(b) It assumes an unscriptural inequality between the two ordinances. The Lord?s Supper holds no higher rank in Scripture than does Baptism. The obligation to commune is no more binding than the obligation to profess faith by being baptized. Open communion, however, treats baptism as if it were optional, while it insists upon communion as indispensable.
Robert Hall should rather have said, ?No church has a right to establish terms of baptism, which are not also terms of salvation,? for baptism is most frequently in Scripture connected with the things that accompany salvation. We believe faith to be one prerequisite, but not the only one. We may hold a person to be a Christian without thinking him entitled to commune unless he has been also baptized.
Ezra?s reform in abolishing mixed marriages with the surrounding heathen was not narrow nor bigoted nor intolerant. Miss Willard said well that from the Gerizim of holy beatitudes there comes a voice, ?Blessed are the inclusive, for they shall be included,? and from Mount Ebal a voice, saying, ?Sad are the exclusive, for they shall be excluded.? True liberality is both Christian and wise. We should be just as liberal as Christ himself was and no more so. Even Miss Willard would not include rum sellers in the Christian Temperance Union nor think that town blessed that did not say to saloonkeepers, ?Repent, or go.? The choir is not narrow because it does not include those who can only make discords, nor is the sheepfold intolerant that refuses to include wolves nor the medical society that ?excludes quacks nor the church that does not invite the disobedient and schismatic to its communion.
(c) It tends to do away with baptism altogether. If the highest privilege of church membership may be enjoyed without baptism, baptism loses its place and importance as the initiatory ordinance of the church.
Robert Hall would admit to the Lord?s Supper those who deny Baptism to be perpetually binding on the church. A foreigner may love this country but he cannot vote at our elections unless he has been naturalized. Ceremonial rites imply ceremonial qualifications. Dr. Meredith in Brooklyn said to his great Bible Class that a man, though not a Christian, but who felt himself a sinner and needing Christ, could worthily partake of the Lord?s Supper. This is the logic of open communion. The Supper is not limited to baptized persons or to church members or even to a converted people but belongs also to the unconverted world. This is not only to do away with Baptism, but also to make the Lord?s Supper a converting ordinance.
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