SBC and Closed Comunion

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Jerome, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. Jerome

    Jerome
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    So I was perusing William Wright Barnes's History of the Southern Baptist Convention (here) when lo and behold what did I find:

    "The [1845] Convention adjourned Saturday until Monday. On Sunday, the members and visitors joined with the First church of Augusta in the observance of the Lord's Supper. On Monday, other business was transacted, and the Convention adjourned."

    How is that closed communion?

    It does not seem to concord with claims such as:

     
  2. Tom Bryant

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    I am always uncomfortable with any kind of claim that 1 belief was unanimous among any group of Baptists. The one thing Baptists are unanimous about is that they won't be unanimous.

    But I do believe that by a large majority of Southern Baptists did believe and practice closed communion.
     
  3. michael-acts17:11

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    Jerome, don't confuse the closed-communion crowd with actual historical facts. :laugh:
     
  4. tinytim

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    I was under the impression that it was the Landmark crowd that were historically closed.
     
  5. jaigner

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    Even if they did, does that mean it's the right position? That sort of thing reeks of a puritan mindset, which isn't all bad, of course, but easily lent itself to taking things overboard at times.
     
  6. Tom Butler

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    Maybe I should not have flatly said that the closed communion position was unanimous among Southern Baptists. How about virtually unanimous.

    Here's an article written by Western Kentucky pastor Ben Stratton for SBC Today, a Southern Baptist publication.

    The first two paragraphs reinforce my point:
    As one can see, I didn't make this stuff up out of thin air.
     
  7. Earth Wind and Fire

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    "Reeks" Bad Choice of Words Brother. I personally like the idea of a Closed Communion. There are reasons for it. Primitive Baptists & I believe most of the Old Regulars do as well.
     
  8. Jerome

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    Oh, the irony! A United Methodist and a Nondenominational posting in this thread.
     
    #8 Jerome, Apr 25, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2011
  9. tinytim

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    Tom... you quoted this part.. "The Baptists of America are almost universally strict communists, that is, they admit none to a participation with them in the Lord's Supper, who have not been baptized or immersed." (page 462)"

    If you look at that closely, that is also the stance of Baptists that hold to "Close" communion... Saved only, same denomination, not necessarily same local congregation

    This may reconcile with what Jerome quoted earlier about the convention coming together with one of their churches to have communion.

    Just because a group of Baptists doesn't believe in Open, doesn't automatically mean they were closed...

    Could the early SBC have held to "close communion'?
     
  10. Tom Butler

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    There are basically three views of the extent of the Lord's table.
    1. Closed Communion. Restricted to members of the congregation observing it.
    2. Open Communion. Open to any professing Christian, regardless of denomination.
    3. Close Communion. Restricted to Baptists of like faith and order.

    The Lord's Supper observance at FBC Augusta was Close kCommunion. In no way could it be described as Open Communion
     
  11. Zenas

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    Landmark Baptists were and are solidly in the closed communion camp, but it goes back a lot earlier than that. I have no comment on the quote Jerome came up with, that is attributed to William Wright Barnes, other than that I find it surprising. I do know that during my lifetime the Southern Baptist churches have gone from mostly closed communion (only members of the congregation) to inviting other Baptists to participate to inviting all baptized believers to participate.

    I am curious about those who practice closed communion. How do you do it? Do you announce ahead of time that this is for members only? I know of one church that had a special service on Sunday afternoon once each quarter for communion, but that seems a little extreme.
     
  12. Tom Butler

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    The article I referenced can be found at
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LandmarkSouthernBaptist/message/579

    You may have to join to read it.

    There are other articles there which seem to clear establish that the prevailing position of Baptists (in England and America) was Closed Communion.

    This thread is not to argue the merits of Closed, Close or Open. It is to answer the question whether the majority of Baptists held to Closed, or at the very least, Close. The answer is yes.

    That position to erode toward the turn of the 20th century as liberalism began to creep into the denomination.
     
    #12 Tom Butler, Apr 25, 2011
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  13. Old Union Brother

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    Old Regulars do practice a type of closed communion. By that I mean we invite members of churches that have correspondence with us to to seat with us and take communion but do not publish a general invitation.
     
  14. Tom Butler

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    I went back to check the Baptist Faith and Message, 1925, which is the SBC statement of doctrine and practice.
    The next revision, in 1963 says:
    The BF&M 2000 says essentially the same thing:
    One change I did notice is that the 1925 version referred to wine, but subsequent versions changed it to fruit of the vine. But in all three versions, the BF&M seems to take the Closed position.

    Lest one try to read church as the Universal Church, the 1925 version clearly labeled a church as an autonomous congregation. The 1963 and 2000 versions recognize a significant number of SBCers who believe that the Body of Christ is made up of all the redeemed. But the prevailing view up to 1925 was that the church is a local congregation.
     
    #14 Tom Butler, Apr 25, 2011
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  15. jaigner

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    You're probably right, but all I mean is that Puritan fingerprints are all over it.

    Of course, in the old days, some churches would have leadership interview individuals so that they could be deemed worthy of communion.

    I still think that it is, first and foremost, the responsibility of the believer to evaluate himself or herself, not for it to be limited specifically to church members.
     
  16. Jerome

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    No, tinytim is spot on.

    My purpose for starting this thread was to answer whether the SBC at its inception was Closed Communion or Close Communion.

    Thank you for admitting that the Southern Baptists in fact practiced Close Communion rather than Closed at Augusta in 1845.
     
  17. Jerome

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    Straight from the Southern Baptist Missionary Journal, Vol. 1 (1846):

    "First Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention"

    ". . .on Saturday afternoon the business was so nearly completed as to free the minds of the members from care, and leave them to the undisturbed enjoyment of the Lord's day privileges. . . .The churches of all the evangelical denominations, except the Episcopal, were occupied by the ministers attending the Convention.
    On Monday morning, the Convention, invigorated by the rest, and refreshed by the religious services of the Lord's day, met to close their business. . . .
    A vote of thanks to Dr. Johnson, the President. . .he arose after the adjournment, and, in a very feeling manner, delivered the following closing address. . . .It was with exceeding pleasure, continued the venerable speaker, that he would take the parting hand after such a week—after such harmony and sweet communion as he had enjoyed with his dear brethren in their deliberations, in the social intercourse, and in their devotional exercises. It was with peculiar delight he partook of the Lord's Supper yesterday; he would not soon forget the joy he felt on the occasion."

    Same issue, report of George C. Pearcy, SBC missionary to China:

    "On the morning of the 6th instant we anchored in Macao roads, having made the voyage to that place in 105 days. There we received letters from brethren Devan and Roberts, welcoming us to China, and warmly inviting us to stop with them."

    "On Sabbath, the 11th instant, the little church here, together with bro. Roberts' church, brother Dean, Ko A-Bak, and ourselves, partook of the Lord's Supper"
     
  18. Jerome

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    I previously posted an account of the 1843 North Carolina Baptist state meeting's mass communion at the Boiling Spring campground.
     
  19. Tom Butler

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    We're still discussing the historicity of Closed Communion among Southern Baptists, not the merits of that position.

    If anybody wants to debate the question, start a thread.

    In the meantime, I think we'll find from the writings of early Baptists that Closed Communion was a widespread practice among them. And I mean Closed, not close.

    For instance, A. P. Williams, considered the father of Missouri Baptists. Written prior to the Civil War:
    From his publication "The Lord's Supper" p. 93, written at the request of the Missouri Baptist General Association.
     
    #19 Tom Butler, Apr 25, 2011
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  20. Tom Butler

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    Now, now, let's play nice. We're all brothers and sisters here.
     

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