What We Believe
by Pastor Cecil Fayard
I Corinthians 11:17-34
"NOW IN THIS THAT I DECLARE
[UNTO YOU] I PRAISE [YOU] NOT, THAT YE COME TOGETHER NOT FOR THE BETTER, BUT
FOR THE WORSE. FOR FIRST OF ALL, WHEN YE COME TOGETHER IN THE CHURCH, I HEAR
THAT THERE BE DIVISIONS AMONG YOU; AND I PARTLY BELIEVE IT. FOR THERE MUST BE
ALSO HERESIES AMONG YOU, THAT THEY WHICH ARE APPROVED MAY BE MADE MANIFEST
AMONG YOU. WHEN YE COME TOGETHER THEREFORE INTO
Historic Baptists, true Baptists, have believed in and still believe in closed communion. Baptists impose upon themselves the same restrictions that they impose on others concerning the Lordís Supper. Baptists insist that it is the Lordís table, not theirs; and He alone has the right to say who shall sit at His table. No amount of so called brotherly love, or ecumenical spirit, should cause us to invite to His table those who have not complied with the requirements laid down plainly in His inspired Word.
Should we as Baptists ignore the restrictions made by our Lord and Master? NO! When we hold to the restrictions placed upon the Lordís Supper by our Master, we are defending the "faith which was once delivered to the saints" (Jude 3).
That the Lordís Supper is rigidly restricted will appear in the following facts:
I. IT IS RESTRICTED AS TO PLACE
A. I Corinthians says, "When ye come together in the church." This does not mean the church building; they had none. In other words, when the church assembles. The supper is to be observed by the church, in church capacity. Again this does not mean the church house. Ekklesia, the Greek word for church, means assembly. "When ye come together in the church," is when the church assembles.
B. When we say church we mean an assembly of properly baptized believers. Acts 2:41-42:
The church is made up of saved folks who are baptized by immersion. In the Bible belief precedes baptism. Thatís the Bible way.
When we say properly baptized, we mean immersed. No unbeliever should have the supper, and no non-immersed believer should have the supper. Those who are sprinkled are not baptized and cannot receive the supper. The Greek word for baptize is baptizo, and it always means to immerse.
C. The Lordís Supper is for baptized believers in church capacity: "When ye come together in the church," again not a building but the assembly of the properly baptized believers.
D. The fact that the Lordís Supper is a church ordinance, to be observed in church capacity, is pointed out by the fact that it is for those who have been immersed and added to the fellowship of the church (Acts 2:41-42).
E. The Lordís Supper is never spoken of in connection with individuals. When it is referred to it is only referred to in reference to baptized believers in local church capacity (Acts 2:42-44; I Cor 11:20-26). Again I want to quote Dr. W.W. Hamilton,
The practice of taking a little communion kit to hospitals, nursing homes, etc. is unscriptural for these practices do not follow the scriptural example.
II. IT IS RESTRICTED TO A UNITED CHURCH
A. The Bible in I Cor 11:18 is very strong in condemning divisions around the Lordís table.
There were no less than four divisions in the Corinthian church.
Because of these divisions, it was impossible for them to scripturally eat the Lordís Supper. Deep division in the local church is reason to hold off observing the Lordís Supper.
B. At this point, I want to ask these questions: Are there not doctrinal divisions among the many denominations? It is not our doctrinal differences that cause us to be separate religious bodies?
III. IT IS RESTRICTED BY DOCTRINE
Those in the early church at
B. Those who do not hold to apostolic truth are not to partake. This means there is to be discipline in the local body. How can you discipline those who do not belong to the local body? You canít. The clear command of scripture is to withdraw fellowship from those who are not doctrinally sound.
To commune together means to have the same doctrine.
Friend, you cannot honestly say that you can have open communion and have the same doctrine.
It is wrong for us to declare that our doctrinal beliefs are one at the table and then continue in our separate church capacities to maintain the difference in our faith.