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Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Dr. Bob, Jan 22, 2003.
Ben Stratton forwarded this to me:
Works for me.
There are some conservative Presbyterian groups which also practice closed/close communion. Probably several others of which I am not aware as well.
I attend a church that practices open communion.
All belivers are invited to partake, asked to examine themselves and take responsibility for being part of the celebration themselves. Also it is usually stated that it is for christians and those who do not profess faith asked to let the elements just pass by.
Personally I would prefer a little more care, not necessarally limiting to just members, but probably something along the lines of non-members needing approval from the pastor or elders before partaking.
Must be a believer...YES ( Ac 2:41–42; 20:7; 1 Co 10:16–22 )
Must do so in a worthy manner...YES ( 1 Co 11:27–34)
Must be a member of that local church...NO (???)
How is that being a non-conservative?
We are closed communion (Strict Baptist), seeing it not only as the responsibility of the Church to admit Christians only (to the best of our knowledge), but we also apply a faith & order rule, so that those who, while we know they are Chrsitans, yet attend and sit down at open communion churches, would not be allowed to sit down.
We also see the Lord's table as a local ordinance, for the covenant community that regularly gathers there. There is a lot of church hopping, and non-committal in the UK, even in evangelical/reformed circles, and we would not encourage that.
Before I was led to the church I am in now, I attended an open communion evangelical church on a visit - while looking for somewhere to go on coming out of the Charismatics. They didn't know me from Adam, and I was going through the anguish of questioning even my salvation, yet I was invited to sit down with them as if I was a Christian, without question. In the Charismatic church I saw unbelievers partaking as well, without anyone saying anything. My gut instinct was that that both of these were wrong.
People who question our stance (and we have lost a family who would not join, yet expected to sit down) ignore history, that most churches have practiced some kind of closed communion.
peace in Him
Strict communion for local church members only is the practice I teach because (1)It best accords with Scriptural precepts (2)It preserves discipline and (3)It prevents non-believers from partaking.
We observe communion when the "church family" is present. In 31 years, I have had no trouble from anyone being denied the communion if they happened to be present, because those who attend know our stand and position.
If baptism is a step of obedience, shouldn't baptism also be a requirement? If this is so, then close communion makes sense.
Before the liberalization of theology, the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches also practised close communion.
The Plymouth Brethren always held close communion.
One of my churches held communion after the morning service..with a short break between services, but they did leave the invitation open to "all baptized believers may partake............"
Can someone present the Scripture that speaks against open communion?
KAL-EL said "Can someone present the Scripture that speaks against open communion?"
Perhaps someone would like to share the Scripture that speaks for open communion?
Rufus (Shifting the burden of proof, sorry)
Ah, I dunno.... would this work?
 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.
 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
Key words: EXAMINE HIMSELF???
We have open communion at our church. Most others I know of, too.
SheEagle9/11 said: "Key words: EXAMINE HIMSELF???"
Rufus says please EXAMINE the CONTEXT of I Cor. 11 and see to whom Paul was writing. I Cor 11:18. "For first of all, when you come together as a church...." I Cor. 11:20. "Therefore when you come together in one place...." I Cor. 11:33. "Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another."
Doesn't sound like "open communion" to me. Sorry.
In I Corinthians, the Apostle is writing to the saints of the church at Corinth. So, in context, the exhortation to examine oneself is given to baptized believers, rather than indiscriminately to anyone who might chose to examine himself.
Lutherans, Anglicans, and others have been mentioned. I am not certain of current practice, but many, if not most, pedobaptist groups once required baptism as a prerequisite to communion (just like the vast majority of Baptists).
Well, maybe I don't understand what is meant in this thread as "open communion." I interpreted it to mean "open" to any member of the Body of Christ, not just a certain denomination or church membership.
The Corinthian scripture was speaking to the First Baptist Church of Corinth, though. Didn't think there was the Corinth Presbyterian Church, Corinth Evangelical Lutheran, etc. In fact, wasn't that Corinth church the ONLY one, or were there others? And I'm certain Paul wasn't speaking to the pagans in the region, either.
But, perhaps I am confused and unenlightened.
Now if I was to take communion with any of you other brethren I would be out of order... But I could take communion with Jeff Weaver because he is a Primitive Baptist and of like precious faith and order!... And if he has a mind to he will probably be removing his shoes and socks also!... You can disagree if you want to but that's our way... Any of you other brethren feet washers?... Brother Glen
SheEagle, "Open communion" may mean different things to different people, but probably the most consistent use of the term means that the participation in the bread and wine is open to any professing Christian that happens to be present at the service. I assume that is what you mean by open communion. The reference to the Corinthian passage shows that if the persons addressed were more than just professing Christians, but also professing Christians who had followed their Lord in baptism and had joined themselves to other believers at Corinth, it does not necessarily follow that if Paul says "examine yourself" that he throws communion open to all who want to participate. Another sticking point for Baptists who believe baptism is prerequisite to communion is that we do not recognize sprinkling or pouring as baptism.
[ January 23, 2003, 05:44 PM: Message edited by: rlvaughn ]
rlvaughn, thanks for clearing that up. That is exactly the way I took the "open communion" to mean. I have always understood the "examine himself" to mean a person's relationship between themself and the Lord, such as confessing any sin in one's life before taking part so it wouldn't be taken "unworthily"--nothing to do with church membership, baptism, etc.
It has everything to do with baptism, but one may exclude membership. Do we want to invite disobedient Christians?
So, what about visitors? What if I visited your church, I wouldn't be allowed to participate in the Lord's Supper? (I've been baptized, but pretend you don't know that.)
(Fat chance me going farther North until about July, anyway...LOL! )
[ January 23, 2003, 08:10 PM: Message edited by: SheEagle9/11 ]
My church practices open communion. This is just my preference, but I don't like closed communion. The idea that my Christian non-baptist mom would be forbidden from taking communion with me is reprehensible and devisive.
But hey, that's just my $.02.
SheEagle, that may only partially clear it up. On the part about "examine himself," I don't think it means examine yourself to see if you are a believer, or baptized, or a church member. I'm afraid it may have come across that way. I believe the ones exhorted to examine themselves are already all of those. I do think those to whom the exhortation is given should examine their purpose, motives, etc. for partaking of the supper, so they do not partake "unworthily." Unworthily is an adverb describing the manner of partaking, not the person who is partaking. So while a person prior to partaking may reflect on his sins or his fellowship with God, I don't think that is the primary purpose of the exhortation. It should cause us to meditate on the work of Christ on the cross as the reason we are eating His flesh and drinking His blood.
Concerning visitors, that will vary with the idea of "closed communion." I think the most common use is that "closed communion" means that only members of the particular church that is observing the supper may partake, while "close communion" generally means that members of that church and other churches of like faith may partake (in all cases this would exclude non-Baptists since they are not immersed; in most cases this would include only members of churches with whom they are in fellowship). But these terms are tricky; I had also heard them used exactly the reverse of what I describe above. Some people also use them interchangeably. Most likely scenario - at a closed or close communion church you would not able be to partake. But some will only expect a profession of faith and immersion, which would encompass most Baptists.
Johnv, I certainly understand your feelings for your non-Baptist mom. My Methodist grandmother whose father-in-law was a Baptist preacher and whose son was a Baptist deacon could not partake communion in our church where I grew up (until she was baptized in her eighties). But ultimately this is an emotional argument. Perhaps someone else would feel that forbidding their non-Christian mom was reprehensible and devisive. I don't see how we can base the practice on how we feel.