Why do some churches do CLOSED communion?
Some say it’s because they think they’re better than everyone else. Or because they don’t want outsiders to join them. Or because they’re secretly aliens in disguise, who want to take over the world.
Actually, no one says that last thing, because that would be mean! But isn’t it mean to say they think they’re better than everyone else? And isn’t it mean to say they don’t like outsiders? Yes. It’s mean to accuse them of those things too.
I get it. When a church says, “Before you take Communion with us, you should become a member,” or something, that can hurt your feelings. It can make you feel like you’re being judged. I’ve been there. Understandable.
But I’m writing today, to help you NOT feel judged! I’m going to explain what’s really going on here, so you’ll know there’s nothing to be embarrassed about!
I can’t speak for all churches, but when a Lutheran church tells you they take Communion only with members of the Lutheran Church, they are NOT judging your faith. They are inviting you to come closer.
Here’s why: as you know, the Lutherans, the Catholics and the Methodists each have a different take on things. Same with the Baptists and the Non-Denominationals, etc. (I know – it would be great if everyone automatically agreed. It’s not as easy as it sounds. But you can help, if you are willing to learn! By all means, come get some training!)
So, if some Lutherans tell you, “Don’t take Communion here just yet,” congratulations! You are now in the same boat every Lutheran has ever been in. This is because they have all gone through the SAME steps to get where they are: No.1 Baptism, No.2 Discipleship (learning the Bible), No.3 Absolution (receiving forgiveness of your very own sins) No.4 Confession of Faith (telling the whole church publicly what you believe) and No.5 Communion. (All from the Bible.)
Usually, they happen in that order. Notice, Communion is last. Look at the history of Jesus’ life: Baptism comes first (Matthew ch. 3), Communion comes last (Matthew ch. 26). Between them, there’s lots of other goodies. Lutherans want to give you all those goodies. Not just one part.
So, suppose you’re not Lutheran. If Lutherans did “Open Communion” for you, they’d be rushing you straight to the last part, and short-changing you on the rest! They might say, “It’s because we are loving.” But then they raise their own children with the privilege of going in order. How would that be fair to you? Or, if you like that double standard (for some reason), do you think you’re so special that every church should change its religion, because you require accommodation?
Nah. In fact, you wouldn’t want a church that does that. You want a church that is animated by the mercy of Jesus Christ – not by the whims of human beings.
You want a church that is willing to suffer for its message – not afraid to tell the bullies they’re wrong. And you want a church that cares whether you go to heaven or hell.
We are all in the same boat, friends. So, when Lutherans say, “Don’t take Communion here just yet,” they’re telling you they like you.
Trust me on this one. I’m a Lutheran.