Come in, We Are Closed
Many evangelicals are unfamiliar with it, don’t understand it, and are often offended when they encounter it, but when it comes to the Lord’s Supper the Scriptures clearly teach that Holy Communion is not for anybody and everybody. In this short work of fiction Rev. Tyrel Bramwell recalls the questions he had when he first encountered closed Communion as a young evangelical and the conversations he has had as a pastor, in order to dispel false assumptions and provide the Biblical answers to real misunderstandings.
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WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT COME IN, WE ARE CLOSED
“It is a challenge to convey theological truth and faithful practice in fiction. Rev. Bramwell does so with theological deftness, pastoral winsomeness, and confessional faithfulness with regard to the challenging topic of closed Communion. Engaging, humorous, and authentic, Come in, We Are Closed is the helpful tool laypeople and pastors have been praying for to reach those used to open Communion. This book creatively and conversationally expands the limited number of Bible texts used to explain this faithful biblical practice within a fuller Lutheran confession of a Christian worldview and additional teaching on many other aspects of the Sacrament of the Altar. Come in, We Are Closed deals with Jesus’ own words and how many react to them with unbelief instead of faith.”
Paul J. Cain
Pastor, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, WY; board member, Consortium for Classical Lutheran Education; author, 5 Things You Can Do to Make Your Congregation a Caring Church.
“Closed Communion is usually pictured as uninviting and lacking in grace. Through a series of cafe conversations, Pastor Bramwell portrays another picture. Using imagery from the Scriptures and early Church, the author invites readers to think about closed Communion in light of Christ’s gift and our need.”
“There is hardly a more sensitive issue with which pastors have to deal with than closed Communion. This is not something new, but has been exasperated by the individualism that everyone can choose what he or she wants to believe and what kind of God one wants. Pastors are trained theologically to handle closed Communion. Tyrel Bramwell fills the gap in providing real life situations that reflect how members of our churches and others see the issue. He provides enough stories so that every pastor will see a dilemma he has already faced and will most likely face. Rather than leaving the reader hanging on what the outcome should be, he provides solutions. A great strength of Come in, We Are Closed is its readability. The title speaks volumes. In the face of an aging and thus declining membership, our congregations and pastors are working to extend the church’s boundaries. Closed Communion isn’t an obstacle to church growth but an opportunity. After reading Come in, We Are Closed, you will see why Pastor Bramwell is among the up and coming authors in the Lutheran church.”
“According to the classical education tradition, the best way to find genuine understanding is through dialectic; that is, dialogue, in which two people simply have a conversation to arrive at truth. The dialogues of Socrates took philosophy about as far as it could go. St. Anselm wrote a dialogue to explore the doctrine of Christ’s Atonement. And Luther’s Catechism sets up a dialogue designed to teach the Christian faith and to answer the question, “What does this mean?” Now Tyrel Bramwell has written a dialogue about the much misunderstood doctrine of Closed Communion. And in approaching the issues from unique angles, he illuminates not only this controversial practice, but Holy Communion in general, as well as the Christian faith that it embodies.”
“Pastor Bramwell carefully, yet engagingly, takes the reader through the often difficult discussion of what closed Communion is, and why it is the faithful and loving practice of the Church. Winsome characters while away the night as biblical truth seasons their conversation in a way that speaks faithfully, yet is never overbearing or forced. Most books stay put on a pastor’s shelf; not this one. It will be much-loaned and highly-thumbed in years to come.”
“For some, fiction as a tool of theology is debatable. But not here. In the midst of an evening of driving snow, at the corner of one street and another, a smoky café becomes a classroom. A burly, pipe-smoking gent becomes a professor. A conversation becomes an enlightening moment for rich catechesis. And all along the way, as the winter storm keeps a steady cadence against the establishment’s frame, the reader is kept warmly inside and led into a deeper understanding of what many in our radically individualized society would consider offensive: closed Communion. A finely crafted narrative, Bramwell sets out to sort through the sorest contours of the subject while at the same time giving a clear witness to the Word of God and the genuine love that is inherent to the practice.”
“Explaining closed Communion can be a difficult task. Tyrel Bramwell offers a much-needed solution with Come in, We Are Closed. This slim but enlightening work of fiction makes a valuable contribution to the Church. I gained new insights on why closed Communion is simply the way Communion should be done in the Church, as instructed by Holy Scripture. Closed Communion can be a hard phrase, but in reality, its practice is caring and faithful, as made clear by Bramwell’s warm, instructive tale.”
Author of the Pastor Stephen Grant Novels