Document Type

Oral Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 4-24-2013


My family is steeped in Lutheranism. My grandfather on my mother’s side is a Lutheran pastor. On my father’s side, half is very Lutheran and the other has spurned Lutheranism due to a well-meaning pastor refusing my sickly great-grandmother communion because of her denomination. I have looked at the incident that caused my family to split by talking with my grandmother and by researching the Lutheran faith practices of the time. Because I am interested in following my grandfather into the ministry, I want to know how to avoid causing families from turning away because of faith issues. I used several academic articles that speak to the matter as well as going to the source of contention – the Bible. Even though the practice of closed communion (only admitting members of your own congregation and the group of churches with whom it is affiliated) has good intentions, many believe the biblical basis on which it is founded does not fully support the practice, and the results do not always further the mission of the church. Sometimes it goes so far as turning a devout family into a torn group of people who do not know what they believe.

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