B.H. Carroll on a Closed Lord’s Table

“There is no more convincing argument against open communion of any kind. No open communion argument can stand before the declaration, “It is the Lord’s table . . . No matter what anybody says, we should stick to the doctrine that Christ placed that table in his church, not for them to say who shall come, but for God to say who shall come. One has to be inside the church before he is entitled to sit at the Lord’s Table.”  B.H. Carroll

B.H. Carroll, An Interpretation of the English Bible, vol. VIII, 180.


SBC Denominational Official Refuses Communion in Jerusalem

“Later on the same preacher was in Jerusalem, and preached in the upper room of a mission. That night it was proposed that all present should observe the Lord’s Supper. The Baptist preacher sat down with the others in the room, but when the supper was to be observed, he took no part. Later on in the hotel a gentleman said to him: ‘I was surprised at your conduct tonight. I thought that here in Jerusalem you certainly would have communion with the others.’ The Baptist preacher answered: ‘We believe that Christ gave the ordinance to commemorate his broken body and spilt blood, and that when we take part we do so in remembrance of him. We take it not to show our love to each other. We do this every day. He gave it to his church, a band of believers who have obeyed him in baptism, and who are to keep his ordinances.’ Then, turning to the man, he said: ‘Do you suppose that here in Jerusalem, where my Lord died, I would do something I would not do in America, simply to please some who are traveling with me? What we hold we hold as a matter of principle to honor our Lord, and not to honor men.’ These two little incidents set forth the position of Baptists in the world.” Pages 86-87

(The above story is about Robert J. Willingham, Corresponding Secretary of Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1893-1914. The story is from the book “The Baptist Message,” published by the Sunday School Board of the SBC in 1911. This demonstrates that in the early twentieth century, virtually all Southern Baptist pastors and denominational leaders believed the Lord’s Supper was a local church ordinance.)

Everyone Restricts the Lord’s Supper

Pastor J.H. Grime of Warren County, Kentucky was once in company with a woman of decided Open Communion proclivities.  She hastily introduced the subject.  He said, “I can prove that you are a Close Communionist.”  She said, “You can’t do it.”  He said, “I’ll try now.  Suppose it were left with you as to whom should sit at the Lord’s table.”  She responded that she would let all professed Christians sit at the table together.  Brother Grime said, “Let’s see; here comes a Baptist: what would you say to him?”  “I would say, have a seat at the table, brother.”  “Well here comes a nice Presbyterian.”  “I would say sit at the table, brother.”  “Well, here comes a godly Methodist and wife.”  “I would say have seats at the table.”  “All right, here comes a  Mormon Elder and his dozen wives.”  “The woman said with some fire, “I would not let him sit down with the others.”

(John Harvey Grime {1851-1941} was a very influence Tennessee Baptist pastor and leader around the turn of the twentieth century.   He pastored over 30 different churches in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Texas as well as authoring a number of very useful books. The point of the above quote is to show that everyone fences the Lord’s Supper to some degree.  Because of doctrinal differences, consistent Baptists restrict the Supper to the members of each local church.)

$25 for One Verse Teaching Open Communion

“For about fifteen years, I was pastor in Mayfield, Ky. While there, I made a very broad and liberal proposition. I repeated it, many times. It was made publicly from my pulpit. I said: “I am like other preachers. I have no money to burn, or to throw at birds. But I desire information. I am willing to pay for it. Open communion is popular. I desire to be popular. If open communion is Scriptural I desire to practice it. I do not ask for forty passages from the Word of God. I do not ask for two. One will suffice. Therefore for one passage from the Scriptures—one command for, or example of, open communion, I will pay twenty-five dollars. This offer is made to every man in Mayfield, in Graves county, in Kentucky, in the United States, in America, in the world. I will do more. I will practice open communion in this church, if the church will consent. If the church will not consent, I will leave it and go where I can follow the teachings of the Word of God. In my youth, I left those I loved most to become a Baptist. Now I am ready to leave the Baptists, if it be necessary, to obey the Scriptures. But I must have a text, at least one text, to justify my procedure. Who will find it for me?”

This proposition has been made in other cities and in other States. It has been made in writ­ten and in public oral discussion. No man has demanded the reward, or claimed to have discovered the text. On the contrary, more than one learned opponent has frankly admitted that there is no such text.” A.S. Pettie

(Alberta Sullivan Pettie {1851-1931} pastored the First Baptist Church of Mayfield, Kentucky from 1886-1896 and 1903-1908. He also served as President of Clinton College in Hickman County, Kentucky and preached the annual sermon before the Kentucky Baptist Convention in 1906. W.M. Wood, his successor at First Baptist Mayfield said of him, “He was a great preacher. It is my deep conviction that Dr. Pettie had no peer in the South as a clear, concise, orthodox minister.”  The above is from his book “Close Communion” published by the Baptist Book Concern of Kentucky, 1910.)