What is “open” or “closed” communion — and why does it matter?

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TylerR's picture

Editor

One of the reasons I love being bi-vocational is that I get to interact with real people, in the real world. I witnessed to a co-worker over the last two years, and she has begun coming to church semi-regularly. She's a wonderful lady, who raised her daughter alone after the father abandoned her. She's 50-ish now, and has been on her own for virtually her whole life. She became a Christian about 30 years ago, while dealing with the trauma of being pregnant and abandoned by the father.

But, she's never been connected with a local church. She's never done any of the things Christians are supposed to do. She imbibed enough of a good Biblical worldview to understand the Bible's storyline (which she explained accurately to me), and she understands what Jesus did. She's never joined a church and never been baptized. She's never regularly attended any church. 

She's been coming to my church semi-regularly for six months. We love having her there, and everyone is very kind to her. She and my wife always sit together. It was lovely to see her observe the Lord's Supper today, and I make no apologies for it. This is how I "fenced the table" this morning:

The Lord's Supper is for Christians, which means it's for people who have repented and turned from their sin and rebellion against God, and believed in who Jesus is and what He's done for you. If you haven't done that; if you aren't a Christian, then you're welcome to stay, but we ask you to pass the elements onward. If you are a Christian, this is a time for you to remember that Jesus gave Himself for you, and He voluntarily died so you could be forgiven of your sins, and be adopted into His family. That's what's represented by the elements of the bread and the cup.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

pvawter's picture

Tyler,

You need to read my post more carefully. I affirmed that you do indeed have a robust view of ecclesiology, nevertheless your arguments are quite useful to those who do not.

Paul

TylerR's picture

Editor

No worries. People can find all sorts of excuses to have a cheap ecclesiology. I firmly believe that, if they're looking to cheapen it, they'll do it - no matter what their doctrinal statement says about communion. But, I understand that you disagree with my position!

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

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