How open should it be

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Salty, Aug 4, 2013.

  1. Salty

    Salty
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    Communion - that is.

    If there is a person you now that is not born-again; should you offer the Communion plate?
     
  2. agedman

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    Sure, why not, they can't be anymore condemned then they are.
     
  3. Tom Bryant

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    I try to talk about the requirements for taking part (for us, salvation,baptism, fellowship with the Lord and others) every time. But then it 's up to that person. They are the ones eating and drinking condemnation unto themselves.

    I am not the Acme Judgment Company.
     
  4. Tom Butler

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    Let me say at the outset that I favor closed communion--that is, participation only by members of a local church.

    Here's my rationale: Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper before his assembled church--the twelve. Note that Judas, whom we now know was not a true believer, therefore not a qualified member of that assembly, left before Jesus broke the bread.

    My view is also directly related to church discipline. If a member of my church were involved in open sin, it would be inconsistent for my church to disfellowship him, yet allow his to take the Lord's Supper if he wanted to.

    Further, if we practice open communion, what would prevent someone under discipline from his church--even disfellowshipped--from coming to our church and participating in the Lord's Supper. Doesn't it seem inconsistent that his own church would deny him communion, but we shouldn't?

    I Corinthians 11:2 guides my thinking to some extent. It says "guard the ordinances." Another KJV version says "keep" the ordinances. I think it is a local church's responsibility to protect the integrity of the ordinances, and to take a hands-off attitude is to neglect a congregational responsibility.

    Finally, because Jesus gave the ordinances to his first church, assembled, then the Lord's Supper and baptism are church ordinances, not Christian ordinances. Neither can or should be separated from local church membership and church authority.

    And neither should be subject to the whims of an individual believer, operating independently of local church authority.
     
    #4 Tom Butler, Aug 4, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 4, 2013
  5. Jim1999

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    I simply lay down the requirements for observing the Lord's Supper and leave it up to each individual.,,,"As baptized believers we will observe the Lord's supper.............."

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  6. agedman

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    So, if the apostles visited the assembly you would deny them the Lords table.

    If one came as an angel and sat in your midst (you being unaware) you would deny him the Lord's table.

    If Christ himself graced your assembly with His presence you would deny him his own table.

    All because you would not find their names on your role, and you might assume they are not in good standing in another church.

    Doesn't that seem a bit wrong to anyone?
     
  7. Dr. Bob

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    As a family integrated sovereign grace Baptist church, we offer the communion plate to the head of each family (if no male, then an elder assists)

    Figure the father/head knows better than anyone in the building the spiritual condition of each family member.

    We observe the ordinance at every worship, so I'm sure an unregenerate or two have slipped thru and shared the table, but not without diligence on our part in concern for the Body.

    Let a man examine himself, then let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
     
  8. saturneptune

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    I am adamantly against closed communion. First, the issue is up to each local church to decide, since we are autonomous. The Bible sets the standard that each man should examine himself.

    Closed communion sets boundaries that are man made called the church roll. Some have argued that we need to "protect the ordinances or sacraments." What is so outrageous about this is, if a local church was interested protecting the ordinances, then they would not have a church roll where 65% of the people have not darkened the doorway in decades. So, in effect, the local church that practices this is not protecting the ordinances, because one of these jokers on the church roll could walk in the service at any time. Because of closed communion rules, the local church is obligated to serve him or her the elements, knowing that their spiritual condition hovers around zero. There is nothing about that which protects the ordinances, in fact, it makes a mockery of the Lord's Supper.

    Think about it. With closed communion operating, a passing through truck driver say, who is a Christian, could be denied the Lord's supper, when the wayward church member is allowed to partake. One might ask, "how to we know if the truck driver is under church discipline?" What difference does it make, you are serving someone you know is not a Christian.

    Closed communion is destructive, mean, and accomplishes nothing. One of the times I have seen it raise its ugly head was about fifteen years ago, and swore then, never again. During one of our services, the pastor at the time, without authority since we do not operate that way, asked the members to come to the front and kept the non members at the back. We had a couple there who were non members who had been visiting for months. They had become active and were about to join. Never again did we see them. I learned a lesson. Unless our local church passes a new policy on communion, that will never happen again, if me and others who know the Constitution had to stop it right in the middle of the service.

    The requirement of authority of the local church if fulfilled when it is decided how to administer the elements. If that is guarding the ordinances, we are going to guard them right out of existence. We are suppose to be opening doors, not closing them.

    I dare say a new pastor who tried to implement closed communion without a vote and authority of the church would lose a vote to call him.
     
  9. Tom Butler

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    As many of you know, saturneptune and I serve the same church. We are both deacons. And from our posts, you'll notice that we disagree on the extent of the Lord's table.

    Our church more nearly reflects saturneptune's view than mine. My view is definitely in the minority, but I would never make it a test of fellowship, nor would cause division in our congregation over this issue.

    Despite our different views, SN and I are friends and brothers and share wonderful fellowship. He is a faithful worker in the Lord's vineyard.

    SN makes a valid point about those members on the roll who have not attended in a long time. How should they be dealt with in a Closed Communion church?
     
  10. saturneptune

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    That is a very good question. I suppose the answer in a make believe perfect world would be, that after decades of absence, they should not be on the rolls in the first place. Now, if it really happened in our case, well guess it is immaterial since we are not closed, but if we were, that would be a judgment call at the time. Chances are we would not even recognize the person.

    I would be interested in hearing from closed communion congregations how you handle church members on the roll who show no spiritual fruit in their lives either from non attendance, life style or other factor.
     
  11. Salty

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    WHOA!!!!!!
    The OP is NOT about closed communion

    First I would like to say I do appreciate Tom B stating he is closed communion as a prelude- because that belief does take the stand that only member of that local church may take communion. So from his perspective the individual in question would not be invited to participate as he is not a member - of any church.

    Our church is an "open communion" church. Therefore that truck driver mentioned by Saturn would be to welcomed to share communion with us.
    (And Ageman - you comment was a bit facetious)

    The OP clearly stated "If there is a person you know that is not born-again; should you offer the Communion plate?" Notice- it is not a matter of open vs closed communion. Now, lets take this a step further. So the first time - you offer and he takes. Then should the Pastor sit down and explain to the individual why he should not partake?


    And Dr. Bob - we actually did serve communion once the way you mention ( from a previous post you had mentioned- a couple of years ago)
     
    #11 Salty, Aug 5, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 5, 2013
  12. Aaron

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    It should probably be as open as the baptismal font.
     
  13. Alive in Christ

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    I belive communion should "open". The reason being that that we can not judge a mans heart.

    We have open communion at my church
     
  14. convicted1

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    Brother Tom, if you use this as a "role model" for closed communion, you have excluded the Sisters. How many women were at the table with Jesus? How many women's feet did He wash? The answer to both of those questions is a resounding ZERO.
     
  15. convicted1

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    "Rock, paper, scissors"? Don't go for arm-wrestling, you'll lose. Also, mention "sammy" to Brother SN, and tell him you know the truth of his remains, and he'll let you win. Also, speak to him about the Presbyterian parrot, and that you know the REAL truth. Maybe he'll go for arm wrestling and let you win.
     
  16. convicted1

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    Absolutely NOT. The Lord's table is for those who are saved, and not just anyone who wants to belly up to the table.
     
  17. Salty

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    I agree with you - but now, can you answer my question the in OP and re-stated in Post # 11
     
  18. InTheLight

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    Sorry, can't accept the premise. How does one know a person is not born again?

    If a person states, "I am not born again, but I want to participate in your communion" then I would not offer them the communion plate.
     
  19. Alive in Christ

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    Salty...you posted..

    Ok.

    Yes, even if I know the person was not a christian, I still would be in favor open communion. He should be allowed, to partake, if he wants to. Who knows, taking commnunion might be a type of witness for the person, and might cause a future conversion.
     
    #19 Alive in Christ, Aug 5, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 5, 2013
  20. OnlyaSinner

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    This is pretty much how our church does it. The pastor encourages any believers who are out of right relationship with God due to unconfessed sin, to ask His forgiveness during a time of silent prayer prior to the actual ordinance. Along with that encouragement, the pastor also presents the Gospel, that unbelievers present would have the opportunity to come to salvation.
     

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