Home > Brandenburg, Lord's Supper > Why Closed Communion?

Why Closed Communion?

September 20, 2006

I don’t want to insult your intelligence. I know that the controversy in the topic of communion is the closed, close, and open issue. Controversy has built in heat, hence interest. Who doesn’t want interest in what he writes? And then on one of these hot button subjects, pride could get involved. “I have the best things to say on controversial matters. What I have to say or write will settle the issue.” Doesn’t sound like love is abounding more and more. So, to start I don’t want this to be to stir interest or to write the last word on it. With that being said, I think I’m right in my position, but that will be for you to judge.

Our church once practiced close, that is, we allowed those from churches of like faith and practice to participate with us when visiting. During that period, I was under conviction every time for opening the Table to others outside our church. I thought I was wrong. Why didn’t I change? A few reasons. First, I think it was because I hadn’t studied enough to prove the closed position. Second, I didn’t want to hurt people’s feelings. Third, I assumed that Paul partook when he visited his churches. Fourth, I didn’t think it mattered enough. However, I was still under conviction every time. I’m telling you that now, but I subconsciously didn’t feel they were enough reasons to change.

What convinced me of closed was 1 Corinthians 10:16, 17. Since becoming persuaded, I have been challenged on that several times, and it still works for me in conjunction with a few other texts.

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

The bread is the communion (koinonia, “fellowship”) of the body of Christ. Only the body of Christ fellowships at the Lord’s Table. If we practice open or close, we bring people outside of the body into the Lord’s Table. The Lord’s Table, however, is the fellowship of the body of Christ. That’s it. Close and open involve more than the body of Christ, therefore, they do not obey this verse.

This starts with the definition of the body of Christ. That was established in 1 Corinthians 12:27.

Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

The church at Corinth was the body of Christ. I do not want to confuse the Scriptural understanding of the body of Christ with my practice of the Lord’s Table. I do not want to pervert the right view of fellowship. The Lord’s Table is a communion of each church, not of all believers. I do not want to devalue church membership. We worship God at the Lord’s Table and I want to regulate my worship based upon what God said in His Word. He says that a local church is the body of Christ.

The ordinances were delivered to the local church. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:2:

[K]eep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.

They are church ordinances. If the church is local only, then the Table should be limited to only church members. By including non-church members, we are redefining the church. Misunderstanding the church dishonors God and causes many related problems. The church is designed to keep the truth, so people better know what it is. The ordinances were delivered to the church, so should be exclusive to the church.

What about Paul at Troas in Acts 20? He wasn’t a member there.

When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed (Acts 20:11).

We cannot be sure what “broken bread” is in Acts 20. It may be a meal. Since it is inconclusive, we should follow the clear passage in 1 Corinthians 10. If “broken bread” is the Lord’s Table in Acts 20, then what was Paul doing with a ship full of unbelieving sailors in Acts 27?

33 Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing. 34 Wherefore I pray you to take some meat: for this is for your health: for there shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you. 35 And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat. 36 Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat. 37 And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls. 38 And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, and cast out the wheat into the sea.

Was Paul encouraging unbelievers to take the Lord’s Table with him? Of course not. So “breaking bread” is not always the Lord’s Supper; sometimes it is a meal.

With the absence of any other reason for close communion, we should follow the clear teaching; interpret the less plain in light of the plain. We should practice closed communion. We should exclude the Lord’s Table from everyone except those in the membership of our own church.

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Categories: Brandenburg, Lord's Supper
  1. September 20, 2006 at 7:07 pm

    Now that I realize my conclusions on various passages in the book of Acts were probably wrong, I becoming more swayed by the idea of Closed Communion.

    Curious, why did you remove the page that identified which Hammer was which? I find it easier to relate to the poster when I know it is Kent or Jeff or Dave – because sometimes it helps me see where he is coming from, and sometimes it is just personal – easier to relate to a particular individual than an unknown entity.

  2. September 20, 2006 at 9:39 pm

    The pages are still there 🙂 we just can’t see them. I was tinkering with some settings and just plain messed it up. Now we have to wait for our technical help to have the time to fix my mess.

    And it’s always harder to fix a mess that was made by someone else, so I’m sure the technician is not really looking forward to figuring out what I messed up.

    Hopefully, we’ll get it fixed soon. In the meantime, Sledge is Jeff (normally posts on Mondays); Hammer Time is Kent (normally posts on Wednesdays); and Mallet Factor is Dave (normally posts on Fridays). So you’ll know who’s ahead or behind if you don’t get pounded on one of those days!

  3. September 22, 2006 at 3:48 pm

    I was wondering, since the proof for closed communion hinges on who the book of I Corinthians was written to, what you do with this…

    Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
    2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: I Cor 1:1-2

  4. September 22, 2006 at 5:59 pm

    Maybe I’m crazy, but I understand the “with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord” to be a reference to the “called to be saints,” not a reference to “all” as the recipients of the letter.

    In other words, the members of the church of God at Corinth were “called to be saints” along with everyone else that calls upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.” To continue thinking out loud: the phrase “them that are sanctified . . . called to be saints, with all . . .” is simply a description of the church of God at Corinth and that church was the recipient of the letter.

    Any thoughts?

  5. September 22, 2006 at 8:31 pm

    The church at Corinth are not the only people on the planet called to be saints. People are called to be saints every place.

    If there were such a thing as a universal assembly, hypothetically, when do they gather for the Lord’s Table? God didn’t deliver the ordinance to the nebulous, invisible something-or-other, but to something that actually would practice it, which is only local. And, of course, 1 Corinthians 10:16, 17 says the “body,” and the only place to define “body” is 12:27. When he said “ye,” as in, “ye are the body,” he was speaking to those at Corinth, because he would have said “we” if they were all saints everywhere to whom he was speaking.

    I appreciate bringing up something like this. I would rather talk about it.

    BY THE WAY, EVERYONE, NOTICE HOW THAT WE TALK ABOUT THE BIBLE AND GET INTO WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT THINGS, UNLIKE THE NEW-EVANGELICALS AND PSEUDO-FUNDAMENTALISTS, THE LIKE THAT WE SEE OVER AT SHARPER-IRON, WHO ARE LESS CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS AND THE EXPOSITION OF IT. THEY ARE MORE INTO LABELING AND MARGENALIZING OTHERS AND THEN CONGRATULATING THEMSELVES IN A VERY INSECURE WAY. I DON’T FIND THEM ABLE TO RIGHTLY DIVIDE SCRIPTURE, AND THEY ARE NOT THAT INTERESTED IN SORTING THROUGH WHAT IT SAYS AND THEN DOING IT. THEY WANT TO FIGURE WHO IS IN WHAT GROUP OR WHAT CROWD—THE A, B, OR C GROUP—AND THEN ARGUE LIKE HORMONALLY-CHALLENGED TEENAGERS OVER HOW MUCH LIBERTY THEY SHOULD HAVE. THEY ARE THE “LOOK-FOR-THE-LOOPHOLE” CROWD, IT SEEMS. THEY SAY THEY DON’T LIKE PERSONALITY WORSHIP, I.E. HYLES, BUT THEY HAVE AT LEAST AS MUCH PERSONALITY WORSHIP OF THEIR OWN “GURUS.” I REALIZE THIS LAST PARAGRAPH IS OFF THREAD, BUT THE KIND OF THING WE ARE DOING HERE IS WHAT I HAVE THOUGHT THAT “MY GROUP” HAS BEEN ALL ABOUT—OUR KIND OF WRITING, PREACHING, AND TALK, SOMETHING THAT THEY SAY THAT THEY ARE NOT OVER AT SHARPER IRON.

  6. September 23, 2006 at 10:34 am

    The second verse of I Cor 1 says “unto” and “to”. So, the book is addressed “unto” the church of God which is at Corinth, and “to” them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

    While a universal assembly is obviously impossible on this side of eternity, there still is some connection between local churches. One noticeable connection would be the shared head, Jesus Christ. While we agree that here on earth, God works through local congregations, we cannot argue that each assembly is a solitary empire, entirely separate and disconnected from all others. We share something. There is, in some form or other, a unity in Christ.

  7. September 23, 2006 at 2:25 pm

    1 Corinthians was written to the church of God at Corinth. They were “sanctified in Christ Jesus” and “called to be saints” just like “all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.”

    That is the plain reading of 1 Corinthians 1:1,2.

    Now, the letter was inspired and has been preserved for all of the Lord’s churches. But, the primary recipient was that church, that body, that temple, that house of God, that pillar and ground of the truth. And that is the context of the commands concerning Communion/Lord’s Supper.

    To insist otherwise is to affirm that Paul was writing to all the saved of the world that he “could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (3:1). It is to teach that all of the saved make up “the temple of God” (3:16). Now, the plural “ye” there insists that either he is calling the members of the church at Corinth collectively the temple of God, or that he is referring to all of the saved as a collective temple.

    Furthermore, was it “reported commonly that there” was fornication among “all that in every place call . . ” (5:1)? Was Paul instructing all of the saved to collectively discipline a fornicating member of a local church?

    Who was it that “wrote unto” Paul in 7:1? Was it the church of God at Corinth or “all” of the saints? Were all of the believers having some sort of collective problem with the abuse of spiritual gifts or was the particular church at Corinth (Chaps 13, 14)?

    Was Paul planning on visiting the “all” of 1:2 when he wrote “And when I come” (16:1)?

    Was Timothy going to be with the “all” or the church at Corinth (16:10)?

    Obviously, Paul was dealing with a particular local church in all of those instances. And, he was dealing with a particular church, the church of God at Corinth, when he wrote, 1Co 11:23 ¶ For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
    24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
    25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
    26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.”

    Yes, written to the church of God at Corinth, who were saved folks-saints, sanctified–like/with “all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both ours and theirs.”

  8. September 23, 2006 at 7:52 pm

    I don’t have a problem with saying that I Corinthians was written to a particular church. Obviously it was. And, yes, you effectively proved it to be. That is fine. I agree with you. But it seems like you are working too hard here trying to prove that it was written to them only.

    The verse uses the words “unto” and “to”. Now, are we trying to submit the verse to our tradition, or our tradition to the verse?

  9. September 23, 2006 at 8:08 pm

    For the sake of clarity, Pastor Mitchell, you are right that the phrase “to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus…” surely refers to those at Corinthians. But that is not the limit of its extent, as the “with all that in every place…” phrase indicates. You are arguing here that “with all that in every place…” is referring to every place in Corinth. How did you get that? That certainly would not be a natural understanding of “with all that in every place”. That is why I wonder if we aren’t subjecting the verse to our tradition here.

    By the way, I don’t mind debating this with you. I too think it is important. So, hammer away. If the hammer wears out, you could always get out those Converse sneakers! (wink, wink)

  10. September 23, 2006 at 8:13 pm

    Mallet Factor: “You are arguing here that “with all that in every place…” is referring to every place in Corinth. How did you get that?”

    Actually, I’m not arguing that at all. I’m arguing that the church at Corinth was composed of sanctified saints just like all the saints around the whole world are sanctified.

    The phrase “to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints,” is simply a description of the church at Corinth. It also describes everyone else around the world (in every place) that calls on the Lord.

  11. September 23, 2006 at 8:15 pm

    Mallet Factor: “The verse uses the words “unto” and “to”. Now, are we trying to submit the verse to our tradition, or our tradition to the verse?”

    My “tradition” was always CLOSE communion. I left the tradition and went with CLOSED because I was convicted by Bible study that my tradition was wrong.

  12. michael mcneilly
    September 23, 2006 at 10:33 pm

    Wow, Hammer Time really bringing down the hammer. Great post. I grew up under more of an open communion practice and by conviction and study have come to find that closed is the Biblical way. It seems as if close makes it more universal denominational type of thought processas well as it is never found in the Bible.

  13. September 24, 2006 at 12:02 am

    I think it is a good thing to look closely at the beginnings of these letters to see what Paul said, so this is good. I looked at this in my Greek New Testament to see if there might be a different word order in v. 2 than is seen in the English. There isn’t. The word order is the same. But I did find something very interesting and enlightening. The second “to them” is supplied by the translators as part of the translation. Immediately after the word translated “Corinth” comes the perfect passive participle “sanctified.” The way it reads actually makes it even more clear that He is writing to a local church. And that is without all the internal 1 Corinthians evidence that HammerHead brought in his comments.

    If I were diagraming this, I would place the participle “sanctified” and the adjective “called” under church. “With” is an associative, associating specifically the word “saints” with those who call on the name of the Lord. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord is a saint. Not everyone who calls on the name of the Lord is a part of the church at Corinth.

    If the word order were different, something like “to the church at Corinth and to all those who call upon the name of the Lord, called to be saints,” then it would be communicating that He was writing everyone. But that isn’t the word order.

    As far as Christ being the Head of every church—sure. Who here wouldn’t say that? But that isn’t what this verse teaches. Bringing it in here is sort of a red herring. It fascinates for a moment even as it isn’t adding to the argument.

  14. Young Fundy
    September 24, 2006 at 6:19 am

    HammerHead,

    I’m not really sure that your TONE is right. A little more grace and salt might be in order. In the end, does communion really matter that much? Couldn’t we all just pause a moment, get some juice, and a wafer, and maybe have some type of cyber-communion. It might help SOME of the attitudes here. Just a thought.

    JUST KIDDING!!!!!

  15. September 24, 2006 at 9:26 pm

    First, I would like state that I truly respect the writers here at jachammr.org. Two of the churches represented by the Pastors who write here support me and my family. However I must disagree with the post on closed communion. (This is the first time, I think, I have found myself in disagreement with Pastor Brandenburg.)

    I do not think closed communion is wrong, but neither do I think close is incorrect.

    I believe all would agree, who read here, that “open” is wrong. Why is that? Because it is clear in scripture.

    Based on the arguments given in the post, I truly believe if communion was ONLY for the members of their local church, we would have at least one verse in the Bible CLEARLY stressing that a visiting member MAY NOT participate. We have no such verse.

    Let me try and explain
    One assertion in the post is that if one practices close communion he is “redefining” the church. If this point were true, I believe there would be a clear verse(s) teaching against close communion. Why? Because of the importance of the local church. (I in no way believe in a “universal church.” I in no way think that closed communion in any way suggest a belief in universal church.)

    Another assertion was by practicing close we are “perverting the right view of fellowship.” Again if this is so, this is a MAJOR issue not minor. Why then, if this be the case, is there no clear command to forbid visiting members to partake.

    I agree communion is clearly for the local church. The post did a great job at demonstrating that. There is just is no verse forbidding a visiting member to partake with that local body. Titus was most likely in Corinth by the time the letter arrived as well as several other brothers, based on how they traveled in that day. So there were at least a few visiting members there. Yet there is no verse forbidding these men from partaking with them.

    One primary purpose of the local church is the teaching and preaching of the Word of God. To strengthen the local body. Christ has given gifts to each local body for the perfecting of the saints. (Rom 12/Eph 4:12). Yet we have no problem with letting a visiting preacher preach or teach. Does the fact that a member of another church, of like faith and practice, preaching show a distorted view of the body. No. Does it pervert fellowship? No. Does it teach universal church? No. I could based on the same arguments given in the post suggest that it does though.

    .

  16. anonymous
    September 24, 2006 at 9:58 pm

    Bro. McGovern,
    Am I to understand that you do not recognize the importance of Biblical examples. There is no clear evidence for close communion, whereas the Biblical example is always closed communion. I truly have not heard anyone that is close communion give any Scriptural proof or Biblical examples without stretching Scripture. I do not vote in your church and you don’t in mine. A member has communion at their local church and do not need to be involved with another churches communion. It is a big issue.

  17. September 24, 2006 at 10:26 pm

    Brother McGovern, thanks for your input. My major argument is: (1) “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” (2) The Bible is sufficient and regulates our corporate worship. (3) The Lord’s Table is worship. The absence of a negative is an argument from silence. Silence isn’t permission when God’s Word has already regulated the practice. We are required to do what the Bible says. If the body is local only as defined in 1 Cor. 12:27 and the Lord’s Table is a communion of the body, we would be adding to Scripture by making it a communion of more than the body. This not like the using of a typewriter (not in Scripture), electricity (not in Scripture), etc., but something definitively regulated by God’s Word. You can bring up contra examples of visiting preachers, etc., but we are not bereft of examples in Scripture of cooperation between churches. However, Scripture does not regulate those things. It does with the Lord’s Table.

    This is a short article. More damage is done than just redefining the body—a misunderstanding of fellowship, the potential of leavening the lump, etc.

  18. September 24, 2006 at 11:36 pm

    “The absence of a negative is an argument from silence. Silence isn’t permission when God’s Word has already regulated the practice.”

    I am not sure I am following you here. Could you explain this to me.

    Also you say the scriptures do not regulate teaching and preaching. I believe they do. So I think I an misunderstanding your point there as well. (I can not possible imagine you believe the Bible does not regulate teaching and preaching.)

    As to anoymous comment.

    My point is there no verse directly/empahtically supporting either view. Perhaps you misunderstood the point of my comment. My point was if close communion was sin, the bible would not be so silent about it, but would directly address the issue. It does not.

    By following the biblical example and teaching, my church practices communion. This is for the local church. I do not disagree with that. I beleive that is what Bro Brandendurg demostrated by his post.

    I just do not see where a visting memeber of another church is forbidden to partake with that local body. Much like a visiting preacher can preach in my church.

  19. September 25, 2006 at 8:48 am

    I’m out the door, Bro. McGovern, and I appreciate your contribution here, but when I say preaching/teaching not regulated, I meant it in this context. Of course, it is regulated more than the Lord’s Table—no women with men, subject to the prophets, must be the Word, etc., but no verse excludes preaching/teaching to just those in the body like 1 Cor. 10:16, 17 does the Lord’s Table. There is no preaching is the communion of the Lord’s body verse. Communion is a group event which is regulated to just the body. There is a verse that does this. We have established that no verse opens it up further. Nothing says it is a sin, but lots of things are not said to be a sin that are a sin, for instance, polygamy.

  20. September 26, 2006 at 12:08 am

    I’ll get to the rest when I can. Just want to point out an irony here.

    Hammer Time said, “As far as Christ being the Head of every church—sure. Who here wouldn’t say that? But that isn’t what this verse teaches. Bringing it in here is sort of a red herring. It fascinates for a moment even as it isn’t adding to the argument.”

    Calling this a red herring certainly fascinates for a moment… but as it turns out, calling it a red herring is itself a red herring. It fascinated for a moment, even as it didn’t add to the argument. Though it no doubt caused a general round of applause from those who have come to a “closed” position through conviction and study.

    Sure, the church at Corinth was the body of Christ. Paul said so. Are you saying that they are the only body of Christ? I know you aren’t. You can’t.

    Yet Paul, ironically, told the church at Rome, “we… are one body in Christ.” (Rom 12:4,5) Was Paul a member of the church at Rome? Then why did he say “we”? Why didn’t he say “ye”?

    And in I Cor 10:17, Paul says, “we… are one body.” To quote an earlier comment, “When he said “ye,” as in, “ye are the body,” he was speaking to those at Corinth, because he would have said “we” if they were all saints everywhere to whom he was speaking.”

    I Cor 12:12 says that Christ is one body: “all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.”

    And in verse 13, he says, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body,” Note the word “we” again, and the words “one body”. Paul made it a point that he didn’t baptize any of these. He certainly was not a member of this church. But he says “we”. Himself, and them. One body. I’m sure those of the “closed” persuasion will have an explanation for that, so I will simply wait …

    There is only one body. (Eph 4:4) Does that imply universal church? No. It implies that there is a connection between the visible churches. Christ is their head. Each true church is the body of Christ. All true churches are the body of Christ. There is only one body. If we cannot say that “all” true churches are collectively the body of Christ, then we have to say that there are many bodies of Christ. Or (let me toss out another red herring for your amusement and fascination), only the church at Corinth is the body of Christ. Since, after all, Paul was defining the body of Christ when he said, “Ye are the body of Christ…”, and Paul was talking to the church at Corinth.

    I realize that those who are persuaded of the “closed” position feel very passionate about this. I have known a few who are anxious to dis-fellowship all who are not “closed”. But I’m trying to demonstrate here that we who are persuaded of the “close” position also have reasons, which we feel are legitimate. And we have some objections to the “closed” position, that at least we ourselves feel are relevant.

    Plus, we aren’t so adept at connecting the dots!

  21. Chris Stieg
    September 26, 2006 at 7:59 am

    Mallet Factor,

    Perhaps I am missing something, but I do not really understand how you can have a church that is local in nature, but a body that is universal in nature. Ephesians 1:22-23 makes it clear that the church is Christ’s body.

    Since the church is local (in Ephesians, this is a generic reference to the local church), I would have to say the body is local as well.

    It is true in 1 Corinthians 12:27 that Paul told the church at Corinth, “Ye are the body of Christ”. He did not say “Ye are the only body of Christ.” I have no problem with saying that there are many instances of the “body of Christ”. Just like I don’t have a problem with saying there are many instances of the “one baptism” of Ephesians 4:5. I don’t know if that makes any sense.

    As for the “we” … “us” stuff, I could attempt to answer that, but I am sure that Pastor Brandenburg will, and will do a much better job than I could.

  22. September 26, 2006 at 8:31 pm

    The “we” argument is the one used by the universal church people, so it is something that I have seen and answered many times. I don’t say that to disrespect the argument, just to identify it as mainly a universal church argument. I think it is essentially their only grammatical argument, perhaps their only argument period, for universal church. Dr. Strouse has an answer for it that some people like. I’ve never been able to wrap my brain around his answer, but it is found at http://members.aol.com/libcfl2/soma.htm . My answer is more simple. It has three parts. In the first part, I’d like you to look at 1 Timothy 3:12:

    Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

    Are all the deacons and the husbands married to the same woman? Paul doesn’t have to be a part of the same body to be a part of the one body. We are all baptized into one body. Yes, one body, but not the same body.

    A second part is that when someone uses the singular noun, it will be either particular or generic. It can only be one or the other. In 1 Corinthians 12:27, Paul says that “ye are the body of Christ,” so we know that the church at Corinth was the body of Christ. We know that the body is a local church. In Eph. 5:23, Paul writes: “the husband is the head of the wife.” Is there only one wife on earth? No, the singular noun can also be used generically, that is, as representative of a class or in an institutional sense. There is only one body of Christ. It is a local one. To say there is a universal body and a local body would be to say there are two bodies. We know there is a local one because of 1 Cor. 12:27, and since there is no verse teaching a universal body (and since a body can’t be universal any way, by nature), it must either be a particular church or the church generically. When Paul said, “We, being many, are one body in Christ” (Rom. 12:4, 5), he was saying that each body is unified, like what we see in Romans 15:6 with the “one mind” and “one mouth.” The body is one, but has many members—unity and diversity. The body is the local church and Paul was a member of one and those at Rome were members of one—NOT THE SAME ONE. I remind you of the husbands of one wife. They were all married to one, NOT THE SAME ONE.

    Mallet Factor writes:

    “There is only one body. If we cannot say that “all” true churches
    are collectively the body of Christ, then we have to say that there
    are many bodies of Christ. Or (let me toss out another red herring
    for your amusement and fascination), only the church at Corinth is
    the body of Christ. Since, after all, Paul was defining the body of
    Christ when he said, “Ye are the body of Christ…”, and Paul was
    talking to the church at Corinth.”

    There are many bodies of Christ, just like there are many wives. There is one body of Christ generically, institutionally, but there are many bodies particularly. Christ is the Head of His body, of each body that is His. Just like I am typing on the computer. Does that mean I have one computer? No. We have three at home and I type on one at the church building too. I have about 10 at the church property I could use, and I would still be typing on the computer. When I say “the computer,” I don’t mean a particular computer, but neither am I talking about computers collectively, as all computers are “the computer.”

    A third part is 1 Corinthians 11:3. Christ is the Head of every man. Just because there are many men does not mean that Christ cannot be the Head of every one of them. Just because there are many bodies does not mean that Christ is not the head of every one of them.

    Paul could say “we” because he was included in what he was talking about. However, when he said “ye,” he defined the body. The body can no longer be all believers, because Paul was a believer.

    Mallet Factor, I don’t know what you are talking about when you say “each church is the body of Christ. All true churches are the body of Christ.” What are you saying and where is that taught in Scripture?

    As far as the red herring, saying that churches connect because Christ is their Head is a great truth. What does it have to do with whether communion is closed or close?

  23. September 26, 2006 at 10:33 pm

    I hate to run off topic here, but it seems like Young Fundy must be too young to even know how to read. He said in an earlier comment,

    HammerHead,

    I’m not really sure that your TONE is right. A little more grace and salt might be in order. In the end, does communion really matter that much? Couldn’t we all just pause a moment, get some juice, and a wafer, and maybe have some type of cyber-communion. It might help SOME of the attitudes here. Just a thought.

    JUST KIDDING!!!!!

    He must not have read the little boxes on the left of the page. 🙂 The third one clearly states, “Whining is intolerable. Sledge hammers will crush all guilty of whining about tone…”

    Maybe some air-chiselling is in order!

  24. September 27, 2006 at 6:06 am

    Why does he even bother posting at all? If he thinks he is funny, he is not – and his posts explain away everything. Even when seemingly taking a stand, he says “just kidding”, which leaves you with the impression that it really doesn’t matter. If he is a born again child of God, why post as he does?

  25. September 27, 2006 at 7:54 am

    Jerry,

    Don’t be too hard on Young Fundy. He is just a poor Young Fundamentalist who wants to take a strong stand on something, but he also wants to make sure that everyone knows he is sweet and cuddly. It is really hard for him to find that “balance.” You know what balance is right? It is definitely one of the fundamentals of young fundamentalists.

    He believes in separation in the abstract, but it is hard for him to find it in the concrete. He loves to discuss, dialogue, and debate, and he can find two or three ways of looking at any given subject. He stands staunchly on both sides of every issue and has been heard to say, “I agree 100% with both of you.”

    I think he always posts “JUST KIDDING” so that he has an “out” if anyone is offended by whatever he says. He learned that from hanging out with some of the folks at SI.

    Jeff is right about him being young. He was actually born just this past July so he is doing pretty well for his age, don’t you think?

    You should have read some of his stuff on the old JUST KIDDING! blog this past summer. He provided a lot of laughs and upset some people in a big way. I feel confident that you would have found it very amusing if you had any understanding of the world of SI.

    I’m trying to find a good signoff, so I”ll just go with old JT’s “Straight Ahead” for now!

  26. September 27, 2006 at 6:42 pm

    Are you telling me I should just take him as a joke? What’s the point of his posting then? Just a big waste of time…

    No, I don’t find wishy-washy, lukewarm funny – Like Jesus, I want to spue when I see it here and elsewhere.

  27. HammerHead
    September 27, 2006 at 8:48 pm

    Jerry,

    Then get out the hammer and pound away. I agree. That Young Fundy needs to sue his brain for non-support.

    P.S. Young Fundy, I’m just kidding. Seriously.

  28. September 27, 2006 at 10:49 pm

    Now, would that be: I’m just kidding. Seriously.

    Or: I’m serious. Just kidding.

  29. HammerHead
    September 29, 2006 at 9:03 am

    Sledge,

    Hammer Time told me that you figured out who is behind that Young Fundy nut. I say we get out the nine-pound-hammers and the wrecking ball and let that punk have it. LOL. Now he is getting it from every side. The Young Fundamentalists are after him and now the IFBx* are out for blood. It must be tough for the guy.

    Perhaps we should all join hands and pray for him. He is your typical nervous young fundamentalist who just wants to reach out and build bridges. He never thought that he would be in the middle of a Fundy shoot-out.

    Now that you are in the “know” you must protect his identity at all costs. When asked about him I usually just say something like, “I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of Young Fundy. If he does exist I can neither confirm nor deny his identity. Besides, if I told you, I’d have to kill you.” That usually scares off the enquiring minds.

    Your country thanks you and Funnymentalism thanks you.

  30. October 1, 2006 at 8:15 pm

    After a rather prolonged silence, it is time, once again, to weigh in on this issue (lest you all think that you ran me off).

    First, Terry McGovern: Sorry Terry, but you don’t get to argue from silence. They’re already doing that, OK? So cut it out. Besides, the fact that the Bible doesn’t say that it is WRONG for members to partake with other churches doesn’t mean that someone can’t find a way to make it wrong. Enough already! Go on back to PNG, and have communion with all your villagers! (Oh, and God bless you while you do!)

    Second, Chris Stieg: Maybe the reason that you can’t see how you can have a church that is local in nature and at the same time have a body that is universal in nature (your words, not mine) is because you aren’t connecting this with the nature of God. Maybe you should consider The One and The Many. God is One, and God is Many. It should not surprise us that the body of Christ takes on the nature of Christ.

    Third, Anyone Else: You all got me. I simply can’t defeat these arguments as made by the Closed Communion position. I can’t compete with Gumby in gymnastics, and I can’t compete with Exegetical Hudini’s who, through slight of hand, manage to escape the plain meaning of the text. I would have thought that “with all that in every place” was pretty plain. Oh, but how very wrong I turned out to be. You see, I’m convinced now. “with all that in every place” is associative. I wouldn’t have seen that, it being a preposition and all. But now, we’ve exegeted our way right out of that one! So, “with all that in every place” is really speaking of all that in every place in the Church at Corinth — you know, Sunday School teachers and so forth. Now I get it!

    And then there’s that “one wife”, “one body” business. You see, before, in my simple mind, I had thought that “one wife” meant a single wife… like deacons are to be the husband of a single wife. And similarly, I had thought that “We are one body in Christ” meant that we are a single body in Christ. I really have to apologize for being so wrong here. You see, I hadn’t thought of using equivocation on these. So, now I’m finally getting it. When Paul said, “We are one body in Christ”, what he really meant was “We are one TYPE of body in Christ”. Or else he meant, “We are IN one body in Christ”. I guess I will have to go back to Elementary Greek again, so that I can read more into it.

    But hey! I’ve enjoyed the discussion, and as you can tell, I’m learning. So, keep hammering away. And when you get the chance, could you all teach me one of those Hudini tricks? It might come in handy later.

    Have a grate night! Sea you later! Oh, and thanks for giving me a Herring!

    JUST KIDDING!!!!!

  31. Dan Starr
    October 1, 2006 at 8:39 pm

    Mallet Factor I just wanted to say I agree.

  32. Bobby Mitchell
    October 3, 2006 at 11:43 am

    Pastor Mallinak,

    I see that the truth from SharperIron stands: Love and “JUST KIDDING” covers a multitude of sins!

  33. Thomas Ross
    August 29, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    I know it has been a long time since this post has been commented on, but I was directed to the post as a result of questions I had about Acts 20.

    Before commenting on Pastor Brandenburg’s original post, I would like to make the following points on the comments.

    Mallet Factor in comment #6 indicated that we share a kind of unity. Yes, but churches are entirely independent and to themselves; the unity is that of being in Christ, not the unity of the metaphors for the church of body/building/bride. Pastor Mitchell addresses the question in comment #6 well in comment #7. In relation to the “with all that call upon the name” clause in v. 2, we should note that “both theirs and ours” at the end of v. 2 and the continuation in v. 3ff of reference to “you” specifically as the church at Corinth supports Pastor Mitchell’s contention.

    In comment #15, Bro McGovern writes, “Based on the arguments given in the post, I truly believe if communion was ONLY for the members of their local church, we would have at least one verse in the Bible CLEARLY stressing that a visiting member MAY NOT participate. We have no such verse.” We do not—but we do not have a verse that clearly stresses that baptism by pouring is not permitted, nor that paedobaptism is not permitted, or (to mention the Watchtower teaching) that the Son of God is not the archangel Michael, etc. I don’t think Bro McGovern’s declaration is the greatest argument against closed communion. If Scripture teaches closed communion, and there weren’t any Baptist churches in the first century that practiced something else, it is reasonable to conclude that there would not be any explicit teaching against it, and Biblical principles would need to be involved to prove the correct position.

    I also don’t think that the argument that somehow all churches together are the body of Christ is the greatest argument for close communion; each church is metaphorically the body; but I don’t want to make this post longer than it is going to be already, and Pastor Brandenburg answered this very well. However, if one does argue for close communion based on this universal sort of body, the closed argument that close people are altering the nature of the church/fellowship has validity.

    Comment #30, responding to Bro Steig, stated:

    Maybe the reason that you can’t see how you can have a church that is local in nature and at the same time have a body that is universal in nature (your words, not mine) is because you aren’t connecting this with the nature of God. Maybe you should consider The One and The Many. God is One, and God is Many. It should not surprise us that the body of Christ takes on the nature of Christ.

    Problems with this argument include that God is not one and many in the same sense; he is three Persons in one essence, but the comment makes no such distinction in its affirmation that the body is both local and universal (and the church is as well?), for no such distinction can be made or is made anywhere in Scripture. Furthermore, Christ’s nature is not one and many. He is one Person with two distinct natures, one human and one Divine. Furthermore, Scripture never says that the body is universal. Furthermore, this would prove that the word “church” is also local and universal in nature, not just the body metaphor. This is One argument with Many problems.

    This comment also stated:

    I can’t compete with Exegetical Hudini’s who, through slight of hand, manage to escape the plain meaning of the text. I would have thought that “with all that in every place” was pretty plain. Oh, but how very wrong I turned out to be. You see, I’m convinced now. “with all that in every place” is associative. I wouldn’t have seen that, it being a preposition and all. But now, we’ve exegeted our way right out of that one! So, “with all that in every place” is really speaking of all that in every place in the Church at Corinth — you know, Sunday School teachers and so forth. Now I get it!

    But Pastor Mitchell was not saying that “with all that in every place” is the Sunday School teachers, etc. at Corinth. It was telling us about who the saints are. Why do we get to move the “with” back further away and have it tell us about the audience to the epistle rather than tell us about who the saints are? Furthermore, since the “with all that are in every place” is patently not the people the body of the epistle was written to, as demonstrated by the “ye are yet carnal,” “fornication among you,” etc., why do we get to impose that clause upon the interpretation of the body metaphor in 1 Corinthians—even if Pastor Mitchell’s conclusion that the “with” clause tells us about the phrase immediately before it is incorrect (which has never been demonstrated)?

    Also, the paragraph “And then there’s that “one wife”, “one body” business” did not deal with Pastor Brandenburg’s exegesis. It made the sort of argument a Papist could use to support transubstantiation from “Take, eat, this is my body.”

    Now to the original post by Pastor Brandenburg. Please keep in mind that I am not trying, below, to refute closed communion—I believe in it—but I would like to have solid answers to these questions.

    Point by Pastor Brandenburg: “Only the body of Christ fellowships at the Lord’s Table. If we practice open or close, we bring people outside of the body into the Lord’s Table. The Lord’s Table, however, is the fellowship of the body of Christ. That’s it. Close and open involve more than the body of Christ, therefore, they do not obey this verse.”

    1 Corinthians 10:16-17; the Supper is the communion of the body of Christ. Yes, but are not members of Baptist churches in other locations part of Christ’s body? The metaphor is for each local assembly, it is true, but those added to the body by baptism (1 Corinthians 12:13) in other locations are still part of His body. Compare the metaphor of the bride—each church is the bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2) but Christ certainly is no polygamist. By the way, I would like to know if we are saying that v. 16’s reference to “communion of the blood of Christ” is somehow speaking of the church, rather than Christ’s actual blood, if we are going to say that “communion of the body of Christ” is not Christ’s actual body, but the church. Verse 17 is the metaphorical use of “body,” but how do we know v. 16 is as well? What kind of genitive is the “of” in v. 16?

    Point by Pastor Brandenburg: “The Lord’s Table is a communion of each church, not of all believers. . . . The ordinances were delivered to the local church . . . If the church is local only, then the Table should be limited to only church members.”

    This is something that B. H. Carroll said in his Interpretation of the English Bible on Acts 20:

    The incidents at Troas are these: After a space of five days, he arrived at Troas and stayed a week, and on the first day of the week they all came together to partake of the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper was administered probably by the church at Troas, and all the context shows that these visiting brethren from sister churches participated in all particulars of that supper. Luke says they assembled to break bread. Dr. J.R. Graves took the position that only the members of a local church, celebrating the supper, should participate in its observance. He once asked me what I thought of his position. I told him that as a matter of right, only the church could administer the supper, and only the members of that church could claim as a right to participate, but inasmuch as visiting brethren and sisters are of like faith and order, that on invitation they might participate. Then we had it on this case at Troas, and on the uniform Baptist custom. Notice that whenever they go to observe the Lord’s Supper the preacher says, “Any brethren or sisters of sister churches of like faith and order, knowing themselves to be in good order [not disorder], are invited to participate with us.” That is what is called inter-church communion, but not a very good name for it. I always invite the visiting brethren and sisters, but I specify very particularly who is invited.

    What if a close advocate argued, “Yes, 1 Corinthians 11:2, 10:16-17, only the members of the local church have, as a matter of right, the authority to participate, but visiting brethren that are members of churches of like faith and order can join in on invitation by the local church, Acts 20:7-11.” It is noteworthy in Acts 20:7 that it was “the disciples,” the church at Troas as distinguished from Paul and his companions, that was gathered for the purpose of breaking bread. Could it be that, v. 7 shows that the supper is a church ordinance, but v. 11, visiting brethren from other churches can participate on invitation, if the church knows (within human limits) that they are qualified to participate?

    Would not the universal church position logically lead to open communion, rather than close communion? If the Supper was a communion of the (supposed) universal church, then baptism would not be a prerequisite to it. Why would the unscriptural idea of a catholic/universal church lead to the position that the Supper is an ordinance for the local assembly alone, at which, by invitation, converted, baptized, faithful members of fellowshipping Baptist churches can participate? Why would the universal church advocate stop there? Would he not require that members of Protestant denominations that professed conversion be admitted to the Supper? Would he not require that those in compromised Baptist “churches,” such as those in the Southern Baptist Convention, etc. participate?

    I thought it was interesting that B. H. Carroll said, speaking in the 1800’s (and an opponent of the universal church, as manifested from his good book Ekklesia refuting that false teaching) said that “the uniform Baptist custom” supported close communion. It would be interesting to see the historical theology of close versus closed; if Carroll is correct, that would be something to take into consideration.

    Point by Pastor Brandenburg: We cannot be sure what “broken bread” is in Acts 20. It may be a meal. Since it is inconclusive, we should follow the clear passage in 1 Corinthians 10.

    My thoughts on Acts 20 are below.

    -By the way, there was only one church, the pre-Pentecost church, present at the institution of the Supper in the gospels. This is worth taking into consideration. It has nothing to do immediately with Acts 20.

    Anyway, on to Acts 20.

    I have believed in closed communion for years, and I would still say that I believe in it. However, I don’t have a good answer on Acts 20. I started studying that passage out for the purpose of dealing with Seventh Day Adventists, and in the course of my study, my way to explain the passage in a closed communion consistent method was shaken. I think it was the Lord’s Supper in Acts 20, and this is why (from my study; I hope the Greek/Hebrew fonts turn out OK—and I have changed footnotes to things in brackets):

    c.) The disciples came together for the purpose of [sunhgme÷nwn . . . touv kla¿sai a‡rton, an infinitive of purpose] breaking bread, for celebrating the Lord’s supper [Note the very similar Greek phraseology in the Didache 14:1 (c. A. D. 125), “On the Lord’s own day gather together (sunago) and break bread (klao + arton) and give thanks,” Kata» kuriakh\n de« kuri÷ou sunacqe÷nteß kla¿sate a‡rton kai« eujcaristh/sate].
    i.) The “breaking of bread” in v. 7 was a celebration of the Lord’s supper, not just a meal. This is evident, for:
    I.) The “breaking of bread” (klao + arton) is commonly (though not always (Acts 27:35, etc.) an expression for the Lord’s Supper in Scripture. Matthew 26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19; Acts 20:7, 11; 1 Corinthians 10:16; 11:24; also Acts 2:42) [Instead of the verb klao and the noun arton, Acts 2:42 has the very similar noun klasis with arton in the phrase thØv kla¿sei touv a‡rtou.].
    II.) The time that the ordinance was celebrated, the evening, suits the time that Christ first instituted the Supper for His church (See #4a-d below).
    III.) The fact that the purpose of their getting together was the breaking of the bread proves it was the Supper, not a common meal. If the breaking of bread was just eating some food in this passage, it would hardly have been the reason that the church at Troas assembled. On the night before the great apostle Paul and his fellow laborers in the work of God were leaving, would they have come together, not to bid him farewell, but to fill their bellies? Paul’s preaching [This was a formal discourse; cf. the uses of diale÷gomai (dialegomai) in Acts 17:2; 18:4, 19; 19:8, 9 (consider v. 9, and Acts 20:7, 9, as a basis for elenctic and apologetic theology, preaching, and teaching); 24:25.] was hardly a surprise to them at their gathering; would they have been so ungodly as to have said, “we are not gathering together to hear the apostle Paul preach, but we are coming together for the more important purpose of eating some food.” If the “breaking of bread” is the holy Supper of the Lord, and the church at Troas was coming together to obey that great command, “This do in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:24-25), the importance placed on this event as the most important part of their celebration is natural, and preaching in conjunction with a church service is expected. They celebrated the Supper and held a church service, as it was no surprise that Paul began to preach to them—nor is it recorded that they were even surprised that he preached until midnight or until dawn. They did not gather together just to eat a meal, and then, out of nowhere, Paul got up and preached to them for many hours. If Acts 20:7 simply documented a meal, Paul’s preaching, fellowship with the apostle and his fellow-workers, and fellowship among themselves would all have been far more important purposes for coming together than filling their bellies. There are no examples in the rest of the Bible of churches coming together simply to eat some food. A denial that this passage refers to the celebration of the Lord’s Supper would also eliminate all mention of specific church assembly to celebrate the ordinance from the book of Acts—is it reasonable that no example of a church gathering to celebrate this holy ordinance would be found in the only inspired chronicle of church history? Furthermore, “the disciples came together to break bread” is exactly the language one would expect for gathering to celebrate communion [It should be noted that the word “eaten” (geusa¿menoß, from geu/omai) in v. 11 is used for the consumption of solids (Acts 10:10), liquids (Matthew 27:34; John 2:9), and both (Luke 14:24; Acts 23:14, cf. v. 12; also Jonah 3:7, LXX; Shepherd 56:7), so both the bread and fruit of the vine of the Lord’s Supper are naturally in view in the record of breaking of bread and eating in Acts 20:11. Geu/omai takes an accusative object, but it is “rarely in Gk. lit. with this verb. . . . the obj. of the verb is [frequently] indicated by the context, Mt 27:34; Ac 20:11” (Danker, Frederick William (ed.), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, 3rd. ed. (BDAG), Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2000.). Thus, the elements of communion, the items for consumption mentioned in context, are the elements “eaten” in v. 11. The word does not refer to additional food eaten in addition to the Lord’s Supper.]. If this language, which is almost identical to that in Acts 2:42, does not prove that the Lord’s Supper is in view, what language would? [It should be noted that the presence or absence of the article with arton when in relation to klao does not determine if the ordinance of communion, or simple food, is being eaten. An articular arton is found in Matthew 26:26 (as in 1 Corinthians 10:16) in the institution of the Supper for the church, but the article is absent in the parallel passage describing the same event in Mark 14:22 and Luke 22:19. Artos is articular and employed of a simple meal in Luke 24:30, and non-articular and employed of a meal in Acts 27:35. The word is non-articular in Acts 2:46; 20:7, 11.].
    IV.) While they quite likely had a meal as well as taking the Lord’s Supper (taking a break for refreshments somewhere in the process of many hours of preaching is very natural—as it is natural to expect that they did not send the apostle and his companions away on empty stomachs—especially since Paul was going to walk to Assos from Troas, v. 13, a distance of c. 20 miles), this does not alter the fact that the purpose of their coming together and their breaking of bread referred to the church ordinance.

    By the way, since Scripture is perspicuous, can we not say that we CAN know if the Supper was celebrated in Acts 20, or if it was just a meal? If closed communion is God’s intended doctrine, which He wishes for us to follow, we can know that Paul did not partake in the Supper in Acts 20 with the church at Troas (or we can know that it was a sin for him to have done so). If close communion is God’s intended doctrine, we can also know what God meant for us to know in Acts 20. This is not to disagree with the fact that we do well to interpret examples (Acts 20) in light of didactic declarations (the epistles). However, it is also true that if an example contradicts what we think is didactic epistolary teaching, we probably need to rethink our exegesis of the passages in the epistles.

    I feel like it is appropriate, as one who, at this time, still holds to closed communion (and thus hopes that I am wrong on Acts 20), to mention that some of us who are closed make arguments that are quite poor on Acts 20. I have read literature arguing for closed communion that says that there is no Scriptural evidence that there was a church at Troas, and also argues that there is no evidence from church history for a church in that city for centuries. Unless I am in the dark about something (which is very possible), both of these contentions seem extremely poor to me. (By the way, sometimes KJV-only churches that are closed reproduce arguments for closed communion that are based on corruptions in the critical text, such as “we” for “the disciples” in Acts 20:7—it is easier to say that there is no church in Troas if one believes the NASV rather than the preserved Word of God—anyway, here are my reasons for thinking there was a church in Troas, and for the fact that church history supports this):

    1.) The assembly in Acts 20:7 is a church assembly, and the Lord’s Supper was celebrated at it.
    a.) The phrase “the disciples” (oi˚ maqhtai÷) in Acts always refers to church members, and in at least 22 out of the 25 uses [The three possible exceptions are Acts 13:52; 15:10; 18:23, where church members are still in view, but the reference is generic. Cf. “Christ . . . loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25), a generic use of the word “church” to refer to no specific assembly, but to any individual true congregation of the Lord (cf. the generic use of “man” and “woman” in 1 Corinthians 11:3).] refers to members of the specific church in an area (Acts 1:15; 6:1-2, 7; 9:1, 19, 25-26, 38; 11:26, 29; 13:52; 14:20, 22, 28; 15:10; 18:23, 27; 19:9, 30; 20:1, 7, 30; 21:4, 16). [6:1-2, 7, 9:1 refer to the church at Jerusalem (which in 9:1 was scattered abroad, 8:1-4); 9:19, 25 to the church at Damascus; 9:26 to the church at Jerusalem, which Paul attempted to join the membership of (kollao, cf. 5:13); 9:38 to the church at Lydda; 11:26, 29 to the church at Antioch, etc.] The first use in Acts 1:15 sets the pattern—there reference is made to the pre-Pentecost church [The Lord Jesus started His church in the gospels; the church did not start on the day of Pentecost (Matthew 18:18, etc.; see See, e. g., pgs. 509-516, Sargent, Robert J., Landmarks of Baptist Doctrine, vol. 4. Oak Harbor, WA: Bible Baptist Church Publications, n. d.).] with its membership roll of “about an hundred and twenty.” Therefore when v. 7 reads, “the disciples [The corrupt variant “we” (hJmw◊n) for the Textus Receptus reading “the disciples” (tw◊n maqhtw◊n) in v. 7 is based upon a small minority of manuscripts and must be rejected, as must the corruptions h™men for h™san in v. 8, kaqezo/menoß for kaqh/menoß in v. 9, and the addition of to/n before a‡rton in v. 11.] came together to break bread,” reference is made to the members of the church at Troas. [Some who wish to deny the presence of a church assembly at Troas try to affirm that only a tiny number of people were present in Acts 20:7ff—some even supposing that only Eutychus, one person, was present from the local area! However, the passage makes it evident that there was quite a crowd. In addition to the seven brethren named in v. 4, along with Luke and likely unspecified others that accompanied Paul (“us . . . we,” v. 5-6), a large number from Troas were present, “the disciples” (v. 7). There were “many lights” in the chamber where they were gathered together, plain evidence that there were many people who needed the many lights. The obvious reason that Eutychus sat in the window (v. 9) is that the chamber was full of people, so that the window was the only available room. Had there only been a few present, someone would naturally have noticed that the young man had drifted into a deep sleep (v. 9) and taken him away from such a dangerous place to snooze as a third loft window. Furthermore, it is clear that Paul stayed up all night preaching and teaching in Troas because he was “ready to depart on the morrow” (v. 7), that is, leave the church in the city behind the next day. Paul did not stay up all night preaching to his companions (and Eutychus, who somehow appeared out of nowhere if there is no church in the city), people he was going to see practically every day in the upcoming weeks and months. Consider also that part of Paul’s company “tarried [earlier] . . . at Troas” (v. 4-5), waiting for the apostle and the rest of the group to arrive, because there was a church there and brethren to fellowship with.
    Apart from these natural contextual considerations, the grammatical plurals (“yourselves,” v. 10; “they,” v. 12, are distinguished from Paul (v. 11) and his missionary team (“we,” v. 13), evidencing the existence of a church at Troas, and the fact that the church is a plural “they/them” (v. 7, 8, 13) proves that a plurality of disciples from Troas were there—but two is enough to constitute a church (Matthew 18:20).] The immediately preceding context is also clear; “the disciples” in 20:1 referred to the church at Ephesus (cf. Acts 19). “The disciples” did not refer to Paul and his company, for Paul is distinguished from “them” or “they,” the Troas church, in v. 7, 8, and 12. Paul’s companions are distinguished from the them/they of the church at Troas in v. 13 (“we” is Paul’s company, distinguished from the them/they of v. 12, and thus of v. 7-8). The rest of the New Testament supports the existence of a church at Troas [2 Corinthians 2:12 records a time prior to the events of Acts 20:7ff. where Paul, on the way to Macedonia (Acts 20:1-2), “came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel [ei˙ß to\ eujagge÷lion touv Cristouv; this is evangelism of the lost, thus the use of euangelion, derived from eujaggeli÷zw, to evangelize/preach the gospel], and a door was opened unto [him] of the Lord.” It is evident that the conversions that resulted at this time formed the nucleus of the church at Troas, which Paul and his company then re-visited in Acts 20:7ff. 2 Timothy 4:13 reads, “The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.” What was the Christian brother Carpus doing at Troas if there was no church in the city?], and ancient church history evidences the existence of a church at Troas. [Around A. D. 107, in The Epistle of Ignatius to the Philadelphians, Ignatius wrote, “The love of the brethren at Troas salutes you” (Chapter XI). A like statement is found in The Epistle of Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans, chapter XII, The Epistle of Ignatius to Polycarp. Note also Chrysostom, Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles (XLIII), who wrote, “Troas is not a large place: why then do they pass seven days in it? Perhaps it was large as regarded the number of believers.” Writing at a later period, Socrates Scholasticus, in his Ecclesiastical History, (VII:36-37), names one Silvanus as bishop of the church at Troas. He tells us that Silvanus came from Philippopolis to pastor the church at Troas after the death of its former bishop, and records various aspects of Silvanus’ ministry in the city.]
    b.) The fact that the disciples “came together” (sunhgme÷nwn) supports the view that a church assembly is in view. Sunago is used for church assemblies in Matthew 18:20; John 20:19; Acts 4:31; 11:26; 14:27; 15:30; 20:7, 8; 1 Corinthians 5:4 (cf. also Acts 15:6). The references to sunago in the perfect tense in Acts only speak of church assembly (Acts 4:31; 20:7, 8; cf. Matthew 18:20; John 20:19). The related word sunagoge [sunagwgh/; the normal word for “synagogue,” Matthew 4:23, 6:2, 5, etc.] is used for the Christian place of assembly in James 2:2. The related word episunagoge [e˙pisunagwgh/] is used for the Christian “assembling” in Hebrews 10:25 in the classic command, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together.” The grammar in Acts 20:7, “the first day of the week, when the disciples came together,” [teœÇ miaÇ toœn sabbatoœn, syneœgmenoœn toœn matheœtoœn; thØv miaˆ◊ tw◊n sabba¿twn, sunhgme÷nwn tw◊n maqhtw◊n.] is very similar to that of the church assembly of John 20:19, when “the first day of the week . . . the disciples were assembled.” [teœÇ miaÇ toœn sabbatoœn . . .hoi matheœtai syneœgmenoi; thØv miaˆ◊ tw◊n sabba¿twn . . . oi˚ maqhtai« sunhgme÷noi.]

    By the way, the breaking of bread took place before midnight Sunday, it seems to me, rather than on Monday morning:

    4.) The church at Troas celebrated the Supper on the first day of the week.
    a.) They came together on the first day with the intention of celebrating communion that day, v. 7. Even if one wished to maintain, contrary to the sense of the passage, that the actual celebration of the Supper took place Monday morning in this unusual situation of very long preaching by the departing apostle, the intent of the church to celebrate the ordinance on the first day is plain—the disciples “came together to break bread . . . upon the first day of the week.”
    b.) Not only did the church intend to celebrate communion on the first day—illustrating that the practice of Christian churches was to observe the Supper on the first day of the week, not the sabbath or any other day—but they actually did so sometime after nine p. m. but before Monday morning (v. 11), [The expression for breaking bread is very similar in v. 7 and v. 11—both verses have a form of klao followed by a non-articular artos in the accusative case. The breaking of bread in v. 11 represents the fulfillment of the gathering for that purpose in v. 7. It violates the sense of the context and the parallels in grammar to contend that Acts 20:7 records an intention of the church to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, but four verses later the breaking of bread refers to a mere meal, leaving the purpose of v. 7 unfulfilled in the record of the chapter.] despite the length of Paul’s preaching. [Verse 7c-e, oJ Pauvloß diele÷geto aujtoi√ß, me÷llwn e˙xie÷nai thØv e˙pau/rion, pare÷teine÷ te to\n lo/gon me÷cri mesonukti÷ou, could be rendered as follows: “Paul was preaching to them (imperfect tense verb), ready to depart on the morrow, and was extending his word/message as far as midnight.” Midnight is a summary of the time that Paul ended his discourse—it was not that he stopped speaking at that very minute. Verse eight obviously took place before midnight, as did Eutychus’ sitting in the window, falling asleep during Paul’s preaching, and sinking down with sleep (v. 9). His fall from the third loft and being taken up dead interrupted Paul’s discourse, and unless one wished to press that Paul spoke “as far as” midnight to the unnatural conclusion that the youth fell out the window and died the very instant the “clocks struck twelve” the designation of “midnight” as the time for the events of v. 9-10 is a summary statement, and the interruption of Paul’s preaching by Eutychus’ fall, and the apostle’s work of raising the youth from the dead, happened near midnight, but before that exact moment. Thus the breaking of bread of v. 11 took place close to but before the actual moment of midnight, the specific moment that the second day of the week commenced.
    The New Testament, and the Romans, divided the night into four watches, “which were described either according to their numerical order, as in the case of the ‘fourth watch’ (Mt 14:25; comp. Joseph. Ant. v. 6, 5), or by the terms ‘even, midnight, cock-crowing, and morning’ (Mr 13:35). These terminated respectively at 9 P. M., midnight, 3 A. M., and 6 A. M” (“Watches of Night,” in Dictionary of the Bible, William Smith (4 vol., 1868; rev. & ed. H. B. Hackett & Ezra Abbot, elec. acc. in Online Bible software, Ken Hamel)). Thus the watch “midnight” designated the time between 9 p. m. and the specific moment modernly designated as midnight. This is further evidence that the expression on Acts 20:7e indicates that Paul ended his discourse, and the celebration of communion took place, late Sunday evening, but before the start of Monday morning. Note the use of “midnight,” without any qualification, to specifically designate the three hour period between 9 p. m. and 12:00 a. m. in Mark 13:35.
    The verb paratei÷nw, “continue/extend,” in Acts 20:7 is a hapax legomenon in the New Testament. It appears, however, in the LXX (Genesis 49:13; Numbers 23:28; 2 Samuel 2:29; Ezekiel 27:13; Psalm 35:11; Judith 7:3; Ode 14:46), and those appearances support the view that the time spoken of in Acts 20:7 could not by any means have extended beyond the moment of midnight, but must have ended during that the second watch of the night. None of the LXX uses allow for any further extent in time beyond the point, place, or other thing found in conjunction with the verb. Nor do the NT uses of , “until/as far as/up to,” support any extension of Paul’s preaching beyond mesonu/ktion (Matthew 11:23; 13:30; 28:15; Mark 13:30; Acts 10:30; 20:7; Romans 5:14; 15:19; Ephesians 4:13; Philippians 2:8, 30; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 2:9; Hebrews 3:6, 14; 9:10; 12:4). Paul did not continue his discourse into a moment of Monday; it was concluded, and the Supper commenced, late on the first day of the week.]
    c.) The celebration of the Supper in the second watch of the night likely formed a close approximation to the time that the Lord Jesus instituted the Supper. A Passover meal could not be eaten until the sun went down and, having started the normal meal during the first watch of the night (“even,” cf. Matthew 26:20; Mark 14:17), the first communion meal would have taken place either very near the start of the second watch (“midnight”) or during it. Furthermore, it is very likely that the church would have celebrated the supper even earlier than it did, had Paul not prolonged his discourse to such an extent before the ordinance was practiced.
    d.) Note that there is no passage in the entire Bible that even remotely indicates that churches gathered on the sabbath, instead of on the first day of the week, to celebrate the Lord’s Supper.

    This exegesis was based upon the following study of the word “day” in relation to the Lord’s Day:

    2.) The church at Troas assembled on the first day [New Testament days had twelve hours (Oujci« dw¿deka¿ ei˙sin w—rai thvß hJme÷raß;), John 11:9.] of the week, Sunday/the Lord’s Day.
    a.) The “day” of Acts 20:7 is a midnight-to-midnight, or morning-to-morning day, not an evening-to-evening day.
    i.) The Jewish sabbath was an evening-to-evening day, Leviticus 23:35; cf. Mark 1:21, 32; [In Mark 1:32, the sick were brought after the sun went down because the sabbath was then over. Note also Daniel 8:14, a “day” is an “evening-morning” (Heb. r®q$O;b b®r∞Ro, LXX e˚spe÷raß kai« prwi« hJme÷rai); 2 Corinthians 11:25 nucqh/meron (although Paul simply could have been shipwrecked at nighttime, and thus in the “deep” first at that time).] but the church did not assemble on the sabbath, but on the Lord’s day. Sometimes the Jews themselves used morning-to-morning days, Psalm 1:2; Leviticus 7:15.
    ii.) The “first day” of the Lord Jesus’ resurrection began in the morning, not the evening, and was reckoned with midnight-to-midnight/morning-to-morning days. John 20:1, 19: “The first day of the week . . . early, when it was yet dark . . . then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week . . . the disciples were assembled . . . Jesus [came] and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.” Compare also Matthew 28:1, “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week,” Mark 16:2, 9, “very early in the morning the first day of the week . . . Jesus was risen early the first day of the week.” It is noteworthy as well that “the Romans [reckoned] . . . the civil day . . . from midnight to midnight.” [“Day,” Dictionary of the Bible, William Smith (4 vol., 1868; rev. & ed. H. B. Hackett & Ezra Abbot, elec. acc. in Online Bible software, Ken Hamel).] The churches, remembering the resurrection of their Lord, met on the first day of the week, reckoned from midnight to midnight/morning to morning, not from evening to evening, as the Jewish sabbath was reckoned. [The word aujgh/, translated “break of day” in v. 11, does not contribute one way or another to the question of whether the days discussed began in the evening or at midnight (or any other time). It simply indicates the beginning of light, the time of dawn. It is a hapax legomenon in the NT, but appears in the LXX in Isaiah 59:9; 2 Maccabees 12:9, in both cases referring simply to light or brightness.]
    iii.) Acts 20:7 itself supports a morning-to-morning/midnight-to-midnight day. The main verb is “preached/was preaching (diele÷geto; imperfect tense),” on which the participle “came together” (sunhgme÷nwn) depends [Consider also the union created between the assembling, the preaching, and the celebration of the Supper—a union that provides yet further evidence that Acts 20:7ff. describes a church assembly, rather than merely the record of some meal.]. The verse therefore tell us that Paul was preaching to the assembled disciples on the first day of the week, the day they had come together to break bread. Since Paul evidently did (at least) a very large body of his preaching after the sun went down, the evening until “midnight” (v. 7) when the preaching concluded and the Supper was celebrated (v. 11) was the same day as that upon which the disciples originally came together before the setting of the sun. One who wanted to affirm evening-to-evening days in Acts 20:7 would have to posit the strongly anti-contextual conclusion that the preaching of Paul mentioned in v. 9 [The same Greek verb, diale÷gomai, is used in both verses.] was not that Luke wrote of in v. 7. [If evening-to-evening days are in view, then the preaching in v. 9 would be on the second day of the week, while v. 7 speaks of preaching on the first day. The distinction is not tenable.] Evening-to-evening days would also require that the church came together on the first day to celebrate the Supper, but they were unable to execute their intention. Midnight-to-midnight days suit the natural conclusion that the preaching and the breaking of bread [See point #4 for evidence that the breaking of bread happened between 9 p. m. and midnight on Sunday, rather than early on Monday morning.] happened on the first day of the week.

    3.) Consider that they had arrived at Troas on the previous Lord’s day/first day as well, v. 6. This practice of staying seven days at a location, which was not unique to their stay at Troas, but their regular practice, Acts 21:4; 28:14. This was so that they could be present at the worship on the first day that went on at the beginning and end of their journeys. Note that in Acts 20, although they stayed through the Jewish sabbath, no worship is mentioned on that day—only on the first day. There are no examples in the New Testament anywhere of churches meeting for worship specifically on Saturday [Indeed, the fact that Paul (and his company, Acts 13:13-14) regularly took the opportunity to go to synagogues on the sabbath to preach to the unsaved Jews and Gentiles there (Acts 13:14, 44; 16:13; 17:2; 18:4) evidences that the churches were definitely not meeting on Saturday—evangelism is very important, but one does not skip church to go to a synagogue—this would never be right to do, and an apostle would hardly do it as a regular practice—the fact that Paul and the entire group of people that were with him were going to synagogues on the sabbath to evangelize the lost shows that church assemblies were definitely not held on that day. (Preachers in NT Baptist churches today would certainly be glad to go copy the Pauline practice of visiting synagogues on the sabbath as well, if the Jews that met there would let the Christians preach the gospel to them and persuade them that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, as they allowed Paul to do. They would then, as Paul did, lead the converted Jews to be baptized and worship with the church of Christ on the first day of the week.)
    That some sabbatarians would attempt to reverse this testimony and argue from evangelistic preaching in synagogues that churches were meeting on Saturday is incredible. Sabbatarians who argue this way, if they were to be consistent, would not meet in their “Christian” sabbath-worshipping assemblies on Saturday, but would go to Jewish synagogues to worship with Jews who do not believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah.
    In addition to the testimony in Acts against Saturday church assemblies based on the practice of evangelistic synagogue preaching on that day, Paul explicitly taught in his epistles that the sabbath was a type of salvation-rest in Christ (Hebrews 4) and is abolished (Colossians 2:16-17), so that Christians have no necessity of putting Saturday above any other day (Romans 14:5-6). The church at Galatia presents the only example in the New Testament of Christians who wished to worship on Saturday—and they were taught to do so by false teachers (Galatians 4:17-18), contrary to Paul’s instruction to them—and their practice of Saturday worship made the apostle fear that they were not really saved (Galatians 4:9-11, 19-20), and exhort them to stop following the Jewish ceremonial regulations and return to the liberty they had in Christ instead (Galatians 4:12; 4:21-5:13).]—or, for that matter, specifically on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday. All the examples are Sunday—and the church is to get “doctrine” from these examples, as from everything else in Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17). (Sometimes churches met every day of the week, Acts 2:47; but apart from special occasions like this, “revival meetings,” as it were, there is no record of them assembling particularly on any day except Sunday.) In contrast, on the first day:
    1.) The Lord Jesus rose from the dead (Mark 16:9).
    2.) Many dead saints arose from the grave (Matthew 27:52-53).
    3.) The disciples (who were the church–note that the assembly was not the apostles alone, Luke 24:33-34) were assembled (Mark 16:10-11) [The aorist tenses for “went” and “told,” the present plural participles for “mourned”
    and “wept,” the aorist plural participle “had heard,” and the aorist plural verb “believed not” all point to the fact that the church (“those that had been with him,” v. 10; cf. Mark 1:36; 3:14; John 6:66), was gathered in one place that first Lord’s day when the Savior arose, and Mary came and delivered her message to them in their assembly, rather than seeking them out one by one in different locations and speaking to them. ∆Anasta»ß de« prwi∑ prw¿thØ sabba¿tou e˙fa¿nh prw◊ton Mari÷aˆ thØv MagdalhnhØv, aÓf∆ h∞ß e˙kbeblh/kei e˚pta» daimo/nia. e˙kei÷nh poreuqei√sa aÓph/ggeile toi√ß met∆ aujtouv genome÷noiß, penqouvsi kai« klai÷ousi. kaÓkei√noi aÓkou/santeß o¢ti zhØv kai« e˙qea¿qh uJp∆ aujthvß hjpi÷sthsan. (Mark 16:9-11).] on the first day, when the Lord appeared to and met with them (Matthew 28:8-10; Luke 24:33-34; John 20:19-23).
    4.) The church received Christ’s blessing (John 20:19).
    5.) The church received the gift of the Holy Spirit (John 20:22).
    6.) The church was commissioned to preach the gospel to the whole world (John 20:21-23; Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:17-20; Luke 24:47).
    7.) The Lord Jesus ascended to heaven on the first day, was seated at the right hand of the Father, and was made Head of all (John 20:17; Ephesians 1:20; cf. Luke 24:13-53; Mark 16:14-19).
    8.) The gospel of the risen Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) was first preached on the first day (Luke 24:33-34).
    9.) The church rejoiced in Christ on the first day (Luke 24:41; John 20:20).
    10.) The Lord Jesus explained the Scriptures to the disciples on the first day (Luke 24:27, 45).
    11.) On the first day, the work involved in the elect’s justification was completed (Romans 4:25).
    12.) Before Pentecost, the church was meeting on successive first days of the week and communing with the risen Christ at that time (John 20:19; 24-26) [Christ gave His orders, filled with second person plural forms, when “the disciples were assembled” (Jn 20:19). Christ was “in the midst” (ei˙ß to\ me÷son, 20:19) of them, as He was the next Sunday evening (Jn 20:26)— He had promised that He would be in the midst of His church (Mt 18:20; the church is “gathered together” (suna¿gw), and Christ is “in the midst” (e˙n me÷swˆ) of them; see also Heb 2:12, “in the midst of the church,” e˙n me÷swˆ e˙kklhsi÷aß). Luke also records Christ’s dwelling “in the midst” (e˙n me÷swˆ, Lu 24:36) of the disciples at the resurrection appearance of John 20:19. He was seen later to walk “in the midst” (e˙n me÷swˆ) of the seven churches of Revelation (Rev 1:13, 2:1). Thus, that Christ was “in the midst” of His assembly, as seen twice in John 20, indicates a church context for the resurrection appearance of 20:19ff.]—the Bible skips over the sabbath, and no record of the church assembling, or of them having corporate fellowship with the Lord Jesus on Saturday, is given.
    13.) On the first day, Christ baptized the church with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2). Pentecost was on the 50th day after the sabbath following the wave offering (Leviticus 23:15,16). Thus Pentecost was always on a Sunday. On the first day of the week, God gave three thousand converts the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38) and added them to the church through baptism (Acts 2:41, 47).
    14.) Christians met for worship on the first day (as here in Acts 20:7; they had their offerings then as well, 1 Corinthians 16:2). The first day is the “Lord’s day” (Revelation 1:10). [If John had seen the vision of Christ on Saturday, he would surely have said, “I was in the Spirit on the sabbath.” Nothing in Scripture equates or hints that Saturday is the Lord’s Day—this term is employed in conradistinction to the Saturday sabbath. Early Christianity clearly understood the “Lord’s day” to be the first day of the week, not the sabbath. For example: “[T]hose who had lived in antiquated practices came to newness of hope, no longer keeping the Sabbath but living in accordance with the Lord’s day, on which our life also arose through him and his death . . . At the dawning of the Lord’s day He arose from the dead, according to what was spoken by Himself, ‘As Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man also be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.’ The day of the preparation, then, comprises the passion; the Sabbath embraces the burial; the Lord’s Day contains the resurrection.” (Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians 9:1; and his Epistle to the Trallians, chapter 9; both c. A. D. 107) Of course, there are many other very early references to Christian worship on the first day that do not explicitly employ the formula “the Lord’s day” (hJ kuriakh÷ hJme÷ra) as well. “Finally, he says to them: ‘I cannot bear your new moons and sabbaths.’ You see what he means: it is not the present sabbaths that are acceptable[.]. . . . This is why we spend the eighth day in celebration, the day on which Jesus both arose from the dead and, after appearing again, ascended into heaven” (Barnabas 15:8-9, c. A. D. 120). “And we afterwards continually remind each other of these things. And the wealthy among us help the needy; and we always keep together; and for all things wherewith we are supplied, we bless the Maker of all through His Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Ghost. And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given. . . . And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need. But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun [Sunday], having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration. (Justin Martyr, Apology, I, 67, c. A. D. 140). “If St. John had intended to specify the Sabbath [with the expression “the Lord’s Day,” instead of the first of the week] . . . it would have been strange indeed that every ecclesiastical writer for the first five centuries should have avoided any approach to such confusion. . . . Sa¿bbaton [Sabbath] is never used by them for the first day, [and] Kuriakh/ [the Lord’s Day] is never used by them for the seventh day” (Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, John McClintock & James Strong. elec. acc. AGES software library, Rio, WI: 2000.)]

    I would appreciate it greatly if someone could show me how I am wrong on Acts 20. I have no desire to abandon my closed communion position. However, at this time I do not know how to reconcile Acts 20 with closed communion without straining this chapter in Luke’s second volume to Theophilus.

  34. August 30, 2007 at 10:06 am

    Thomas,

    That is some great material. I don’t mind it being here, although it is a difficult read in this format. Obviously, you know now that the Hebrew and Greek fonts won’t work here, so you’re not going to be able to do that successfully from now on. I’m not the computer/internet genius necessary to correct it. They read as gibberish, which discourages from reading the comment. My brain at least refuses to keep searching for sentences to read in between the gibberish.

    I’m going to answer your questions here, if possible. I think you can see that if you ask me questions here, I’m more likely to answer it, than if I get an email.:-)

    I’ll answer in your paragraph with bold font.

    1 Corinthians 10:16-17; the Supper is the communion of the body of Christ. Yes, but are not members of Baptist churches in other locations part of Christ’s body? Yes, but still in my mind, each church is a separate body. So that when we have two bodies represented we don’t have “the body” any more, but bodies. You tell me why that may be wrong, but it has been my thinking. I still don’t think it is wrong. “Body” is a localized metaphor, communicating local, visible, i.e. in one location. Only in one church do body parts fit together. Paul was not a body part at Corinth. The communion was of the body, not bodies.  Yes, each body was the body, in the same way that each phone is “the phone,” but we happen to know that this body is the one at Corinth.  The people at Corinth knew their body was coming together for communion.  The metaphor is for each local assembly, it is true, but those added to the body by baptism (1 Corinthians 12:13) in other locations are still part of His body. Compare the metaphor of the bride—each church is the bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2) but Christ certainly is no polygamist. True, He has one bride generically, but it is also a metaphor.  I’ve never thought that the polygamy argument worked because it takes the metaphor too far.   Christ is the Head of every man, but that doesn’t make Christ a head with a kind of Siamese-twin kind of multiple man-body attached to Him.  Don’t you think I would be taking the metaphor too far there, if I thought that?  By the way, I would like to know if we are saying that v. 16’s reference to “communion of the blood of Christ” is somehow speaking of the church, rather than Christ’s actual blood, if we are going to say that “communion of the body of Christ” is not Christ’s actual body, but the church. Verse 17 is the metaphorical use of “body,” but how do we know v. 16 is as well? V. 16 and v. 17 are obviously read together.  We don’t understand v. 17 without what we read in v. 16, and this one-ness of the body in v. 17 describes what we see happening in v. 16.  V. 17 explains the communion that we have as pictured in the “one bread” of v. 16.  I think you can see this.  We all take of the same element and this portrays the fellowship that we have as a church.   Bringing in someone from another church confuses the picture. What kind of genitive is the “of” in v. 16?  A. T. Robertson, who in his Word Pictures I have on my Bible Works, says that it is objective genitive.  I think he is correct.  I don’t think blood is communing.  He explains it as participation in the blood and body of Christ.  The picture according to v. 17 is in the oneness.  It is communion because the body alone participates, comes together, fellowships together in the symbol.

    Could it be that, v. 7 shows that the supper is a church ordinance, but v. 11, visiting brethren from other churches can participate on invitation, if the church knows (within human limits) that they are qualified to participate?  First, I didn’t like B. H. Carrolls answer to Graves on closed communion.  He does reference Acts 20, but he seems to compromise his position on the body by doing so.  He doesn’t make the “body” argument that you gave above.  This is with all due respect to Carroll and his very excellent presentation on Ekklesia (despite the fact that he uses the RV).  Again, I believe that, despite your arguments that breaking the bread in Acts 20 is the Lord’s Table, “breaking of bread” is not always the Lord’s Table (see Acts 27).  I don’t see any reason not to think that the church had a meal together with Paul, like the churches would do.  Regularly we read something in the epistles about eating with someone with whom we have not broken fellowship and not eating with someone that we have broken fellowship.  If it was a special occasion with Paul being there, and so they could have had a special meal.  If it could be a meal, then we don’t form a doctrine on this text, when we get declarative propositions in the epistles on the nature of the communion.  I don’t think this presentation is an attack on the doctrine of perspecuity.

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