305. Open or Closed Communion?

305. Open or Closed Communion?

The Holy Communion, also known as “Lord’s supper” or Eucharist, has been a main christian ritual accepted by almost all denominations throughout the church history. But few people know that the Lutheran and Reformed got divided into different denomination over the issue of Lord’s supper. It shows how important the Holy Communion was to early Reformers.

The Lord’s supper was actually instituted by Jesus himself. On the night of Passover, right before he was arrested to be crucified, he broke bread and poured wine into a cup and told his disciples that the bread is his body and the wine is his blood. Regardless of whether Jesus meant literally or symbolically, they were to believe what Jesus said and continually eat them as they go and plant churches. This was also revealed to Apostle Paul through direct revelation from Jesus. (1 Cor 11:23)

There has been a great debate, even now, whether communion should be “open” or “closed”. Those who believe that the communion should be “open” argue that everyone comes to Jesus only by grace and as long as the person is a believer, he/she can participate, regardless of church membership or baptism.

On the other hand, those who believe that the communion should be “closed” argue that only those who are baptized members can participate in the communion, to ensure that everyone who participates is a true believer and a member.

I, personally, think that anyone who has received Jesus should be able to participate in the communion. However, we are part of presbyterian denomination and the guideline set by the denomination states that only baptized member can participate in the communion. Regardless of my personal conviction, I think it is wise to follow the guideline to keep things in order, as this is not the life and death issue.

As we begin to do resume communion every other month, we advise only those who are baptized or confirmed to participate in the communion. It is definitely not a sign of exclusion, but hopefully, it will help everyone to think about the true meaning of the communion. Certainly, it was not an issue in the early church because whoever who received Jesus were baptized right on the spot! If you would like to participate, you just need to receive Jesus Christ and be baptized or confirmed (if you are infant baptized).