October 02, 2011 Q & A

Who can come to the Lord's table?


I'm an OP church member and have a question about fencing the table. From what I can tell, OP churches typically allow to the Lord's table any visitor who is a member in good standing of an "evangelical church." That means of course that we regularly commune those who hold views different than ours, most frequently the "memorial view." Why do we do this? It seems that we are saying implicitly that the view one holds is not particularly important, and that the memorial view is acceptable. So my question is, why aren't we more strict? I understand that Continental Reformed churches typically are more strict, having visited one a few times.


The requirements for admission to the Lord's table include, according to 1 Corinthians 10 and 11, repentance toward God and not living impenitently in any known sin, faith in Christ and a recognition at least of what the elements represent. They do not include exact agreement with all we believe about Christ's spiritual presence and theologians from differing theological perspectives have come to different conclusions regarding that presence (e.g., Zwingli and Luther).

Some of our individual congregations are more strict than others, but those who, like the congregation I serve, simply fence the table by a warning to come in a worthy manner believe it is a matter best left between the conscience of the one partaking and his God. Before his own God he stands or falls. I believe Romans 14:1-4 covers this position quite nicely.



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