Instead of the posts I have on the back burner, I will post this. Today in Polity class, among a few other disturbing things, I learned that, according to the Book of Order, W-2.4006 and W-2.4011, Presbyterians are to deny Communion to people who are not Baptized.
Here, in contrast, are some of the words I will be reading when we have Communion at Calvary Presbyterian this coming Sunday:
“Friends, this is the joyous feast of the people of God! They will come from east and west, and from north and south, and sit at table in the kingdom of God.
“This is not Calvary’s table or even a Presbyterian table, but this is Christ’s table and everyone who seeks to be Christ’s disciple is invited to share in it…” and so on.
As it stands right now, I think it is…indefensible…to deny someone Communion, except maybe in a case where someone is in unrepentant violation of fundamental Christian values or teachings – and that’s just an undefined caveat I feel I should add. (I choose the word “indefensible” not to be incendiary but with care.) I also think that it is possible that I’m wrong, that I haven’t thought of something, that this is a situation where I need to change my view.
So, the “Help” that I’m looking for is this: I ask that someone who believes that the Book of Order is correct take the time to explain to me why they hold that view, why they think it is not just allowable, but right, why it should be part of our corporate polity and governance and not just something we allow if a congregation’s theology demands it, for example. I don’t really want to argue with whoever you are, I just want to understand where this view is coming from. Maybe this can lead to a discussion, but I’d like the Book of Order’s position…clarified? Defended? Explained?
For my part, in short, I think that one of the worst things that a religion can do is to put barriers between people and God. That is in fact the exact inverse of what I think a religion is supposed to do – that is, to bring people closer to God. To me, the Book of Order is erecting a barrier between people and one of the ways that we come to approach and know God – through Communion. This rule doesn’t have a Scriptural precedent that I’m aware of, and certainly doesn’t seem to be based on anything Jesus is described as doing or saying…but maybe I’m way off base here.
So, among other things, I’m sort of at a loss.