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…
“Put thou thy trust in God,
In duty’s path go on;
Fix on His Word thy stedfast eye,
So shall thy work be done.”
The example of our Lord and Master not only gives to the scriptural rite of baptism by immersion its highest and most solemn sanction; but His sacred experience exemplifies the wonderful privileges often conferred upon Christians who loyally and lovingly follow His holy example. As He went straightway up out of the water the heavens opened, and the Spirit, like a dove, descended upon Him; and there came a voice from heaven saying, “Thou art My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” In like manner it not unfrequently happens…
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.
The Lord’s Supper in its institution, and also as to its symbolic import, as well as in its relation to Christian life and doctrine, has already been considered. It would be useless, in this place, to attempt a history of the rite, especially a detail of the perversions of its uses, the bitter controversies concerning it, or the false claims set up for its sacramental efficacy in working grace in its subjects.
The one question with which we are now concerned is a purely denominational one, having reference to the proper subjects of the ordinance, and the spiritual and ritual qualifications of those who partake of it. Also as to the proper and rightful authority of the Church in restricting its use, and judging of the qualifications of the participants.
A lecture on the Order of the Church: Its Statement and Significance.
The New Testament describes the church as an organism and an organization. As an organism, she is a living entity for which God is largely responsible for her existence and growth; as an organization, she is a well ordered mechanism for which man is largely responsible for her discipline and oversight. A healthy church is one which maintains discipline as an organization, as well as one which grows in the Lord as a living body. These lectures on the Order of the Church are looking at the assembly of Christ from the standpoint of her organizational components.
The questions answered in this study: Has Christ given to His church a statement of purpose; and, what role should the church have in the life of a Christian?