Open, close, closed Communion?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Dr. Walter, May 1, 2010.

  1. Dr. Walter

    Dr. Walter
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    One thing that all should agree is it is the "Lord's" table and not mine or yours. In 1 Cor. 11:20 Paul says that communion can be observed in such a way that it is no longer the "Lord's" Supper.

    As many of you might know, the Greek term translated "Lord's" in that text is only found one other time in Scripture (Rev. 1:10). The Greek term is "kuriakos" which was a very familiar political and religious term in that Day.

    Ceasar claimed to be the incarnation of the gods and yet a man - god/man. The term "kuriakos" was well known to refer to those things belonging to this god/man or the proper observance in regard religious observance of Ceasar as "Lord." He demanded that all citizens once a month go offer a pinch of incense at his local altar and say "Ceasar is Lord." It was called the "kuriakos" day or a day to be observed according to the "Lord's" (god/man's) instructions. Most likely, the Apostle John was on the isle of Patmos for refusing to observe Sunday in this manner. Instead, John, like Paul took this term that all knew had to do with the proper observance of Ceasar worship and applied it to Christ and the proper observance of His Supper and His day (Rev. 1:10; I Cor.11:20).

    The idea is that the Corinthians were not properly observing the Supper and their observances could not be recognized as the "Lord's" Supper (I Cor. 11:20).

    There are many things that could be discussed but this thread is dedicated to discussing whom has the Lord invited to His table? Is it open to all professed or recognized Christians? Is it open for only those who are like faith and order with Christ? Is it open only to those who are members of the church administering it?
     
  2. pocadots1990

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    I believe communion should be opened to all believers. The bible states in I Cor. 11 "Let each man examine himself" concerning whether he/she should take communion or not. It is up to the pastor to preach/teach on it so his congregation understands the importance of communion.

    The reason I am against closed church communion is on the basis that while I was at a Christian college, we attended local churches on Sundays and Wednesdays. There was no Campus Church. When these churches served communion, if it was closed church communion then I would not be able to participate in it because I did not belong to that church. My membership was at my home church. The argument for closed church communion (as I have had a discussion with someone in our area) was that Jesus served only His disciples at the Last Supper and we should only serve our own members. My response to that would be that, if memory serves me correct, they were the only ones in the room. There was no other invited guest at the Last Supper because Jesus in John 13 washed the disciples feet as they entered into the Upper Room.
     
  3. Tom Bryant

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    I believe that the Lord's Supper is open to all those who have been saved and are in fellowship with the Lord. I believe, further, that part of being in fellowship with the Lord is that they have been baptized by immersion after salvation. So I believe in close communion.
     
  4. jaigner

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    Generally, closed communion wasn't based on Jesus only serving his disciples, although some undiscerning folks may claim that. It was done to guard the table from those who might take is unworthily. There was a time when the elders of a church would interview everyone and, if they determined these folks were worthy, they would give them a token to present as the elements were being distributed.

    Such a stark contrast to the Willowcreek and other traditions that have begun passing them out at the door in little packages you have to open.

    I believe that communion should be open to all. Let each person examine himself/herself.
     
  5. annsni

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    I agree with this. At our church, instructions are given to the congregation before communion that it is for baptized believers and that the Scriptures also tell us to examine ourselves. So hopefully the congregation will listen and not partake if they are not baptized believers or have some issue with a brother/sister.
     
  6. pinoybaptist

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    The Lord's Supper is an ordinance for a local church, not for a universal one.
    My own belief, therefore, is that it should be a feast among those of like beliefs and practices with no judgment on the salvation of others of unlike beliefs and/or practices. In other words, "this is us, that is you...you do what you think is right, we do what we think is right, regarding this matter."

    Among Bible Baptists of both Arminian and Calvinist bents, the Lord's Supper is celebrated only among members of the particular church celebrating it, and others are asked to sit separately from the members of the local church, even if these others are members of other Bible Baptist churches within the same association or fellowship.

    Among Primitive Baptists it is almost basically the same, except that Primitive Baptists of other churches deemed in good order and standing are able to participate.
     
  7. Dr. Walter

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    In I Cor. 5:6-8 we have the Old Testament backdrop of preparation to observe the days of unleavened bread including the passover. The head of each house would lead his family through the house gathering all leaven and when all had been removed from the house they would take it outside the hosue and burn it. After doing this they were ready to observe the passover. This tradition is based upon Exodus 12:15 and other scriptures:

    Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.

    I Corinthians 5 is addressed to the church at Corinth which Paul previously described as God's "building" (3:9) and "temple" (3:16) and later as the "body of Christ" (12:27). They have a problem member (5:1-2) and they are instructed to remove this "brother" (5:11) from the membership (5:5, 11-13) before observing what Paul describes "the feast" (5:7) or "Christ our passover IS sacrified for us" where in is the use of "unleavened bread" (5:7-8).

    Interestingly Paul defines the bread used in this feast when ye says "YE are unleavened" (v. 7).

    What kind of metaphorical "body of Christ" or church does this unleavened bread represent??? The only ones that can partake of that bread are those who fit within the metaphorical limits of that "one bread" or "whole" lump. If this "one bread" or "whole" lump represents all the elect then it is potentially open to all the elect. If this "one bread" or "whole" refers only to the metaphorical church body administering it than it is restricted to the confines of that body or closed communion.


    Whatever kind it represents just one member can "leaven the WHOLE lump" and the removal of just one member can make that lump a "NEW" lump (5:6-7). Moreover, this one member can be removed by church discipline (5:5-6; 12-13).

    It appears to me that the symbol in the cup is based upon a redemptive relationship with Christ. However, what is symbolized by the bread is based upon a proper sanctified relationship with Christ.

    This proper sanctified relationship to Christ requires that the metaphorical body of Christ which is observing it first examine its self as a church body (1 Cor. 5) for KNOWN sin and sinners that must be first removed in order to partake of the Supper and the lack of such examination and removal invalidates it as the Supper.

    Second, the indivdual members of the observing church must examine themselves for sin only known to themselves. If they fail to do this, then the supper is invalidated to them as individuals (1 Cor. 11:25-30).

    Hence, the proper sanctified relationship to Christ required to observe the Lord's Supper is a church body that has examined itself and removed known leaven from its midst and then individual members of that body who have examined themselves and removed known leaven in their lives.

    Bro. Mark
     
  8. PastorGreg

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    It's up to the local church to decide because there is not a Biblical mandate. (Autonomy of the local assembly). The most Biblical argument could probably be made for closed. We practice close. I invite all who have been saved, subjected themselves to believers' immersion, are members in good standing of a NT church, and have examined themselves to join us.
     
  9. Dr. Walter

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    I understand your position. However, can the qualified observers extend beyond what is symbolized by the "unleavened bread"? Can it extend beyond the "whole" which is subject to discipline by the observing church?


     
  10. jaigner

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    One thing is for sure - Dr. Walter has an unbelievable theological mind - well done.

    I believe that the "lump" refers to all participants in the Church universal - who are obviously all believers - whose hearts are right with God.
     
  11. Dr. Walter

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    My friend, I am just like everyone else, a sinner dependent upon the light that God gives me. If he does not give I do not get and my mistakes far outnumber what I sometimes get right. Like you I am still a work in progress. Glad to be of service any way I can.


     
  12. PastorGreg

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    One of the reasons why I believe closed is the most easily defensible postion biblically.
     
  13. Tom Butler

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    The lump can't refer to the Church Universal, since there is no such thing.

    And even if there were, the Lord's Supper can be observed only by an assembled group--an impossibility for the U-Church.

    And if there is a U-Church, it is already leavened with division and error.
     
  14. jaigner

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    Hold the phone, there's no capital "C" Church? There's no Church that consists of all believers worldwide? There's no collective body of Christ?

    Really?!? That's grieving.

    So a church is only that which makes up a local body and has absolutely no doctrinal error or division? I doubt there's a local congregation in the world that is completely free from error. How can people live in such a perfect group when they are all still affected by sin?
     
  15. Tom Butler

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    Why is it grieving?. What you call the Church is really the kingdom. Sometimes the two are confused.

    I didn't say it was perfect. Paul wrote to many congregations which weren't. But the local congregation is most likely to be doctrinally orthodox and unified. As a matter of fact, the church I serve is orthodox and unified. The U-church is riddled with error and division, and basically useless as an entity charged with carrying out the great commission.

    Jesus shed his blood for the local church (Acts 20:28) Jesus charged the local church with protecting the integrity of the ordinances (I Cor 11:1-2). It was the local church which has the keys to the kingdom. It is the local church which assembles for worship and fellowship. It is the local church (Corinth) to whom Paul wrote correcting their erroneous way of observing the Lord's Supper (I Cor 11) It was the local church (at Corinth) whom Paul admonished to kick out the man who was having an affair--and not to eat with him.

    Exactly how does the U-church do any of these things?
     
  16. npetreley

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    Closed, because Jesus refused to give bread to Judas, right?
     
  17. Tom Butler

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    Right. Judas had left before Jesus instituted the Supper.
     
  18. annsni

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    LOL - That certainly has a different "bent" to it than "refusing", huh?
     
  19. Jerome

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    Exactly, Ann.

    Tom's speculation/pronouncement certainly does have a different "bent" than Scripture:

    Luke 22:20-21
    Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table.
     
    #19 Jerome, May 2, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2010
  20. Tom Butler

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    Jesus presided over the Passover meal before instituting the Lord's Supper. He gave Judas the sop (which was not part of the Lord's Supper), and Judas left immediately.
     

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