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…
In no acrimonious spirit, but from love to the truth of God, would we urge upon our friends the importance of separation from the profession of the day. “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Can there be real union upon a basis of compromise, or upon an understanding that vital matters should be suppressed? How can the friends of a particular redemption walk with the friends of a universal one, or the lovers of free grace unite with the…
The Apostle Paul uses the term “brethren” fourteen times with reference to the recipients of his letter. In this study, the letter as a whole is first expounded, providing a backdrop for the precepts announced in the text. The text itself is then unfolded with special emphasis on the peacefulness and faithfulness each believer is to demonstrate in his relationship with others. Encompassing the whole subject of Christian brotherhood is the Sovereign Grace of God that not only ushers a sinner into fellowship with Himself, but also sustains the saint in his relationship with the brethren.
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.
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.
The writer contends that closed communion is not merely a practice dictated by a certain theological view of the church. On the contrary: A church which practices closed communion as the beginning of its theological thinking for church management, and diligently follows all naturally occurring corollaries of the full doctrine of closed communion, will soon discover that a closed communion table favourably governs correct practices in all areas of church life, and will preserve the existence of the local church.
The reverse has been demonstrably proved time and again:
Closed communion is superior to open communion because it more effectively helps to protect and nurture the sanctity and industry of the church.
Specifically, the purpose of the communion supper is fourfold:
Because the communion supper is a command, there are rules for doing it correctly, because if it is not done correctly, some or all of the four-fold purpose will be not be properly achieved. The correct way of conducting the communion supper is at a closed table. This is known as ‘Closed Communion’.
Churches steeped in heresy, faction and administrative difficulties will invariably be discovered to be practisers of open communion, and owe their lamentable condition in large part to that particular error as the origin of their troubles. Moreover, churches who practice open communion or other errant forms of it generally do so because they misunderstand the nature and purpose of the church. This is because the twin concepts of church and communion are inseparable.
The word ‘member’ is an old English word meaning ‘limb’, or a part, component or organ of the body, for example, a leg, foot, hand, eye or nose, etc. Christ said that when believers are gathered together, then He will be in the midst of them, and Paul in this letter to the Corinthians reiterates “Yes, that’s right, Christ spoke the truth, and this is how it works”: When believers assemble together, they form the body of Christ.