could do it at the home church - but then it would not be public as there would be no one around on off hours. So it could take months for a believer to be baptized. Should we withhold the Lord's Supper from them?
"I would begin by showing that Baptism is the Sign of the Covenant"
- Where would you show them this?
"The Supper is a celebration of the covenant community"
- Paul states the Supper is a remembrance of Christ's death (1 Cor. 11).
"a person who is not Baptized is not identifying with Christ"
- Jesus said those who confess me before men, I will confess them before my Father. No mention of identification through baptism, only confession.
I admit I'm playing something of an antagonist here, as I have been challenged myself on some of these matters.
Yes, Christ did identify the thief. There are several key problems with trying to draw a parallel in this case.
1. Jesus is God. His assessment is far greater than any of ours.
2. The person was not partaking in the Lord's Supper.
3. Baptism was not an option.
4. The thief was not refusing or delaying Baptism.
Baptism does not save; therefore, someone can be saved and not Baptized. However, a person who is saved should be baptized in order to be recognized as identifying with Christ; baptism is a sign of belief. There is no other sign given to recognize someone's confession is true and valid.
This goes back to my question, why would someone wish to identify with Jesus in the Lord's Supper but refuse to identify with Him in Baptism?
If Baptism is a sign of the covenant, the initiatory sign, then publicly allowing people to partake in the Lord's Supper should be reserved for everyone who has publicly identifies with Christ. Only Baptism is given to publicly identify with Christ.
"Only Baptism is given to publicly identify with Christ." - Ruiz
"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven." - Mt. 10:32
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." - Rom. 10:9
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." - 1 John 1:9
Confession also appears to be a way to publically identify with Christ. Is not a credible profession of faith then a legitimate prerequsite to the LS?
Because Christ commanded us to take the Lord's Supper.
You mean like the Ethiopian eunuch? Was he publicly baptized?
This idea that you can't take the Lord's Supper unless you have been baptized is simply a rule of the Baptist church. There are so many rules for taking communion among the denominations that it staggers the mind.
Biblically, I only see:
1 Cor. 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
"There is no other sign given to recognize someone's confession is true and valid." - Ruiz
Does not Scripture speak saying by their fruits you shall know we are Christ's disciples? Is baptism ever listed as one (or the only) sign of a true disciple of Jesus Christ?
Nail. Head. You hit it.
It is very clear in scripture that baptism is the witness of one's receiving Christ as Saviour. Baptists are no different to the Church of England, which restricted communion to "baptized" confirmed Anglicans, and originally refused service to anyone else......things are different in modernity.....
Whilst I believe only baptized members should partake of the church's communion service, I always left the option to partake up to each individual.
"Let a man examine himself" always applies. Mr. Spurgeon was a strict baptist, but observed "open" communion. So, not all strict baptists restricted the observance to members only.
Plymouth Brethren restrict partakers, even to those who were in the room.
By the way, baptism, to be biblical, does not always need an audience. It can be done in private. If a soldier requested baptism, we didn't always have an audience available. I still gave them a certificate of baptism. It might have been done in a river or even a "mud" puddle.
Also, What would you say to a church that had, say, a 6-week class for new beleivers to make sure they understood certain basics before commiting to baptism? Should that believer skip the first communion that comes along?
I believe we should all be in compliance with what the Lord has commanded. I believe Baptism is one of those things where we are not completely right with God with out it. A person doesn't have to in order to be saved but everyone who truly believes in Christ should be It's part of God's Plan. There are warnings about taking communion with out being right with God. It should never be taken lightly. It is a very serious remembrance of our Savior.
No there is no such command, but based on every example in scripture the saved are expected to be baptized immediately after salvation so I would find such a situation extremely unlikely. I totally reject the idea that baptism is a" local church ordinance" as some claim.
Since I hold that baptism is a local church ordinance, and baptism is a pre-requisite for church membership, my answer is no.
The timing of the baptism is a logistical thing for your church. Your congregation has established its own roadblocks to baptism, which it certainly has a right to do. But it shouldn't take months, in my opinion.
Is that a strictly reformed position on Baptism though, as part of a Covenant theology stance?
Isn't the requirement to be a member in most baptist churches to be water baptised, but that the communion itself is "open", as ONLY requirement being that one has ben washed by the blood of the Lord Jesus, as been born again?
Well put. :thumbs::thumbs::thumbs: I would add that this is why I always have a problem with any church's leadership that puts off baptism for a “more convenient time”. By the way they have a myriad of excuses, but that is all they are. It shows they do not understand baptism as they make a mockery of what Baptism is about. Every example in the bible is immediate baptism after accepting Christ and even the eunuch in Acts understood the need for baptism immediately after accepting Christ but sadly many church leaders today do not.