Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Medicine Cabinet of Immortality

If you are on prescription drugs, and you have small children around, do you leave your pill bottles simply laying around where they can get to them, or do you keep those pills closed away in your medicine cabinet? If you love them, if you care for them, you MUST keep them in the medicine cabinet. Why? Those pills that give you life when you use them properly, when you know what they are and use them as your doctor has instructed you can and will give *death* to the child who abuses them. For the child's sake, you must keep them away from those pills.

Likewise, we must practice closed communion if we wish to have any claim of loving our neighbors. We are warned by Paul that the Supper can lead to death for those who do not discern the Lord's Body, to those who ignore the words of the Great Physician. For their sake, we must keep them away from the Lord's Table for their own good.

Do not hate your weaker or erring brother - practice closed communion.


scott said...

Yep. What would you think of a doctor who just handed out a prescription without asking any questions, or even giving you an exam, all he tells you is that medicine is good? Is that a doctor you'd go to?

Instead, wouldn't you rather have a doctor who looks you over, asks you about any conditions and medications you may be on, and then prescribes the correct medicine?

Medicine is powerful, and good when prescribed correctly. The Lord's Supper is certainly powerful, and good when received worthily. But to hand either out to the wrong person can be deadly.

Robin said...

I am not Lutheran and I agree with you. I was not raised Lutheran and was taught in my Baptist church that all of these church "ordinances" were merely signs. In fact, we will let anyone partake as long as they have been immersed in water. As I have begun reading Lutheran blogs and listening to shows such as issuesetc, I am more and more convinced this is his body and blood. I am planning visiting a local congregation of LCMS for the first time and if they admit to the table I will decline and probably will go looking for another LCMS church elsewhere. Do you find that strange that this non catechized Baptist would do that? I don't.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...


No, I don't find it strange, because you are doing something quite different from those who practice open communion. You are seeking truth - you are seeking the Word of God in its truth and purity.

The pressures that would lead to open communion are pressures based on things other than truth. "We need to get more people to like us. We have to be more 'welcoming' so they pick our church instead of the one down the street. I don't want to seem mean." These thoughts, while understandable (who hasn't felt peer pressure, who *likes* people being mad at you), have nothing to do with Truth.

If you e-mail me ( with where you live, I might even be able to point you at a good pastor and congregation near where you are.

Mike Baker said...

I was raised in a Baptist church that taught ordinances just like Robin. One night right before communion, the associate pastor addressed the congregation.

He said something to the effect of, “Everyone needs to examine themselves before communing as it is written in 1 Corinthians 15. Paul tells the Corinthians that those who commune wrongly drink judgment on themselves and that is why many of them were sick and dying.”

My immediate response was the same as several people in the congregation: “If this is just a memorial meal where nothing special is going on other than what takes place in our own hearts and minds, how can it be dangerous?”

Long before this moment, I had been having problems keeping up appearances with high standard of man-centeredness and works righteousness that comes with the confusion of law and gospel. My burden was multiplied because the forgiveness of sins was far too abstract and removed from the individual sinner.

But this event before communion was a water-shed moment in my life. I don’t even recognize myself from that time. I was a hypocrite and a fool…. maybe not even a Christian. This associate pastor inadvertently woke me up to my own biblical illiteracy and highlighted one of the many scriptural inconsistencies that Anabaptists teach regarding the sacraments. It was the first step in a long journey where the Holy Spirit dragged me kicking and screaming to the truth of His Word. I owe that pastor an immeasurable debt.