Skip to content
August 25, 2011 / Daniel

Closed Communion?

Denny Burk has a post this week on the practice of closed communion.  Burk, a Southern Baptist, believes that only immersed believers can partake of communion.  The message is clear.  People who baptize babies are second-rate members of the family of God.  One of the commenters  even implied that if someone does not get baptized by immersion, then he must be ashamed of the gospel.

Now I’m a Baptist in my theology and I hold to believer’s baptism.  However, there are folks that I respect that disagree with this position.   Some of my teachers at Wheaton believed in infant baptism.   They believe that this is the best interpretation of Scripture and it fits best with church tradition.  I disagree, but I would not exclude proponents of viewpoint from the Lord’s Supper.

My question is, “Does Scripture support the exclusion of paedobaptists from the communion table?”

Burk implies that a person who has not been immersed partakes of communion in “an unworthy manner.”  Why?  Because he is sinning by not being baptized by immersion.   This goes way beyond the evidence in 1 Corinthians 11.

Paul’s problem with the Corinthian church is the abuse of the Lord’s Supper.  He describes the situation in vv.  18-22.

In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it.  No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval.  So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter!

Paul’s focus is on the divisions within the Corinthian church.  The perpetuators are the wealthy.  These wealthy Christians had more time on their hands.  They could arrive at the meetings early.  The poor had other responsibilities.  They would arrive at these meetings late.  The wealthy were not waiting for the poor.  They would participate in the meal to the exclusion of their brothers.  Paul calls the Corinthians’ actions “unworthy.”

By excluding the poorer Christians from the communion table, the Corinthians were acting as if the gospel was only for the wealthy.  Jesus did not die just for rich people.  He died for both rich and poor.  This was a sin against the body of Christ.  Notice the play-on-words.  Paul mixes his metaphors.  The bread and wine represent the body of Christ.  The church is metaphorically the body of Christ.   A sin against the church is a sin against Jesus.

Paul’s solution is given in v. 33.  “So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.”  The meal is for everyone.  Not just the rich.

This is why I believe that the exclusion of paedobaptists from the communion table is a violation of the intent of 1 Corinthians 11.  Everyone who has been justified by faith in Christ should be welcomed to the table.  Baptism is an important issue.  However, our differences should not be a cause for exclusion.

To paraphrase NT Wright’s words on Galatians 2.  “The doctrine of justification means that both credobaptists and paedobaptists can eat together at the same table.”  Communion is for all who embrace the gospel.



Leave a Comment
  1. PO PROSTU WALCZ Caly Film / Feb 11 2013 10:08 am

    I tried looking at your web site on my mobile phone and the design does not seem to be correct. Might wanna check it out on WAP as well as it seems most mobile phone layouts are not really working with your site.

  2. Pila Online / Feb 11 2013 10:08 am

    Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say wonderful blog!

  3. Krol Lew Caly Film / Feb 11 2013 10:08 am

    Hey, I just hopped over to your web site thru StumbleUpon. Not somthing I would typically browse, but I liked your views none the less. Thank you for making some thing worth reading

  4. Listy do M Caly Film / Feb 11 2013 10:09 am

    Have you given any consideration at all with converting your main web site into German? I know a couple of of translaters right here which would help you do it for no cost if you want to make contact with me personally

  5. PSY Caly Film / Feb 11 2013 10:09 am

    Hey there! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I genuinely enjoy reading your posts. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same topics? Thank you

  6. Rocky Online / Feb 11 2013 10:09 am

    Nice blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere? A theme like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog stand out. Please let me know where you got your theme. Thank you

  7. Oszukac Przeznaczenie 5 Online / Feb 11 2013 10:09 am

    Keep up the excellent piece of work, I read few content on this web site and I think that your blog is very interesting and has lots of wonderful information

  8. Excellent recite, I a minute ago passed this on a isolated who was doing some inquiries resting on that. As well as he really bought me lunch as I found it for him smile So assent to me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch! “Bill Dickey is learning me his experience.” by Lawrence Peter Berra.

  9. Spider Man 2 Online / Feb 11 2013 10:10 am

    This web site can be a walk-by way of for all the info you needed about this and didn’t know who to ask. Glimpse here, and also you’ll positively uncover it.

  10. Prosto w serce Caly Film / Feb 11 2013 10:10 am

    Hmm it appears like your website ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any points for newbie blog writers? I’d definitely appreciate it.|Woah! I’m really digging the template/theme of this website. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s tough to get that “perfect balance” between superb usability and visual appearance. I must say you’ve done a amazing job with this. Additionally, the blog loads extremely fast for me on Firefox. Excellent Blog!|Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your site? My blog is in the exact same area of interest as yours and my visitors would truly benefit from some of the information you present here. Please let me know if this ok with you. Regards!|Hi there would you mind letting me know which hosting company you’re working with? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 different internet browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot quicker then most. Can you suggest a good web hosting provider at a fair price? Cheers, I appreciate it!|Superb blog you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any user discussion forums that cover the same topics talked about in this article? I’d really like to be a part of group where I can get feedback from other knowledgeable individuals that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Kudos!|Hi! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I really enjoy reading your blog posts. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same topics? Many thanks!|Do you have a spam issue on this website; I also am a blogger, and I was wanting to know your situation; we have developed some nice practices and we are looking to exchange techniques with others, why not shoot me an email if interested

  11. Jeden dzien Online / Feb 11 2013 10:11 am

    Some genuinely good info , Gladiolus I discovered this. “Underpromise overdeliver.” by Tom Peters.

  12. Hello, you old to engrave magnificent, nevertheless the last hardly any posts have been kinda boring… I miss your great writings. Past more than a few posts are just a insignificant crumb absent of track! come on!

  13. Igrzyska smierci Caly Film / Feb 11 2013 10:11 am

    Hi everyone, it’s my first visit at this site, and piece of writing is truly fruitful designed for me, keep up posting such articles or reviews.

  14. Cztery 4 Godziny Caly Film / Feb 11 2013 10:12 am

    Audio started playing any time I opened up this blog, so frustrating

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: