compared with the population, In the ratio of 33 per cent. Here, we have increased 50 per cent, in proportion to the ratio of population.

?Summary. Open communion must be justified, if at all, on one of four grounds.

First, that baptism is not prerequisite to communion. But this is opposed to the belief and practice of all churches. Secondly, that immersion on profession of faith is not essential to baptism. But this is renouncing Baptist principles altogether. Thirdly, that the individual, and not the church, is to be the judge of his qualifications for admission to the communion. But this is contrary to sound reason, and fatal to the ends for which the church is instituted. For, if the conscience of the individual is to be the rule of the action of the church in regard to his admission to the Lord?s Supper, why not also with regard to his regeneration, his doctrinal belief and his obedience to Christ?s commands generally? Fourthly, that the church has no responsibility in regard to the qualifications of those who come to her communion. But this is abandoning the principle of the independence of the churches and their accountableness to Christ and it overthrows all church discipline.?

See also Hovey, in Bibliotheca Sacra 1862:133; Pepper, in Bap. Quar., 1867:216; Curtis on Communion, 292; Howell, Terms of Communion; Williams, The Lord?s Supper; Theodosia Ernest, pub. by Am. Bap. Pub. Soc.; Wilkinson, The Baptist Principle. In concluding our treatment of Ecclesiology, we desire to call attention to the fact that Jacob, the English Churchman, in his Ecclesiastical Polity of the N. T. and Cunningham, the Scotch Presbyterian, in his Croall Lectures for 1886, have furnished Baptists with much valuable material for the defense of the New Testament doctrine of the Church and its Ordinances. In fact, a complete statement of the Baptist positions might easily be constructed from the concessions of their various opponents. See A. H. Strong, Unconscious Assumptions of Communion Polemics, in Philosophy and Religion, 245249.

<- Previous Table of Contents Next ->

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment