Should I Take Communion If I Haven't Been Baptized? Theology

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I started to write about why baptism should precede communion, before realizing that I am a woefully inadequate theologian to cover a topic like this. That is why I am thankful for Jeremy Keever, one of the pastors at Grace Church. He is not only a talented teacher and writer (for elementary-age kids, teenagers, and adults), but also a good friend. He and his wife Kelly have already contributed to this blog, sharing their perspectives on why they have intentionally chosen to have their kids in public school. That has been one of our more popular posts and series, and I'm sure you'll enjoy this 2-post series as well.

At Grace Church, where I am a member, we observe the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper monthly. I have always enjoyed the freedom and worshipful environment that is created as we “go to the table.” The pastoral team is very clear that this is meant to be a family (those who are in Christ) event. As a church we encourage all people to be a part of our weekly gathered worship services. In fact, we take very intentional steps to make sure non-Christians, de-churched and people of all faiths feel welcomed with us. (Side Note: Good thing that is what Jesus did!) 

However, the very act of taking communion is divisive. There is really no way around it. Those who take communion are acknowledging their love for Christ, communicating their daily need for his broken body and his spilled blood to cover their sin, and proclaiming the gospel message. Those who don’t are non-verbally choosing to not identify with him.  

Over the years I have become increasingly concerned at how many people actually observe The Lord’s Supper. We know that people regularly get up and take communion who claim to not be a Christian or who have never been baptized.  

In order to adequately answer the question at hand, we need to first be clear on what we are talking about:
Baptism is one-time act of obedience and worship to identify with Jesus in his death and resurrection for those who have received the benefits of the saving work of Christ.  A few important components:
  • It is a one time act
  • It is commanded by Jesus and the Christian Church
  • It identifies you with the church body
  • It proclaims the gospel to the world

Communion (The Lord’s Supper) is an ordinance that celebrates the breaking of Christ body and the shedding of his blood for sinners.  We remember the event, celebrate the covering it brings and are nourished by partaking in worship.
  • Is to be observed continually
  • Is a sign of continued participation in the benefits of Christ’s death
  • Signifies unity with the church
  • It proclaims the gospel message to the world

Be sure to read the rest of the interview

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