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         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.

Pastoral Qualifications


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Trell posted the Scripture that clearly shows that one who marries a divorced person has not sinned. If they have not sinned, they cannot have committed adultery, can they?

Since they have not sinned in their marriage to a divorced woman, the marriage does not disqualify one from the pastorate position.

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Trell posted the Scripture that clearly shows that one who marries a divorced person has not sinned. If they have not sinned, they cannot have committed adultery, can they?

Since they have not sinned in their marriage to a divorced woman, the marriage does not disqualify one from the pastorate position.

That was referring to those who have been divorced because they came to Christ after marriage and the unsaved spouse divorced them. Scripture says otherwise about other divorces and that has been posted as well.
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Paul does not say he is referring to those who have been divorced because they came to Christ. You are reading into Scripture what isn't there.

I'm not sure what you are saying. Forgive me if I've lost track here or am just confused.

In any event, I was only pointing out that Scripture would seem to indicate that if a person is born again while already married and their unsaved spouse divorces them, there is no guilt (sin) on them and if they remarry they would not be committing adultery.

Scripture doesn't clearly state that a man who marries and divorced woman can't be a pastor. Some take the "must be married to one woman" statement to mean that this somehow touches upon that. Others don't. Some look to the individual circumstances and among these are those who look to see if the fornication "exception" or the "saved after married and she divorces exception" applies.

My appologies for being unclear.
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Interesting question and responses. A few items to add, just for understanding. Then some observations.

I heard a man once say "God does not call the qualified. He qualifies the called".

Also, in the culture of the day, physical virginity on the part of the female was so important that the sheets used by the newly married couple were publicly displayed the day after they came together. Fornication is before marriage, and is cause to not be married, because it would be known immediately (by way of the sheets) if she was or was not a virgin, and thus could be put away. But once the sheets were displayed, the consumation was considered final and complete, and a man was not suppose to put away his wife because the sheets 'proved' she had not fornicated.


Sin is sin. Man sometimes likes to think certain sins are worse than others. Except for blasphemy on the one end, and loving God and your neighbor at the other end, this is not the case. Sin is sin. Adultery, murder, stealing, and every other sin are just that - sin.
The consequences may be immediate or delayed, but they will be there.

When a man gets saved, he is a new creation. Old things (including adultery) are passed away. We are complete in Christ. After salvation, sins occur. Regardless of the sin, God can and will forgive him (I Jn 1:9). However, sometimes the consequences are still there. Perhaps divorce, STD's, heart problems, and the like. The man may be forgiven by God, by friends, by his wife, even his children, but consequences may still follow.

The real problem with willful sin is that ministers are stewards, and it is REQUIRED (not optional) in stewards that a man be faithful. If someone is not faithful in earthly things (marriage, money, time, work, etc.), that person will not be faithful in spiritual things. That will make any pastoral role difficult. But once the man has dealt with his sin and let God deal with his sin, when the man has honestly corrected the error and the issues which led to and followed it, and has established in his life the same principles as Timothy and Titus require, as well as other Scripture, then he may be ready once again to shepherd God's people.

Only the Great Shepherd never sinned. All the other shepherds are under Him, and all have sinned. God does not have degrees of sin, or rightousness.

Do the scriptures indicate if a person gets a divorce and marries another, that they are living in a state of sin? Where does it say that?

I Cor 7 is full of gems on this entire subject. 27b-28a "Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned;" If you have been loosed from a wife and married, you have not sinned. This is the age of grace, the rulebook, the canon, of today for the church of the body. We are not the church of Israel. And in the church which we are a part of, there is neither male nor female. God is no respecter of persons. In today's venacular, what is good for the goose is good for the gander, or put another way, If you were loosed from your husband and remarry, you have not sinned.
This is no contradiction to what Jesus said.


Of course God can forgive the sin & will, that is not the point. You spoke of consequences, amazingly you chose to leave consequences out here disobeying, contradicting, the Holy Scriptures.

1Ti 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

Tit 1:6 ¶ If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.

The man that has been divorced & remarried, if his wife is living in the husband of two wife's. Clearly such a man is not qualified to pastor one of Jesus' Churches.

Of course, if its a man made church they can use whosoever they chose, for no matter what they do unless the repent, confess, & turn to God is wrong.

And please remember, this 'Holy Book' was inspired by God, & of course if He says a man must be the husband of one wife to be a pastor that is the way it must be, there is no options left, except to 'trust & obey.'
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Of course God can forgive the sin & will, that is not the point. You spoke of consequences, amazingly you chose to leave consequences out here disobeying, contradicting, the Holy Scriptures.

1Ti 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

Tit 1:6 ¶ If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.

The man that has been divorced & remarried, if his wife is living in the husband of two wife's. Clearly such a man is not qualified to pastor one of Jesus' Churches.

Of course, if its a man made church they can use whosoever they chose, for no matter what they do unless the repent, confess, & turn to God is wrong.

And please remember, this 'Holy Book' was inspired by God, & of course if He says a man must be the husband of one wife to be a pastor that is the way it must be, there is no options left, except to 'trust & obey.'

But if that man is divorced, has the proper divorcement papers from the state he was divorced in, and marries again, technically he is the husband of one wife. He is no longer married to his first wife... they are divorced.
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But if that man is divorced, has the proper divorcement papers from the state he was divorced in, and marries again, technically he is the husband of one wife. He is no longer married to his first wife... they are divorced.

Is that what Scripture says?
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Technically God's Word is what counts, not what is technically right or wrong according to the worldly government & the papers they approve of & or issue. And even after the divorce man remarries, he is the husband to two wife's in the sight of God if his divorce wife is still living. There fore he does not qualify to be a pastor of one of Jesus' Churches, 1 Timothy 3:2 & Titus 1:6, & is not blameless.

Mt 5:32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

Ro 7:2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
Ro 7:3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

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Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you. (1Co 7:27-28)

Clearly, one who has been divorced and remarried has not sinned. So there is no adultery.

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Amazing conclusion.

Mt 5:32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

Yet it disagrees with the Bible.

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Amazing conclusion.

Mt 5:32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

Yet it disagrees with the Bible.

But if thou marry, thou hast not sinned. Bible.
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I am not trying to upset anyone. I am sorry if I have, but these are the questions, thoughts, and concerns which people on the forum have. I sort of look at the forums as the modern equal of the way debates were done in Luther's day. We don't nail items on a church door, but we do post them here for debate and discussion, don't we? Or don't we?

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That Matthew 5:32 is a very interesting verse....

But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery. (Mt 5:32)

In what way does divorcing one's wife cause her to commit adultery? It looks like the woman is called an adulteress just because of being divorced. Not because of sexual sin, or remarriage... but because of divorce. Whosoever shall put away his wife... causeth her to commit adultery.

How does it cause her to commit adultery? There are women who have been divorced in their elder years who were never with another man. Yet Jesus says those women were caused to commit adultery.

Could adultery be more than just sexual sin in light of Jesus' words?

Edited by Standing Firm In Christ
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Not a hypothetical situation.

A man (pastor) and woman are married, have 2 teenage children. Family appears solidly Christian, attend a good evangelical church 3 times a week. They are not IFB. The wife seriously thinks about and actively contemplates lesbianism, even after Godly counseling. She then joins a cult and begins (and maintains) a lifestyle of lying and deceit. The wife tries to murder the husband 3 times, and greatly endangers one of the children's life by having her get on the roof of a burning house. She 'hates' her son, and affirms she has considered killing him.

Understanding all of that, at what point, if any, should the man take legal and/or civil action? If he seeks and obtains a divorce, can he never or ever be a pastor again?

Thanks. (Just for the record, my wife and I are happily married, and she can not have children, except God intervene.)

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Wow that is terrible. That poor man! He should definately report her to the police since he's house is not in order he should step down from the pulpit. NO divorce and when she dies he may be eligible to step back into a pastoral role. I believe that's what the bible teaches, however compassionately, that man needs a big hug and lots of help, I will be praying for him.

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Not a hypothetical situation.

A man (pastor) and woman are married, have 2 teenage children. Family appears solidly Christian, attend a good evangelical church 3 times a week. They are not IFB. The wife seriously thinks about and actively contemplates lesbianism, even after Godly counseling. She then joins a cult and begins (and maintains) a lifestyle of lying and deceit. The wife tries to murder the husband 3 times, and greatly endangers one of the children's life by having her get on the roof of a burning house. She 'hates' her son, and affirms she has considered killing him.

Understanding all of that, at what point, if any, should the man take legal and/or civil action? If he seeks and obtains a divorce, can he never or ever be a pastor again?

Thanks. (Just for the record, my wife and I are happily married, and she can not have children, except God intervene.)

If this situation leads to a divorce and he remarries, he has not sinned according to 1 Corinthians 7:27,28. As to pastoring again, why not? After all he is loosed from the first wife and married to another.... ergo, the husband of one wife.
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Regarding the "conflicting" verses on divorce, take the context into consideration. The context with regards to these verses, as well as the context of all verses regarding divorce. The answer is there.

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Art thou loosed from a wife? ... But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned.

Yep, clear as day, one who is divorced is not sinning if that one marries again.

You are missing the context. This isn't speaking to what you are saying.
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