This week in examining the Articles of Faith of the Amarillo Primitive Baptist Church I will again return to the subject of the communion service. In prior Tuesday Tea articles I have examined the Communion Service as an ordinance of the church and dealt with the subject of how often the Communion Service should take place. This week I will deal with who is allowed to partake of the Communion Service in an orderly Primitive Baptist Church.
“We believe that none but regularly baptized believers have a right to commune at the Lord’s table.” (Article #11 – Amarillo Primitive Baptist Church – Articles of Faith)
What is closed communion?
Closed communion (or what is sometimes referred to as close communion) is the belief and practice of only allowing baptized members that are in good standing in an orderly Primitive Baptist Church to take part in the Communion Service.
This belief allows for ones who are members of that particular local body (for instance Amarillo PBC) and ones who are members of other Primitive Baptist Churches to join together in the Communion Service. What it does not allow for is the opening up of the Communion Service to non-members whether they are believers or not.
The foundation of this belief is the idea that the Communion Service not a tool used for statement of belief in Christ but rather is an ordinance of the church for church members to partake of. The Communion Service was an example left by the Lord for his church to be followed by his people.
It’s the Lord’s Table not ours
I’m fond of saying that when it comes to the Communion Service -“It is the Lord’s house, and in it is the Lord’s table, and as Master of house he can decide who he invites to dine with him.” Would we not want to protect the same right in our own homes?
“And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me;
That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom,” (Luke 22:29-30a)
These verses in the 22nd chapter of the book of Luke take place as the Lord is setting forth our example for the Communion Service. As he was doing take note that he did not take the Communion Service with the masses that were following him but rather only his apostles – of which the church was made up of at the time. Therefore, even in the very first Communion Service the Lord was selective in who was invited to the table.
Our Lord tells them in the 29th verse that a kingdom has been appointed unto them as apostles. That kingdom was not heaven and immortal glory, but rather the church here in time. Scripture often refers to it as the Kingdom of God for he is ruling on his throne over it today. We are privileged to be apart of it if we are in the church.
Then in the 30th verse he tells the apostles that because he has given them a kingdom he has also allowed them (ye may) to come and eat and drink at “my table” in “my kingdom”. Notice that just as the kingdom never becomes the property of those in it neither does the table.
Let us never forget as stewards of the kingdom that the Lord has given us that the table is not ours to invite others to and the wine and bread are not ours to offer. That table belongs to the Lord and he chooses the ones that are able to sit at it and think upon the price he paid for their sins.
May we look forward to the opportunity to sit at the Master’s table.
May the Lord bless you this week,
Elder J.W. Cunningham