How Does Your Local Church Administer Communion?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by saturneptune, Jan 5, 2014.

?

How do you feel the Lords Supper should be administered?

Poll closed Feb 4, 2014.
  1. Strictly closed, to church members

    1 vote(s)
    6.7%
  2. Closed, to church members in good standing

    1 vote(s)
    6.7%
  3. Closed in theory, but do not practice withholdng the elements

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Open, to any Christian faith

    10 vote(s)
    66.7%
  5. Open, with the right of the local church to exclude denominations as they will

    1 vote(s)
    6.7%
  6. Close, all Baptists and churches of like faith and order

    2 vote(s)
    13.3%
  1. saturneptune

    saturneptune
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    13,977
    Likes Received:
    0
    Also, do you agree with your church and why? Tom and I are on opposite sides of this question. Our church has no official policy, but we practice open. We now have an interim pastor, but once we get a permanent one, I plan on having the church establish an official policy and us following it.

    As of now, the opens have an edge. This is not an issue to die on the hill for, but I am for open, mainly because the standard of closed is the church roll, and there are many on each roll that have not darkened the door, or supported the church in any way in years, if not longer.

    In the poll, by open, I mean other denominations can participate that are Christian. Each local church can limit the denominations as they choose, like the RCC and C of C

    By close, I mean other Baptist churches or churches of like faith and order.

    Thanks for your response.
     
  2. Reformed

    Reformed
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,227
    Likes Received:
    57
    The Lord's table is open to all who profess faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who have been scripturally baptized, and who can [in good conscience] pass the fencing proviso explained in 1 Cor. 11:27, 28.
     
  3. saturneptune

    saturneptune
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    13,977
    Likes Received:
    0
    I basically agree. That was the way it was administered at the PCA growing up. The thing is, if the closed communion church members that are dead weight examined themselves as Scripture says, they would not dare partake.
     
  4. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    9,031
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree with saturneptune that our church should have a clear policy regarding who comes to the Lord's table. In practice, we are open communion, since nothing is ever said to alert visitors otherwise.

    As one who advocates closed communion (local church members only), I think it is useful to explain how I came to that position.

    Jesus established the principle of a limited Lord's Table with the first communion. Only the twelve were there. And even Judas left before it started.

    Paul wrote to the church at Corinth to "guard the ordinances." (I Cor 11:2) To me, this places the responsibility for administering communion on the local church.

    It is clear, to me at least, that communion is for baptized believers--church members. This, of course, raises the question as to what constitutes valid baptism.

    Is sprinkling a valid mode? I don't think so. And further, if that's the case, does a sprinkling church meet the criteria of a true New Testament church?

    See where I'm going. If their baptism is not valid, it follows that they are not eligible to take the Lord's Supper because they do not belong to a legitimate NT church.

    Then, there's the question of church discipline. Non-members are not subject to church discipline. And, how can one decide eligibility for communion for a perfect stranger who walks in the door?

    One may say I'm making too much of the issue. But remember, Paul warned those who take the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner were in danger.

    Bottom line, the Lord's Supper is a church ordinance, not an individual ordinance or a kingdom ordinance. And only local church members should participate.

    That said, I will abide by whatever our church decides.
     
    #4 Tom Butler, Jan 5, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 5, 2014
  5. Reformed

    Reformed
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,227
    Likes Received:
    57
    Effective elders will know their people. If there is a member who is living contrary to the faith they should be confronted and called to repentance. Church discipline is a means of grace IMHO. It is the last act a church can take to call a wayward member to repentance and restoration.
     
  6. SaggyWoman

    SaggyWoman
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2000
    Messages:
    17,933
    Likes Received:
    8
    Most if not all the churches I have visited or regularly attended have made the practice of announcing who can participate.

    Within my good conscience, I either participated or left before being served.
     
  7. annsni

    annsni
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    May 30, 2006
    Messages:
    20,165
    Likes Received:
    368
    We feel the same way except we do not make baptism a requirement. We have numerous new believers - and we've even led people to the Lord just before communion - and they can partake without baptism. Communion is open to all believers. We do encourage baptism as well but don't make it a requirement before being able to partake.

    When I say that we've led people to the Lord before communion, my husband will speak before communion explaining what communion is and who it is for. He will usually also add in something about if someone has not been saved, they can take the elements and hold them until after the service then come to him afterwards to speak to him. There have been some who have come to him who were not interested in being saved and so they give us the elements back. But there have been some who have come broken and ready - and when he's spoken to them and explained the Gospel to them and prayed with them (not just the "Sinner's Prayer" kind of thing), he will do communion with them by themselves. It's been pretty powerful!
     
  8. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    9,031
    Likes Received:
    0
    A congregation's policy on communion is not a test of fellowship for me. I don't know how many others in my church share my views. saturneptune and I serve the same church. We both serve as deacons. He and I differ on the issue. We've never had an extended discussion about it. We get along just fine and have great fellowship.

    It is not an issue worth dividing a church.
     
  9. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Messages:
    7,406
    Likes Received:
    99
    We have open communion. At the start of a service with communion, and at the beginning of the distribution of the elements, we simply let all know what's going on and that this a Christian practice for those who are able to partake according to Scripture. We don't tell them only our covenant members can take it.
     
  10. saturneptune

    saturneptune
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    13,977
    Likes Received:
    0
    Kind of surprised by the poll. How about some more arguments for closed or close?
     
  11. Bro. James

    Bro. James
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Messages:
    2,633
    Likes Received:
    14
    Open is the only way be consistent with universal church.

    Close is a copout for those who are not sure.

    Closed is the only way to truly show the real ecclesia, the Bride, the body of Christ.

    Many churches fail to discern the Lord's body. The Corinthian Church had that problem--they had a serious discipline/doctrine problem. Study: a worthy partaker and/or the worthiness of the manner of partaking.

    The poll does not have enough data points to draw conclusions. A hundred data points would be more significant. It does show that 80% of 10 are universal church--invisible or visible. This teaching is from Rome or Wittenburg. There are probably many who know not the difference. True Baptists are not Papists or Protestant.

    This is a pivotal issue and a test of fellowship.

    Correctly discerning the Body of the Lord is a glorious event.

    Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

    Bro. James
     
    #11 Bro. James, Jan 7, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 7, 2014
  12. saturneptune

    saturneptune
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    13,977
    Likes Received:
    0
    In the Baptist faith, open communion vs closed communion is not the same as universal vs local church. All Baptist churches are local, and as a local body, each church has the right to set how it administers communion. So that destroys the local church owning closed communion theory. Besides there are numerous denominations that have hierarchies that follow closed, RCC, C of C, conservative Lutherans, etc.

    How are you defining the bride of body of Christ? It is certainly not in the confines of the church roll of your church or my church, or even the Baptist faith. One day, in eternity, I guarantee you there will be Catholics in heaven (despite their church), at the same time there are Baptists in hell.

    Which brings me to the church discipline issue. To argue closed communion on the basis of church discipline is almost comical. From my own rolls, there are people on the rolls that have not given to the church, participated in the life of the church, or darkened the doorway in years, and my guess is, that applies to your rolls also. Since closed communion uses the church roll as the standard, you are inviting people to the Lord's Supper that are nothing but dead weight to the local church. And, at the same time, if one Sunday, your local church was having communion, and say a truck driver came in to worship as he was passing, you would deny him communion and at the same time let some joker off your church roll partake when you know good and well they do not deserve to take it?

    Finally, the Bible tells each of us to examine ourselves? Would you please explain to me how a local church examines itself?
     
  13. Bro. James

    Bro. James
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Messages:
    2,633
    Likes Received:
    14
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    "The Baptist Faith" is an ambiguous term, kind of like "The Baptist Church" or "the Baptist denomination". Such an entity does not exist, never has. "Baptist" is short for Anabaptist, a term of derision, promulgated by papists and protestants. By the way, true Baptists are not protestants, nor have they ever been part of Rome.

    This is not about a name; but rather a Faith and Practice--See Book of Jude. If we must have a name, The Way or That Way--Book of Acts, would keep the discussion going. But these terms have been corrupted--like ecclesia(church).

    All of this boils to: The FAITH AND PRACTICE ONCE FOR ALL DELIVERED UNT0 THE SAINTS, Jude 3. This boils further: alien immersion and closed communion. Universal church makes anybody and everybody with most any kind of doctrine acceptable(no discipline). Is sprinkling babies acceptable baptism? Why or why not? Is there a real presence in communion or not? Baptism and Lord's supper have been the major schism among the faithful and the apostate. Problem: the apostates are in control. Universal church says it doesn't matter.

    One more point worthy of discussion: salvation and church membership are not the same thing. There are saved out the rolls of a church; and unsaved on church rolls.

    There is something unique about: the Body of Christ gathering together, confessing faults one to another; forgiving one another; partaking of the elements; praying together; singing a hymn together...

    Universal church/open communion do not do that.

    "In good standing" says a lot. See I Cor. Ch.5.

    Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

    Bro. James
     
  14. evangelist6589

    evangelist6589
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2010
    Messages:
    8,364
    Likes Received:
    105
    Ours is open to any christian faith. We use grape juice and bread. What churches use wine for their communion instead of grape juice?
     
  15. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    9,031
    Likes Received:
    0
    After my post #5, there apparently is nothing left to add.
     
  16. ktn4eg

    ktn4eg
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2004
    Messages:
    3,517
    Likes Received:
    1
    I used to be a member of the IFB Bible Baptist Church [not affiliated with the BBF] for many years back in the 1970's - 1990's. They used wine and unleavened bread in their communion services back then.

    Whether or not they still do, I'm not 100% certain (but they probably do).

    PS -- They also practiced closed communion.
     
  17. saturneptune

    saturneptune
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    13,977
    Likes Received:
    0
    Brother James,

    First, as I said before, to me this is not a major thing. In fact, I agree with the vast majority of your posts and respect them all. However, I do want to make a few more observations. The local church is always the foundation, and the local church can vote anyway it deems proper to administer communion. It is the vote of the local body, not a model that all local Baptist churches must conform to.

    No, sprinkling babies is not an acceptable form of baptism. Since baptism is not a requirement for salvation, and the Lord's Supper is for those are saved, baptism in not in the equation. I think I also mentioned each local church can exclude whatever groups they choose.

    If there was such a thing as a clean church roll, closed communion would have a better argument. However, since closed communion sets the parameters of the church roll as being able to partake. In essence, closed communion creates man made membership requirements (ie the church roll). The Scripture is clear about church discipline and a pure heart when one examines themselves before taking the Supper. So what do we do? Within the church roll, we fail to exercise church discipline, and create eligible people to take the Lord's Supper, that have about as much discernment and love for the Lord as a hat rack. There is a problem when less than half of church members nation wide attend Sunday morning. There is a problem when the population swells on pot luck Sundays only to fall back. There is a problem when less than a handful go on visitation. How low can one set the bar as "a member in good standing."

    With the sloppy ways we guard our membership rolls, I have more confidence in that Methodist truck driver that stopped in to worship, over the dead weight we leave infecting our churches.
     
  18. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    9,031
    Likes Received:
    0
    A few years ago, our church clerk began bringing to business meeting a list of names he wanted the church to remove from the rolls. Over a period of a year or more, I think we removed somewhere near 200 inactive members.

    So, the church staturneptune and I serve at least made an effort at some form of church discipline, although imperfectly, I'm sure.

    So there is the other side of the coin. SN is worried that under closed communion, some delinquent members would still be able to take communion, when dedicated Christian visitors would be excluded. I don't see this as a big problem, since those delinquent members are highly unlikely to show up anyway.

    Under open communion (or close communion), those members dropped from our rolls would still be able to participate in the Lord's Supper, just as any stranger who walks through the door.

    SN and I do agree that we tend to be inconsistent in church discipline, and that leads to inflated church rolls, and the likelihood that a big majority of them are probably not saved.

    Of course, that leads to the question, how did they get on the roll in the first place, but that's another thread.
     
  19. saturneptune

    saturneptune
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    13,977
    Likes Received:
    0
    Another point I meant to bring out is looking closer at the denominations that practice closed communion. First, the RCC and the C of C practice closed communion. They also believe baptism is a part of the salvation process. That is exactly the opposite of what Baptists believe about baptism and its purpose. The fact that these two semi-Christian groups practice closed, should make Baptists run to open. In other denominations, the pattern is undeniable. Baptism that effects salvation is linked with closed communion.

    Conservative Lutherans (if there is such a thing) practice closed communion, and the practice can be traced back to the RCC, with differences in doctrine.

    The Orthodox Presbyterian Church, the Reformed Presbyterian Church, the Reformed Seventh-day Adventist Church, Exclusive Brethren, the Apostolic Christian Church, the Church of the Brethren, Mennonites, Amish, some Anglicans, the Church of God in Christ, the Church of God of Prophecy, and some other churches in the Reformed tradition such as Calvinists also practice closed communion. Jehovah's Witnesses hold that only the 144,000 should receive communion. Christadelphians also practice closed communion as they restrict communion to only baptized members. Even Oneness Pentecostals practice closed communion as they restrict communion to only believers.

    We know from interaction with SDA's on this board alone, are a cult, being nice about it. They practice closed communion. The two most famous cults of all, JWs and LDS, also practice closed communion.

    Modern day belief within the Lutheran church is confusing about the subject. Here is a paragraph from their doctrine.

    The LCMS does not believe that baptism is ABSOLUTELY necessary for salvation. The thief on the cross was saved (apparently without baptism), as were all true believers in the Old Testament era. Mark 16:16 implies that it is not the absence of baptism that condemns a person but the absence of faith, and there are clearly other ways of coming to faith by the power or the Holy Spirit (reading or hearing the Word of God). Still, baptism dare not be despised or willfully neglected, since it is explicitly commanded by God and has his precious promises attached to it. It is not a mere "ritual" or "symbol," but a powerful means of grace by which God grants faith and the forgiveness of sins.

    The fact that the paragraph puts the thief on the cross with the OT saints, implies some do believe salvation is linked to baptism.

    The fact that the SDAs, JWs and LDS believe salvation is necessary for salvation is meaningless since they are cults. However the pattern remains: Most churches that practice closed communion believe baptism is necessary for salvation.
     
  20. Rippon

    Rippon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Messages:
    17,404
    Likes Received:
    328
    LOL! Who else would be in the Reformed tradition BUT Calvinists.
     

Share This Page

Loading...