(2) Reception without baptism of persons renouncing belief in the baptism of their infancy.
(3) Giving up of the Lord?s Supper as non-essential, to be observed or not observed by each individual, according as he finds it useful.
(4) Choice of a pastor who will not advocate Baptist views.
(5) Adoption of Congregational articles of faith.
(6) Discipline and exclusion of members for propagating Baptist doctrine. John Bunyan?s church, once either an open communion church or a mixed church both of baptized and not baptized believers is now a regular Congregational body. Armitage, History of the Baptists, 482 sq ., claims that it was originally a Baptist church. Vedder, however, in Bap. Quar. Rev., 1886:289, says that, ?The church at Bedford is proved by indisputable documentary evidence never to have been a Baptist church in any strict sense.? The results of the principle of open communion are certainly seen in the Regent?s Park church in London, where some of the deacons have never been baptized. The doctrine that baptism is not essential to church membership is simply the logical result of the previous practice of admitting non-baptized persons to the communion table. If they are admitted to the Lord?s Supper, then there is no bar to their admission to the church. See Proceedings of the Baptist Congress, Boston, November 1902; Curtis, Progress of Baptist Principles, 296-298.
Thirdly , Church membership,
(a) The Lord?s Supper is a church ordinance, observed by churches of Christ as such. For this reason, membership in the church naturally precedes communion. Since communion is a family rite, the participant should first be a member of the family.
<440246> Acts 2:46 47 ? ?breaking bread at home [rather, ?in various worship rooms?]? (see Com. of Meyer); 20:7 ? ?upon the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread?; <461118>1 Corinthians 11:18, 22 ? ?when ye come together in the church...have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and put them to shame that have not??
(b) The Lord?s Supper is a symbol of church fellowship. Excommunication implies nothing, if it does not imply exclusion from the communion. If the Supper is simply communion of the individual with Christ, then the church has no right to exclude any from it.
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