Who Should Sit in Communion Chairs in a Baptist Church?
The Baptist church practices the communion as one of its two acts of faith-obedience. Much of the time, this is called an ‘ordinance’ rather than a ‘sacrament’. In other words, you cannot receive salvation or grace through communion. Instead, these are purely symbolic acts that were commanded of Christ’s followers by Christ Himself. This is actually the second ordinance in the Baptist church and it is patterned after the Last Supper, which was recorded in the Gospels wherein Jesus says to “do this in remembrance of me.” With this in mind, participants in communion break and eat bread and drink a small ‘shot of wine’. These items are symbolic of the body and the blood of Jesus, respectively.
Traditionally, Baptists serve communion to participants wherever they are seated. However, it is up to each individual church how communion is arranged, because the arrangement itself has no theological significance. More important than seating or arrangement is the communion itself. For instance, the bread used is unleavened, as it is believed that this is the type of bread the would have been served at the Last Supper. As such, bread cubes, wafers or small crackers are passed around on plates to those who wish to participate in communion. Of course, it is also acceptable to do the “breaking of bread” from loaves, as well.
The cup is filled with unfermented grape juice. However, the Gospel passages only mention the “fruit of the vine.” It is never called wine therein. Usually small individual cups are used to represent the “cup.” A “common cup” that the entire congregation drinks from can be used, but it is usually reserved for small gatherings for practical reasons.
Most of the time, both the bread and the wine are served by the pastor to the deacons. The deacons then serve the congregation, followed by the pastor. In bigger churches, the pastors may often serve one another, allowing the deacons to focus on serving the congregation. Once the entire congregation has been served, everyone takes the elements at the same time. This symbolizes unity.
Communion can be held as frequently as the church desires. However, most of the time communion takes place during a regular worship service. It is important to note that communion is only taken by those who have undergone a believer’s baptism, though this does vary from congregation to congregation as well.
As such, there are three types of communion:
1. Open communion allows anyone who professes to be a Christian to take communion.
2. Close communion occurs whenever only members of a Baptist church can take communion.
3. Closed communion takes place when only members of that local congregation can participate.
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