Traditional Baptist Communion

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by rdwhite, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. rdwhite

    rdwhite
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    Brethren, I am interested in the history of baptist communion, the difference between the biblical pictures and current practice, and how the traditions of our communion observance evolved.

    The most I've been able to find so far is closed versus open; but nothing dealing with the pomp and ceremony.

    Is anyone aware of a resource dealing with this subject?

    Thanks
    Daniel
     
  2. Bro. James

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    You ask a strange thing. There is no: The Baptist Church. There are dozens of groups called Baptist which have no fellowship with each other. There are some Baptists who think they are Protestants. There are some who have had nothing to do with Protestantism, tracing their faith and practice back to the First Church; and not passing through Rome or Wittenburg. They cannot all be right. They could all be wrong--an interesting study.

    The so-called Baptist Communion is open, close and closed--a test of fellowship in most circles.

    God said He would preserve a remnant through the Gates of Hell. I believe He has done so. He needed the help of no one.

    Shalom,

    Bro. James
     
    #2 Bro. James, Jul 16, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 16, 2008
  3. Bro. James

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    This is a false start.
     
    #3 Bro. James, Jul 16, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 16, 2008
  4. rdwhite

    rdwhite
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    Yes sir, I absolutely agree. I have, however, found similarities among several groups of baptists in the manner in which they observe communion. Traditions observed which are not found in scripture. So I am curious from whence come these traditions.

    Sir, I would think that any Baptist who believes he is protestant is ignorant of Baptist History. But that is another topic.

    Amen, not sure what this has to do with the topic at hand, but Amen.

    Respectfully,
    Daniel
     
  5. Bro. James

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    My point about the remnant is that the scriptural communion is still out there, somewhat shrouded perhaps by what happens with the bread and wine. This has been a major schism for centuries. Also the practices of close, closed and open communion have separated many groups called Baptist. I am persuaded that there are still some groups practicing the same as those who are referenced in the NT.

    Shalom,

    Bro. James
     
  6. rdwhite

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    OK, I understand now, thank you sir for your clarification. Could you please expound upon what you consider scriptural communion to be and how it differs from the manner in which certain baptist churches are currently observing communion?

    I am also still interested in understanding the metamorphosis by which baptist churches departed from scriptural communion to the manner in which they observe it today. I believe at some point in baptist history, we departed from biblical communion and adopted traditions of men, but I lack the references to establish this point.

    Respectfully,
    Daniel
     
  7. Crabtownboy

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    Daniel, what do you mean when you say "scriptual communion?"

    The Baptist Seminary in Prague has communion at chapel every Wednesday morning. It is always stressed that each person take communion according to their tradition. What does this mean?

    The group forms a circle. A common cup is passed. from one individual to the next. They do not use the little glasses so common in the States. As one person offers the bread to the next they say, "The body of Christ broken for you."

    When the cup is passed from one to another the person passing the cup says, "The blood of Christ shed for you."


    Some people eat the bread and then sip the wine when it is passed around.

    [Yes, is wine. They call it Baptist wine as centuries ago German Baptist, know for their excellent work in vineyards, were invited to what is now the Czech Republic, to rebuild vineyards destroned in war.]

    Others take the bread and hold it and then dip it in the wine as the cup is passed.
     
  8. David Lamb

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    I must say that I have never come across any "pomp and ceremony" regarding the Lord's Supper in any baptist church I have known. Nothing (for instance) to compare with the elaborate robes, ornate altars bedecked with candles, and ritual of some Anglican churches. But possibly you meant something different by your phrase, "pomp and ceremony" - could you give and example or two? What do you mean by "traditional baptist communion"?

    I don't know of a resource dealing specifically with the history of the way the Lord's Supper has been observed among baptist churches, though some general histories of baptists will have references to it.
     
  9. rdwhite

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    That which may be exemplified in scripture, as opposed to the many traditions which are not.

    Exactly my point.

    At what point (year or event) in Baptist history did these traditions of men begin to be observed? Was is a gradual process?
    There are many traditions associated with the communion, but no reason to justify the tradition other than "this is way we have always done it". However, I don't believe that to be true. Maybe it has been done that way for decades or centuries, but not always.

    Daniel
     
  10. rdwhite

    rdwhite
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    Oh, we are not near as ceremonial as Catholic and Protestant churches, but in my experience the communion must be observed in a precise manner. The table is set just so and the cloth draped a certain way, and if not "Mrs. Johnson" will surely make a fuss. And the deacons walk just so down the aisle and "Mr. Johnson" hopes he can recite the prayer just the way "Mrs. Johnson" has coached him. And the preacher had better use the right text for his communion message or "Mrs. Smith" will have something to say about it. We may not have the costumes, but we certainly have the customs.

    I mean the traditionalism that Baptists employee when observing the communion, not that all baptist churches observe it the same way, but that they all have their extra-biblical traditions and customs. Where did we get them from, for they certainly do not come from the Bible. So did we borrow them from a particular denomination or did we invent them ourselves? If we invented them, why?

    The method to my madness, is that I have been asked why we observe communion in such a manner. The point has been made that our observances are unlike the Jewish passover that the Lord celebrated with his disciples when the communion was instituted and equally unlike deductions that can be made from Paul's letter to the church at Corinth. So I am attempting to come up with a better answer than "I don't know". But that just may be the best response.

    I've not found any of these, could you please mention a few?

    Respectfully,
    Daniel
     
  11. Bro. James

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    The memorial supper, aka: communion, Lord's Supper, has been a test of fellowship for centuries even among some Baptists. I hasten to add: True Baptists are not Protestant and have never been a part of Rome. There is no entity called The Baptist Church. There are dozens of groups called Baptist which cannot fellowship with other Baptists because of doctrinal differences, including the practice of the memorial supper. There are probably not any "Baptists" who think the bread and wine are literally transformed into the flesh and blood of Jesus. However, there is a serious schism regarding who may partake in a given Supper.

    There are three basic lines of thought: open, close, and closed. Open meaning available to all those present regardless of their church affiliation. Close meaning available to those of like faith and practice. Closed meaning available only to the members of the particular body there present.

    The ones who practice closed communion say this practice goes back to the first supper.

    The ones who practice close communion say like faith is O.K.

    The ones who practice open communion must do so to be consistent with their belief in the universal church.

    I am persuaded that there is a faith and practice handed down, Jude 3, and that no one has authority to change it.

    When these changes came to be is difficult to pinpoint.

    Selah,

    Bro. James
     
  12. Squire Robertsson

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    Hiscox' New Directory for Baptist Churches

    Have you read The New Directory for Baptist Churches by Edward Thurston Hiscox?
    A .pdf is available through Google Books. You can still find used copies for sale. The current edition is a revised version that I haven't seen to be able to comment on.
    The New Directory has chapters on Christian Ordinances, Christian Baptism, and the Lord's Supper.
     
  13. rdwhite

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    No Sir, I was not aware of that resource. Thank you for the post, I will research it in the morning.

    Respectfully,
    Daniel
     
  14. convicted1

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    Bro Daniel,

    I have a question that I hope doesn't hijack the thread. When you are talking of "Baptist Communion", are you only giving the reference to "Bread and Fruit of the Vine/Wine", or also including "Feet Washing"? Around here, our communion consists of the Bread and Fruit of the Vine, followed IMMEDIATELY by feet washing. Will you please elaborate? Thanks!!

    Willis
     
  15. David Lamb

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    Thanks, I think I see what you mean now. I still don't recognise it though. (Perhaps things are different in America). I suppose our equivalent to your "Mrs. Johnson" might (understandably!) raise her eyebrows if we started covering the table with a cloth showing pictures of "The Simpsons", or placing the bread on a plate with pictures of the four "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles", but not if we used a disposable cloth, or a cloth of a different colour to the one we normally use. We don't have anyone "coaching" anyone else in the praying at the Lord's Supper - we don't have any set wording, in other words, no "reciting" of prayers. And we don't have a special "communion message"; the Lord's Supper forms part of our morning service, and follows straight on from the sermon.


    I was looking for a book I have called "The Baptist", by Jack Hoad, published by Grace Publications, but unfortunately I could not find it. Here are the details anyway:
    Hoad, Jack. The Baptist - A Historical and Theological Study of the Baptist Identity. UK: Grace Publications Trust, 1986. 355 pages.

    If I succeed in finding it, I will see what it says about the Lord's Supper, and post again. Meanwhile, I see that rlvaughn posted a list of books on baptist history, in a thread in 2003 entitled "History Recommendations", on the history foum of the Baptist Board.
     
  16. rdwhite

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    Thank you sir, for the reference.
     
  17. rdwhite

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    I've have not participated in a communion service in which feet washing was observed, I am not opposed to it, I just have not yet had that experience. However, one of our deacons was raised in a Free Will Baptist Church and that is the way they observed communion, so I would not be surprised if we try it at some point in the future.

    Daniel
     
  18. Tom Butler

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    I've not participated in one, either. And I would be very surprised if our church ever had one. We don't footwashing as meeting the criteria for an ordinance.
     
  19. Brother Bob

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    We consider feetwashing to be a "part of" the ordinance of communion,and not another ordinance. We do not consider the communion to be complete without the act of "feetwashing".
    Jesus included it as part of His Communion service and said "what I do now,ye know not, but ye shall know hereafter". If we don't wash feet, how we going to know, hereafter???
    The clincher is the Lord saying the servant is not greater than his master, and if I your Lord and Master have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another. If you know these things, (servant not greater than the Lord) Happy are you if you do them. Believe you me, It sure brings humbleness and rejoicing to be able to wash your brethren's feet. Let me die as one who has washed his Brethren's feet.

    BBob,
     
    #19 Brother Bob, Jul 21, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 21, 2008

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