Open/Close/Closed Communion

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Pluvivs, Jun 24, 2004.

  1. Pluvivs

    Pluvivs
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    I am currently working over the position of close versus closed communion. They handful of Bible verses directly pertaining to the ordinance are not clear to me in dividing the truth of these two positions. Also, this topic seems inexorably linked with the Baptist Bride position (see the Fundamental Baptist forums for recent posts), in that the definition of who is in the church is a deciding factor in who can take of the Communion.

    So I will post my thoughts--1) Though scripture tells us to judge ourselves to see if we eat and drink "unworthily," it does not explicitly state that church membership (or lack thereof) contributes to our "worthiness," 2) It also does not state that one must be a member of that particular congregation to partake of Communion, 3) Judas, though known of Christ to be not only the betrayer, but also of the Devil, was still present and partook of the orginal Lord's Supper.

    My stance: though an individual assembly has freedom in how they protect their members via order and rule, they cannot tell faithful members of other churches to refrain from taking Communion with them. Also, they are not authorized to forcefully withold Communion from those who enter their assembly and desire to take it, whether or not they are members, faithful, or even saved (Note: they _are_ authorized to kick people out of the congregation, thus preventing them from partaking, but not those who are welcomed in the door).

    I look forward greatly to this discussion.

    -Pluvivs
     
  2. MTA

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    Each church is individually responsible for following the two ordinances left by our Savior. The obligation is not singular inasmuch if one church observes it, every other church's obligation is fulfilled. Every church must observe it. Members of a local congregation are not members of another body, just their own. Still, the Lord's Supper is a solomn observance and an individual's responsibility does not rest where is is observed, it is only that it is not partaken of without solomn self examination.

    The local Church is left with the responsibility of the ordinance, not individuals. Consequently, how they wish to open or restrict individuals from participation in the supper is left to local congregations and is entirely within their rights and privileges as independent, self-governing bodies.
     
  3. Pluvivs

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    Herein lies the Baptist Brider issue--if the church=the body, where is the dividing line between which church/body boundaries apply. For example, in a universal church emphasis, any saved individual could partake of the Communion, since they are all part of Chirst's body--the local assembly has no bearing as long as there is "solomn self examination." In a semi-universal church mindset, anyone who is a member of a true local assembly of God, rightly called a church, could partake of the Lord's Supper in any other assembly, since there is fellowship between the congregations. In a strictly local-assembly sense (esp. in light of the Baptist Bride), the Communion would have to be closed, since no local assembly would fully or purely represent Christ if outsiders (lost or otherwise) were to partake.

    MTA, can you give some scriptural bearing to your assertions? For example, can you show where the church (in a total, universal, institutional sense) is _not_ given the responsibility to follow the ordinances, but rather each individual congregation?

    -Pluvivs
     
  4. MTA

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    Pluvivs:

    I am not avoiding your question, but I haven't completed my answer to you. It appears we are on different sides of the question, but I will freely admit that I sway toward the Landmark position.
     
  5. amixedupmom

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    -Lea butts in-

    Ok, this is my take. My savior is a loving, forgiving and GIVING man. Who taught love over everything. And to love they neighbor as yourself. He taught me to open my heart to everyone no matter who they are. I really DO not think that he would have a problem with ANY kind of Communion. It's really up to the individual. If they feel worthy, by all means.

    He said do this in rememberance of me! He didn't say DO this and this and this THEN you can do this in rememberance of me.

    Why does everyone have to put conditions on everything? Christ was a man who never put conditions on ANYTHING. He accepts you as you are faults and all! This makes no sense to me.

    JMHO Please pardon me if i've upset anyone

    Wendy lea
     
  6. Roy1

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    Hi Pluvivs,

    There are number of things that need to be considered.

    1. This is a local church matter. 1 Cor 11:17, when they came together. Who? The Church.

    2. There needs to be a unity, for they were being admonished for lack of unity 1Cor 11:18-19 It is not to be among those of differing doctrinal beliefs.

    3. It is a time of “self” examination, 1Cor 11:28. You nor I can see the heart, even if the person had been in known sin the day before, we cannot judge their heart at that time. The Lord will do the judging, 1 Cor 11:29-34.

    4. It is his table, supper and communion.

    5. Are we to invite all to come? No, because we would be inviting them to eat and drink unworthily. It is for those of like faith and unity.

    6. Judas was not at the original Lords supper, he was at the Passover, but left before the supper was instituted. Matt 26:20-25 the account then continues in John 13:25-30 continuing then back in Matt 26:26-20. Judas was absent at the supper & singing and the journey to the Mount of Olives.

    I would hold to a close table, open invites people to eat and drink unworthily, closed puts me in position to judge the heart of others.

    There needs to be a scriptural admonition before all as to who should partake, but when they do in an unworthy manner, they bring judgment upon THEMSELVES. Not on the Church.

    This brief but I hope it helps.

    Roy.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. USN2Pulpit

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    Absolutely...and as a relatively inexperienced pastor, this is an area where I must improve.
     
  8. Mark Osgatharp

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    If you could show that the Bible ever speaks of "the church" in a "total, universal, institutional sense" you might have a case for open communion. When you acknowledge the fact that the Bible speaks only of individual and autonomous congregations of baptized believers the case is "closed."

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  9. Mark Osgatharp

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    If the Judas argument proves anything it proves we should invite unbelievers to the Lord's Supper, ordain unbelievers to the ministry, and appoint thieves as church treasurers. I'll leave all such nonsense for the Methodists.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  10. Pluvivs

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    I was hoping someone would start responding to this, very heartfelt question of mine! Very excited I am that there are such passions about it. I have had the priviledge to open scripture recently and study the subject in more detail, and will post all such thoughts very soon, when I'm not on company time (I'm on company lunch time now).

    Suffice to say this--neither Christ, nor his disciples ever stated any specific rules about who may _not_ eat of the Lord's supper over and above any other supper. He did state in I Cor 5:11 that "if any man that is called a brother" commit such open sin as mentioned previously in the chapter or listed explicitly in v11, we are not to keep company with them at all, Lord's Supper or otherwise. Also, we are to examine ourselves (not _be_ examined by external, i.e. church, authorities) and then eat, correcting our thoughts and hearts before observation. And also, Judas still took the Lord's Supper, being unregenerate and damned, Christ the authority and example not refraining to wash his feet, give him the cup, or the unleavened bread, or the sop.

    As I mentioned before, this doctrine is intrinsically tied to the Baptist Brider position, for as Mark Osgatharp's post pointed out, if you define the church one way or another, it will affect your belief here.

    -Pluvivs
     
  11. Mark Osgatharp

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    But we are commanded to be examined by the church, for Paul commanded the church to examine it's membership to see if there were any which needed to be barred from communion. Said he,

    "do ye not judge them that are within."

    Why didn't you go ahead and add that Christ did not refrain to ordain him to the ministry or intrust him with the church treasury? Are you in favor of ordaining unregenerate men to the ministry and appointing theives as church treasurers?

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  12. Pastor Larry

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    I think either close or closed are option. IMO, open is not an option because unbelievers cannot memorialize something they haven't participated in. Church membership is the expectation of every believer. A right relationship with the body in which you are a member is a prerequisite. That is the point of 1 Cor 11. In teh body, there were some who were excluding other members from certain things, and thus, there was disharmony and unity in the body. So 1 Cor 11 assumes that only the body is participating.
     
  13. Pluvivs

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    Mark, what do you think the significance was of Judas being hand-picked by Christ? Do you believe that Jesus knew in his mind on earth that Judas was of the Devil?

    Many many many times I hear "1. This is a local church matter. 1 Cor 11:17, when they came together. Who? The Church." This statement, even if strictly true in scripture, does not prove that this is ONLY a local church matter. That reasoning could easily extend to mean that the 10 commandments were only given to the Jews, etc. This is the same as being "guilty by association."

    Pastor Larry, my personal belief is as yours, simply because it is wise, and harmonious to scripture which says we are not to be "unequally yoked" with unbelievers. BUT, I cannot say 100% that that is doctrine, for there is no direct exclusion of any but the aforementioned (in my earlier post) people from communion in the Bible. Nevertheless, I Cor 11 says nothing of "exclusion," only of disorder.

    Oh, sorry for not reading your post until now, Roy1, but your piecing-together of scripture in point 6 is ridiculous and without basis. Judas was at the Lord's Supper, as well as the Passover.

    -Pluvivs
     
  14. USN2Pulpit

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    Hey Pluvivs, you're not really from Rolla!
     
  15. Pluvivs

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    Not any more! I graduated a la UMR last year, and have yet update my profile. I actually exist in Alabama, Lord only knows for how long.

    -PlUMRivs
     
  16. Roy1

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    Pluvivs,

    In all honesty if you believe that Judas was there at the supper, why are you seeking to debate close vs closed communion? Surely an open table would be the way to go and your conscious would be clear.

    Go with what you see as right before the Lord.

    BTW. We often need to overlap the gospels to get a bigger picture. The full picture is not given in one alone. But carry on with what you think is right.

    Roy.
     
  17. PastorGreg

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    Baptism and the Lord's supper are local church ordinances. While we practice close communion, I can certainly see the case for closed. The church has the right and responsibility to determine who may or may not participate. I would no more serve communion to an unbeleiver than I would baptize him, same for a believer living in open sin.
     
  18. Pluvivs

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    My question was not one of a church's responsibility of "fill in" where we are not specifically told how to act in scripture. If that were so, then I would have my own views to share on the issue, yet being subject to my church, and I would not have brought it up at all.

    I am asking what doctrine, clearly defended by scriptural mandate can be made about 1) who may worthily partake of the Lord's Supper, and consequently 2) how is that enforced in the church and also consequently 3) how does that effect the legitimacy/characterize the faithfulness of a particular congregation.

    -Pluvivs
     
  19. Pastor Larry

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    My answer to that question is "in proper fellowship with the body of Christ" based on the context of 1 Cor 11, the only passage where instruction is actually given about it. Someone who is not a member cannot be in proper fellowship with the body. Someone who is at odds with a member of the body is not in proper fellowship. Someone who is under church discipline is not in proper fellowship.
     
  20. Pluvivs

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    Pastor Larry, you quoted "in proper fellowship..." but I know not where from? That term or anything like it is not in I Cor 11. The commands in that passage do not say we have to be in fellowship with the body--only that 1) Paul heard their were divisions, which ought not to be, 2) the Lord's Supper is not a meal, but a memorial (vs 21 and 34 demonstrate this in contrasting Communion with regular eating and drinking meals) 3) men ought to examing themselves in order to discern the Lord's body.

    Basically, even though I agree with your statements in general, and especially as Christain Brothers and Sisters, they are not specifically commanded as metrics by which our "worthiness" for Communion can be judged.

    I wholly disagree with your statement "Someone who is not a member cannot be in proper fellowship with the body." That is outrightly discordant with scripture when applied to members of other churches, for we are told that "[we all are] baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit." And again "[There is] one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all." Are you referring to people outside of any church, or just those outside of that local congregation?

    And as for lost souls partaking, for the record I agree that they should not, but am concerned about how we try to prevent them from doing so, especially in large congregations. That is the bit I hope to glean from all of this.

    -Pluvivs
     

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