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The Third Man by Angela Sheffield

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¿Qué tiene que ver conmigo? por Teófila Gottfried

¿Qué tiene que ver conmigo lo que dice la Biblia? ¿Sirve en estos días lo que se cuenta allí? ¿No son anticuadas sus enseñanzas? ¿Qué tengo que ver yo con gente que vivió hace dos, cuatro o seis mil años? ¿Es posible aplicar a mi vida algo de lo que dice la Biblia? ¿O los Diez Mandamientos es todo lo que enseña? En tal caso ¿puedo considerarme "buena persona" si los cumplo? Lo que leemos en la Biblia tiene que ver con todos los seres humanos, sean cristianos o judíos, ateos o agnósticos, budistas, musulmanes o adherentes a alguna de las filosofías o nuevas religiones que surgen en el mundo. ¿Por qué? Ver mayor información sobre este libro dinámico.

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Closed Communion Is Not Biblical, But Open Communion Is


Closed communion is the practice of restricting anyone who is not a baptized and indoctrinated member of one's local church from participating in the body and blood of Christ in holy Communion. Some explain that closed or close communion prevents people who don't hold the local church's doctrine from having fellowship with those who do. They also claim it is for outsiders' protection from eating and drinking unworthily. But, is the practice of closed communion biblical? No, it is not. Furthermore, we do not believe that it is practiced out of concern for non-members of their church, but rather that it is a milder form of exclusion from what they believe to be the only true church...their own. Does the practice of excommunication from the Roman Catholic church come to mind? Essentially, people who were excommunicated were barred from communion, and consequently, from the "body" of Christ. This sounds like a watered-down form from the same arrogant mind-set: "Believe exactly as my church does, or you're not really a part of the body of Christ." The Scriptures of God's Word support the practice of open communion as we will now prove.

Local Church Authority Equal to God's Authority? An Attempt to Justify Closed Communion

Surprisingly, the passage of Matthew 18:17 is used to try to justify the erroneous and haughty belief that only a local church pastor can certify whether someone truly belongs to the body of Christ, which in turn, justifies closed communion. Matthew 18:17 says, "And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church. But if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican."

A question to pastors who practice closed communion: Where in the Matthew passage do you see "local" church? We know Christ is not limiting these instructions to the local church, because He plainly told us that EVERYONE who does His Father's will is His family (Matthew 12:50). Anyone who is in Christ's family is a part of Christ's body. Therefore, use some common sense. If you have a dispute with your brother or sister, you are not limited to taking that matter before a / your local church, but rather you can take it before ANYONE who belongs to the family of Christ. The family of Christ is all over this world in many different churches. When local church pastors attempt to be the only ones who can certify whether their members are true members of Christ's body, they are attempting to lord over them. They are attempting to share authority with the only Head of the church everywhere. That Head is Jesus alone.

Another ridiculous claim is made in support of closed communion, which says, "If you don't close participation to the table, you might be participating in other people's sins by allowing them to eat." If that's the case, we could also say, "Open communion allows sinners to participate in the righteousness of the pastors and his members." What a ludicrous thought. Closed communion is not biblical, period.

Let a Man Examine Himself

Another deceptive reason for practicing closed communion is the claim that the pastor and his members are concerned for the spiritual well-being of outsiders. They claim that outsiders might eat and drink unworthily, thereby drinking and eating damnation unto themselves. They even have a "response" for the biblical instructions of "let a man examine HIMSELF". One pastor's foolish explanation is as follows:

"When Paul said, 'Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup", he was talking to his own local church. And that's what I'm doing when I restrict participation in holy Communion to my own members. I'm not talking to Methodists, nor Pentecostals, nor any other denomination. I'm speaking to Lutherans...a specific division of Lutherans."

First, no where in the passage are we told that Paul is restricting his instructions to a local church or a specific denomination. And remember, we are not to add to or take away from the Word of God (Deuteronomy 4:2). What's more is at the beginning of his letter to the Corinthians, Paul openly includes ALL believers. He says in 1 Corinthians 1:2-3, "Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with ALL that in EVERY PLACE call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, BOTH THEIRS AND OURS: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ."

He begins his letter by letting us know that he is addressing ALL believers to whom he "sends" grace and peace. He lets us know Jesus is "OUR" and "THEIR" Lord. How then do pastors who practice closed communion see fit to take it upon themselves to add "local church" to God's Word? Furthermore, in verses 19 thru 22 of the 11th chapter of 1 Corinthians we see the things that make believers unworthy of taking communion...things that even put their very life in danger. Those things are:

1. Getting drunk at communion.
2. Not really eating together, not waiting on the others to join in the meal.
3. Shaming the poor.
4. Being selfish during the meal.
5. Eating simply to satisfy hunger, and perhaps even to be a gluton.

How does this translate to "You can't participate in the Lord's Supper, because you're not indoctrinated in my local church's doctrine or denomination."

"Jesus Believed in Closed Communion." Really?

Though we now see that closed communion is not biblical, let's take a look at one more ridiculous argument. We hear some say, "Jesus did not believe in the practice of open communion as evidenced by the fact that He only invited the twelve apostles to eat with Him. He did this because they had been indoctrinated in the same doctrine." Using this logic, we could justify restricting holy communion to women, because all the apostles were men. We could justify restricting teenagers, because the apostles were all adults. We could justify restricting anyone who is not a Jew or a Canaanite, because there were no American, German or Chinese apostles. No matter how hard they try to justify it, closed communion is not biblical.

The Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion

Some who want to continue the practice of closed communion claim that one of two things about the body and blood of Christ in the bread and wine:

1. The bread is the actual body of Christ, and the wine is actually His blood.

2. Or the actual presence of the body and blood of Christ is in the bread and wine.

They say, "These are more reasons for which not to maintain the practice of open communion." First, we know the bread and the wine do not actually BECOME the flesh and blood of Jesus. No one would ever take the bread and wine to a laboratory to confirm that it is actual flesh and blood. As for the presence of the body and blood in the bread and wine, let us remember what else is said about the presence of Christ:

"Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:20).

These are the words of Christ Himself. Now then, outsiders can't partake of holy Communion because of presence of Christ? But they can be among the congregation where certainly there should be more than two or three gathered in His name? Isn't that the presence of Christ too? What kind of sense does that make? Closed communion is not biblical. And the reasons for such a practice are hypocritical ones. Essentially, you are saying, "If you don't belong to the Lutheran faith"--or whatever denomination you're putting on a pedestal--"you don't really belong to the body of Christ...at least not to our little exclusive local body." What did the same apostle Paul say about this type of division? Remember that we learned Corinthians was written to ALL believers (1 Corinthians 1:2).

"Every one of you saith, I am of Paul, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?" (1 Corinthians 1:12-13)

Pastors who practice closed communion, were your members baptized in YOUR name? Were YOU crucified for your members or anyone else for that matter? What then gives you the authority to restrict another true believer in Jesus from participating in what is supposed to be His body and blood, not yours? Closed communion is not biblical.

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