Open Communion? Are you sure?

 

    UPDATE:   Some of your comments went into moderation and I had to approve them (I don’t know why it does that sometimes).  I just got back from a quick trip and have approved those comments now. Sorry for the delay! And the devil is messing with the coloration of some of the letters in this text. Why? Who knows?

Who Really Practices Closed Communion?

The irony of a great many “non-presence” churches that practice open communion and rail against those who practice closed communion that do give the true body and blood of Jesus Christ , is that they themselves practice the ultimate closed communion which even exceeds that of Rome, who refused to offer the cup to the laity; and that is utterly denying the body and blood of Jesus Christ to their people.

In the words of their own doctrine, “This is not the body and this is not the blood of Jesus Christ?”

How can communion be more closed than that? 

                                        -Larry Hughes

What kind on communion does your church practice?  Do you know why?

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35 Responses

  1. I made acquaintance w/ a woman who was a member of an Independent Fundamental Baptist church – which practices closed communion for exactly the same reasons that my own flavor of Lutheran, the Missouri Synod, does.

    Although she and I *certainly* disagreed about what was or was not happening in the Supper, we both could see that participating in the Body of Christ requires a common confession of faith – me at my own congregation’s celebration of the Supper, and she at hers!

    Different, but equal, if you will. Separate, but sisters in Christ all the same. ‘Tis a mystery. 🙂

  2. Open communion because Jesus Himself said He wanted all to partake….Judas included.

    Matthew 26:27
    Mark 14:23
    Luke 22:20-21

    Paul’s caution is for the believer only as the examination would have no point for the non-believer so closed communion is not required…each believer is to examine himself, so he will not need to be discipled by the Lord. 1 Cor 11:17-34

  3. Sorry missed the word…So they will not need to be disciplined…

  4. The sacrifice that Jesus made for His church is not respected or considered by the world. As members of His body, we are the ones called to remember the sacrifice He made for us until His return for us and to consider what He continues to do as our High Priest before the Living God.

  5. Another interesting question. I regularly attend 2 churches, an Episcopal and an Evangelical, both of which have open communion. I haven’t plugged in anywhere solidly yet after leaving a “third-wave” type church a few months ago. I hadn’t taken communion at my old church for years, as I knew they didn’t believe anything really about the Lord’s Supper. I have no problems at the Evangelical church, as the pastor gave his views on communion, and they were remarkably close to the Lutheran view- turns out he’s a big fan of Luther.

    Because of my incarnational theology, I decided it would be hypocritical of me to take communion in a fellowship whose views bordered on superstition, or at least was empty ritual. I would be interested in hearing people’s views on this side of the question as well (if you don’t mind, that is….).

  6. There is nothing more open and universal than the love, grace and invitation of Jesus Christ. So we never place restrictions on the participation in communion in terms of denominational background.

    At the same time, I always give an introduction explaining what communion is all about and that it only makes sense to receive it if people trust in Christ as their Savior, agree that they are in need of grace and forgiveness, are open to admitting that they are sinners before God and willing to forgive those who have wronged and hurt them.

    Since no one but God truly knows their hearts, there is no way of telling who may still be coming forward to receive it but actually shouldn’t. This is then between them and God.

    I think it is important to point out that communion is not some empty ritual but a very personal, powerful and multifacetted encounter with the Lord.

  7. In our congreagtion we announce that “all baptised Christians who believe Christ to truly be present in the bread and wine are welcome at the Lord’s table.”

    We don’t examine anyone beyond that. If they come up after hearing what is required, and they are not baptised, or they really do not believe in the real presence…then that is between them and their God and we hope He will be merciful to them.

    We believe that beyond that, things can get a little ridiculous on the gatekeeping end of it.

    Before long you could have everyone fill out a questionaire before the Supper and then we could figure out who’s in and who’s not.

  8. Alden’s question is a good one.

    What if someone believed in the real presence but the church they are attending does not?

    Anyone have an idea on what should happen then?

    On tghing that immediately came to mind was ‘find another church’.

    Aside from that, I’m not sure.

  9. To All,

    Forgive my lack of (or diminished) involvement on this blog and your blogs lately.

    Just a temporary slump. I’ll be back (oh goodie, you are saying I’m sure).

    I’ve got to do 8 hours of driving up to Lompoc (Vandenberg A.F.B.) and back tomorrow for a promotion ceremony for my nephew.

    I’ll be even more scarce than usual.

    I look forward to your terrific comments here, and also catching up on your blogs when I get back at it.

    Thanks!

    Steve (the old Adam) I almost wrote ‘odd Adam’…that would’ve worked as well.

  10. “What if someone believed in the real presence but the church they are attending does not?

    Anyone have an idea on what should happen then?”

    Happened to me at the last church I attended regularly – an FIEC (evangelical) assembly. Didn’t partake of communion because their statement of faith emphatically states the supper is merely symbolic, but patiently waited until the issue came up in the weekly theology study group, and then presented my case to elder which took the classes. We corresponded for a time – he couldn’t refute me arguments against their faith statement, but it didn’t go any further – I was treated as odd. Finally left after the pastor preached a sermon which inherently denied the new creation of Romans 8.
    The local Lutheran church here has a strict table policy, so on the few occasions I attended on a Sunday, the Lord’s table may as well have been in a different dimension – I was given the same run-around about the need for membership and instruction as I was by the Reformed Baptists for many years.

    I’ve said it before – Pastor Mark has it right!

  11. There are admittedly multiple level issues on this grand issue. Closed communion, communing at other suppers, etc…

    1. Regarding Jesus and Judas. This one is simple enough. Judas didn’t deny it was the body and blood of Christ, he betrayed Him. Jesus indeed practiced closed communion for in the upper room He did not invite the worshippers of the Roman gods and their Roman god ideals into the supper; a point Paul Himself brings up again in 1 Cor. very clearly – you cannot have the cup of Christ with the cup of demons. This is the point often missed in closed communions, which even other denominations who practice it get. It’s not primarily to “prevent person X” from wrongly partaking. That’s a distant secondary issue. If we focus on that we miss the entire point of closed communion. It’s to protect the common confession and as to the Gospel. It is to keep other gods out which is the real loving thing to do because other gods lead at length astray. Error leading away from Christ alone rarely is blatant but rather just one ‘footstep’ the left or the right at first, nothing overtly dangerous…just a slight ‘hath God really said’. Then slowly over time, the devil snares you, he coaxes you, “he never”. in the words of Charles Spurgeon, “strokes the feathers of his birds in the wrong direction”. The principle is this: To openly let person X come in who openly confesses “this is not the body and blood of Jesus but a symbol” is to endanger the very confession itself and simultaneously think little of that very confession already. To have open communion disguised under the idea of love, which is really hatred (because of what it’s allowing), is to already not value the sacrament as a sacrament. And to not value it as the sacrament is at the end of the day the real hatred even if it comes under the wolvish guise of “love”. For it is never love to lead men away from Christ alone. Then to let person(s) X come in who openly confess in opposition to this is to allow another god into the confession whereby the congregation grows confused and wonders, “well it must not be that big of a deal…the real true presence” (the same would in PRINCIPLE apply to other confessions closed communions – I know Reformed Baptist who would agree in principle with this). By way of example; in some PCA churches Baptist are allowed membership without baptizing their children. What this communicates to both adults, young adults and children is “well, baptism must not be all that much if they can allow this”. What a church does confessionally is never a neutral endeavor. Yet the WCF explicitly states otherwise. Apparently, due to open baptism per say, the WCF is not worth the paper it’s written upon. Thus, at length the confession creeps into obscurity. Pretty soon you are like my former former denomination in which the B F&M is some obscure document as a pamphlet in some dusty corner of the church occasionally handed out to some inquiring member want to be that you have to scramble to find a copy of when they ask, “What do you all believe here”. And they want to hear more than “just Jesus” because Mormons confess that. In other words one creeps into non-confessional status at length, the mingled heterodoxy, and Christianity is nothing if it is not confessional from start to finish.

    2. Visiting other communions, from the orthodox position, is in a sense a simple issue, one should not. But not in a legalist “don’t do”, rather to protect one’s own faith. That goes back to the whole heterodoxy issue, why go to such a church in the first place? Why go to a place where the sacraments are devalued, both of them. This of course is a Lutheran specific issue. The question being why would a Lutheran go to another communion/heterodox church at all? Pieper points out that one in such a case, there’s no orthodoxy within say 100 miles, should be satisfied to worship at a home. That was a surprising answer to me, I didn’t expect that I admit. I can’t answer for other Lutherans but being someone who has come out of other denominations and having seen first hand and experienced what the heterodox doctrines can do to faith, what it doe do to faith (presently with a family member of ours) – I can answer I would NEVER attend another communion or heterodox church. There’s no legalism behind it, I don’t do it because I have to “don’t do it or else”, but from a Gospel perspective why do it and endanger one’s faith. Why let something strike the conscience with a “hath God really said”. Why attend and hear anti-gospel in my ear about baptism or “this is not the body and blood of Christ” via the doctrine? I can hear that six days a week pretty much everywhere in the world. One either finds oneself fighting against it constantly or slow creeping doubt as to what one believed before. If one does not fear that one does not have a healthy fear of other words. “Hath God really said” in all its forms is a hypnotic insinuating death one should be aware of. It’s like any temptation but worse; a guy can’t just thumb through a Playboy and say, “I’ll just read the articles”. Thus, the Scriptures are right to draw a close analogy between idolatry and harlotry with its ensuing adultery. The great irony is that men will guard themselves against the obvious of the latter and avoid such magazines, but drop their guard entirely when it comes to the orthodox doctrine, “oh its just loving to do this isn’t it”. We hide a lot of lies and excuses to sin under what we think is “love” do we not.

    Martin Chemitz points out well that faith must be informed and it is informed by the doctrine and Words of institution. Faith cannot be informed when it is either overtly communicated “this is not really the body and blood of Christ but a symbol” or it is understood as such by the churche’s/denomination’s confession. In fact it is informed otherwise that it is not the body and blood of Christ and thus faith cannot receive this, in fact it must reject it. For here faith does not hear its Lord’s Words, “this is My body/blood” but another word, “this is NOT…”. Jesus said, “My Sheep will know and hear My voice and another’s they will not listen too”. Concerning the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper, this is most piercing. Dr. Nagel says very nicely states, “Ask them (other confessions) what they are giving you, they will tell you”. And indeed they will, they will say, “This is not the body and blood of Jesus Christ”, and then why would you want to take it? Why be there indeed. And when via the doctrine of symbolism they withhold the very body and blood of Christ from your faith’s hearing, then they are barring your Lord from you, why would one want to be amidst that?

    Thus the GREAT irony again is: Yes indeed the Lutheran confession, at least for now if they don’t fall away in these last days with the rest, closes communion to OPEN WIDE the door to Christ Jesus, nothing is broader than the doors to heaven spoken, “This IS the body and blood of YOUR Saviour given for the forgiveness of YOUR sins”. While the open communions open very wide their communions all the while barring the door to heaven and Christ Jesus. But that’s the way deception works is it not, is that not the very principle Jesus warned His sheep about; the narrow road/way versus the broad road/way.

    Blessings In Christ Alone,

    Larry

  12. Now these are REAL questions so please don’t get all defensive about it…When does the Transubstanciation take place and by whose authority or “faith” surely it does not merely depend on belief…if it is real it is real no matter who believes it…right? Does Jesus decide when to be there? Is He limited to only Catholic or Lutheran observance?

  13. Troublemaker that I am, I have to say at least one thing on the topic of irony in this context:

    I personally do find it quite ironic that (some) Lutherans denouncing transubstantiation would exclude people from communion based on their insufficient agreement what the “IS” in Jesus’ words “this is my body/blood” really means!

  14. Totally open communion raises another question struggled with by some of our brothers and sisters: “If all are allowed why not commune infants and small children?”

    Nearly 20 years or so ago when we were attending an Orthodox Presbyterian Church that particular subject was being tossed about. I dont think to this day it is settled in that faith tradition. The controversy never ends does it?

    God’s peace. †

  15. I would direct you to read Chemitz or at least the short distillation of his work on this subject because its too large to unpeal here the common philosophical link between Rome and the Sacramentarian view.

    Here Luther is 100% consistent, for the reason Rome was rejected is the same reason the Sacramentarians where. Fundamentally Rome and Zwingli and Calvin are on the same “wave length” philosophically, their common link, ironically is the word “is”.

    The five second version is both Rome and the Sacramentarians make the word “is” an “=” sign and thus it is why both resolve the tension one via transubstantiation the other through a figure of speech, rather than the union. It’s really no different than the arguments against the Trinity.

    But again I’d read the short distillation of Chemitz treatment on the subject that he had to develop in order to finally defend the position due to Rome on one side and the sacramentarians on the other. Which is the way error always forces the hand of simple truth.

    Thanks,

    L

  16. Nancy,

    I assure you nobody is getting defensive. A friend of mine and I were discussing the limitations to e-writing and one of them is “we tend to read too much between the lines” that may or may not be there. We all speak certain ways due to our general upbringing and professions. Some of us speak more “emotionally” others more “frankly” depending on our vocations in life. I tend to be a more “frank” speaker due to my conservative upbringing and scientific profession. E.g when I choose a “strong” sounding word I’m not choosing it for rhetorical purposes but its more pure analytical quality.

    So I assure you no “defensiveness” in this.

    L

  17. Nancy,

    I’ll give you another example of things that make this difficult, in regional use. A few weeks back on American Idol, Josh will appreciate this, when they were visiting in KY they had a contestant try out. He was a character even for Kentuckians but near the end when they told him, “no thanks”. He said, “be careful”. Well Paula, Randy and Simon and the rest thought that was a threat. Yet here in the south, especially KY, it’s a common saying for well being like, “take care”. My kids say it to me every morning going off to work. American Idol ended up later apologizing for the misunderstanding.

    That’s kind of an obvious one but shows the principle and difficulty.

    L

  18. Nancy,

    Forgot to finish. So, that being said, I was answering the questions not being defensive.

    You ask good questions. As to your new ones, those are GREAT questions that I myself have asked. At length I would refer you to the shorter distilled version of Chemitz defense which includes everything you’ve asked here. “The Lord’s Supper in the Theology of Martin Chemitz” by Bjarne Wollan Teigen. It’s free pdf online. When I say short its still 200+ pages and fairly focused reading material. You will find it very helpful.

    A short appetite whetter that goes to your question, a question I myself had is this; One of the points Martin Chemitz makes in defending against Rome to one side and the “Sacramentarians” on the other side (Zwingli, Calvin and to a degree Phillipist) is that both, Rome and the Sacramentarians, end up with the same doctrine at the end of the day. Their common link is how they perceive the term “is” to be and that meaning an equal sign (=). So that both philosophically attempt to resolve the tension between “This” and “My body/blood” in order to make the “=” work philosophically rather than take the words as give (not all that undifferent than the way people have attempted to resolve the mystery of the trinity which flies against philosophy). Thus with Rome we have “is” resolved philosophically in the doctrine of transubstantiation in which the bread becomes the body and the wine the blood. Likewise with the Sacramentarian view “is” is resolved philosophically with the various explanations of “a figure of speech” in which Zwingli found the “figure” in “is” itself making it “represents” and Calvin finds the figure in “My body/blood”. This is how both Rome and the Sacramentarians attempt to resolve the their philosophical problem. The difference with Luther and the ancient church all the way back is that the Words are take just as and not entirely unlike the mystery of the union of the deity with the human in the person of Christ, Jesus spoke the union of both bread and His body, wine and His body. Thus, the bread remains bread united in the hypostatic or personal union with his body.

    The union is effected not by the works of man’s utterance like an incantation or some such thing but due to the command of Christ “This do…”. The “flow” is something like this: through man, the pastor, Christ authorized and affects this union. The office of pastor is not without authorization and hence authority to do this, “If they listen to you they hear Me”. So that God put’s Himself in His Word and through His Word He unites Himself to the elements for a specific purpose. The ancient church fathers spoke of this very clearly. For example Ireneaus puts it best, I think, when he said that the bread receives its calling from God and is now holy bread. Here we see the Creator picking up as it were creation itself and using it as He wills to do so, giving it a specific or holy calling or name as opposed to mundane use. Alternately they speak of the bread being named, literally, by God via Christ passed down through time through Christ’s shepherds. In this way and this way alone do we know here today in 2009 that we receive exactly the same supper as the very night it was instituted. Paul brings forth this point again in 1 Cor. when he says the bread and wine WE bless. Consecration of the elements is spoken alternately often as consecration, sanctification, sanctifying, naming and calling. Chemitz and Luther before him points out that without the Words of institution or when they are explained away by another doctrine there is no Lord’s Supper for faith must be informed. And faith cannot be informed unless it hears. And it cannot believe unless it hears the words its Lord actually gave without doctrinal explanation otherwise, “This is…My body/blood”. If faith hears the words otherwise either overtly or covertly under a doctrine, in essence saying, “This bread/wine is not (really) the body/blood of Christ”, faith must eschew these as another word and not the voice of its Shepherd, “another they will not hear”.

    Chemitz defense, what I’ve read thus far, is extensive out of necessity of the doctrines almost endlessly arising up against the doctrine of the LS from Rome and the Sacramentarians. But what I increasingly find is that in reality the LS is simple as the Words spoken by Christ are in fact obvious “This IS…”, and the complication is really due to man’s fallen reason complicating matters.

    L

  19. I had a very odd experience in Bratislava where I was offered communion in one kind- as in the wafer only. I knew this to be a Catholic practice but couldn’t understand how the congregation put up with it given the words of the liturgy which, while being in Slovak, I assume included the standard words of Jesus “This is my blood. Drink this all of you.”

    Afterwards I was told that as the bread was Jesus’ flesh it would, by definition, contain his blood so it didn’t matter.

    Is that special pleading or is it just me?

  20. Thank you Larry…I will definitely read the information you linked too!

  21. Doorman Priest,

    I was actually ignorant and never heard of this until the other day when reading “The Lord’s Supper in the Theology of Martin Chemitz” by Bjarne Wollan Teigen. Chemitz addresses this too basically in the command to do both.

    L

  22. From 50,000 feet, it really speaks to how in the many and various ways we rationalize away what Christ so clearly spoke, commanded and promised for us to do. Which, and we cannot lose sight of this, Paul after seeing the risen and ascended Christ reiterates that he too received from the Lord and delivers to us, and then spells it all out again precisely as it again. That is very weighty. If there was ever a doctrine that could be clear one would think the Lord’s Supper would be. But it never takes us too long, like Israel at Sinai, to start tinkering with it and strange fire. If the Lord said take a right turn, I swear, I think we’d rationalize somehow that he meant left, straight ahead, backward, up or down or symbolically – anywhere but actually right.

  23. In my church, we practice open communion… in fact, we encourage the participation of children (not overtly, but we don’t discourage it in any way)

    Reasoning…

    Whereas:

    * The warnings in 1 Cor 11 appear to have more to do with the impropriety of their practice of not waiting than it has to do with ” an examined understanding” of the mystery of the Eucharist
    * NO ONE UNDERSTANDS THE MYSTERY OF THE EUCHARIST
    * Partaking in a worthy manner has more to do with recognizing ones unworthiness than it does believing one is worthy
    * Faith required is faith given to us through the Word
    * Jesus expressly forbids “preventing” the children from coming to Him
    * We believe God gives justifying grace in Baptism to children along with the faith to receive it and likewise sanctifying grace in Communion
    * Children are in need of sanctifying grace as are adults
    * Jesus gave new significance to the family meal of passover when he instituted Christian communion (with no new prohibition to children)
    * Withholding communion from children has been traced to medieval practices based a wrong motivations to withhold communion from children until a later date to encourage church attendance later in life
    * Eastern churches give communion to infants at baptism
    * The wide eyed openness and eagerness of children to receive communion in faith instructs adults

    Therefore:

    We encourage the attendance and participation of children in the Eucharist at the sole discretion of their parents and make no attempt to compel or constrain children from receiving the sacrament.

    After hearing the Law & Gospel at one of our services, we invite anyone wanting what Christ gives (His body & blood – in, with and under the bread and the wine) in communion to receive it freely.

  24. Our congregation back home (ELCA) practices open communion as well as the Anglican congregation we attend here. Both churches invite all who believe in the true presence of Christ in the Sacrament to come forward.

    Our congregation here is a mix of people from around the world…not all from the Anglican tradition. Therefore there could very well be people taking communion who do not truly believe as the rest of us do. But that is something God must judge for Himself.

    My son will be confirmed Sunday evening so he will be the lone Anglican in the family…at least until we return to the States and by that time he should be ready for confirmation in our home church. The confirmation class here was only 2 sessions, more of a first communion instruction, so I’m going over the Small Catechism with him at home.

  25. Thursday’s Child,

    I like that understanding of open communion, however the exhortation is made up front, so it technically is not “open”.

    It is God’s gift to us (sinners) and do want it available to the baptised who believe Him present in it.

    Congratulations to your son on being the first Anglican in the family!

    Your teaching him the Small Catechism will have him back to Lutheranism in no time at all!

    Thanks, TC!

  26. I visited a Lutheran church where the Lord’s table was guarded with claymore mines and an electric fence, There were some men checking passports, I fained a coughing fit and snuck out.

    If communion is just a matzo and grape juice, something is wrong. I do not believe in transubstantiation, but I feel the Presence is very real. What is important is what the elements are to me, Body and Blood.

  27. Will,

    Lutherans do not believe in transubstantiation either.

    And we too believe that if it’s JUST bread and wine, then that is all you rereive…JUT bread and wine.

    Thanks much, Will.

  28. I am with Will on this one.

    I also believe that the Bible says, “Examine yourself”. The emphasis is on the believer’s decision. As a result I believe in Open communion, with a warning given that only those who have committed their lives to Christ should participate.

  29. The very concept of “Open Communion” is an oxymoron. We must close communion the question of course is to what degree do we close it? To those whom are Baptized? To those who profess Christ? To hose whom share a common faith? To those who share a common confession? To those who are members?

    These are the questions that must be dealt with with regards to the table which must be closed to one degree or another. The reason a table is and must be closed, is because of the high regard we have for an sacrament that Christ ordained, and for the body and blood which we proclaim every Sunday. To lift this ordinance to its rightful place demands a high view, and demands a high standard, for the sake of the Christ’s body, and that we may not bring damnation upon those who drink down the judgment.

    I think of what the Early Church document entitled the Didache says about the closed communion… “Give not that which is holy to the dogs.”

    God Bless
    reformo.blogspot.com

  30. Matt,

    Great comments, Matt.

    How is it, though, that we offer another sacrament to “the dogs” without such restriction in baptism?

    Thanks, Matt!

    – Steve

  31. Directly related to closed communion is the separation between orthodox confession/churches versus heterodox. Because the same false accusation is flung at that. I just read a brief point one of LCMS pastor/theologians was making about why the distinction between the orthodox church versus heterodox that I had not directly thought of and it’s related to closed communion, why do it.

    Many perceive it as being closed whether we speak of closed communion or orthodoxy versus heterodoxy. However, it really goes part and parcel with Jesus Great Commandment, “…and teach them all the things I have commanded…”. In order to do so the confession must remain orthodox and closed, like closed communion, so that the confession’s teaching is uniform and does what Christ commanded. Otherwise “other” opinions leak in.

    But specifically to the issue of real presence, which is linked directly to the Gospel itself, and thus closed communion we have to recognize that we are making an open and clear judgment about the practice and belief of others on that specific sacrament. It’s not a “mean” for the sake of being mean judgment, it’s a strict discerning of a doctrine, it’s discerning and judging “Christ is here and is not there”. It is a confession of “the hope that we have” on this particular issue, it is a “stand up and confess issue” and not something light or small. It is saying directly and immediately that the other opinions are heresy. And it is saying “I confess this” (about the supper), one should not apologize for it any more than one would apologize for believing in Christ alone, which it is at the end of the day the same thing.

    In order to do this lovingly, however, one must distinguish between those laity who don’t confess this due to lack of knowledge or under heterodox instruction and false teachers/prophets themselves.

    One must recognize that in principle without being specific that if one does not think this way of God’s Word, one does not rightly take God’s Word seriously nor His truth to which the Scriptures are abundantly clear including Jesus’ own high priestly prayer about being sanctified, set aside, in the truth, thy Word is truth, you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free, if you remain in My Word you are truly My disciples, et. Al. These are serious realities never to be taken lightly.

    Blessings,

    Larry

  32. We practice confessional communion. If you confess that this is the body and blood of JESUS for the forgiveness of our sins, then you may partake on our table. It does not matter what synod you come from or even if you are a Baptist, if right there it is no mere symbol to you the Pastor will give the elements to you.

    LPC

  33. We had a gentleman visiting our congreagation for several worship services, from an LCMS background, and he would not come up to receive Holy Communion with us.

    He knew we were Lutherans that believed in the real presence, but he was taught that our synod doesn’t have the proper doctrine, so he would not partake.

    I wondered, ‘why even bother to walk in the door then?’

  34. I don’t want to contradict Matt but I couldn’t help but think that “closed communion” sounds very much like an oxymoron to me as well.

    Looking at Christ on the cross I see God’s arms wide open and all former barriers torn down.

    As much as people need to be reminded not to take this meal lightly or superficially, I believe they also need to be encouraged to come in view of God’s unlimited mercy and grace.

  35. I agree Josh!

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