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Switch to Forum Live View ELCA vs LCMS - Closed Communion
3 years ago  ::  Dec 19, 2014 - 9:02AM #11
G_Erdner
Posts: 172

Dec 19, 2014 -- 12:01AM, Roymond wrote:


That's actually fairly close to ancient Christian practice.  And it's based on a concern taken from Paul, where he mentions that some who had partaken unworthily had even died.  Of course there's a wide area of discussion about what "unworthiliy" means, but it has been held frequently that not believing the bread and wine really are the Body and Blood qualifies.  So barring people who don't so believe is meant out of concern lest they "east and drink damnation to themselves".




Where in Scripture does it say that Christians of other denominations have to have a talk with the clergy before communion? Where, in Scripture, are there references to other Christians who have the wrong "confession"? 


Paul is talking about allowing pagans, who are accustomed to worshipping any and every god who has a temple or chapel nearby, from adding the local Christian congregation to their worship schedule. The fact that Paul advised against letting those who worshipped Zeus or Apollo from taking Holy Communion is not evidence that Lutherans whose ancestors came from Sweden shouldn't be allowed to take Holy Communion alongside Lutherans whose ancestors came from Saxony in Germany. 

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3 years ago  ::  Dec 19, 2014 - 8:21PM #12
Roymond
Posts: 3,779

Dec 19, 2014 -- 9:02AM, G_Erdner wrote:


Dec 19, 2014 -- 12:01AM, Roymond wrote:


That's actually fairly close to ancient Christian practice.  And it's based on a concern taken from Paul, where he mentions that some who had partaken unworthily had even died.  Of course there's a wide area of discussion about what "unworthiliy" means, but it has been held frequently that not believing the bread and wine really are the Body and Blood qualifies.  So barring people who don't so believe is meant out of concern lest they "east and drink damnation to themselves".




Where in Scripture does it say that Christians of other denominations have to have a talk with the clergy before communion? Where, in Scripture, are there references to other Christians who have the wrong "confession"? 


Paul is talking about allowing pagans, who are accustomed to worshipping any and every god who has a temple or chapel nearby, from adding the local Christian congregation to their worship schedule. The fact that Paul advised against letting those who worshipped Zeus or Apollo from taking Holy Communion is not evidence that Lutherans whose ancestors came from Sweden shouldn't be allowed to take Holy Communion alongside Lutherans whose ancestors came from Saxony in Germany. 




We know from Ignatius and other sources that the practice of the early church was not to allow anyone to communion who was not vouched for.  Traveling Christians often carried letters from their bishop affirming that they were faithful Christians; otherwise, they had to speak with the local clergy first.  The main reason for this was that the ancient liturgy was divided into two parts, the liturgy of the Word, open to any and all, and the liturgy of the faithful, open only to confirmed Christians.  The only way the bishop or priest of a town could know if a newcomer was confirmed in the faith was by questioning them to his satisfaction or by letters of confirmation.  If we followed this ancient and probably apostolic practice today, there would be no issue; anyone not a cofirmed Christian would leave after the sermon, before the Creed.


There is no reason at all to think that in his statement about eating unworthily Paul is referring to pagans.  In fact, that's a ridiculous interpretation, since the passage in question begins with "when you come together", meaning when Christians gather.  Paul is talking to Christians, not pagans; his whole discourse shows that.


It has always been within the authority of a bishop or pastor/priest to bar someone from communion.  That authority is given for the protection of the flock.  That is the origin of what is now called close communion, a practice which recognizes that only those mature enough in the faith to examine themselves are invited.  For the shepherd of a flock, this is important, because he will be called to account for the spiritual lives of that flock.


So the foundation of the practice is in scripture.  The details come from the apostolic tradition, which arises from the promise of Christ that the Holy Spirit would lead us into all truth.



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3 years ago  ::  Dec 19, 2014 - 8:58PM #13
G_Erdner
Posts: 172

Dec 19, 2014 -- 8:21PM, Roymond wrote:


If we followed this ancient and probably apostolic practice today, there would be no issue; anyone not a cofirmed Christian would leave after the sermon, before the Creed.




LCMS Closed Communion is not about only allowing confirmed Christians. It's about only allowing members of LCMS congregations. It's about excluding most confirmed Christians. Yes, priests have the authority to deny communion. But that doesn't mean priests should be ecclesial bouncers monitoring God's velvet rope to ensure that the wrong kinds of Christians don't sneak in. 

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3 years ago  ::  Dec 20, 2014 - 12:02AM #14
Roymond
Posts: 3,779

Dec 19, 2014 -- 8:58PM, G_Erdner wrote:


Dec 19, 2014 -- 8:21PM, Roymond wrote:


If we followed this ancient and probably apostolic practice today, there would be no issue; anyone not a cofirmed Christian would leave after the sermon, before the Creed.




LCMS Closed Communion is not about only allowing confirmed Christians. It's about only allowing members of LCMS congregations. It's about excluding most confirmed Christians.




The LCMS does NOT have "closed communion", they have "close communion", and it very much is about only allowing confirmed Christians.  It is made clear in seminary that anyone who believes in the Real Presence may commune, no matter their denomination -- and any pastor who does differently can be (and I know some who were) rebuked and ordered to do it properly by their bishop (District President).


Dec 19, 2014 -- 8:58PM, G_Erdner wrote:


Yes, priests have the authority to deny communion. But that doesn't mean priests should be ecclesial bouncers monitoring God's velvet rope to ensure that the wrong kinds of Christians don't sneak in. 




Have you never read Galatians 2, or II Corinthians 11?  Paul addresses the very issue you claim wasn't happening:  people who said they were Christians, but didn't measure up.  He called them "false brothers", and was very firm that they not be allowed to participate in fellowship -- which means they were excluded from communion.  Being "eccelsial bouncers" has been a function of shepherds of the flock since before the canon was settled!


Strictly speaking, any Christian who doesn't believe in the Real Presence, or who doesn't confess the Creeds, MUST NOT be allowed to commune, because they cannot possible eat and drink worthily.  They are false brethren.


That's why the Holy Sacrament has NEVER been open to anyone who comes, until men began to put their desires above the Word of God and apostolic teaching.  An open altar may feel good to us, but so for many do drunken carousing and promiscuous sex.  Doctrine cannot rest on feelings, but relies on the Word of God -- and the Word of God bids shepherds guard the Sacrament of the Altar for the faithful, and them alone.

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