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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.

How often do you attend church in person?


In Person Church Attendance  

27 members have voted

  1. 1. How often do you attend church in person?

    • Only Sunday Morning
      2
    • Sunday Morning & Sunday Night
      1
    • Every Time the church door is open (Health permitting)
      20
    • I only watch live-streams services
      1
    • Other (Please specify)
      3


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The point of this topic is NOT to criticize those attending or not attending in person services, but rather to see where our culture is currently at.

How are you currently attending church services?

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The church I attend and am a member of has not met in the church since March 2020. Thus, I have not attended church in the 'church' for over a year. However, I attend our worship service each Sunday via Zoom and usually our Prayer and Share service via Zoom on Thursday evenings.

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Usually Sunday School and Sunday morning service unless I'm out of town visiting my mother. My church is just too far away to attend twice on Sunday but I'm thinking of attending Wednesday service once school lets out.

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1 hour ago, SureWord said:

Usually Sunday School and Sunday morning service unless I'm out of town visiting my mother. My church is just too far away to attend twice on Sunday but I'm thinking of attending Wednesday service once school lets out.

Just out of curiosity, how far of a drive is it to your church?

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2 hours ago, PastorMatt said:

Just out of curiosity, how far of a drive is it to your church?

About 30 miles so around 60 miles total. I only have one old car and live with my father who I take care of so I can't be running the car into the ground.

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  • 4 weeks later...
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My wife and I usually attend only Sunday School and the Sunday morning service. Our church no longer has evening services or small groups on Sunday except for the youth. They have had Wednesday evenings, but we seldom make those since my wife doesn't make it home from work until right around the time the service starts. We usually get up at 2 AM or     3 AM, depending on how she is scheduled. She gets off work between 4 & 5 PM, and it usually ends up running late getting off. Services start at 6 PM on Wednesday. My wife isn't home until around that time or later, driving one way to an from work, the travel time being between 1 hr to 1 1/2 hrs depending on the traffic. UGH! We'd LOVE to be able to go to evening services if we could. I do get to attend a men's Bible study group on Tuesday evenings with the Cowpunchers Cowboy Church of Shelbyville, TN. Great group of men who have been a great help in my recovery.

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2 hours ago, SureWord said:

I've often wondered, based on Hebrews 10:25, if churches should be meeting more often than what they have traditionally. As the day gets close, i.e. the Rapture, we are supposed to be assembling more often because the temptation to fall away becomes greater and greater. 

'Wondered',  good?  Did the wondering lead to questioning, asking and keep asking,  seek and keep seeking,  knock and keep knocking,

until God Provides the Light ? (Answers)

 

"Traditionally" in Christendom is mostly demonic. i.e. what the world see traditionally turns them away from Christendom,  since it is harmful and not helpful, right?   (remembering or noting that there's over 2,000,000 (billion?) serving the demnons in religion,  and only a remnant,  only a few,  serving Jesus)

Of course ,  or rather if you mean something other by 'traditionally',  than the world /Christendom/ does and sees,  then perhaps better.

'Traditionally',  those who every day obey Jesus,  live as one every day,  serving one another in Christ,  daily laying down our lives for one another, everywhere.  Not just one day or two days,  for an hour.

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3 hours ago, jeff_student_of_Jesus said:

'Wondered',  good?  Did the wondering lead to questioning, asking and keep asking,  seek and keep seeking,  knock and keep knocking,

until God Provides the Light ? (Answers)

 

"Traditionally" in Christendom is mostly demonic. i.e. what the world see traditionally turns them away from Christendom,  since it is harmful and not helpful, right?   (remembering or noting that there's over 2,000,000 (billion?) serving the demnons in religion,  and only a remnant,  only a few,  serving Jesus)

Of course ,  or rather if you mean something other by 'traditionally',  than the world /Christendom/ does and sees,  then perhaps better.

'Traditionally',  those who every day obey Jesus,  live as one every day,  serving one another in Christ,  daily laying down our lives for one another, everywhere.  Not just one day or two days,  for an hour.

This is the most useless response I’ve seen in a while. Could you please talk like a normal human being with proper use of English grammar? 🙄

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Posted (edited)

By traditionally I don't mean li

6 hours ago, jeff_student_of_Jesus said:

'Wondered',  good?  Did the wondering lead to questioning, asking and keep asking,  seek and keep seeking,  knock and keep knocking,

until God Provides the Light ? (Answers)

 

"Traditionally" in Christendom is mostly demonic. i.e. what the world see traditionally turns them away from Christendom,  since it is harmful and not helpful, right?   (remembering or noting that there's over 2,000,000 (billion?) serving the demnons in religion,  and only a remnant,  only a few,  serving Jesus)

Of course ,  or rather if you mean something other by 'traditionally',  than the world /Christendom/ does and sees,  then perhaps better.

'Traditionally',  those who every day obey Jesus,  live as one every day,  serving one another in Christ,  daily laying down our lives for one another, everywhere.  Not just one day or two days,  for an hour.

By tradition I don't mean the commandments of men just the way most churches in the United States have been holding services for a long time. Monday, Wednesday or Thursday and Sunday. 

"Wondered" is a figure of speech I use a lot which is another way of me saying "I've thought about, meditated upon, considered". 

 

 

Edited by SureWord
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

When I'm away from my local church traveling I don't attend Sunday and/or Wednesday services...unless I'm visiting with folks who do go when the doors are open and then I go to their morning and evening services.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Posted (edited)

 

Don't get me wrong, It's good to attend if you're a woman with family or have kids, but if you're a single older man/woman it's pointless to attend, most sermons aren't oriented or directed at you, you just don't exist as a believer if you don't have a family or kids. Especially older woman, the sermons are only addressed to wives or young girls.

Visit if you have a friend or partner to introduce you to people, stay away if you're a newcomer to the assembly. Worship by yourself if you can't gain anything from attending.

Also, I know this will be unpopular but expecting people to attend ALL services is ridiculous. PEOPLE ARE EXHAUSTED after working for hours, they need to relax. I'm saying it's enough 1 day or 1 time during week. 

I'm convinced pastors fill up the week with useless stuff to attend so that they appear 'busy for the Lord' in front of their crowd or community. People have lives and stressful duties to attend to, they don't need scolding and criticism for missing services. 

 

Edited by Corinne
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5 hours ago, Corinne said:

 

Don't get me wrong, It's good to attend if you're a woman with family or have kids, but if you're a single older man/woman it's pointless to attend, most sermons aren't oriented or directed at you, you just don't exist as a believer if you don't have a family or kids. Especially older woman, the sermons are only addressed to wives or young girls.

Visit if you have a friend or partner to introduce you to people, stay away if you're a newcomer to the assembly. Worship by yourself if you can't gain anything from attending.

Also, I know this will be unpopular but expecting people to attend ALL services is ridiculous. PEOPLE ARE EXHAUSTED after working for hours, they need to relax. I'm saying it's enough 1 day or 1 time during week. 

I'm convinced pastors fill up the week with useless stuff to attend so that they appear 'busy for the Lord' in front of their crowd or community. People have lives and stressful duties to attend to, they don't need scolding and criticism for missing services. 

 

Yes, there is a lot of truth to what you say. A single man such as myself usually is on the outside a bit. I think many within the church might think something is strange with you if you have never been married. I still go to church but I really keep pretty much to myself other than a quick chat with the pastor who seems to like me and one other member, an elderly widow. The rest avoid me even if I try to initiate a conversation.

A number of years ago up in Syracuse, NY I attended a Baptist Church that was made up of single males. Outside of the pastor there was only one man over 40. The church would do a lot of street preaching within a rough section of the city. The pastor was also a black belt and taught karate to anyone who wanted to learn. Anytime one of the guys got a wife she would demand he'd leave the church and join a typical modern day entertainment church with Awana, Patch the Pirate, church picnics, Women's Bible Study Group (no such group for the men), Christmas pageants, softball games, etc.

I really miss that church.

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Just now, SureWord said:

Anytime one of the guys got a wife she would demand he'd leave the church and join a typical modern day entertainment church with Awana, Patch the Pirate, church picnics, Women's Bible Study Group (no such group for the men), Christmas pageants, softball games, etc.

I really miss that church.

   Finding one sound in doctrine is also difficult. As mentioned previously, I only wish for more catering to single adults, but I understand if it doesn't happen. It's a rare thing to see older people being single. But you talked about men groups, I also find that important. The speeches are targeting mostly husbands and fathers, but single men also need encouragement, especially when they face temptations and different problems.

  The wives are very cautious when befriending single women, especially younger ones. I honestly don't blame them. There have been numerous scandals and breaking up of families when one's spouse wasn't guarded properly. I think families definitely enjoy interacting with other families.

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I definitely understand the feeling that church activities are more pointed to families than singles. A lot of churches don't seem to know what to do with older singles! Which is a shame, because the singles are, at least in our church, what keep things going. Let me see... if this particular 38-year-old single were not here, they would need a new organist, alternate pianist, church treasurer, clerk, decorator, gardener, librarian, master organizer, children's ministry helper...  :15_1_63:  "I speak as a man", but the truth is that we need both in a church - singles & families. Both are necessary for the Body to work well. 

Sometimes I really wish the families would invite me over - they do once in a blue moon, but it is so much easier for them to add one person to a gathering than for me to invite 8 people over! But they are individually welcoming & friendly, and I can go up to pretty much anyone and star t a conversation if I want to (or many will start it with me).  And God has given me a couple families that I can pretty much invite myself over anytime I need to see someone. 🙂  ("He setteth the solitary in families.")

What you describe, Corinne - that sounds really nasty and unhealthy. If the churches hold personal purity so loosely, no wonder there are so many affairs!  There is something seriously wrong in those assemblies.

My experience with attending all services is simply this - there is no better way (in a good church) to grow spiritually and grow together as a church family. No, you don't have to, but when you can, it is beneficial. That being said, what Corinne describes is probably not a church that's going to happen in. 

17 hours ago, SureWord said:

A number of years ago up in Syracuse, NY I attended a Baptist Church that was made up of single males. Outside of the pastor there was only one man over 40.

I remember you mentioning that church before! I still want to find it. :laugh:

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2 hours ago, Salyan said:

 

 

I remember you mentioning that church before! I still want to find it. :laugh:

The pastor passed away back in 2015. I think his son may taken over as pastor I'm not sure. 

3 hours ago, Corinne said:

   Finding one sound in doctrine is also difficult. As mentioned previously, I only wish for more catering to single adults, but I understand if it doesn't happen. It's a rare thing to see older people being single. But you talked about men groups, I also find that important. The speeches are targeting mostly husbands and fathers, but single men also need encouragement, especially when they face temptations and different problems.

  The wives are very cautious when befriending single women, especially younger ones. I honestly don't blame them. There have been numerous scandals and breaking up of families when one's spouse wasn't guarded properly. I think families definitely enjoy interacting with other families.

53 year old single man here. Its not quite as bad as it was in my 20s and 30s but I still feel on the outside at times.

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On 6/27/2021 at 9:41 AM, Corinne said:

 

Don't get me wrong, It's good to attend if you're a woman with family or have kids, but if you're a single older man/woman it's pointless to attend, most sermons aren't oriented or directed at you, you just don't exist as a believer if you don't have a family or kids. Especially older woman, the sermons are only addressed to wives or young girls.

Visit if you have a friend or partner to introduce you to people, stay away if you're a newcomer to the assembly. Worship by yourself if you can't gain anything from attending.

Also, I know this will be unpopular but expecting people to attend ALL services is ridiculous. PEOPLE ARE EXHAUSTED after working for hours, they need to relax. I'm saying it's enough 1 day or 1 time during week. 

I'm convinced pastors fill up the week with useless stuff to attend so that they appear 'busy for the Lord' in front of their crowd or community. People have lives and stressful duties to attend to, they don't need scolding and criticism for missing services. 

 

 

22 hours ago, SureWord said:

Yes, there is a lot of truth to what you say. A single man such as myself usually is on the outside a bit. I think many within the church might think something is strange with you if you have never been married. I still go to church but I really keep pretty much to myself other than a quick chat with the pastor who seems to like me and one other member, an elderly widow. The rest avoid me even if I try to initiate a conversation.

A number of years ago up in Syracuse, NY I attended a Baptist Church that was made up of single males. Outside of the pastor there was only one man over 40. The church would do a lot of street preaching within a rough section of the city. The pastor was also a black belt and taught karate to anyone who wanted to learn. Anytime one of the guys got a wife she would demand he'd leave the church and join a typical modern day entertainment church with Awana, Patch the Pirate, church picnics, Women's Bible Study Group (no such group for the men), Christmas pageants, softball games, etc.

I really miss that church.

Man, I don't know where you all go to church, or what kinds of churches you attend, but this has never been my experience. I spent ten years single after my first wife passed, and never had any issues with anything being taaght specifically for any age group. Now I am a pastor, and I started out single, and am now single again, (as my second wife passed away 3 weeks ago), and I have always taught doctrine that is for everyone individually. I mean, yes, I teaching some things geared toward those married, or youth, etc, but that's because there are teachings in scripture specifically geared toward those married, or toward young people, or old people, but most doctrine is written for everyone. I couldn't imagine a church that just teaches for group a or group b, and everyone else is excluded. You need to find better churches.

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