A DISCUSSION OF THE LORD’S SUPPER By B. H. Carroll


A DISCUSSION OF THE LORD’S SUPPER
By B. H. Carroll

Published in the Berea Baptist Banner February 5, March 5, April 5, May 5, 1998.

(This sermon is respectfully and kindly dedicated to
all fair-minded, truth-loving Pedo-Baptists. Most earnestly
does the author disclaim any intention or desire
to wound their feelings, but makes his appeal to their
reason and love of justice. —B. H. Carroll, Pastor First
Baptist Church, Waco, Texas.)

TEXT: “Be ye followers of me even as I also am
of Christ. Now I praise you, brethren, that ye. .
.keep the ordinances as I delivered them to you. .
.For I have received of the Lord, that which I also
delivered unto you,” etc. (I Cor. 11:1, 2, 23).
For preaching this sermon, my own mind is satisfied
with the following reasons:
1. It is ever the duty of the pastor to instruct his con-gregation
in doctrine. Especially is this so with regard
to positive institutions. Everything relating to a positive
institution should be clearly set forth and understood.
What is it, and how is it to be administered?
2. The scriptural observance of the Lord’s Supper is
inseparably connected with efficient church discipline.
3. Several true, earnest Christians, who are anxious
to do right, and therefore seek to know the truth, have
requested me to preach on this subject. They are Bap-tists
upon all other points. Upon this, their minds have
been perplexed and annoyed by suggestions from with-out
and doubt from within. This sermon is for them.
4. I am desirous of relieving my beloved church from
unjust censure—from the unwarrantable charges of big-otry
and illiberality.
5. Restricted communion is necessary not only to the
well-being but to the perpetuity of Baptist churches.
6. Its importance to the prosperity and perpetuity of
Baptist churches, makes it the chief point of attack by
our enemies. They evidently regard it as our Gibraltar.
Beyond all question it is the citadel of our beloved Zion—
that key position, which when once lost, ultimately ne-cessitates
the lowering of our flag all along the line of
our fortifications. When then the enemy makes any one
of our distinctive features the chief point of attack, let
that assailed principle be our chief point of defense. In
defense let me not be content with exculpating our close
communion from the charge of bigotry, but make a sally
beyond our fortifications and establish in the sight of
God’s truth THE SIN OF OPEN COMMUNION.
7. As the last reason necessary now to assign, it is
claimed that this attack is masked. It is not an outright,
downright assault. It appears to be masked because—
(a) Communion with the Baptists is evidently not the thing
desired. A careful survey of the situation would not lead
us to conclude that their solicitude for inter-commun-ion
is the occasion of all the mighty outbreaks of indig-
nation against “close communion.”
(b) I regard the attack as masked because they make
no war on the principles which underlie the commun-ion
question. All denominations, with remarkable una-nimity,
agree to the principles which control the com-munion.
If they admit that the tree is good, let there be
no quarrel with the fruit.
(c) The attack seems masked because it is generally
made in private circles, where it cannot be met. The
mischief is accomplished before it is discovered. “I like
Baptists very much. I have charity for all denominations,
but Oh! that close communion!”
(d) Yet again it seems masked, because sophistries
are used instead of arguments. That is, they use a word
that has a different meaning in the conclusion from what
it has in the premise. It is adroitly managed by a misuse
of terms to array against our communion of bread and
wine the scriptural communion of Heaven and the Chris-tian
communion of earth.
(e) It is masked because the true Baptist position is
misstated. What Baptist minister accustomed to conduct
his protracted meetings has not met with these difficul-ties?
How often he leaves a young convert, happy in
the hope of glory and about ready to obey the Savior,
to find on his next visit that something has intervened.
The convert hesitates, speaks evasively and ambigu-ously.
What is the difficulty? It seems to have no head,
no shape, no tangible form. Perhaps at last it will be
developed that somebody has made an impression on
the young convert’s mind that Baptists “will get people
to work for them and they won’t feed them;” that “they
believe baptism essential to salvation;” that “they
unchristianize other denominations;” that “they refuse
to receive people that the Lord Jesus Christ receives;”
that “in Heaven they are going to have a separate table
from the rest of the redeemed;” that “they separate the
husband and the wife from the same communion table,
though the Lord has said, ‘What God has joined to-gether,
let not man put asunder.’” In a word, that “they
are exclusive, illiberal and bigoted.”
These are some of the reasons that have induced me
to discuss this subject today. The discussion is entered
in kindness, bluntness and with such ability as I pos-sess.
Preparatory to the discussion, let terms be defined.
What is communion? Joint participation of the Lord’s
Supper.
What is Free or Open Communion? That in which
everybody, without any restrictions whatever, is invited and
allowed to partake.
Without the fear of successful contradiction, I affirm
that there is none such in the world. Upon a real bona fide.A Discussion of the Lord’s Supper by B. H. Carroll – Page 2
open communion table the sun of God or the light of
stars or lamp or torch never shone.
What is Close, or Restricted Communion?
When a church administering the ordinance limits
the invitation to participate. ALL IN THE WORLD
ARE SUCH.
Some have fewer limitations than others but all have
limitations. Some open the door wider than others, but
all open it.
With regard to restrictions, they are either HUMAN
OR DIVINE. The divine are to be observed, the hu-man
rejected. It is the acknowledged prerogative of the
Son of God “to open so that no man can shut, and to
shut so that no man can open.” In all the universe lives
there no intelligence high enough in authority to lift from
the communion table of Jehovah a single restriction
imposed by Almighty God.
From what ought communion to be free? Dare the
arch angel affirm that it is free from a Divine limitation?
Who of the created beings presumes to impose a limit
more than Jehovah has imposed? It is a remarkable fact,
attested by the Word of God, that the prevalence of a
human restriction or tradition makes void the Divine.
God has said, “Thou shalt honor thy father and
thy mother.” The Pharisee by his limitation of that com-mandment
made void the law of God by his tradition
(See Mark 7:11). Let this fact and illustration be retained
in mind for application after a while.
In this connection it is proper to call attention to the
obstinacy of error—to mark its power of retention and
tenacity of life. It may be embedded in truth, like a worm
in the heart of an apple. It may be as taxes in a wheat
field, planted when the ground was made mellow for
the reception of the good seed. As the tares have grown
up side by side with the wheat, so has error matured
side by side with truth. To pull it up seems to uproot
truth. It may be a false thread interwoven in the warp
and woof of a fabric of cloth. To destroy it you must
rend the garment. It may have been made sacred by
hallowed associations. To assail it seems to lift a hand of
sacrilege against holy things.
Like the devil, it comes as an angel of light. It may be
so connected with marriage that to smite it seems to
strike that holy institution of God. It may be so associ-ated
with maternity that he who assails it is regarded as
the murderer of a mother’s joys, as one who mocks her
sorrows. It may be so associated with old age—with buri-als—
with the holidays of a people, that to strike it seems
like scorning the hoary head—like overturning the tomb-stones
of the dead—like calling of a weary people from
their festivities.
When a man has thus imbibed error, to abandon it
seems to repudiate his childhood, to adjure parental in-fluence,
to pull off the wedding right, to tear down the
Christmas garlands and to strip life of its sweetest memo-ries.
Every passion, every prejudice of his nature is
aroused. His ear cannot hear the truth, his eye cannot
see its beauty, his heart cannot receive it. A direct at-tack
upon the error is as made as the charge of the “Light
Brigade.” He who assaults it is regarded as a personal
enemy. No power of argument, no array of facts, no
accumulation of testimony, though “Pelion be on Ossa
piled,” can move him.
The only remedy is to let the error alone. Fight it
not. But teach truth. Truth received into the heart ex-pels
the error. The expulsive power of truth received is the
only hope. They must be led to consider religion as relat-ing
to God, that repentance is towards God, faith is in
God, that Jesus and His authority are higher than fa-ther,
mother, brother, sister, husband or wife.
One of the most seductive and at the same time fatal
forms of error is a FALSE LIBERALITY, a spurious
charity, a fictitious sentimentality. Instead of “rejoicing
in the truth,” it rejoices in uniting with everybody, in
admitting all claims, in fellowshipping all claimants. He
who opposes this broad platform of never-ending com-promise
is ostracized as a bigot.
With this statement of these preliminaries the ques-tion
is now asked, WHAT IS THE BAPTIST POSI-TION?
“It is an indispensable qualification for this ordinance, that
the candidate for communion be a member of the church of
Christ in full standing; that he shall be a person of piety; that
he should have made a public profession of religion; and that
he should have been baptized.”
I suppose there is not a close communion Baptist on
earth who would refuse to receive this as expressive of
his position. To a man they would endorse it, item by
item, and as a whole. And yet this is the language of
Timothy Dwight, D.D., President of Yale College, and
Professor of Divinity in that institution—the Agamemnon
of Pedo-Baptists. What then, according to this great Pres-byterian,
are the qualifications for communion?
1. Church membership. 2. Good standing in the
church, that is, he must not be under discipline. The
idea is that communion and church discipline are co-extensive.
And what are his qualifications for church member-ship?
1. Practical piety. 2. Profession of religion. 3. Bap-tism.
Where is there a Baptist who wants communion
any closer than that? That such a platform is derived
from the Word of God, let us see what are the doctrines
of the text.
1. Jesus delivered His ordinance to Paul (I Cor. 11:23).
God alone is lawgiver. He ordains—churches keep ordi-nances.
2. Just what Paul received he delivered to the church.
See I Cor. 1:1 and the text.
3. Just what they received they were to keep, main-tain,
perpetuate.
4. They were to keep the ordinances as he delivered
them, in the place, in the manner and for the object
instituted.
5. Paul himself, though he had been caught up to the.A Discussion of the Lord’s Supper by B. H. Carroll – Page 3
Third Heaven, was to be followed only, as he followed
Christ. Mark the power of this last doctrine. Paul else-where
said, “Though an angel from heaven teach
any other gospel, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8).
“Teaching them to observe all things whatso-ever
I have commanded you,” were among the last
words of Jesus (Matt. 28:20). “Let God be true but
every man be a liar” (Rom. 3:4). “All flesh is as
grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of
grass. The grass withereth and the flower thereof
fadeth away; but the word of the Lord endureth
forever” (I Peter 1:24).
If there be any force in this doctrine, corroborated
by these Scriptures, why is it that some hesitate to obey
truth because so many wise, good men preach and prac-tice
error?
6. The sixth doctrine of the text is that the church
received praise, in faithfully observing God’s command-ments
(I Cor. 11:1-2).
7. That the church was condemned in making any
departure from the divine requirement (I Cor. 11:22).
As an illustration of the last two doctrines, take the
decree referred to in Acts 15:28. This decree was re-ferred
to the churches to be kept (Acts 16:4). For failing
to keep it the Savior threatened to remove the candle-stick
of one of the seven churches of Asia (Rev. 2:14).
With these seven doctrines of the text confronting
us, let us ask the following questions:
Was the church of Corinth free to substitute the pas-chal
lamb for the appointed bread and wine? Were they
free to add bitter herbs to the elements of communion?
Were they free to withhold the cup from the laity, when
the Savior had said, “All ye drink of it?” Were they free
to set the table out of the kingdom, when the Savior had
said, “I appoint unto a kingdom—to eat and to drink
at my table in my kingdom?” (Luke 22:30). Were
they free to commune to satisfy hunger and thirst, when
Paul said, “What! have ye not houses to eat and to
drink in? or despise ye the church of God?” (I Cor.
11:22). Was “the believing wife” (I Cor. 7:13) allowed
to commune with her unbelieving husband, when the
Word declares, “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord
and the cup of devils; ye cannot be partakers of
the Lord’s table and the table of devils?” Were they
free to commune as individuals or in groups, when Paul
said, “My brethren, when ye come together to eat,
tarry one for another?” (I Cor. 11:33). Were they free
to extend the communion to a man not in good stand-ing,
when God’s Word emphatically commands, “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 idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard,
or an extortioner, with such a one no not to eat?”
Has any church on earth the right to tempt a man
“to eat and drink damnation to himself?” And yet
the Word of God declared that every communicant does
this who “does not discern the Lord’s body” (I Cor.
11:29). And as spiritual things have to be “spiritually
discerned” (I Cor. 2:14), which is by faith, were they
free to invite a man to commune who had no saving
faith in Christ?
A heretic after the first and second admonition was
to be rejected (Titus 3:10), and they were commanded
to withdraw from the disorderly (II Thess. 3:6). A man
thus rejected, from whom the fellowship of the church
was withdrawn, was to be to them as “a heathen man
and a publican” (Matt. 18:17).
Now, were they to have a communion so open that
this excluded heretic could come up to the communion
table of that church from which he had been expelled?
Any right thinking mind, attentively considering the
bearing of these questions, must conclude that Almighty
God is the author of close communion.
Having read the Baptist position in the language of
President Dwight, I now submit it in the language of a
Baptist, with some of the terms defined:
“We believe the Scriptures teach that CHRISTIAN
BAPTISM is the immersion in water, of a believer, by a
qualified administrator, to show forth in a solemn and
beautiful emblem our faith in the crucified, buried and
risen Savior, with its effect in our death to sin, burial
from the world and resurrection to newness of life; that
this baptism is a prerequisite to the privileges of a church
relation, among which is the Lord’s Supper, in which
the members of the church, by the sacred use of bread
and wine are to commemorate together the dying love
of Christ; always preceded by solemn, self-examination.”
With this position before us, let us test some of the
objections urged against our practice.
Query 1st. Is the Baptist practice censurable because
it is the “Lord’s table”?
Surely they cannot be censured because they fail to
teach that it is the Lord’s table. With great emphasis
they quote Jesus as saying: “My table” (Luke 22:30).
And Paul, in calling it “the Lord’s table,” and “the
cup of the Lord” (I Cor. 10:21).
John, the first Baptist, never denied more emphati-cally
that he was the Christ than Baptists since then have
disclaimed all ownership in the Lord’s table. With re-markable
unanimity they say, “To our own private table
we cordially invite Pedo-Baptists, but God alone can
invite to His table.”
It is equally evident that they cannot be justly cen-sured
in declaring what is meant by its being the Lord’s
table. They say it is His table because—
1. He instituted it (I Cor. 11:23-25; Matt. 26:26).
2. He prescribed the elements, bread and wine.
3. He located it—-”In His kingdom,” in His church
(Luke 22:29), and compare I Corinthians 1:1 with I
Corinthians 11:22, 23.
4. He distinctly stated its object: “This do in remem-brance
of me—as oft as ye do this ye do show my
death until I come.”
5. He defined qualifications for the communicant, that.A Discussion of the Lord’s Supper by B. H. Carroll – Page 4
he must be a disciple, a -penitent believer, a baptized
man. Not only baptized, but a member of the church
and in good standing. Less than this no church of Jesus
can require. This, according to Dr. Dwight, is God’s law
of communion.
6. It is the Lord’s table, because he fixes even the
manner of observing it. Communicants must eat and
drink in a worthy manner. That decorum and solem-nity
becoming the church of God in remembering earth’s
greatest tragedy must be observed. It was no heathen
festival—no drunken orgy of Bacchus.
7. As the Lord’s table, and not a table of the church,
Jehovah left no arbitrary discretion to the church, as to
the bidding of guests, but fixed, by express and irrevo-cable
statutes, the character of the communicant. As the
church was to withhold the bread and wine from the
heretic, the heathen, the adulterer, the covetous man
and all that walked disorderly, the Lord of the Table, by
this prohibition, made the CHURCH and not the IN-DIVIDUAL
the judge of heresy, adultery, covetousness
and order.
8. It is the Lord’s table, because He alone must pre-scribe
in what the communicant must judge. The judge
cannot read the heart. In communion the Lord’s body
and blood must be discerned—spiritually discerned. Our
faith must see Him and rest in him. Without this faith
we eat and drink condemnation to ourselves, though
we be members of the church. Nor is the church to blame
if we have made credible profession of religion and in
all outward deportment carried ourselves circumspectly
and prudently. A tree may be covered with green foli-age
and yet be rotten to the core on the inside. Their
heart may be as empty of life as a blasted nut. This is a
matter between the communicant and the heart-search-ing
God. Hence, to every church member the law is,
“Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat.”
These then are some of the considerations that in-duce
Baptists to believe, teach and call it the Lord’s table.
They mean by it that Jesus instituted it, located it, pre-scribed
the elements, object of it, qualifications of com-municants,
manner of observing it, in what the churches
were to judge and in what the individual communicant.
Can any reasonable censure be attached to their con-struction
of the phrase, “the Lord’s table”?
But perhaps they censure us because of the conclu-sions
we deduce from this construction. With Christian
candor and fairness, let us examine their deduction, and
see if bigotry does not lurk in it.
The Baptist Conclusion. —As it is not our table, but
the Lord’s, it is unhallowed presumption and rebellion
for a church to violate any to these requirements of the
Master. We dare not add one. Noah, however indig-nant
at the blasphemies of the people before the flood,
dared not shut the door of the ark as long as God’s Spirit
was striving. And after God shut the door, he dared not
take in any drowning wretch through the window. While
this is not in itself a question of salvation, it is a question
of obedience to God.
Over our own table we have authority. We can set it
where we please—in the parlor, dining room or yard.
We can put on it what viands we please, invite whom
we please, and withhold invitation from any. God has
left some things to our control. As a beautiful and forc-ible
illustration of the distinction between the personal
right of the subject and the right of the sovereign, I quote
from Sir Walter Scott. King James of Scotland had sent
the English Ambassador, Lord Marmion, to be enter-tained
by the Earl of Douglas. When about to leave the
castle of Douglas, Lord Marmion said, holding out his
hand:
“Part we in friendship from your land,
And, noble Earl, receive my hand.”
But Douglas round him drew his cloak,
Folded his arms, and thus he spoke:—
“My manors, halls and bowers shall still
Be open at my sovereign’s will,
To each one whom he lists, howe’er
Unmeet to be the owners here;
My castles are my king’s alone
From turret to foundation stone,—
The hand of Douglas is his own,
And never shall in friendly grasp
The hand of such as Marmion clasp.”
But it is charged against us that we get others “to work
for us and then will not feed them—that we will not eat
with other Christians—that we deny hospitality and
Christian courtesies to Pedo-Baptists.” These are grave
charges and ought not to be lightly made. Is it true that
Baptists are dishonest, denying food to the laborer? Do
they go beyond the Pharisees, who would not eat with
publicans and sinners, and actually decline to sit down
at the same private board with other Christians? Are
they so inhospitable as to shut their doors in the face of
Pedo-Baptist guests? In the name of Almighty God I deny it,
and call for proof of that which, without proof, is slan-der.
“Oh, no!” they say, “you misunderstand us; we are
not talking about your house, your table; but you will
not invite us to the Lord’s table.” Then in the name of
fairness, why use equivocal expressions? Why array
prejudices against us by casting a reflection upon our
courtesy, hospitality and honesty? The world knows that
Baptists are behind no denomination in welcoming
guests to their homes, tables and hearthstones.
Brethren, Baptist brethren, set your table where you
will, but dare not move the Lord’s table out of the church.
Invite at your discretion to your own board, but allow
the same privilege to Almighty God. Usurp not the preroga-tive
of Jehovah. If a man is hungry, feed him from your
own table, but appease not his hunger with the sacra-mental
bread. Do not rob God that you may appear
benevolent. Upon all proper occasions show your fel-lowship
for all Christians, and your regard for the sa-.A Discussion of the Lord’s Supper by B. H. Carroll – Page 5
cred relations of husband and wife. But don’t prostitute
the Lord’s Supper for such a purpose. Lead the poor
sinner to the Savior, but dare not administer God’s holy
ordinance to him as a “means of grace.” God never in-tended
to make baptism and the Lord’s Supper con-verting
agencies.
Shall we quail before the loud clamor raised against
us? Shall unjust charges of bigotry and inhospitality co-erce
us to abandon principle? Forbid it, Almighty God!
Paralyzed be the Baptist hand that reaches that bread
and wine over one of God’s limitations, and “to the roof
of his mouth may the tongue of that Baptist cleave,”
who gives an invitation broader than the warrant of God.
The ground is perilous and borders on rebellion and
blasphemy. Listen to the Scriptures:
“Whatsoever thing I command you observe to
do it. Thou shalt not add thereto nor diminish there-from”
(Deut. 12:32). “Add not then to His work, lest
He reprove thee and thou be found a liar” (Prov.
30:6). “Teaching them to observe all things what-soever
I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:30). “If ye
love me, keep my commandments. Ye are my
friends if you do whatsoever I command you.”
Of the Pharisee, Jesus said: “In vain do they wor-ship
me, teaching for doctrines the commandments
of men. For laying aside the commandment of God
ye hold the tradition of men. Making the word of
God of none effect through your tradition” (Mark
7:7-13).
Upon the same subject Paul wrote: “Wherefore, if
ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the
world, are ye subject to ordinances after the com-mandments
and doctrines of men? Which things
have indeed a show of wisdom in will-worship and
humility, etc. Touch not, taste not, handle not, which
all are to perish with the using.” Substantially Col.
2:20-23.
In allowing a sickly sentimentality, as affectation of
charity to transport us beyond a divine requirement,
we may expect the chiding God’s prophet gave to Saul:
“Who hath required this at your hands?” Of such a
one the Lord Himself asks: “Why do you call me Lord,
Lord, and do not the things I command?” Again He
says: “Wherefore, whosoever shall break one of
these least commandments and shall teach men
so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of
heaven.”
These scriptures establish broad principles. From
them we deduce the doctrines that human traditions
respecting any ordinance of God if (a) mere will-wor-ship;
(b) impugns the authority of God; (c) makes void
His law; (d) perishes with the using; (e) that such tradi-tions
we are to touch not, taste not, handle not. (f) That
he who teaches them diminishes his importance in the
kingdom of Heaven.
If a man be on the rock Christ Jesus, that only foun-dation,
he will be saved. But if he build upon that foun-
dation wood, hay and stubble, in the fiery ordeal through
which all men’s actions must pass, his works will be burned
up and he shall suffer loss. But the man himself, if on the
rock, shall be saved, “though as it were by fire” (I
Cor. 3:11-15).
These scriptures and principles apply to Baptists as
well as others. If it is our people holding traditions and
making void the law of God, their works will be burned
up. Brethren, forget not the day of trial—the ordeal of
fire. But if Baptist principles be correct then OPEN
COMMUNION MAKES VOID THE LAW OF
GOD, in the following particulars:
1. The bread and wine are given to some who do not
even profess conversion. To those who are unbaptized.
To some who are under church censure and who have
been disciplined. As far as the subjects are concerned,
the law of God is thus made void in three specifications.
2. The object God had in view is “laid aside.” He
said, “This do in remembrance of me.” Open com-munion
invites the unconverted to commune “as a
means of grace.” Sometimes it is said, “If ever I was
converted in the world, it was in the act of commun-ing,”
thus making a mere emblem a converting agency
and glorifying an act of rebellion.
Open communion loses sight of God’s object in be-ing
administered to show fellowship for other denomi-nations.
The Savior said, “This do in remembrance
of me.” Fellowship among denominations is a great
thing, but if the shadow of our coming together darkens
the cross of Calvary, and causes us to lose sight of the
Redeemer, then, O mighty God, keep us forever apart!
Open communion is observed sometimes that hus-band
and wife, belonging to different organizations, may
eat at the same sacramental table. When two are agreed
it is well to see them walk together. The Word of God
commands the husband to love his wife even as his own
body. Let him love her, guard her from peril and make
all his faculties the servants of his love in her behalf. Let
her be dearer than all the world to him. But, O hus-band,
exalt her not above God! Why should “a man’s
foes be those of his own household?” Thy wife may be
wondrously fair, but though the orange bloom be fresh
in her hair, let her not be obtruded before a dying Sav-ior!
In communion He says, “Remember me”—not your
wife. Tis not the time to think of her. Scourged from our
hearts in that hallowed hour be every image but that
dear face, “marred” for us “more than that of any of
the sons of men.”
3. Open communion makes void the law of God in
setting His table out of His kingdom. He said: “I ap-point
you a kingdom, to eat and to drink, at my
table, in my kingdom.” Open communion gives the
bread and wine to some who have never been baptized,
or who have been excluded from the church. For when
a man is excluded from one denomination, he has only
to join another, and then come to that table from which
he had been expelled..A Discussion of the Lord’s Supper by B. H. Carroll – Page 6
That emphatic triple prohibition of Paul, “Touch not,
taste not, handle not,” is far more pertinent to this
subject than to the drinking of ardent spirits. It has no
direct reference to whiskey-drinking, but primarily re-fers
to something even more obnoxious to God’s law,
i.e., to partaking of “ordinances after the commandments
and traditions of man.” It is a down-right close com-munion
text.
If, as they confidently believe, the Baptists hold the
traditions, it says to all Pedo-Baptists desiring to approach
our communion table, “Touch not, taste not, handle
not.” If, as we confidently believe, they are making void
God’s law by their traditions, it comes like the point of
a two-edged sword to the heart of the open communion
Baptist, “TOUCH NOT, TASTE NOT, HANDLE
NOT.” We therefore cherish the conviction that no just
censure attaches to the Baptist practice because it is the
Lord’s table. Let us then, in our search for “Baptist big-otry,”
examine another query:
Are Baptists bigoted because they make baptism a
prerequisite to communion? Let an appeal be made to
the Word of God. From that holy book we learn:
1. That baptism was first appointed and practiced.
The first baptizer never saw the communion table. Jesus
Himself was baptized, then made and baptized disciples,
long before He Himself commanded or appointed com-munion
for others. See John 3:22,23 and 4:1; Matt.
26:26.
2. First in the commission. “Go teach all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son
and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things
whatsoever I have commanded you” Matt. 28:20.
Here the order of the commandment is (a) make dis-ciples,
(b) baptize them, (c) teach them to commune.
For communion is one of the things He had commanded
them to observe.
3. We find that the apostles so understood this order by
their practice. Take the first instance, with which all the
rest harmonize. On the day of Pentecost Peter preached
a sermon. The people were convicted and said, “What
must we do?” The apostle replied, “Repent and be bap-tized,”
etc. Then the record says, “They that gladly
received the word were baptized,” and then adds,
“They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doc-trine
and fellowship and breaking of bread,” etc.
Acts 2:38-40. Even a child can see that the people were
baptized before they communed.
4. In instructing the churches the connection shows that
baptism was first. Take one instance as an illustration—
that one most relied on by open communionists. It is
that much quoted Scripture, “Let a man examine him-self
and so let him eat.” By this Scripture they seek to
prove that the individual and not the church must judge.
Ten thousand times it has been quoted in triumph, as if
it were the “end of the controversy.”
Let us fairly test this invincible (?) argument. Unto
whom was this language addressed? To everybody? Where
do we find the language, “Let a man examine him-self
and so let him eat”? It is found in I Cor. 11:28.
What do we know about these Corinthians to whom
Paul was writing? Turn to Acts 18:1-11: “After these
things Paul came to Corinth—and reasoned in the
synagogue—and Crispus, the chief ruler of the syna-gogue,
believed on the Lord with all his house;
and many of the Corinthians hearing believed and
were baptized.” This is the account of their baptism.
Now mark the beginning of that letter in which the
expression occurs: “Paul, called to be an apostle of
Jesus Christ, through the will of God, and Sosthenes
our brother, unto the church of God, which is at
Corinth” etc. This shows that they were organized into
a church. Finally, examine carefully the very chapter in
which the expression occurs, and you will find (I Cor.
11:18,20,22,23) that when assembled together, in one
place, in church capacity, then, and only then, it is said
to these baptized Corinthians, “Let a man examine
himself and so let him eat of that bread and drink
of that cup.” It is a perversion of the Word of God to
make this justify open communion.
5. The scriptures make baptism the initiatory ordinance. It
is the emblem of the beginning of spiritual life. Com-munion
is the emblem of the nutrition of that life. Shall
we reverse the analogy of nature and adopt the absur-dity
that food must be given to the non-existent?
6. There is some analogy between the Lord’s supper
and the Jewish Passover; and some analogy between
circumcision and baptism, though baptism did not come
in the place of circumcision. The Jewish law was ex-plicit
(Exodus 12:48): “No uncircumcised man must
eat thereof,” and following the analogy, and in the lan-guage
of a distinguished Methodist, “No unbaptized man
must eat of the Lord’s Supper.”
All Baptists make these arguments from the Scrip-tures;
but they do not stand alone in thus interpreting
the Word of God. It is common ground, for, ALL DE-NOMINATIONS
TEACH THAT BAPTISM MUST
PRECEDE COMMUNION. And every denomination
determines for itself what is baptism. I submit, as a fair
sample of a great mass of testimony, the following:
Wall (noted Pedo-Baptist historian), in his History of
Infant Baptism Part II, Chapter 19, says: “No church ever
gave the communion to any persons before they were
baptized. Among all the absurdities that ever were held,
none ever maintained that any person should partake
of the communion before he was baptized.”
To the same effect speaks Dr. Doddridge, Lectures,
page 511: “As far as our knowledge of primitive antiq-uity
teaches, it is certain that no unbaptized person ever
received the Lord’s Supper.”
Note again the testimony of Dr. Timothy Dwight,
President of Yale College: “It is an indispensable quali-fication
for this ordinance that the candidate for com-munion
be a member of the visible church of Christ, in
full standing. By this I intend that he shall be a person.A Discussion of the Lord’s Supper by B. H. Carroll – Page 7
of piety; that he should have made a public profession
of religion; and that he should have been baptized.”
The only scriptural grounds on which any minister
can invite other denominations to commune is that they
are members of the church of Christ and baptized. The
denial of this necessarily precludes communion. As
proof, I submit the following quotations from Dr. O.
Fisher, the great Methodist baptismal debater:
“The Baptists, setting themselves up for the only right
ones holding all others as out of the church, because
unbaptized, they themselves are after all proved to be
just what they have held others to be, unbaptized, as
they certainly have neither the mode nor design of bap-tism,
and have only a part of its subjects. And it may be
seriously questioned whether the baptism administered
by our Baptist brethren, holding the views they do re-specting
it, ought to be received as valid by the other
evangelical churches, and therefore—-whether it be truly
and strictly lawful to hold communion with them, even where
they are willing” (Christian Sacraments, section—-History of
Immersion—pages 184,185).
This then is the true issue: What is a visible church of
Christ? What is baptism? Never, while remains the tes-timony
of Mark, that “John baptized the people in the
river of Jordan”; never, while Enon, the place of much
water, remains in the Bible; never, while it is said “that
Philip and the Eunuch both went down into the
water”; never while the record of our blessed Savior’s
baptism remains, concerning whom it is said, “When
he was baptized He came up straightway out of
the water,” and with whom, Paul says, “we are bur-ied
in baptism”; never, while these remain, will Bap-tists
concede that moistening the forehead from a pitcher
is baptism; and so never can invite with consistency the
Pedo-Baptists to communion with them.
Since the great principles which underlie the com-munion
question are held in common by all denomina-tions,
to all the fair-minded and candid I submit the
question: Is it right to attribute our practice to bigotry?
Let a great Methodist historian answer. Hibbard, in his
History of Methodism, says: “It is but just to remark that in
one principle the Baptist and Pedo-Baptist churches
agree. They both agree in rejecting from communion at
the table of the Lord, and in denying the right of church
fellowship to all who have not been baptized. Valid bap-tism
they consider as essential to constitute visible church
membership. This also we hold. The only question, then,
that divides us is: What is essential to valid baptism?
The Baptists, in passing a sweeping sentence of disfran-chisement
upon all the Christian churches, have only
acted upon a principle held in common with all other
Christian churches, viz: That baptism is essential to
church membership. They have denied our baptism and,
as unbaptized persons, we have been excluded from
their table. That they greatly err in their views of Chris-tian
baptism we, of course, believe. But according to
their view of baptism, they certainly are consistent in
restricting this their communion. We would not be un-derstood
as passing a judgment of approval upon their
course; but we may say their views of baptism force them
upon the ground of strict communion and herein they
act upon the same principles as other churches. They ad-mit
only those whom they deem baptized persons to
the communion table. Of course they must be their own
judges as to what baptism is. It is evident that according
to our views we can admit them to our communion; but
with their views of baptism, it is equally evident they
can never reciprocate the courtesy; and the charge of
close communion is no more applicable to the Baptists than
to us; insomuch that the question of church member-ship
is determined by as liberal principles as it is with
any other Protestant churches—so far, I mean, as the
present subject is concerned, i.e., it is determined by
valid baptism.”
Will my Methodist brethren allow me to call special
attention to this extract? They have no greater man than
Hibbard, of New York, and very few of his equal in can-dor.
The points to which attention is especially directed
are as follows:
1. He says that Baptists, in determining church mem-bership,
are governed by as liberal principles as any
other church. No bigotry there.
2. The charge of close communion is no more appli-cable
to them than to Pedo-Baptist churches. No big-otry
there.
3. In making baptism precede communion, they act
on principles shared by all Pedo-Baptist churches. No
bigotry there.
4. The Baptists are consistent in their restricted com-munion.
No illiberality there.
5. They must be their own judges as to what baptism
is.
6. The only question that divides us is, What is valid
baptism?
Will our brethren of other denominations follow this
magnanimous leader and do us common justice at least?
And since they hold baptism as an indispensable pre-requisite
to communion, I have another question to ask
them: Is it right or fair to quote Robert Hall, the open
communion Baptist, against us, since they despise his
premise? Do they really respect his position? Listen to
his words, and as they love his conclusion, let them ac-cept
his premise. Either retain both or reject both. He
says:
“We certainly make no scruple in informing a Pedo-Baptist
candidate that we consider him as unbaptized,
and disdain all concealment on the subject. If we sup-posed
there were a necessary, unalterable connection
between the two positive Christian institutes, so that
none were qualified for communion who had not been
previously baptized, we could not hesitate for a moment
respecting the refusal of Pedo-Baptists, without renounc-ing
the principles of our denomination.” Vol. I, pages
403 and 445, Hall’s Works..A Discussion of the Lord’s Supper by B. H. Carroll – Page 8
In other places he argues for open communion on
the ground of human weakness, their weakness in the
faith. Thus we see that Robert Hall receives Pedo-Bap-tists
to the communion only on two grounds: (1) That
baptism is not essential to communion. (2) In conde-scension
to their weakness.
Let us propound yet other queries: Are Baptists cen-surable
in making the church and not the individual the
judge of external qualification? By external qualifica-tions
I mean a credible profession of religion, baptism,
church connection and orderly walk.
When God sent out His ministers to disciple the na-tions,
do you suppose that Paul or John or Peter ever
left it to the candidates to say what was baptism, or for
what purpose they were baptized? Were a group of con-verts
left free to determine the form of church govern-ment?
Or did the apostles go out discipling according
to the Savior’s method, baptizing as He as was baptized,
and organizing churches according to the Divine model?
Let candor and common sense answer. But whatever
may be the scriptural argument, as long as their posi-tion
is the same as ours, let them pass no censures.
Just here the question will arise in the Baptist mind,
Why this late war on the communion question? It is not
the ancient battleground. There are men living, nearly
old enough to remember when communion with Bap-tists
was never sought—when Baptists were not accred-ited
worthy to commune at their table. Stripes and fag-ots
have given place to kisses and embraces.
Again the question recurs, growing mightier and more
massive from every consideration of the past, Why is
the battleground shifted, and the weapons of warfare
changed? Baptists believe it is because Pedo-Baptists
have been driven to the wall on the baptismal question.
They are profoundly conscious that the young convert,
unbiased by prejudice, finds in his Bible that the Savior
was immersed. That he ought to follow Christ. And all
the power of childish associations, and all the memo-ries
of father and mother are not sufficient to make this
convert believe in infant baptism. He wants to be bap-tized
for himself, and upon a profession of his own faith.
How shall he be hindered?
By presenting to his heart, all aglow with the fresh-ness
of love, close communion all invested with horror.
By darkening it with epithets and clothing it in mantles
of bigotry and intolerance. What community has not its
adept in this work? But after Hibbard and men like him
have spoken, surely none but the ignorant, or those
blinded by prejudice, or those thoroughly carried away
by the popular clamor for charity, will continue the work
of misrepresentation and darkening counsel.
But are Baptists censurable for refusing to make this
ordinance a means of exhibiting Christian fellowship
for other denominations? Are we driven to such straits
to show our Christian love, that an ordinance of God
must be perverted? Is the arena for the exhibition of
Christian charity so circumscribed as to warrant such a
report? Is the field of Christian co-operation so narrow
that we must have recourse to such an expedient? How
many times must it be repeated, that in communion the
local congregation of Baptist believers, assembled to-gether
in one place as a church, as a bride, “remembers
Jesus, the absent husband, and shows forth His death
until He comes”? All other objects of communion are
foreign to God’s one, original purpose. In prayer, by
the bedside of the dying, in life’s multiform battles, we
can evidence our love and Christian fellowship.
BUT DOES NOT CLOSE COMMUNION
UNCHRISTIANIZE OTHER
DENOMINATIONS?
No true Baptist ever believed it or taught it. Baptists,
alone, of all denominations, can clearly show that their
standard works teach that neither baptism nor commun-ion
is essential to salvation. Their uniform doctrine has
been salvation essential to baptism. They have ever been
taught that “whosoever believeth in the Lord Jesus Christ
hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condem-nation.”
That even out of Rome, “the mother of har-lots,”
will God call many of His people.
But one single fact settles this question forever. Here
on my left sits a brother whom we have just received.
He is adjudged a Christian by the unanimous vote of
the church. He is to be baptized this evening. And yet,
until baptized, our communion table is closed against
him. We believe him to be as much baptized as any
Pedo-Baptist. Shall we allow more privileges to other denomi-nations
than to those converts received for our baptism?
But more to the point: Does our close communion
un-christianize this brother, who, by the undivided voice
of the church, has been declared a Christian? If our rea-son
has not lost its balance, we must answer, No! There
can be no sectarian bigotry here. Where then in our
practice shall it be found?
Is there any force in that threadbare statement—that
hackneyed phrase——“WE SHALL COMMUNE TO-GETHER
IN HEAVEN, WHY NOT ON EARTH?”
This is one of the sophisms referred to. All great logi-cians,
Aristotle, Hedge, Whately and others, unite in
anathematizing the sophist. Surely if an attorney-at-law
is disgraced who willfully uses a sophism to gain a case,
no man can be held guiltless who uses one in religious
controversy. Under the fair surface of this much quoted
and popular expression there lurks a fallacy. But little
attention is necessary to point it out. It is the use of the
same word in both premise and conclusion, when the
word has a very different meaning in the one form from
what it does in the other. It is the word COMMUN-ION.
The premise is—“We shall all commune together
in Heaven.” The conclusion is—“Therefore we should
all commune together on earth.” The communion re-ferred
to on earth is a communion of bread and wine.
The communion in Heaven referred to is a spiritual com-munion.
No one expects a communion table of bread
and wine to be set in heaven, because such communion.A Discussion of the Lord’s Supper by B. H. Carroll – Page 9
expires with the coming of the Savior. He says, “Ye do
show the Lord’s death until He come.” The earthly com-munion
table has fulfilled its mission when Shiloh comes
again.
In order for premise and conclusion to harmonize
and the one to necessarily flow from the other, the mean-ing
of the word must be the same in both. If our Pedo-Baptist
brethren say, “We shall all hold spiritual com-munion
in Heaven, therefore we ought to have spiritual
communion on earth,” we accept the conclusion, and
claim that we do have with all Christians Christian fel-lowship
and spiritual communion, as the whole world
knows.
But if they say, “All denominations will gather around
one communion table of bread and wine in Heaven,
just such one as we have here, therefore the earthly prac-tice
should conform to the heavenly,” we reply:
(1) The premise is false, as it is not in evidence from
the Bible that there will be such a table set.
(2) Even if the premise is true, the conclusion does
not follow, because in Heaven, if we ever get there, we
shall all have one faith and shall have left behind us in
the ashes of the great conflagration those differences
which necessitate different tables here.
Thus the emptiness and fallacy of this redoubted
sophism is made manifest; but let us put the question to
them: Do they receive all to their communion table
whom the Lord proposes to save? Is this their law of
communion? All whom Jesus receives? They make no
pretension to it. Brethren of other denominations, all of
you who love justice and truth, I make my appeal to
you—Is that man guiltless before God who, to the detri-ment
of another denomination, perpetrates this soph-ism?
If to pervert Scripture be criminal, how much more
to misuse the heavenly glory?
Is there any force in the objection that close commun-ion
separates members of the same family from the same sacra-mental
table? In the first place, if close communion is of
divine appointment, it is not the separating power. God
said to the Jews, “Your sins have separated between you
and me.” It was not the law that separated, but sin. Law
was ordained to life. Its purpose was to bind to God.
But transgression may make that which was ordained
to life a means of death. See Paul’s argument—Romans
7. There is, however, a secondary sense in which it di-vides
families or arrays them against each other, so that
“a man’s foes are those of his own household.” But what-ever
of force there is in this objection against restricted
communion applies with equal power against the Chris-tian
religion.
Our Savior says: “Think not that I am come to
send peace on the earth: I come not to send peace,
but a sword. For I am come to set a man at vari-ance
against his father, and the daughter against
her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her
mother-in-law. And a man’s foes shall be thy of his
own household. He that loveth father or mother
more than me is not worthy of me: and he that
loveth son or daughter more than me is not wor-thy
of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and
followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” See Mat-thew
10:34-39.
This was the very objection the enemy used against
the Christian religion: “They are come here also who
have turned the world upside down.”
In these latter days religion is wounded in the house
of its friends. Principle is sacrificed to convenience and
pleasure, and family relations are exalted above God’s
Word. The dignity and majesty of law is sold out to
gratify human passions and to conciliate the world. How
often you hear it: “Join that church where you can en-joy
your religion the best.” “You had better go along
with your wife or your husband or father.” As if our
enjoyment had anything to do with it. O God, send thy
Spirit to impress us, until we ask no longer, “What will I
enjoy? What will please my husband or wife?” but
“What wilt thou have me to do?”
In the next place let us inquire: IS CLOSE COM-MUNION
A BAR TO CHRISTIAN UNION? I
know that this charge is made all over the land. Papers
that profess to be non-sectarian thus covertly thrust at
our beloved principles. The pulpit, the press, the par-lor,
and the kitchen unite in the declaration. The im-pression
is made that if it were not for “those bigoted,
close communion Baptists,” the Protestant world would
be a unit. Now, is there a shadow of truth in this as-sumption?
If facts ever did explode a fallacy, they have
burst this air-bubble. Facts! Yes, well-established, stub-born
facts give it the lie.
If close communion were the bar to Christian union,
then where there is no close communion there would
be Christian union. But let one solitary instance stand
up as a colossal monument sublimely protesting against
this phantom of the brain. Let it be written in broad
capitals over every communion table:
CHARLES H. SPURGEON WAS DEBARRED
FROM THE BRITISH EVANGELICAL ALLIANCE
AND IN CONSEQUENCE FROM THE WORLD’S
EVANGELICAL ALLIANCE!
Yes, the world’s greatest and most influential open
communion Baptist, a man whose pulpit efficiency,
whose height and depth of influence have had no equal
since the Apostle Paul, this man representing the open
communion Baptist churches of England had no part in
the far-famed World’s Evangelical Alliance, while J. L.
M. Curry, the silver-tongued orator of the close com-munion
Baptists, not only held in that august body an
honorable position, but made before it the grandest
speech delivered at its late session in the United States!
“O Tempora! O Mores!” Did Spurgeon’s open com-munion
sentiments save him? No. Do they exempt him
from Pedo-Baptist onslaught? Nay, verily. Exists there
as much Christian union between him and the open
communion churches and the Pedo-Baptists of England,.A Discussion of the Lord’s Supper by B. H. Carroll – Page 10
as between the Pedo-Baptists and the close communion
Baptist churches of America! Most certainly not. The
fact is, open communion forfeits rather than secures
Pedo-Baptist regard.
In going to the table of another denomination, a Bap-tist
makes the fatal concession that it is the church of
Jesus Christ and its members baptized. Making this, it is
his duty to join it. The assumption that close communion
is the bar to Christian union is as unsubstantial as an
idle dream, a hallucination lighter than a gulf cloud.
But I have yet other questions to urge: Do Pedo-Bap-tists
regard Baptists as acting conscientiously in their
communion views? If not, how dare they invite to God’s
table those whom they regard as unprincipled and
unconscientious? If they do, how can they have the face
to ask a fellow Christian to violate the promptings of his
conscience? Upon which horn of the dilemma do they
desire to be impaled?
Yet again: As they admit our baptism and church
membership, and can therefore, as far as that is con-cerned,
invite us to commune with them without viola-tion
of conscience, and as we do not admit their bap-tism
or church connection, and cannot therefore invite
them without violation of conscience, where is our illib-erality?
Where is the bigotry? The principle on which
both proceed is precisely the same.
Let me ask the fair-minded and candid among them
to show me a way out of this dilemma: Shall I invite
them to the communion as baptized? This stultifies my
principles. Shall I invite them as unbaptized? They them-selves
regard this as rebellion against God. What kind
of an invitation would they have, an honest or a dishon-est
one? If it be dishonest, who shall answer for us to
God? If honest, will they accept? How much would they
be flattered with such an invitation as this, and how much
would it recommend us:
“Brethren Pedo-Baptists, we do not regard you as
baptized; we agree with you that baptism is necessary
to communion, but respecting your views more than
our conscience or the Word of God, we ask you to come
along with us to the communion table. We do not re-gard
it as appointed to show Christian fellowship, nor
to unite husband and wife, nor as a means of grace, but
in deference to your superior judgment we yield these
matters.” Who of them would accept the invitation thus
given?
And now to my own brethren I turn, with the ques-tion:
DOES OPEN COMMUNION HAVE A TEN-DENCY
TO PROSPER AND PERPETUATE BAP-TIST
CHURCHES? As an answer,
(a) Look to the melancholy history of John Bunyan’s
church. He stood out with Robert Hall as one of the
champions of open communion. He believed, preached
and practiced it. How did it affect his church? After his
death, Pedo-Baptists claimed that they had the right to
vote as well as to commune. As none could consistently
deny it, they exercised that right, and for a hundred
years put Pedo-Baptist preachers in old John Bunyan’s
pulpit and pastorate. From 1688 to 1788, no Baptist
preacher was pastor. And when the last of these pastors
was converted to the Baptist faith, he was retained only
on the condition that he would not preach on baptism.
He was gagged in his own house. Yes, open com-munion
throttled him and made him keep back part of
the counsel of God. In 1700, and again in 1724, they
refused to grant letters to their members desiring to unite
with close communion churches.
Open communion is to Baptists what the Trojan horse
made by Greeks was to Troy. It pretended to be an of-fering
to the immortal gods. But it was made so large
that the walls had to be broken down for its reception,
and in its cavernous interior many of the bravest Greeks
were concealed.
(b) Look next to the fading glories of the Free-will
Baptists, and last (c) to the shameful downfall of Dr.
Pentecost. But yesterday he cast a shadow across a con-tinent—
now none so poor to do him honor.
The prosperity of Spurgeon’s church is attributable
to the fact that their open communion has never had a
chance (and could not in his lifetime) to be carried to its
legitimate consequences. Wait until, like Bunyan, he has
been sleeping one hundred years, then read the history.
Again: DOES OPEN COMMUNION ENABLE
BAPTISTS TO MAKE CONVERTS MORE RAP-IDLY
OF PEDO-BAPTISTS? As a test, take an in-stance:
John Foster, of London, left his church to accept
the call of the Independent Church at Piner’s Hall. But
though for years their pastor, he never baptized one of
them. They, of course, concluded that if he would ac-cept
the pastoral care of their church, they were near
enough right. If you ever want to convert Pedo-Bap-tists,
make no compromise with their errors.
But does the avowal of open communion sentiments
and the most earnest invitations for intercommunion
ever secure much of it?
No Pedo-Baptist regularly communed with Robert
Hall’s open communion church. It existed in name al-most
altogether. Inter-communion with Spurgeon’s
church was infrequent, and never, except in the case of
isolated individuals. It is beyond my knowledge if there
was ever any church communion in his case. It is known
that Pedo-Baptists do not throng the tables of the Free-will
Baptists. And how long and how far did they follow
the misguided Pentecost? It is either a fruitless theory,
or the fruits are apples from Sodom for Baptists. I de-sire
to stand by the old landmark today and lift a voice
of warning to my brethren—-OPEN COMMUNION
IS THE ENTERING WEDGE OF DEATH TO
OUR CHURCHES.
The kiss of intercommunion is as the kiss of Judas,
and their embrace the embrace of death. In preference
give us back the fagot, the dungeon and the martyr fires.
These were the portions of Baptists not many years ago.
No Pedo-Baptist denomination sought communion with.A Discussion of the Lord’s Supper by B. H. Carroll – Page 11
us them. Read the history of ecclesiastical affairs in the
reign of Elizabeth, and since that time. If my statement
is questioned, let me be put to the proof.
What, then, should be done with the Baptist minister who
preaches and practices open communion? If he be an Apollos
in eloquence, a Rothschild in wealth, or a Jesse Mercer
in influence, let his name be blotted from our records.
He costs us far too much to retain him. We cannot pay
the price of existence for the honor of having him among
us.
What shall be done with a private member who practices
open communion? If he be sound in the faith in other par-ticulars,
kindly admonish him and have patience with
him, that you may gain your brother. Show him how it
is far better to comply with the genius and rules of his
church. Bear with him. But if he persists, the welfare of
the church imperatively demands his expulsion. He is
walking disorderly. Let the fellowship of the church be
withdrawn from him. If he is sincere, if he is conscien-tious
and determined in his practice, his common sense,
as well as our discipline, will show him that the Baptist
church is no place for him. If the persists for popular
effect, for any unworthy, time-serving motive, he is un-worthy
of membership in any church. Politics as well as
religion might well unite in the prayer, “From all trim-mers,
Good Lord, deliver us!”
Those of our brethren who are Baptists upon all other
points, and simply have doubts upon the communion
question, and who do not purpose practicing open com-munion,
nor propagating it, but can conscientiously
comply with the church regulations, had better remain
in the Baptist church, because (1) in going to another
church they do not secure open communion, since by
going they lose Baptist communion and (2) in joining a
Pedo-Baptist organization they will have to endorse and
support many things obnoxious to their faith.
It certainly is passing strange that for the sake of any-thing
so empty of practical good as open communion, a
man will give up his convictions—
(1) That immersion alone is baptism.
(2) That believers only are subjects of baptism.
(3) That the church of Jesus Christ is a democracy.
and now in all kindness let me once more impress
upon the minds of my brethren THE SIN OF OPEN
COMMUNION. At the bar of God’s truth I impeach
it of sin and of treason, because—
(1) It violates the law of God making it a church ordi-nance.
They set their table “out of the Kingdom.”
(2) It is a sin, because it gives the bread and wine to
the unconverted.
(3) It is a sin because given to the unbaptized.
(4) I impeach it of the sin of substitution. God’s rea-son
for communion is superseded, and it is received to
show Christian fellowship and to unite husband and
wife.
(5) It is treason, in that it makes void the law of disci-pline.
(6) It is sin in being used “as a means of grace.”
(7) It is a sin in that it seeks the destruction of Baptist
churches.
(8) It is a sin, in that it is founded upon a sickly senti-mentality,
an affected charity, and upon fallacies and
sophisms, and teems with glaring inconsistencies. In all
the universe of created things, animate and inanimate,
it has no counterpart. It stands before us like
Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.
“Thou, O King, sawest and behold a great im-age.
This great image, whose brightness was ex-cellent,
stood before thee; And the form thereof
was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold,
his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his
thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron
and part of clay.”
Such is its picture, and, as in the case of that other
image set up by Nebuchadnezzar, the whole world is
called upon to fall down and worship it, and “wonder at
the beast with a great admiration.” This luminous, this
terrible image! Who can stand before it?
“Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out with-out
hands, which smote the image upon its feet,
that were of iron and clay, (which could not cleave
to one another), and brake them in pieces. Then
was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver and the
gold, broken to pieces together, and became like
the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the
wind carried them away, that no place was found
for them: and the stone that smote the image be-came
a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.”
So the truth of God smites the great image of open
communion upon its earthen foundation, and shivers
into countless fragments its incoherent particles.

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