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First President of the LCMS and it's Grandfather
CFW Walther

Seven Myths of Close Communion

The long-standing practice of Closed or Close Communion is not without controversy. The greatest hardship to a member of the Church Militant is to deny Christ's Body and Blood to another member of the Church Militant because of differences in confession. It doesn't make sense. However, it is the care that the Word of God asks of His church. Still, many cannot or will not accept this as a teaching from Scripture; they will argue against it usually citing one of these seven myths.

Bear in mind that they are each myths. That is to say, they are all false.

  1. When we refuse Holy Communion to someone at our altar, which is a member of another Christian denomination, we are bringing into question their Christian faith.
  2. Close Communion is a recent church practice.
  3. The pastor is not accountable for the spiritual well being of those who commune or do not commune. He is merely to offer the sacrament to those who come forward.
  4. We are judging the hearts of people to whom we deny the Sacrament of the Altar.
  5. Members of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod are considered "worthy" of the Sacrament by right of their membership in the church body. One must "belong" but not necessarily believe.
  6. Close Communion is a loveless act of judgment and condemnation.
  7. What everyone else at the Table of the Lord believes is not important. It is only what I believe that matters.

Ultimately, the reason behind the practice (and doctrine, the two cannot be separated) is love. Love and care for those who wish to commune with us compels us to close the altar at our congregation to those whose faith is unknown to us. Once again, it is Donald Deffner who explained, "It is not showing love to allow a person to do something harmful, even though he may think it is for his own good."

For a more detailed explanation of these seven myths, and their rebuttal, you are encouraged to read this document, which was prepared by Rev. Bernard Worral of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Fargo, North Dakota.