Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by JesusFan, Dec 29, 2011.
If you say closed, does that mean no other Christians save those of your church could participate?
There are three forms of Communion/Lord's Supper practiced. Our own local association is wrestling with this very subject - and a lot of the fussing is based on a misunderstanding of the vocabulary used. Here are the "correct" definitions of the three forms of the Lord's Supper practiced in churches:
1. Open Communion - Anyone who professes to be a Christian, regardless of church membership/denomination/baptism/etc. (though some churches practicing open communion do stipulate that they must be a Christian and baptized - thought the mode of baptism might not be questioned). This is the form of Communion practiced by Anglicans (Church of England, Episcopalians, Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, and others, but by relatively few "Baptists".)
2. Close Communion - Those who are born-again believes who are members of that church plus those who are members of churches of "like-faith" - essentially the same in doctrine and belief - This is the common form of celebrating the Lord's Supper among nearly all Southern Baptists, and a few other denominations.
3. Closed Communion - Only members of that particular local church are invited to participate. Many more fundamental (not necessarily a negative label!) Baptists (Missionary Baptists including the ABA and BMA, etc.), and majority of Independent Baptists, Primitive Baptists (though their official statement uses the term "Close" - the actual description and practice is strictly local-church membership only), and others.
As to scriptural basis for which path of "Lord's Supper" a church practices - Those who practice "closed" do so with comparing the institution of the supper - Christ gave it to basically the eleven - the "proto-church", not to all those who had become followers. They also cling to local church accountability and the fact that the few references to the Lord's Supper by Paul were always specifically worded directly to a specific local church and the practice was generally conducted within that local church.
But one would be hard pressed to come up with specific verses that say something along the lines of "whenever you celebrate the Lord's Supper, only local church members may be invited", just as you would find it difficult to say "celebrate with all who profess Christ".
The key is - a church must make a decision and the be totally and completely honest in the "WHY" they chose that path. If my church has chosen to practice the Lord's Supper "closed" - then we need to be honest in that we believe that the example presented most closely identifies the ordinance as one for the local church. The old "that's just the way we do it" won't cut it!
Think that it all comes down to how you view the NT meaning of "Church!"
is it the local assemblies of believers only? If so, then closed communion fits the best, as one would by water baptism/membership/held doctrines by church be canidate for communion!
IF one sees it as being there is a corporate Church, Universal, of ALl true believers saved by god, than open communion would fit that picture best!
All just depends!
My understanding (though often flawed) is that communion is for born again believers ONLY. Some churches have closed communion (only for their members), which I believe is wrong. God will know who the true believers are and won't be fooled by pretenders who partake of communion "unworthily."
Although I personally favor closed communion, my church is not. I would say it practices close communion.
My view is closely tied to church discipline. For example, we could disfellowship someone for flagrant sin, yet under open communion could not deny him participation in the Lord's Supper. That's a pretty extreme example, and not likely to happen, but you can see the implications.
do you mean closed as ONLY open to members of your church, to fellow baptist only, or JUST to those who ONLY have believers baptism practiced?