Convention encourages congregations to practice close(d) communion

HOUSTON — Congregations that allow open communion were encouraged to return to “faithful communion practices by practicing close(d) communion” in a resolution passed July 18 at the 63rd Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

The encouragement came in an amendment to Res. 3-09, which addressed the administration of the Lord’s Supper. The resolution commended the 1999 Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR) report, “Admission to the Lord’s Supper,” and related resolutions for study and guidance.

The practice of close(d) communion in the Missouri Synod historically has meant only persons who have been instructed in the teachings of the church and who have confessed their faith in these teachings are to receive communion in LCMS congregations.

The resolution also asks that the CTCR, along with the seminaries and Council of Presidents, provide “practical guidance for responsible pastoral care in the administration of the Sacrament of the Altar.”

CTCR Floor Committee Chairman Gerhard Michael said this resolution and others proposed to the convention reflect “the committee’s desire to help our Synod develop consensus on our basic positions through study and guidance.”

Delegates also approved Res. 3-11, which seeks “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” by

• encouraging pastors to participate in their circuit pastoral conferences; and

• asking that circuit conferences use the Bible studies prepared by the Synod’s Praesidium and that such Bible studies reflect the Synod’s articles of faith.

In other action, delegates also adopted these resolutions:

• Res. 3-07, asking Synod members to study CTCR reports relating to the service of women in church, including a new report to be published in 2008.

• Res. 3-09, calling for the formation of a Committee on Church Literature – that would include professors from both seminaries and the Concordia University System – to assist Concordia Publishing House in “identifying, promoting, and facilitating the publication of theological literature.”

The 2007 Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod triennial convention is meeting here July 14-19 under the theme “One Message – Christ!  His Love is Here for You.”

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