‘Closed’ vs. ‘Open’ Communion

Here are some very good arguments for ‘closed communion’ by a Lutheran pastor who practices ‘open communion’. 


 And of course, why we choose to practice ‘open communion’.

CEMETERIES CONVENTION - 23.jpg by The Catholic Sun








click here > On ‘open’ and ‘closed’ communion





Thanks, Pastor Mark.


And thanks to flicker and The Catholic Sun, for the photo. 




13 Responses

  1. Hi Steve,

    I listened to this message, and believe that I understand the gist of what Pastor Mark is saying. He is saying that even though there may be good strong Biblical arguments for holding to closed communion, he would rather err on the side of God’s mercy and grace in providing open communion. Ultimately, I hear him saying, purity of doctrine can be sacrificed for the perceived welfare of souls. Whether it be this issue or any other, this is the priority that he believes true Lutheranism makes. We should be more willing to benefit souls then to insist on doctrinally pure.

    Do I have this correct?



  2. Stuart,

    I think that is a good summation.

    I can’t answer for Pastor Mark, but I think he would certainly say that doctrine is very important, and to that end we hold the line. But we would rather the pure gospel go forth, than to limit the offering of Christ in deference to pure doctrine.

  3. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for getting back to me. This is a new thought for me, so please bear with me. I am not wanting to be contentious, as I like you guys, and appreciate many of the things that you emphasize.

    My problem with this is that it poses a possible juxtaposition between purity of doctrine and Christ, as though they could be opposed to each other, that one might at times have to be sacrificed at the expense of the other. But I see purity of doctrine as nothing more than the truth of God’s Word which necessarily and always agrees with the truth of God’s Son. And where else could we know the truth of God’s Son if not from the truth of God’s Word? As it says, “Thy Word is truth”, so Jesus said, “I am the Truth”. Would not truth be a unified whole? Can there be such a thing as truth that opposes truth? Also, would the Holy Spirit operate through us to offer Christ when we are offering Him outside of the means of the truth of His Word?

    If this would be better to discuss via email, just let me know.



  4. Stuart,

    This is obviously a bone of contention between many Christians, and we realize there are pros and cons to each view.

    We don’t feel we are compromising our good doctrine. We feel that the Lord is more than capable of handling an individual’s less than stellar doctrine, to accomplish His will with that person who receives it.

    When we offer the Sacrament to people (as Pastor Mark says) we are sticking our neck’s out…for the gospel of Christ Jesus. There are risks, but we believe that the gospel, offered to sinners that they might be forgiven and granted life and salvation outweighs the risks.

    I mean, if one follows this closed communion logic all the way, one would have each person interview with the pastor before every Lord’s Supper. We really don’t know where everyone is in their understanding of church doctrine, from week to week. Lutheran churches actually did that at one time.

    I don’t claim have the level of understanding on this topic that Pastor Mark has, and I’m hoping that he peeks in to maybe give you better answers than I can.

    Thanks, Stuart.

  5. Fair enough. Thanks for your response, Steve.


  6. Good questions Stuart, I can just imagine the smoke coming out of Steve’s ears and the rusty gears turning in his head as he read your comment. Hahahah.. a few Homer Simpson blinks.. and he managed a response! Steve is making great progress in the program. Atta boy Steve!

    • Stuart,

      Brett, Brent… whatever, is the only one communion is closed to in our congregation. We will reexamine his situation after the exorcism a week from Tuesday.

      • I had to re read this a few times to understand it.. It should read.. ‘The only one to whom communion is closed”…..” His situation will be re examined a week from tuesday, following his exorcism”… Try that.. You’ll make the customers happy.

      • Alright, Professor.

        And Tuesday has a capital ‘T’.

        No more hijacking a serious topic. Enough is enough and too much is plenty!

  7. You’re a funny guy, Brent.

    I hope and pray that the new (stronger) medication they have you on takes effect shortly, and that they might let you go home (under supervision) for flag day.

    At least they have you now in the type of restraints that still allow you to use the computer.

    Praying for some sort of healing for you, Brett.

    – Steve

  8. Stuart,

    This short article titled ‘Pure Doctrine, NO; Pure Gospel, Yes’ may be of interest to you:


  9. The Bible teaches us that all have sinned, which inludes the pastors who want to prevent people from taken part of holy communion. All of Jesus disciples were sinners, one betrayed him, one denied him and the other deserted him. He knew this was gioing to happen, yet they all took part of holy communion. Did Jesus judge? Why should we.

  10. Thank you, A.D..

    Your point is well taken.

    I do think it is important to look at Jesus, and how available he made Himself to sinners. Real sinners.

    If we are going to err on this one, I think erring on the side of God’s grace and making Christ and the gospel available, is the better of the two options.

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