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

    1. #11
      Josiah's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Albion View Post
      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.

      I think in most cases, the reality is that the practice is "somewhere in the middle." NOT open or closed.


      But sometimes, it effectively IS Open Communion, I think in some big churches, all church responsibility has been entirely and wholly neglected - so that it effectively IS "EVERYONE Communion." Some just put some short, EXTREMELY VAGUE thingy somewhere, and feel all responsibility is satisfied - it's up to the individual to know where this statement is, read it, understand it, and respond in an informed, responsible manner. Probably a lot of bad assumptions there. And then some don't even do that! Some churches just do NOTHING (my Catholic parish was one of those.... there was NOTHING in the bulletin or anywhere that stated the beliefs or practices or customs or expectations of that parish - NOTHING).

      I suspect that parishes take this as seriously as they take the Sacrament. If it's just a meaningless, inconvenient ritual done occasionally because Jesus said to ... involving nothing more than little cut up pieces of Weber's White Bread and little plastic cups of Welch's Grape Juice... then there's really no reason to see any responsibility for anything here. No more than with the coffee time after church.



      IMO (that's all)... I think the church has a responsibility to teach and inform about the Sacrament, and to help the individual "evaluate himself" as the Bible commands. It should not forsake its responsibility (even if such is difficult in mega churches). On the other hand, I don't think it should "evaluate" FOR them by excluding all who are not registered members there or confirmed in their denomination - broad, sweeping "rules" the Bible knows nothing about.



      My half cent.



      - Josiah




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    2. #12
      Albion's Avatar
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      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.


      Not to argue with that, but we have generally become tolerant, uncritical, broadminded, etc. about so many things these days that in a time when it is thought stuffy to ask people not to wear shorts to church, it is not surprising that open communion would be common.

      However, in the early church (which most denominations claim to take as their standard and guiding example) the Sacred Meal was not something to be served up to just anyone. In fact, aspirants--people studying to become church members--were required to leave the premises when the preparation of the Communion elements started, and long before the actual distribution.

      Rightly or wrongly, the belief was that this was a sacrament that, in addition to everything else (Real Presence, Memorial, whatever), was a true fellowship meal, a ceremony that was a bond between God and Man and also between the members of Christs church. It was thought wrong to distribute it to just anyone who walked through the door.

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    4. #13
      Albion's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Josiah View Post
      I suspect that parishes take this as seriously as they take the Sacrament. If it's just a meaningless, inconvenient ritual done occasionally because Jesus said to ... involving nothing more than little cut up pieces of Weber's White Bread and little plastic cups of Welch's Grape Juice... then there's really no reason to see any responsibility for anything here. No more than with the coffee time after church.

      - Josiah
      There probably are about a half-dozen approaches to this matter that are in practice these days, but recently The Episcopal Church announced that it was beginning a conversation about the possibility of having Communion be open to unbaptized persons. Previously, and whether or not there was a printed or spoken admonition that self-examination was necessary and/or something about the Real Presence, it was expected that the communicant be already baptized. That would be eliminated (along with everything else, I am sure) if a change is adopted.

    5. #14
      jsimms435's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Albion View Post
      Not to argue with that, but we have generally become tolerant, uncritical, broadminded, etc. about so many things these days that in a time when it is thought stuffy to ask people not to wear shorts to church, it is not surprising that open communion would be common.

      However, in the early church (which most denominations claim to take as their standard and guiding example) the Sacred Meal was not something to be served up to just anyone. In fact, aspirants--people studying to become church members--were required to leave the premises when the preparation of the Communion elements started, and long before the actual distribution.

      Rightly or wrongly, the belief was that this was a sacrament that, in addition to everything else (Real Presence, Memorial, whatever), was a true fellowship meal, a ceremony that was a bond between God and Man and also between the members of Christs church. It was thought wrong to distribute it to just anyone who walked through the door.
      i actually agree with everything you just said

    6. #15
      MennoSota is offline Expert Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by Albion View Post
      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.
      It's open communion. The hinge point, once again, revolves around the function of communion itself. If you view the ceremony as a mystical merger of the real body and blood of Jesus, you will close the communion for fear your ceremony is being corrupted by non-believers participating. If you view the ceremony as symbolic and in remembrance of what Jesus did, once and for all, then you recognize that there will be no fruitful remembrance if an unbeliever participates while the remembrance of the believer will be blessed and filled with gratitude.
      It all comes back to how literal you take Jesus words in regards to his body and his blood.

    7. #16
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      Quote Originally Posted by Albion View Post
      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.
      Well, since 1985 I have been Baptist and the Baptist churches I have been a part of it has always been that way.
      It would be in most cases difficult to stop someone who wanted to take communion without being disruptive since the elements are given from the pastor to the deacon and the deacons pass the plates down each row. So, people don't come up to the front of the church to receive it directly from the pastor anyway.

    8. #17
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      Quote Originally Posted by jsimms435 View Post
      It would be in most cases difficult to stop someone who wanted to take communion without being disruptive since the elements are given from the pastor to the deacon and the deacons pass the plates down each row. So, people don't come up to the front of the church to receive it directly from the pastor anyway.
      That is the fact in almost all these churches, no matter what their policy. Unless the congregation is very small, anyone who thinks the policy is ridiculous and decides to partake no matter what the church's policy is...most likely can get away with it.

      I have read people on other forums saying that they did so on more than one occasion and thought it perfectly right to do. Besides that, few ministers or priests would stop the service to challenge a stranger (although I have seen it done in an Eastern Orthodox church).

      So we are talking here about what is right or wrong policy-wise, but not about enforcing the policy.

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    10. #18
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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?
      Holy Communion is a grace. So we can't earn it or deserve it. However, receiving communion unprepared is a dangerous act. So people must be instructed before receiving.

      Sent from my LG-H872 using Tapatalk

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    12. #19
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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?
      The policy in the Catholic Church is that only Catholic Christians who are not in a state of unconfessed and unabsolved mortal sin may partake with a good conscience and those in a state of mortal sin or who are not Catholic Christians ought not partake and will be refused if it is known that such is the case with them.
      Would your own church go along with this approach?
      The Catholic Church does not go along with any form of "open communion" and certainly would not knowingly approve of giving communion to people "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". But no guarantee can be given that individual priests, deacons, or extraordinary ministers of the holy Eucharist would assiduously adhere to Catholic teaching on this matter. With a membership of over a billion people guarantees about behaviour for all members cannot be given but the teaching of the Catholic Church is rather clear about the matter of communion and "worthy reception" thereof.
      Pope Gregory I was well known for his alms to the poor, and he gave quite generously of the riches donated to the Church by the wealthy people of Rome. Everything from money to land was given to the poor in some fashion. He made clear to his subordinates that their duty was to relieve the distress faced by the poor.

      He ordered his clergy to go out into the streets to find and care for the poor in person.

    13. #20
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      Quote Originally Posted by Albion View Post
      Not to argue with that, but we have generally become tolerant, uncritical, broadminded, etc. about so many things these days that in a time when it is thought stuffy to ask people not to wear shorts to church, it is not surprising that open communion would be common.
      Not surprising at all, for such churches have secularized their services...

      However, in the early church (which most denominations claim to take as their standard and guiding example) the Sacred Meal was not something to be served up to just anyone. In fact, aspirants--people studying to become church members--were required to leave the premises when the preparation of the Communion elements started, and long before the actual distribution.
      In our monasteries, this is still frequently the practice... In our particular parish, which is traditional, we still call for all the catechumens to depart at the end of the first half of the liturgy, even though in fact we no longer observe the obedience for this call - When I was a catechumen, I departed, personal choice... And we love the fact that most of our women faithful cover their heads in services... Some do not, with no opprobium... We are glad they are here...

      Rightly or wrongly, the belief was that this was a sacrament that, in addition to everything else (Real Presence, Memorial, whatever), was a true fellowship meal, a ceremony that was a bond between God and Man and also between the members of Christs church. It was thought wrong to distribute it to just anyone who walked through the door.
      It is the Mystery of the Body and the Blood of our Lord... We not only will not give it to anyone not Baptized into the Church, and not guilty of any unconfessed and unremitted sin, but we also require a recent confession, and beyond this, the praying of the Prayers of Preparation for Holy Communion just prior to Receiving... And this because we know it is real, and we do not wish to harm those who might receive it in an unworthy manner - Not that we are worthy, but we act in obedience to the manner of Receiving Christ prescribed, as it has been handed down to us...

      Most Christian Churches do not regard Marriage as a Sacramental Mystery of the Church, and then complain that the State is legallizing same sex marriages... And the same inroads are not being established regarding the must fundamental Mystery of the Covenant of the Body and Blood of our Lord...

      Sometimes the Old Ways turn out to be the best ways...
      Which have been practiced in all times by all in the Church...


      Arsenios

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