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Church Order discuss Communion to Non-Christians in the The Church forums; Ok, throughout Church history, people have taken this verse: Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, ...

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    saintjonny is offline. Puritanboard Freshman
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    Communion to Non-Christians

    Ok, throughout Church history, people have taken this verse:

    Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. (1 Cor. 11:27, NASB)
    As a commandment that a person must be aware of forgiveness of sins and the cross and coming in a spirit of repentance in order to receive the Lord's Supper. As such churches throughout the years have barred non-Christians and even sometimes un-baptised or non-members.

    But the thing is this verse doesn't refer to that, but they refer to the spirit it is taken in the sense of not being greedy, not fighting to get the meal, but eating as a loving community where we put each other first. The context makes this clear as that is the issue Paul has been addressing with the Corinthians, and he goes on to say:

    So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you will not come together for judgement. The remaining matters I will arrange when I come. (33-34, NASB)
    So my question is this. On what basis do we not give the Lord's Supper to non-Christians? I have even heard it proposed that if we allow non-Christians to partake, then it's a physical and practical communication of the gospel in that it allows them to see how the gospel creates a community of love and grace in Christ. What do you think?

    (And obviously this is going to be shot out of the water in your mind if you hold a higher view of the Lord's Supper such that it is more than just a symbol of remembrance.)
    Saint Jonny
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    OPC'n's Avatar
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    It is more than just a remembrance of what He's done. It is a means of receiving Christ through a spiritual means. It isn't His literal body, but this is one way of receiving His grace. It is considered one of the tools of grace. I'll go look up some Scripture cuz I know there is one which speaks to the fact that it is more than just a remembrance. Might take me awhile to find.
    sarah
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    Jonny,

    "So then my brethren..."

    1 Corinthians 11:32 32 But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.

    Same chapter as the 1 Cor. 11:27. Here Paul clearly contrasts the believer from the world.

    1 Corinthians 10:16-17 16 Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? 17 Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread.

    Do unbelievers have a part in the blood of Christ? Do unbelievers have a part in the body of Christ? Are unbelievers part of the body of Christ? Obviously, no.

    Lastly, here is what the 1689 LBC says about unworthy participants:

    1689 LBC 30.8

    All ignorant and ungodly persons, as they are unfit to enjoy communion with Christ, so are they unworthy of the Lord's table, and cannot, without great sin against him, while they remain such, partake of these holy mysteries, or be admitted thereunto; yea, whosoever shall receive unworthily, are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, eating and drinking judgment to themselves.

    ( 2 Corinthians 6:14, 15; 1 Corinthians 11:29; Matthew 7:6 )
    Bill Brown
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    Grace Baptist Church
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    OPC'n's Avatar
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    WSC 96 What is the Lord's Supper? ...is a sacrament, wherein, by giving and receiving the bread and wine, according to Christ's appointment, his death is showed forth; and the worthy receivers are, not after a corporal and carnal manner, but by faith, and partakers of his body and blood, with all his benefits, to their spiritual nourishment, and growth in grace. 1 Cor 11:23-26; 1 Cor 10:14-22

    WCF 29.7 Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible elements, in this sacrament, (1) do then also, inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally but spiritually, receive and feed upon Christ crucified, and all benefits of his death: the body and blood of Christ being then, not corporally or carnally, in, with, or under the bread and wine: yet, as really, but spiritually, present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses. 1 Cor 11:28; 1 Cor 10:16

    WSC 97 What is required to the worthy receiving of the Lord's supper? It is required of them that would worthily partake of the Lord's supper, that they examine themselves of their knowledge to discern the Lord's body, (1) of their faith to feed upon him, (2) of their repentance, (3) love, (4) and new obedience (5) lest, coming unworthily, they eat and drink judgement to themselves 1 Cor 11:28,29 2 Cor 13:5 1 Cor 11:31 1 Cor 10:16,17 1 Cor 5:7,8 1 Cor 11:28,29
    sarah
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    Quote Originally Posted by saintjonny View Post
    So my question is this. On what basis do we not give the Lord's Supper to non-Christians? I have even heard it proposed that if we allow non-Christians to partake, then it's a physical and practical communication of the gospel in that it allows them to see how the gospel creates a community of love and grace in Christ. What do you think?

    (And obviously this is going to be shot out of the water in your mind if you hold a higher view of the Lord's Supper such that it is more than just a symbol of remembrance.)
    The sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper are for the visible church. They are not to be given to those who are outside this covenant community which is the household of God (Eph. 2:11-12, 2:19; cf. 1 Tim. 3:15).

    The WESTMINSTER CONFESSION OF FAITH

    2. The visible Church, which is also catholic or universal under the gospel (not confined to one nation as before under the law) consists of all those, throughout the world, that profess the true religion,a and of their children;b and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ,c the house and family of God,d out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.e

    a. Psa 2:8; Rom 15:9-12; 1 Cor 1:2; 12:12-13; Rev 7:9. • b. Gen 3:15; 17:7; Ezek 16:20-21; Acts 2:39; Rom 11:16; 1 Cor 7:14. • c. Isa 9:7; Mat 13:47. • d. Eph 2:19; 3:15. • e. Acts 2:47.

    3. Unto this catholic visible Church Christ hath given the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God, for the gathering and perfecting of the saints, in this life, to the end of the world: and doth by his own presence and Spirit, according to his promise, make them effectual thereunto.a

    a. Isa 59:21; Mat 28:19-20; 1 Cor 12:28; Eph 4:11-13.

    The LARGER CATECHISM

    Q162: What is a sacrament?
    A162: A sacrament is a holy ordinance instituted by Christ in his church,[1] to signify, seal, and exhibit [2] unto those that are within the covenant of grace,[3] the benefits of his mediation;[4] to strengthen and increase their faith, and all other graces;[5] to oblige them to obedience;[6] to testify and cherish their love and communion one with another;[7] and to distinguish them from those that are without.[8]

    1. Gen. 17:7, 10; Exod. ch. 12; Matt. 26:26-28; 28:19
    2. Rom. 4:11; I Cor. 11:24-25
    3. Rom. 15:8; Exod. 12:48
    4. Acts 2:38; I Cor. 10:16
    5. Rom. 4:11; Gal. 3:27
    6. Rom. 6:3-4; I Cor. 10:21
    7. Eph. 4:2-5; I Cor. 12:13
    8. Eph. 2:11-12; Gen. 34:14
    Baptism is the sign of initiation into this covenant community while the Lord's Supper is the sign of covenant renewal. So baptism is a pre-requisite to the receiving of the Lord's Supper. Those baptized as infants should profess their faith before they are allowed to partake of the Lord's Supper.

    The LARGER CATECHISM

    Q177: Wherein do the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's supper differ?
    A177: The sacraments of baptism and the Lord's supper differ, in that baptism is to be administered but once, with water, to be a sign and seal of our regeneration and ingrafting into Christ,[1] and that even to infants;[2] whereas the Lord's supper is to be administered often, in the elements of bread and wine, to represent and exhibit Christ as spiritual nourishment to the soul,[3] and to confirm our continuance and growth in him,[4] and that only to such as are of years and ability to examine themselves.[5]

    1. Matt. 3:11; Titus 3:5; Gal. 3:27
    2. Gen. 17:7, 9; Acts 2:38-39; I Cor. 7:14
    3. I Cor. 11:23-26
    4. I Cor. 10:16
    5. I Cor. 11:28-29
    Unbelievers are outside God's covenant community. They are outside the visible church. So they have no right to receive any of the sacraments. Churches that give the Lord's Supper to unbelievers and/or to the unbaptized, and others who practice paedocommunion (thereby going against the teaching of the Reformed confessions) are not obeying the Bible's instruction on the proper administration of this sacrament.

    Giving the Lord's Supper to unbelievers and/or to the unbaptized in our day would be like allowing the uncircumcised and/or idolatrous Gentiles to partake of the Passover in the OT, or giving the Lord's Supper to the unbaptized and/or unbelieving Jews and pagan Gentiles in the NT church. This is a practice that would have caused the Apostles to recoil in horror. From a confessional (and Biblical) perspective, allowing unbelievers and/or unbaptized in our churches should neither be entertained nor practiced in our churches.
    Last edited by A.J.; 01-27-2009 at 06:52 AM.
    Albert, The Republic of the Philippines
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    Contra_Mundum's Avatar
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    There's nothing especially "loving" about refusing to draw lines that "separate".

    If it be "wrong" to so draw lines, then I suppose "free love" should be the order of the day. Why not reject marriage, if the vows erect a moral barrier to "sharing" your partner? Hey, it's not "loving" of you to keep her/him from me!

    Listen, it comes down to this: there as people inside the church, and people outside the church. That is the fundamental barrier. And there are people who are inside but ineligible for the Supper (that's what discipline is about), and those who are inside and eligible. In fact, DISCIPLINE is what LOVE does. If ye are not chastized, then are ye bastards, and not true sons. For the Father disciplines every son that he loves.

    Lines are for the protection of all concerned. Elders, like parents, will have their performance examined, as those who must give an account, on the Day of Judgment.
    Rev. Bruce G. Buchanan
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    mvdm's Avatar
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    This question also lay at the heart of the "communion controversy" in which Jonathan Edwards rejected {rightly} his grandfather Stoddard's view of the sacrament as a "converting ordinance" for the unbeliever.

    There's nothing new under the sun :-)
    Mark Van Der Molen
    Immanuel URC
    DeMotte, Indiana

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    jwithnell's Avatar
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    This is also an extension of the OT practice where only the covenant community participated.
    JWithnell
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    Contra_Mundum's Avatar
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    I would go further, and posit that based on the available Scriptural evidence, under the Old Covenant only circumcised adult males were invited to the actual memorial table of Passover.

    Just another way the New Covenant is better.
    Rev. Bruce G. Buchanan
    ChainOLakes Presbyterian Church, CentralLake, MI

    Made both Lord and Christ--Jesus, the Destroyer
    Acts 2:36 - 1 Cor. 10:9-10 & 15:22-26 - Hebrews 2:9-15 - 1 John 3:8 - James 4:12

    When posting friends, kindly bear those words of earthly wisdom in mind:

    Oh, that God the gift would give us
    To see ourselves as others see us.
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    I have sometimes studied diagrams that show who could go where in the temple and its surrounding courtyards and have marveled at the wonder of all believers now being able to go into worship and to participate in the means of grace. We are truly blessed.
    JWithnell
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    The Westminster Confession of Faith for Study Classes
    GI Williamson
    p. 283


    The Lord's Supper is not a means of grace to those who have no grace (I Cor. 11:27-29). The preaching of the Word of God, by contrast, is a means of grace to those who have no grace. No one is required to discern the Lord's body before he hears the gospel. But this requirement proves that the Lord's Supper is not a converting ordinance. It is not a means of effecting union with Christ. It is rather a means of strength and assurance to those who have have union with Christ.
    Westminster Confession of Faith
    Chapter XXIX


    VIII. Although ignorant and wicked men receive the outward elements in this sacrament; yet, they receive not the thing signified thereby; but, by their unworthy coming thereunto, are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, to their own damnation. Wherefore, all ignorant and ungodly persons, as they are unfit to enjoy communion with Him, so are they unworthy of the Lord's table; and cannot, without great sin against Christ, while they remain such, partake of these holy mysteries,[15] or be admitted thereunto.[16]

    Scripture Proofs

    [15] 1CO 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. 2CO 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

    [16] 1CO 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us. 13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. 2TH 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. 14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. MAT 7:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
    Not only should non-believers not partake, "disorderly" believers should not.
    Scott
    PCA
    North Carolina


    Post Tenebras Lux; "And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever." - Revelation 11:15

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