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    • By Jim_Alaska in Jim_Alaska's Sermons & Devotionals
         14
      Closed Communion
      James Foley
       
      I Corinthians 11:17-34: "Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's Supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come."

      INTRODUCTION

      Historic Baptists, true Baptists, have believed in and still believe in closed communion. Baptists impose upon themselves the same restrictions that they impose on others concerning the Lord’s Supper. Baptists have always insisted that it is the Lord’s Table, not theirs; and He alone has the right to say who shall sit at His table. No amount of so called brotherly love, or ecumenical spirit, should cause us to invite to His table those who have not complied with the requirements laid down plainly in His inspired Word. With respect to Bible doctrines we must always use the scripture as our guide and practice. For Baptists, two of the most important doctrines are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper. These are the only two doctrines we recognize as Church Ordinances. The Bible is very clear in teaching how these doctrines are to be practiced and by whom.

      We only have two ordinances that we must never compromise or we risk our very existence, they are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper.

      The moment we deviate from the precise method God has prescribed we have started down the slippery slope of error. True Baptists have held fast to the original doctrine of The Lord’s Supper from the time of Christ and the Apostles.

      Unfortunately, in this day of what the Bible describes as the age of luke warmness, Baptists are becoming careless in regard to strictly following the pattern laid out for us in Scripture. Many of our Bible colleges are graduating otherwise sincere, Godly and dedicated pastors and teachers who have not been taught the very strict, biblical requirements that surround the Lord’s Supper. Any Bible college that neglects to teach its students the differences surrounding Closed Communion, Close Communion and Open Communion is not simply short changing its students; it is also not equipping their students to carry on sound Bible traditions. The result is men of God and churches that fall into error. And as we will see, this is serious error.

      Should we as Baptists ignore the restrictions made by our Lord and Master? NO! When we hold to the restrictions placed upon the Lord’s Supper by our Master, we are defending the "faith which was once delivered to the saints" Jude 3.

      The Lord’s Supper is rigidly restricted and I will show this in the following facts:

      IT IS RESTRICTED AS TO PLACE

      A. I Corinthians 11:18 says, "When ye come together in the church." This does not mean the church building; they had none. In other words, when the church assembles. The supper is to be observed by the church, in church capacity. Again this does not mean the church house. Ekklesia, the Greek word for church, means assembly. "When ye come together in the church," is when the church assembles.

      B. When we say church we mean an assembly of properly baptized believers. Acts 2:41-42: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."

      The church is made up of saved people who are baptized by immersion. In the Bible, belief precedes baptism. That’s the Bible way.

      Acts 8:12-13, "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done."

      When we say properly baptized, we mean immersed. No unbeliever should take the Lord’s supper, and no non-immersed believer should take the supper. Those who are sprinkled are not baptized and cannot receive the supper. The Greek word for baptize is baptizo, and it always means to immerse.

      "In every case where communion is referred to, or where it may possibly have been administered, the believers had been baptized Acts 2:42; 8:12; 8:38; 10:47; 6:14-15; 18:8; 20:7. Baptism comes before communion, just as repentance and faith precede baptism".

      C. The Lord’s Supper is for baptized believers in church capacity: "When ye come together in the church," again not a building, but the assembly of the properly baptized believers.

      D. The fact that the Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, to be observed in church capacity, is pointed out by the fact that it is for those who have been immersed and added to the fellowship of the church.

      E. The Lord’s Supper is never spoken of in connection with individuals. When it is referred to, it is only referred to in reference to baptized believers in local church capacity I Cor. 11:20-26).

      I want to quote Dr. W.W. Hamilton,

      "The individual administration of the ordinance has no Bible warrant and is a relic of Romanism. The Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, and anything which goes beyond or comes short of this fails for want of scriptural example or command".

      “The practice of taking a little communion kit to hospitals, nursing homes, etc. is unscriptural and does not follow the scriptural example.”

      IT IS RESTRICTED TO A UNITED CHURCH

      A. The Bible in I Cor. 11:18 is very strong in condemning divisions around the Lord’s table. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
      19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
      20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.

      There were no less than four divisions in the Corinthian church.
      I Cor. 1:12: "Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ."

      Because of these divisions, it was impossible for them to scripturally eat the Lord’s Supper. Division in the local church is reason to hold off observing the Lord’s Supper. But there are also other reasons to forego taking the Lord’s Supper. If there is gross sin in the membership we do not take it. Here is scriptural evidence for this: 1Co 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:
      8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
      10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

      B. At this point, I want to ask these questions: Are there not doctrinal divisions among the many denominations? Is it not our doctrinal differences that cause us to be separate religious bodies?

      IT IS RESTRICTED BY DOCTRINE

      A. Those in the early church at Jerusalem who partook "continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine" Acts 2:42. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

      B. Those that do not hold to apostolic truth are not to partake. This means there is to be discipline in the local body. How can you discipline those who do not belong to the local body? You can’t. The clear command of scripture is to withdraw fellowship from those who are not doctrinally sound.

      II Thes 3:6: "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us."
      Rom. 16:17: "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."
      To commune together means to have the same doctrine.
      II Thes. 2:15: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."
      II John 10-11: "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."

      C. Some Baptists in our day have watered down this doctrine by practicing what they call “Close Communion.” By this they mean that they believe that members of another Baptist church may take communion with us because they are of the same beliefs. Once again, this is unscriptural.

      The welcome to the Lord's Table should not be extended beyond the discipline of the local church. When we take the Lord’s Supper there is supposed to be no gross sin among us and no divisions among us. We have no idea of the spiritual condition of another church’s members. If there is sin or division in the case of this other church’s members, we have no way of knowing it. We cannot discipline them because they are not members of our church. This is why we practice “Closed” communion, meaning it is restricted solely to our church membership. 
      So then, in closing I would like to reiterate the three different ideas concerning the Lord’s Supper and who is to take it. 
      Closed Communion = Only members of a single local church. 
      Close Communion = Members of like faith and order may partake. 
      Open Communion = If you claim to be a Christian, or simply attending the service, you may partake. 
      It is no small thing to attempt to change that which was implemented by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
      Mt. 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 
      Many of our Baptist churches have a real need to consider the gravity of the act of observing The Lord’s Supper. It is not a light thing that is to be taken casually or without regard to the spiritual condition of ourselves or our church.
      1Co. 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

       28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

       29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

       30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

Surogates? - Pastors and Scholars Please Read and Advise


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I haven't ever really studied on this and would appreciate it if anyone has any scripture they could point towards to give direction on this one.

I have recently had some interest in the idea of women serving as surogate mothers for "test tube babies" for those who have problems either conceiving and/or carrying a child. Seems as though it would be a very great gift and blessing to help someone have a child who's body won't seem to allow it. My question is, is it right to take part in this practice or is it just another way for us to try and "play God"?

Again, this is a very sincere question. So, please, if you have any scriptural guidance on this matter, it could really help a family in my church out. Thanks.

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I don't have Scripture really against it. I do not know how I feel about it ethically.

The main thing I have against it is that it is VERY hard for the surrogate mother. I knew one lady online who was a surrogate mother and when a woman carries a child, it is physically attached to her, which becomes an emotional attachment whether the mother likes it or not. Even though its not her "cells", it still feels like her baby....and it is an extreme emotional strain on the surrogate mother to carry and bear a child and then give it up.

Yes it does pay well....but I can't see how its healthy psychologically.

I can't help with the ethics though...I"m kinda torn on that part.

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I don't have Scripture really against it. I do not know how I feel about it ethically.

The main thing I have against it is that it is VERY hard for the surrogate mother. I knew one lady online who was a surrogate mother and when a woman carries a child, it is physically attached to her, which becomes an emotional attachment whether the mother likes it or not. Even though its not her "cells", it still feels like her baby....and it is an extreme emotional strain on the surrogate mother to carry and bear a child and then give it up.

Yes it does pay well....but I can't see how its healthy psychologically.

I can't help with the ethics though...I"m kinda torn on that part.


This situation would not include money or any other kind of pay (which I think would be completely immorral - selling your body).

So what if a woman was wanting to do it just so that a friend who has tried for years on their own could have a child?
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It would be a wonderful friend who would be willing to carry a child to term and bear the baby, with all the possible complications, for her friend who couldn't have a baby. It would be so hard to give up the child that grew within her!

I don't know that I see a major ethical problem with it, if it's not done for pay (I know of many situations that are just for $$).

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I actually don't see a difference in motive.... its the same thing whether a favor or for pay.

I think its a very noble thing to do....just extremely hard on the surrogate mother. And from the surrogate I talked to online (we were on a list together while I was pg with my fourth) she never knew how hard it would be until she actually had the baby...and it was HARD. The surrogate needs to be prepared for that.

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I actually don't see a difference in motive.... its the same thing whether a favor or for pay.

I think its a very noble thing to do....just extremely hard on the surrogate mother. And from the surrogate I talked to online (we were on a list together while I was pg with my fourth) she never knew how hard it would be until she actually had the baby...and it was HARD. The surrogate needs to be prepared for that.


Well, that all depends....I've known people who do it just for pay (I know one who didn't actually "surrogate," but agreed, for a large fee, to have a baby for a sodomite couple :gross: ).

I think there would be a major difference - being paid makes it employment. Doing it because you care for someone and want to help them seems to me to be different.

Yeah - that's what I was meaning in my earlier post...after carrying the baby to term, and then having to give the baby up. Even if I could physically carry the babe (which I can't), I would be devastated to give it up.
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Well, that all depends....I've known people who do it just for pay (I know one who didn't actually "surrogate," but agreed, for a large fee, to have a baby for a sodomite couple :gross: ).

I think there would be a major difference - being paid makes it employment. Doing it because you care for someone and want to help them seems to me to be different.

Yeah - that's what I was meaning in my earlier post...after carrying the baby to term, and then having to give the baby up. Even if I could physically carry the babe (which I can't), I would be devastated to give it up.



Well to me, the physical action of carrying someone else's baby is either right or wrong. So its either okay to do (free or paid) or its not okay to do (free or paid). So my feeling on it is that if its ok, then it doens't matter WHY you do it.

I never really thought about it until I "met" that one surrogate mom and she shed SO many tears over the entire process. It was paid but also for a closer acquaintence/friend. And then at the end there was the problem of her kind of wanting to have a small part of the babies (twins) lives as they grew up, but the parents feeling a little bit threatened as they did not want the babies having any sort of "second mom". It was hard for everyone.

So if I ever had to counsel someone on it...I would say...that its a HUGE psychological risk but if they think they can handle it...bathe it in prayer AND sign contracts, paid or not. There will be medical bills due and possible complications, possible risks to the baby, etc. You don't want lawsuits or broken friendships.
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couple :gross: ).
I never really thought about it until I "met" that one surrogate mom and she shed SO many tears over the entire process. It was paid but also for a closer acquaintence/friend. And then at the end there was the problem of her kind of wanting to have a small part of the babies (twins) lives as they grew up, but the parents feeling a little bit threatened as they did not want the babies having any sort of "second mom". It was hard for everyone.

So if I ever had to counsel someone on it...I would say...that its a HUGE psychological risk but if they think they can handle it...bathe it in prayer AND sign contracts, paid or not. There will be medical bills due and possible complications, possible risks to the baby, etc. You don't want lawsuits or broken friendships.


I totally agree with this!!! It should be a matter of much prayer and real thought before it's agreed to.
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31 And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.

Gen 29:31 (KJV)

2 And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?

Gen 30:2 (KJV)

22 And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.

Gen 30:22 (KJV)

2 Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine.

Ex 13:2 (KJV)

These are just a few verses of which I came up with quickly, I think they would be many more that could be applied here.

I have not studied a bunch about this, but I have often thought about it.

Is it God who opens and closes the womb?

Is a new born baby a gift from God. I believe it is?

This is much different than people just taking medicine for treatment for what even problem or sickness they may have.

To me, I feel man is truly trying to play God.

Perhaps God had a reason for some women not to have babies, He certainly had His reason for closing and or opening some wombs. Yes, I know some will say if that is true nothing man tries will work. I think that is bad reasoning. Men does many things that are against the will of God without Him intervening.

I just don't believe the child of God ought to do such stuff, I just don't believe it would be right in sight of God when He is the giver of life and it is He who the Bible teaches that opens or closes a womb.

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I would personally tend to agree with Jerry on this issue. Essentially, Abraham and Sarah tried to use Hagar as a surrogate mother in the OT and that didn't work out to well. Granted, this isn't exactly the same thing, but I think it is a little to close for comfort.

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Thanks for that Jerry, good insight. I think I'll have to agree with you here. The more I think about it the more I realize, that while it is a very tough pill to swallow, too often we allow something we shouldn't due to emotions. These are very emotionally charged situations (as has been shared on another current thread), and what we can see (and really is) a caring act, can actually be undermining God's authority. I think the best place to advise these people to stay is on their knees, not at the clinic.

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It's very interesting the timing on this thread. I have a Christian friend that has been contemplating this exact thing. She would get paid but her true motivation is to be a vessel the Lord uses to bless other Christian families with a child when they can not conceive their own. She and her husband have been praying about it to know if God would bless this.

I personally think that it is a beautiful gift one Christian woman can give to a Christian family. Children are such a blessing. I don't think I could carry a child for 9 months and then give them to another person but I have known people that have and they just feel blessed to be part of something bigger then them.

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It's very interesting the timing on this thread. I have a Christian friend that has been contemplating this exact thing. She would get paid but her true motivation is to be a vessel the Lord uses to bless other Christian families with a child when they can not conceive their own. She and her husband have been praying about it to know if God would bless this.

I personally think that it is a beautiful gift one Christian woman can give to a Christian family. Children are such a blessing. I don't think I could carry a child for 9 months and then give them to another person but I have known people that have and they just feel blessed to be part of something bigger then them.


Just tell her it sounds way easier than it is....and its psychological torture. If she can deal with psychological torture, then maybe she can pray about doing it.
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I feel that if God does not allow a man and wife to conceive the natural way' date=' then a better alternative would be to adopt a child.[/quote']

I totally agree. Unfortunately some insurance companies pay for various forms of fertility treatments and IVF and things but its very hard to afford adoption. They make it so needlessly difficult to adopt kids. Its a shame.
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It's very interesting the timing on this thread. I have a Christian friend that has been contemplating this exact thing. She would get paid but her true motivation is to be a vessel the Lord uses to bless other Christian families with a child when they can not conceive their own. She and her husband have been praying about it to know if God would bless this.

I personally think that it is a beautiful gift one Christian woman can give to a Christian family. Children are such a blessing. I don't think I could carry a child for 9 months and then give them to another person but I have known people that have and they just feel blessed to be part of something bigger then them.


If her true motivation is to bless, this family, why accept payment?? No offense to your friend, but I just don't think it's right to sell yourself.
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Its sick, really. I know my SIL had eight kids and they are all in foster homes. Well when she had the last baby, there was a barren couple in my hub's home church down south where the kids all were...they wanted to adopt the two youngest ones. Well, the social services wouldn't even give them a second look because they were a white Christian couple.....the kids were mixed black/white....and they rathered put them in a single black woman's foster home!!!!

The only people they would have allowed to adopt would have been us, as we were family, but of course we could not do that....but they preferred to keep the kids in foster care (again, with a single mom watching most of them, pulling in a nice check from the government as she had four of my SIL's kids along with at least four others...its a lucrative babysitting job is what it is) than to let them be adopted to a loving family.

No wonder Christians are turning to possibly questionable scientific practices to bear children.
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I feel that if God does not allow a man and wife to conceive the natural way' date=' then a better alternative would be to adopt a child.[/quote']

I agree.
My neighbors could not have children, so they adopted a boy and a couple of years later, a girl. The little girl (a tiny infant at the time) had been abused and battered; it's a miracle she survived. From what I understand, the State GAVE them so much a month. I could be wrong but, I don't think it cost them much, if anything, to adopt. But I will check to make sure on this. I personally believe there are WAY more than enough unwanted children available for couples who can't have their own. Some people even adopt children from China and Russia.
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