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William Styles, Restricted Communion

William Jeyes Styles was a Strict and Particular Baptist pastor who ministered in several churches at the turn of the 20th century. In 1902, he published “A Guide to Church Fellowship, as Maintained by Primitive or Strict and Particular Baptists.” This article is the first of seven parts to his chapter on Restricted Communion.

“Strict,” is here simply an abbreviation of “restricted” (re-strict-ed), and is applied to the practice of such as welcome to the Lord’s Table those only for whom they judge it is scripturally spread.

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Baptism by Immersion is often thought to be all we require as a prerequisite to the Lord’s Supper – some inadequate Confessions of our Faith countenancing the idea. Our real conviction is, that not Baptism only, but Membership with a Baptised Church, and what this expresses and involves, should always precede and be conjoined with this act of devotion.

This Position we prove, firstly from plain and positive teachings of Scripture:

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This Position has been proved from the plain and positive teachings of the Scriptures. Our Position is further substantiated by these considerations;-

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This Position is affirmed by the consensus of all Baptist Communities – whether Open or Strict, General or Particular – whose final act of admitting new Members into Fellowship, invariably occurs at the Lord’s Table, when such receive the “right hand of Fellowship.” (Galatians 2:9; 2 Kings 10:10)

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Our position is established by the Nature of the Lord’s Supper itself, which, we submit, can be observed in accordance with it’s high design by no congregation but a Church. When such an Assembly is gathered together for the “breaking of bread” then only does this Ordinance receive Scriptural and consistent attention.

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We argue from Church discipline, which the Lord’s Supper is an important factor in maintaining. Trouble will be caused, offences given, schisms originated, errors promulgated, and sins be committed by those in nominal Fellowship. These must first be dealt with privately – but the formal and final judgment of the united Members is to be expressed at the Lord’s Table.

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Our final argument in support of this proposition is to be found in the nature of the Lord’s Supper – it is not a means of Grace for invalids and the dying.

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