By Chester E. Tulga, D.D.

   "Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember
me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I
delivered them to you."
  (I Cor. 11:2)
   "Then they that gladly received his word were
baptized: and the same day there were added
unto them about three thousand souls.   And they
continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and
fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in
  (Acts 2:41-42)
   "Since the Supper is an ordinance of the
church, it must inevitably follow that whatever
would debar a man from the church must also
debar him from the Lord's table in that church.   It
is logically inconceivable that one should be
deprived of membership in the church and yet not
also be deprived of coming to the Lord's table in
that church, since the first privilege is the source
and foundation for the second."
  George W.
Truett (The Supper Of Our Lord, p. 19)
   "That the local church is the custodian of this
ordinance, and must judge of the qualifications of
those desiring to partake of it, is shown by the fact

that the command to observe it was given, not to
individuals, but to a company (Luke 22:29,30).
Manifestly, this table is inside and not outside the
church.   The church alone can, therefore be
charged with the responsibility of its government.
The local church is the only body known to the
Scriptures which has any competency or jurisdic-
tion in the government of her two ordinances."

George W. Truett (The Supper Of Our Lord, pp.
   New Testament Baptists hold that the New
Testament is our sole authority on the nature of
the ordinances and the manner of their observ-
   We disagree flatly with those who hold that
fellowship between Christians is more important
than observing the ordinances according to the
Scriptures.   This is a principle which has
disastrous results in evangelical interdenom-
inationalism, where obedience to the whole Word
of God has been subordinated to religious
fellowship and activity.   The Lord's Supper was
not given in order that Christians might commune
with each other, but in order that they might
commune with the Lord.   It is a divine ordinance,
not a religious festival.

The Nature Of The Lord's Supper

   "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?"
(I Cor. 10:16)
   The Supper is the Lord's Supper.   Since this is
true, He alone must prescribe the rules regulating
and governing it.   He alone is to say the what and
how and why and where concerning it.   This He
had done in His Word.
   God's people have no authority nor option to
set aside the Word of God.   It is not their table.   If it
were, then they might invite their friends
according to their inclinations.   If the table
belonged to men they might invite whosoever
they would.
   Human sentiment does not govern it.   Long
established customs have no authority apart from
the Word of God.   The Lord's Supper belongs to
the Lord.   It is under the administration of the local
church.   The Church is under the authority of the
Word of God.   The ordinances are to be
administered scripturally and for hundreds of
years the church has considered that it is its duty
to administer it according to the Word of God, and

even to ex-communicate under some circum-

The Lord's Supper Is For Scripturally Baptized
Disciples Within The Local Church

   Our Lord gave the Supper to His baptized
disciples, not to the world.   If this is true, then the
first pre-requisite in coming to the Lord's Table is
that one must be a baptized Christian, born of the
Spirit and baptized in the manner set forth in the
Scriptures.   In the Scriptures the order of the
ordinances is clear.   "For they that gladly received
his word were baptized: and the same day there
were added unto them about three thousand
souls.   And they continued steadfastly in the
apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking
of bread, and in prayers."
  (Acts 2:41-42)
   D.B. Ray (Baptist Succession, p. 220) says,
"And the commission itself fixes baptism as the
first duty after believing (Matt. 28:19,20);
therefore, under the commission no one can
commune before baptism.   The communion is one
of those things which is commanded to be
observed after baptism."

   Robert C. Walton (The Gathered Community,
p. 165) says, "Baptism is the normal means of
entrance into the Christian Church and of access
to the Lord's Table.   Both in New Testament times
and throughout Church History an unbaptized
Christian has been, in general, a contradiction in
terms.   It is ironical to the last degree that
Baptists, of all people, should have come
increasingly to despise Baptism, and to admit to
membership unbaptized persons.   Whilst we
reject Infant Baptism and cling tenaciously to the
form of immersion, we are apparently complai-
sant that church members should not be baptized
at all."

   The Statement of the Baptist Union of Great
Britain and Ireland (The Lord's Supper, p. 33)
says, "We believe that, although there is no
statement on the point in the New Testament, our
brethren who belong to 'Closed Communion'
Churches are undoubtedly right in maintaining
that membership of the Christian Church (and
therefore presumably participation in the Lord's
Supper), seems in the earliest days to have been
confined to persons who were baptized upon
profession of faith.   We honor the sincerity and
earnestness of those who have contended for this
aspect of the truth, sometimes under very great
difficulties.   We believe the Church of Christ today

would be infinitely poorer had it not been for their

   The historic denominations for hundreds of
years, the Catholics and Anabaptists before them,
have always held to this order: baptism, church
membership and then communion.   They have
always reserved the right to refuse communion to
anyone considered heretical or unworthy.

The Lord's Supper Is Only For Christians Who
Are Walking Orderly Before God

   Paul says, "But now I have written unto you not
to keep company, if any man that is called a
brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an
idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an
extortioner; with such a one no not to eat."
  (I Cor.
5:11,13)   The obligation here to break company
does not rest upon the "conscience" of the
disorderly, but upon the believer to break
company and walk no more with the disorderly.
   Again, Paul said, "But I say, that the things
which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to
devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye
should have fellowship with devils.   You cannot
drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye
cannot be partaker of the Lord's table, and the
table of devils."
  (II Cor. 10:20,21)   We are sure
that Paul would apply this prohibition in our day
to apostates who have departed from the faith,
"giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of
  (I Tim. 4:1)
   Again we are told, "Now we command you,
brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that ye, withdraw yourselves from every brother
that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition
which ye received us."
  (II Thess. 3:6)   Here again
the separation is not left to the "conscience" of
the disorderly, but Paul commands the believer to
take the initiative.   Such a person is to be
disfellowshipped, if all efforts to recover him from
his disorder fails.
   John, in effect, demands the same, "Whoso-
ever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine
of Christ, hath not God.   He that abideth
in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father
and the Son.   If there come any unto you, and
bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your
house, neither bid him God speed: For he that
biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil
  (II John 9-11)   Here again the initiative is
to be taken by the believer in breaking off all

relations with those who deny the doctrine of
Christ as set forth in the Scriptures.   This
definitely forbids, among other things, any type of
communion with modernists and apostates who
deny or pervert the New Testament Christ.
   Again, the Lord's Supper is not for churches
torn with strife and factions.   Later in his first
epistle to the Corinthians, after noting that there
were "divisions" and "heresies" among them,
Paul said, "When ye come together therefore in
one place, this is not to eat
[literally ye cannot eat]
the Lord's Supper."   (I Cor. 11:20)

The Christian Is To Examine Himself

   The Christian is to examine himself, "and so let
him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup."
Statement of the Baptist Union of Great Britain
and Ireland says, "So the Lord's Supper must be
a service of self-examination and repentance, of
confession and judgment.   This is the time when,
sorrowfully remembering our offenses against
one another and against God, we should lay our
lives unreservedly open to the judgment of Christ,
and seek anew His pardon and His peace.   Our aim
must be not merely to commemorate the death of
Christ as a past fact, but so to identify ourselves
by faith with our Lord in His death that at all costs
we come to share His present mind about our sin,
and are reconciled by Him afresh to God.   This is
the prior and indispensable condition of partici-
pation, and it is also the pledge of God's
forgiveness and blessing (I John 1:8).   Let us
search our hearts carefully, confessing our sins,
before we sit down to commune with the Saviour
in His Supper.

The Lord's Supper Is To Be Received In Faith
By The Faithful

   Anyone may go through the motions of
receiving the elements, but if they are not saved
by the blood of Christ, they cannot commemorate
the death of Christ for their sins.   Concerning the
unworthy participation, [...]   Those who
partake of the communion unworthily make a
mock of this sacred ceremony and bring additional
guilt upon their soul.   []

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