Do I think we’re the only one’s going to Heaven?

We practice closed Communion not because we think we’re the only ones going to heaven but because there is only one way to heaven.

Every single departure from the written Word of God leads away from the Word made Flesh. Whether it is Catholic doctrines like Purgatory, praying to Mary, or the infallibility of the Pope or Protestant doctrines like limited atonement, once saved always saved, or Communion being only bread and wine, these all lead away from Jesus not to Jesus.

And it doesn’t matter how sincere, how polite, how enthusiastic, the Catholics or Protestants who hold these doctrines are.  If you’re on the wrong path, your being sure you’re on the right one doesn’t make it so.

Jesus is the one who said, “If you hold to my Word, then you are My disciples.” That means insofar as you don’t hold to His Word you aren’t His disciples. The boundaries of the Communion rail can be no broader or narrower than the Word of God makes them.

Pastors, or priests for that matter, who practice open Communion disagree with what the Word made Flesh says in the written Word. They are saying, “You’re a disciple of Jesus as long as you claim to be no matter what you believe or don’t believe. Furthermore, it’s not offensive to find the Calvinist who believes in a limited atonement communing with the Lutheran who doesn’t or with the liberal who doesn’t care either way.”

What surprises me is not that there are pastors out there doing this.  The way of the world is tolerance and to each his own truth. Open Communion is the only way to go if you would be popular.  What surprises me is the number of lay people who tell me they believe that closed Communion is a biblical, faithful doctrine and yet commune at open Communion altars.

Maybe they think I think Catholics, liberal Lutherans, Greek Orthodox, and all the Protestants should stop celebrating their Communion services.  No, what has to stop is people who know better communing at altars they know they shouldn’t. If you believe in closed Communion, you have no business communing at an open Communion altar. And if you do, you are saying differences of doctrine don’t matter or God has revealed contradictory things.

It was St. Paul who said that such misusing of Communion is what led to many of the Corinthians being sick, weak, and a number dying.  But as is the case with all the judgments of God, because they don’t happen instantly, we foolishly think they don’t happen at all.  Those who are engaged in serial fellowship happily traipsing back and forth between closed Communion and open Communion altars may be full now, but God has a sent a wasting into their souls.

Do I think closed Communion confessional Lutherans – It’s oxymoronic to say open Communion confessional Lutherans – are the only ones going to heaven? Nope. But I think those practicing open Communion are going to have to answer for giving the impression that God has many truths, truth can contradict, and that agreeing to disagree is Godly or even real fellowship.

About Paul Harris

Pastor Harris retired from congregational ministry after 40 years in office on 31 December 2023. He is now devoting himself to being a husband, father, and grandfather. He still thinks cenobitic monasticism is overrated and cave dwelling under.
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