Actually Strict Baptists are still around, but on darker days sometimes it feels like there are only two or three of us left. To understand where the others went, it’s helpful to know where we started. Leaving aside the obvious contention that John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter and Paul were all Strict Baptists, (which I would be happy to prove from the scriptures on another occasion) let us zoom forward instead to Great Britain in the 1700’s to see where the actual title came from.

In the hundred years or so following the great 18th Century revivals, there was much debate and healthy schism among Christians and churchmen as they applied their newfound godly zeal and hunger for scripture and righteousness to discerning the finer points of church polity and Christian life. Thus, churches necessarily and willingly assigned to themselves the labels of strict communionists or otherwise as advance proclamation on the sign over their door of what form of worship and discipleship the visitor or prospective member of such a fellowship could expect.

With the passing of the passionately godly doctrinal schisms of the 19th Century evangelicals, and the advent of a godlessly unchurched broader population of unsaved, ill-taught and mostly only nominal and corrupted generation of new Christians who know and care nothing for these distinctions, also passed the culturally relevant necessity for churches to title themselves as ‘Strict’. Of the few Strict Baptist churches which still survive at all in the 21st century, almost all have dropped the word ‘Strict’ from their title, and from the sign above their door, (generally substituting it with ‘Grace’). This is partly due to (questionably) avoid confusion arising from the modern secular meaning of the word, (as if today’s lost souls of the general population have any greater understanding of the meaning of the word ‘grace’ than of ‘strict’)! However, it is mostly due because they more significantly and sadly no longer actually practice restricted communion, to the detriment of the Lord’s church.

While the title of ‘Strict’ may indeed be confusing and redundant in today’s society, many churches who do not own the name, (nor even ‘Baptist’) nevertheless, to their credit, still love and practice the doctrine of a restricted (‘closed’) communion table, and it is the contention of this writer that restricted (‘closed’) communion is the most beneficial and only proper mode for the Lord’s Supper.


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