What a curious statement

I love and appreciate the Baptist Faith and Message. In spite of what others may think about the document, I am consistently impressed with its thoroughness that is communicated in spite of its brevity. Unlike some other faithful Southern Baptists, I am a fan of all versions of the BF&M, including the newest 2000 version. Having said that, I would like to point out my one point of contention with the BF&M and ask if I’m the only one who sees this as a curious statement, at the very least. Consider with me, if you will, Statement VII:

VII. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord’s Supper.

The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.

Matthew 3:13-17; 26:26-30; 28:19-20; Mark 1:9-11; 14:22-26; Luke 3:21-22; 22:19-20; John 3:23; Acts 2:41-42; 8:35-39; 16:30-33; 20:7; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10:16,21; 11:23-29; Colossians 2:12.

While I am firmly committed to the theology communicated through the statement on baptism, I do have a question regarding the final statement on the topic of baptism. In the statement we are told “Being a church ordinance, it [baptism] is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord’s Supper.” While I am a strong believer that baptism is necessary, in the sense that it is the first step of obedience as prescribed by the Lord, I am also unconvinced that one is unqualified to receive the Lord’s Supper without having been baptized. I see the biblical admonition to “repent and be baptized”, and as a result of that I can see, from a pragmatic point of view, that baptism can generally be expected to have occurred before someone is regularly partaking of the Lord’s Supper. However, I find it at least curious that, apart from a clear biblical command, we have placed such a restriction in our statement of faith.

I’m interested to know if I’m the only one who finds this strange? Are there others who agree that this is an unnecessary, if not extra biblical expectation?

Micah is a husband to Tracy & a daddy to Grace, Kessed & Haddon. He’s Senior Pastor at Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN. Most of all, he’s a debtor to grace.

40 thoughts on “What a curious statement

  1. If baptism is a “prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord’s Supper” because it a church ordinance (which is what the grammatical structure of the statement would suggest), would it not be as logical to say, “Being a church ordinance, it [the Lord’s Supper] is a prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to baptism”? There are as many verses that directly support the second statement as support the first.

  2. Micah,

    I don’t have time for a very thorough answer, but I would just offer a statement I think you would agree with: Anyone who claims to be a believer, yet refuses baptism by immersion, ought not to be allowed to partake of the Lord’s Supper.

    Now the grounds for that statement I think come fairly clearly from 1 Corinthians 5, and less clearly from Matthew 18 and other passages that deal with church discipline. If someone is in open, unrepentant sin, they are candidates for church discipline, but not for the Lord’s Supper. Disobedience to the scriptural mandate to be baptized qualifies, in my opinion.

    As I said, I don’t have much time at the moment, so I hope what I’ve offered here is coherent. I’m typing pretty fast.

  3. Wes-
    I see your point, and agree with it by the way. However, let me pose a hypothetical question to you. Suppose someone came forward in a Sunday morning worship service and accepted Christ. Suppose, then, that the Lord’s Supper was being served at the end of the service. Would the one who had received Christ be disqualified from partaking?

    Now I know that may seem nit-picky, but my point is just that. This is a difficult passage to biblically justify, without qualification. I agree that the vast majority of the time a person should not receive the Lord’s Supper apart from having been baptized. I don’t see, however, where scripture disqualifies someone from receiving the Lord’s Supper if they have not been immersed.

  4. Micah: If it’s a command to do so, then why is it not necessary for salvation too? Peter DID say to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins.

    When we were in San Antonio, Bro. Mike and I went to Community Bible Church. We had 15 minutes of praise, and then an invitation to pray a sinner’s prayer. Anyone who did that was then invited to partake communion with the rest of us. My pastor had no problem with that.,

    Membership would have been discussed with them, later. Neither did I, of course.

  5. Bob-

    While I agree with your ultimate conclusion (that baptism is not a requirement for the Lord’s Supper) it appears that you are denying the fact that being baptized is a command. The passage doesn’t logically require baptism to be saved, but it does logically require baptism. Does that make sense?

  6. Micah,

    I was thinking of just such a situation, and almost put it in my original comment. I think I would agree, a person who has not had opportunity to be scripturally baptized should not be denied communion, provided it is their desire to be obedient. And we also agree that a person who does not wish to be baptized should be denied.

    Is Bob changing his last name from “Cleveland” to “Campbell”? 😉

  7. So I should hasten to add that I have no problem with the BF&M statement as written, as I think that leniency in that one rare exception does not violate the spirit of the statement.

  8. Wes-

    In that case, you and I are in agreement. I guess that’s my point. Not that I would make a big deal out of this, but it just seems strange to make a requirement, without qualification, in this area.

    As to Bob, hmmm I’m guessing he may be a bit offended by your insinuation.


  9. Micah,

    I tend to lean toward Wes’ understanding as well. I am always a bit puzzled by someone who says that they have trusted Jesus as Savior but will not obey him in baptism. Yet, in the “nit-picky” scenario that you posed, I personally would not have a problem with that person in that particular instance partaking of the Lord’s Supper though in my present circumstances, we usually do not have the Lord’s supper at the end of the service but nestled somewhere in the middle. Fair question to be pondered over. At such a time, it would be quite convenient if we poured instead of immersed would it not? 🙂


  10. Micah,

    What the true question I believe that you are getting at is:

    If you believe that way, should other Southern Baptists that don’t still cooperate with you in missions, denomination offices, etc.

    This is just another one in the long list of the mystical “Clear Baptist Identity” point of theology.

  11. Micah,

    I didn’t intend to be offensive, but rather to be silly. Bob and I have had our share of silly exchanges, and I certainly hope he will have taken my question in the spirit in which it was intended.

    And no, that’s not a caveat, it’s an exception that proves the rule.


  12. Rob-

    Though I agree that this shouldn’t exclude me (or anyone for that matter) from service within the convention – I honestly posted this for what it is. A question about application of the BF&M.


    I really didn’t think Bob would be offended. I was kidding as well. Durn blog!

  13. I have been studying this issue from a very different perspective. Here we have a national team that goes out and does village evangelism in a Muslim country. In 1 Cor we see the interesting verse that says that in doing the Lord’s Supper we are ‘proclaiming Christ’ death until he comes’. So, for the model of Church that we want to portray we want to do the LS while we are out on the road together- and do it in front of others. This is a great witnessing tool. Now, this has not happened yet but consider what should we do if local villagers wanted to partake of the supper with us. As an SB for over 30 years I would inform such a person that this is a private supper for followers of Jesus only. But what scripture could I use to back this up? Even Jesus did not exclude Judas from the supper! Nowhere does the Word declare this to be for followers of Jesus only. It is a sacred parable that declares Christ and I am wondering now if we are not only going to far in limiting it to believers but are we even hindering the proclamation of the Word through our man-made rules? Honestly, I am struggling with this. Any scriptures that can be demonstrated on our use of His Supper are appreciated.

  14. Micah,

    I agree with most of the comments so far. Baptism isn’t a prerequisite to the Lord’s supper, but salvation is.

    I serve in an international church. We have people who come from many different denominational backgrounds and many different modes of baptism have been practiced in their lives. I can’t see denying someone participation in communion because they weren’t baptised by immersion or in my brand of baptist church.

    Just a quick thought…

  15. Strider,

    First, let me say that I appreciate and support your work on many levels, but I’d like to address your thoughts on the LS as a proclamation to unbelievers because I differ with you. You raise other good questions, so I apologize in advance for not responding in the measure they deserve. I’m running on about 14 hours of sleep since my wife gave birth to our new baby girl on Monday night, so if this short response makes no sense, I’m playing the baby card!!!! 🙂

    Although “proclaiming” in the NT is often used to reference what is announced to nonbelievers, I don’t think that meaning of the word can necessarily be pressed onto its use in 1 Corinthians 11.

    In my opinion, Christians have lost what it means to preach the Gospel to themselves and to the Church because it is assumed that in Gospel proclamation, there must be one person who is saved and another who is lost. Proclamation as one believer preaching the Gospel to another is quite foreign to us, therefore, a reference to proclamation in 1 Corinthians 11 leads us to think nonbelievers are now involved in something that seems to be clearly (on contextual grounds) for believers. Paul not only told believers in Rome that he was eager to preach the Gospel to them, but he preached the Gospel to Christians at Corinth as well (1 Cor 15). Simply because we find “proclaiming” language used in 1 Corinthians 11, we cannot assume an announcement to unbelievers to be the primary meaning of the phrase and rule out the beauty of the Gospel being proclaimed to the Church through the ordinance.

    Hope this is received in the spirit I intend. May the Lord continue to bless your work!!! Any correction is welcomed. I’m a work in progress.

  16. That was a serious question I asked; why is it NOT necessary?

    When Jesus put the mud in the blind man’s eyes, I wonder what would have happened if 200 yards away the man had said let’s just wash it out in the ditch I hear running over there? No need to walk clear to Siloam, is there?

    For the record, I second Wes’ statement. If you refuse, that hints at something a lot bigger than your wetness.

    I can also think that the baptism Peter referred to was immersion into the body, the baptism by the Holy Spirit, as that is clearly essential for salvation.

    You guys ain’t even come CLOSE to offending me yet. But remember, I have lunch with CB every couple of weeks.

  17. Micah,
    This is a great discussion. I am with Wes . . .I think! If one has not had the opportunity for baptism, such a circumstance should not prohibit him from the Lord’s table. However, one who is refusing baptism is a different story altogether, and as Bob said, such a refusal speaks to something much deeper.

    Where I might part ways with some regards a scenario of one from another denominational background who was not immersed. While I would deny membership to such a person based upon our church’s understanding of baptism, I respect his understanding of baptism, and if he has submitted to it, would allow him to share in the Lord’s table with us, evern though I believe the mode practiced by his church is unbiblical.

    Primarily, my reasoning for this is eschatological. We sometimes forget that the Lord’s Supper isn’t just about the past, but also the future. It symbolizes the marriage supper. With that in view, I have to ask myself “if my Presbyterian brother is going to be at the marriage supper, do I really have the right to bar him from the rehearsal dinner, even though I believe his “baptism” was insufficient according to Scripture?”

    Now with that said, I am sure some would say that I am at odds with the BFM2K. I do not believe that I am, and as Wes has pointed out, often exceptions prove the rule. I believe the above scenarios do just that, and also believe that as I review this statement on the ordinances, I am in complete agreement with the spirit of the document.

  18. Joel: Having been a Presbyterian, I understand that. The Baptist church has been described as a gathering of Christians with a common belief that the proper response to salvation is baptism by immersion. It’s also the Lord’s Supper, not the church’s. So I agree that someone who was sprinkled could not join the church but ought to be welcome at the table.

  19. We interpret both baptism and communion as symbolic acts. If you read those scriptures that are listed in support, I don’t think you can make the argument that someone who hasn’t been baptized can’t take communion. I don’t really see that the scriptures make a case for formal church membership following baptism, but that’s just a personal opinion.

    Accountability in communion is between the believer and God. If it becomes anything more than that, it takes on the nature of a ritual rather than a memorial and there is a power accorded to the church that isn’t given to it by the scripture.

  20. Thanks for the response Patrick. I don’t disagree with your assessment of 1 Cor. I love to ‘proclaim’ the love of our Lord to any and all- especially to believers. But your interpretation does not negate the use of the LS as I have tried to describe. Asking Micah’s forgiveness if this takes us too far from his post I would like to say a little more about my journey here.
    We started a little church in a village miles and miles from any church. The Muslims in the village knew exactly zero about Jesus, Church, or our traditions when we went there. Over a long period of time we lived out our faith before the people and when finally two families accepted Jesus they imitated everything we did before them. They pray together, they read the Word, they sing songs, they pray for the sick, and they work hard to help others and each other. What they don’t do is the LS. After they were baptized I showed it to them and told them to do it often. They don’t. Why? Because it was not a part of our lifestyle. They did not see us do it so it must not be important. So now we have changed this. We now make the LS part of how we model our Christian walk before others. It is a part of our witness. I am comfortable with that much. The question I have is what about one step farther? What if while we are eating a meal together with unbelievers and we do the LS one of the unbelievers decides he/she would like to eat it with us? Up until now I would have discouraged this but where is the scripture that backs up my cultural understanding?
    One more thing: Here on the field we eat together when we can regardless of denomination because we are all brothers and sisters in Christ and it is a joy to fellowship with others who love Jesus regardless of denom backround or nationality. Those who take a narrower view of the LS- and none have in the comments section so far- need to get out on the edge and experience the joy of running into a fellow brother when you are surrounded by those who do not understand or even respect who we serve.

  21. I’m not an expert. But I have seen people encounter God through the participation in the Lord’s Supper. So much so that they have repented and committed their life to Christ.

  22. The whole question lies on what is Baptism? Is it an primarily an evangelistic ordinance in which one demonstrates that one is saved and how one was saved? Or is it primarily a rite of innitation where one becomes part of the body of Christ or of the local church body wiht Baptism being a symbol and seal of it? Now of course it can be both or more than that but I think Baptists have usually thought the former was more important while some other denominations the latter.

    But here is another thing. Does the Bible state when someone should be baptized? I mean exactly when. I do not think so. Is that the Bible’s purpose? So are we looking at the wrong place to find out if baptism is a prequisite for communion? But doesn’t the Bible state or at least allude to the fact that one’s baptism is the 1st act of obedience after conversion? Or at least it is the 1st when a person becomes a member of a church. Besides the apostles was there any mention in the Bible of one receiveing communion before baptism?

    And finally in the U.S. and other developed nations what stands in one’s way of baptism? I mean if someone was saved in a church in La Grange, Tx. what keeps that person from being baptised? I can’t think of anything that would FORCE one not to be baptised.


  23. oh and where in the Bible is the LS taken from one who is not part of the church? (at the time they took it). Another words where in the Bible are others who are not professing Christians allowed to take it? Judas when he took it was professing that he was a foolwer of Christ but was outed at the LS.

  24. blackhaw-

    You bring up a good point about the pattern, or chronology, of baptism. I, like yourself, see a very strong reference to baptism being the first step of obedience after the conversion experience. I don’t, however, think that you can argue the point about communion not occurring until after baptism because you are arguing from absence. That would also hold true to your point about the Lord’s Supper never being taken by someone who was not a church member. Arguments from absence are generally accepted to be invalid arguments.

    Additionally, how can we understand church membership in the Bible? I think I have a good feel for it as it is akin, I believe, to church membership among the people I worked and lived with in West Africa. CM wasn’t (as far as I can tell) a technical process as it is in Western culture today, but rather was simply a statement of identification. This is particularly more understandable in light of the lack of churches in NT times. When one became a believer, they were identified with the church, whatever local body was located in their city, and no formal church membership was used, I don’t believe. If that is true, that means that it is comparing apples to oranges to try to identify current CM with CM in NT times.

  25. This has been a great discussion and I appreciate the variousl perspectives….. no one has mentioned that Jesus patterned the supper from a regular celebration of the Pesach….. and as implied by common practice at that time and still adhered to by Israelite families today, it was a small intimate gathering….by invitation (note the 12 gathered, but Jesus had already “sent” the “seventy” and others), and they were examined (circumcision appears to be a very intimate test to me)…. I’ve served churches that required closed sequestered gatherings and churches with International attendance and open participation….. so, obviously I have served in the role of officiator when it didn’t fit my personal understanding, even after I had expressed a varying opinion.
    In one instance I had a young man who was Lutheran ask me to serve him “communion” personally…… even after explaining the Biblical pattern, it’s significance, and in what I thought was a “brilliant discourse”….. he still urged me to do it. He had just lost a parent, and said that was his family Tradition. Even though I explained that it was meaningless to me and not Biblical…. He insisted…..we went through the motions….
    Several months later I was able to help him develop a personal relationship with Jesus…. and, incidentally, I felt a lot better about what had transpired……
    It’s awesome how the Lord allows the abrasions and the pressure to shape us into Disciples! Blessings….. to all participants in this discussion, as you continue to serve HIM!

  26. I know a teen who attended a church that allowed non-Baptized believers who had prayed the sinner’s prayer with the pastor to partake of the Lord’s Supper. His family left that church to end up in another Baptist Church that reserved communion for Baptized believers only. He was shocked that the second church had such a rule and, even though he has since been baptized, he doesn’t really appear to have gotten over it yet.

  27. Micah,

    I do not think I was exactly arguing from absence. I was just pointing out that we have no example of communion being taken before baptism in scripture. Thus while it does not prove that you can’t it gives evidence that maybe you should not. Especially since I do not see anywhere in scripture where scripture gives an exact command to do it beofre or after baptism. So one has to decide whether one will not worship in anyway that goes against scripture or whether one will only worship as recorded in scripture. not the best way to put it but it is a basic protestant debate on worship. Am I free to do things that are not argued against in scripture or should I only do that which is argued for in scripture?

    So comparing our CM to the NT CM is comparing apples to oranges. Okay but then why use the Bible to try and understand CM in the US? Maybe I did not understand what you were saying though.

  28. Lampp,

    While I think understanding the Jewish poascha can help someone understand the LS better I do not think that passover and the LS are the same. Waht I mean is that Jesus changed the passover into a Christian celebration and changed some of the meaning of the passover event and celebration. So I do not think that we should use the Jewish passover as a model for how we do the LS. I think we are discussing two different kinds of apples when we discuss the two. Certainly the passover was a type or shadow of the incarnation, death, and ressurection of Christ. But Christ recapitulated the passover event. Thus in the new light of Christ things are different for us and our celbrations while similar are differnt also.

    BH- CARL

  29. Blackhaw-

    You are right. Your argument parallels the “regulative principle” argument. I am not a “regulative principle” guy so that’s probably where we may depart from each other.

    You say Okay but then why use the Bible to try and understand CM in the US? which, I think, is an unfortunate statement. It seems, to me anyway, that you are not using what the Bible says to understand what we should do but rather you are trying to use what the Bible does not say to validate your point. My point is that when the Bible is silent, we should not be that worried about it. It’s simply not that important.

  30. “I am not a “regulative principle” guy so that’s probably where we may depart from each other. ”

    I am not either. I tend more to the early church.

    “You say Okay but then why use the Bible to try and understand CM in the US? which, I think, is an unfortunate statement.”

    I undrestood you to say that CM today is not like the CM of the early church. Now unless we should change our CM to fit that of the early church (which I did not think you were arguing) then why use the Bible to try and understand CM? I am asking you. I think our CM and the CM of the early church is similiar enough to warrant its use but maybe not in the way Baptists try to use it.

    Oh and i am not trying to suse what the Bible does not say to support my case. Not really. What I am saying is that what are the examples we have from scripture. All the examples we have from scripture of the LS seem to assume that the person is baptized. Also all the examples from the early church assume that also. One could not take the LS in the early church without being baptized. I do not see this being changed by any orthodox denomination or theologian throuhgout history. So all our tradition says one must be baptized.

  31. Blackhaw-

    I guess I would offer two things in reference to your statement. First, I think there is significant difference between CM in the Bible and CM today.

    Secondly, though, how do you come to the conclusion that one could not take the Lord’s Supper in the New Testament without being baptized? If that was clear I wouldn’t have authored this post. My point all along is that you cannot make that statement from a biblical perspective. If it was a valid argument, I’d gladly agree with you.

  32. Micah, interesting topic. I have been confronted in our church on this issue from two perspectives. One from a baptist historical position and one from the influence of DTS.

    I have in my hand a booklet I think was published in the 1960’s. There is not publication date, however, it does have a church name stamped on the inside jacket and it came from a pastor who served their in the 60’s and 70’s. It is titled What Baptist Believe and Why. It was published by the Sunday School Board and authored by J.G. BOW, D.D. Evidently in came into print as a study book in our old Church Training Program to help the laity understand the 63 BF&M. The pastor gave it to me when I surrendered to the ministry.

    On the subject you speak of, he offers biblical interpretation and historical support for baptism and church membership prior to partaking of the Lord’s supper. In the historical he uses documents and statements from Methodist, Episcopal, and Presbyterian sources to build a case.

    In his charge against some criticisms toward Baptist in those days by those taking open communion he says, “All those who use the term close communion as a cudgel to beat Baptists over the head, and to prejudice people against us, agree with us in theory, but have not the Christian manhood to be consistent in their practice.”

    His primary biblical argument comes from an overall observation rather than a specific text. He says, “Baptist believe that baptism properly precedes the Lord’s supper. Jesus gave the example. He was baptized at the beginning of hsi ministry, and instituted the Supper just prior to His death.”
    He also points to the fact that the great commission places baptism before teaching the commands.

    His nest statement is, “Baptist believe church membership is also a prerequisite to the Lord’s Supper.”

    It is clear that Southern Baptist teaching just a generation ago was strong on baptism into the church and as a prerequisite to the Lord’s supper.

  33. I do find this to be an interesting discussion.
    Here is something that ties in that has not been discussed.

    I have known more than one person who gave credible evidence of becoming a Christian. And yet they were profoundly, I mean profoundly, afraid of sticking their head under the water.
    So for years, they were not baptized, not a member of the church, and did not take Communion.
    The implication to them quite clearly given was that they should have more faith. And this may well be true.
    In each case, the person finally was baptized. Yet I find it hard to believe that they were not Christians all along.
    I am not sure what I think about whether or not they should have been able to participate in Communion all along. It may very well have been a means of strengthening their faith if they had participated, leading to baptism sooner.

  34. Micah,

    This is not a Baptist issue. Methodist, Lutherans, Catholics, Presbyterians all require baptism prior to participation in Communion. Check out the confessional statements of other denominations.

    I think it is related to the following:
    1. Church Membership – the NT citing the # of people baptized, or added to the church, implies a structured organization for follow-up. Hence, a list of those who received Christ.
    2. In Baptist life, the Lord’s Supper was connected to church discipline. Baptist churches ofter observed the Lord’s Supper after a Saturday conference in which they exercised church discipline.

  35. Pancho-

    Thanks for the thoughts.

    1. I recognize that this is not solely a “Baptist” issue. I am interested, however, as to its application within Baptist life.

    2. I agree to some point that Church membership is in question, but in my opinion membership in the “Church” (catholic) is of primary importance over and above membership in the “church” (as in local church). I find this to be particularly true in reference to the presence of open communion over and above closed communion.

    Having said that, I also agree the there is a tie to Church Discipline that cannot be ignored.

    In spite of all that, however, I’m still curious as to the mandate on our part when scripture is obviously not as clear. We are making our arguments based on inferences and presuppositions that may or may not be accurate. If one were to simply come to the text, evaluate it through careful exegesis, and draw a conclusion, I’m hard pressed to believe that one would come to the point where we, and the other denominations that you have mentioned, have come to.

    PS: By the way, through careful “detective” work, I think I’ve figured out who you are! 🙂

  36. Micah,

    Tell me it ain’t so!

    Some of the greatest NT scholars expressed a preference for detective genre in literature. You have to be somewhat of a “detective” as regards the “mystery” in a NT sense.

  37. Micah,

    okay I was just saying that is what you think. I think you could be right but maybe not. It matters how it is different than today. I think being a member of a church during the days of the early church was a bigger deal than it is today. So many put off their baptisms until death’s door because they knew after baptism they would have to live right. Today baptism is not so important. Not many think they really need to make sure they live a good life after baptism. At least the feeling does not last for long.

    As to the 2nd point I am reffering to the natural order of things in the NT. In some sense baptism is like circumcism. How much it is can be debated but in some sense it is. In the NT baptism functions much like circumcism. It is a rite of passage in which one declares they are part of the family of God or the nation of God. Christians say that they are no longer Jews or Gentiles but are instead a new race (Christians). It is what signifies that one is part of the church. Only one who is part of the church can receive communion. It makes no sense to serve it to a non-Christian. None. It means nothing for them.

    But what I was arguing earlier is that all the times the Lord’s Supper is said to be taken is inside a church body. The people in the church were baptized then they partook of the Supper.

    You also see this in the Patrisitc era. One’s first communion came right after their baptism. Beore that they could not receive it.

    I do not know of any Medieval or Reformation theologian to change that last statement. And I know of no modern theolgian (of any weight at least) who disagrees with the statement that one needs to be baptized before one can partake of communion. Please tell me if I am wrong.

    So all of tradition goes agasint the notion that one can partake of communion before baptism.

    Personally I do not see how it makes any sense to do so. I cna understand letting someone partake of the LS even if he was not baptized in your church. But to have never been baptized? I have never heard of that and I do not see how it makes sense. How can one be in communion with the others in the church without also being baptized?

    Would there be any real point to baptism if one can partake of communion before hand?

  38. Blackhaw-

    You make good, compelling arguments. Let me try and answer a few of your questions. First, you say “what I was arguing earlier is that all the times the Lord’s Supper is said to be taken is inside a church body.” My response would be, what about the first occasion of the Lord’s Supper? Were the disciples and Jesus in a church setting?

    Secondly, I would agree with your final point. It doesn’t make much sense to have someone taking the Lord’s Supper that hasn’t been baptized. As such, as a local church I could understand restricting it. However, while it makes sense to respond in this manner, it does not seem clear from a biblical perspective. Logical sense and biblical exegesis are separate things – as I know you are aware. From the perspective of our convention’s doctrinal statement, it simply seems to me to be inappropriate to be so strong (i.e. clear, forceful) about something that, while logical, is not necessarily clearly biblical.

    I’m not arguing that we shouldn’t have the right to restrict non-baptized folks from the Lord’s Supper, but rather that it seems a bit unfortunate that we would include such a clear statement in our doctrinal document that is simply unclear from a biblical perspective.

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