Sunday, March 14, 2010

Admission to the Holy Supper

A Lutheran church body (not the LCMS or the ELCA) has the following statement on admission to the Sacrament of the Altar:

Do you practice open or closed communion?

We practice “responsible communion,” which is neither open nor closed....


[Now you're either thinking 1) that this is a boring theological topic that you have no interest in reading (in which case you can click on something else), or 2) you will see this as a teaser to a really interesting theological discussion and will click here to read the rest on the collaborative Lutheran theological blog Four and Twenty Blackbirds - which actually consists of 30 Lutheran pastors ("blackbirds"). We Lutherans count editors with as much precision as we enumerate sacraments. If we were good with numbers and math we'd all be accountants or something. +HW]

6 comments:

km said...

Isn't it wonderful that you too practice "responsible communion" by virtue of your fellowship with this other body? How nice.

Father Hollywood said...

I also like their church body's website that introduces itself as "Lutheranism With a Heart" - unlike us, I suppose.

The whole thing just strikes me as bizarre.

Jonathan said...

From my experience on the pew-side, this statement sounds like what the *close(d)* communion practice has become in the LCMS. This one is just a little more wordy than most of the statements I have seen in the printed order of service. The only communion *fence* I have seen is fairly low, just confession of the real presence.

Ariel said...

So...it's closed communion, but they just prefer to obfuscate that meaning with a whole lot of words? I GUESS that's better than just practicing open communion willy-nilly, but still...why?

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Ariel:

Good point.

The statement just comes across to me as "closed" without saying "closed," but so subjective as to be, for all intents and purposes, "open." We've been doing this for 2,000 years - it shouldn't be this difficult. We shouldn't be reinventing the wheel every ten years.

The subjectivity, though certainly in accord with the spirit of our postmodern age, is ultimately not very helpful. Can a person who denies the Trinity or the Deity of Christ - and yet who agrees with those passages cited - be in fellowship with us? What about those who do not interpret these passages literally?

Father Hollywood said...

I'm going to shut down comments here, so we can have just one discussion. Please feel free to go to the post at Four and Twenty+ Blackbirds: Admission to the Holy Supper
and post there! Thanks.