must be baptized to take the Lord's Supper?

Discussion in 'Worship' started by PCAdummy, Feb 13, 2012.

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  1. PCAdummy

    PCAdummy Puritan Board Freshman

    Our new worship service includes the stipulation that one must be baptized to partake in the Lord's Service.
    Some say that is against the scriptures.
    Some say that this is a work
    Some say that this negates Jesus' words "It is finished"
    Some say that this requirement contradicts Faith Alone.

    We didnt use to say this, but we did say something like you must be a member of a church in good standing.

    Thanks for any discussion.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2012
  2. Rufus

    Rufus Puritan Board Junior

    My church requires that one is baptized and a member of a church in good standing. Seeing as the Lord's supper is important, and all church members should have been previously baptized I see that one should be baptized.
  3. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    You must be baptised in order to partake of the Lord's Supper. This is biblical church order.

    You also shouldn't be under church sanctions for flagrantly sinful behaviour when you paratake.

    You do not need to be baptised in order to be saved from your sins.
  4. Phil D.

    Phil D. Puritan Board Sophomore

    This requirement is part of the PCA Book of Church Order, which is part of its constitution. Thus it is binding on all PCA churches.

    Church Members

    6-1. The children of believers are, through the covenant and by right of
    birth, non-communing members of the church. Hence they are entitled to
    Baptism, and to the pastoral oversight, instruction and government of the
    church, with a view to their embracing Christ and thus possessing personally
    all benefits of the covenant.

    6-2. Communing members are those who have made a profession of faith
    in Christ, have been baptized, and have been admitted by the Session to the
    Lord's Table. (See BCO 46-4 for associate members).

    6-3. All baptized persons are entitled to the watchful care, instruction and
    government of the church, even though they are adults and have made no
    profession of their faith in Christ.

    6-4. Those only who have made a profession of faith in Christ, have been
    baptized, and admitted by the Session to the Lord's Table, are entitled to all
    the rights and privileges of the church. (See BCO 57-4 and 58-4)
  5. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    PCAdummy, welcome to the Puritan Board! Please fix your signature per Board rules (see the link in my signature below).

  6. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    The Lord's Supper is not an individual observance, but rather a corporate one belonging to the church. That's the reason for the stipulation that a participant be part of a church (in some churches, part of that particular church). And all who belong to the church ought to have been baptized. Hence, you must be baptized to join in the Lord's Supper.

    I've seen non-Reformed Baptists who don't get it. In my experience, this is usually because the churches they grew up in (1) tended to treat baptism as an optional rite of passage that you may or may not decide to get around to, or (2) had little connection between baptism and church membership, with baptized persons not necessarily becoming members, or (3) saw the Lord's Supper as mostly a personal matter between the individual and God, with the church being little more than a convenient dispenser. Such people may have taken the Lord's Supper in the church they grew up in while never being baptized. Or they may have taken the Lord's Supper for years without ever considering church membership. Or they may have taken it in private gatherings without the church even being involved. Reformed churches, and Presbyterians in particular, don't tend to think that way.

    In any case, to take the Supper without being baptized is out of order. Baptism is an initiatory rite for the start of the Christian life. The Supper is a participatory rite for those who already belong.
  7. PCAdummy

    PCAdummy Puritan Board Freshman

    Last edited: Feb 14, 2012
  8. Scottish Lass

    Scottish Lass Puritan Board Doctor

  9. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    You need to look beyond Chapter 6 of the PCA BCO This is from 58-4:

    Communion of Saints, the minister, at the discretion of the Session, before
    the observance begins, may either invite all those who profess the true
    religion, and are communicants in good standing in any evangelical church,
    to participate in the ordinance; or may invite those who have been approved
    by the Session, after having given indication of their desire to participate. It
    is proper also to give a special invitation to non-communicants to remain
    during the service.

    If I understand the question then,

    a regular attender who is not a church member should be excluded from the table.

    ---------- Post added at 01:25 AM ---------- Previous post was at 01:14 AM ----------


    A couple of other comments:

    It is good when a new pastor seeks to move a church away from bad practices, but a well intentioned man who moves too quickly will likely suffer from what is referred to in the business community as a CLE - career limiting event. And I'd prefer to discuss such things in the abstract rather than where it could be taken as a comment on a situation that I know nothing about. I will say that my pastor has shown great discernment and discretion in implementing change.
  10. Andres

    Andres Puritan Board Doctor

    This was my first thought as well.
  11. FenderPriest

    FenderPriest Puritan Board Junior

    For the Lord's supper, we warn non-Christians from partaking. There's the understanding as well that believer's baptism is required for membership - the "entry" grace, so to speak - and that members partake in the Lord's Supper - the "sustaining" grace, so to speak. Non-members are fine to partake with us, but they need to be Christians and we make that clear.

    Requiring baptism for partaking the Lord's Supper isn't against the Gospel because the Lord's Supper isn't a saving ordinance (therefor it doesn't trump faith alone), it isn't a sacrificial ordinance (therefore it doesn't trump Christ alone), it is an act of faith, and therefore it's not a works-righteousness/legalistic stipulation. It seems to me that the issue here is the need for pastoral teaching on this issue (whether present or not I can't tell from your posts). If people have questions, concerns, and comments about a change in church practice, the pastors need to lead by teaching.
  12. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    Sound advice!
  13. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    There are plenty of self-styled "Reformed" Baptists today who don't get it either. WRT many Baptists in more recent times practicing what historically would have been termed open communion, I suspect the main factor was the influence of dispensational theology and its typical strong emphasis on the universal church coupled with what has often been a lack of emphasis on the local church. Before dispensationalism took hold, (along with broad evangelicalism and not wanting to appear sectarian or "legalistic") Baptists would have understood it quite well. Most of them practised close communion and barring all those who had not been immersed from the Lord's Table. At that time (mid-late 19th Century into the 20th) one of the burning issues, especially among Southern Baptists, was any acknowledgement of the universal or invisible church at all, whether formally or practically.

    Historic Baptist doctrine sees Baptism as the "door" of entrance into the visible church. Indeed, nearly every Baptist confession of note states that baptism (i.e. baptism by their definition--immersion) is prerequisite to the Lord's Supper and church membership. Interestingly the 1689 doesn't include this statement, (and the appendix If I recall correctly states why they took no position on it) but I think most of the churches would have affirmed it.

    I grew up in the Methodist Church, which had an "open table." If I recall correctly no mention of baptism was made. Whether or not this is historic Methodist doctrine going back to Wesley, Asbury etc. or the result of years of liberal influence, I can't say. I suspect it's the latter.

    ---------- Post added at 09:09 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:55 PM ----------

    The rub is that there are plenty of communicants in good standing in evangelical churches who are not baptized by any definition. In the Ev Free as well as some Bible churches, there is no requirement of baptism for church membership. They merely encourage it. Wayne Grudem as some may remember changed his views on baptism and church membership after the small controversy erupted over John Piper's attempt to get Bethlehem Baptist to accept other modes besides immersion. Grudem If I recall correctly did some research and found that in churches with broad latitude on the issue (especially those that allow paedo or credo) like the Evangelical Free Church that eventually baptism was hardly emphasized at all.

    I totally agree with regard to "CLE's"!
  14. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Junior

    And interestingly enough the Baptist Faith & Message (2000) does include a statement on closed communion:

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