Local Church Closed Communion

By John Henry

The Lord Jesus had already instituted the method of local church discipline (Matt 18:15-20) prior to His institution of the Lord's Supper (Matthew 26:26-30).  Both church discipline and the Lord's Supper were instituted strictly for the local church.  The Apostle Paul clearly taught closed local church communion in connection with church discipline.  Here is the Lord's instructions on church discipline, and Paul's teaching on the Lord's Supper and church discipline:

"Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.  But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.  And if he shall neglect to hear them, TELL IT UNTO THE CHURCH: BUT IF HE NEGLECT TO HEAR THE CHURCH, LET HIM BE UNTO THEE AS AN HEATHEN MAN AND A PUBLICAN.  Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Matt 18:15-20)

Heathen idolaters and crooked publicans are not allowed to partake of the Lord's Supper.  Likewise sinning church members are to be excluded.

"For I have received of the Lord that which also I DELIVERED UNTO YOU, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:  And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.  After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.  For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.  Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.  But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.  For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.  For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.  For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.  But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world." (1 Cor 11:23-32)    

That teaching coupled with the following clearly teach local church closed communion:

"In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, WHEN YE ARE GATHERED TOGETHER, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,  To DELIVER SUCH AN ONE unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. ... PURGE OUT therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:  Therefore let us KEEP THE FEAST, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. ... I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; WITH SUCH AN ONE NO NOT TO EAT.  For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not YE JUDGE THEM THAT ARE WITHIN? ... Therefore PUT AWAY FROM AMONG YOURSELVES THAT WICKED PERSON." (1 Cor 5:4-5, 7-8, 11-13)

Later on we have this account in the same local church:

"Sufficient to such a man is THIS PUNISHMENT, WHICH WAS INFLICTED OF MANY.  So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.  Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him." (2 Cor 2:6-8)

In 1 Corinthians 5 above a believer had been committing fornication.  Therefore, Paul instructs them (in accordance with Matthew 18:15-20) to deal with the sinning brother, and then he gives them further instruction in the other passage.  He was punished by church exclusion.  Then in 2 Corinthians Paul recommends that a repentant sinner be readmitted to the church.

Questions concerning these passages that prove Closed Communion: 
1.  Who is the "you" in 1 Corinthians 11:23: "For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you ..."?

     A. The Universal Church.     B. The City Council of Corinth.     C. The Church of Corinth.

2.  Who was to "deliver such an one unto Satan" and when?

     A. The Pope in a Church council.     B. Whenever by the pastor.     C. Church members in a meeting.

3.  "Purge out therefore the old leaven" from what?

     A. The stomach.     B. The Universal Church.     C. The local church.

4.  What does "keep the feast" mean?

     A. Keep the Feast of Tabernacles.     B. Keep the Feast of  Weeks.     C. Observe the Lord's Supper. 

5.  Where it says, "with such an one no not to eat," what is it that we are not to eat?

     A. Leaven.     B. Pork.    C. The Lord's Supper.

6.  What does "put away from among yourselves that wicked person" mean?  Who are the "yourselves" in the verse?

     A. Put out of the church.     B. Put away from the Universal Church.

7.  What does "ye judge them that are within" mean?

     A. Within a 50 mile radius.     B. Within the local church.

8.  What does "punishment ... inflicted of many" mean?

     A. The anathemas of the Council of Trent.     B. Exclusion by majority vote of the local church.

9.  Who has power to determine if the sinner had repented, and thus "to forgive him" and "with such an one ... to eat"?

     A. The Universal Church.     B. The Pope.     C. The members of the local church.

10. Does one local church have authority to determine who eats the Lord's Supper at another local church? 

     A. Yes      B. No

11. Does a local church give permission to eat the Lord's Supper by admission to its membership? 

     A. Yes      B. No

12. If answered correctly do all of the above questions prove that the Lord's Supper is a local church ordinance? 

     A. Yes      B. No