Is the Communion Table open or closed? Since all Christians recognize the Communion Table is restricted to professing believers, at the exclusion of all unbelievers, it is safe to say that there is no such thing as a purely open Table. And, since all discerning Baptists recognize the Communion Table is restricted to professing Christians that have been baptized, it is safe to say that there is no such thing as a purely open Table among Baptist churches. It therefore reeks of hypocrisy when the ‘Open Communionists’ accuse their brethren who subscribe to a restricted Table as being uncharitable, unkind, judgmental and legalistic. Unlike the open Communion Baptists who recognize only two restrictions on the Table (regeneration and baptism), I believe there are four restrictions—(1) An evidential…
Mr. Brown wrote the following document as a circular letter to be distributed to the Baptist Churches constituting the Berks & West Middlesex Association. The occasion which instigated the letter was the annual meeting of the ministers and messengers of these churches assembled at Wallingford on the 1st and 2nd June 1852. A clear challenge on the principle, procedures and parameters of church discipline is provided for the maintenance of every church. Outline headings have been added to the document, but the content has otherwise been unchanged.
Beloved Christian Brethren,
The subject which has been elected for our Annual Letter is one of great interest and importance. The Discipline which our Lord established in His church, and by which He designed to promote the peace, purity, and prosperity of his people, can scarcely be . . .
Review of a Pamphlet entitled, “Seven Reasons for Free Communion at the Table of the Lord, with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.” By Cornelius Elven.
With the view of giving our readers at once a fair and a concise view of the positions really assumed by the writer of this “sevenfold” defence of open communion, we will enumerate, in fewer words than our author uses, his various propositions, and endeavour, (praying for the blessed guidance of the Holy Spirit,) to show their fallacious and sophistical character. Mr. Elven affirms either directly, or by inevitable implication, the following things:—
The character of a building depends very much on the materials of which it is constructed. Christian disciples “are builded together for a habitation of God, through the Spirit.” Any society or association is largely what its constructive elements are. Combination and intercourse may, to a certain extent, modify individual peculiarities, but the corporate character will be the result of the various personalities which compose the body. The estimation in which will be held its internal life and order, the efficiency with which it will work toward its purposed end, will all be determined by the character of its individual elements.
Christian ordinances are defined to be “institutions of divine authority relating to the worship of God, under the Christian Dispensation.” In this general sense there are various ordinances; since preaching and hearing the word, prayer, singing, fasting, and thanksgiving may all be considered as institutions of divine authority.
Every organization which proposes to work smoothly, and yet efficiently, must have certain rules and regulations to be followed; certain laws for the individual members to obey. Failing in this—either without laws or with laws disregarded— all effort will go wide of the mark, and all endeavors, instead of succeeding and furthering each other, will counteract and interrupt each other; confusion will ensue, the wisest designs be frustrated, and the best laid plans become abortive. This is true everywhere. In the State, in the family, every association whether for business, politics, scientific, literary or art research or improvement, all must be . . .
In the maintenance of good order, and the administration of equitable discipline in a Church, there will at times arise cases of unusual difficulty; cases which require more than ordinary wisdom and prudence to manage justly, not to say satisfactorily; not so much, perhaps, because of the gravity of the offense, as because of the persistency of those concerned, the complications which arise in the progress of the case, the party spirit which may be engendered, and possibly, worst of all, the mistakes which . . .
Councils for consultation and advice in ecclesiastical affairs are an established usage among American Baptists, especially at the North, East, and West. With the Southern churches there is a prejudice existing against them lest their action should come to be considered authoritative, and threaten a domination of the churches. For this reason they are seldom resorted to in that section.
Indeed, through the whole extent of our denomination their doings have been watched with jealousy and regarded with not a little of suspicion, for fear they might grow to an interference with the independence of the churches; this doctrine of Church independency . . .
A lecture on the ordinance of the Lord’s Table.
There are two ordinances Christ has established for His church: Baptism and the Lord’s Table. Baptism qualifies a Christian to become a member of the church; the Lord’s Table enables a Christian to maintain his membership with the church. Baptism symbolizes a believer’s submission to the will of God; the Lord’s Table demonstrates a believer’s discipline to the Word of God. This study seeks to provide an overview for the ordinance of the Lord’s Table.
These articles are about the historically, and more importantly, scripturally authentic church practice known as Closed Communion. The practice is also known as ‘Restricted Communion’, and it is from the word ‘restricted’ that ‘Strict Baptist’ churches take their title.
Although the casual or unsaved visitor to a Strict Baptist church may indeed find the congregation rather stern, dull or strange at first meeting, the designation ‘strict’ has nothing to do with any such behaviour or dress code which might exist in such a church.