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Taking Communion Seriously
In the following e-mail exchange, the e-mailer's comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.
Regarding your contacts and the communion issue.
Like you stated, Baptists do practice "open communion" as a general rule. However, this is not the case with the Fundamental Independent Baptists. I've been associated with them off and on for years and their rule for communion, and they're really insistent upon conformity, is that communion is for the local church ONLY (closed) or for members of other Fundamental Independent Baptist Church of "like faith."
These Baptists take the communion rather seriously. 1 Cor., Ch 11, vrs 25-34, is their basis. Strictly closed communion, of the local assembly, and for those that have examined themselves.
While I lived in Massachusetts, my family and I attended one of these churches. The pastor there took a special liking to communion and probably went a little further that any church you've ever see. Even I have not seen such dedication and seriousness by a pastor to this issue since I left there.
His communion services were just that, entire services, though not the duration as we're accustomed to seeing at regular services. His were usually on a Sunday night, always closed, and a very solemn event. He would start about a week prior teaching and informing the congregation of what the communion was and how we should approach it. It was a time prior to communion that the congregation was to examine themselves and work out any personal issues with others. He placed a special emphasis on forgiveness of others and stressed the importance of taking the communion with a clean conscience not holding any grudges against anyone as was personally possible. The service was very low-key and quiet. It was always done via candle light with very soft organ music accompanying.
In this I could find no fault and admired the man for his heart in the matter was most evident. This pastor seemed to walk in accordance with what he taught on every issue that I found.
I could go on further regarding this but what I've said is most important to them.
Thank you or the info. Very interesting. I will agree that whether open or closed, communion should be taken very seriously. That's one reason why I don't like churches that have it every week. Partaking that often can easily make it seem "routine." I personally prefer once a month, although my current church has it once a quarter. Just curious, how often did the Baptist church have it that you discuss?
I believe the church had it (communion) about every 6 or so weeks. There were several factors that played, i.e. Pastor's schedule, visiting missionary, etc, etc. One a quarter seems a little long in my estimation.
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