|Why Primitive Baptists Don't Practice Open Communion|
|Written by Michael Mullins|
|Wednesday, 31 December 2014 12:55|
Why Primitive Baptists Do Not Practice Open Communion
When Jesus first started the church all the denominations which we see today were nonexistent.
All commandments regarding the ordinances were written for the local churches or
assemblies of that day. Paul addresses the church at Corinth (1 Cor. 1:1-2). Paul, of course,
through inspiration, addresses many churches in the Romans letter (Rom. 16:1, 16). The whole
book of Acts was about the disciples, the first church. (1 Cor. 12:28). Their acts were mighty and
many other gifts were added along with many people. The apostles started many churches. All
of the New Testament was addressed to these churches, which Christ started during his earthly
ministry. (Matt. 16:18, 18:15-20). His kind of church was only one body, led by one spirit, with
one harmonizing doctrine, with only one Lord, one water baptism, and one God, who is none
other than Jesus (ref. Eph. 4:3-6). Jesus promised that His kind of church (assembly) would
exist in perpetuity and in truth in every generation. (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 3:21; Matt.28:19,20;
Daniel 2:44,45; Matt.3:1,2; 4:17,18) All the gospels, the epistles and even the last book of the
Bible were addressed to his blessed Church (churches). It actually means the Church is the
most important thing in the world. (Eph. 3:21).
Don’t you wish all God’s children would come home, to understand salvation by grace. It will be
a glorious scene in Heaven one day when we eat the supper again with our Lord Jesus Christ
as the Church triumphant.
“But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day until I
drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Matt. 26:29)
But now many of God’s children live immoral and heretical lives and as God’s church we should
not eat the Lord’s Supper with them.
1. We should not practice open communion because of immorality
“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 idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner;
with such an one no not to eat.” (for the whole context, read 1 Cor. 5:1-11)
God wants his church to be holy in moral etiquette. Even Israel of old was told that their country
as a nation was to be holy. (Deut. 7:6) Read 1 Peter 2:9-10, “But you are a chosen generation, a
royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him
who hath called you out of darkness into the marvelous light: which in time past, were not a
people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained
mercy.” Peter is talking to the Jew as well as the Gentile church. (1 Pet. 5:17)
The word ‘peculiar’ in Peter is equivalent to the word ‘special’ in Deuteronomy. (Deut. 7:6;
Peter also says, “… be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1 Pet. 1:16) Again, he is talking to the church.
(1 Pet. 5:17) I could belabor the point of how God commands his church to be sanctified and
holy but I will simply allow the Bible to speak. For a reference in holiness in the church, Paul wrote Eph. 5:1-13. (Verse 7, Be not ye therefore
partakers with them.)
Why, if we allowed open communion anyone could take the Lord’s supper and corrupt our
churches even more. Jude 12 wrote of those who come in and bring immorality and corrupt our
feasts. Many times God’s churches allow too much or people sneak in with bad morals. (Rev.
2:14, 16, 20)
2. That we cannot practice open communion because of false doctrine.
“Now we beseech ye brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary
to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” (Rom. 16:17)
God loves the truth, therefore God seeketh such to worship him. (John 4:23) God loves the truth
so much that he has promised that the truth would be in the world for every generation. (Ps.
100:5). Every generation includes me and my children and their children and all the people on
earth before us. Truth is so important to God that he started an organization called the Church.
Paul by inspiration wrote to young pastor Timothy, “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know
how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God,
the pillar and ground of the truth.” (1 Tim. 3:15). He loved that church so much that he gave her
rules and regulations, as how to keep the truth in her and false doctrine out of her. (2 Tim. 3:16;
4:1-2; Eph. 4:11-14).
Here are a few more verses that actually tell us to avoid and separate ourselves from false
doctrine. Jesus himself said in Matt. 7:15, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in
sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”
The church at Galatia was warned in chapter 1:8, “But though we, or an angel from heaven,
preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be
accursed.” He repeated this command in verse 9 which shows he is very interested in us
obeying this command.
Paul, writing to the church of Thessalonica, said, “And if any man obey not our word by this
epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him
not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” (2 Thess. 3:14-15)
“A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; knowing that he that is
such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.” (Titus 3:10-11)
“If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither
bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” (2 John
When the Bible through inspiration tells us to mark, avoid, let him be accursed, note that man
and have no company, reject, receive him not, not to company with, beware of, not to eat with…
does that mean somehow it is acceptable to take communion with him? I trow not. Many of the
ways to keep false out and true in is to obey the Scripture. Since all the New Testament was
written about, for and to the Church (churches), we cannot just cast away God’s wisdom and
call it antiquated.
Many of God’s churches have refused to implement simple scripture and end up like the
churches in Revelation. Judgment and condemnation along with the removal of the church is
promised. (Rev. 2-3)
I admit that it seems hard to do these simple truths found in scripture just as it is hard to
discipline children in the home. Our society, though, is falling apart because of the lack of
understanding any discipline at all. It is easier to just sit back, watch t.v. and let the kids make
their own decisions. This philosophy, however, leads to drugs, alcohol, sex, crime, neglect and a
filthy society. The church of God has become filthy because it seems too hard to deal with
difficult church members and false doctrines. It seems easier to sweep it under the rug and just
leave well enough alone. Remember God commands his church to be holy (for I am holy).
3. We cannot practice open communion because of judgment
“For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew forth the Lord’s death
till he comes. 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. But when we are judged, we are
chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my
brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let
him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in
order when I come.” (1 Cor. 11:26-34)
The two preceding points should be enough to encourage God’s church, along with the deacons
and pastors, to practice close communion and not allow open communion. This next point
should prompt God’s children to exercise discipline in their own lives and in the local church
even more. Because the Bible says to let a man examine himself (v. 28). Individual church
members are to examine or scrutinize, try or test, one’s motives and actions as to what the
scripture dictates according to what is right or wrong. It is not about how you feel, but what the
Bible says. Do you measure up to what God’s word subscribes? Are you living a holy godly
biblical lifestyle? Again, this commandment is to church members only. This does not allow for
people who do not agree with us or who are living an immoral lifestyle. Or those who are not
baptized into our Primitive Baptist Church. This verse is to that primitive church at Corinth.
There were no other denominations or churches that existed at this time in history.
When I examine myself, I find that I am such a sinner. It seems to me that I do not deserve to
take the Lord’s supper. First, if you think you deserve to take the Lord’s supper, you probably
shouldn’t take it. One of the first doctrines we learn as Primitive Baptists is the doctrine of total
depravity. The only way we deserve to take the Lord’s supper is because Christ paid for our
sins. Every church member struggles with the fact that we are sin infested. When we are
thinking correctly about ourselves we would agree with the Apostle Paul, who said, “when I
would do good, evil is present with me.” (Rom. 7:21) We are all false and full of sin, as the old
song says. It is only through the finished work of Jesus Christ that we can commune and
remember the Lord’s death. I think we can rule out as a reason for not taking the Lord’s supper
that I feel evil, because even the apostle Paul again said, “I am the chief of sinners.” (1 Tim.
Christ though, does not want us as church members to come to his table believing in false
doctrine, immorality and the actual practicing of lies and scandal in our hearts toward anybody
or toward the church. A humble and a broken heart is what God desires toward his word and
people when we come to the supper. (Ps. 51:17; Matt. 5:3-5, 18:1-6). Judas Iscariot is a prime
example of one who came to the supper with a scandal and deceit in his life. Look what
happened to him. He was only interested in taking advantage of God’s little church even if it
meant betrayal of Jesus himself. You and I could sin against the body and blood of Christ,
maybe not the same sin but just as corrupt, and bring damnation (judgement) upon our body,
soul, spirit and eventually upon our church.
If we eat the bread and drink the cup unworthily we will be guilty of the body and blood of the
Lord. What does that mean? May I offer as simple an explanation as possible. If we come to the
table with scandal and deceit in our heart it shows that we have forgotten what the Lord has
done for us as children of God. It’s like slapping Jesus in the face and crucifying him all over
again. We have forgotten that we are purged from our old sins. (2 Pet. 1:9) We start to
disrespect the whole purpose for which God started the church and created new life in us. We
become like the churches in Revelations who left there first love allowed immorality and false
doctrine in and became guilty of forgetting about the body and blood of Christ.
In the rush of our daily lives, I know how hard it is to look these verses up, so I want to put them
down to explain what verse 27 and 29 of 1 Cor. 11 means. “For if we sin willfully after that we
have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a
certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses; of how much
sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son
of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy
thing, and hath done despite unto the spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said,
vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, the Lord shall
judge his people. It is fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Heb. 10:26-31)
You can tell how much these verses in Hebrews agree with 1 Corinthians 11:27 and 29. That’s
the reason that verse 28 says that a man should examine himself, because God will judge him if
he doesn’t judge himself. The tragedy happens when judgment comes in many forms.
1. (One) form of judgment is mental instability. (1 Cor. 11: 30)
Judas is a prime example.
(Heb. 10:27 …but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation…)
We may fool the little church, but we cannot fool God, because he is omniscience omnipresent
and omnipotent. You may trick others for awhile, but judgment is eminent and sure with God
and his word. Even more than one person may hide a scandal from brothers and sisters in the
church. Even pastors and deacons, can be tricked for awhile. But be sure, God is not mocked
(Gal. 6:7). Mental judgment is further expressed in 1 John 4:17, 18: “Herein is our love made
perfect that we may have boldness in the day of judgement; because as he is, so are we in this
world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He
that feareth is not made perfect in love.” The word torment means painful disquietude.
We are glad to say, though, that if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart. (1 John
God has chosen tools to get right with him, which are confession, repentance and faith.
Although, depending on the seriousness of the crime, you may have to suffer awhile, as in the
church of 1 Corinthians 11:30. I’m not suggesting that all sickness or mental distress is the
result of sin. The book of Job protests against such notions. John 5:14 would suggest however
that many sicknesses and distresses are due to sin.
2. (Second) form of judgment is physical sickness added onto mental instability.
Let me give you a few examples of physical judgement. Miriam, Moses’ sister, spoke out
against Moses’ and became leprous. (Num. 12)
David became mentally and physically disabled after Nathan the prophet told David of his sin.
Psalm 51 is one of the results of his sin. Thankfully Psalm 51 shows both the debilitating effect
of sin and the cure for broken hearts. King David, though, had to suffer the rest of his life for this
sin he had committed. For the sword never left David’s house. (2 Sam. 12:10).
3. (Third) form of judgment is bodily death. Ananias and Sapphira is a prime example of this.
Look at the churches in the book of Revelation chapters 2-3. Because many sins that arose
and false doctrines, God commends their virtues, exposes their sins and threatens judgement
upon those who do not repent. As far as I know, none of these churches exist as true gospel
churches today. Could it be that we in America have become so worldly with our lives and
churches that the candlestick is about to be removed?
In conclusion, I believe that the church is the most important thing to God in the world,(Eph.
3:21) and that we need to put her first in our lives. When we put the true church first in our lives
we are putting God and his kingdom first. (Matt. 6:33) The ordinances which God has given us
are for remembering what Christ has done for us as long as his bride is upon earth. His bride of
course is none other than his church. (Eph. 5:25-33)
Elder Mike Mullins
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 October 2016 15:01|