Article 57 — Admission to the Lord’s Supper
The consistory shall admit to the Lord’s Supper only those who have made public profession of the Reformed faith and lead a godly life. Members of sister churches shall be admitted on the basis of a good attestation concerning their doctrine and conduct.
Our churches do not follow the practice of ‘the open table’ at the Lord’s Supper. In some church groups every one who feels the desire to participate in the Lord’s Supper is welcome. The responsibility rests entirely on the individual.
According to what we confess the responsibility lies with the consistory and, indeed, with the whole congregation.
Admittance is granted to those who have learnt to “discern the Lord’s body” (1 Corinthians 11: 19), and have therefore made public profession of faith.
For the same reason our churches do not practise “children’s communion”.
As for persons who want to join our churches and have made public profession of their faith in another church that is not one of our sister-churches, the consistory shall investigate whether they
confess that the doctrine of the Old and New Testament, summarized in the confessions and taught here in this Christian Church, is the true and complete doctrine of salvation.
The words “and lead a godly life” have been added to keep the Table of the Lord pure and holy by keeping away those who do not lead such a life, even though they have made their public profession of faith.
The same necessary supervision has led to the introduction of the rule expressed in the body of this article.
It may include those members of sister-churches who move from them and join their ‘new’ church. They are admitted to the Lord’s Supper on the basis of the attestation issued to them by their former consistory.
It also includes members from sister-churches who desire to participate in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper as guests. They are admitted when they can prove to be ‘members of good standing’ in their own congregation, having admittance to their Lord’s Supper there. This proof can be obtained by asking their consistory to issue to them a declaration concerning their doctrine and conduct.
Supervision regarding admission to the Lord’s Supper belongs to what Article 29 of the Belgic Confession of Faith calls the second and third marks of the true church:
It maintains the pure administration of the sacraments as Christ instituted them. It exercises church discipline for correcting and punishing sins.