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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.

Question about looking for a local church...


Alimantado
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  • Advanced Member
On 02/08/2017 at 3:43 AM, swathdiver said:

Only a New Testament Church of the kind that Christ began during his earthly ministry can establish another New Testament Church.  It starts through much prayer, a pastor and his family is called and sent into the area that the sending church has a burden for. 

On 04/08/2017 at 10:52 AM, Alimantado said:

A related question--happy to move it to a new thread if needs be--that occurs to me is how diligent should somebody be about researching this information if they're thinking about attending/joining a church? I hear plenty of good advice about checking a church's teachings and practice, and indeed it should be easy to find out who they are fellowshipping with at the time, but finding out how that church started if it's, say, 150 years old might be quite difficult (I've never even tried). And then do you check that the church that established it was in turn established by a New Testament church 50-100 years further back and so on and so on...? Obviously nobody can trace a lineal timeline back 2,000 years, but how far is sufficient?

On 04/08/2017 at 3:21 PM, DaveW said:

I understand your question, and it can cause some consternation among some, but rather than start a debate about that end of things (which can get very heated) in this thread, I would prefer to keep it about the process of starting a church today, rather than the history of a particular church. Another thread specifically about the history of existing churches would gain some notice I am sure.

This is a fork of the discussion thread here. The question and context are above--happy to hear any thoughts from folk. Ta, Carl

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

A church can start out wrong and become a New Testament Church.  As a practical matter, the candidate should look at the history and the qualifications of the sending church, but what really matters is if that church today is of the kind that Christ started during his earthly ministry.

Consider this.  A NT church plants another in a nearby town.  However, the pastor they chose has only one child.  After several years the pastor has multiple children.  So when the new church was planted it did not have a qualified pastor but in time he became qualified and the church is now scriptural.

A well established NT Church that fell away with regards to music makes repentance and once again honors the Lord with scriptural music.  

I believe an historical example might be Charles Chiniquy and his flock.  He was a Catholic Priest that saw the error of his ways and brought his entire congregation out of Popery and into what I believe then became a NT Church.

Edited by swathdiver
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35 minutes ago, swathdiver said:

A church can start out wrong and become a New Testament Church.  As a practical matter, the candidate should look at the history and the qualifications of the sending church, but what really matters is if that church today is of the kind that Christ started during his earthly ministry.

Consider this.  A NT church plants another in a nearby town.  However, the pastor they chose has only one child.  After several years the pastor has multiple children.  So when the new church was planted it did not have a qualified pastor but in time he became qualified and the church is now scriptural.

A well established NT Church that fell away with regards to music makes repentance and once again honors the Lord with scriptural music.  

I believe an historical example might be Charles Chiniquy and his flock.  He was a Catholic Priest that saw the error of his ways and brought his entire congregation out of Popery and into what I believe then became a NT Church.

I agree with the point on churches that start out 'wrong', or adopt wrong practices, can become 'good' again. The past history of a church is less important than where it currently stands (although that history might give some good context - a long-standing sympathy with Reformed doctrine, over-leniency with church membership, etc.)  I disagree with the idea of a pastor needing to have more than one child - but I'll take that to another thread. ;)

Last night, I was reading the account from Jonathan Goforth on the revival in Korea in the early 1900's. He told of an incident in Korea where a rural man visited a city during the revival, heard the Gospel preaching and obtained a Bible. He took that Bible back to the county with him, and read it to his friends, until about 50 of these rural people believed (the story doesn't say when exactly the first man got saved). They understood from the Scriptures that they should be baptized, and part of a church body, but they weren't sure how to go about it (seeing as there was no missionary, pastor, or even original evangelist). After reading and praying extensively, they came to the conclusion that they should all go home and have a bath, and then meet back and start a church. :D 

That method of church planting is not one we would plan to follow, and most of our churches would probably rebaptize those folks 'in the name of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit' if they came to their fellowship, but I hardly think God was displeased with the honest attempt of these folk to obey the Scripture they best they knew how.

 

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I do agree that churches may start out wrong and right themselves. There have been churches that began in the Southern Baptist Convention and then pulled out to become Independent. We know a man who was assistant pastor at a pentecostal church. Both he and the pastor, through study and prayer, realized the error of the teachings and became Baptist (the church did, too). He is now, after pastoring for many years, an evangelist). 

When people sincerely seek the Lord, He will right errors.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Lineage is not what we look at to determine whether or not something is a New Testament Church, but it's doctrines and practices are.

I had a discussion of this type with a Baptist Brider type years ago, like has been said already, we really can't trace any of our churches back to the time of Christ.

8 hours ago, Salyan said:

I agree with the point on churches that start out 'wrong', or adopt wrong practices, can become 'good' again. The past history of a church is less important than where it currently stands (although that history might give some good context - a long-standing sympathy with Reformed doctrine, over-leniency with church membership, etc.)  I disagree with the idea of a pastor needing to have more than one child - but I'll take that to another thread. ;)

Last night, I was reading the account from Jonathan Goforth on the revival in Korea in the early 1900's. He told of an incident in Korea where a rural man visited a city during the revival, heard the Gospel preaching and obtained a Bible. He took that Bible back to the county with him, and read it to his friends, until about 50 of these rural people believed (the story doesn't say when exactly the first man got saved). They understood from the Scriptures that they should be baptized, and part of a church body, but they weren't sure how to go about it (seeing as there was no missionary, pastor, or even original evangelist). After reading and praying extensively, they came to the conclusion that they should all go home and have a bath, and then meet back and start a church. :D 

That method of church planting is not one we would plan to follow, and most of our churches would probably rebaptize those folks 'in the name of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit' if they came to their fellowship, but I hardly think God was displeased with the honest attempt of these folk to obey the Scripture they best they knew how.

 

Are you sure Goforth was speaking about Korea? because he was a missionary in China as far as I know.

Edited by Jordan Kurecki
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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Wr have a lady at our church currently who many years ago was saved in a congregational church. Then some time later, the pastor there anniunced to the church that he had been doing some serious study and realised that they were not bibical for many reasons - he spent some time talking with a local baptist pastor, and this church decided that about half of them would fo for a special meeting at the Baptist church and get baptised properly, then they began a new church.  The other half stayed at the old Congregational church, having rejected the Pastor's new path.

By studying his Binle he came to the conclusion that they needed to be baptised with proper authority and sought out someone who he belived had that authority.

But the reason they "started a new church" was because there were some who would not follow this path, and he did not feel it was right to force them out considering it was his change, not theirs.

I personally think the argument over the history of it is a pointless argument - the process a church should use today is clear in the Bible: churches are started under proper authority, and that authority rests in the church sending the man.

There are some who say that you must be able to prove full lineage, but I have never met any man who can do so - it becomes an intellectual argument only, and therefore nigh on useless..... words to no profit, one might say.

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5 hours ago, DaveW said:

I personally think the argument over the history of it is a pointless argument - the process a church should use today is clear in the Bible: churches are started under proper authority, and that authority rests in the church sending the man.

There are some who say that you must be able to prove full lineage, but I have never met any man who can do so - it becomes an intellectual argument only, and therefore nigh on useless..... words to no profit, one might say.

The point of the 'argument' is what's an individual seeking a church to do? Not pointless--it's a direct question about a practical matter. The profit of answering that question might be that it helps those seeking churches with what they should be looking for and what they should be doing.

The question of what a potential church ought to do when being founded is a separate but related question--in fact it's what your other thread is for, isn't it Dave?

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist
2 minutes ago, Alimantado said:

The point of the 'argument' is what's an individual seeking a church to do? Not pointless--it's a direct question about a practical matter. The profit of answering that question might be that it helps those seeking churches with what they should be looking for and what they should be doing.

The question of what a potential church ought to do when being founded is a separate but related question--in fact it's what your other thread is for, isn't it Dave?

No no - not a pointless question - a pointless argument.

And my answer to the question is that the more important thing, rather than the history of the church is where that church is right now.

A church could have a great history (as far as can be established), but may very possibly be right out in left field doctrinally.

Another church could have a "Shady past" (if you will), but might now be solid in doctrine.

The choice is obvious.

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15 hours ago, swathdiver said:

A church can start out wrong and become a New Testament Church.  As a practical matter, the candidate should look at the history and the qualifications of the sending church, but what really matters is if that church today is of the kind that Christ started during his earthly ministry.

Consider this.  A NT church plants another in a nearby town.  However, the pastor they chose has only one child.  After several years the pastor has multiple children.  So when the new church was planted it did not have a qualified pastor but in time he became qualified and the church is now scriptural.

A well established NT Church that fell away with regards to music makes repentance and once again honors the Lord with scriptural music.  

I believe an historical example might be Charles Chiniquy and his flock.  He was a Catholic Priest that saw the error of his ways and brought his entire congregation out of Popery and into what I believe then became a NT Church.

Ok, so in other words the Bible gives us the model of how churches ought to be planted by other legitimate NT churches, but if it ends up because of history or necessity that a church hasn't quite followed that model then it doesn't necessarily make it illegitimate and therefore the seeker should concern themselves with what said church is doing now. Is that fair?

Or should concern themselves 'first and foremost' might be more accurate a summary...

(just added)

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