1 CORINTHIANS 10:17 - Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. EPHESIANS 4:4-6 - There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and though all and in all.
The Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Our Communion Practice
The Need for True Unity ACTS 2:42 - And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. ROMANS 16:17 - I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 1 JOHN 4:1 - Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
The Need for Self-Examination 1 CORINTHIANS 11:27-32 - Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned with the world. 1 JOHN 1:8-10 - If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
The Need for Pastoral Care 1 CORINTHIANS 4:1-2 - This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. HEBREWS 13:17 - Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
The Constant Practice of the Church ROMANS 16:17 - I appeal to you, brothers, to watch over those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. JOHN 17:22-23 - The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they maybe one even as we are one. I in them and you in me, that they may be perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
Dear Friend, The congregations that make up The Lutheran Church ChurchMissouri Synod practice “closed communion.” The term “closed communion” means only that baptized and instructed Christians (Matt 28:19-20) who are in complete agreement with one another concerning the teachings of Holy Scripture commune with one another. In 21st century America, this practice often results in misunderstandings and hurt feelings on the part of our guests and visitors. It may even come between families (Matt. 10:34-39). We are aware that those of other denominations, those who hold different confessions, may feel “left out” or slighted. By practicing closed communion, we are not judging your personal faith or your salvation. We are simply being honest in recognizing publicly that there are serious disagreements among church bodies on basic teaching and practices of the Christian faith. That there are socalled “denominations” tells us the same thing. THE GIFT OF HOLY COMMUNION In the Lord’s Supper, our Lord Jesus Christ gives us His true Body and Blood to eat and drink for the forgiveness of our sins (Matt, 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:19-24; 1 Cor. 11:23-25). Here we are most united with Christ and also with one another (1 Cor. 10:17; Eph. 4:4-6). Holy Communion is a privilege and a holy gift purchased and won for us by our Lord’s suffering and death on the cross. THE NEED FOR TRUE UNITY Holy Communion is both personal and public. Any obstacle toward unity, whether personal unforgiveness harbored toward another or public disagreement over what God’s Word teaches, must first be reconciled before we can rejoice in our unity at the Lord’s altar. Doctrine and Sacrament have always been inseparably joined together (Acts 2:42; Romans 6:17). To commune with us is to agree publicly that our teachings are Scriptural. We must assume that everyone personally holds the teachings of the particular church body of which he or she is a member. It is every Christian’s duty to know and test what his or her church teaches (1 John 4:1).
If you do not believe that your church teaches what God’s Word teaches, you are urged to find and join a church that does. If you are not a member of any particular church, it is best that you not commune until you are able to unite in a confession as a member of a congregation. THE NEED FOR SELF EXAMINATION Because it is the very Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus that we eat and drink in the Lord’s Supper, we are to examine ourselves prior to receiving this holy gift. Of utmost importance is that all who eat and drink recognize that they are eating and drinking Christ’s true Body and Blood for the forgiveness of sins (1 Cor. 11:27-32). Communicants must be able to examine themselves concerning their sin according to the Ten Commandments and concerning their faith according to the Creed. They must be willing to abandon their sin to lead holy lives of prayer and service (1 John 1:8-10). Therefore, people must be instructed prior to communing. THE NEED FOR PASTORAL CARE Our pastor is a “steward of the mysteries of God” (1 Cor. 4:1-2). He must “give an account” of his work before the Lord (Heb. 13:17). He is responsible that everyone be properly instructed. He is not permitted to distribute the holy Body of our Lord indiscriminately, but only to those whom he knows have been instructed and examined in the Christian faith and who have repented and been absolved of their sins. Rather than being “unloving” or “inhospitable,” closed communion is both loving and responsible. We do not wish that anyone eat and drink Jesus’ Body and Blood to his or her harm. We also respect your beliefs and do not wish you to compromise what you believe by communing with those who believe differently. THE CONSTANT PRACTICE OF THE CHURCH Closed communion is nothing new. It has been the practice of the Christian church from the beginning (Romans 16:7). We believe it to be the only Scriptural way to administer faithfully the Lord’s Body and Blood. We urge all who confess our Lord Jesus Christ to pray fervently for the unity of His church, even as our Lord prayed that we all be one (John 17:22-23). Doctrinal divisions are not pleasing to the Lord; neither are denials of His holy Word. Those who desire to become members in communion with the evangelical Lutheran church are invited to our instruction classes offered throughout the year. If that is your desire, please make arrangements with our Pastor. The peace of our Lord be with you.
SCRIPTURE REFERENCES MATTHEW 28:19-20 - Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. MATTHEW 10:34-39 - Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in -law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
The Gift of Holy Communion MATTHEW 26:26-29 - Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this Is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom. MARK 14:22-25 - And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” LUKE 22:19-24 - And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed.” And they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this. A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 1 CORINTHIANS 11:23-25 - For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”