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The Ordinance of the Lord's Table

Jesus instituted two ordinances for the church: baptism and the Lord’s Table. The latter the New Testament (NT) calls “communion” (1 Cor 10:16), “the Lord’s Supper” (1 Cor 11:20), and “the Lord’s Table” (1 Cor 10:21).

What does the term “ordinance” mean? It is a fancy word for “ordained.” God mandated that the church have the regular practice. 1 Corinthian 11:2 calls things “ordinances,” which one may deduce are these two practices. Only these two did Jesus institute, the Apostles and the church practiced in Acts, and the NT Epistles reaffirmed and taught. These two are acts of obedience for a Christian and for each church and its members.

As to the Lord’s Table, our church has been practicing closed communion, meaning that we have limited it only to members of the church. Why? It is the clearest scriptural position. It’s the easiest one to argue from the Bible. Also, it is the safest in light of the warning in 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 against partaking unworthily.

Again, 1 Corinthians 11:2 says that Christ delivered the ordinances to the church to keep. A church keeps the ordinances, not some other institution. The most significant argument for closed communion, I believe, is the terminology used, “the communion of the body of Christ” (1 Cor 10:16).

What is the body of Christ? 1 Corinthians 12:27 is the only place to define it: “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” Each true church is the body of Christ. Only the church has the tools given by Jesus to keep pure, the purity necessary for partaking of the Lord’s Table worthily.

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