Monday, October 21, 2013

Open Communion Kills

Yes, it's that simple. No matter which way you slice it, no matter how you dress it up, and no matter how you try to justify it, open communion kills.

St. Paul said of Holy Communion, "Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died."

Any congregation or pastor who allows anybody "who believes" to come forward and eat and drink of the Lord's Body and Blood runs the risk of allowing someone to eat and drink judgment upon themselves and thereby become weak, ill, or die.

Yes, it's that simple.

So, if you're into killing your neighbor spiritually, go ahead, practice open communion. If you're into playing Russian Roulette with the Lord's Supper and the individual lives of people, go ahead, practice open communion. If you honestly don't care about the well-being of your neighbor, go ahead, practice open communion.

Drunk driving kills. So does open communion. Friends don't let friends practice open communion.

Yes, it's that simple.


Steve Martin said...

Closed communion kills. It denies the gospel to real sinners in need.

NO litmus tests!

We prefer to err on the side of God's grace for sinners.

We announce to the sinners in the pews exactly what the meal is. The true body and blood of Christ for the baptized.

If they come, we don't check their i.d..

We give it to them.

Jay Hobson said...

Well, "NO litmus tests" isn't quite what Paul says in 1 Corinthians when asking sinners to examine themselves.

It matters why a person comes to the Supper.

I'll have no trouble communing someone who makes their home at the altar of a faithful LCMS church.

Indeed, if it is their first time to come to an LCMS church and they hear the Words of Institution and believe and intend to make that Gospel-centered church their home. Great. No problem.

But if they go back home to their Methodist or Baptist church and receive only a symbolic communion. They confess with their actions that they have received the sacrament unworthily according to Paul's admonition in 1 Corinthians 11, because they clearly did not understand what they received at the Lutheran Church.

Say what you wish, but a pastor must be a pastor. If that means even defending Christians of other denominations from receiving the body and blood of Christ to their harm, then that is what needs to be done.

Closed communion isn't a matter of checking ID's at the rail. It's a matter of spiritual care. It's not a matter of who to permit, but truly a matter of who to protect.

We can't simply "err on the side of God's grace" when the Scriptures themselves say that this meal is not simply a blessing (as with Baptism) but also a curse for those who take it wrongly. One isn't simply erring on the side of grace, but ignoring God's command to examine oneself.