The New Testament Church 0003 - Lesson 4

Its Ordinances (Continued)

  1. THE PARTICIPANTS OF THE LORD’S SUPPER
    1. Open Communion
      1. Description
        1. Open communion can be and is defined in many different ways. For the purpose of this class, we will define it as permitting all who are saved to participate in the Lord’s Supper regardless of denomination or church affiliation.
        2. For example - an Independent Baptist Church allowing a visiting Southern Baptist (or any other denomination) to partake of the Lord’s Supper
      2. Refutation
        1. The ordinance was said to be for “When ye come together therefore into one place” (1 Corinthians 11:20).
        2. The recipient of this epistle and the “ye” of the previous verse is “the church of God which is at Corinth” (1 Corinthians 1:2).
    2. Close Communion
      1. Description
        1. Close communion, likewise, can be and is defined in many different ways. For the purpose of this class, we will define it as permitting all who are of the same doctrinal statement to participate in the Lord’s Supper regardless of church membership.
        2. For example - an Independent Baptist Church allowing a visiting Independent Baptist to partake of the Lord’s Supper
      2. Refutation
        1. The ordinance was said to be for “When ye come together therefore into one place” (1 Corinthians 11:20).
        2. The recipient of this epistle and the “ye” of the previous verse is “the church of God which is at Corinth” (1 Corinthians 1:2).
        3. This ordinance was given for a local body of believers and was meant to be practiced by that body. Someone who is an active member of another body ought to partake of the Lord’s Supper with that body.
        4. We also have no way of obeying verses of discipline like 1 Corinthians 5:11.
    3. Closed Communion
      1. Description
        1. Closed communion, likewise, can be and is defined in several different ways. For the purpose of this class, we will provide and explain two categories of closed communion.
        2. Category one: allowing only active members of the local church to participate in the Lord’s Supper
        3. Category two: allowing only active members and faithful attendees to participate in the Lord’s Supper. Note: The faithful attendees would need to be known by the congregation and would need to have a personal testimony of salvation.
      2. Biblical support
        1. This option does not contradict the fact that the Lord’s Supper is for the local body of believers.
        2. This option permits the body of believers to exercise any type of discipline that needs to be executed.
      3. Tough questions
        1. Should a person be required to be an official member to participate in the Lord’s Supper?
          1. In our day, we have an official way for people to unite with a local body of believers. This can be accomplished a number of ways, but in the end a person is officially instituted as a member of that church.
          2. Therefore, it is possible for someone to be at every church service, faithfully participate in outreach, and faithfully support the work financially without ever officially uniting with a body of believers.
          3. Was the same thing true of the early church?
            1. Technically, we do not know.
            2. We know that the Lord added to the church (Acts 2:47).
            3. We know that people could be received (Philippians 2:25-30) or rejected (Titus 3:10).
            4. We know that churches were able and responsible for church discipline (Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:6).
            5. We know that people could be put out (1 Corinthians 5:13).
          4. In conclusion, we do not have definite verses to prove that those who frequently and faithfully attend our services today would not have fit under the description of being part of a local body in the early church.
          5. Note: It is not wise to take this to the extreme of dropping church membership in our day. Many reasons could be given for the maintaining of an official membership. It is certainly not an unscriptural practice.
        2. Should all church members be able to participate in the Lord’s Supper?
          1. Some believers will strongly advocate that the Lord’s Supper is only for official members of a local body, yet they will neglect to make sure that the members of that body are scripturally able to participate in the Lord’s Supper.
          2. Every man ought to examine himself (1 Corinthians 11:28).
            1. Let a man examine himself.
            2. And so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
          3. Every man ought to examine others.
            1. We are not to eat with a brother that is (1 Corinthians 5:11)
              1. A fornicator
              2. Covetous
              3. An idolater
              4. A railer
              5. A drunkard
              6. An extortioner
            2. We are to put them out (1 Corinthians 5:13).
            3. We are to avoid those who cause divisions and offences (Romans 16:17).
Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 5:14

I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.