Friday, April 16, 2010

Baptism and Open/Closed Communion

John Meunier started some interesting discussion on his blog about whether baptism should be a prerequisite for taking the elements at communion. My choice of Church makes it obvious what I believe. But within a historically-minded Protestant framework like the Quadrilateral, I don't see the problem with saying "our communion is open to you if you have accepted Christ and been baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit." I certainly hope it's not unbiblical; as has been pointed out on Meunier's blog, this would be bad for the Early Church.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The idea of open communion is a myth. There are only diverse understandings of closed communion based upon different ideas of the limitations involved.

Closed communion is legitimate only in relation to unbelievers. Any practice of closed communion among believers is evidence of their own denominational distinction. Both Jesus and Paul taught clearly against divisions between those who are in Christ.

The practiced of closed communion is primarily related to doctrinal distinctions. The practice of closed communion must be considered a practice of denominational distinction. Unless personal growth in the knowledge and understanding of God and Jesus Christ and conforming to the doctrinal standard of a particular denomination is considered synonymous.

The fact that the practice of closed communion has a long history in Christianity does not mean that this gives credence to the practice. Unless one is an adherent of Catholicism or Orthodoxy, that is.

Since I disagree with every denomination on at least one doctrine that is considered to be sufficiently important to subject me to closed communion, I have a choice to respect the expression of doctrinal distinction of all denominations and thus fellowship with none (no longer attend any Church)....or....to ignore the self-imposed distinctions of the denominations and fellowship with the denomination of my choice without revealing the differences in doctrines. Since the life in Christ is intended to be corporate, to be a community, as is most clearly seen by the existence of the nation of Israel in the Old Testament and of the ekklesia in the New Testament, if I wish to practice my faith according to its intent, the choice becomes self-evident. Personally, I am not yet ready for the third alternative, reversion to Atheism because it has become obvious that neither Christianity nor the Bible seems to have any relevance to me.

Dan Lower / KKairos said...

Since I disagree with every denomination on at least one doctrine that is considered to be sufficiently important to subject me to closed communion

Unless you reject Christ as your Lord and Savior or reject some component of the original Nicene Creed, you're probably fine for my old church, the FMC.

Personally, I am not yet ready for the third alternative, reversion to Atheism because it has become obvious that neither Christianity nor the Bible seems to have any relevance to me.

Can you clarify for me what this means? Why would Christianity's irrelevance make you want to avoid de-verting?

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