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Author Topic: Why a closed Eucharist?  (Read 4480 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: March 16, 2013, 02:45:21 PM »

Well, that is true.
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« Reply #46 on: March 16, 2013, 03:27:57 PM »

The Orthodox practice open communion.  Everyone is welcome to convert to Orthodoxy and receive communion  Wink

It is these packaged answers that led me away from protestantism. Its why I walked out of a mostly-convert antiochian parish to a mostly cradle parish where people listen to what I ask and seriously consider before answering. Maybe a forum is not the right place for a catechumen or inquirer.

modified to add, are there any cradle orthodox who can answer my question?

But that is the truth, is it not?  Are people not open to come and become Orthodox?  And in fact is the true answer to this.  One must believe the same things as the Orthodox do and accept them and thus become Orthodox prior to communion.  And everyone is welcome to "Come and See".

Of course, we are always open to "come and see".  This is the first step in understanding Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #47 on: March 16, 2013, 03:31:43 PM »

I agree with closed communion.  I am not Orthodox. 


Closed communion does NOT mean:  We do not love you.  We do not like you.  We do not respect you.  You are (more) unworthy to receive Christ's Body and Blood.


Closed communion DOES mean:  We who receive are in unity with Christ and with each other.  We are of one Lord AND one faith AND one baptism.  We acknowledge that the Eucharist is truly Jesus Christ, Body, Blood, Soul & Divinity and not merely a symbol.  We are afraid for the spiritual damage that occurs when one receives the Eucharist without acknowledging the above points AND without properly preparing one's body and soul to receive Christ in this way.



I admire and do not resent Orthodox Churches excluding me from their Communion.  It means that they take Christ, His Church and His commands seriously.
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« Reply #48 on: March 16, 2013, 04:15:01 PM »

Yes, I cry everytime I see a baby or a child who does not know what they are partaking being given the Eucharist.

I cry every time people claim they know what are they partaking being given the Eucharist.

BTW my head hurts after I slammed it on a table after having read that..
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« Reply #49 on: March 16, 2013, 04:23:24 PM »

This is potentially a hot topic, and I'm not looking to start a huge debate/argument. 

I'm on the road to becoming Orthodox.  However, one thing that greatly troubles me and is holding me back from becoming Orthodox is the tightly closed Eucharist.  I've been to Protestant churches that had a somewhat closed Eucharist/communion (they would want to talk to you before hand to make sure you are an actual believer), but completely closing off the Eucharist to those who aren't "in" is worrisome to me.

Do the Orthodox feel they own the body of Christ?  Do the Orthodox know where Christ does and does not operate?  Are they not blaspheming the work of the Holy Spirit by denying the Spirit anywhere He isn't branded as Eastern Orthodox? 

How is someone who daily pursues the will of their heavenly Father less qualified to receive the Eucharist than an infant who was simply born into a family that is already Orthodox?

Candora, I ponder these questions also. I am currently a catechumen of a ROCOR parish. It was not my first choice of jurisdiction. I landed here after a lifetime, yes a literal lifetime of searching for a church that at bare minimum adhered to the Bible. I was baptized a Roman Catholic, so the journey started as an infant. So as you mention above I have been pursuing the will of my heavenly Father which may have led me here yet He also led me to other places. My parents left the Roman Catholic church when I was young, so when I went back as an adult it had changed. And as listed also in this thread I have seen all those heretical groups active in every protestant denomination that I have been in AND left because I recognized or learned of the heresies. I am like the Bereans, who search the scriptures. I know my shortcomings and I have always been seeking the truth.

I first encountered what is called 'closed communion' on my first trek backwards in trying to find the 'true church' at the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC). They had a glitch in their requirements for communion, because I had just dis-membered myself from an apostate-independent-charismatic to reformed-non-denominational congregation I wasnt eligible. Yet had I simply been visiting this OPC and in good standing with the apostate church I would have been communed. This started my researching into this 'closed communion' dogma. It was very damaging to my soul to be passed by during communion and being denied to participate. I left the OPC a very hurt Christian. Then I encountered it at what I thought was THE first reformed church, Lutheranism. I put up with their confirmation process and partook of communion only to have been so emotional I could barely get back to my pew from the sheer overwhelming joy. Then we had a pastoral change that led to the rapid deterioration of our local church but learned that the whole denomination is based on schism from the Roman Catholic faith and what led us to try Orthodoxy. If the original pastor was still there I would probably have died a Lutheran. A God thing. That pastor would make a wonderful Orthodox priest.

Anyway, in my research I find that even Judas was offered the sop, he took it and then left. To his detriment I suppose. St. Paul's words

"Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body."

say for a man to EXAMINE HIMSELF

not the church, not the priest, not the guy sitting next to him in church.

That is the problem I have with closed communion

You do not know the damage you do to one who knows what they are partaking of to be denied. Yes, I cry everytime I see a baby or a child who does not know what they are partaking being given the Eucharist. I die a little bit every Divine Liturgy. Its why I left an Antiochian parish after several months, it got too hard to bear standing while everyone else partook. The ROCOR parish being smaller I had at least a better chance to talk to the priest and start the catechumanate but I may not survive the waiting. Lord, have mercy.

While I am not a cradle (as you ask for in a later post), I am a recent enough convert that had to overcome some similar problems on my way to Orthodoxy, that perhaps I can help.

First, it helps to realize that the Church does not begin and end in Scripture- or at least not the New Testament portion. The Scriptures your Bereans examined were the Old Testament, and most likely the Septuagint, given their location in Greece. They searched to ensure that the Gospel that St Paul preached was in harmony with the Old Testament teachings. The Church precedes the New Testament, indeed it was necessary to have the Church beforehand in order that the New Testament might be written- the inspiration of the Holy Spirit does not happen in a vacuum, the writing of Scripture requires believers, the Israelites first and the Church second.

Still, we know from the New Testament that even the Early Church practiced closed communion. St Paul did not preach in the streets of Athens and distribute the Eucharist to all who heard him preach. He preached, they believed and were baptized, and the Eucharist came later. Even Judas had been baptized before he was invited to sit at the Lord's table and partake of that first Eucharist.

When we examine the history of the Church, once the persecutions began, more stringent requirements were put in place before baptism, creating the Catechumen. This was a necessary creation for the time, the Church's way of being "wise as serpents yet harmless as doves". Faith had to be displayed, lest the local Church be opened to an unnecessary martyrdom from those who simply professed belief to turn the local Christians in to the government.

It is indeed up to each Christian to examine his own conscience before approaching the Eucharist, but it is up to each Bishop and (and by extension, priest) to do as St Paul instructed and "Guard the rich deposit of faith". If a man approaches unworthily, with secret sin in his heart, and eats and drinks to his own condemnation, that is on him. However, by holding "open communion" the celebrant invites people to eat and drink to their own condemnation, people that might not know the consequences of their own actions. There is a vast difference between a man knowingly approaching the Chalice and condemning himself, and someone else offering what could be your condemnation to you. Our Lord has very harsh words for those spiritual leaders who lead people into damnation.

Now, a lot of the heartache you express is due to our rather confusing times. There are many denominations out there, and recently some of these have adopted the practice of offering communion to all baptized Christians (and then there are some toying with going beyond this and offering communion to all, regardless of the "official position" of their denomination). But, this idea of "open communion" has one flaw. No church that offers open communion could consider itself a "true Church". By offering open communion they are essentially saying that there is no way to determine what church is the True Church, that all denominations have a little bit of good and a little bit of bad. This might not necessarily be a wrong view (I believe it is, but that is a matter for a different thread, I believe). By offering "closed communion" to only those members that belong to the church, the church is declaring itself to be THE Church.

Note as well, the local churches of the New Testament did not accept everyone willy-nilly on their own say-so. People went with letters of recommendation from other Apostolically founded churches to ensure that they were indeed members of the Church. When Apollos was heard preaching the Gospel of Christ, he was not invited to the local Church to partake of the Eucharist, they inquired of his provenance, of what Baptism he had, and they ensured that in all ways he received what was required. Even then, in the New Testament, the communion was closed until the Church knew that the person was ready to receive.

I, too, know the pain of the catechumen for one who had previously been receiving communion all their life. I do wonder, though, is it damaging to your soul or simply wounding to it to be passed by? There is a difference. Damage to one's soul is what happens when one receives unworthily. Wounds can be healed, and this wound can be healed at once with a touch of that Immaculate Body and Precious Blood. The wound is the same wound that any has had during courtship- that torture of seeing the beloved yet not being able to touch, the painful and burning desire to seize that which cannot yet be lawfully seized. The pain at watching infants commune is no more than the pain of seeing that man (every man) married to a woman he cannot fully appreciate. The solution to this pain, the balm for this wound, is found in the Sacraments- that of marriage for the lovers, that of Baptism and Chrismation for the Christian, and both these Sacraments are jealously guarded by our clergy in keeping with the admonition of St Paul. To take, to seize, to demand before one's time is damaging- indeed it is damning. To borrow a phrase from my own Evangelical youth- True Love Waits.
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« Reply #50 on: March 16, 2013, 05:00:18 PM »

The Orthodox practice open communion.  Everyone is welcome to convert to Orthodoxy and receive communion  Wink

It is these packaged answers that led me away from protestantism. Its why I walked out of a mostly-convert antiochian parish to a mostly cradle parish where people listen to what I ask and seriously consider before answering. Maybe a forum is not the right place for a catechumen or inquirer.

modified to add, are there any cradle orthodox who can answer my question?


You may be even more disappointed by an answer from a cradle Orthodox. (BTW, my bishop once gave orders to not distinguish between cradle and convert - we're all Orthodox) From my albeit limited experience, and I have only anecdotal evidence for you: it is the cradle Orthodox who really don't understand why we have closed Communion. Exceptions abound, of course.
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« Reply #51 on: March 16, 2013, 06:45:17 PM »

The Orthodox practice open communion.  Everyone is welcome to convert to Orthodoxy and receive communion  Wink

It is these packaged answers that led me away from protestantism. Its why I walked out of a mostly-convert antiochian parish to a mostly cradle parish where people listen to what I ask and seriously consider before answering. Maybe a forum is not the right place for a catechumen or inquirer.

modified to add, are there any cradle orthodox who can answer my question?


You may be even more disappointed by an answer from a cradle Orthodox. (BTW, my bishop once gave orders to not distinguish between cradle and convert - we're all Orthodox) From my albeit limited experience, and I have only anecdotal evidence for you: it is the cradle Orthodox who really don't understand why we have closed Communion. Exceptions abound, of course.

There is no need to feel discouraged. I have come to realize that very often people make wrong assumptions about things prior reasearching about them...

Holly Communion is sacred, perhaps the most sacred act during the Liturgy...
It is not to be taken as an every day thing...Even for those who have been Orthodox for their whole life (have been baptised, confessed and received communion in past) there is  a need for a preparation consisted of (physical and mental-spiritual) fasting.  After that comes confession of one's sins...and should not eat nor drink anything from the midnight of previous night (if Liturgy is on Sunday then nothing to be consumed from Saturday midnight)...even after that an individual can be denied to receive the Holy Communion (priest is the best judge of that because he knows if that individual has followed the procedures correctly)...To be more dirrect and correct, it is not a priest who denies us the communion but ourselves who do have not fullfilled all the requirements needed to recieve the Holy Communion, which the result of our carelessness and therefore we are not worthy to recieve the communion at that moment...

In a prayer (which is read aloud) prior to receiving the Holy Communion it says:
..."Master, Who loves mankind, Lord Jesus Christ my God, do not let these Holy Things be to me for judgment because of my unworthiness, but rather may they be for the purification and sanctification of soul and body, and as a pledge of the life and Kingdom to come. For it is good for me to cleave to God, to put my hope of salvation in the Lord...

the complete list of prayer can be read at - http://www.denver.goarch.org/prayer/daily_prayers/preparation_for_communion.html#morning


This is a very serious matter...I have heard an abbott give a lecture about this, and in it he says that one day a woman from a different city came to him to receive the Holy Communion, he asked her if she fasted and followed everything as it should be...she replied she did...he mentioned that she needs to confess her sins...she replied that she did that as well and that she received the blessing from her priest to receive the communion....abbott agreed and said let it be upon you and your priest...as soon as she recieved the communion she fell unconscious on the floor...I am not making this up...there is an actual clip on youtube (in Serbian) about that event...

The point what I am trying to make is not to feel discouraged, but to see that as the goal towards which you should be thriving...Hope to have been of some help...
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« Reply #52 on: March 16, 2013, 07:11:18 PM »

I appreciate all of the replies.  I wouldn't bother with this if I wasn't genuinely interested in joining the Orthodox Church.

I'm not sure what your all's experiences are with non-Orthodox Churches, but to me God is way bigger than the Orthodox Church or even all of the faiths in the entire world combined.  So when I see people writing that the Spirit might work in "special instances" outside of the Orthodox Church I'm a bit surprised that some people have such a small view of God.

Honestly, all of this reminds me of a very big debate in the early church.  Because both Christ and the apostles were Jews, some in the early church thought it necessary to be Jewish first.  The Apostle Paul fought strongly against that movement, and even St Peter was flabbergasted when the Holy Spirit came upon uncircumcised Gentiles.  Many early Christians simply thought that circumcision and Judaism were part of the journey into the Church.

In the same way, the Orthodox Church makes a very good argument for being the original Church and holding to the faith of the apostles.  But in all of their striving to be right all of the time, I think sometimes the Orthodox can be blind to what the Holy Spirit is doing outside of their own circles.  Like St Peter, I think they would be amazed that God is moving with amazing power and grace outside of Orthodoxy and He is not limiting His bride to only those in Orthodox circles. 

Now, I don't believe I am worthy to partake the body and blood of Christ.  It is a gift and something I will never earn -- even if I became the most pious Orthodox Christian.  I am being saved daily through Christ and no Orthodox theologian could ever convince me that I am outside of the body of Christ because I have experienced God so beautifully throughout my life. 

Orthodox Church is not just a building or an organization and does not limit God nor could it ever.  Orthodoxy is (what we hold to be) the correct way of interpreting God's word and praising Him. You may recall from the Old Testament that both Cain and Abel have prayed to God but God only accepted the prayer coming from one of them...Have in mind they were brothers both believing in the same God...yet only one of them God deemed worthy...Abel's interpretation of how to praise God was incorrect...I hope you get the picture...This does not make Orthodox Christians better people or anything like that...We believe that our faith is correct as anybody else does...Even in those cases it does not mean that we look down at Non-Orthodox....That is not the case because we would be like Pharisees...On top of that just because somebody is an Orthodox Christian we do not believe that we will go to Heaven dirrectly, only if we follow our faith correctly and even then only with the Grace of God...

Nobody is denied to be a Christian...regardless of one's nationality or race...This is not Jewish, Greek, American, Serbian or any such church...however, there can only be one correct interpretation  (way of worshiping) since there can be only one Truth...You will see in my previous post that I have quoted a prayer which is read prior to receveing the Holy Communion in the Orthodox Church...you will then understand that nobody is worthy of receiving the Holy Communion, but after a careful and honest preparation, we "dare" to receive the Holy Communion with hope to receive not for "for judgment because of my unworthiness, but rather may they be for the purification and sanctification of soul and body, and as a pledge of the life and Kingdom to come."  Nobody should try to convince you at all...you are a free human being who has a free access to all information (teachings of different faiths) and you are welcome to choose to believe in any way you wish...Each one of us will be responsible for ourselves only (for our own deeds)...if you believe that your current spiritual state of mind is the right way to go...then all best to you dear brother and I say this without any sarcasam or anything like that...may God help all of us in correctly following His will.
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« Reply #53 on: March 16, 2013, 09:45:12 PM »

SolEX01, I would like to experience God through the Eucharist, that's part of why the closed Eucharist bothers me.  I don't want to join the Orthodox Church until I have a peace in my heart about several doctrinal issues.  Not that I expect to have all of my issues resolved, I just don't want to join feeling conflicted.

I used to have a good book on why the Orthodox practice closed communion and I no longer have it in my collection.  The idea of closed communion is to prevent people from other faiths from denying their own faith by receiving communion in the Orthodox Church that they do not believe.  The quote from the following website explains the concept of closed communion

Quote
The reality of the closed chalice is not that Orthodox Christians are somehow bigoted and insensitive. Quite the opposite, we Orthodox are called to love and respect other Christians and their beliefs. In fact, we love and respect other Christians so much, whether Roman Catholic or Protestant, that we will not allow them to make liars of themselves before God by receiving sacraments in a church with beliefs that are different than their own. It is a matter of maintaining the personal integrity of those who visit our churches. The example used for this article is a bit extreme; however, the same logic applies to any Christians who have any beliefs that are not in agreement with ours – whether those beliefs are about Scripture and Tradition, Ecclesiology, the Sacraments, the authority of the bishop of Rome, the Immaculate Conception of Mary (the belief that Mary was conceived by her parent, Joachim and Anna, without the original sin that all mankind is born under), iconography, etc. The reason that there are tens of thousands of Christian denominations in this country is that there are tens of thousands of ways to believe differently from us Orthodox Christians; thus, we are not in communion with those Churches.

So, to allow a Protestant or a Roman Catholic (Latin, Melkite, or Maronite) to commune from the Orthodox chalice is making him or her state that they reject their Church’s teachings. We are inviting them to lie. That is disrespectful, insensitive, and un-Orthodox. Asking a non-Orthodox visitor to refrain from partaking of the chalice maintains the personal integrity of the visitor and demonstrates the Orthodox Church’s respect, but not acceptance, of the differences that divide us. That is respectful, sensitive, and Orthodox. Let us pray that one day the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, will bring all worshipping Christians to the True Faith so that all Christians will be one and that all may partake of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting.

http://www.allsaints-stl.org/ClosedChalice.shtml

This is the link that I found when I was an inquirer.  Problem: answered and solved.  I failed, however, to bookmark it.  Thank you for the second chance!  I won't blow it this time!

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« Reply #54 on: March 16, 2013, 09:53:42 PM »

SolEX01, I would like to experience God through the Eucharist, that's part of why the closed Eucharist bothers me.  I don't want to join the Orthodox Church until I have a peace in my heart about several doctrinal issues.  Not that I expect to have all of my issues resolved, I just don't want to join feeling conflicted.

I used to have a good book on why the Orthodox practice closed communion and I no longer have it in my collection.  The idea of closed communion is to prevent people from other faiths from denying their own faith by receiving communion in the Orthodox Church that they do not believe.  The quote from the following website explains the concept of closed communion

Quote
The reality of the closed chalice is not that Orthodox Christians are somehow bigoted and insensitive. Quite the opposite, we Orthodox are called to love and respect other Christians and their beliefs. In fact, we love and respect other Christians so much, whether Roman Catholic or Protestant, that we will not allow them to make liars of themselves before God by receiving sacraments in a church with beliefs that are different than their own. It is a matter of maintaining the personal integrity of those who visit our churches. The example used for this article is a bit extreme; however, the same logic applies to any Christians who have any beliefs that are not in agreement with ours – whether those beliefs are about Scripture and Tradition, Ecclesiology, the Sacraments, the authority of the bishop of Rome, the Immaculate Conception of Mary (the belief that Mary was conceived by her parent, Joachim and Anna, without the original sin that all mankind is born under), iconography, etc. The reason that there are tens of thousands of Christian denominations in this country is that there are tens of thousands of ways to believe differently from us Orthodox Christians; thus, we are not in communion with those Churches.

So, to allow a Protestant or a Roman Catholic (Latin, Melkite, or Maronite) to commune from the Orthodox chalice is making him or her state that they reject their Church’s teachings. We are inviting them to lie. That is disrespectful, insensitive, and un-Orthodox. Asking a non-Orthodox visitor to refrain from partaking of the chalice maintains the personal integrity of the visitor and demonstrates the Orthodox Church’s respect, but not acceptance, of the differences that divide us. That is respectful, sensitive, and Orthodox. Let us pray that one day the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, will bring all worshipping Christians to the True Faith so that all Christians will be one and that all may partake of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting.

http://www.allsaints-stl.org/ClosedChalice.shtml

This is the link that I found when I was an inquirer.  Problem: answered and solved.  I failed, however, to bookmark it.  Thank you for the second chance!  I won't blow it this time!

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« Reply #55 on: March 17, 2013, 03:18:24 AM »

Yes, I cry everytime I see a baby or a child who does not know what they are partaking being given the Eucharist.
How do you know they do not know?
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« Reply #56 on: March 17, 2013, 05:38:24 PM »

Yes, I cry everytime I see a baby or a child who does not know what they are partaking being given the Eucharist.
How do you know they do not know?

I agree.  The Eucharist is a mystery and it isn't for us to put limitations on that.  Even prior to converting, I wasn't bothered by this.  The first time that I witnessed it, I was captivated.  What a beautiful sight!  To this day, I watch with awe.  Most protestants believe it is merely symbolic anyway, so why should it bother them?  I've never understood the fuss...and I was educated in a Southern Baptist school!   Grin

When my granddaughter (in my avatar) was baptized, she turned to the people present, smiled and raised her hands high towards heaven.  And I shed tears.
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« Reply #57 on: March 17, 2013, 06:16:39 PM »

I meant to say that I think closed Communion is ultimately for the spiritual protection of those who may otherwise partake inappropriately. Seen that way, it is a good thing. Sorry if I was not clear.
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« Reply #58 on: March 19, 2013, 10:48:57 AM »

Quoting James above, "What 'makes sense' to you is hardly of consequence if it contradicts Scripture surely?

Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. 1 Corinthians 27 - 32

Quite clearly states that taking the Eucharist unworthily is harmful wouldn't you say?"

Scripture also states clearly "But let a man examine HIMSELF". My problem is with a church body, or a pastor/priest or the guy in the pew next to me examining me. Even Judas was offered the sop at the Last Supper,  "He then lying on Jesus' breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.  And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly." John 13:25-27. I know its a problem with authority but I have seen this abused to the point that Christians dont go to church anymore or simply start doubting God. That is where I am, I started doubting the idea that there is a physical church vs stand alone Christians going about their Biblical duty.

I may never join the Orthodox church, right now I see it as Christianity's last chance to prove to me there exists a true church. No church, no 'Christian' has been able to shake my trust in God, I trust no one but God. But this 'closed communion' business...you are hurting true Christians to the point we do not want to participate if you put up all these hoops and barriers (unbiblical) prior to receiving it. I commune with like minded Christians.

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« Reply #59 on: March 19, 2013, 10:57:50 AM »

I agree with closed communion.  I am not Orthodox. 

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« Reply #60 on: March 19, 2013, 10:58:40 AM »

Quoting James above, "What 'makes sense' to you is hardly of consequence if it contradicts Scripture surely?

Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. 1 Corinthians 27 - 32

Quite clearly states that taking the Eucharist unworthily is harmful wouldn't you say?"

Scripture also states clearly "But let a man examine HIMSELF". My problem is with a church body, or a pastor/priest or the guy in the pew next to me examining me. Even Judas was offered the sop at the Last Supper,  "He then lying on Jesus' breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.  And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly." John 13:25-27. I know its a problem with authority but I have seen this abused to the point that Christians dont go to church anymore or simply start doubting God. That is where I am, I started doubting the idea that there is a physical church vs stand alone Christians going about their Biblical duty.

I may never join the Orthodox church, right now I see it as Christianity's last chance to prove to me there exists a true church. No church, no 'Christian' has been able to shake my trust in God, I trust no one but God. But this 'closed communion' business...you are hurting true Christians to the point we do not want to participate if you put up all these hoops and barriers (unbiblical) prior to receiving it. I commune with like minded Christians.



There are so many others on this board who are able to explain things so much better than I, dear Martyr Eugenia.  I once struggled with the idea of making myself accountable not only to God, but to "earthy authority."  If you have not yet done so, I would suggest reading some of the early writings of the Church.  My first experience was through a book I purchased in a Protestant bookstore, Mardels, entitled "The Apostolic Fathers"  Michael W. Holmes.  Throughout these writings is the constant cry to place ourselves under the authority of those whom God has placed above us in the Church.  It is there that we find the protection of our souls, through God.  Once I made the decision to follow this instruction, it was as if I had been set free.  Ironic....but absolutely and completely true.  I had to die to self...die to the idea of individualism, so to speak.  My relationship with God is still my own, but it is found within the community of the Church.
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« Reply #61 on: March 19, 2013, 11:26:22 AM »

Quoting James above, "What 'makes sense' to you is hardly of consequence if it contradicts Scripture surely?

Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. 1 Corinthians 27 - 32

Quite clearly states that taking the Eucharist unworthily is harmful wouldn't you say?"

Scripture also states clearly "But let a man examine HIMSELF". My problem is with a church body, or a pastor/priest or the guy in the pew next to me examining me. Even Judas was offered the sop at the Last Supper,  "He then lying on Jesus' breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.  And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly." John 13:25-27. I know its a problem with authority but I have seen this abused to the point that Christians dont go to church anymore or simply start doubting God. That is where I am, I started doubting the idea that there is a physical church vs stand alone Christians going about their Biblical duty.
Our practice of closed communion, however, is not about an individual's worthiness or lack thereof to receive. It is fundamentally a recognition of the divisions that exist between whole Christian communities. The Eucharist is a sign of the unity that already exists within the Church. Regardless of the personal holiness of some individuals outside the Church--and I will gladly recognize that there are many truly saintly people outside the Orthodox Church, just as there are many demonic wolves inside the Church--to give Communion to those who are not a member of our community is to bring our schisms to the Chalice itself and to recognize that even heretics and schismatics are still members of our community. The Eucharist is a sign of the unity that already exists within a community, therefore only a united community can rightly celebrate the Eucharist.

I may never join the Orthodox church, right now I see it as Christianity's last chance to prove to me there exists a true church. No church, no 'Christian' has been able to shake my trust in God, I trust no one but God. But this 'closed communion' business...you are hurting true Christians to the point we do not want to participate if you put up all these hoops and barriers (unbiblical) prior to receiving it.
Do we hurt true Christians by telling them that we are not of the same faith? Do we hurt true Christians by telling them that they hold to heretical ideas that separate them from a right, saving knowledge of Christ? If you are mistaken in your understanding of God and your mistakes deprive you of an even fuller participation in Christ's salvation, wouldn't you want to be corrected?

James presented from the Bible a defense of closed communion, yet you call this defense unbiblical. If so, how does it contradict the Bible? (In your reference to Judas Iscariot, do you fail to recognize how his reception of the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner helped drive him to his own self-destruction?) What of the verses that immediately precede James's quote from 1 Corinthians, where St. Paul upbraids the Corinthians for bringing their divisions and factions to the Chalice, thus invalidating the very Eucharist they had come together to celebrate? Does this not present an even stronger defense of closed communion than what James cited?

I commune with like minded Christians.
That's the whole point of closed communion. We commune only with like-minded Christians. You believe that you have the truth, so you commune only with those who believe as you do. How is what you do any different from what we do?
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« Reply #62 on: March 19, 2013, 11:37:18 AM »

I commune with like minded Christians.



In rereading your post, this sentence is worthy of further comment.  Again, I offer my very simplistic thoughts.  It is *because* the Orthodox Church agrees with this statement, that we hold the closed Eucharist.  We have all confessed to the same set of beliefs and acceptance.  Why would anyone want to commune with us if they did not share these things?  Repeated throughout the Liturgy is "our, our, our."  Few things are "I, I, I."  Therein, lies a very important difference between the churches I left behind and the Church which I embraced.  Who is it who said, "My relationship with God is personal, but it is not individual."?  Whoever it was, nailed it.
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« Reply #63 on: March 19, 2013, 11:51:34 AM »

Quoting James above, "What 'makes sense' to you is hardly of consequence if it contradicts Scripture surely?

Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. 1 Corinthians 27 - 32

Quite clearly states that taking the Eucharist unworthily is harmful wouldn't you say?"

Scripture also states clearly "But let a man examine HIMSELF". My problem is with a church body, or a pastor/priest or the guy in the pew next to me examining me. Even Judas was offered the sop at the Last Supper,  "He then lying on Jesus' breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.  And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly." John 13:25-27. I know its a problem with authority but I have seen this abused to the point that Christians dont go to church anymore or simply start doubting God. That is where I am, I started doubting the idea that there is a physical church vs stand alone Christians going about their Biblical duty.
Our practice of closed communion, however, is not about an individual's worthiness or lack thereof to receive. It is fundamentally a recognition of the divisions that exist between whole Christian communities. The Eucharist is a sign of the unity that already exists within the Church. Regardless of the personal holiness of some individuals outside the Church--and I will gladly recognize that there are many truly saintly people outside the Orthodox Church, just as there are many demonic wolves inside the Church--to give Communion to those who are not a member of our community is to bring our schisms to the Chalice itself and to recognize that even heretics and schismatics are still members of our community. The Eucharist is a sign of the unity that already exists within a community, therefore only a united community can rightly celebrate the Eucharist.

I may never join the Orthodox church, right now I see it as Christianity's last chance to prove to me there exists a true church. No church, no 'Christian' has been able to shake my trust in God, I trust no one but God. But this 'closed communion' business...you are hurting true Christians to the point we do not want to participate if you put up all these hoops and barriers (unbiblical) prior to receiving it.
Do we hurt true Christians by telling them that we are not of the same faith? Do we hurt true Christians by telling them that they hold to heretical ideas that separate them from a right, saving knowledge of Christ? If you are mistaken in your understanding of God and your mistakes deprive you of an even fuller participation in Christ's salvation, wouldn't you want to be corrected?

James presented from the Bible a defense of closed communion, yet you call this defense unbiblical. If so, how does it contradict the Bible? (In your reference to Judas Iscariot, do you fail to recognize how his reception of the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner helped drive him to his own self-destruction?) What of the verses that immediately precede James's quote from 1 Corinthians, where St. Paul upbraids the Corinthians for bringing their divisions and factions to the Chalice, thus invalidating the very Eucharist they had come together to celebrate? Does this not present an even stronger defense of closed communion than what James cited?

I commune with like minded Christians.
That's the whole point of closed communion. We commune only with like-minded Christians. You believe that you have the truth, so you commune only with those who believe as you do. How is what you do any different from what we do?

There is no 1 Corinthians 27-32
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« Reply #64 on: March 19, 2013, 11:56:12 AM »

There is a 1 Corinthians 11:32 which matches James' quote.
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« Reply #65 on: March 19, 2013, 12:11:17 PM »

There are plenty of theological justifications for closed communion, and previous posters have presented them well.  And in purely human terms, organizations certainly have the right to set requirements for membership.  For example, you can't just walk into a college lecture without enrolling first.  And it's not like the Church turns anyone down - she just wants them to be formed in the faith as well as possible.

When I invited a close relative who is not Orthodox (but is Christian) to go to the Liturgy and mentioned closed communion, he grew angry.  I explained why as well as I could, and he did come with me.  I wish I had thought to say to him that it wouldn't be cool for me to just walk into his Masonic lodge and expect to do whatever it is that they do.  (Not that I'd ever want to!)

An Orthodox friend advised me that, when inviting non-Orthodox to attend the Liturgy, to emphasize the things that they can do in the service, as well as to inform them of closed communion.  That puts it in a positive light.
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« Reply #66 on: March 19, 2013, 12:53:36 PM »

There is a 1 Corinthians 11:32 which matches James' quote.

Yes, apologies. It should have been 1 Corinthians 11:27-32. I managed to miss out a fairly important couple of digits. Unfortunately it's too late to correct the original.

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« Reply #67 on: March 19, 2013, 01:58:09 PM »

I remember also when I was still Methodist but had begun my search, that I had been reading and learning about the RCC.  Included in that was the explanation of their closed Eucharist.  I was insulted prior to reading and, even if I continued in my disagreement with the practice, at least my anger had been replaced with understanding of their teaching.  A dear RCC friend of mine invited me to accompany her to Mass and she was obviously relieved when I very willingly accepted that I could not commune with her.  I look back on that day and I'm thankful now for that rule.  While I love and respect my RCC friends and family, I'm thankful that I was spared from communing.  I don't confess all of the same beliefs as the RCC, nor of the Methodist church.  I confess only the same beliefs as the Orthodox and I have great peace in knowing that those who surround me do also.

VP, the result of your approach to Eucharist is that even those who don't proclaim the Divinity of Jesus Christ, for example, should be allowed to commune.  From your approach, "Christianity" becomes a free-for-all, entirely lost and void of any meaning whatsoever.  We become our own gods, free to define our own beliefs, accepting what we wish, discarding what we don't and making up anything in between.  Pride and relativity at its finest...and worst.
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« Reply #68 on: March 19, 2013, 02:03:43 PM »

This may help (I hope) to see that the Church has always practiced closed communion.
From the writings of Justin Martyr (150 ad)

And this food is called among us Eu0xaristi/a143 [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh.144 For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, "This do ye in remembrance of Me,145 this is My body; "and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, "This is My blood; "and gave it to them alone.
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« Reply #69 on: March 19, 2013, 07:50:26 PM »

I am quoting the policy on Convert Issues below to make clear what our expectations are. Our expectation do not include attacks on the Orthodox faith, indeed on Christianity. I apologize to the OP and others who approached the subject in good faith. Accordingly, I am splitting this topic, with the non-compliant posts sent to FFA-RT. You may access the split-off topic at http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,50593.0.html.

* Convert Issues -- The purpose of the Convert issues forum is to provide a a place on the OC.net where inquirers, catechumens, and newly converted could ask their questions about the Orthodox Faith in a safe and supportive forum without retribution or recrimination. Many of those posting in this area are ignorant of Orthodox teachings and are using this forum to understand what are the basic teachings and practices of the Orthodox churches. Due to the simplicity of many of their requests and responses, direct and simple answers with sources if possible are most helpful. If the moderators find that the discussions become faith or jurisdiction debates, the topic will be split and sent the appropriate OC.net forum to continue the discussion or debate. As a poster,You may also ask that a topic be split so that a private discussion can be established to go into detail about the issues that you feel adamant about and wish to debate or discuss. The convert forum is not a place for combative debate or argument. Thank you for your following these guidelines to the edification and spiritual growth of the forum inquirers, catechumens, and newly converted."
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« Reply #70 on: March 19, 2013, 08:02:30 PM »

Funny how converts, proselytes, catechumens, people who are part of a Church who is no older than a few decades get to tell those who have always been Orthodox and part of a 2000 years Church they are not Orthodox. Carl Kraeff, how many Orthodox people do you really know? I know houndreds and perhaps thousands. My city has tens of thousands of Orthodox an probably over 20 Orthodox Churches, excluding the other localities from the Metropola.

Not sure what your request is but hey.. I have been born Orthodox, I am from Arad. My Bishop is Timotei Seviciu.I attend the Cathedral of Holy Trinity in Arad, with the patron St. Nicholas. I also attend the Church of Martyrs vis-a-vis of my block. Answered in 1 min after I saw your claim more clear, even though i'm not sure what you specific request was, but I think this settles more than you dreamed. Anything else, CONVERT?

The request with which you are arguing is a formal request from a moderator. If you don't like his request, then you need to take that up with him in private messages. Publicly disputing, questioning, or otherwise showing contempt for moderatorial actions is not tolerated on this forum and will draw harsher penalties than this if you continue.

This warning is set to last for three weeks. If you think it wrong, please appeal it to me via private message. If you use this thread or on any publicly viewable part of this forum to dispute this warning, you will be placed immediately on post moderation, where your posting privileges will actually be restricted. I hope I'm making myself clear what the proper channels are for arguing with a moderatorial action.

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Why do you insist on using convert of an insult, to be hurled against your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We are all members of the same Church, THE Church. Yes I was baptized only just over three months ago, but I am JUST as much Orthodox as anyone who was baptized in their youth. None of us are born Orthodox, we are all baptized after our births, be it a few days, 40 days, or years, in my case.

I am an Orthodox Christian, the same as you are. I did not grow up in the life of the Church, true, I grew up in the RCC. I do not have many Orthodox friends, or know many, if at all, whom i do not go to church with.


To God, we are all the same, forwe have all been baptized and Christmated, and we all recieve Holy Communion, and work out our salvation with fear and trembling. THe use of the word convert as an insult if disgraceful, insulting, childish, and unbecoming of an Orthodox Christian.
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« Reply #71 on: March 19, 2013, 08:07:27 PM »

Funny how converts, proselytes, catechumens, people who are part of a Church who is no older than a few decades get to tell those who have always been Orthodox and part of a 2000 years Church they are not Orthodox. Carl Kraeff, how many Orthodox people do you really know? I know houndreds and perhaps thousands. My city has tens of thousands of Orthodox an probably over 20 Orthodox Churches, excluding the other localities from the Metropola.

Not sure what your request is but hey.. I have been born Orthodox, I am from Arad. My Bishop is Timotei Seviciu.I attend the Cathedral of Holy Trinity in Arad, with the patron St. Nicholas. I also attend the Church of Martyrs vis-a-vis of my block. Answered in 1 min after I saw your claim more clear, even though i'm not sure what you specific request was, but I think this settles more than you dreamed. Anything else, CONVERT?

The request with which you are arguing is a formal request from a moderator. If you don't like his request, then you need to take that up with him in private messages. Publicly disputing, questioning, or otherwise showing contempt for moderatorial actions is not tolerated on this forum and will draw harsher penalties than this if you continue.

This warning is set to last for three weeks. If you think it wrong, please appeal it to me via private message. If you use this thread or on any publicly viewable part of this forum to dispute this warning, you will be placed immediately on post moderation, where your posting privileges will actually be restricted. I hope I'm making myself clear what the proper channels are for arguing with a moderatorial action.

- PeterTheAleut
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Why do you insist on using convert of an insult, to be hurled against your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We are all members of the same Church, THE Church. Yes I was baptized only just over three months ago, but I am JUST as much Orthodox as anyone who was baptized in their youth. None of us are born Orthodox, we are all baptized after our births, be it a few days, 40 days, or years, in my case.

I am an Orthodox Christian, the same as you are. I did not grow up in the life of the Church, true, I grew up in the RCC. I do not have many Orthodox friends, or know many, if at all, whom i do not go to church with.


To God, we are all the same, forwe have all been baptized and Christmated, and we all recieve Holy Communion, and work out our salvation with fear and trembling. THe use of the word convert as an insult if disgraceful, insulting, childish, and unbecoming of an Orthodox Christian.

I am leaving this on this forum as an informal warning to you and all others who may be tempted to engage Virtual Paradise on matters that have been moved to a split-off topic (see above). While I agree with you, matters not closely tied to the topic will not be tolerated. Thanks, Carl Kraeff
« Last Edit: March 19, 2013, 08:08:53 PM by Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) » Logged

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