St. Paul Lutheran Church is a member congregation of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.

Photo of Altar Area

We Believe...




On Closed Communion


Photo of Communion Elements

St. Paul Lutheran Church is a member congregation of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, and we practice Closed Communion. The practice of Closed Communion is one that is very misunderstood in our modern age, but actually has been the practice of the Church since the days of the Apostles. Closed Communion is not practiced in order to be spiteful – instead, it is a practice born out of a desire to do what is right for one another, no matter the cost or sacrifice – the biblical meaning of the word “love.” While it would be easier for us to simply open the Lord’s Table to everyone, it would not be the right thing. This is our conviction based upon the Word of God revealed in the Holy Scriptures.


We believe that when we receive the Lord’s Supper, what we are receiving is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, in with and under the bread and the wine. When Jesus says “Take and eat, this is my body; take and drink, this is my blood ( Matt. 26:26–28 26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. ; Mark 14:22–25 22 And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. 24 And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” ; Luke 22:14–20 14 And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. 15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. ; 1 Cor. 11:17–29 17 But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. 18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, 19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. 20 When you come together, it is not the Lord's supper that you eat. 21 For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.
23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.
27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.
),”
we take Him at His word. We believe that the body and blood of Christ, that was given into death on the cross, that was raised from the dead on Easter Sunday, that ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God, is bodily present in the Lord’s Supper. What Christ gives to us in his meal is the real deal. Christ also tells us what we receive when he gives to us His body and His blood – the forgiveness of sins.


If I can use an analogy, consider a pharmacy. That pharmacy may have many things that are available for anyone. However, certain medicines are kept under lock and key, because these medicines are the real deal. They are powerful, and are dangerous if misused. Consider what St. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. and 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. : “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord… For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.” When we receive the Lord’s Supper, we receive the real deal, a powerful means of grace that, as Paul writes, can be dangerous if misused. The misuse that Paul corrected the Corinthians about was communing when there were divisions among them ( 1 Corinthians 11:18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, ). If we did not believe that the Lord’s Supper really is the body and blood of Christ, then we would have no reason for concern over who receives communion. However, because we do take Christ at His word and believe that the Lord’s Supper is the body and blood of Christ, for the sake of loving our neighbor, we must be faithful in our practice of the Lord’s Supper.


Our motivation for our practice is not a desire to be exclusionary, nor an attitude of hatefulness or superiority. Our practice of Closed Communion is motivated by Christian love for our neighbor. We take an unpopular stance for three reasons: first, to ensure that no one eats or drinks judgment upon himself or herself ( 1 Corinthians 11:29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. ); second, out of a desire to avoid profaning the body and blood of the Lord by coming before him as a collection of individuals who hold divergent beliefs regarding the common Christian faith; rather, we would seek to come before Him as one body unified in belief and practice; and third, in order to recognize the divisions among us, so that God’s Word may prevail over all false teaching.


If you attend worship at St. Paul’s and are not invited to receive the body and blood of Christ, please know that this does not mean we think you are not a Christian. Instead, it is a practice born out our earnest desire to love the Lord and to love our neighbor. We do thank you for respecting our efforts to preserve our unity of faith as we join as one body in common confession to receive the body and blood of Christ.



Please click here to visit the Belief & Practice page
found on the LCMS website.