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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.

When your Pastor starts loosing his touch...


E Morales
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This is part of life, when great men of God, pastors and preachers start loosing it. Their preaching start falling short and their teaching also. When some pastors, not all, as they age. How does the church handle such situations. Its so hard to say to this person, it is time to step down. 

 

Go Away Wind GIF by Fluffy Friends

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22 minutes ago, E Morales said:

This is part of life, when great men of God, pastors and preachers start loosing it. Their preaching start falling short and their teaching also. When some pastors, not all, as they age. How does the church handle such situations. Its so hard to say to this person, it is time to step down. 

 

Go Away Wind GIF by Fluffy Friends

 

I think you could have chosen a better example...This man isn't even Baptist...and this is, after all, a Baptist site. 

Now as far as I can recall, I've been in four churches where the pastor has been asked to resign because he wasn't up to the task. The first was shortly after my wife and I were married. The church was not satisfied with the lack of depth in preaching given by the pastor at that time. He resigned, went to another church and was removed from that church after six months.

The second was when we lived in Illinois. A church accused the pastor and a deacon who were good friends and were constantly in each others company, of being romantically involved. They weren't. But, there were elements that wanted the pastor gone because the church was predominantly white, and the pastor was an American Indian. The "ruling" family of the church started stirring up trouble when some problems within their family were brought to light, because these problems were affecting the church....UGH! They also said he wasn't preaching the "whole counsel of God." Incorrect..they just wanted to see him leave.

The last two have been here in Tennessee over the past 26 1/2 years. It's never easy to tell a previously great preacher/pastor that he's not doing well any longer. It takes fasting, prayer, and a lot of Biblical searching and Godly direction to be able to tell one this. I'd never want to have to tell someone this again. 

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1 hour ago, E Morales said:

This is part of life, when great men of God, pastors and preachers start loosing it. Their preaching start falling short and their teaching also. When some pastors, not all, as they age. How does the church handle such situations. Its so hard to say to this person, it is time to step down. 

 

Go Away Wind GIF by Fluffy Friends

Covid-19 (Covid-19), Covid-19 (Covid-19)...I'm gonna blow!!!....the wind of God.

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I don't need scripture. Part of my personal beliefs is that we are each responsible for ourselves. Don't worry about others. Put no one on a pedestal and expect more of them than of yourself. 

It is also my personal belief that if you are a Christian you are a minister. There are ministers who are hired by the church. Their job is to prepare the other ministers (all of us) for our ministries in the world. They  cannot go into all the areas of our worlds. Only we can and it is our job to minister there. For instance, where I worked no one without a clearance could come into the building. My pastor/preacher could not enter. Thus, it was up to other Christians who worked there to take Christ into that building.

 

2 minutes ago, PastorMatt said:

We find in Scripture how Christians are supposed act and live which includes pastors. However, Pastor and deacons then have qualifications above and beyond the church member. God expects more from the pastor and gave them qualifications.

That does not mean I should expect more of them than of myself. 

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12 minutes ago, Bouncing Bill said:

Do you need a specific scripture to believe you should hold yourself to a high standard? Isn't it common sense if you are a Christian? 

What scripture do you use to justify the standard you hold for yourself?

Nasty photo. Abusive. 

Pastors are to "Feed the flock." That is their main duty...they are to feed the flock:

1 Peter 5:2

“Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;”

A good shepherd feeds the sheep...Protects and directs the sheep..even a good undershepherd will do this (John 10:1-21). In the passage given, Christ gives undershepherds an example. I'm not sure I know many undershepherds who would literally lay down their lives to save someone in their congregation, but I do know of some who MIGHT go that far...

So, BB, you say you "don't need Scripture." That's a pretty defining statement. Also, let me add that those who "rule well," or are our overseers in the church, pastors...SHEPHERDS of the flock, are worthy of "double honor" if they rule well....I just don't get  you, friend. It's been pretty obvious during my postings with you that you don't seem to care much about Scripture, and that worries me for you. I pray you're truly saved.

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3 minutes ago, BrotherTony said:

Pastors are to "Feed the flock." That is their main duty...they are to feed the flock:

1 Peter 5:2

“Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;”

A good shepherd feeds the sheep...Protects and directs the sheep..even a good undershepherd will do this (John 10:1-21). In the passage given, Christ gives undershepherds an example. I'm not sure I know many undershepherds who would literally lay down their lives to save someone in their congregation, but I do know of some who MIGHT go that far...

So, BB, you say you "don't need Scripture." That's a pretty defining statement. Also, let me add that those who "rule well," or are our overseers in the church, pastors...SHEPHERDS of the flock, are worthy of "double honor" if they rule well....I just don't get  you, friend. It's been pretty obvious during my postings with you that you don't seem to care much about Scripture, and that worries me for you. I pray you're truly saved.

True, BT and that preparing should equip them to carry Christ to their workplace or wherever they go. Do you agree?

 

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BT and Jerry,

What scripture do you look to to justify the standard you hold yourself to? 

Thinking about it I would say the Golden Rule. 

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you: do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

But, don't expect others to treat you that well. 

Edited by Bouncing Bill
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46 minutes ago, Bouncing Bill said:

True, BT and that preparing should equip them to carry Christ to their workplace or wherever they go. Do you agree?

 

I agree that the Bible teaches we all who are Christians should do our best to serve him every day. I believe the undershepherd should be feeding the flock (they should also be feeding themselves as real sheep do...they eat grass, etc., and don't expect the shepherd to be handing them handfuls of grass and goodies) and guiding and directing them away from areas that aren't good for them. But, I DO expect a shepherd/undershepherd to have more authority placed on them because they ARE the shepherd. They should be equipped and should be equipping us with the knowledge and spiritual food from the Word of God. I don't believe you and I are coming from the same premise on this, so you'll probably disagree, as you always have seemed to do. 

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Wait a second. BB, you said and I quote, "I don't need scripture", and then ask what Scripture I use? I'm curious why you want Scripture you said you don't need? You're deflecting from your original statement to get others defensive. Stand by your statement and stop deflecting when called out. 

2 hours ago, Bouncing Bill said:

That does not mean I should expect more of them than of myself. 

All I said was God has qualifications for Pastors. If you don't that, take it up with God, I'm just the messenger.  BTW...Scripture is my final authority, not man. 

God set special qualifications for a Pastor and deacons, which means he expects more out of them. Does not mean they are to be lifted up, just that God expects more than the member sitting in the pew. 

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41 minutes ago, Bouncing Bill said:

BT and Jerry,

What scripture do you look to to justify the standard you hold yourself to? 

Thinking about it I would say the Golden Rule. 

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you: do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

But, don't expect others to treat you that well. 

 

Remember, BB, we don't live UNDER THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS any longer, but under grace. Christ fulfilled the requirements of the law and the prophets. I look to the 10 Commandments....they still contain the spirit of the law, but are a good guide for us...the Golden Rule is too. We won't be perfect here on earth, but we can certainly make it our goal to be as Christ-like as possible.

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1 hour ago, PastorMatt said:

Wait a second. BB, you said and I quote, "I don't need scripture", and then ask what Scripture I use? I'm curious why you want Scripture you said you don't need? You're deflecting from your original statement to get others defensive. Stand by your statement and stop deflecting when called out. 

All I said was God has qualifications for Pastors. If you don't that, take it up with God, I'm just the messenger.  BTW...Scripture is my final authority, not man. 

God set special qualifications for a Pastor and deacons, which means he expects more out of them. Does not mean they are to be lifted up, just that God expects more than the member sitting in the pew. 

Because living as Christ-like a life as possible means I do not have to worry about thinking, 'What scripture can I use to justify this.' 

Well, God may expect more of pastors and deacons, but that does not mean I expect more of them than of myself. I do not. I expect more of myself.  

I should have thought longer on the scripture before replying. Regardless, the Golden Rule is what I strive to live by. Do you? Why would not any Christian not be expected to do differently. I did ask what scripture you used to justify your actions and dealings with others. I note, you did not answer. Why not?

 

1 hour ago, BrotherTony said:

I agree that the Bible teaches we all who are Christians should do our best to serve him every day. I believe the undershepherd should be feeding the flock (they should also be feeding themselves as real sheep do...they eat grass, etc., and don't expect the shepherd to be handing them handfuls of grass and goodies) and guiding and directing them away from areas that aren't good for them. But, I DO expect a shepherd/undershepherd to have more authority placed on them because they ARE the shepherd. They should be equipped and should be equipping us with the knowledge and spiritual food from the Word of God. I don't believe you and I are coming from the same premise on this, so you'll probably disagree, as you always have seemed to do. 

I have no idea what you mean by 'authority.' Please enlighten me. Thanks. 

41 minutes ago, SureWord said:

Are you saved?

Are you? Do you try to always find a scripture before you act?

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9 minutes ago, Bouncing Bill said:

 I did ask what scripture you used to justify your actions and dealings with others. I note, you did not answer. Why not?

lol, nice deflect. I mentioned the Pastoral Qualifications in the Bible (found in 1 Timothy). Maybe you missed it, scroll up, it's up there. 

Praise the Lord you don't need God's Word. You are the first one I came across that doesn't need it each day, what's your secret?  I try to base my actions on the Word of God and fail to many times, that's why I read it each day as it is the standard. Glad to see you don't need it daily.

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5 minutes ago, PastorMatt said:

lol, nice deflect. I mentioned the Pastoral Qualifications in the Bible (found in 1 Timothy). Maybe you missed it, scroll up, it's up there. 

Praise the Lord you don't need God's Word. You are the first one I came across that doesn't need it each day, what's your secret?  I try to base my actions on the Word of God and fail to many times, that's why I read it each day as it is the standard. Glad to see you don't need it daily.

As usual, you avoid a direct answer. 

And please answer this question that I have asked before in this thread.

Why should the pastoral qualifications given in the Bible make me not expect more of myself than of others?

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13 minutes ago, Bouncing Bill said:

Because living as Christ-like a life as possible means I do not have to worry about thinking, 'What scripture can I use to justify this.' 

Well, God may expect more of pastors and deacons, but that does not mean I expect more of them than of myself. I do not. I expect more of myself.  

I should have thought longer on the scripture before replying. Regardless, the Golden Rule is what I strive to live by. Do you? Why would not any Christian not be expected to do differently. I did ask what scripture you used to justify your actions and dealings with others. I note, you did not answer. Why not?

 

I have no idea what you mean by 'authority.' Please enlighten me. Thanks. 

Are you? Do you try to always find a scripture before you act?

BB, again....I DID answer.as usual, you REFUSE to accept the answer. You truly need to start reading and comprehending...I stated the 10 Commandments and the Golden Rule. Your reaqding skills seem to be lacking...no offense meant, but, truly...WAKE UP! I try to make sure that what I do is ALWAYS in line with Scripture and the teachings of Jesus Christ. Quit trying to deflect from the questions people have asked you about your own salvation, because manhyof us are concerned.

Just now, Bouncing Bill said:

As usual, you avoid a direct answer. 

And please answer this question that I have asked before in this thread.

Why should the pastoral qualifications given in the Bible make me not expect more of myself than of others?

BB...I've answered your questions...and to be honest, you're not worth answering when you try to play these games...I don't play them. Either fly right or fly away. 

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    • Bro. West  »  BrotherTony

      The original question by Brother Tony was about Peter being wrong in Acts two. Peter is responsible only for the light God gave him at that point. Later God gave him more light as in Acts 10. He is not the only one to have this happen Apollos (Acts 19:1-7) He was re baptized, why because he did not reject more light given to him.
      Cornelius was another who went by the light that he had, but when Peter spoke to him he received that light, in fact Peter may have received light himself not only about the gentiles, but that the Holy Spirit was given before baptism. (Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? Act 10:47) This is different than Acts 2:38.
      My main point is that the book of Acts is a book of progressive revelation and to rest your doctrine now on Acts two will produce damnable heresies. I know this first hand as being a member of the “Church of Christ” in good old Tennessee as a youth. I could of died and went to hell. Here in Indiana we have plenty that place the plan of salvation in Acts two. No, I am your Brother and not a MR. West, that is if you believe what Peter said again: For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 1Pe 3:18. This is the ministry of reconciliation spoke by Paul.
      So let me “TROLL” on out of here. Yours Brother West.
       
       
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