BY RICHARD M. DUDLEY, D.D.
(Editor’s Note: According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, “close” means “not open, confined to specific groups; restricted.” HLW)
“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46)
This sermon is devoted to a discussion of the question of Close Communion. In one word, this is our plea: We ask, for ourselves, the simple liberty to administer the ordinances of the Lord’s House in such a way as our consciences tell us that His Word requires.
We ask the charity of others that they recognize our right to do this, and that they charge our course to this motive alone – not to bigotr, uncharitableness, or illiberality. We ask no more, and surely there will be granted no less, than this.
We do not arrogate to ourselves a wisdom or piety superior to others; but, “with malice towards none, and charity for all,” we ask that we be allowed to follow our conscentious convictions in all matters pertaining to the Kingdom of Heaven. As it is by the Word of God that we are to be approved or condemned, we feel bound to follow that Word just where it leads us.
Throughout the land there is an outcry against Baptists, because of their Close Communion. This is because their views and motives are misunderstood. There are persons who never will be brought to understand the true position of Baptists in this matter. Not that the position itself is difficult, or that the position itself is difficult, or that the persons lack the ability to understand, but they do not care to understand.
The cry of “Close Communion” is a convenient cudgel with which to pound Baptists; and a ringing rally-word with which to excite popular passion and prejudice against them. To reason with such persons if the idlest of idle tasks; and Baptists may as well make up their minds to endure their carping. But we are glad to believe that this class is a very small majority of their fellow Christians of other names honestly and really misunderstand. (JC note:There was a day when there was not one Baptist that did not believe and practice “close” or as we call it now, “closed” communion. This demands an explanation of why Baptist are practicing “open” communion now, were they wrong when all Baptists practiced “close or closed” communion or are they wrong now. Both practices can not be right.