The Practice Of Closed Communion
You have probably seen or heard about communion services in a church. What is communion? What makes it special? Who can or should participate in communion?
Unity And Fellowship With Christ
Communion is also known as the Lord’s supper. In the evening of Christ’s arrest, He conducted what is known as the last supper or the Lord’s supper. This was the last supper Christ had with His disciples before He was arrested and crucified. While Jesus and His disciples were in fellowship during the supper, what took place after supper is what we refer to as communion. There are three Bible passages in the Gospels that describe the last supper and communion.
Matthew 26:26-30 says,
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.
The first thing Jesus did was to take bread, bless it, break it, and then give it to His disciples. As they ate the bread, He told them the bread was His body. This means the bread represented Him as the source of spiritual nourishment and life. Jesus said in John 6:35,
I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
He went further in John 6:53, to say,
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
Just as ingested bread becomes a part of our bodies to nourish us and sustain our lives, Jesus does the same for us spiritually, but for eternity.
The second thing Jesus did was to offer His disciples unfermented grape juice. After expressing his gratitude, he handed the cup to them, encouraging them to drink it all. He proceeded to explain that the drink represented his blood in the context of the New Testament. In stark contrast to the blood of sacrificial animals in the Old Testament, which was ritualistically shed, the blood of Jesus—recognized as the divine Lamb of God and the Son of God—was also shed, but this instance served as an offering specifically for the New Testament. His act of sacrificial bloodshed was intended to serve as redemption for our sins.
The bread reminds us of spiritual life that must be given to us by Christ. The juice reminds us that death is the payment for sins. Jesus willingly sacrificed Himself to pay for everyone’s sins if they will accept His payment.
Mark 14:22-26 also describes the last supper and communion.
And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.
Luke 22:14-20 says of the last supper and communion,
And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
The evening of Christ’s arrest was the day of the Passover under the Old Testament. This was a time for the Jews to kill a lamb and eat it in memory of how God delivered Israel from bondage in Egypt with the death of sacrificed lambs. In John 1:29, when John the Baptist saw Jesus, he declared,
Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
Only one lamb could take away the sins of the world. All other sacrificed lambs merely represented Him. They could not pay for sins. Hebrews 10:4 says,
For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
As described in Matthew 26 and Mark 14, Luke 22 says Jesus took bread, gave thanks, broke it into pieces, and gave it to His disciples to eat, saying they should remember that He sacrificed His life so they could have life. He also said the cup of juice was the New Testament in His blood, which was shed for them.
He did these things after supper. The Passover meal was supper. Communion came after. This aligned with the New Testament coming after the Old Testament. The Passover lambs preceded Christ to foreshadow His coming. After His coming and sacrifice, remembering the sacrifice of Christ to give life, the sacrifice of lambs was replaced with bread and juice in communion.
To take communion, the disciples gathered in one place with Jesus. He was the reason they were together. In Matthew 18:20, Jesus said,
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
Is Jesus with you when you are by yourself? Of course, He is. In Matthew 18, Jesus is talking about a church gathering. Together as a church, there needs to be at least two because a church is a group of two or more people who make a covenant to do God’s work God’s way together. This makes a church gathering of believers a special fellowship among themselves with Christ.
There are different levels of fellowship in different types of gatherings. In some cases, people gather to celebrate a sports event. Others gather to share a time of musical inspiration. Still others gather as school friends, as a book club, as a family, or as military buddies who served in war together. In different groups, there are different levels of friendships, accountability, and levels of commitment to each other.
Communion with Christ goes very deep. A relationship with your Creator is more personal and more significant than any other relationship you could possibly have. When you are in unity with Christ, you are in agreement with Him, in fellowship with Him, and in harmony with Him. You are one with Him. This unity with Christ is the basis for communion with others in your church.
Communion Is A Time To Remember
Communion is a time to remember, as a church body of believers, why unity and communion with God and each other is possible. It is all about Jesus. Christians exist because of Jesus. Churches exist because of Jesus. Unity among believers exists because of Jesus. In communion, we remember why we have unity and what that unity involves.
· Remember, communion with Christ is unity with Him by accepting His will.
· Remember, the unity you have in Christ is due to His mercy, His grace, and His work.
· Remember, the unity you have in Christ brings you into unity with those who are also in unity with Christ.
Ephesians 4:3-5 speaks to the importance of unity of believers in the church at Ephesus, saying,
Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
The oneness of things expresses the idea of sharing unity in the same things. Jesus and His disciples gathered together to share the same meal. This simple act of eating together reflected their unity. Just as they were physically in one place, they were also together in Christ. Their communion was about being together with Christ, remembering what He had done for them, and reinforcing their bond of unity to serve Christ together.
There are several things we can list that Christians should be united around, be in agreement about, and share in common in the same way.
1. The Same Lord: Central to unity and fellowship is having a shared belief in the same Lord and the same experience of salvation. Jesus is the sole reason for salvation. He alone is the reason everyone has the same hope promised to all those who believe in Him. And because of Him, all believers are united in Him and are one with the Father and the Spirit as well. Jesus prayed for His disciples, saying in John 17:22,
And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one.
2. The Same Faith: Because there is one God who is the same and unchanging, there is one revelation of truth to all people. This same message unifies believers in doctrine and in practice of those doctrines.
3. The Same Family of God: Believers are born again and made children of God, saved by grace without works. As children of God, they are in the same family. All believers are instantly brothers and sisters in Christ the moment they believe.
4. The Same Baptism: One baptism refers to the only baptism authorized by Christ. The disciples were bound by one baptism after they were saved by believing in Christ. There is only one water baptism approved by Jesus Christ that qualifies believers to be members of His church. The one baptism approved by Christ is the baptism offered in one of His churches, whether through the church at Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Corinth, or Galatia, etc. Though there are many churches, they received the same baptism and offer the same baptism.
5. The Same Body: The disciples’ unity went beyond mere physical presence and being in the same family spiritually. As baptized believers, they were united in their purpose to serve Christ. They were in agreement to coordinate their individual roles to fulfill the great commission together as a local body of believers. Baptism does not add believers to a church. It is the prerequisite that qualifies believers to be added to a particular body of believers. To the church at Corinth, Paul explained in 1 Corinthians 12:18,
But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
God has a church home for every believer to serve in. If every believer allowed God to add them to the church He wants them to be a part of, then every believer would have a place to celebrate communion with other believers in the same church.
6. The Same Covenant: The disciples were one body of believers bound together in one covenant, committed to work together and hold each other accountable. This sense of accountability strengthened their unity and commitment to Christ’s teachings. They were in agreement to do God’s work God’s way.
7. The Same Care: The disciples’ unity was evident in their love and care for one another. They loved God wholeheartedly and extended that love to one another. This love was a defining factor in their unity as a community of believers. As 1 Corinthians 12:25-26 says,
That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
Ministers Of Reconciliation
The example of the communion Jesus had with His disciples was not about ritualistic formality. Communion was a deep personal connection with God, a solemn time of remembering the cost of unity with God, and a time to share this sobering moment with other believers as a church body. Their unity, their cause, and their mission were much greater than theirs individually. They were put together in a church body to serve together to do God’s work God’s way. This shared experience and identity deepened their level of communion.
Communion is a time to be strengthened in commitment to Christ and to one another to fulfill His mission on earth. It is a time to acknowledge the unity church members have in Christ and with one another. As ministers of reconciliation, it is a time to declare reconciliation with God and each other. To this end, 2 Corinthians 5:17-20 says,
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
Lying About Having Fellowship With God
Communion is a time for public, humble, honest fellowship in Christ. It is a time when all members in a church gather to say I am right with Christ, I am aligned with His will, and I am committed to fulfill my role in our church.
To say you have fellowship with Christ when in fact you are engaged in sin and have no intention to repent or to do right is an abomination to God. Proverbs 12:22 says,
Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.
When you say you are in fellowship with God but are really in rebellion, you not only are lying, but you are misrepresenting the holiness and righteousness of God.
Acts 5:1-5 shows how serious it is to lie to God and deceive others you are in covenant with. The church in Jerusalem was suffering horrible persecution, and the church members determined that, in order to survive as a church, it would be necessary to share their possessions. This was something they could do willingly. It was not required.
But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
The problem was not with holding back their offering. The problem was the lie. They said they were giving all of their money when, in fact, they were not. Because of the special relationship they had as church members, they not only deceived their friends in the church, but they lied to the Holy Spirit. Obviously, this was no small matter to God, and both Ananias and Saffira died at the hands of God.
God Does Not Fellowship With Sin
God does not fellowship with darkness and sin. God is repulsed by sin, and to say otherwise is a lie. He is merciful and forgiving to those who repent and are learning and desiring to grow spiritually. But His mercy is not acceptance of sin. His mercy is forgiveness to those who repent of sin.
David said in Psalm 66:18,
If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.
To claim fellowship with God when you are in sin is a lie. He does not condone sin. Habakkuk 1:13 says,
Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity.
For this reason, participating in communion is a public declaration you are right with God and have accepted His way as your way. When claiming to be in fellowship with Christ, you are claiming that you are surrendered to Christ and willing to do His will.
Association With God Is Dissociation With Sin
In 1 Corinthians 10:16-21, the apostle Paul addresses the concept of communion within the context of the Lord’s Supper and draws a parallel to the practices of idolatry in the society of that time.
The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.
Paul is referring to the symbolic act of sharing in the communion elements, namely the bread and the cup. He establishes that the act of sharing the communion bread and drink represents a unity with Christ and the other members in the church. He emphasizes the unity among believers by describing them as one bread and one body. This is a declaration on the part of the believers that they are united with Christ and with one another in a profound spiritual sense.
Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.
Paul draws a comparison between the communal aspect of communion and the practice of offering sacrifices at the altar in the Jewish tradition. Those who eat of the sacrifices are considered partakers of the altar, which means they are in union with God. Unlike the Jews, the Gentiles offer sacrifices to idols. Paul cautions the Corinthian believers against having fellowship or communion with these demonic influences by participating in such idolatrous practices.
Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.
Paul’s conclusion is clear and straightforward. He asserts that it’s incompatible to participate in both the Lord’s table (communion) and the table associated with devilish practices. Believers should not be involved in things that are contrary to the ways of Christ.
Second Corinthians 6:14-16 admonishes us,
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
This passage prompts us to make a conscious choice between alignment with God or alignment with sin. Attempting to walk both paths is like trying to mix light and darkness, righteousness and sin, or God’s ways and the ways of evil. Such a choice amounts to embracing sin while rejecting God’s path.
When we genuinely commit to living for God and seek communion with Him, we implicitly choose to abandon and denounce sin. As 2 Corinthians 6:17 declares,
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
God’s acceptance of us is intertwined with our decision to separate ourselves from sin. He fellowships with those who choose to distance themselves from sinful ways.
Second Thessalonians 3:6 further reinforces this notion, instructing,
Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
Similarly, 1 Corinthians 5:11 emphasizes,
But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
Steering clear of sin and refraining from close association with those entrenched in sinful behavior is a refusal to endorse or partake in sinful ways. Ephesians 5:11 underscores this principle, urging,
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
In The World But Not Of The World
Separating from and avoiding those who are not Christian or those who do not want to follow God’s will does not mean we should cease having a ministry to them. Paul’s command to distance ourselves from those immersed in sin does not mean cutting off all interaction. As he explains in 1 Corinthians 5:10,
Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.The intention is not to isolate ourselves from those who reject God but rather to exhibit our unwavering commitment to God’s ways when we do engage with them.
In our interactions with the unconverted, we aim to bring them to Christ by demonstrating His love and promises. We mustn’t let ourselves be swayed towards rebellion against God by aligning ourselves with the ways of the lost. Instead, our objective is to show them the path to God’s grace while remaining firmly anchored in His truth.
In addition to preparing ourselves individually for communion, it is the responsibility of the church to prepare itself collectively. Obviously, this is done when individuals prepare themselves for communion, but what should be done if a member of the church is engaged in open sin and unrepentant? The church is responsible to remove that person from membership of the church.
In 1 Corinthians 5:11-13, Paul says of a situation in the church at Corinth,
But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
Not eating with those in open sin refers to communion. One of the members was unrepentant about committing a terrible sin, and Paul was giving instruction to put away that person, or to remove him from church membership.
Putting away a member from the church rolls is also called church discipline. Jesus explained in Matthew 18:15-20,
Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
Progressive steps are taken in removing a church member because the goal is to prevent removal. We are called to be ministers of reconciliation. Believers should engage in reconciling others with God and with each other. But if a member is stubbornly unrepentant, as a last resort a church should remove the member from the church rolls.
The church as a body of believers cannot be in communion with God if there are members who are not in fellowship with God. His fellowship is with those committed to Him to do right. He does not fellowship with sin. A church that takes communion with members who are in rebellion against God is condoning sin and saying God accepts fellowship with sin. This is not true. It misrepresents Christ and hurts the reputation of the church. Therefore, churches should clean their rolls before taking communion.
Disciplining church members sends a message that God is not okay with sin, and He does not accept fellowship with sin. Nonetheless, God is merciful, and disciplined members can always repent and be restored into fellowship with God and with His church. Reconciliation with God is the goal, and this should be the reputation the church is known for.
In 1 Corinthians 5:12-13, Paul contrasts the judging taking place within and without. Judging within the church refers to the responsibility of the church to prepare for communion individually and as a group. Judging without refers to those who are put out of the church. God will work in them for the purpose of restoring them back into fellowship.
Preparing For Communion
To be in communion with Christ is to be in fellowship with Christ. This occurs because you agree with Christ and are not opposed to Him or His will.
First Corinthians 11:23-31 says,
For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
No one is perfect, and God knows that. He knows how we are. He knows whether we are sincere or insincere. He knows our faults and whether we are working on being better or not. Jesus worked with His disciples through their immaturities. His ministry was all about reconciliation, restoration, and helping His followers grow spiritually.
The evening of the Lord’s last supper with His disciples was the night one betrayed Him. The others communed with Christ. Communion is for those who agree with the will of Christ, desire to follow Him, and accept His will.
Paul recounts in 1 Corinthians 11 what is written in the Gospels about the Lord’s supper and communion. He states that the purpose of communion is to remember Christ, which includes remembering our identity in Him, our dependence on Him, our commitment to Him, and our walk with Him.
Preparing for communion is a serious event. Paul wrote that believers who eat the bread and drink the cup of communion unworthily will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. This means they have no regard for the price Jesus paid to deliver humanity from sin and to make them righteous.
Taking communion to say in public that you are right with God when you are really in sin and in disagreement with God’s will is an attempt to blend sin with righteousness and God with evil. Christ sacrificed Himself to deliver us from sin and to purge sin from our lives. To take communion, being unrepentant and hanging on to sin, is blasphemy. The damnation mentioned in 1 Corinthians 11 refers to the way God responds to this blasphemy. There will be consequences. Paul mentions some consequences such as being weak, sickly, and dead.
To prepare for communion, it is important to confess your sins and to be right with God. If you do not believe God’s way is the right way and the best way for you, there is no reason to be a member in His church. If you decide to repent and be reconciled with God, then restore your membership at that time. Repentance is changing your mind about what you believe. Specifically, it is denouncing your way as wrong, confessing that sin is wrong, that sin should be avoided, and that you believe that God’s way is the right way.
Participating In Communion
Communion in unity with God. Participating in communion within a local church signifies acknowledging that God’s way is the right path and requires accepting His will.
Communion in unity with other church members. It is not possible to love God while harboring animosity towards a fellow believer. First John 4:20-21 says,
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
Matthew 5:23-24 says,
Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
Communion as a church member. It is God’s will that every Christian should allow Him to guide them to a church home, to be baptized, and to faithfully serve Him through a local church home. This necessarily involves being baptized, which is included in the great commission. This is the will of God that Jesus expressed in the great commission to His disciples in Matthew 28:19-20.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Communion as a church. Communion is offered by a local church exclusively to members in that local church. This practice of closed communion acknowledges and highlights that God’s way of having a church home for every believer is the right way. All believers then have the opportunity to participate in communion with Christ through their local church where they should be faithfully attending and serving Him.
Questions About Communion
- What is communion? It is an ordinance given by God to His church. It involves eating unleavened bread and drinking unleavened grape juice by members renewing their love for God and for each other while remembering the sacrifice Jesus made to make salvation from condemnation possible.
- Why is communion important? Because Jesus told His church to observe communion as a means of remembering who He is and what He did to save us.
- Who can participate in communion? All baptized believers in good standing with their church are qualified to participate in the communion service offered by their home church.
- What elements are used in communion? Unleavened bread and unleavened grape juice are used to represent the sin-free body and blood of Jesus Christ. The unleavened, broken bread symbolizes Christ’s body that was broken and sacrificed for our salvation. The unleavened juice represents His blood, which was shed at His death to pay for our sins.
- How often is communion celebrated? Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:25-26,
After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.
There is no instruction about how often to take communion. Since it is the Lord’s table, it should be by His invitation. He will give each church guidance for when communion should be taken.
- Why is communion closed to non-members? Communion is a time of expressing agreement and unity with God to do His will. His will includes that every believer be baptized and added to a local church congregation. By this means every believer participates in communion and acknowledges that God’s way is the right way to do things.
- How can you justify denying communion to anyone who believes? This is the Lord’s invitation, not ours. He invites, and He gives the guidelines of who and how we should commune with Him. He has a church for every believer. This means every believer has an opportunity to participate in communion in his/her own church. Being in communion with God means we agree to do God’s work God’s way. Those in unity with God believe God, are baptized, and are participating members in the church home God has chosen for them. Closed communion is an important means of highlighting the importance of obeying God.
- Why is it not sufficient to be in the family of God to qualify as a participant for communion? We do not discourage anyone from communion. We encourage every believer to participate in communion with his/her church.
- Is the practice of closed communion seen as a denial of unity within the family of God? Being in a covenant with a local assembly of believers, a local church and body of believers, does not mean there is no unity in Christ as children of God in the family of God. It simply means we have been grouped together by God to do His work a certain way. This involves being baptized and participating in a church home chosen for us by God. We celebrate and remember this special bond during communion with church members only. However, we celebrate and worship God in our services with anyone who wants to join us.