The Baptist requirements for communion?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by riverm, Oct 10, 2005.

  1. riverm

    riverm
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    As a member of a Baptist Church, I have friends of other denominations. Some friends of my wife and I are of the United Methodist Church. Now these friends of ours are no doubt saved and are very dedicated in their walk with Christ; they are involved in every aspect of the Church and community.

    Here’s my question. If they were to visit my church on communion Sunday, they would be denied the opportunity to partake in the Lords Supper, because they were not “scripturally” baptized by the Baptist interpretation of the scripture.

    Why would the Baptist want to deny them the opportunity to partake in the Lord’s Supper? They were sprinkled or baptized, in the name of the Father, the Son and of the Holy Spirit, but not immersed. I thought to be “scripturally” baptized was to be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

    What I don’t understand is that the Baptist Church says that Baptism isn’t what saves, but denies a fellow Christian Communion? Will Christ deny my friends a place at the Lambs Supper, because they weren’t baptized per the Baptist interpretation? Isn't communion nothing more than a rememberance anyway?

    So why should it matter if
    A: Baptism doesn't save and
    B: Communion is nothing more than a rememberance

    As long as one is a professing Christian and has accepted the Lord as his or her Saviour, they shouldn't be denied communion.

    This is really bothering me and it makes me ashamed and embarrassed to be called a Baptist.
     
  2. Johnv

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    There's no such requirement. In fact, I can't find any scripture that suggests the twelve apostles were baptized before the last supper.

    Now, your church may place restrictions on communion, such as restricting it to Baptists only, or the like, and that restriction is permitted by the distinctive of local autonomy, but it is not a "scriptural" requirement.

    I personally would not want communion withheld from anyone who believes him/herself to be saved. Communion is a private matter between the recipient and God. But, if a church has in place such customs, then those customs should be respected.
     
  3. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    The first question would be, which were they? Were they sprinkled or were they baptized? They are not the same. Baptism is immersion. Sprinkling is ... well ... sprinkling. The NT has a word for sprinkling and it is never used for baptism.

    With respect to communion, the Bible gives the table to the church to practice and guard, and the church is responsible to make sure that those who partake of it are walking in obedience in accordance with the scriptural teaching on communion. Someone who has not been baptized is not obedient. Additionally, the church cannot testify to the obedience of someone who is not a member of their church.

    There is nothing here to be ashamed about or embarrassed about. When we observe communion, I explain it and ask people who don't meet those qualifications to respectfully abstain. Since 1) baptism doesn't save and 2) communion is a remembrance, it really doesn't matter.
     
  4. Debby in Philly

    Debby in Philly
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    Aha! But if it really didn't matter, then there would be nothing to be explained!
     
  5. Chemnitz

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    My thoughts exactly.

    While I do not agree with the Baptist Church's teachings concerning the sacraments, I admire their willingness to practice their convictions.

    We believe it does matter and our practice does for the most part reflect our belief. This is a copy of the communion statement we print in our bulletins.
    Holy Communion is a special gift of God to His people. It is celebrated here at Faith Lutheran Church in the 8 A.M. service on the 1st and 3rd Sundays and at 10:30 A.M. on the 2nd and 4th Sundays.
    Since the Lord warns us to examine ourselves before we receive His Body and Blood (1 Corinthians 11:27-29) we ask that you reflect on the following questions:

    Do you acknowledge that you have sinned and are in need of forgiveness? (Romans 3:22-23)
    Has God brought you into the His family by means of Baptism? (Romans 6:3-5)
    Do you believe that God the Father sent His only Son Jesus Christ to shed his blood for you and that He has called you to Christ by the Holy Spirit? (Ephesians 2:4-9)
    Do you believe that Jesus has promised to give you His true body and blood physically in, with, and under the bread and wine of the Sacrament? (Matthew 26:26-28)
    Do you believe that Jesus offers forgiveness of sins with His Body and Blood? (Matthew 26:26-28)

    If you are unable to answer yes to these questions we ask that you please speak with one of the Pastors before receiving communion.
     
  6. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    That's not true. What doesn't matter is this: These friends aren't being kept out of heaven because they are asked not to participate in communion. They are losing a great opportunity for worship, but that is due to their convictions, and that is the price you pay.

    Communion is a spiritual act of worship. If you want to worship in a Baptist church, then subscribe to their beliefs and convictions. If it is important for a Methodist to participate in communion in a Baptist church, then I would suggest being a Baptist. ;) ...

    I couldn't take communion with in Chemnitz'. I am not bent out of shape about that. That is their conviction and their belief. I believe their communion statement contains theological errors. He would say the same about ours.
     
  7. natters

    natters
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    Not all Baptist churches practice "closed" communion. Many have no problem letting guests from other churches and even other denominations partake during communion.
     
  8. Bro Tony

    Bro Tony
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    Also this matter concerning the church guarding the Lord's Table is very subjective. At what point of obedience or disobedience do you allow one to take the communion and another not to partake? I would dare say in any church on communion Sunday there will be those there who take it who are in disobedience to God, although they have been scripturally baptized. The Bible says, "Let each man examine himself, and then let him partake." That seems to say that it is not the local churches place to guard the table. Seems to me if they are not in obedience enough to take the supper then maybe their disobedience should be dealt with by church discipline.

    Bro Tony
     
  9. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    Local church autonomy is ultimately the deciding issue here. Some practice open, close, or closed communion. With respect to who "guards the table," it is an ordinance of hte church, not the individual. Therefore, it is ultimately the responsibility of the church to decide. And yes, if someone is deemed by the church as "not in obedience enough to take the supper" the process of church discipline should probably be underway. However, if someone comes in from outside there is no way to know if they are under discipline at their church, or if they should be.
     
  10. Chemnitz

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    For once Pr Larry and I pretty much agree on something. The congregation is responsible for discipline and sometimes that means withholding the Lord's Supper. In the Lutheran Church we have two levels of discipline, the "minor ban" enacted by the pastor when dealing with private unrepentance, "excommunication" which is enacted by the congregation in the cases of publicly known unrepentance, in addition as sited in the statement above we withhold from those who reject Christ's promises.
     
  11. riverm

    riverm
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    I am confused concerning using the word “discipline” in regards to prohibiting one from partaking in communion.

    I’ve seen my church “discipline” members of our congregation before, for instance by removing one individual form our church role for living with his girlfriend. But, this isn’t what I am talking about.

    My concern is if a friend of mine wanted to visit my church to hear a special speaker or what not and that Sunday just happened to be our communion Sunday and he being a Methodist who doesn’t need to be “disciplined” will not be able to share in the Lords Table because our church doesn’t recognize his baptism.
    </font>
    • Baptism isn’t what saves</font>
    • Communion is nothing more than a remembrance</font>
    If I am correct in the above, why should my church not allow my friend, my brother in Christ the opportunity to share with me in partaking in the Lords Table?

    If the issue is immersion vs. sprinkling, how does that relate to “discipline”, if baptism doesn’t save and isn’t not required to be a Christian and Communion is nothing more than a remembrance?

    If it’s a matter of “obedience” then we may have a few problems apart from the mode of baptism. Share with me where in scripture we are told that baptism is a requirement before one can partake in Communion.

    It’s hard for me to imagine that Baptism isn’t required for our salvation, BUT is required for Communion! Unless of course there is more to Baptism and Communion than what I’ve been taught.

    Not wanting to argue, just trying to understand .
     
  12. Debby in Philly

    Debby in Philly
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    My earlier comment was a trick comment. It is true that there is NOTHING magical about either baptism or communion (what some would call efficacy). So in that sense "it doesn't matter."

    BUT, and this is a big one, we are commanded to do these things as signs of obedience and as a demonstration of what God HAS done for us.

    Do you need to be baptized to be saved? No. But if you are saved, we are commanded to to so, and here's the proper method......

    Do you need to take communion to be saved? No. But if you are saved, we are commanded to to so, so examine yourself and then join us.

    And the shared experience of these symbols helps to bind us together. It's what members of this family do.
     
  13. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    River,

    The issue of discipline was a separate issue from your question.

    First and foremost, because he has not been baptized. Second, becuase he is not in agreement with the doctrine and practice of your church who is the steward of the table.

     
  14. riverm

    riverm
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    So basically the issue is the mode of baptism.

    I went to Blue Letter Bible web site and found the word baptize from John chapter 1 and used their Concordance on the word baptize which was the Greek word baptizo Strong’s (907). I was almost convinced about the immersion being the proper interpretation until I looked at the bottom of the page and started reading all the places in scripture where baptizo is used and a verse caught my attention. Luke 11:38, uses the Greek word baptizo for washed.

    Did Jesus in Luke 11:38 immerse Himself in a bath so to speak before dinner? I admit that the Greek word baptizo often-means immersion in scripture, as evident in my research, but Luke 11:38 seems to throw a problem into the stricked interpretation.

    Is there anywhere in the New Testament where maybe Paul or any other Apostle dictates any explicit instructions on how to administer the water of baptism?
     
  15. Faith alone

    Faith alone
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    riverm,

    Nice post.

    I agree with most of what you've shared. IMO Christ was baptized by immersion. There is evidence that the person stood in the body of water and immersed himself while the "baptizer" stood by. Today most are baptized by the baptizer, ironically, which IMO is not the most accurate way. Rather than focus on a human, it's better when the human focused upon is the actual person being baptized. Since it illustrates a commitment to follow Christ as well, it is appropriate that the believer himself baptize himself, IMO. But no biggee. "The Jesus Film" showed Jesus baptizing Himself, BTW.

    But there is also much evidence that many in the early Christian church baptized by pouring. (The sprinkling idea developed later when babies began to be baptized.) But there is a basis for baptism by pouring. Many of the pictures found in the catacombs - most of them actually - illustrate baptism by pouring rather than immersion. Some have pointed out, perhaps accurately, that the great number baptized on the Day of Pentecost (3000 men, so probably over 6000 total) physically made it more likely that they were baptized by pouring.

    Now IMO immersion better illustrates identification with the death and resurrection of Christ, as in Romans 6:3, 4. But as riverm said, will it make a difference when we see our Lord (1 John 3:1-24)? I think that there is some danger in making too much of the physical aspect of baptism - that turns it into a rite instead of an ordinance passed on to us by our Lord. We should focus on the spiritual meaning. I would like to see the Baptist churches stand strong on immersion as the likely (because let's face it, the scripture doesn't really say - we're basing our deduction on common sense and our understanding of Romans 6) means originally used. We could suggest to those who were baptized as believers, but by sprinkling or pouring, that if they felt moved to be rebaptized that they could do so.

    But to require baptism by immersion for membership or (apparently as some churches have chosen to do) for communion is not biblical, IMO. Why do I say so? Where the Baptists have got it right is in requiring believers' baptism. That is the crucial aspect of the meaning.

    But think about it: what about the person who had a moving experience of baptism (believers') in front of family and friends... We tell them that they were not really baptized. That's what bothers me. Yes, they were baptized. Sure, the very Greek word refers to washing, though pouring could apply there as well I guess, though not as effectively. But baptism is of the Spirit - we are placed into the body of Christ. Water baptism is a picture of what has already occured spiritually. Once the person has been baptized as a believer in obedience to His Lord, though he may have gotten the mode wrong, he has been baptized.

    The person may feel that we are looking down on their old church as well. I just do not see much positive good coming from this - it seems to come mainly from human tradition.

    The question to be asked is if it is wrong to be rebaptized... even though the original physical mode may have been wrong. The only example we see of rebaptism in scripture is when those followers of John the Baptist were rebaptized "into the name of Christ."

    To require that he repeat it is an affront to the original work of the Spirit, IMO. This has done some damage to the Baptist church, in general. A number of Christians have been put off by what they perceive as legalism... and you know what, I think they're right - though they've got the answer right, they are being legalistic in how they promote the practice. I know that I've had to deal with this with some friends who were offended by the Baptist approach. They listen to me... but most know that the Baptist approach is not the best way to handle it.

    I tell them that sometimes you have to take the bad with the much good.

    I've had discussions with some who felt that water baptism was a requirement for spiritual salvation. Now that is a significant issue. This one is just unfortunate, IMO. I do think that more Baptist churches are beginning to take a less rigid stance here, though. PTL for that.

    IMO to say that baptism by any other means than immersion is not baptism is like saying that if someone invited Christ to come into their heart they weren't really saved, since Rev. 3:20 was written to believers, and it can be shown that the meaning is not come "into" but come "in towards." Obviously someone who came forward at a retreat or prayed to receive Christ or jumped up and down 3 times to trust Christ are saved. It's a matter of what's going on in the heart. Did the Holy Spirit baptize them into the body of Christ when they "believed?" Of course.

    Similarly, IMO, though many get physically baptized unbiblically, they were doing so in their hearts in obedience to the Lord's command. That's they key.


    Now, I'm going to point out something about the Baptist reasoning as well. I used to be on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ. Some of their practices and even some of how they shared the gospel I did not agree with. But it was important that I show support for the leadership which God had placed over me. Similarly, many Baptists have an issue with how the SBC handles this issue, and many Baptist churches do as well. But they also wish to respect the leadership God has placed over them. That is the proper thing for them to do. After all, iy is not an issue worth splitting a church or denomination over.

    Many Baptist churches are beginning to name their churches without the "Baptist" in the name - or making it very subdued. That is just more evidence of some harm that has come from over-promoting water baptism by immersion.

    FWIW,

    FA
     
  16. Faith alone

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    Good question, riverm.

    None that I can see. It has been pointed out that when Phillip baptized the Ethiopian in Acts 8...

    Now, notice that they "came up out of the water." Of course, they may have just walked out into the pond/river until they could get deep enough to get some water to pour over his head... but that doesn't really sound very likely, does it? IMO, immersion was very likely how it was originally done. But ironically it did not take long for pouring to overtake immersion even in the very early church... which makes me wonder just how important the mode is.

    And you are right in that BAPTISW does mean basically "to wash." That is its root meaning. It does not mean basically to immerse. Washing should be the focus. For example, when Jesus (John 13) put a towel around His waist and washed His disciples feet, Peter said He would never baptize him... to which Jesus replied that he then had no part in Him.

    "No, Lord, then wash not just my feet, but my hands and head as well." Jesus' response? "Those who have been washed don't need to take a bat hagain - they just need their feet washed."

    It's a great illustration of the fact that all of our sins were cleansed (baptism does illustrate that as well) when we trusted in Christ. We never need a spiritual bath again... but we do need to deal with our daily sins by confessing or repenting of them. So baptism essentially illustrates identification with the death and resurrection of Christ, and also illustrates having our sins washed away and being placed into the body of Christ. (See 1 Corinthians 12:13)

    FA
     
  17. Faith alone

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    Pastor Larry said...
    Good thought. But I would say that the baptism here is not water baptism, but Spirit baptism - which the Spirit administrates. If someone has been baptized by the Holy Spirit, yet not water baptized by a person by immersion, does it make sense to deny our Lord's Supper?
     
  18. Faith alone

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    What would you think of someone who said that anyone who had been water baptized and someone else dipped them - they did not dip themselves - did not do it properly, and hence it was not a valid baptism. IOW, what if they argued, which has a strong cultural evidence, that in the days of Christ the person immersed themself - no one else dipped them under.

    Should that be basis enough to declare the original baptism invalid, because it did not follow the biblical example of the person baptizing himself with the "baptizer" standing by giving credence to the act, but not actually participating in it?

    Just something to think about.

    FA
     
  19. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    Isn't it obvious in the context that his hands are in view? In those days, you would immerse your hands in a bowl of water to wash them. There was no running water. This is an objection often made, but really reaching.

    Yes, JOhn baptized in a certain place because "there was much water." Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and came back up, as did Jesus. That is completely inconsistent and nonsensical with anything but immersion. Besides, its still what the word means. There is a word from sprinkling and pouring and it is never used for baptism.

    Hiscox provides much evidence that for the first 1300 years of the church, immersion was the practice of the church.

    Incorrect. If you don't get baptized by immersion, then you didn't get baptized, no matter what you intended. If you get sprinkled and then later immersed, you were only baptized one time. That is not rebaptism. If you were baptized before you were saved, and then you get baptized afterwards, that is not rebaptism. It is the first one. The key is obedience. Do what Christ says ... Get baptized, don't get sprinkled or poured.
     
  20. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    Yes. Baptism is the outward evidence that one has participated in the death of Christ which is being remembered.
     

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