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THE COMMUNION

The Lord's Supper is commemorative of our blessed Savior's sufferings and death, and is, indeed, a very solemn service. The bread represents His body broken, and the wine typifies His cleansing blood. As to how often this ordinance should be observed is not commanded, but "as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till He come." I Cor. 11:26 1 think Primitive Baptist churches generally have this service twice or four times a year. Only unleavened wheat bread and common wine (fruit of the vine) should be used, because such were the emblems selected by our blessed Lord. Grape juice should not be used until after fermentation has clarified it and it becomes wine. Neither of the emblems should contain leaven. This service is often called a "sacrament," under the mistaken idea that it is a "seal" or "means" of salvation. It is only a commemorative command.

Restrictions must necessarily be placed around the Lord's table if we would keep away those who should not eat; and if any should not eat, we surely could have no right whatever to invite them. Jesus Christ placed this ordinance in the early church and did not give it to the world. What right have we to carry this table out to those who are unwilling to come in and be one with us? We practice what is called "close communion," and do feel that this is the only safe, orderly and consistent way for us to follow, for it is protective in that it is so well calculated to keep us from all those entanglements and awkward positions that "open communion surely leads to when carried out in practice. So we only invite to the Lord's table those of our same Faith and Order that we have satisfactory reasons for believing, and who know themselves to be in good standing and fellowship with our Baptist churches. Our invitations cannot possibly extend beyond our recognized baptism. Communion is based upon love, union and church-fellowship, and surely there can be no real church-fellowship between us and those who differ so widely from us in doctrine and practice, because the necessary harmony and equality is quite out of the question. "Open communion," as its name implies, places no restrictions whatever; but plainly says, "Come, everybody." And yet others agree that all those who lead wicked and scandalous lives should be excluded, and thus claim for themselves the right to judge as to who should sit at the table with them. But none should call that "open," which they really do not want open, for it is inconsistent. We surely want to be governed by consistency and orderly practice. While we as individuals can have more or less Christian-fellowship for all those having an experience of grace, but this will not allow us to follow them into church-fellowship, for that will surely lead on into other erroneous practices.

Selected from "Primitive Baptist Faith and Practice" by Elder W. S. Craig. (We feel that this article, though short, is very to the point, and needful in this time. Editors.)

Signs of the Times
Volume 150, No. 11 - November 1982