The next step in open communion

Anglicans already share communion with other Christians.  In Canada, they are working on the next step:  Sharing communion with the unbaptized.  And people who follow other religions:

Canadian Anglicans will hold discussions this spring about whether baptism is necessary for taking part in communion — questioning a requirement of Christianity that has existed for 2,000 years.

“Official teaching is you have to be baptized first. But a number of clergy across the country feel strongly about this as an issue and many have approached their bishops about allowing for an ‘open table’ in which all could take communion,” said Archdeacon Paul Feheley, who is the principal secretary to Archbishop Fred Hiltz, head of the Anglican Church of Canada.

It will be discussed when the House of Bishops meet in April, but not as an official topic, he said.

The idea — already rejected as a dangerous step by more orthodox Anglicans — was raised in an article this week in the AnglicanJournal.com in which an Ontario church pastor argues that removing the requirement of baptism would help stop the decline in the number of Anglicans attending services.

Rev. Gary Nicolosi said that if Jesus did not discriminate about who he invited to his table, then the Church should follow his lead.

“How, in our multicultural and pluralistic society, can our churches be places of hospitality if we exclude table fellowship with the non-baptized? This is not an academic question,” wrote Rev. Nicolosi, the pastor at St. James Westminster Anglican Church in London, Ont., and an official Church consultant on how to build membership.

“In Canada, a growing number of the population is not baptized. Included are people from different religious traditions or people with no religious affiliation at all. Quite likely, some are our grandchildren or great-grandchildren, whose parents neglected or refused to have them baptized.

“How can the church effectively minister in a post-Christian world where a significant percentage of the population is not baptized? Some Anglican churches are attempting to meet this challenge by becoming open and inclusive faith communities, ready and willing to support people in their spiritual journeys.”

via Anglicans to consider opening communion to unbaptized | Holy Post | National Post.

HT:James Kushiner

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Philip

    “A number of clergy” That’s the part that gets my goat. False teachers are what has led Chrisitanity to the place it is today. Laity are indeed sheep, following where they are are led by sheperds who do not humble themselves before the Word of God.

  • Philip

    “A number of clergy” That’s the part that gets my goat. False teachers are what has led Chrisitanity to the place it is today. Laity are indeed sheep, following where they are are led by sheperds who do not humble themselves before the Word of God.

  • http://snafman.blogspot.com Snafu

    Why even invite people to the table? Isn’t it discrimination to even have a table where to invite people? What about those poor fellows who aren’t in the church building at the moment? Who says Christians have anything worth inviting to?

    It’s getting ridiculous. You can back up just whatever with “discrimination”.

  • http://snafman.blogspot.com Snafu

    Why even invite people to the table? Isn’t it discrimination to even have a table where to invite people? What about those poor fellows who aren’t in the church building at the moment? Who says Christians have anything worth inviting to?

    It’s getting ridiculous. You can back up just whatever with “discrimination”.

  • http://strangeherring.com Anthony Sacramone

    These Anglicans have mistaken Holy Communion for lunch. Is it that they have lost all sense of the meaning of the sacrament, reducing it to a kind of clubby potluck? Or have they confused the real presence and the means of grace with some kind of magic, as if faith played no role in the sacrament on the part of the communicant?

  • http://strangeherring.com Anthony Sacramone

    These Anglicans have mistaken Holy Communion for lunch. Is it that they have lost all sense of the meaning of the sacrament, reducing it to a kind of clubby potluck? Or have they confused the real presence and the means of grace with some kind of magic, as if faith played no role in the sacrament on the part of the communicant?

  • Kirk

    Wait, is it controversial that Anglicans open their communion to other Christians? That’s a pretty common practice, amongst protestants.

  • Kirk

    Wait, is it controversial that Anglicans open their communion to other Christians? That’s a pretty common practice, amongst protestants.

  • http://originalsoapbox.wordpress.com Peter S.

    Although I understand and approve of those who practice closed-communion, I’m grateful that Anglicans open it to all baptized believers. However, this is ridiculous. By “table fellowship” we’re not talking about church potluck, we’re discussing Holy Communion. The shiny elephant in the room is: if there are a lot of unbaptized persons who want to participate, why not … baptize them?! If they don’t want to be baptized, do they really want to take the Body and Blood?

  • http://originalsoapbox.wordpress.com Peter S.

    Although I understand and approve of those who practice closed-communion, I’m grateful that Anglicans open it to all baptized believers. However, this is ridiculous. By “table fellowship” we’re not talking about church potluck, we’re discussing Holy Communion. The shiny elephant in the room is: if there are a lot of unbaptized persons who want to participate, why not … baptize them?! If they don’t want to be baptized, do they really want to take the Body and Blood?

  • Bart

    With a diocese as horrendously liberal as Canada’s, are we really surprised by this?

  • Bart

    With a diocese as horrendously liberal as Canada’s, are we really surprised by this?

  • helen

    Kirk @ 4
    Protestants do not pretend to have the Real Presence of Christ in their sacramental meal.
    They deny it. You can presumably invite anyone for juice and crackers.

    Is that all the Anglicans think they are offering these days?

  • helen

    Kirk @ 4
    Protestants do not pretend to have the Real Presence of Christ in their sacramental meal.
    They deny it. You can presumably invite anyone for juice and crackers.

    Is that all the Anglicans think they are offering these days?

  • Joe

    “Rev. Gary Nicolosi said that if Jesus did not discriminate about who he invited to his table, then the Church should follow his lead.”

    But he did discriminate. He only invited the 12 to his Last Supper. He had many followers but he did not give the bread and wine to all.

  • Joe

    “Rev. Gary Nicolosi said that if Jesus did not discriminate about who he invited to his table, then the Church should follow his lead.”

    But he did discriminate. He only invited the 12 to his Last Supper. He had many followers but he did not give the bread and wine to all.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Lessee…..did our Lord invite all of Jerusalem to the Last Supper, or just the disciples……? One would figure that in discussing this, the original Lord’s Supper might come to mind for these guys, but apparently not.

    And yes, Helen, many Protestants do fence off the Lord’s Supper–at least rhetorically. One does not need to believe in transsubstantiation or consubstantiation to understand that there ought to be some special reverence for this.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Lessee…..did our Lord invite all of Jerusalem to the Last Supper, or just the disciples……? One would figure that in discussing this, the original Lord’s Supper might come to mind for these guys, but apparently not.

    And yes, Helen, many Protestants do fence off the Lord’s Supper–at least rhetorically. One does not need to believe in transsubstantiation or consubstantiation to understand that there ought to be some special reverence for this.

  • Joe

    Krik – “Wait, is it controversial that Anglicans open their communion to other Christians?”

    They are not talking about other Christians. They are talking about the unbaptized, which includes unbelievers and adherents of other faiths.

  • Joe

    Krik – “Wait, is it controversial that Anglicans open their communion to other Christians?”

    They are not talking about other Christians. They are talking about the unbaptized, which includes unbelievers and adherents of other faiths.

  • nqb

    I realize the Community UCC is different than the Anglican Church, but I my dad shared this surprisingly relevant article with me yesterday.

    So you get the prize, Snafu. For those not in the church, take communion to the streets! (Nevermind the Gospel…) The weirdest thing is the “understanding” everyone in the article express for those who practice closed-communion. But there are a lot of other weird things in the article.

  • nqb

    I realize the Community UCC is different than the Anglican Church, but I my dad shared this surprisingly relevant article with me yesterday.

    So you get the prize, Snafu. For those not in the church, take communion to the streets! (Nevermind the Gospel…) The weirdest thing is the “understanding” everyone in the article express for those who practice closed-communion. But there are a lot of other weird things in the article.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net Matt Cochran

    It’s kind of odd to have “communion” among people who can’t even agree on what they’re participating in. But then again, perhaps these Anglicans are simply indicating that they actually have quite a bit of theological agreement with the unbelievers they wish to include.

    “How can the church effectively minister in a post-Christian world where a significant percentage of the population is not baptized?” I don’t know, how about by baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and teaching them everything Jesus taught? Is that worth a try? Or is inviting people to chew and slurp the body and blood of a man they think is dead really going to be more effective?

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net Matt Cochran

    It’s kind of odd to have “communion” among people who can’t even agree on what they’re participating in. But then again, perhaps these Anglicans are simply indicating that they actually have quite a bit of theological agreement with the unbelievers they wish to include.

    “How can the church effectively minister in a post-Christian world where a significant percentage of the population is not baptized?” I don’t know, how about by baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and teaching them everything Jesus taught? Is that worth a try? Or is inviting people to chew and slurp the body and blood of a man they think is dead really going to be more effective?

  • Kirk

    @ Helen

    Anglicans are sacramental but not transubstantiative (if that’s a word). So, no, most of us don’t believe in the real presence, but we do believe that the act of communion is a specific channel of grace. We’re somewhere between transubstantiation and memorialism. Still, communion is only for baptized Christians, not for everyone.

    One can hardly call the Episcopal leadership Christian anymore, so it seems logical that after denying things like the deity of Christ and the reality of Hell that communion would not hold much meaning, anymore. Please don’t judge the broad Anglican Communion by the actions of the Episcopal Church. Most of us differentiate ourselves as Anglican, not Episcopal.

    @Joe,

    I realize that’s the issue in question, which I think is immensely controversial. What I’m referring to is Dr. Veith’s opening comment “Anglicans already share communion with other Christians” as if that were a distinguishing quality of the denomination. I’m under the impression that closed communion ( closed to other Christians) is far less common, although I seem to recall that LCMS practices it.

  • Kirk

    @ Helen

    Anglicans are sacramental but not transubstantiative (if that’s a word). So, no, most of us don’t believe in the real presence, but we do believe that the act of communion is a specific channel of grace. We’re somewhere between transubstantiation and memorialism. Still, communion is only for baptized Christians, not for everyone.

    One can hardly call the Episcopal leadership Christian anymore, so it seems logical that after denying things like the deity of Christ and the reality of Hell that communion would not hold much meaning, anymore. Please don’t judge the broad Anglican Communion by the actions of the Episcopal Church. Most of us differentiate ourselves as Anglican, not Episcopal.

    @Joe,

    I realize that’s the issue in question, which I think is immensely controversial. What I’m referring to is Dr. Veith’s opening comment “Anglicans already share communion with other Christians” as if that were a distinguishing quality of the denomination. I’m under the impression that closed communion ( closed to other Christians) is far less common, although I seem to recall that LCMS practices it.

  • WebMonk

    Kirk, officially the LCMS (among other Lutheran denoms) practices closed communion, but you get different instantiation at different local bodies. Just yesterday I found out an acquaintance of mine attends a Lutheran (LCMS) church with open communion.

  • WebMonk

    Kirk, officially the LCMS (among other Lutheran denoms) practices closed communion, but you get different instantiation at different local bodies. Just yesterday I found out an acquaintance of mine attends a Lutheran (LCMS) church with open communion.

  • Digital

    Actually the LCMS practices close communion not closed communion, but I digress.
    I came from a representative communion protestant world where we used grape juice and allowed anyone to commune with us. But it still was in place that baptism was a pre-requisite.
    However, I think a better practice if you wanted to be “all-inclusive” would be to have fly by baptism. If you come in for communion to the alter the priest can splatter you right quick before giving you the sacrament. Would take all of 10 seconds.

    That being said, I have seen, even in the LCMS, a growing irreverence towards baptism, in progressive and conservative worship services. Anyone else notice this?

  • Digital

    Actually the LCMS practices close communion not closed communion, but I digress.
    I came from a representative communion protestant world where we used grape juice and allowed anyone to commune with us. But it still was in place that baptism was a pre-requisite.
    However, I think a better practice if you wanted to be “all-inclusive” would be to have fly by baptism. If you come in for communion to the alter the priest can splatter you right quick before giving you the sacrament. Would take all of 10 seconds.

    That being said, I have seen, even in the LCMS, a growing irreverence towards baptism, in progressive and conservative worship services. Anyone else notice this?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Funny, just wrote down some thoughts on this at my blog, in a post about the passover and its correlations to the Lord’s supper where we feast on our passover lamb, 2 corinthians 5. Baptism is a requirement. And Jesus did discriminate!

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Funny, just wrote down some thoughts on this at my blog, in a post about the passover and its correlations to the Lord’s supper where we feast on our passover lamb, 2 corinthians 5. Baptism is a requirement. And Jesus did discriminate!

  • Joe

    Kirk – closed communion is practices (sometimes unfaithfully) by the Orthodox, Roman, many Lutheran (LCMS, WELS, ELS, CLC and others) and some Baptists denominations/churches. On numbers alone, I think it is the majority position.

  • Joe

    Kirk – closed communion is practices (sometimes unfaithfully) by the Orthodox, Roman, many Lutheran (LCMS, WELS, ELS, CLC and others) and some Baptists denominations/churches. On numbers alone, I think it is the majority position.

  • Kirk

    @17

    Hmm, interesting. I guess that is a valid point. I do know a Southern Baptist church that withholds, which I think is funny seeing as they’re committed memorialists.

  • Kirk

    @17

    Hmm, interesting. I guess that is a valid point. I do know a Southern Baptist church that withholds, which I think is funny seeing as they’re committed memorialists.

  • SKPeterson

    Digital @15 – I have seen it to my chagrin, even in my own congregation. During a baptism, the pastor will often explain that Lutherans baptize infants, etc. as if the entire congregation was made up of Baptists and then does a quick 1-2-3 splash and you’re done ceremony. I’d prefer going through the actual baptismal liturgy – there’s enough explanation of what is happening in that brief order of service. And, if the point needs to be made on the what, where, when and why of Baptism, it can almost certainly always be worked into a sermon for just about any lectionary set of readings, 1-year or 3.

  • SKPeterson

    Digital @15 – I have seen it to my chagrin, even in my own congregation. During a baptism, the pastor will often explain that Lutherans baptize infants, etc. as if the entire congregation was made up of Baptists and then does a quick 1-2-3 splash and you’re done ceremony. I’d prefer going through the actual baptismal liturgy – there’s enough explanation of what is happening in that brief order of service. And, if the point needs to be made on the what, where, when and why of Baptism, it can almost certainly always be worked into a sermon for just about any lectionary set of readings, 1-year or 3.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Kirk–memorialism doesn’t mean that people ignore 1 Corinthians when the warning is given about taking the Lord’s Supper unworthily. It means that we simply believe that Christ’s language was metaphorical when He said “this is my body”, because His real body was obviously right in front of them at the time.

    There are real arguments both ways–arguing that the memorialist position is contrary to fencing off the table is to indulge a rather hasty generalization, IMO.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Kirk–memorialism doesn’t mean that people ignore 1 Corinthians when the warning is given about taking the Lord’s Supper unworthily. It means that we simply believe that Christ’s language was metaphorical when He said “this is my body”, because His real body was obviously right in front of them at the time.

    There are real arguments both ways–arguing that the memorialist position is contrary to fencing off the table is to indulge a rather hasty generalization, IMO.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    Wow. Despising the sacrament has been taken to a new level…

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    Wow. Despising the sacrament has been taken to a new level…

  • WebMonk

    Bike, remember, you’re on a primarily Lutheran board. The LS topic isn’t one you want to start arguing around here! :-D

  • WebMonk

    Bike, remember, you’re on a primarily Lutheran board. The LS topic isn’t one you want to start arguing around here! :-D

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Phil Spomer

    It’s strange that people in mainstream denominations seek to push their churches toward a content less theology. Why don’t they just join the Unitarians?

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Phil Spomer

    It’s strange that people in mainstream denominations seek to push their churches toward a content less theology. Why don’t they just join the Unitarians?

  • http://Www.Toddstadler.com tODD

    In other news, did you hear that the Boy Scouts, in order to combat declining membership, have decided that anyone can earn merit badges now — you don’t have to be a member!

    Oh, fine, the comparison limps a bit. Please don’t hear me saying that Communion is something one merits. Just saying, is there anyone who values merit badges that isn’t already a Boy Scout, or wouldn’t gladly go through the proper initiation to become one?

    “ Why don’t they just join the Unitarians?” (@23) Because the Unitarians’ contentlessness just isn’t as rich with tradition! ;)

  • http://Www.Toddstadler.com tODD

    In other news, did you hear that the Boy Scouts, in order to combat declining membership, have decided that anyone can earn merit badges now — you don’t have to be a member!

    Oh, fine, the comparison limps a bit. Please don’t hear me saying that Communion is something one merits. Just saying, is there anyone who values merit badges that isn’t already a Boy Scout, or wouldn’t gladly go through the proper initiation to become one?

    “ Why don’t they just join the Unitarians?” (@23) Because the Unitarians’ contentlessness just isn’t as rich with tradition! ;)

  • http://Www.Toddstadler.com tODD

    I’m just trying to imagine how the conversation went…

    “Right, so what seems to be the problem?”

    “Well, it’s declining membership, sir.”

    “By which you mean…”

    “Not enough people at the sacrament of Communion. We want there to be more.”

    “Well, do the people want Communion?”

    “Oh, yeah! I mean … yeah! People just love the sacraments!”

    “Well, why aren’t we giving it to them?”

    “Can’t. They’re not baptized. Not most of ‘em, these days.”

    “Oh.”

    “Yeah, seems like most people these days just don’t care about the sacraments.”

    “Right, right.”

    [Extremely pregnant pause]

  • http://Www.Toddstadler.com tODD

    I’m just trying to imagine how the conversation went…

    “Right, so what seems to be the problem?”

    “Well, it’s declining membership, sir.”

    “By which you mean…”

    “Not enough people at the sacrament of Communion. We want there to be more.”

    “Well, do the people want Communion?”

    “Oh, yeah! I mean … yeah! People just love the sacraments!”

    “Well, why aren’t we giving it to them?”

    “Can’t. They’re not baptized. Not most of ‘em, these days.”

    “Oh.”

    “Yeah, seems like most people these days just don’t care about the sacraments.”

    “Right, right.”

    [Extremely pregnant pause]

  • larry

    Finally, an uncontroversial subject!

    It depends on how you phrase closed communion.

    If by it you mean closed to unbelievers, then yes nearly every denomination practices it. If you mean continuity of confession of THE faith from font (baptism), through pulpit (the preached Word) to the altar (the Lord’s Supper), then the answer is “no” and not very many at all practice this (e.g. heterodoxy communing together, Baptist with PCA, PCA with Baptist, Reformed with Baptist, ECLA with Reformed, etc… a buffet of confessions – in spite of the fact that one thinks the other is not baptized!).

    The same Luther was confessing at Wittenberg as did at and after Marburg unto his very death bed.

    I think it was Preus that really put this into proper context:

    The real question is:

    What do the Reformed/Baptist, et. al. come to receive when they come to their suppers? What do/would rank unbelievers come to receive when they come to the LS? The forgiveness of their sins? No they do not nor do they intend nor desire this. Much less do they desire or intend to receive that very and true Body and Blood that gives that very forgiveness of sin. In this sense they come no differently whatsoever to a communion than would a rank unbeliever and this is according to their very own doctrines that they confess they confess.

    The question is this, Preus’s question, “What justification do you have in giving the body and blood of the Son of God to those who do not desire it nor intend to receive it?”

    That’s the question.

  • larry

    Finally, an uncontroversial subject!

    It depends on how you phrase closed communion.

    If by it you mean closed to unbelievers, then yes nearly every denomination practices it. If you mean continuity of confession of THE faith from font (baptism), through pulpit (the preached Word) to the altar (the Lord’s Supper), then the answer is “no” and not very many at all practice this (e.g. heterodoxy communing together, Baptist with PCA, PCA with Baptist, Reformed with Baptist, ECLA with Reformed, etc… a buffet of confessions – in spite of the fact that one thinks the other is not baptized!).

    The same Luther was confessing at Wittenberg as did at and after Marburg unto his very death bed.

    I think it was Preus that really put this into proper context:

    The real question is:

    What do the Reformed/Baptist, et. al. come to receive when they come to their suppers? What do/would rank unbelievers come to receive when they come to the LS? The forgiveness of their sins? No they do not nor do they intend nor desire this. Much less do they desire or intend to receive that very and true Body and Blood that gives that very forgiveness of sin. In this sense they come no differently whatsoever to a communion than would a rank unbeliever and this is according to their very own doctrines that they confess they confess.

    The question is this, Preus’s question, “What justification do you have in giving the body and blood of the Son of God to those who do not desire it nor intend to receive it?”

    That’s the question.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Webmonk; was not intending to stir up that discussion, but rather to simply illustrate that the arguments for a “memorial” vs. “consubtantiation” Lord’s Supper have little to do with whether the table is fenced off. One

    That said, if we should think that the matter will be resolved by clamor of voices–no matter what position we hold–I dare suggest that our gracious host would be utterly saddened. :^)

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Webmonk; was not intending to stir up that discussion, but rather to simply illustrate that the arguments for a “memorial” vs. “consubtantiation” Lord’s Supper have little to do with whether the table is fenced off. One

    That said, if we should think that the matter will be resolved by clamor of voices–no matter what position we hold–I dare suggest that our gracious host would be utterly saddened. :^)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Helen (@7), you are probably not as well informed as you think when you say, “Protestants do not pretend to have the Real Presence of Christ in their sacramental meal.” (Of course, as a Lutheran, I could technically agree with that — we don’t “pretend”, we acknowledge it! — but then you go on to say “They deny it” about all Protestants.

    As a start, I’d read the Wikipedia article on Real Presence

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Helen (@7), you are probably not as well informed as you think when you say, “Protestants do not pretend to have the Real Presence of Christ in their sacramental meal.” (Of course, as a Lutheran, I could technically agree with that — we don’t “pretend”, we acknowledge it! — but then you go on to say “They deny it” about all Protestants.

    As a start, I’d read the Wikipedia article on Real Presence

  • Jonathan

    If they don’t want to be baptized, why on earth would they want to take communion?!

  • Jonathan

    If they don’t want to be baptized, why on earth would they want to take communion?!

  • Joe

    tODD – I think Helen is using a definition of Protestant that does not include Lutherans. There are Lutherans who are making the case that we are not similar enough to other protestants to be lumped into that category. The debate is over what protestant means. If it means not Catholic (or historically, those who protested against the RC) then yes we Lutherans are protestants but if it means a group of Christians with similar beliefs on justification, communion, etc. then Lutherans are not protestants. Having seen Helen around other Lutheran blogs, I beleive she is using the latter definition of protestant.

  • Joe

    tODD – I think Helen is using a definition of Protestant that does not include Lutherans. There are Lutherans who are making the case that we are not similar enough to other protestants to be lumped into that category. The debate is over what protestant means. If it means not Catholic (or historically, those who protested against the RC) then yes we Lutherans are protestants but if it means a group of Christians with similar beliefs on justification, communion, etc. then Lutherans are not protestants. Having seen Helen around other Lutheran blogs, I beleive she is using the latter definition of protestant.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Joe (@30), it’s news to me, but if that’s what Helen meant (@7) by “Protestant”, then my apologies.

    But if we do go with the “Lutherans aren’t Protestants” definition, that leaves me with a complete lack of understanding as to who, exactly, is a Protestant. Helen’s comment, combined with yours, leads me to believe that they must necessarily serve “juice and crackers”, which precludes any denomination serving wine, regardless of their theology. Which sounds mainly like just Baptists.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Joe (@30), it’s news to me, but if that’s what Helen meant (@7) by “Protestant”, then my apologies.

    But if we do go with the “Lutherans aren’t Protestants” definition, that leaves me with a complete lack of understanding as to who, exactly, is a Protestant. Helen’s comment, combined with yours, leads me to believe that they must necessarily serve “juice and crackers”, which precludes any denomination serving wine, regardless of their theology. Which sounds mainly like just Baptists.

  • Joe

    I’ll let Helen speak to what she meant by her juice and crackers comments. (I would guess sarcasm re: the denial of the real presence).

    As for how to properly define the tribes of the Christian world. I too am at a loss. But I think the historic Lutherans are protestants because protestant means not Catholic is not helpful for teaching what we confess. And, it has lead to several generations of Lutherans rejecting things simply because Catholics do it (i.e the sign of the cross, crucifixes, private confession, etc.)

    In some things we are closer to Catholics than we are to other non-catholics. And as far as I know, we are unlike the rest of current American Christianity on our doctrine of justification.

  • Joe

    I’ll let Helen speak to what she meant by her juice and crackers comments. (I would guess sarcasm re: the denial of the real presence).

    As for how to properly define the tribes of the Christian world. I too am at a loss. But I think the historic Lutherans are protestants because protestant means not Catholic is not helpful for teaching what we confess. And, it has lead to several generations of Lutherans rejecting things simply because Catholics do it (i.e the sign of the cross, crucifixes, private confession, etc.)

    In some things we are closer to Catholics than we are to other non-catholics. And as far as I know, we are unlike the rest of current American Christianity on our doctrine of justification.

  • larry

    That’s not the question or statement in place “arguments for ‘memorial’ vs.” some other view. The question and statement is what is the justification for giving the body and blood of the Son of God to any person who does not desire it nor intend to receive it, who does not desire to come and receive the forgiveness of their sin nor intend to receive it.

    It’s not only apropos to the issue, it IS the very issue.

    Why would the next step of general open communion not be to unbelievers? Because if unbelievers do not come desiring to receive the forgiveness of their sins nor intend to come for this, much less receive the body and blood of the Son of God, and if Baptist, and Reformed and Episcopalians, etc…do not come to receive the forgiveness of their sins nor intend to come and receive this, much less the body and blood of the Son of God shed for that purpose – why not, then, open communion. Because at that point, at the altar, neither the atheist, the agnostic, or other unbeliever comes to receive the forgiveness of their sins any more than does a Baptist, Reformed, et. al. Nor do any of them intend to, nor do they intend nor wish to receive the body and blood of the Son of God.

    The faith confessed at the font is different than the faith confessed at the pulpit which is different than the faith confessed at the altar. It is an unbelieving altar, so why would they NOT allow unbelievers to come?

    This is why altars, over time, have opened. Because there is not a consistency in the doctrines of heterodox churches (and some Lutheran by name churches) which reflect, rather obviously, that one consistent faith, THE faith, has not and is not being confessed from font (baptism) through the pulpit (the preached word) culminating at the altar (the Lord’s Supper).

    In short Zwingli and Calvin over time have unraveled like a ball of yarn thrown hard and far across a field, and now they are opening their altars, in this case, to unbelievers. It’s simply the logical progression of the doctrines confessed.

    One must ask one’s self, “why DO I come to the altar?”

  • larry

    That’s not the question or statement in place “arguments for ‘memorial’ vs.” some other view. The question and statement is what is the justification for giving the body and blood of the Son of God to any person who does not desire it nor intend to receive it, who does not desire to come and receive the forgiveness of their sin nor intend to receive it.

    It’s not only apropos to the issue, it IS the very issue.

    Why would the next step of general open communion not be to unbelievers? Because if unbelievers do not come desiring to receive the forgiveness of their sins nor intend to come for this, much less receive the body and blood of the Son of God, and if Baptist, and Reformed and Episcopalians, etc…do not come to receive the forgiveness of their sins nor intend to come and receive this, much less the body and blood of the Son of God shed for that purpose – why not, then, open communion. Because at that point, at the altar, neither the atheist, the agnostic, or other unbeliever comes to receive the forgiveness of their sins any more than does a Baptist, Reformed, et. al. Nor do any of them intend to, nor do they intend nor wish to receive the body and blood of the Son of God.

    The faith confessed at the font is different than the faith confessed at the pulpit which is different than the faith confessed at the altar. It is an unbelieving altar, so why would they NOT allow unbelievers to come?

    This is why altars, over time, have opened. Because there is not a consistency in the doctrines of heterodox churches (and some Lutheran by name churches) which reflect, rather obviously, that one consistent faith, THE faith, has not and is not being confessed from font (baptism) through the pulpit (the preached word) culminating at the altar (the Lord’s Supper).

    In short Zwingli and Calvin over time have unraveled like a ball of yarn thrown hard and far across a field, and now they are opening their altars, in this case, to unbelievers. It’s simply the logical progression of the doctrines confessed.

    One must ask one’s self, “why DO I come to the altar?”

  • larry

    Lutherans ought not be confused on this. Our confessions say we are in continuity with the church historic, not the Reformed (protestants) on the left nor Rome on the right. Our confessions are not “Lutheran” per se but Christian, they do say “The Book of Lutheranism” but rather The Book of Concord, The Augsburg Confession, The Smalcald Articles, etc… Including the confessions of the church historic, the Apostle’s Creed, Nicene Creed, etc…. One question there is to ask another denomination, “Read these, Apostle’s, Nicene, Athanasius, do you disagree with those? By the way if you do you are affirming heresy point blank.” This point becomes fairly obvious. Our confessions are a confession of what the Scriptures say.

    Part of the “confusion” comes about in being either unable or unwilling (in our day and age) to call a heterodox confession heretical because at the end of the day…it is. When Christ instituted the LS, even with Judas, it was the disciples underneath the true orthodox confession (even though Judas himself was a hypocrite), and not a plethora of confessions about baptism, pulpit and the very words Christ was speaking and instituting that moment. The heterodox where not part of the disciples under the orthodox confession, even though a hypocrite under orthodox was there.

    When we fail to recognize these things, then sure, it opens the door to “what then is the truth”.

  • larry

    Lutherans ought not be confused on this. Our confessions say we are in continuity with the church historic, not the Reformed (protestants) on the left nor Rome on the right. Our confessions are not “Lutheran” per se but Christian, they do say “The Book of Lutheranism” but rather The Book of Concord, The Augsburg Confession, The Smalcald Articles, etc… Including the confessions of the church historic, the Apostle’s Creed, Nicene Creed, etc…. One question there is to ask another denomination, “Read these, Apostle’s, Nicene, Athanasius, do you disagree with those? By the way if you do you are affirming heresy point blank.” This point becomes fairly obvious. Our confessions are a confession of what the Scriptures say.

    Part of the “confusion” comes about in being either unable or unwilling (in our day and age) to call a heterodox confession heretical because at the end of the day…it is. When Christ instituted the LS, even with Judas, it was the disciples underneath the true orthodox confession (even though Judas himself was a hypocrite), and not a plethora of confessions about baptism, pulpit and the very words Christ was speaking and instituting that moment. The heterodox where not part of the disciples under the orthodox confession, even though a hypocrite under orthodox was there.

    When we fail to recognize these things, then sure, it opens the door to “what then is the truth”.

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Phil Spomer

    “There are Lutherans who are making the case that we are not similar enough to other protestants to be lumped into that category.”

    I’ve joined this camp. Simply because of the way the word “protestant” is used in common parlance. It broadly (and generally) understood as un-historical, un-liturgical, and un-sacramental. We seem to have the same PR problem as the Eastern Orthodox.

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Phil Spomer

    “There are Lutherans who are making the case that we are not similar enough to other protestants to be lumped into that category.”

    I’ve joined this camp. Simply because of the way the word “protestant” is used in common parlance. It broadly (and generally) understood as un-historical, un-liturgical, and un-sacramental. We seem to have the same PR problem as the Eastern Orthodox.

  • Digital

    Im sorry guys, Lutherans need to get off their high horse…we are protestant whether you like being lumped in with all those other sinners or not. See below for definition and reference.
    It pains me to watch the Lutherans cast stones at other protestants. Most arguments I watch are over syntax. While doctrine must be protected Lutherans take it to a whole new level. Unless someone says the right words then they are wrong. No care for the meaning behind those words. I think if we spent more time listening to our protestant brethren we might find that we aren’t so far from many Calvinists and baptists.
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/protestant
    –noun
    1.
    any Western Christian who is not an adherent of a Catholic, Anglican, or Eastern Church.
    2.
    an adherent of any of those Christian bodies that separated from the Church of Rome during the Reformation, or of any group descended from them.
    3.
    (originally) any of the German princes who protested against the decision of the Diet of Speyer in 1529, which had denounced the Reformation.
    4.
    ( lowercase ) a person who protests.

  • Digital

    Im sorry guys, Lutherans need to get off their high horse…we are protestant whether you like being lumped in with all those other sinners or not. See below for definition and reference.
    It pains me to watch the Lutherans cast stones at other protestants. Most arguments I watch are over syntax. While doctrine must be protected Lutherans take it to a whole new level. Unless someone says the right words then they are wrong. No care for the meaning behind those words. I think if we spent more time listening to our protestant brethren we might find that we aren’t so far from many Calvinists and baptists.
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/protestant
    –noun
    1.
    any Western Christian who is not an adherent of a Catholic, Anglican, or Eastern Church.
    2.
    an adherent of any of those Christian bodies that separated from the Church of Rome during the Reformation, or of any group descended from them.
    3.
    (originally) any of the German princes who protested against the decision of the Diet of Speyer in 1529, which had denounced the Reformation.
    4.
    ( lowercase ) a person who protests.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Digital,
    I’m sick of protestants complaining that all Lutherans care about is syntax, and arrogantly stating that the lutheran differences don’t matter. Because they don’t understand them or care to understand them. In fact there is more difference between us and the reformed than there is between us and RC.
    But the definition you cite is hilarious! If anglicans aren’t protestants, than Lutherans sure the hell are not.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Digital,
    I’m sick of protestants complaining that all Lutherans care about is syntax, and arrogantly stating that the lutheran differences don’t matter. Because they don’t understand them or care to understand them. In fact there is more difference between us and the reformed than there is between us and RC.
    But the definition you cite is hilarious! If anglicans aren’t protestants, than Lutherans sure the hell are not.

  • Digital

    Bror, notice the pronoun I chose to use :)

    Peace.

  • Digital

    Bror, notice the pronoun I chose to use :)

    Peace.

  • Joe

    Digital – So, when I confess that Christ’s body and blood are truly present in the Lord’s Supper and someone else says that the communion is just a remembrance and Christ body and blood can possibly be present because He ascended. There is really no difference?

  • Joe

    Digital – So, when I confess that Christ’s body and blood are truly present in the Lord’s Supper and someone else says that the communion is just a remembrance and Christ body and blood can possibly be present because He ascended. There is really no difference?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Digital, I noticed the pronoun. After what you wrote thought,I really didn’t care. It annoys me even more to hear the garbage regurgitated by one calling himself/ herself a Lutheran.
    A person such as that ought to educate himself more before he opens his trap. Perhaps read “Luther Discovers the Gospel” or “Here We Stand” by Sassen maybe even our Confessions. Or ask why his brothers have said whathey say, but he ought not lecture them from ignorance.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Digital, I noticed the pronoun. After what you wrote thought,I really didn’t care. It annoys me even more to hear the garbage regurgitated by one calling himself/ herself a Lutheran.
    A person such as that ought to educate himself more before he opens his trap. Perhaps read “Luther Discovers the Gospel” or “Here We Stand” by Sassen maybe even our Confessions. Or ask why his brothers have said whathey say, but he ought not lecture them from ignorance.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Joe said (@32), “I think the historic ‘Lutherans are Protestants because Protestant means not-Catholic’ is not helpful for teaching what we confess.” (Actually, I added some punctuation to what he wrote; hopefully in so doing, I have only clarified to both of us what he meant, because that’s how I read it.)

    There are two problems with this. The first is that the “historic” definition of “Protestant” doesn’t merely mean “not Catholic”, it refers to a specific protest … which was led by Lutherans, and was about Lutheranism.

    The other problem is that the word “Protestant” is not intended to “teach what we confess”. I would almost argue that the word “Lutheran” is not helpful for teaching what we confess — as not a few people around here frequently make clear. And yet we use it because it is what it is.

    So it is with “Protestant”. Attempting to invent (as I see it) a new definition, apart from the particular historical derivation and the common (“not Catholic”) understanding, can only muddy the waters, not clear them.

    All of this being one reason why likely none of us answers “Protestant” when asked “and what’s your religion?”

    And I still don’t know who are Protestants, in your definition. All non-Lutherans (as well as non-Catholics, of course)?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Joe said (@32), “I think the historic ‘Lutherans are Protestants because Protestant means not-Catholic’ is not helpful for teaching what we confess.” (Actually, I added some punctuation to what he wrote; hopefully in so doing, I have only clarified to both of us what he meant, because that’s how I read it.)

    There are two problems with this. The first is that the “historic” definition of “Protestant” doesn’t merely mean “not Catholic”, it refers to a specific protest … which was led by Lutherans, and was about Lutheranism.

    The other problem is that the word “Protestant” is not intended to “teach what we confess”. I would almost argue that the word “Lutheran” is not helpful for teaching what we confess — as not a few people around here frequently make clear. And yet we use it because it is what it is.

    So it is with “Protestant”. Attempting to invent (as I see it) a new definition, apart from the particular historical derivation and the common (“not Catholic”) understanding, can only muddy the waters, not clear them.

    All of this being one reason why likely none of us answers “Protestant” when asked “and what’s your religion?”

    And I still don’t know who are Protestants, in your definition. All non-Lutherans (as well as non-Catholics, of course)?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Digital said (@38), “Bror, notice the pronoun I chose to use.” Actually, you used two distinct persons, both the first and the third (@36): “Lutherans need to get off their high horse … we are protestant.” So, you know.

    “While doctrine must be protected Lutherans take it to a whole new level.” An interesting take. Let’s try these sentences on for comparison. “Okay, sure, Secret Service agents are supposed to protect the life of the President, but not, you know, be all crazy zealous about it.” Or “I appreciate your overall concern for having a clean kitchen, chef, but don’t you think you’re overly concerned about preventing feces in the food?”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Digital said (@38), “Bror, notice the pronoun I chose to use.” Actually, you used two distinct persons, both the first and the third (@36): “Lutherans need to get off their high horse … we are protestant.” So, you know.

    “While doctrine must be protected Lutherans take it to a whole new level.” An interesting take. Let’s try these sentences on for comparison. “Okay, sure, Secret Service agents are supposed to protect the life of the President, but not, you know, be all crazy zealous about it.” Or “I appreciate your overall concern for having a clean kitchen, chef, but don’t you think you’re overly concerned about preventing feces in the food?”

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson
  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson
  • Digital

    tODD @ 41 – You stated what I meant to say but in a much better way, thank you. 100% agree, ignore what I said and insert that :) The problem with definitions like “Protestant” is that they are man made. We may not agree with the definition but they are what they are, we can write Webster’s or another authority and have them changed but they are an accurate representation of what the world agrees on a term. For a good irritation, look up the definition for God.
    tODD – Sorry you are correct, I did switch. And yes, but a better phrase would be throwing out the Baby with the bathwater. You can be over zealous in protecting the President and you can be overly concerned about preventing feces in the food.

  • Digital

    tODD @ 41 – You stated what I meant to say but in a much better way, thank you. 100% agree, ignore what I said and insert that :) The problem with definitions like “Protestant” is that they are man made. We may not agree with the definition but they are what they are, we can write Webster’s or another authority and have them changed but they are an accurate representation of what the world agrees on a term. For a good irritation, look up the definition for God.
    tODD – Sorry you are correct, I did switch. And yes, but a better phrase would be throwing out the Baby with the bathwater. You can be over zealous in protecting the President and you can be overly concerned about preventing feces in the food.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Digital said (@44), “You can be overzealous in protecting the President”. Perhaps, though I doubt the Secret Service hires people based on their lack of zeal. (“Would you take a bullet for the President?” “I don’t know, maybe. Depends. Can you give a more specific example?” “You’re hired.”)

    But now we’re just debating the metaphor, not your actual claim. What specific problems do you have with Lutherans “protecting doctrine”?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Digital said (@44), “You can be overzealous in protecting the President”. Perhaps, though I doubt the Secret Service hires people based on their lack of zeal. (“Would you take a bullet for the President?” “I don’t know, maybe. Depends. Can you give a more specific example?” “You’re hired.”)

    But now we’re just debating the metaphor, not your actual claim. What specific problems do you have with Lutherans “protecting doctrine”?

  • helen

    I’ll let Helen speak to what she meant by her juice and crackers comments. (I would guess sarcasm re: the denial of the real presence). — [Joe, I think?]

    IF Christ isn’t really present in, with and under the bread and wine (not grape juice) (not “consubstantiation either, BTW, we don’t use that term) then, I should think, there is no sin in giving it to someone who agrees that Christ isn’t present. That’s what I meant.

    I was born into a Lutheran family. I was not brought up to consider myself “Protestant” . Those were the Methodists… [about the only protestants I knew the first 20 years.] I know that Lutherans were called protestants on the occasion mentioned above, but the followers of Luther and the other reformed traditions divided within his lifetime (with some wobbling back and forth on Melanchthon’s part). [He did so want everyone to like him, I think.]
    At any rate, we were divided as in Luther & Zwingli’s discussion, by our belief about the Lord’s Supper.
    Orthodox Lutherans believe that “is” means “is” to put it briefly, and I will leave it there.

    [elca lutherans are in pulpit and altar fellowship with everybody and his brother; I have no idea what they confess now. Although I spent first 30 years in synods antecedent to elca I got out before that travesty occurred.] Apologies as needed for being frank, but they were Lutheran. Then. ;(

    I have had a very rapid rundown of various protestant denominations; here my remarks were probably influenced by several decades of “immersion” in a predominantly Baptist environment. In another time and place, I spent some time with a scholarly Orthodox Presbyterian pastor and I might have chosen my words more carefully.
    If someone pressed me to define my brand of Lutheranism, I might say “Evangelische” as Luther would have preferred. Some say, “evangelical catholic” in this day and age. Book of Concord Lutheran will do nicely.
    Communion is closed which means reserved for those with whom we are in pulpit and altar fellowship. (‘close’ is hiding ‘open’, IMO)
    Unfortunately, about half of the LCMS is more liberal than that so I prefer to commune in my own congregation. Saves trouble all ’round!
    TMI! Too much information, but I hope I’ve clarified all the assumptions I made and others made about me.
    If you survived this far, Thanks! Helen

  • helen

    I’ll let Helen speak to what she meant by her juice and crackers comments. (I would guess sarcasm re: the denial of the real presence). — [Joe, I think?]

    IF Christ isn’t really present in, with and under the bread and wine (not grape juice) (not “consubstantiation either, BTW, we don’t use that term) then, I should think, there is no sin in giving it to someone who agrees that Christ isn’t present. That’s what I meant.

    I was born into a Lutheran family. I was not brought up to consider myself “Protestant” . Those were the Methodists… [about the only protestants I knew the first 20 years.] I know that Lutherans were called protestants on the occasion mentioned above, but the followers of Luther and the other reformed traditions divided within his lifetime (with some wobbling back and forth on Melanchthon’s part). [He did so want everyone to like him, I think.]
    At any rate, we were divided as in Luther & Zwingli’s discussion, by our belief about the Lord’s Supper.
    Orthodox Lutherans believe that “is” means “is” to put it briefly, and I will leave it there.

    [elca lutherans are in pulpit and altar fellowship with everybody and his brother; I have no idea what they confess now. Although I spent first 30 years in synods antecedent to elca I got out before that travesty occurred.] Apologies as needed for being frank, but they were Lutheran. Then. ;(

    I have had a very rapid rundown of various protestant denominations; here my remarks were probably influenced by several decades of “immersion” in a predominantly Baptist environment. In another time and place, I spent some time with a scholarly Orthodox Presbyterian pastor and I might have chosen my words more carefully.
    If someone pressed me to define my brand of Lutheranism, I might say “Evangelische” as Luther would have preferred. Some say, “evangelical catholic” in this day and age. Book of Concord Lutheran will do nicely.
    Communion is closed which means reserved for those with whom we are in pulpit and altar fellowship. (‘close’ is hiding ‘open’, IMO)
    Unfortunately, about half of the LCMS is more liberal than that so I prefer to commune in my own congregation. Saves trouble all ’round!
    TMI! Too much information, but I hope I’ve clarified all the assumptions I made and others made about me.
    If you survived this far, Thanks! Helen

  • Larry

    Of course ultimately if words don’t mean much, then this whole conversation is pointless and arguing one way or the other is pointless, since the words forming the sentences themselves are malleable. That whole argument is a garden variety epistemology of “the truth is there is no truth” or “the truth is all truth is true” which dies on its own sword.

    It’s funny how wishy washy doctrine works. I remember having this exact discussion when a Reformed Calvinist with the Baptist intrusion. The Reformed, at least some attempting to hold the doctrine and confession together were trying to communicate to the Baptist, “no there is no such thing as a “Reformed” or “Calvinistic” Baptist. A term many like Piper and MacArthur attempt to co-opt to their use saying, “if Calvin lived today he’d agree with us”. Not likely, he’d probably blow a cork.

    But these Reformed were making a point, “No you cannot be a Baptist and be a Reformed confessor. No you cannot affirm the famous TULIP via Dort and not baptize your infants and be considered Reformed or even of the confession of the TULIP for TULIP is more than just a disjointed acronym handy for a quick memory devise. No you cannot affirm total depravity and then not baptize your infant children.” These Reformed were right in their realm of doctrine and few Reformed today even do this.

    Now though one would not agree with Reformed doctrine, these were at least on the right track of absolute truth and in theory sola scriptura. A point Sasse makes that the serious Baptist, the serious Reformed, the serious Roman Catholic and the serious Lutheran who all know that only one truth is truly true and scriptural are at LEAST in principle closer to each other than these minglers of the same.

    In fact the Lutherans were stunned, Luther in particular, that the Zwinglians and others did not themselves hand the Lutherans over to Satan as false teachers. That stunned them more than the content of their doctrine. But it does speak volumes. Calvin is often seen as the one who set forth the mediating position between Luther and Zwingli. Yet, in this since Calvin was even worse than Zwingli for even thinking there was a middle ground and not that one was from the Holy Spirit and the other from another spirit.

    E.g. a Baptist that confesses his doctrine as THE truth of what scripture says should say, “Your Lutheran doctrine is heresy, Calvin too is heresy, Rome too is heresy”. He would at least be closer in principle concerning God’s Word and he would at least not be “vomited out of” the mouth of God for his luke warmness. At least such a one is hot. Even an atheist is more respectable in that at least he is cold. But these minglers of doctrine, they are luke warm and worth nothing but vomiting out of the mouth.

    As a good Baptist pastor friend of mine said accurately, “Nothing is worse than making God’s Word unsure, not even being wrong.” Nothing is worse than mingle God’s Word with Satan’s word, truth with falsehood. No man is more blind than a mingler of doctrine for the sake of “peace” and so called “love”. Such is more blind than the farthest out atheist for at least the atheist is denying SOMETHING that IS and not a affirming the nothing that is between “may be true” or “may not be true”, let’s just get along.

    The mingler of doctrine says there is no real true firm Word of God.

  • Larry

    Of course ultimately if words don’t mean much, then this whole conversation is pointless and arguing one way or the other is pointless, since the words forming the sentences themselves are malleable. That whole argument is a garden variety epistemology of “the truth is there is no truth” or “the truth is all truth is true” which dies on its own sword.

    It’s funny how wishy washy doctrine works. I remember having this exact discussion when a Reformed Calvinist with the Baptist intrusion. The Reformed, at least some attempting to hold the doctrine and confession together were trying to communicate to the Baptist, “no there is no such thing as a “Reformed” or “Calvinistic” Baptist. A term many like Piper and MacArthur attempt to co-opt to their use saying, “if Calvin lived today he’d agree with us”. Not likely, he’d probably blow a cork.

    But these Reformed were making a point, “No you cannot be a Baptist and be a Reformed confessor. No you cannot affirm the famous TULIP via Dort and not baptize your infants and be considered Reformed or even of the confession of the TULIP for TULIP is more than just a disjointed acronym handy for a quick memory devise. No you cannot affirm total depravity and then not baptize your infant children.” These Reformed were right in their realm of doctrine and few Reformed today even do this.

    Now though one would not agree with Reformed doctrine, these were at least on the right track of absolute truth and in theory sola scriptura. A point Sasse makes that the serious Baptist, the serious Reformed, the serious Roman Catholic and the serious Lutheran who all know that only one truth is truly true and scriptural are at LEAST in principle closer to each other than these minglers of the same.

    In fact the Lutherans were stunned, Luther in particular, that the Zwinglians and others did not themselves hand the Lutherans over to Satan as false teachers. That stunned them more than the content of their doctrine. But it does speak volumes. Calvin is often seen as the one who set forth the mediating position between Luther and Zwingli. Yet, in this since Calvin was even worse than Zwingli for even thinking there was a middle ground and not that one was from the Holy Spirit and the other from another spirit.

    E.g. a Baptist that confesses his doctrine as THE truth of what scripture says should say, “Your Lutheran doctrine is heresy, Calvin too is heresy, Rome too is heresy”. He would at least be closer in principle concerning God’s Word and he would at least not be “vomited out of” the mouth of God for his luke warmness. At least such a one is hot. Even an atheist is more respectable in that at least he is cold. But these minglers of doctrine, they are luke warm and worth nothing but vomiting out of the mouth.

    As a good Baptist pastor friend of mine said accurately, “Nothing is worse than making God’s Word unsure, not even being wrong.” Nothing is worse than mingle God’s Word with Satan’s word, truth with falsehood. No man is more blind than a mingler of doctrine for the sake of “peace” and so called “love”. Such is more blind than the farthest out atheist for at least the atheist is denying SOMETHING that IS and not a affirming the nothing that is between “may be true” or “may not be true”, let’s just get along.

    The mingler of doctrine says there is no real true firm Word of God.

  • helen

    Thanks to Bror Erickson for the link to comments @ 43!

    Amen!

  • helen

    Thanks to Bror Erickson for the link to comments @ 43!

    Amen!

  • David Haddon

    I consider myself a churchman and have been committed to a local church for the better part of the last 40 years since I returned to Christian faith in 1970. But I now find myself an orphan where I live mainly because most evangelical churches in the area no longer require baptism for receiving communion. Unlike the Canadian Anglicans cited, they do expect people who want to receive communion to profess faith in Jesus Christ. At least one pastor has encouraged people to receive communion as an expression of their decision to follow Christ!

    The fruit of this indifferentism towards baptism was well manifested at a morning service I attended late last year. A young woman of 30 was to be baptized; she testified that she had received Jesus at age 7 and since she was about to be married, she decided she ought to be baptized.

  • David Haddon

    I consider myself a churchman and have been committed to a local church for the better part of the last 40 years since I returned to Christian faith in 1970. But I now find myself an orphan where I live mainly because most evangelical churches in the area no longer require baptism for receiving communion. Unlike the Canadian Anglicans cited, they do expect people who want to receive communion to profess faith in Jesus Christ. At least one pastor has encouraged people to receive communion as an expression of their decision to follow Christ!

    The fruit of this indifferentism towards baptism was well manifested at a morning service I attended late last year. A young woman of 30 was to be baptized; she testified that she had received Jesus at age 7 and since she was about to be married, she decided she ought to be baptized.


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