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    Christian Theology - Thread: Communion for all, no questions asked?

    1. #1
      Albion's Avatar
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      Communion for all, no questions asked?

      There is a trend in the direction of allowing or inviting everybody to receive Holy Communion, regardless of church affiliation or, more importantly, whether or not the communicant has ever been baptized, made a confession of faith, claimed a born again experience...or any of that.

      Each side in the argument has, as might be expected, some Biblical verses to present and a lot of reasoning. What would you answer if asked about the policy? Would your own church go along with this approach?

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      There is an ECLA church in my town (the ELCA is the liberal branch of Lutheranism in the USA). This church has a dominate announcement on the main page of their website that "ALL are welcomed to Communion!" It then goes on to say in small print how wrong many churches are to "forbid". Which must mean - 2 year olds are welcomed.... Muslims are welcomed.... atheist are welcomed.... Really? Evidently. On the other hand, there are SOME LCMS churches that I think also err in this subject, in the other direction.


      As in so many aspects of "fellowship", I find a "tension" here....
      On the one hand, this is GOSPEL.... it's all about forgiveness... we are not "gatekeepers"... Jesus is embracing.
      On the other hand the Bible says this can be to our harm... it does say we are to "discern" Christ... we are commanded to EXAMINE ourselves first (obviously for something). it is not for everyone (in spite of what that "Lutheran" church claims)


      To ME, what's important
      is to INFORM - to let Christians know what this gift is and what what it is about, and then let people example THEMSELEVES. That's what the Bible says.... "Let a man examine HIMSELF" Not "Let a church examine everyone." The role of the church is NOT "gatekeeper" or "examiner" but educator - to help all examine themselves.


      IMO, the following is what is important:


      1 Are Christians. This is for Christians. My parish actually says "Baptized Christian" - I'm not so sure the baptism part is important but the Christian is. I think we are to examine ourselves for faith. This Sacrament if "for the forgiveness of sins" and such is promised only to believers.

      2. For the repentant. This is for the forgiveness of sins. The liturgy puts strong emphasis on our repentance and God's mercy in Christ. We are to examine ourselves for repentance. Those who are not aware and sorry for their sins have no cause to participate in this.

      3. Acknowledge Christ's Real Presence. The Bible specifically states we are to discern Christ's body and blood here. We are to examine ourselves to see if we discern His Body and Blood here.

      So, those 3 things: Christian.... repentant.... accept Christ's Real Presence. What I do NOT think is mandated is that one has attained the magical age of X or that one has been Confirmed in an LCMS congregtion and is in full agreement with the LCMS on everything. I'm perfectly okay with a Catholic or Orthodox receiving Communion in an LCMS church..... not so sure about a Zwinglian Baptist or Pentecostal. And I certainly have questions about a Muslim or atheist.




      .
      We are justified by works - just not our own.

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      Last edited by Josiah; 11-06-2018 at 10:18 AM. Reason: Double Post
      We are justified by works - just not our own.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Josiah View Post
      There is an ECLA church in my town (the ELCA is the liberal branch of Lutheranism in the USA). This church has a dominate announcement on the main page of their website that "ALL are welcomed to Communion!" It then goes on to say in small print how wrong many churches are to "forbid". Which must mean - 2 year olds are welcomed.... Muslims are welcomed.... atheist are welcomed.... Really? Evidently. On the other hand, there are SOME LCMS churches that I think also err in this subject, in the other direction.


      As in so many aspects of "fellowship", I find a "tension" here....
      On the one hand, this is GOSPEL.... it's all about forgiveness... we are not "gatekeepers"... Jesus is embracing.
      On the other hand the Bible says this can be to our harm... it does say we are to "discern" Christ... we are commanded to EXAMINE ourselves first (obviously for something). it is not for everyone (in spite of what that "Lutheran" church claims)


      To ME, what's important
      is to INFORM - to let Christians know what this gift is and what what it is about, and then let people example THEMSELEVES. That's what the Bible says.... "Let a man examine HIMSELF" Not "Let a church examine everyone." The role of the church is NOT "gatekeeper" or "examiner" but educator - to help all examine themselves.


      IMO, the following is what is important:


      1 Are Christians. This is for Christians. My parish actually says "Baptized Christian" - I'm not so sure the baptism part is important but the Christian is. I think we are to examine ourselves for faith. This Sacrament if "for the forgiveness of sins" and such is promised only to believers.

      2. For the repentant. This is for the forgiveness of sins. The liturgy puts strong emphasis on our repentance and God's mercy in Christ. We are to examine ourselves for repentance. Those who are not aware and sorry for their sins have no cause to participate in this.

      3. Acknowledge Christ's Real Presence. The Bible specifically states we are to discern Christ's body and blood here. We are to examine ourselves to see if we discern His Body and Blood here.

      So, those 3 things: Christian.... repentant.... accept Christ's Real Presence. What I do NOT think is mandated is that one has attained the magical age of X or that one has been Confirmed in an LCMS congregtion and is in full agreement with the LCMS on everything. I'm perfectly okay with a Catholic or Orthodox receiving Communion in an LCMS church..... not so sure about a Zwinglian Baptist or Pentecostal. And I certainly have questions about a Muslim or atheist.




      .
      I agree with this I think an open table is a good thing but I also think it should be addressed each time how serious it is and what it actually is
      Isaiah 40:31

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      Quote Originally Posted by Albion View Post
      There is a trend in the direction of allowing or inviting everybody to receive Holy Communion, regardless of church affiliation or, more importantly, whether or not the communicant has ever been baptized, made a confession of faith, claimed a born again experience...or any of that.

      Each side in the argument has, as might be expected, some Biblical verses to present and a lot of reasoning. What would you answer if asked about the policy? Would your own church go along with this approach?
      My church explains what communion means and gives the individual the opportunity to respond if they desire to. We practice open communion.

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      Quote Originally Posted by jsimms435 View Post
      My church explains what communion means and gives the individual the opportunity to respond if they desire to. We practice open communion.

      If one completely disagrees with what Communion means as your parish explains such, are they still welcomed? What if one is a Mormon? A Muslim? An atheist? I often wonder if "open communion" doesn't actually mean that. IMO, I find that SOME throw terms like "open" and "closed" and don't really mean either. Seems to ME there is a LOT of "leeway" in practice.

      IMO (and that's ALL, just my current OPINION) it's often right to let the folks in the pew know that they ARE to "examine themselves" as Scripture says - and what for? I would be really hesitent for a pastor to DENY someone who has come forward to receive communion.... but I also feel it is the parish's responsibility to inform and assist folks in this examining. What for? What is appropriate for those seeking this? In that case, it's not "open" (anyone, everyone is welcomed and encouraged no matter what). But again, I think this is a matter of praxis and such if often hard to be dogmatic about. But I see some "middle ground." Exactly "where" in that "middle ground".... well..... not sure we can be dogmatic about it and probably best (if difficult) to handle this on an individual basis.



      Kind of a different issue, but I also believe it is at least polite to accept the polity of that parish (and thus it is essential that it clearly STATE such). At times, I attend a Catholic Church. I know that as a Lutheran, I'm (OFFICIALLY anyway - although most priests couldn't care less) not invited to participate - but I am more than welcomed to come forward for a blessing and I know how to do that in a Catholic Church - and that's what I do. It's NOT a matter of "I'm so smart that I'll just impose MY views on this church and receive it - the only one doing it right!" No... the RCC has an official dogma on this..... an official polity on this.... they make it known (for which I give them MUCH credit).... and I'm a GUEST there, I should be a polite guest in the house of another and not IMPOSE my thoughts on them. A little humility and respect goes a long way.




      .
      Last edited by Josiah; 11-06-2018 at 12:10 PM.
      We are justified by works - just not our own.

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      Quote Originally Posted by jsimms435 View Post
      My church explains what communion means and gives the individual the opportunity to respond if they desire to. We practice open communion.
      OK, and that is not an unusual policy these days, from what I gather.

      My first thought when reading the post, then, was, "Please also tell us what reasoning went into making this policy switch?" Unless your church is Quaker or one of a handful of very nontraditional Christian denominations (which I do not think is the case), it wouldnt have had this policy in the past, I'm pretty sure.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Josiah View Post
      If one completely disagrees with what Communion means as your parish explains such, are they still welcomed? What if one is a Mormon? A Muslim? An atheist? I often wonder if "open communion" doesn't actually mean that. IMO, I find that SOME throw terms like "open" and "closed" and don't really mean either. Seems to ME there is a LOT of "leeway" in practice.

      IMO (and that's ALL, just my current OPINION) it's often right to let the folks in the pew know that they ARE to "examine themselves" as Scripture says - and what for? I would be really hesitent for a pastor to DENY someone who has come forward to receive communion.... but I also feel it is the parish's responsibility to inform and assist folks in this examining. What for? What is appropriate for those seeking this? In that case, it's not "open" (anyone, everyone is welcomed and encouraged no matter what). But again, I think this is a matter of praxis and such if often hard to be dogmatic about. But I see some "middle ground." Exactly "where" in that "middle ground".... well..... not sure we can be dogmatic about it and probably best (if difficult) to handle this on an individual basis.



      Kind of a different issue, but I also believe it is at least polite to accept the polity of that parish (and thus it is essential that it clearly STATE such). At times, I attend a Catholic Church. I know that as a Lutheran, I'm (OFFICIALLY anyway - although most priests couldn't care less) not invited to participate - but I am more than welcomed to come forward for a blessing and I know how to do that in a Catholic Church - and that's what I do. It's NOT a matter of "I'm so smart that I'll just impose MY views on this church and receive it - the only one doing it right!" No... the RCC has an official dogma on this..... an official polity on this.... they make it known (for which I give them MUCH credit).... and I'm a GUEST there, I should be a polite guest in the house of another and not IMPOSE my thoughts on them. A little humility and respect goes a long way.




      .
      Yes, I know and anyone who has followed what I write knows that for me it is a sticking point as I dont think any believer should be refused communion. I will not attend a Catholic church because of this.
      Isaiah 40:31

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      Quote Originally Posted by psalms 91 View Post
      Yes, I know and anyone who has followed what I write knows that for me it is a sticking point as I dont think any believer should be refused communion. I will not attend a Catholic church because of this.
      The key word there would seem to be "believer."

      So, if that is the policy, its not really "open communion" as the word has gotten to be used lately. It is something in the middle, you might say.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Josiah View Post
      If one completely disagrees with what Communion means as your parish explains such, are they still welcomed? What if one is a Mormon? A Muslim? An atheist? I often wonder if "open communion" doesn't actually mean that. IMO, I find that SOME throw terms like "open" and "closed" and don't really mean either. Seems to ME there is a LOT of "leeway" in practice.

      IMO (and that's ALL, just my current OPINION) it's often right to let the folks in the pew know that they ARE to "examine themselves" as Scripture says - and what for? I would be really hesitent for a pastor to DENY someone who has come forward to receive communion.... but I also feel it is the parish's responsibility to inform and assist folks in this examining. What for? What is appropriate for those seeking this? In that case, it's not "open" (anyone, everyone is welcomed and encouraged no matter what). But again, I think this is a matter of praxis and such if often hard to be dogmatic about. But I see some "middle ground." Exactly "where" in that "middle ground".... well..... not sure we can be dogmatic about it and probably best (if difficult) to handle this on an individual basis.



      Kind of a different issue, but I also believe it is at least polite to accept the polity of that parish (and thus it is essential that it clearly STATE such). At times, I attend a Catholic Church. I know that as a Lutheran, I'm (OFFICIALLY anyway - although most priests couldn't care less) not invited to participate - but I am more than welcomed to come forward for a blessing and I know how to do that in a Catholic Church - and that's what I do. It's NOT a matter of "I'm so smart that I'll just impose MY views on this church and receive it - the only one doing it right!" No... the RCC has an official dogma on this..... an official polity on this.... they make it known (for which I give them MUCH credit).... and I'm a GUEST there, I should be a polite guest in the house of another and not IMPOSE my thoughts on them. A little humility and respect goes a long way.




      .
      with over 1,200 people in attendance on Sundays there is no way that the staff and pastor are going to be able to know or question every person. The pastor knows me because I made a point of going to have breakfast with him one day and introducing myself to him. Like I said, the leadership role is to explain the function and purpose of the Lord's Supper and it is up to the individual to respond accordingly.

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