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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


futurehope
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Futurehope, it appears to me that we are not making any progress in this discussion partly because we do not understand each other. For example, for the life of me, I cannot understand what you mean by "natural." I thought I did, but now I realize I don't. If you mean "as nature intended," then logic would dictate that you would "let nature take its course" in all things (including sickness, death, pregnancy complications, etc.) if you are to be consistent. But you don't (or at least I don't think you do). So, that's one aspect of the discussion that has me scratching my head.

"As nature intended" is a foolish statement in and of itself - nature intended nothing. However God did design things a specific way and His intention is what is important. Natural is what fits the normal use or activity of things according to God's design. I have made that clear, but it seems as though you would like me to buy into this idea of "nature taking it's course". Your logic is rediculous and extreme at the very least.

Another aspect of this discussion is the "human control" element. You have not addressed that (in your last response to my post on that matter). So, that's another loose end hanging. I think it's an important one.

I did respond to this. It is called free will. We have the ability to choose what we do and the guarantee that we will reap what we sow. You are saying that because a man and woman must take action to conceive a child that it is within God's will for us to take whatever action we choose to. This logic goes right along with the idea that we can just do whatever we want as long as it makes us happy.

Now, what about what you have yet to respond to? You limit God's plan for conception to the sperm and the egg coming together. By your logic here and saying that God's design is not for conception to take place in the mother only, you should obviously support the use of sperm banks and the process of "selective conception" in which the "best" sperm and eggs are sperated off to be used for creating an embryo. Should I assume as well that you believe it is "natural" for a woman to have several eggs extracted from her rather that the typical cycle a woman's body goes through?

And, as I've said before, your unwillingness to post Scripture about your other assertion (about the specifics of the fertility treatment process) also has me puzzled. Is the fact that masturbation falls under the categories of the lust of the flesh, fornication, and immorality enough? Do you really need me to walk you through this? I'm not sure why you need me to make "a statement" before backing up your assertion with Scripture, especially when you are the one who introduced that topic in the first place. It appears to me (I could be wrong) that you are hoping that I will disagree with you, so you can "play a trump card" and say, "Aha! You're wrong. Look at this!" I've already told you that I'm unaware of any Scripture dealing with that topic...That was your cue to say, "Have you considered this one?" Your hesitancy to do so is, as I said, puzzling, and seems to indicate vulnerability in your position. Actually, I am simply waiting for you to lose the immaturity and just simply admit that masturbation is sin. It's obvious that you know if you do that, you'll have to change your stance and admit that you have been wrong all along since masturbation or "artificial ejaculation methods" are required for this process to be carried out. Even if you want to disagree on what God's plan and design is, you can't argue that if a sinful action is required to accomplish "something good" it's not really within God's will. If you want to keep talking about it, post the Scripture, and we'll discuss it. Otherwise, I really don't have anything more to say about it. Honestly, the only thing you really have left to say is that you spouted off in support of a sinful action without thinking it through and simply admit that you are human like the rest of us and can be wrong and accept correction with humility and thankfulness.[/quote]
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"As nature intended" is a foolish statement in and of itself - nature intended nothing. However God did design things a specific way and His intention is what is important. Natural is what fits the normal use or activity of things according to God's design. I have made that clear' date=' but it seems as though you would like me to buy into this idea of "nature taking it's course". Your logic is rediculous and extreme at the very least.[/quote']
O.K. Let's start from square one. You have said that "natural is what fits the normal use or activity of things according to God's design." Let me ask you if the following things are "natural," according to your definition of the term.

Is it "natural" to sew an organ acquired from a living person's body into another person's body?
Is it "natural" to inject organic and synthetic chemicals (poisonous) to ward off disease (vaccinations), or to cure disease (chemotherapy, etc.)?
Is it "natural" to insert a plastic, nonorganic device into a human body to regulate his heartbeat (pacemaker), doing the work that God designed the heart to do?
Is it "natural" to feed a person through a tube, instead of through the mouth "the way God designed?"
Is it "natural" to cut a woman's uterus open to birth a baby, instead of using "the way God designed?"
Is it "natural" to poke a hole in a person's throat and insert a breathing tube instead of using "the way God designed?"
Is it "natural" for a woman to ingest horse estrogen to relieve the symptoms of menopause?
Is it "natural" to put wires on someone's teeth in order to straighten them, or should they just stay the "way God designed" them?

Futurehope, I'm not really looking for a "yes or no" answer to each one of these. We all draw our lines in different places. What I'm trying to understand is where you are coming from with your ideas about God's design and how "what is natural" plays into that idea.


No, that's not what I'm saying, and I'm pretty sure you know it. I have said repeatedly (fourth time now) that I am against IVF and even surrogacy if embryos are destroyed in the process. There are lines that we must not cross. These lines are clearly spelled out in Scripture. I do not think that surrogacy, in and of itself, crosses the line any more than foster care crosses the line.


Futurehope, to be honest, I don't know enough about these things to have an opinion about them. No doubt the things you've mentioned have indeed been used with wrong motives. I have said that I support a husband (with his sperm) and a wife (with her egg) seeking various fertility options, including surrogacy. IMO, this is safely within the realm of the way God designed the family unit: a husband and wife producing offspring. That's all I'm saying.


It is not normal, but it is natural, in that a woman's (wife's) eggs are being used along with a man's (husband's) sperm to produce a new life. Eggs and sperm are just cells like any other body cell. They do have a unique purpose (just like every type of living cell has its own unique function), but they're not "sacred" in and of themselves. It is not until they are combined that a new and separate life exists.


As I've said before, I've simply asked you for Scripture dealing with this issue. Why have you not given it?


How can I "admit that masturbation is sin" if (as I've said before) I am not aware of any Scripture which addresses that topic? I'm waiting for you to post it. As I said, I'm not interested in discussing it if we're not going to look at Scripture dealing with this issue. (Also, I've mentioned that perhaps the process of obtaining sperm for fertility treatments could indeed be different than you suggest, considering that there is a wife involved. Whew! That's about as graphic as I've ever gotten on OB. How embarrassing! :ooops :hide )
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How can I "admit that masturbation is sin" if (as I've said before) I am not aware of any Scripture which addresses that topic? I'm waiting for you to post it. As I said, I'm not interested in discussing it if we're not going to look at Scripture dealing with this issue. (Also, I've mentioned that perhaps the process of obtaining sperm for fertility treatments could indeed be different than you suggest, considering that there is a wife involved. Whew! That's about as graphic as I've ever gotten on OB. How embarrassing! :ooops :hide )

Your embarrasment should be accompanied by shame for refusing to recognize sin as sin. When you are ready to discuss this matter without all the ignorance and with little maturity, PM me. Otherwise don't waste my time with your rediculous posts and insults to God's word by not recognizing what He has set forth and then reducing it to meet whatever you like and feel should be okay.[/quote]
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You seem to draw your lines by what you think is right' date=' not by what is made obvious by God's design.[/quote']
It is obvious that God designed people to eat with their mouths. Is it then wrong to feed someone through a feeding tube? You totally avoided my questions along these lines. Is it because your reasoning falls apart when you consider that you cannot be consistent with the definition you have given?



Actually, I did respond to it. I said:

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Does the food still not make it into the stomach? This is not even comparable to putting a sperm and an egg in a test tube to make a baby. You are' date=' again, trying to disprove my logic by comparing it to something that is not comparable. Because we are talking about something having to do with medical practices, you suddenly want to try to twist what I am saying into something I haven't said and apply it to something that has nothing to do with it.[/quote']
The questions I asked have everything to do with your position, not because they deal with medical practices, but because they do not fit your definition of "natural," and therefore should be repudiated as sinful by you. If surrogacy is wrong because it (as you have said) does not "fit the normal use or activity of things according to God's design," then why isn't caesarian birth wrong? Why isn't feeding via I.V. wrong (bypassing the digestive system and injecting nutrients directly into the bloodstream)? Why aren't organ transplants, vaccinations, and chemotherapy wrong? None of these things "fit the normal use or activity of things according to God's design." Yet you have not acknowledged that any of these other things are wrong. So, why do you argue that surrogacy is wrong because it isn't "natural?" What is "more unnatural" about surrogacy than any of these other things?


Futurehope, if this statement offended you, consider it retracted. I have bolded some words above which, IMO, indicate that my tone was not at all meant to be harsh or accusative, like your post most certainly was. I do accept your apology; thank you for offering it.


I guess this is what I don't understand. Where is masturbation listed as a forbidden and immoral sexual act? The Bible gets pretty specific about forbidden sexual acts, but, to my knowledge, it doesn't mention this one anywhere. Certainly any action motivated by inordinate lust, whether it is stealing, coveting, or sexual activity, is sinful. But the kind of m/b involved in fertility treatments is not, IMO, motivated by inordinate lust. It is more of a "practical" thing...something that is necessary for the procedure, but not as much desirable.


I just don't see how any consensual sexual act between husband and wife could be considered fornication. Do you?

The "other hands" are not involved in the sexual act itself; that aspect remains between husband and wife.

How is it any more "against God's plan" than cutting a woman's uterus open instead of using the "way God designed" for babies to enter the world? How is it any more "against God's plan" than the other things I've mentioned?


I don't think that genetic engineering is part of what we're talking about here. The issue we're discussing is surrogacy.


Again, you haven't shown how this practice "goes against God's design" in any way except the ways in which the things I've mentioned "go against God's design."


Yes, we are. And I'm totally fine with your view. I can respect it in someone who holds it with humility and does not have a judgmental attitude against those who disagree with him and draw the line in a different place.
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