Infant communion (“paedocommunion”): Feed God’s babies

by andrewlohr

CONTENTS of “Feed God’s babies” (you are here). Scroll down to find things.
–c4, admit (duly baptized) little children to “the Lord”s table.”
—*d1, Complete history of infant communion in one page (1st item below CONTENTS)
—*d2, 1-page epistle on infant communion (“1 page” = 1 sheet of paper).
—*d3, 1-page essay on infant communion
—d3a, about paedocommunion caucus (DO IT–legalize–don’t just argue)
—*d4 2-page essay on infant communion
Q Why the 1-page and 2-page versions? A. For busy people.
—*d5. Cover letter and Table of contents for the 40-page paper.
—d6. Two paedocommunion hymns (and a very short story).
—*d7. Introduction and Section 1 of “the 40 pages.”
—*d8. Section 2B of the 40pp: 30+ objections to paedocommunion answered briefly.
—*d9. Section 2C of the 40pp: Reymond’s and Sisemore’s objections answered.
—*d10. Section 3 of the 40pp: 20+ arguments FOR paeodocommunion.
—*d11. Section 4 of the 40pp: SINS of keeping covenant children from communion (1 page).
—*d12. A theory (NOT the only one) of paedocommunion (one page).
—*d13. Some notes on implementation; on sources; on me.
—*d14. Section 2A of the 40pp: the 3 big objections to paedocommunion answered at length.
BLOG ZONE (in [slow] progress: Dr F. N. Lee’s objections answered.)

Q What is “the 40 pages”? A The original length of a paper containing elements I’ve rearranged on this page. (When I printed this page, the page took 37 sheets of paper, including material not in “the 40 pages.”)


d1. Infant communion: COMPLETE HISTORY in one page, from eternal Trinity to Judgment Day.
(brassy but accurate title.)
by Andrew Lohr, in Chattanooga, A.D. 2006. Freely copy and use.

-Eternity to eternity: Father loves Son. (Son obeys Father.)
-Day 6 of creation: God ordains childrearing and food.
-Day 1 of sin: salvation by blood sacrifice, and victory promised to seed of woman.
-Genesis 12: God promises Abram to bless all earth’s families.
-Exodus 10: Moses insists that Israel’s young, as well as old, must go to celebrate to God in the wilderness.
-Exodus 12-13: Passover protects firstborn and feeds households.
-Exodus14-16, I Corinthians 10: all Israel “baptized” in Red Sea (Egypt immersed); all eat manna and drink water from Rock.
-Deuteronomy 12, I Samuel 1: families eat at central sanctuary.
-Psalm 22, Ps 8: David has faith while nursing; nursing infants to praise God. Luke 1: John the Baptist leaps for holy joy in womb; Jesus conceived by Holy Ghost.
-Is 49, 54, 59, Jeremiah 3, Joel 2/Acts 2, Malachi 2-4: God says the new covenant will include children.
-Matthew 18, 19: Jesus tells apostles not to underestimate the size of the spiritual capacity of little children.
-Mt 26: Jesus sheds His blood, giving His body, to save God’s children; Mt 28 rises from the dead. Mt 25, to return.
-Mt 27, Hebrews 4: Holy of Holies (most restricted OT sacrament) thrown wide open. (OT foreshadows that ONLY Jesus saves.)
-Acts 2, 8, 10: baptism and eating include women and Gentiles.
-I Corinthians 11: Paul tells saints at Corinth that their failure to include everyone they should be including at the Table makes it “not to eat the Lord’s Supper.” Examine yourselves to make sure you’re loving your neighbor by including him; discern that Christ’s body includes him, and eat accordingly.
-A.D. 400 or so: Augustine explains (against Pelagianism?) that little children are eating and drinking Christ’s body and blood because they’re SINNERS and Jesus (none else) saves them.
-A.D. 1000-1300 or so: Western church gets superstitious about children dropping crumbs of Jesus on floor; 1st communion (“confirmation”) delayed for many because only bishops can confirm a person; thus children lose Supper. Councils confirm this trend. (Eastern Orthodox children retain Supper to this day.)
-A.D. 1400s: Hussites restore Table to children.
-Reformation: Luther, Musculus, Cartwright, Taylor, Baxter, etc., say nice things about infant communion. (Only?) Non-juring Anglicans (and, much later, some liberals?) make it happen. Calvin says children can have faith or its seed, and that they must receive the sign when they have the reality, but applies these only to baptism. Protestant tradition reverses the meaning of “examine himself,” examining for every sin except the one we’re supposed to be examining for, the very sin we’re in the act of committing. (Repent!)
-A.D. 1975 ff: Christian Keidel’s WTJ article makes infant communion a live issue for evangelicals. OPC and PCA fail to repent. REC lets congregations admit or bar infants. (CRC now repenting, ptL!)
-A.D. 2005 ff: a 40-page paper answers the PCA’s 11 official arguments against infant communion, and advances 18 arguments for it, and 5 that its refusal is very grave sin.
=Today: will you obey God, even at the cost of controversy, and of publicly admitting you were wrong and asking forgiveness? (Please?)
-Judgment Day: those who saw one of the least of Jesus’s brothers hungry and didn’t feed him are sent to “everlasting punishment.”
-REPENT: admit covenant children to our Lord’s (not our denomination’s) Table.
(40-page paper, see below. Also see http://www.athanasiuspress.org; http://www.biblicalhorizons.com; http://www.paedocommunion.com. And read FEED MY LAMBS by Tim Gallant, book, excellent bibliography.)

As of 5 June ’07, most of the 40 pages are up here. (Thanks Wendy for the scanning lesson.)

d2. Infant communion: one-page epistle.
INFANT COMMUNION IN ONE PAGE (Copy and use this letter freely)

From Andrew Lohr, disciple of Jesus Christ, to brothers and sisters in Him (especially in PCA and OPC from a friendly alumnus): grace mercy and peace from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ our Redeemer be showered always on y’all by God the Holy Ghost.

What most to thank God for in y’all I know not–doctrine? evangelism? genuine faith? If I ask “What would Jesus change in you (or me)?” different people see different ways to better express His love and wisdom, and all changes Jesus really wants should work together. I suppose He assigns different people to work hardest on different things; for example, New City Fellowship shows God’s love across race and dollar lines, for Jesus is Lord of all. One big broad change would be from houses of preaching/singing into houses of prayer: prayer first, prayer primary, the rest secondary.

But as a student of Scripture, doctrinal arguments, experience, and church history, and loving Jesus, I urge on you a specific change as Biblical, historical, good for us, and expressing God’s character, and disobedience here as serious sin. Now it is basic to Protestants, reaffirmed by OPC 1930s and PCA 1970s: sometimes we must obey God rather than the church. And both OPC and PCA goof up what follows.

In the name of King Jesus who blessed little children in the face of the apostles (church leaders) and set a little child as their example, in the name of Messiah Jesus who ate with anyone (even harlots publicans and Pharisees), in the name of the Creator who ordained childrearing, in Jesus’ name who from eternity to eternity and womb to adolescence was always right with His Father, in the Name of Jesus who died and will come for our children, in His name–do we worship this Jesus?–whose servant, Paul, called “not the Lord’s Supper” a Supper that failed to carefully feed all who should be fed (i.e. that failed to discern the body of Christ; also cf. Gal. 2): admit covenant children to our Father’s Table as SOON as they are able to eat there. (Bible knows weaning.) Do we worship this Jesus?

Repent with Hussites from the medieval Roman Catholic invention of making babies wait until they can explain what they are doing. (Do we make children explain recipes, and only then begin feeding them?) Let us, indeed, pay MORE attention, not less, to Godly childrearing, faith, personal (closet) devotions, family devotions, small groups and apprenticeships like Jesus and His 12, doctrinal and practical teaching, parental supervision of entertainment and education, formal church worship, and coaching/encouraging one another in all this. But let us reckon holy children as truly God’s family for whom (as best we can tell; we may goof) Jesus died–gave his body and blood–and is coming. Let ALL His body share His blood, as Augustine assumed.

Loving busy people, I keep this to one page and mention longer treatments if you need more details to act. To the objection ‘Infants cannot examine themselves as the Supper requires,’ I answer: the problem in I Cor. 11 was failure to feed all who should’ve eaten the Supper, so barring holy infants is not the solution but the problem!

A child who takes some and passes it along has examined himself, making sure he loves his neighbor; a pastor who bars that child from communion has not. I answer 33 objections in nine pages of a 40-page paper which also advances 19 lines of reasoning for covenant infant communion and 5 why it’s dire sin not to. (REPENT!) See also Peter Leithart’s short readable DADDY, WHY WAS I EXCOMMUNICATED?; Tim Gallant’s studious reformed FEED MY LAMBS; http://www.paedocommunion.com, http://www.athanasiuspress.org, and SOME of http://www.hornes.org/theologia and http://www.biblicalhorizons.com. To consider the other side’s arguments and concerns, try some of Kenneth Gentry, http://www.swrb.com, and http://www.paedocommunion.com.

Faith without works is dead. Come DO it! “Feed My lambs.”
Love and prayers in Christ Jesus (Baby, Chef, Judge), from Andrew Lohr / 1503 Roanoke Ave., Chattanooga, TN 37406

Q Address? A 1503 Roanoke is current as of Feb A.D. 2009; 807 Poindexter Ave is obsolete (may not work).

Q Why did you start this “epistle” as you did? A Well, theonomists say God knows how to write laws. Theo-epistologists say God knows how to write letters–so use new testament epistles as examples.

d3. one-page essay

INFANT COMMUNION IN ONE PAGE (Freely copy and use.)

by Andrew Lohr in Chattanooga

What does God think about giving (baptized covenant) infants communion between weaning and profession (or, God forbid, denial) of faith? I claim [l] He’s for it, and [2] He cares about it. A lot.

Many evangelical baby-baptizers disagree with [l]. Before I answer their arguments, may I touch on why they reject [l] if it’s true? Historically, the 1st-millennium church practiced infant communion; creedo-communion (making children wait) is a Roman Catholic invention. But by Calvin’s day creedo-communion was a habit, and we (we people) defend our habits. And for a pastor to say “I was wrong to postpone communion for my children and church infants,“ to ask forgiveness, and to change, will hurt more than excuses in the short run. Please be big enough to do so.

Protestant defenses of creedo-communion tend to focus on “let a man examine himself” and “discerning the Lord‘s body” in I Corinthians l1, saying infants cannot do these, cannot know enough to commune. But I say unto you, these clauses have been torn from context and applied opposite to what God means. What was the problem in Corinth? Some were partaking without lovingly including everyone who should’ve been included. What was the solution? Examine yourself to make sure you’re loving your neighbor by including him; discern Christ’s body to make sure you’re loving its least members. If covenant children belong in communion, then no one who excludes them is examining himself as Paul requires; indeed, we examine ourselves for every sin except the sin we’re in the act of committing, the very sin God tells us to be examining for!

I focus on what the supper shows. “This is my body given for you.” If Jesus gave his body for our children, the bread is for them. “This cup is the new covenant in my blood.” If children are in the new covenant (and we’re promised that it includes them MORE emphatically than the old did–Is 49/54/59, Joel 2/Acts 2, etc.), the cup is for them. “We show forth the Lord‘s death till He come;“ if he died and comes for our children, the showing includes them, or else we “show” a falsehood. (Lk 22, I Cor 11).

Some who affirm [l] may doubt [2], acting as if God cares little about this. But I say unto you–and not I, but Jesus Christ our Lord–if you saw one of the least of these My brethren hungry, and fed him not, you did not feed Me; so away into “everlasting fire.” (Or Repent! Note “My brethren;” “one;” “least.”) If you despise a little one, that is, underestimate the size of one’s spiritual capacity–better to go swimming with a millstone necklace. (Or repent!) Galatians 2–if you won’t eat with a saint, you’re not living the gospel.. And who Jesus WOULD eat with was a notable feature of His ministry. (Also, who He’d bless in the face of church leaders. Mt 25; 18; 9; 19.) REPENT.

For further study (leading to action; faith without works is dead), http://www.paedocommunion.com, http://www.athanasiuspress.org, and SOME of http://www.biblicalhorizons.com and http://www.hornes.org/theologia; against, some of http://www.swrb.com. Books: Tim Gallant’s studious reformed FEED MY LAMBS (excellent bibliography); Peter Leithart’s short readable DADDY, WHY WAS I EXCOMMUNICATED? and my “40 pages” (below) giving 19 lines of reasoning for infant communion, answering 33 against it, giving 5 why excluding children is GRIEVIOUS sin. (1-page love for busy people, long love for thorough.) Now [disprove, or] legalize infant communion (supervised by elders and parents, of course, and excluding gross sinners.)

/Andrew Lohr
[ New 26 Dec ’07 ff; d3a until I renumber] So what should we DO about this? For the PCA and OPC, I say legalize infant communion on a congregation-by-congregation basis, as a couple other denominations do (so this method does work, whatever its problems).
-How? Well, form a paedocommunion caucus, and a creedocommunion caucus; if roughly 500 PCA pastors favor paedocommunion and 1000 oppose, each group can afford a correspondence secretary and an official spokesman rather than each pastor have to answer for himself everything that the other side brings up locally. This site advances 20 or so (subject to change) arguments for paedocommunion and answers 30+ objections for whatever use my allies may make of this.
-How caucus? Until caucuses form more officially, I (Andrew Lohr whose site this is) invite at least PCA and OPC teaching and ruling elders to sign up at the foot of this page, giving name, some form of how site viewers can contact you (a snail mail address is OK with me; more and/or other if you wish), what church (congregation) you’re in, what presbytery and denomination, and are you in the paedocommunion caucus (you want PCA/OPC to legalize paedocommunion) or the creedocommunion caucus (status quo, you do NOT want paedocommunion legalized, as of baby Jesus’s traditional birthday A.D. 2007. Against paedocommunion=”creedocommunion”).
-Q, Andrew, you strongly want, and think triune Jehovah strongly wants, paedocommunion; why help creedocommunionists form a caucus? A: Why not? I love (some of) them, and think He does too. If by any chance they be right, it might help them show it. (Despite considerable effort, I don’t think they’ve shown it up to now.) If they’re wrong, turning their doctrine from a foggy tradition into something upheld by one pressure group opposed to another (and more perhaps, but including this) may help in practice to loosen the grip of the wrongness. It might perhaps also help make sure the worthwhile things they’ve noticed are attended to. [q; sources for this q-a? a: include John Stuart Mill, ON LIBERTY, on the uses of allowing wrongness–studied at Covenant College under Drs Voskuil and Kaufman, thank y’all–and David Bergamini, JAPAN’S IMPERIAL CONSPIRACY, on Prince Saionji helping form Japan’s anti-Constitutionalist party.]
–I (Andrew) am not very computer fluent, so anything added here may be rather sloppy. If many names appear (tho not TOO many), I may try to sort them ‘manually’ to some extent and post the results. Please remember to give the details requested–name, contact info, position, and church/presbytery/denominational affiliation. I’d be delighted if someone else would run the caucuses.
–I would hope the paedocommunion caucuses, once formed, would sooner or later present a petition to legalize paedocommunion to their general assemblies, to be sent to presbyteries, voted on, and implemented. I hope this can be done in love and without too much trouble. I cannot lay down the law for anyone else about how much patience is too much if refusal of paedocommunion is as serious a sin as, Biblically, I think it to be (hinted at above and in next section; specified in section d11 below.) It is certainly the duty of paedocommunionists to love creedocommunionists (and vice versa, brother Schwertly, if you please, sir). It might perhaps be our duty in love to act more quickly and firmly than I suggest above; I have sought and NOT found (in the now-archived forums at hornes.org) reasons I deem sound against quick firm action. Rosa Parks may be in Heaven.
–Softer action might also be possible, e.g. presenting a resolution exhorting all congregations doing communion to put in a special word to children (and thus avoid the verbal sin of bearing false witness against them, which verbal sin creedocommunionists need not commit. See list of creedocommunion sins, section d11.) Another soft action might be for a church in a creedocommunion denomination doing a church plant to plant a paedocommunion church (independent or in another denomination). Q: Treason! A: Kennedy Smartt in I AM REMINDED, his semiofficial (and fun to read) history of the PCA, says that a big PCUS church he served for awhile planted non-PCUS churches before switching into the PCA; so there’s a semi-approved example of a church doing the very thing I just suggested.
Q How do you see the PCA/OPC situation on paedocommunion? A Well, I’m a “friendly alumnus” of both; let the better informed take wiser action, and the better politicians take more effective action. (I am tempted to add “Saint William Wilberforce, pray pray for us.”) But I think a fair number of pastors are for paedocommunion (Jeff Meyers a few years back guessed a third in the PCA, and I read somewhere on the web that paedocommunion is the 2nd most common exception taken to PCA standards), a number strongly against, a number foggily against–they’ve hardly heard of it, but since the PCA isn’t doing it they assume it’s wrong–and a number indifferent or unaware of the issue.
So (as Karl Marx used to ask) what is to be done? Well, as tools for those in favor to reach those indifferent or unaware, I have written the one-page summaries just above and the two-pager just below. (If anyone in a church practicing paedocommunion–including Eastern Orthodox churches– wants a short intro for a visitor surprised to see it, they’re also welcome to use these, of course.) I’ve answered, I hope mostly with courtesy and respect, more than 30 creedocommunion arguments, including all 11 [by my count] of the PCA’s official arguments; I hope this may be of some help in persuading some of those opposed who have actually looked at the issue that they are wrong. If I were wrong, the other side should be able to similarly answer my arguments (my lines of reasoning) in favor of paedocommunion, and to rehabilitate their arguments for paedocommunion and/or advance new ones (and drop bad ones.) Of course I think I’m right, and I haven’t been impressed by counterarguments, but I admit the possibility, at least in theory, I could be wrong. (See Cromwell quote in “Welcome!” section of this site.) So I hope paedocommunion is advanced by this website, whether by the William Wilberforce method (legislate) or the Rosa Parks method (just do it) or however Providence may choose.

d4. two-page essay

May triune Jehovah give us to know and DO His will, including His will about paedocommunion.

Importance of ANY exclusions from communion

(l) I Cor 11: Corinth’s failure to carefully include everyone they should’ve been including disqualified their celebration as the Lord’s Supper: “It is not the Lord’s Supper you eat.” (2) Galatians 2: Peter stood condemned, and was rebuked to his face in public, because of who he wouldn’t eat with, for justification is not by the works of the law. (3) Who Jesus WOULD eat with was a notable scandal of His ministry. [Conclusion here]: Good religious people tend to thoughtlessly exclude from table-fellowship people they should be including, and this, though intentions be good, is a serious sin; therefore we must carefully make sure we include all we should include.

A DOCTRINE OF (baptized covenant) INFANT COMMUNION

Some defend infant (baptism and) communion on grounds of parents’ faith, or child’s expected future faith, or by carefully defining “covenant.” I defend it on grounds of the child’s (presumed) PRESENT, though perhaps unarticulated, faith. (1) Remember to distinguish faith itself from profession of faith. (2) Consider [for the 1st time?] the Bible’s doctrine [not our casual assumptions; the Bible’s doctrine] of infant capacity: Gen 25 Jacob and Esau, Pss 22 and 51 David, Jer 1, Lk 1 John the Baptist, Jn 9 (!) and Jesus. Jesus is normal, the rest of us weird. Was He ever, from conception on, an unbeliever? Even unborn infants can be GOOD or BAD (God’s children or Satan’s), so we need to class EACH infant carefully. Notice that the sin of despising little ones–that is, of underestimating their spiritual capacity for good or for stumbling–is a sin against which Jesus warned, not pagans or Pharisees, but His “disciples.” He did so TWICE (Mt 18, 19). (3) God’s Father-Son relationship is eternal, and good fathers always feed their good present children. If covenant children are children of our Heavenly Father, what does denying them His food do to our doctrine of the Trinity (and what example does it set for human parents)? (4) All people are either in God’s camp or in Satan’s; there is no 3rd option. (5) Meals illustrate the Lord’s Supper (and vice versa); the Bible–Ex 12-13, Mt 26/Mk 14/Lk 22/Jn13ff/l Cor–uses the overlap, and so do 1. (6) By His Supper we “show forth the Lord’s death until He come.” If covenant children have part in our Lord’s death and coming, have they not also part in His feast, so that excluding them infringes the doctrine of redemption (as in Gal 2)? Since they have the thing signified, have they not the right to the sign? (7) Baptism is to communion as circumcision to passover, wedding to lovemaking, adoption to family table: entrance, followed by ongoing celebration.

I CORINTHIANS 11’S REQUIREMENTS IN CONTEXT (Can a child examine himself? Discern the body?)

(1) Corinth was mixing a meal with The Supper. In this context, were kids eating the meal? (2) In I Cor 11 (and 1-4) divisions were the problem. In that context, is dividing age groups part of Paul’s solution? (3) Paul had to SPELL OUT for Corinth that they had to exclude (hand over to Satan) a man who was having his father’s wife. If they had to be told to exclude a flagrant sinner, can one believe average kids were or should have been excluded?–and, if exclusion amounts to handing over to Satan, is that how we treat our kids? (4) Is it clear Paul was addressing kids? [Surely church leaders, able to make sure everyone is included who should be–and that, NOT introspection, is what “examine” here means–are the solution; therefore they, not helpless children or poor people, are the problem Paul is addressing.] (5) Is it clear kids can’t do what Paul requires? A 2-year-old knows church isn’t home, knows church is a Jesus/God place, therefore knows The Supper is a church/Jesus/God thing, and notices if he’s fed or not. He discerns Jesus, he discerns the Church (congregation), and he discerns The Supper to be a Jesus thing, so whichever of these “discern the body” may mean, he can do it. (6) Kids ate Passover (contra Gentry) and other OT covenant meals (e.g. I Sam 1); in that context, when were they first excluded from communion? I Cor was written 25 years or so after Pentecost; wouldn’t exclusion require a much clearer and much earlier statement? Where’d a general covenant meal excluding children come from? (7) Hasn’t Paul just said in I Cor 7 that covenant kids are holy, and in I Cor 10 that all Israel was baptized in the Red Sea and communed on water and manna? (8) I Cor 8 and 10 offer two options: God’s Table and demons’ table. Not three. (9) In context of Jesus’ ministry–his meals were scandalously inclusive–does child-exclusion remind you of Jesus? [Does it remind you He blessed children?] (10) In context of church history, can the exclusion of children be proven to have orthodox footing in the first millennium? (Or even heretical footing?) Don’t we get exclusionism from transubstantiationists, from episcopal confirmation, and from hard-to-question habit and instinctive defensiveness? Do we prefer the late medieval papacy over Nicea and Chalcedon, Augustine, Chrysostom, and the Hussites? (11) In context of human nature and experience, what does exclusion actually say to children? Does it bear a true witness? (If done, is it always done in a kind, thoughtful way?)

ACTIONS TO TAKE:

(1) Pray, pray, pray, and take counsel. Then, if I’m right, (2) Baptize kids whose parents, or at least one parent, practice(s) “closet” worship (personal devotions) and household (family) worship daily (as a rule), and church worship at least weekly; not other infants (except such as profess faith on their own, who may be quite young; cf “MIMOSA” by Amy Carmichael. I think paedocommunionist pastors may tend to admit children on confession of faith at a younger age than child-excluding pastors.) (3) Admit the baptized to communion as soon as they can eat and drink (that is, as soon as they cease to ‘commune’ via mothers’ milk); admitting them as believers who, like a recovering stroke victim, cannot fully articulate the faith we presume they posess. [Are we sure we want to say Calvin, Turretin, Edwards, Hodge or Sproul can “fully” articulate the Faith? The heart is deceitful; who can know it?] (3) Church leaders, admit the Gospel importance of this is so great that those who deem it Biblical must be allowed to DO it, for at stake are: how we see the Trinity; how we see Fatherhood, Sonship, Spirituality and their human counterparts; Jesus’s command “Do this;” the unity of the congregation; the validity of the Table; and the sin of despising little ones whom triune Jehovah welcomes. (When a pastor says–without giving it much thought?–Unbelievers stay away; hypocrites stay away; struggling Christians welcome!–and excludes children, isn’t he in practice CALLING THE
EXCLUDED CHILDREN HYPOCRITES OR UNBELIEVERS?–what other options does he give them?) (4) Christian parents, do not excommunicate the excluders; but do make sure the Lord’s children eat at the Lord’s Table. You might have kids profess faith;make special arrangements where you are; change churches (some do include children: http://www.paedocommunion.com); start a new church or semi-church [you do sacraments and church discipline, but stay with existing churches for fellowship and range of programs.] (5) Perhaps accepting infants as (presumed) BELIEVERS might help keep the peace in some congregations and denominations. [Start admitting 2-year-olds as believers and see what happens.] (6) I’ve heard [2002 pre-G.A. PCA liturgy conference] that changing from rare to weekly communion can cause disciplinary problems to manifest themselves. It wouldn’t surprise me if extending church discipline to cover infants had the same effect, so be alert. But choose the problems of obedience over those of sin. (Cross over Hell.) / Andrew Lohr, July/Aug A.D. 2002 with later revisions. / Sources: Bible, Holy Ghost, gifts, Tylerites of the ’80s, ICE? and Biblical Horizons since (inc. Horne vs Gentry and Jordan vs Lee), Peter Leithart’s DADDY, WHY WAS I EXCOMMUNICATED?, Blake Purcell’s ms. WE ALL PARTAKE, Tim Gallant’s FEED MY LAMBS (with long bibliography); J. C. Ryle (in KNOTS UNTIED) on presuming the baptized regenerate; Jeff(rey J.) Meyers and N.T. Wright on Trinity and Jesus; Paul, C.S.Lewis’s ABOLITION OF MAN, and Gene Edwards (e.g. TITUS and TTMOTHY DIAR[IES]) on personal, what-was-going-on? theologizing; Kerry Ptacek, FAMILY WORSHIP, on closet/family/church worship. I tried to read the exclusionist book DADDY, MAY I TAKE COMMUNION?, but it was not attackin.g my position or similar positions as held, nor establishing much of a position itself, nor was it organized, nor was it fun. I gave it up; I commend Dr Leithart for finishing it. Biblical
Horizons (www.biblicalhorizons.com) sells some of the above.

d5. Cover letter and Table of contents for “the 40 pages:”
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PAEDOCOMMUNION ARGUMENTS

Cover letter (=page 1 of “the 40 pages”)

Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God our Father in Heaven, confessed by the Holy Ghost. Glory to triune Jehovah, the one true and living God, the perfect Author of perfect scripture, our Lord, whom we love because He first loved us.

From: Andrew Lohr , 20 October A.D. 2005/12 June A.D. 2007

To: all saints, especially in the P.C.A.

Re: Paedocommunion (we must admit duly baptized infants to our Lord’s table)

Let us pursue peace: let us agree with God and with one another in what we do. Now, some saints admit little children to our Lord’s Supper (“paedocommunion”) and some are troubled in mind and conscience by the P.C.A.’s 1988 refusal to do so, or, troubled by those who do or would. Let us try to make peace in this matter. Herein I answer every reason advanced by the P.C.A. against paedocommunion, advance 19 good reasons to admit children to the Table, and argue that barring covenant children from the Table is not mere error but sin, yes, very dire sin, of which we must actually repent in what we do.

If the A.D. 1988 majority be correct, there is no peace while error goes unanswered, no peace when minds and consciences are unsatisfied; let the 1988 majority answer its brothers as we have answered it. If the 1988 majority be wrong, there is no peace while that majority enforces sin upon its brothers, contrary to WCF XX.2 in particular and Protestantism (we must obey God rather than the church) in general. Let us, amid other valid concerns, seek peace here. In the short run, since there are minds, consciences, and habits on both sides, allowing paedocommunion would increase outward peace. In the long run, if barring children from the Table is admitted to be dire sin, after a period of teaching and adjustment the P.C.A. might wish to enforce paedocommunion as, its opposite (“creedocommunion”) is now enforced, while doing full justice (e.g. in property and pensions) to any unconvinced. Let us love our neighbors and our enemies.

The following (1) urges from Scripture the sheer importance of this issue, (2) answers objections to paedocommunion–a long tedious section, but if paedocommunionists want answers-or-permission let us offer answers, (3) advances reasons for paedocommunion, and (4) advances reasons to think refusal of paedocommunion a sin. Appended are a brief theory of paedocommunion, some suggestions toward implementing it, and some notes on sources.

The next two pages give a detailed Table of Contents of this paper so busy readers can find what interests them and skip what does not.

Everyone may freely copy and distribute this paper (and even sell copies); I put it in “public domain” from the beginning.

Yours in Christ Jesus, from
Andrew Lohr

Encyclopedia of 50 or so arguments against and for paedocommunion, with application, by Andrew Lohr, Chattanooga (East Ridge). Table of contents (=pp2-3 of the 40.)

page 4 two paedocommunion hymns
5 another version of the 2nd hymn, and a very short story about communion
6-7 Introduction: why study paedocommunion again? How this paper does so.
“Paedocommunion” and “creedocommunion” are labels, not essences.

7 SECTION 1 : IMPORTANCE. Five reasons why “exclusions from table-fellowship are an important matter:” IA1, I Cor 11, Corinth’s failure to include made it “not the Lord’s Supper you eat.” IA2, Gal 2, an apostle was rebuked to his face in public for who he wouldn’t eat with. IA3, our Lord Jesus was famous for who he WOULD eat with. IA4, this is clear, repeated, and important in Scripture. lAS, note also SECTION 4: what’s horribly sinful is important to avoid.

Page 8 SECTION 2: ARGUMENTS against paedocommunion answered
SECTION 2A: three major creedocommunion arguments answered at length (13 pages)
8 Argument, big, one (“ABI “): Children cannot do what communion requires.
8 Short answer. Listening answer.
9 Contextual answer re I Cor 11.
10 Issue-by-issue answer: examine oneself, discern the body,
11 do this in remembrance. / Longer, textual answer, especially re “body.”
12-15 Textual answer continues.
15 AB2 (novelty): I’ve never heard of paedocommunion! How’d the Reformers miss it?
Five short answers. Six: psychological answer.
16 Seven: Christianity itself is radical. Eight: To correct an omission after 1000 years is
Biblical. Nine: why we’ve never heard of it. Ten: fix mistake.
17 Eleven: a listening answer: how rear children?
17 AB3: Children did not take passover, so should not take communion. Introduction.
Answer one: divide church?
18 Two: Passover a meal; children eat. Three: If Supper relates to more than just Passover,
other OT feasts included children. I Samuel 1, family at an OT feast.
19 Four: Luke 2 re young Jesus at Passover.
20 Five: Complicated, but see if you like it.

21 SECTION 2B: 30+ little creedocommunion arguments answered briefly (9 pages)
(The ground covered above in 2A is included here less thoroughly.)
21 Introduction. A(rgument) 1, re meaning: baptism initiates, supper is nutrition. A2, re
form, baptism passive, supper active. A3, children can’t.
22 A3-5. A4A, Eastern Orthodox error. A4B (=A5), “Withholding … the Supper from
children deprives them of not one benefit…”
23 A5-7. A6. Reformed against paedocommunion. A7. Paedocommunion distorts what
Supper means.
24 A 7 -11. A8. Paedocommunion minimizes need for faith. A9. Creedocommunion
promotes catechization. AID. Baptism gives children all they need. A 11. Communion requires understanding.
25 A 11-13. A12. Elders can’t oversee children. A13. Supper = Great Atonement, not
passover.
26 A13-17. A14. Supper = meal of elders only in Exodus 24. A15. Supper for the elect.
A16. Baptism promise, supper demand. A17. Baptism union, supper communion.
27 A17-27. A18. Only grown men could approach altar. A19. New Testament has higher
standards. A20. Supper a pure sacrament, not meal. A2l. Supper, unlike passover, is discipline. A22. Adam and Eve were barred from sacrament of discrnment. A23. Supper, like driver’s license, is only for the mature. A24. Superstition to give supper to those unable to believe. A25. Paedocommunion wouldjuvenilize the faith. A26. Paedocommunion reduces faith to being born a Christian. A27. Change is confusing.
28 A28-33. A28. Congregational freedom would be confusing. A29. Paedocommunion
drives people into Eastern Orthodoxy. A30. Paedocommunion is liberal. A3l. I have to submit to the P.C.A. A32.Paedocommunion is unimportant. A33. Joseph Stalin and Ivan the Terrible grew up on paeodocommunion.
29 A33 concluded.

(Note: some additional arguments are not yet listed here.)

30 SECTION 2C: particular cases against paedocommunion fail
30 The case of Robert L. Reymond in his A NEW SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY OF THE
CHRISTIAN FAITH.
31 The case of Dr. Timothy A. Sisemore in OF SUCH IS THE KINGDOM: NURTURING
CHILDREN IN THE LIGHT OF SCRIPTURE.
32 Sisemore, concluded. (Note: I’ll add additional answers to particular cases at the END of this webpage–some answers to Dr. F. N. Lee are already there.)

Page 33 SECTION 3: Paedocommunion arguments (“PA”)
33 PA1. From I Cor 11:26 on spiritual reality. PA2. From I Cor 11:26 on what we show.
PA3. From how the early church read the Bible. PA4. From church unity. PAS. From Galatians 2 on refusing to eat with saints. PA6. From Galatians 3-4 on “in Christ there is no … ”
34 P A6. P A 7. From sola fide. P A8. From the logic of sola fide. P A9. From Passover.
35 PA9. PAI0. From Matthew 25: feed Jesus or else. PA11 FromMt 18: despisenot
little ones. P A12. From sins of creedocommunionism. P A13. From expanded/infant blessings of the New Covenant. PAI4. Children used to communion would feel its withdrawl.
PAI5. From Gen 1-6, breach of holy fellowship is the only sin.
36 PAI5. PAI6. Argument for “Sonship” [Jack Miller] fans and critics. PA17. From the
infancy of Jesus. PA18. From Gen 3-Rev 22, There are only two families, only two tables. PA 19. From Baptism.

(Note: there are now more arguments than 19 up there.)

37 SECTION 4: Refusal of paedocommunion is sin. Seriousness thereof. REPENT.
37 1, sin of despising little ones: swim with a millstone necklace. 2, sin of NOT! examining
oneself: eat damnation. 3, optional sin of false witness. 4, deleted. 5, sin of provoking children to wrath. 6, sin of not feeding Jesus: “everlasting punishment.” REPENT.
38 First Appendix: a theory of paedocommunion; briefly, God DOES work in children.
39 Second appendix: some notes on implementation, sources, and author.
40 Concluded.

d6. Two paedocommunion hymns (and a story); pp 4-5 of the 40
PAEDOCOMMUNION HYMNS; (l) to tune “Londonderry Air”
(e.g. “I cannot tell why He whom angels worship … “) Words by Andrew Lohr, Jul ’05 ff

(1) May Jesus Christ to His own table welcome us
as welcome we to his least brother give.
As little children trust their father so let us
like the reproved apostles trust and live.
We do not bar with words and years the least of these
who truly share in Jesus’ death and Day
but in one cup and in one loaf we share him
who is not merely truth but truly life and way.

(2) Our Father we adore who truly loves his Son
The Son adore who shows God’s love with food
The Holy Ghost adore who even in a womb
and on the breast brings sons to trust in God.
One festal bath our wedding robe of righteousness
one church we are, bride to one holy Lord
one wedding feast we share: the supper of the Lamb
standing as slain, he’s resurrection’s living word.

(Don’t ask Jesus to welcome you the way you welcome little children unless you’re welcoming little children.)

Hussite communion hymn (or parts of two hymns), (Tune SINE NOMINEI “For all the saints”, by Ralph Vaughan Williams; a copyrighted tune. Words rewritten Jul/Aug A.D. 2005 by Andrew Lohr from P.C.A. 1988 minority report in favor of paedocommunion.)

(l) Children, praise God. Tiny babies baptized
He feeds you, he will not drive you away
You too share Jesus’ death, feast, coming day
Allelujah, Alle1ujah.

(2) He gave his body, broke for us to eat
He gave us all to drink his holy blood
What more could he have ever done for us?
Allelujah, Allelujah.

(3) To little children let us not deny
Christ Jesus’ body, let us not forbid
For of such Heaven’s Kingdom is; therefore
Allelujah, Allelujah.

(4) Jesus told his apostles this for us
In Psalm eight holy David says the same
From suckling mouths praises to God arise
Allelujah, Alle1ujah.

(5) All innocents, all babies praise the Lord
That the proud adversary be thrown down
From little mouths arise Jehovah’s praise
Allelujah, Alle1ujah.

Hymns Version two, less highfalutin’: Tune: “Praise him, praise him, all ye little children”
(traditional/anonymous)

(l) Praise God, children, tiny Christened babies
God is love, God is love
He will not drive you away but feeds you
God is love, God is love.

(2) He gave us his body to eat broken
God is love, God is love
He gave us his holy blood to drink all
God is love, God is love.

(3) What more could he ever have done for us?
God is love, God is love
Let us not deny to little children
God is love, God is love.

(4) Let us not forbid them Jesus’ body
God is love, God is love
For of such the Kingdom is of Heaven
God is love, God is love.

(5) Jesus said so, teaching his apostles
God is love, God is love
And in Psalm 8 holy David says so
God is love, God is love.

(6) From the mouths of suckling little children
God is love, God is love
From the mouths of innocents, from babies
God is love, God is love.

(7) From their mouths have come Jehovah’s praises
God is love, God is love
That the adversary may be thrown down
God is love, God is love.

Edited/arranged by Andrew Lohr. Everyone is free and welcome to use (and improve) my lyrics (and tunes/tune selections). Poke around at http://www.timgallant.org and you’ll find a paedocommunion hymn of Tim’s, including audio, copyrighted by him.

A VERY SHORT STORY ABOUT COMMUNION

“Hypocrites,” thundered the preacher, “this table is not for you! Unbelievers, this table is not for you! But” (he softened) “struggling Christians, trusting Jesus who died for us and rose from the dead and shall gloriously return for us, this is our Lord’s table, and so, it is our table. Come and welcome in the glorious and only-saving name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Let us enjoy sweet fellowship with our Lord and with one another.”
The preacher’s three-year-old daughter had just graduated from nursery into the main worship service. After an elder had passed the bread across her face to her mother, who took some and handed it further along, the little girl touched her mother’s elbow and a grave, tiny voice whispered, “Mommy, wassa hipacrit?”

*d7. Introduction & section 1, Importance Arguments (=IA, I-mportance A-rguments)
(=pp6-7 of 40)

ENCYCLOPEDIA of 50 or so arguments against and for paedocommunion, with application.
by Andrew Lohr, Chattanooga (East Ridge).

Introduction

Since most presbyters are husbands, fathers, and holders of full-time jobs, it is proper to make a case for the importance of the paedocommunion issue–does this deserve attention when many other matters rightly demand attention?

Reporting on paedocommunion, the P.C.A.’s 16th General Assembly (A.D. 1988) invited the saints “to study this matter further” (P.C.A. Position Papers, pages 502 and 514). Some have done so. The 1988 majority report (against paedocommunion) and minority report (for) show some awareness of each other, but neither report takes specific note of each argument (each line of reasoning) advanced by the other in support of its conclusions, so as to respond to each argument. In further study, some saints find compelling arguments unanswered–even unraised– or arguments of little force advanced without reply. In particular, paedocommunionists may be troubled in mind and conscience because they find compelling arguments for paedocommunion, no such arguments against, and even Biblical arguments that the denial of communion to covenant infants is not mere error, but actual and serious sin of which we must repent. Some of the 1988 majority may also be dissatisfied with the 1988 reports; at least one T.E. on the majority side has said the minority report was better written.

So this paper has four sections: (1)arguing from Scripture that any exclusions from communion are a serious matter, worthy of attention; (2) responding to each of the arguments of the majority report (and to a good many additional arguments), so that those who deem paedocommunion Biblical may show that their minds and consciences find no compelling reason against it, (3) advancing arguments in favor of paedocommunion, to each of which arguments those in favor of paedocommunion request either a full answer that satisfies mind and conscience, or else permission to practice paedocommunion, and (4) arguing from Scripture that if paedocommunion is correct, then denial of communion to covenant infants is not just error but sin, and serious sin of which we must repent. Section (4), of course, reinforces section (1) on the importance of the issue; the difference is that section (4) presupposes paedocommunion is correct, a presupposition section (1) tries to avoid. (I can’t say it tries very hard.) Section (2) tackles, first (2A) three major arguments against paedocommunion, then (2B) 33 minor arguments, with some overlap, then (2C), two creedocommunion writings. Appended are a theory of paedocommunion, some suggestions for implementation, a note on sources, and a personal note. These sections may be read in any order (I repeat a lot to make sections more independent, though I do use cross-references). Within sections, arguments are numbered and lettered for easy reference. (I hope others find my terminology useful; I invite those who do to use it.)

A note on names: I use “paedocommunion/ist” to label my position, since this term is fairly well known in this context, does mention the visible distinctive of this position–newly weaned children (paedo) in the covenant receive communion–and is relatively neutral, neither derogatory nor claiming too much, either of which would hinder this discussion. For the 1988 majority position, barring young children from the Supper, I use “creedocommunion/ist” as similarly neutral. (I think I first saw “creedocommunionist” in the forums at hornes.org.) “Creedo” in “creedocommunionist” is in the outward, visible sense as requiring a profession of faith, a creedo, of those admitted to communion. Thus “creedocommunionist” and “paedocommunionist” correspond to each other as labels for what is seen, NOT as definitions of the inner essence of each position.

I’ll use largely the KJV, but sometimes lurch in a modem, literal, or Greekward direction.

Importance (of this topic) arguments = Section 1 (one)

IAI (Importance Argument 1). I Cor 11: Corinth’s failure to carefully include everyone they should’ve been including disqualified their celebration as the Lord’s Supper: “It is not the Lord’s Supper you eat.” (Their failure to exclude the man who needed exclusion called for corrective action, but is not explicitly said to de-Supperize their celebration.)

IA2. Galatians 2: Peter stood condemned, and was rebuked to his face in public, because of who he wouldn’t eat with, for justification is not by the works of the law.

IA3. Who Jesus WOULD eat with was a notable scandal of His ministry (e.g. Matthew 9). Is it of ours?

These arguments show that the saints need to take care to include in table-fellowship, including sacramental table-fellowship, all who should be included; and (IA4) since this feature of Scripture is fairly prominent, clear, repeated, and of emphatic importance (“not the Lord’s Supper”/”stood condemned”)–unlike, say, headcovering, or taking mother and baby birds from the same nest–God probably warned us because we need the warning; it matters to Him that we include in table-fellowship all whom we should include, so it should matter to us.

(IA5. See also Section 4 on the sins, and the seriousness thereof, committed by denying communion to covenant children.)

d8. Section 2: Arguments against paedocommunion, with responses to each argument
(Here on the web, I put 2B–brief responses–first, and 2A–detailed responses to the three big objections to paedocommunion–at the end of this, ah, “page”? (At end of b3c4).

d8.Section 2B: that the 1988 majority’s arguments against paedocornmunion, and many additional similar arguments, convince neither mind nor conscience.

(The P.C.A.’s 1988 majority report begins by advancing four “considerations,” and they’ll appear as A1-A4 although the first may not be intended as a logical argument. Each argument will be answered briefly. A4 will be divided into A4A and A4B (=A5), and followed by A6, All gleaned from careful reading of the 1988 majority report but not numbered therein, followed by arguments not found in the 1988 majority report. I have numbered these A1, etc., in respect for the 1988 report; hence AB 1, etc., in the previous section (as written; on this site it’ll be below) and PA in the following, giving simple priority (“A”) to the 1988 majority. All arguments whose letters begin with “A” are against paedocommunion, and all that begin with “PA” are paedocommunion arguments.)

A1 (Argument 1). As to “the meaning of the sacraments,” “Baptism is the initiatory sacrament, the Supper is ‘the sacrament of nutrition by means of solid food'” (page 498).

Answer: This says nothing at all as to how old one must be before eating solid food. (Note in Acts how quickly eating–not explicitly stated to be sacramental, but thought worthy of notice by the Author of Scripture–follows baptism: Acts 2:41 and 42, 9:18 and 19, 16:34?, and as an issue not just an incidental fact, 1O:47-48 and 11:3. Why delay nutrition?–indeed, how CAN one delay nutrition? Note also that solid food follows immediately upon milk; the Bible makes the milk/food distinction and appears to take for granted that people will get “nutrition” from one or the other. The 1988 majority itself, p. 500, mentions “the transition from milk to solid food”. )

A2. As to the “form of the sacraments,” “In baptism the recipient…is passive. In the Supper the participant is active” (page 498). Very young infants cannot take and eat bread.

Simple answer one: 2-year-olds can. Children go from milk to solid food.

Complicated answer two: circumcision is harder than baptism (baptism doesn’t draw blood), so the Old Covenant initiation was more passive than baptism on the part of the recipient-he suffered more. And bread is easier than lamb, so Old Covenant nutrition was more active, harder to chew, than is now the case. The New Covenant has changed the active-to-passive ratio in the direction favorable to paedocommunion.

Q I don’t get that. A I have trouble making it clear; but read the two or three versions on this page (page “Feed God’s babies”), and maybe it’ll get through.

Answer three, by reference: see AB 1 in previous (on this webpage, below) section. (Many arguments feed into AB 1.)

A3. “The Supper is to be eaten in memory of Christ’s death, and in hope of his coming … those who partake are to examine themselves so they may distinguish the Lord’s body and not eat or drink unworthily. Little children cannot fulfill this requirement.” (498).

Mild, and sufficient, short answer one: little children cannot work, yet they rightly eat (II Thess 3, cited in 1988 minority report, page 509). Requirements for adults, and in particular for those who have the power to include people in the sacrament or to neglect to include them, need not apply to children, at least in the same way.

Stronger short answer two: children can indeed do it: a l-year-old is aware the church is a special situation, that it’s a Jesus/God thing, and that the Supper is a church/Jesus/God thing. He discerns that the sacrament has to do with Jesus, and he discerns the church (congregation)–in particular, he discerns whether he’s included in the sacrament or excluded from it–so whether “discern the body” means Jesus or congregation, he can do it. (He can also be aware that he’s wrong; he can even “examine himself’ in that sense.) (See above on what “examine” in I Cor 11 really means: examine to make sure you’re including at the Table everyone who should be included. A little child who takes some and passes it along to his neighbor HAS “examined himself” as Paul requires; the preacher who neglects to include that child in communion has NOT.)

Another strong answer, three: when we show the death of Christ and exclude from the showing children for whom he died, do we show his death accurately? (Likewise for his coming.)

A listening answer, four: disciple-making is good, discipling is good–but it must be part of living, lifelong, not just preparation for admission to the Table or some brief thoughts at the Table. Lifelong, not (just) punctilear. The command in Deuteronomy 6 that “these words … shall be in thine heart, and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up,” refers to Israelites’ whole lives (and ours), not just to catechization prior to their first passover (our first communion).

Answer five: the “examination,” in context, is examination to make sure one is including in communion all who should be included. So excluding children is not the solution; it is the problem!

And answer six, again: see AB 1 above. Also sin (2) in Section 4 below.

A4A. The Eastern Orthodox Church “viewed {and views} the bread and wine as imparting spiritual life. Bavink replies … that John 6:53 refers not to a sacramental eating, but to the spiritual and mystical eating of faith” (498).

Answer one: That’s the (or an) Eastern Orthodox view; we’re Presbyterians.

Answer two: The Supper involves not just “faith” but bread and wine. 2-year-olds can take these. A4A does not prove their exclusion. (Whether children can have faith will come up later, besides AB1.)

Answer three (modifying answer one): What Jesus said about eating his flesh and drinking his blood (John 6:53) must have looked forward to the Supper where he said extremely similar and extremely unusual things. What John wrote about it, writing when the Supper was familiar to everyone in the churches (surely the Supper, using these words of Jesus, had been celebrated for at least thirty years [many say over 60 years] before John wrote his Gospel), must have been intended to illuminate the Supper. I do not insist with a strict literalism that the physical bread and wine automatically impart spiritual life, still less that everyone who never ever receives communion shall be found in Hell, but I do insist that John 6 alludes to the sacrament and, ahem, strongly encourages participation therein.

A4B (=A5). Bavink also says “Withholding of the Supper from children deprives them of not one benefit of the covenant of grace” (498).

Answer one: It deprives them of assurance of salvation. A child, even a 2-year-old, aware that the Supper is a Christian thing and excluded from the Supper, is put in grave danger of considering that the wise, Godly grownups are treating him as a non-Christian, so he must not be a Christian.

Answer one-B. This is especially the case when the table is fenced from unbelievers and hypocrites, but open, says the fencer, to struggling Christians–and children are excluded from that to which struggling Christians are warmly welcomed.

Answer two. Exclusion deprives children of inclusion in Christian fellowship. (Note the eating issue in Acts 10-11 and Galatians 2). A child is aware whether he’s in or not. (At 2005 General Assembly, after communion it was said, “We have enjoyed sweet fellowship with one another.” If any excluded children old enough to catch the drift were present, were they hurt?) / These may not be what Bavink had in mind as “benefit[s] of the covenant of grace,” but they are real deprivations. The Supper is a physical taking, eating, drinking, taking place not just in the minds of God or men, but at a table, in a group of people.

Answer three: If this is to be an argument, what “benefit of the covenant of grace” does communion confer on adults that is available (?) to children without it? “Withholding of the Supper from children deprives them of not one benefit of the covenant of grace,” but it would deprive adults of at least one such benefit? Which one (or more)? Children get (?) some benefit without the Supper, but adults need the Supper to get this same benefit?

A6. The Reformed have been “virtually unanimous in judging that covenant children” should not eat at “the Lord’s Table before the age of discretion” (498).

Answer one: The Reformed inherited exclusion-of-children from the late medieval Papacy, so creedocommunion is not a Reformation distinctive; rather, it is something Westminster has in common with Trent (and with anabaptists), against Augustine and the Hussites. The unanimous judgment of the first millenium (some statements are arguable, but–read Leithart and Gallant–I am not aware of even one clear exception forcing me to use “virtually”) was in favor of paedocommunion, and “the Lord’s Supper was lost to the church’s children in the west not as a result of a purification of the church’s practice of the sacraments but rather as the result of a horrible corruption of it” (1988 minority report, page 513).

Answer two: “the supreme authority for doctrine and practice must be the Lord Christ speaking in the Scriptures. Such unqualified submission to the Word of God requires … that we willingly receive correction from the Word” (512).

Answer three: “virtually” admits dissent: the Hussites, Luther, Musculus, Cartwright, Taylor, Baxter, Keidel, the PCA minority, churches listed at http://www.paedocommunion.com

Answer four: if the church had been going astray for about 1400 years, how likely is it that the Reformers fixed everything in 130 years? And the Reformers differed from one another, so some of them must have been wrong on some points. And by using a version of the WCF that has been changed since 1648, the PCA admits that the work of the Reformers can be improved. (And isn’t there a slogan “semper reformandum,” always reforming?)

Answer five: AB2 (below).

A7. If “obedience to parents meets, at a child’s level, the requirements for participation in the Supper … An evident danger at once appears. If … obedience to men (even parents) is made the condition of admission to the table rather than repentance and faith, the very meaning of the sacrament will be distorted” (501).

Answer one: According to Psalm 22, even a nursing child can have faith. The conception of Jesus shows that the Holy Ghost can work even in the womb. AB 1.

Answer two: If obedience to the PCA meets, at a professor-of-faith’s level, the requirements for participation in the Supper, an evident danger at once appears. If submission and talking about one’s Christian experience to men (even elders) is made the condition of admission to the table rather than repentance and faith, the very meaning of the sacrament may be distorted, for it will become an intellectual thing. (Faith is invisible; the issue is what signs of faith are adequate. Paeodocommunionists maintain that baptism and presentation by qualified parents [or parent] is adequate.)

Listening answer: A 7 is unpersuasive because it underestimates God’s work in children ( answer one), and does not avoid the danger it fears (answer two). The danger is to be met by encouragements to faith at every level; see John, addressing “fathers,” “young men,” and “little children,” saying in I Jn 5 ‘I have written to you who believe so that you may believe.’

A8. “Surely we must recognize … the danger of minimizing the need for the active personal faith by which [“our children”] claim for themselves those promises that have been claimed for them by believing parents” (502).

Answer one: see A7 and answers above, and ABl. Jesus always trusted the Father, even if, at six months old, he could not articulate his faith.

Answer two: The table can be a reminder of the need for faith, a reminder of God’s faithful love and a call for more faith, not just once as an admission requirement, but whenever done, for participants. Faith and growth therein is to be lifelong, not just a requirement for 12year-olds; lifelong, not just punctilear. Surely the 1988 majority expected growth in faith, and therefore faith itself, to precede articulation of faith for admission to communion. See Moses in Dt 6, calling for daylong and lifelong, not just once before first Passover, catechization.

Answer three, or two-B: sanctification does NOT just hinge on, and come to an end at, admission to the Table, but precedes and follows. By all means (well, all means but one) encourage an active personal faith, exhort to it, examine for it–and KEEP AT IT!

Answer four: Which is more likely to teach a child that God loves him and encourage him to respond to God’s love: feeding him and telling him “Jesus died for you and arose and will come for you because he loves you; eating this broken bread proclaims his death until he comes; other, more challenging responses to God’s love may also be called for from us,” or “When you convince the elders that you have responded in faith to God’s love, then we’ll let you begin celebrating the death and return of Jesus with us; until then, just watch us eat the Lord’s Supper”?

A9. “[T]he need for preparation to participate in the sacrament has stimulated the development of catechetical instruction in the church as well as in the house.”

Answer one: Really? From 10 years in a big PCA church, I do not recall the church offering any public instruction (e.g. SS class) in how to catechize at home. (I wish churches WOULD teach this.) Parents did receive pre-baptismal counseling, but not pre-table. There is a class for children seeking admission to the table; but if only one SS quarter out of 280 in a lifetime is geared to the Table, how much difference is that likely to make?

Answer two: Let nutrition be treated as a lifelong thing, and all can be catechized, taught, at each Supper (and on other occasions). Dt 6.

Al0. “The emphasis on what the sacraments have in common is well-founded … [By] delay in .. Supper: no grace is withheld that is not signed and sealed in baptism” (502).

Answer: Baptism is once (punctilear), but the Supper is repeated and children keep seeing it. Even if kept in nurseries, children’s church, etc., until admitted, children will eventually become aware that the Supper was being celebrated without them. Whatever may be theologically true, experientially the sign and seal that the PCA withholds from them is likely to make more impression on them than a once-only, unremembered baptism. Sound theology, though not controlled by experience, must take experience into account in order to effectively serve people. (See also A4B above.)

All. “[T]he sacraments differ … Participation in the Supper both manifests and requires an understanding of the meaning of union with Christ in his death, an understanding that lies
beyond the level of maturity that is attained in infancy or early childhood” (504).

Answer: This understanding grows and grows. Who can say how early it can begin? A very young child knows if he’s part of the fed group or part of the unfed group, part of the Jesus people who do the Jesus thing, or part of the excluded. A child born into a family or adopted in early infancy receives the family name and the family food right away; he is not asked whether he chooses to be a Smith, nor is he starved or fed milk until he professes Smithhood.

Answer two: All the PCA can require is profession; it cannot be sure of understanding or of faith (nor can it be sure that a child who lacks articulation lacks understanding or lacks faith.)
Answer three: AB 1.

AI2. (Heard from a TE): The elders of this congregation are already overworked; there’s no way they can oversee little children as well as adults.

Answer one: a difficulty of the most mature, Godly men in the congregation is to be solved, as a matter of policy, at the cost of the most helpless–is to be a reason simply to deny communion to children? I can see the difficulty, but God have mercy.

Answer two (listening): As a practical matter (this objection might not apply to every congregation), the elders might have to delegate some authority over younger children to parents-not that the sacrament be a family thing, for it’s a church thing, but as a practical matter. The elders may well take a special interest in and oversight over the first admission of a child to communion, and if the parents of a communicant child think communion needs to be withheld from the child on some occasion or for some reason, they should probably consult an elder, and if some problem arises (e.g. hyper-strict parents or wild, rebellious children) then the elders may take action, but in general I suppose the parents of a three-year-old need not bring charges before the session in a formal trial. “Confirmation” in traditional churches, admission to communion in the PCA, might become the point at which a child, already a communicant, comes more directly under the authority of the elders, so that excommunication does require formal action. (It might also become the point at which a child is allowed to vote in church elections?)

AI3. (From Leonard Coppes’s book DADDY, MAY I TAKE COMMUNION?) “the Lord’s Supper is the New Testament Great Atonement,” (page 13) and children did not actively participate in the (Old Testament) Great Atonement.

Answer one: Does the Supper focus on active participation, or on receiving the benefits?

Children receive the benefit of Christ, foreshadowed in the Great Atonement. Jesus is the most active for our salvation. Preachers are most active in (Presbyterian) celebrations of the Supper, but layfolk partake. “Ye show forth the Lord’s death,” but do ye crucify him afresh?

Answer two: Even if the Supper did focus on the Great Atonement, only the High Priest, only once a year on the Day of (the Great) Atonement, went into the Holy of Holies; but when Jesus died the veil was tom asunder; let not man put it together. We now ALL have access to the mercy seat (=throne of grace, Hebrews 4) all the time. The most restricted sacrament of the Old Testament is now WIDE OPEN TO ALL; its former limitation can be no argument against paedocommunion now, but FOR. Children have the atonement, the thing, so they have the sign. (The old restrictions picture that only Jesus saves; they do not picture who now celebrates His salvation. )

Answer three: For a blow-by-blow answer to Coppes, read Peter Leithart’s short, readable, effective book DADDY, WHY WAS I EXCOMMUNICATED?

Answer four: The Atonement may well illuminate the Supper, but “Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover? .. they made ready the passover” (Mt 26); “Where is the guest chamber, where 1 shall eat the passover with my disciples?” (Mk 14); “He sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat … With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before 1 suffer” (Lk 22); “Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast” (I Cor 5). [Is he sacrificed for children? If so, then should children keep the feast?] The Supper/Passover connection is explicit in Scripture, and what God hath joined together, let not Coppes put asunder.

Answer five: (See ABl): Coppes is in the company of those who underrate children.

A14 (Coppes, page 13): The Supper takes up on the meal of God with the 70 + 4 elders on Mt Sinai (Ex 24), from which children were excluded.

Answer one: even if so, the 70 + 4 “saw God and did eat and drink.” But Jesus said that the angels of little children “do always behold the face of my Father,” Mt 18. In some sense children see God (re PCA judicial procedures, the action of an agent is the action of his principal), so children may “eat and drink” with God in the Supper.

Answer two: Great Atonement or meal of the 70 + 4? If you say both, you can’t rule out passover, and manna (In 6, 1 Cor 10), as two of many precedents for the Supper.

Answer three: see A13 just above on the passover/Supper connection; this, and the manna/Supper connection, are both firmer by far in Scripture than a supposed meal of the 70 + 4 / Supper connection.

Answer four: the meal of70 + 4 was a one-shot deal, unlike Passover and unlike the Supper. But if the meal of 70 is to illuminate the Supper, I suggest that 70 is the number of the nations (I am told Genesis 10 lists 70 nations), so the meal of 70 (plus Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu=70 + 4) was to remind Israel that the blessings of Abraham are promised to all nations (to the four comers of the earth???). Then the Supper–the meal of 12, the number of Israel–is fulfillment: God is now (ongoingly) incorporating the nations with Israel (Ephesians 2, Romans 11); the Supper celebrates the fulfillment of the promise that God through Abraham will bless all nations. Including their children (“all families of the earth,” Gen 12).

Tim Gallant’s book FEED MY LAMBS (www.paedocommunion.com) answers 18 objections to paedocommunion on pages 135-170. Some of the 18 appear above. If those replying to this section, defending the exclusion of infants from the Table, want to use any of the arguments Gallant answers, let them deal with Gallant’s answers (and not just my paraphrases). Gallant’s AG2 (A2 above), AG11 (also A2), AG12 (A9), AG13 (A8/9/11), and AG15 (A4B) appear in the majority report. Coppes (AC13) is AG6. (The “AGI-AGI8” numbering is by me, not Gallant). Gallant’s others, briefly, are:

A15/ AG 1. Baptism is covenantal but the Supper is for the elect/regenerate/converted. Answer: the Supper is explicitly covenantal (“new covenant in My blood”); and how do you know who the elect are?

A16/AG3. Baptism stresses promise; Supper stresses demand. Answer: Both sacraments have both features (I Cor 10). Note that blood is for forgiveness of sins.

A17/AG4. Baptism is union with Christ; Supper is communion.
Answer: Each needs the other. When does communion begin? (When did Jesus on earth first commune with the Father?)

AI8/AG5. In the Old Covenant, only grown men could approach the altar and lay hands on the sacrifice.
Answer: Text, please? And the most restricted OT sacrament is now wide open (A13 above.) And OT meals included children (Dt 12, I Sam 1, manna in I Cor 10); the Supper is a meal, how is it a laying on of hands?

AI9/AG7. NT has higher standards for the sacraments, and especially for communion (more than, distinct from, baptism: so infants can be baptized, but not take communion.)
Answer: Text, please? And God did demand sanctity through the OT sacraments (“circumcise your hearts”). And circumcision was for Jewish males, but baptism includes Gentiles and women. See also A13 again.
Re higher standards for, and stiffer threats connected with, communion than baptism, in I Corinthians 10 baptism and communion are connected and the same warnings (death threats) attached to both together.

A20/AG8. Passover was a sacramental meal, the Supper is nothing but sacrament.
Answer: both were sacramental meals; Jesus ate with the 12, and Corinth was eating. The Bible uses the meal/sacrament overlap, though the two be distinguished.

A2l1AG9. Unlike Passover, the Supper disciplines God’s people.
Answer: “I hate, I despise your solemn assemblies” –were not the OT sacraments judgments against the wicked? And don’t God’s holy children need nurture?

A22! AG 10. Adam and Eve, immature, were barred from a sacrament of discernment.
Answer: Supper relates to tree of life, not other tree–Compare “This is the bread which comes down from heaven that a man may eat thereof and not die” (In 6:50) with “lest he … take also of the tree of life and eat and live for ever” (Gen 3:22). And Supper is the basic gospel, not just theological complications. You show “the Lord’s death,” not the Westminster Confession of Faith!

A23!AGI4. The Supper, like a driver’s license, is only for the mature.
Answer: The Supper, like eating, is for everyone not duly barred therefrom, and is lifelong.

A24/ AG 16: “Since the Supper only benefits those who believe, it is superstitious to provide it to those not yet able to believe” (page 161).
Answer: little ones can trust God (Psalm 22, and Jesus), and can benefit by what they see, hear, and taste before they can benefit by abstract theology. And Israelite children in the wilderness benefited from the manna and water, I Cor 10. And what about infant baptism, and infant participation in OT sacraments? And, AB 1.

A25/AG17. Wouldn’t paedocommunion juvenilize the faith?

Answer: No. It would help children mature; it would make Christian living more lifelong and less punctilear, more of how to live and less of passing a test. Communion is part of life, not the beginning of life. Juvenilizing the faith is always a risk; constant discipling, not starvation, is the remedy.

A26!AG 18. “Doesn’t paedocommunion reduce the Christian faith to ‘being born a Christian’?” (page 167).

Answer: does this objection equate communion with “the Christian faith”? Does it treat covenant children simply as pagans and unbelievers? (If so, what saves them?)

A27. Change is confusing.

Answer: Yes, but change from wrong to right is necessary. (See below on the sins, not just the error, of denying communion to covenant children.)

A28. If infant communion is allowed on a congregational basis but not required in the denomination, congregational freedom would be confusing.

Answer one: The PCA allows congregational freedom with regard to accepting Roman Catholic baptisms as valid.

Answer two: The Reformed Episcopal Church allows congregational freedom with regard to infant communion, so with regard to infant communion this is a theoretical objection, not a solid barrier. So does another denomination (www.paedocommunion.com).

Answer three: Congregational freedom lets problems be dealt with person-to-person (session to family) locally, face to face.

A29. Infant communion drives people from the PCA into Eastern Orthodoxy.

Answer: It drives them because in this matter the PCA is wrong and the Eastern Orthodox correct. Let the PCA admit infant communion, and this motive to go into Eastern Orthodoxy (or into paedocommunion-practicing Presbyterian groups) will lose force.

A30: paedocommunion is a liberal thing.

Answer one: if/since it’s also a Biblical thing, who cares if the liberals are right for once?
Answer two: since liberals (and cults, sects, and other denominations) deny part of the Faith, they may sometimes have to pay special attention to what they still have, because that’s their stock in trade, the attractive thing about them. There’s a saying “The cults are the unpaid bills of the Church.” We need all of God’s truth, lest unbelievers claim some of it. We need paedocommunion.
Answer three: Liberals tended to be more active in the civil rights movement than evangelicals, and most people now admit that liberals were more or less correct in that matter (getting rid of racially segregated bathrooms and whatnot.)

A31n. Paedocommunion is connected to the (PCA-denounced) “New Perspectives” movement.
Answer one: the what?
Answer two: I’m for paedocommunion as Biblical; definitely for it, and on that (Biblical) basis. From what little I know about the “New Perspectives movement,” I know that I am UNsure about it (specifically about the two key chapters in N. T. Wright’s book “What St Paul Really Said” and about Peter Leithart’s little book on baptism; and I am unsure if Wright can be taken as representing “the New Perspective.”)
Answer three: I’ve been for paedocommunion since A.D. 1987 or so, more than 10 years before I started hearing about “the New Perspectives movement.” (I value much Wright writes about Jesus as a human being and how He worked–and surely even Old Perspective guys can appreciate Wright’s 800-page book arguing that those who deny the resurrection of Jesus are guilty not just of bad theology but of bad historical scholarship–but I didn’t read his “Jesus and the Victory of God” until A.D. 1998. I’ve seen Wright cited as favoring infant communion, but I have not read the place he says so. Read my arguments for infant communion and see if you can detect New Perspective influence.)

Q “A31n, A32n–n?” A For “new”–I’m writing these now and hope to organize them later.

A32n. Paedocommunion heaps one theological construct on another, and has no Biblical basis.
Answer one: When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we show forth the Lord’s death until he come. If he died for our children (or some of them), and is coming for them, then when we show his death by eating and drinking, we must show that children are included. What’s the theological construct there?
Answer two: Creedocommunionists heap up theological constructs at a far worse rate: compare Coppes’s book with Leithart’s reply.
Answer three: this argument perhaps refers especially to “let a man examine himself” and claims paedocommunionists heap up theological constructs to evade what that text says. But “a text without a context is a pretext,” and paedocomunion deals with that text in context: context of failing to include, and examination to make sure you’re including everyone who should be included. So paedocommunion understands the text, and creedocommunion reverses its meaning by taking it out of a context in which is it very firmly embedded (NOT parenthetical.) I admit it’s easy to ignore that context–I’d been a paedocommunionist for 15 years or so before I noticed that context in that way. But now I’ve seen it. See for yourselves! Exegete!
Answer 3-a: Communion is centrally about receiving what Jesus did for us–he died for us and (having risen) is coming for us. Did he do this for our children? It’s not CENTRALLY about “examine himself” or “judge ourselves”–those are features of it, to be sure (and I claim children CAN do them, though some paedocommunionists may not make this claim)–but what Jesus did and who He did it for is the main thing. Are children saved other than by Jesus’s death? Are they justified other than by faith in Him? (Are they justified by articulation of faith, or by faith?) It seems to me “age of accountability” and “confirmation” are theological constructs (not that Presbyterian creedocommunionists call their versions of those by those terms; they rarely or never do, but perhaps they hold similar contructs, or the logic of their position demands such.)

A33n. Communion is about individuals understanding what Jesus did and putting their trust in Him.
Answer one: Yes, and the two-year-old I babysit understands whether I’m feeding her or not; whether she’s receiving the benefits that are her due (not on her own earned merit, but as a promised family benefit to which she has a commitment and no other commitment), or whether she’s being deprived of them.
Answer two: communion is FELLOWSHIP. Are covenant children part of us?–we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread–or are they excluded?

A34n. Don’t feed little children–it could poison them! At Corinth, many were sick and some had died because they had not examined themselves. Do you want to do that to babies?
Answer one: This objection presupposes, and therefore does not support, creedocommunion. If (since 🙂 paedocommunion is correct, this objection may call for some kind of care to be taken, but it has no substance as an objection to paedocommunion. I maintain that the examination called for is examination to make sure one is including all who should be included; so exclusionists are poisoning themselves on principle, and paedocommunionists only by accident.
Answer two: is the reason there’s little sickness and death in modern American churches the perfection with which we examine ourselves? (Are the Episcopalian bishops of New Jersey[retired]and New Hampshire examinining themselves to the PCA’s satisfaction?)

A31. I have to submit to the P.C.A. (or other creedocommunionist denomination).
Answer one: And Luther had to submit to the Pope? All Protestants agree that on some issues we must obey God rather than the church. I argue (above on importance, and below on sins of barring children) that paedocommunion can be such an issue.

Answer two: Change the P.C.A.–legalize paedocommunion.

Answer three: Change denominations; http://www.paedocommunion.com has a partial list of paedocommunion churches and denominations.

Answer four: be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves, and humble, and patient, and loving–but don’t let the devil buy your soul even through a fairly good denomination.

A32. The paedocommunion issue is unimportant.

Answer one: Really? Then legalize paedocommunion so we can get on to more important things together.
Answer two: “When one member suffers, all the others suffer with it.” Paedocommunion matters to some of us, so it’s a matter of love and fellowship to deal with it.

A33: Joseph Stalin and Ivan the Terrible grew up under paedocommunion.

Answer: Yes, paedocommunion is not magic, and it belongs in a context that includes: personal (“closet”) devotions by each Christian, and also family devotions, formal church services, informal Christian gatherings, exhortations and invitations to put personal faith in Jesus Christ and to improve one’s faith, instruction in ALL that God requires of us both as to what to do and how to do it in the right spirit, family discipline and (if necessary) church discipline and
reproof of hypocrisy, training and encouragement in all these things… And these are not magic either! For salvation, for a loving life, the faith God imparts is necessary, though we should use all His ordained means (not just some of them). A family expects, and may well insist, that its children improve their table manners over those which prevail at the time of weaning and of first feeding oneself; but families DO feed their newly weaned children, and allow for accidents (even misbehavior) with silverware. After weaning, feeding is not a reward for growth, but a part of growth.

Section 2C: particular cases against paedocommunion answered.

The case against paedocommunion from Dr. Robert L. Reymond, in his A NEW SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH (A.D. 1998, Thomas Nelson, Nashville), pages 958-959, answered.

Reymond cites three arguments for paedocommunion: “(1) the analogy between the Passover and … Supper, (2) the analogy between baptism and … Supper, and (3) the insistence that…self-examination should be restricted to its contextual ‘universe of discourse,’ namely, to adults.” He makes no effort to answer (1), writing instead that “the Lord’s Supper seems to require active participation … (‘take, eat, drink, do this’), while baptism … requires the recipient to be passive (no one … baptizes himse1f) .. .it is appropriate to draw a distinction between the two sacraments in this regard and to include infants and young children in baptism but to require them to mature … to … where they are able to examine themselves before they are permitted to come to the Lord’s Table”–to which (3) is already a sufficient answer, which I have strengthened by arguing that the purpose of the specified self-examination is to make sure one is including in the Supper all who ought to be included. On the active side, children can indeed “take, eat, drink, do this,” with some attention to Jesus and without withholding the Supper from others. On the passive side, communicant teenagers may be driven to church services by their parents, and in the sense in which Reymond writes “no one … baptizes himself,” does anyone commune himself either? (Well, I think some do, but not usually in the P.C.A., except pastors presiding at communion services.) And I have argued that Passover was more active than communion because Iamb is chewier than bread, while circumcision was more passive than baptism because the circumcised boy suffers more than the baptized one, so the New Covenant has made the passive sacrament less passive and the active sacrament less active; the New Covenant makes LESS, rather than more, of this distinction between the sacraments (in line with the New Covenant spreading of blessings to Gentiles, women, and slaves, and in line with the ‘priesthood of all believers,’ and in line with Jesus the only Savior rather than a bunch of religious rules being what matters–HIS uniqueness is, I think, what Old Testament restrictions point to). So Reymond is answered.

In a footnote Reymond cites Clowney: “communicants who take and eat in remembrance of Christ’s death are performing the sacrament as well as receiving it. Paul warns against eating without discerning the meaning of the sacrament (I Cor. 11 :23-24).” The verses cited contain no warning (the warnings are in 11:27-34, and are directed against those who fail to include in communion all who should be included, the whole body of Christ; a child who takes the elements and hands them along has done his duty.) 11:23-24 does say “Do this in remembrance of me.” See above. We remember Jesus who died and will come for children; we show his death by including them, since he did. And how is a communicant “performing” more than a baptizee does?

And Reymond has lots more paedocommunion arguments to answer (see section 3 below): e.g. given that Jesus died for children and is coming for children and that the Supper shows forth his death till he come, what kind of death do we show if we exclude children from the showing? He has made no case, nor answered the paedocommunion case.

The case from Dr. Timothy A. Sisemore in OF SUCH IS THE KINGDOM: NURTURING CHILDREN IN THE LIGHT OF SCRIPTURE (A.D. 2000, Christian Focus, Great Britain), pages 153-156.

Sisemore claims overall that “Unlike baptism, the recipient of the bread and wine is not passive, he is active, engaging in a behavior rather than passively receiving a sign,” and advances several details along that line.

Citing “Do this in remembrance of me,” Sisemore expounds “to obey our Lord’s commands we must recall the work of Christ.” Well, Jesus said “of me,” not “of my work.” But him or his work–we remember his death by remembering he died for the children of God’s family, we remember he blessed children in the face of the apostles …

Citing “whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes,” Sisemore: “One must understand in order to confess, and that this understanding is a prerequisite is made clear by the ensuing verses that warn of judgment to those who wrongly partake of the Supper.” The problem at Corinth was not theological abstractions; it was a misdiscernment of the body of Christ manifested by a failure to carefully include in the meal everyone who should be included. And “proclaim”? Every time you eat this, each partaker proclaims? Greek “katangellete:” you (plural) are proclaiming. I take it that the church proclaims; and how can the group proclaim a death and coming that include children without including children in the proclamation, as the gospel we proclaim shows Jesus insisting on including children on another occasion (Mt 19)?

Citing “A man ought to examine himself,” Sisemore: “Such examination requires … reason and power of reflection .. .lacking in young children.” No, such examination as Corinth needed was examination as to whether one was including in communion on an equal basis all who should be included; young children who take the elements and hand them along have done their self-examinatory duty. Sisemore also claims that ”No such qualifications [warnings of judgment] are placed on circumcision, baptism, or the Passover.” Jeremiah 4:4 “Circumcise yourselves to the LORD and take away the foreskins of your heart” makes a similar use of circumcision, with warnings. Isaiah 66:3 warns sinners who “have chosen their own ways” that “he that sacrifices a lamb [is as if he] cut off a dog’s neck; he that offers an oblation [as if he offered] pig’s blood” that “I will bring their fears upon them.” In Malachi 2:3 God threatens “I will … spread dung upon your faces, the dung of your solemn feasts.” Mark 16:15, if you receive it, warns “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned;” indeed Peter in Acts 2 said not just “be baptized” but “Repent and be baptized” (as our Baptist brothers like to remind us.) The exact same words, I suppose, are not used, but similar ideas are present with circumcision, passover, and baptism as with the Supper. (Was the first Passover not ajudgJ11ent on the Egyptians, and a judgment in favor of God’s people, which included what God’s people ate?)

Citing “Anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body,” Sisemore calls for examining oneself and one’s children as to whether one can ”judge the body rightly.” Well, Corinth was misjudging the body by neglecting to feed parts of it. So is the PCA.

(I will say that Sisemore’s discussion is better organized and written than some I’ve seen

[perhaps better organized than mine, though he had fewer pages on this topic to sort out]), and his book contains lots of useful advice on childrearing.)

Later on (pages 171-173), Sisemore suggests criteria for admitting church-reared children to the Table: (1) a clear profession of faith in Jesus as the Savior … “, (2) “Knowledge of basic Scriptures such as the Ten Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer” … , (3) “Knowledge and understanding of the Apostles’ Creed” … , (4) “Mastery, to some degree, of a church catechism, such as” Westminster’s Shorter … , (5) “Demonstration of godly living in seeking to avoid sin and pursue obedience to God” … , and (6) “Demonstration of an ability to examine oneself so as to discern sin … the child should be able to express an understanding of the meaning of the sacrament and explain what he or she is to do in preparation for it…to protect the child from the consequences of partaking wrongfully.” Well, we should grow into these, but I’d suggest (for Table admission) (1) Christian baptism, (2) weaning or partial weaning, (3) absence of obvious rebellion; along with, on the parents’ part, (4) faithful rearing of children in the Lord. (I’m not running a church; but I’d hesitate to baptize or admit to communion a child whose parents are not having both personal devotions and also family devotions every day, for instance, and faithful in church attendance; or at least the Christian parent if one- is not a Christian.)

(Note: rather than further mess up “the 40 pages,” I’m inclined to put further refutations, if I do any, at the end of this page, after “Section 2A.”)

SECTION 3: Arguments for feeding duly baptized newly-weaned children the Lord’s Supper. (“PA” = “Paedocommunion Argument.”)

PA1. Argument from I Cor 11 :26 on spiritual reality: as “often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.” Young children have a part in the death and coming of Jesus (greater reality), so they have a part in the eating and drinking (lesser reality).

Just as in baptism, so in communion: children have the very thing signified and sealed, so of course they have the sign and seal. With regard to baptism, Calvin used this very argument; his reasoning applies also to communion. Christian children have the reality; give them the sign and seal.

P A2. Argument from the I Cor 11 :26 on what we show forth: “Ye-do-show [Greek “katangellete,” plural “you”] the Lord’s death … ” By including covenant children, you SHOW that Jesus died for them, which is true. By excluding them, you would be showing something else. Likewise with His coming: since covenant children have a part in the return of Jesus, they have a part in the anticipation thereof. So show that Jesus includes them; show it!

(PA1 emphasizes the spiritual reality: children share the death and coming of Jesus, so they share the feast in between. PA2 emphasizes what the feast shows: in showing forth the Lord’s death, it shows [among other things] the people he died for, whose lives are in line with his death as best we can tell, which of course is fallibly; the invisible Church does not perfectly coincide with the visible.)

PA3. Argument from how the early church read the Bible: in the first Christian millennium, children were at the Table; Cyprian (c. A.D. 250) and Augustine (c. A.D. 400), for example, took this for granted (it was not something questioned even by heretics). Earlier statements can be argued but are susceptible of paedocommunionist understanding. (Read Gallant, Leithart, and, if he publishes, Purcell). The Table “was lost to the church’s children in the west not as a result of a purification of the church’s practice of the sacrament but rather as the result of a horrible corruption of it” (PCA minority report, page 513). So defructify this “horrible corruption:” admit the Lords’ children to His Table. Stand with Augustine against Trent.

P A4. Argument from church unity: “For we many are one bread, one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread” (I Cor 10). We show unity by partaking of the one loaf; if we are barred from the loaf, we are declared not to be united (just as Christians must show DIS-unity from the table of demons by NOT partaking thereof, also I Cor 10); so our children must share in the one loaf.

PA5. Argument from Galatians 2: to refuse religiously to eat with a fellow Christian is to deny the gospel; it is to deny salvation by faith, and add some kind of works. Admit children to the table, for they are justified by faith in Christ, as are we. (See P A 7 and P A 8 below, and section 2A above on what infants can do.)

PA6 (Galatians {3?} from Gallant: In Christ there is neither man nor woman, Jew nor Greek, slave nor free; childhood is equivalent to slavery; therefore in Christ there is no child nor grownup (as far as religious status goes.) So children equally with adults may eat at the Table, as Jews and Gentiles may.

P A 7. Argument from sola fide: faith is needed for salvation, so he who denies that children are able to believe thereby denies their salvation. (See “Infant Salvation,” by M. J. Firey, published A.D. 1902, especially chapter XXVI [26], listing “eminent theologians who taught that infants had faith or its equivalent”: Delitzsch, Peter Martyr, Dr. Krauth, Thomasius, Martensen, Augustine “Thou must number baptized infants among believers,” Ursinus, Voetius, “Luther believed that infants have faith. Calvin believed there existed the seed of faith in them,” and Chemnitz.) Admit children to the Table, for they are believers.

P A8: Argument from the logic of sola fide: The propositions (l) Some young children are saved, (2) All young children are incapable of faith, and (3) Salvation is by faith alone, are not mutually compatible. Proposition (2) and its consequences must go.

P A9. Argument from Passover: Children partook of OT passover; the Table is NT passover (and probably more, but not less); so Table fellowship includes children.

Objection (Coppes): Communion is not Passover. Answer: it may include other OT feasts–they illuminate it, it incorporates them in some sense–so it may well be more than passover, but (pardon the obvious) “Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover? .. they made ready the passover” (Mt 26); “Where is the guest chamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?” (Mk 14); “He sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat-.With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer” (Lk 22); “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast” (I Cor 5.)

Objection (Calvin ff.): children did NOT partake of passover.

Answer one (Gallant, chapter 1): Even if children did not share OT passover, there are NT (and OT) grounds for admitting them to the Table now: Is 49,54,59, Joel2/Acts 2, Mt 18/19, Gal 2-4 …

Answer two: Moses told Pharaoh, “We will go with our young and with our old … for we feast unto the LORD” (Exodus 10:9). The feast, the going to serve the LORD, the sacrificing unto the LORD, must include the “young” (whom Pharaoh had been having murdered.) Moses, like Jesus later, insisted on including infants.

Answer three: some creedocommunionists (Coppes, page 12) admit children partook of passover. The clearest OT example we have shows children at some feast, I Sam 1. The PCA minority report (pages 502-503 footnote) cites Keidel’s respondent Beckwith as clarifying that children DID partake of passover in the first century. Their attendance may have been optional because of the difficulty of getting young children up to Jerusalem, but that difficulty is now ended, Jn 4 (and what about Jerusalem native children?). The blood of the first passover covered children within the houses (they had the thing; surely they had the sign, the lamb?)

See details in section 2A, detailed responses to major creedocommunion arguments. (The PCA majority report, though doubting that “an Israelite father would” feed “roast meat, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs” to a “newly weaned” infant, does not flatly deny that infants took Passover, nor base any argument, except a general call for maturity to partake of the OT and NT nutrition sacraments, on infants not partaking of Passover.)

PAl0. Argument from Matthew 25: Some children are spiritually hungry for the sacrament–they crave it, not for bread and juice/wine, but because it’s something Jesus ordained for His people. When such are not fed, Jesus is not fed. Note the words “one” and “least” and “my brethren.” So feed them.

Objection: MT 25 isn’t talking about infant communion? Answer: It’s talking about the last judgment, which includes infant communion among everything else; and some of the details make it highly relevant (feed, least, My brethren, Me).

PAll. Argument from Matthew 18: it is sin to despise little ones, sin to underestimate the size of their spiritual capacity: despise them not, because their angels in Heaven are always seeing the Father’s face. Stop despising them; acknowledge infant capacity by feeding infants.

PA12. Argument from sins of creedocommunionism: Given that infant communion is the right thing to do, a paedocommunionist can readily come up with a forceful list (section 4) of serious sins–4 of the 5 are, Biblically, damnable–that are committed by denying communion to infants. For the sake of argument, let us suppose that excluding children be the right thing to do. Can creedocommunionists, assuming for the sake of argument that they are correct, come up with as long and forceful a list of sins committed by those who admit infants to communion?

Note that the list, section 4 below, is non-symmetrical; a creedocommunionist cannot easily accuse a paedocommunionist of these same sins; hence some of these sins of creedocommunionism feature also as arguments for paedocommunion.

If some creedocommunionist were to argue that paedocommunion, being false worship, is a sin against the 2nd commandment, that’s a symmetrical argument, for a paedocommunionist could say exactly the same about creedocommunion. Who is sinning against the 2nd commandment depends on who is right; it does not help decide who is right.

PA13. Argument from the expanded and infant blessings of the New Covenant. Circumcision was for Jewish males; baptism now includes women and Gentiles. And besides this general expansion, there are specific promises that the New Covenant is to include children more emphatically than the Old did: Isaiah 49, 54, 59, Joel2/Acts 2, Malachi 4… So children are now to be not less but more included.

PA14. Argument from threat of withdraw versus dubious promise: children used to receiving communion would feel its withdrawl, so infant communion could be a useful disciplinary tool. But noncommunicant children looking forward to communion may be disappointed when they get it (PCA minority report, pages 511-512).

PA15. Argument from the great commandments, and their converse early in Genesis: to love God and to love our neighbors are the two great commandments on which all details hang. (Each includes the other, for we cannot love God without loving his creatures nor love our neighbors aright without loving God.) Conversely to love, the great sin is breach of (holy) fellowship: Adam lacked Eve (not a sin, but a shortcoming), Cain killed Abel…Denial of the Table to holy children is a breach of fellowship with them, and therefore wrong. (Circumcision, 1 Cor 7, and Jesus show that children can be holy.)

PAl6 Argument for “Sonship” (Jack Miller) fans: exclusion from the family table can be awfully orphanizing. PRACTICE the sonship of God’s little children. (Critics of “Sonship,” practice paedocommunion: heal the cut “Sonship” tries to bandage.) [“Sonship” in this context is a registered trademark, I believe.]

PAI7. Argument from the infancy of Jesus: are we to believe that the Holy Ghost by whom our Lord Jesus was conceived in Mary’s belly (a MATERIAL miracle), was unable to impart SPIRITUAL life and communion with the Father to Him until He had attained a certain degree of maturity? (Granted that it grew, Luke 2). But if Jesus could toddle with God, so may our children.

P A18. Argument from the fact (Genesis 3-Revelation 22) that there are only two kinds of people, God’s and Satan’s; there are two fathers, God and Satan; thus there are only two tables (I Cor 10), the Lord’s and demons’; so God’s children must eat at God’s Table.

PA 19. Argument from baptism (Reymond). Those who are baptized get the Supper; covenant infants are baptized; so give them the Supper. Note the repeated connection in Acts between baptism and eating (Acts 2, 11, 16 for instance); also I Cor 10:2-4 and 12:13; also OT connection between circumcision and Passover; also the theological link between one sacrament and the other.

d8. Dreadful sins of those who deny communion to covenant children (= Section 4)
–1. This sin of despising little ones. “Despising” means underestimating the size of their spiritual capacity, upward (their angels in Heaven are always beholding the face of the Father) and/or downward (see that you do not cause ONE of these little ones to stumble into sin.)
—Creedocommunionists despise little ones in both these ways: they claim children can’t do it (no upward capacity) and they claim children aren’t hurt (no downward capacity).
—Since Jesus warned his own disciples against this sin–not pagans, not Pharisees–and warned them TWICE (Mt 18, 19), I suspect that is is a sin to which CHURCH LEADERS are particularly prone; against which THEY must take particular care.
—Seriousness: “whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”
–2. The sin of NOT examining oneself. “Examine himself” is NOT a vague general command; it refers SPECIFICALLY to whether one is including in communion all who should be included. Read I Cor 11:20 and 33 (context before and after “examine himself”), and note all the “for”s and “wherefore”s in between. Examine yourself to make sure you’re loving your neighbors, to make sure you’re including those who cannot include themselves. Creedocommunionists are precisely NOT ‘examining themselves’ in the sense referred to by the Holy Ghost in Scripture. (Some discussion of this at hornes.org/forums on CAMP vs CAT–Communion Actual Meal Paradigm versus Crumb and Thimble.)
—Seriousness: “eating and drinking damnation to themselves.”
–3. The sin (optional for creedocommunionists) of false witness. Some fence the Table by saying: Unbelievers, don’t partake; hypocrites, don’t partake; struggling Christians, welcome! Those who “fence the Table” in this way and exclude children are excluding children from the category of struggling Christians, leaving only the categories of “unbeliever” and “hypocrite” open to them. Such a word-and-deed judges children to be hypocrites/unbelievers. If even one child so excluded is really a Christian, the fencer has borne false witness against that child.
—Seriousness: under the law of Moses, a false witness is to be treated as if he himself were guilty of that of which he false accused another.
–4. (Deleted.)
–5. The sin of provoking your children to wrath: both of ‘exasperating’ them (NIV), and of ‘sinning in front of them’ (cf. “provoking God to wrath; Kerry Ptacek’s interpretation.)
–6. The sin of not feeding Jesus. Matthew 25: “I was hungry, and ye fed me not.” Some children are spiritually hungry. They could live without the material bread and cup, but they want Jesus. They are not fed. (I was one of them.)
—Seriousness: “everlasting punishment.”
–REPENT. Love neighboring sinners, forgive, but REPENT.
–Fence the Table against the guilty, but NOT against the innocent.
–Andrew Lohr/807-C Poindexter Ave, East Ridge, TN 37412

Q. Creedocommunionists? A. People who insist on a profession of faith (a creed) from a person who desires admission to communion.

d6. A theory of infant communion / page 38 Q Page 38? A Of “the 40 pages.”
A theory (not the only one) of infant communion; by Andrew Lohr
Briefly–God does, indeed, work in little children.

Some defend infant (baptism and) communion on grounds of parents’ faith, or child’s expected future faith, or by carefully expounding “covenant;” and all such theories may well have noticed something worth noticing. (I’m using “covenant” mainly as a label.) I defend infant communion (and baptism) as a BIBLICAL PRACTICE (see above). My understanding, my theory, of the practice grounds the practice on a child’s (presumed) PRESENT, though perhaps unarticulated, faith. (Recall argument P A -17 above: infancy of Jesus.)

(1) Distinguish faith itself from profession of faith. We have faith 24/7, but we are not verbally professing faith 24/7.

(2) Consider [for the first time??] the Bible’s doctrine–not our casual assumptions, the Bible’s doctrine, please–of infant capacity: Genesis 25 a difference between Jacob and Esau, Ps 22 and 51 David, Jer 1, Lk 1 John the Baptist, Jn 9 (!) and Jesus. Jesus is normal, the rest of us weird. Was He ever, from conception on, an unbeliever? And since he’s human, don’t we have the same capacity as he (“and greater works than these shall ye do,” Jn 14)? Even unborn infants can be GOOD or BAD, God’s children or Satan’s, so we need to class EACH infant carefully (fallibly, to be sure, but carefully, not by sweeping assumption).

Notice that the sin of despising little ones–that is, of underestimating the size of their spiritual capacity for good or for stumbling–is a sin against which Jesus warned us twice (Mt 18, Mt 19).

[For what it may be worth, here’s some empirical evidence. Jim Rutz in his wonderfully challenging book MEGASHIFT, page 18 footnote, declares that an 15-month-old child delivered a prophecy (“PAUL AND NANCY! PAUL AND NANCY! HERE! NOW! ! !”–and “Paul and Nancy came.”) Rutz rejects infant baptism, page 221, and shows no sign of having heard of infant communion; but he acknowledges that God can work in newly-weaned children. And there’s a book THE SPIRITUAL LIFE OF CHILDREN, and Amy Carmichael’s MIMOSA, and some remarks on pages 27, 72, and 75 of Leithart’ s DADDY, WHY WAS I EXCOMMUNICATED?]

(3) God’s Father-Son relationship is eternal, and good fathers always feed their good present children. If covenant children are children of our heavenly Father, what does denying them His food do to our doctrine of the Trinity (and what example does it set for human parents)?

(4) All people are either in God’s camp or in Satan’s; there is no third option.

(5) Meals illustrate the Lord’s Supper (and vice versa); the Bible — Ex 12-13, Is 55, Mt 26/Mk l4/Lk 22/Jn 13ff/I Cor, Acts 2, Gal 2, Rev 3, 19,22 — uses the overlap, and so do 1. They can be distinguished but are not completely separable.

(6) By His Supper we “show forth the Lord’s death until He come.” If covenant children have part in our Lord’s death and coming, have they not also part in His Feast, so that excluding them infringes the doctrine of redemption (as in GaI2)? Since they really have the thing signified–a share in the death and coming of Jesus–since they really are part of his body the Church–have they not a right to the sign?

(7) Baptism is to comnmnion as circumcision to passover, wedding to lovemaking, adoption to family table: entrance, followed by ongoing celebration.

God does, indeed, work in little children.

d13. On implementation of infant communion, and a note on sources, and a personal note (pp39-40 of 40)

For moderates I assume (without detailed reference to procedures) that this “Encyclopedia” will be circulated and that friends of paedocommunion will bring to the P.C.A.’s General Assembly at some point a motion to legalize paedocommunion, to be voted on by presbyteries during the year and finalized at the next General Assembly. So form a paedocommunion caucus (the A.D. 1988 resolution said paedocommunionists must inform their presbyteries of their views), canvass pastors and sessions, make gently clear that we insist on paedocommunion (that we will be patient for practical reasons, and loving at all times, but you can’t make us sin indefinitely), and we want it merely legalized now to permit unity, and promise justice to stubborn opponents if at some future time paedocommunion be enforced as creedocommunion is now enforced.

For radicals–All Protestants surely agree that at times we must obey God rather than the church. I’m not a father (as of 14 Sept. ’07), and paedocommunion was not why I left the P.C.A. for the “Plymouth Brethren,” nor did I leave town to find a paedocommunion church, but when I found a paedocommunion church in town I changed churches that very week. The website http://www.paedocommmunion.com includes a list of churches and denominations that practice or allow paedocommunion; we’re free in Christ to join such groups. Or to practice paedocommunion and see what the P.C.A. does about it. (On my theory, a weaned child IS of years and ability to examine himself.) Classical Calvinist political theory says lesser magistrates may correct greater magistrates. While communion is a church function (ecclesiastical), not a family one, surely parents are “lesser magistrates” over their own children even in the ecclesiastical sense, and may and must protect their children from the worst mistakes of the greater magistrates (pastors, elders, denominations). The two-page essay gave some other options, e.g. form a communion group (a limited church) while remaining, for many purposes, part of a standard church. There’s the Rosa Parks option–give communion to children, for no denomination has the authority to command anyone to commit sin. (Read the Westminster Confession on freedom on conscience? Also, WC says no oath to commit sin is a binding oath; e.g. an oath to submit to a denomination when it commands sin at the Table. / Paula Myers told me that at the PCA church served by Kevin Skogen, the elders ask a two-year-old, Do you love Jesus? Two-year-old: Waaaaa! Elders: We take it you mean “Yes.” In His name, welcome to His table. And she said the presbytery knows about this.

A NOTE ON SOURCES

Briefly, I commend the paedocornmunion books FEED MY LAMBS, by Tim Gallant, available at http://www.paedocommunion.com. which gives a general exposition of the topic, and DADDY, WHY WAS I EXCOMMUNICATED? by Peter Leithart (father of 9), a detailed response to Leonard Coppes’s creedocornmunion book DADDY, MAY I TAKE COMMUNION? I found Coppes unreadable: he was not attacking my position as I hold it, nor was he establishing much of a position himself, and he seemed to be straining one gnat after another while swallowing a camel. I got tired of writing “So what?” in the margins. I commend Leithart’s answer, which is shorter and clearer than Coppes.

I also mention the websites http://www.paedocommunion.com, http://www.biblicalhorizons,com, and http://www.homes.org/theologia. (Biblical Horizons and Theologia address other topics in addition to paedocommunion.) Biblical Horizons sells Leithart’ s book (and Gallant’s). Gallant’s book and website have excellent bibliographies. The A.D. 1988 P.C.A. report told the denominational office to make some materials from the 1970s and 1980s (before the report, and before the books were published) available, a useful service for serious researchers. http://www.swrb.com offers (or did) some creedocommunion materials, and http://www.paedocommunion.comoffers some on both sides.

A PERSONAL NOTE

I grew up more or less Baptist. I came to Covenant College (P.C.A.) in A.D. 1979 and became a Presbyterian. The first I recall hearing of infant communion was as a topic discussed when some theonomists (Christian reconstructionists) met at Covenant in the summer of A.D. 1981 to organize a denomination. I did not hear the discussions themselves, I do not know what they decided, and I do not remember if I ever took communion, or saw paedocommunion practiced, at the little church pastored by John Martin. I think Ramin Zarrabi and I asked Bill Higgins (later Dr.) about paedocommunion while he was driving us to church. Pastor Barry Henning said he favored infant communion, though not strongly enough to insist on it in the O.P.C. or P.C.A.

In the mid-1980s I began buying theonomist materials by mail. Before A.D. 1992, and almost certainly before A.D. 1987, I believed paedocommunion to be right; I forget the details of how I reached this conviction. I remember talking about it with pastor Randy Nabors around the time I joined New City Fellowship (P.C.A.) in 1987. I visited Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Tyler, Texas, rector Walter Bannock, in May A.D. 1992; that is the first I remember seeing paedocommunion practiced, and it was beautiful to me. During the late ’80s or early ’90s I tried to read Coppes, and did read Leithart and other materials from Biblical Horizons. In A.D. 19988-2002 (and 2005) I attended Biblical Horizons conferences, and once or twice attended services which included paedocommunion at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Valparaiso, Florida (www.trinvalp.org ?), at whose facilities the conferences are held. Sometime after Gallant was published I read his book.

Early in A.D. 2003 a friend passing through Chattanooga got me to attend a service of the local Charismatic Catholic Church. I had seen this church mentioned in the local newspaper’s church listings, and had assumed “Charismatic Catholic” meant “Pentecostal Romanist,” and that, being Roman Catholic, they would admit neither infants nor non-Romanists (me) to communion. But they included both, without insisting on worshipping idols or talking to dead people; the “Charismatic Catholic Church” turns out to be a separate denomination (a small offshoot of the “Old Catholics,” I believe). So I changed churches that week. I continue to have P.C.A. friends, including some relatives.

In writing this paper I put a theory of paedocommunion in an “appendix” because I’m more concerned about doing infant communion than about exactly why it’s done; I’d rather obey God with the permission of bad theology than be commanded to sin by good theology (?!).

Andrew Lohr, 807-C Poindexter Ave., East Ridge, TN 37412, 12 June A.D. 2007

Q. Infant baptism? A. Yeah, baptism is the entrance sacrament, communion the maintenance sacrament, so, since covenant children should receive communion, they oughtta be baptized first. (That’s nobody’s party line, but it speaks for me and for the experience of Travis Tamerius. [Thanks for the paper, Travis.]) But I care more about infant communion than about infant baptism, and Presbyterians will gladly direct you to scads of books on infant baptism, so I think I do more good by dealing with infant communion.

Q. Why’d you organize “the 40 pages” as you did? A. Along lines of sermons in Acts: start with praising God, go through reasons, end with practical application.

d14. AB1-3: three major (groups of) arguments against paedocommunion answered in detail (or at least answered at length). Section 2-A in written 40-page version, pp 8-20.
Section 2-A: Three big arguments against paedocommunion–ABI children can’t do it, AB2 it’s unheard of, AB3 passover excluded children–fail, and prove nothing.

(Note: the 33 arguments treated briefly (9 pages) in Section 2-B include the components of the three arguments treated at length (13 pages) here in 2A, so readers who skip to 2B (above) will miss details but not arguments.)

AB1 (Argument, Big, 1): communicants must ‘examine themselves,’ ‘discern the body of the Lord,’ ‘do this in remembrance of Me,’ etc. –1 Cor ll–and young children cannot do this; the Lord’s Supper is for believers/regenerate/the elect only, and requires Christian maturity in those who partake; it is an active ordinance, not passive as baptism is.

Short answer: Children CAN: Jesus our example ALWAYS trusted the Father. And he set little children as an example to apostles, not (just) vice versa.

Jesus is normal; the rest of us are weird. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Ghost, so the Holy Ghost is able to work even in a womb, even at and from conception. At what point did Jesus begin to trust in God? When did He first become a believer? When did his human personal relationship with the Father change from wrong to right? Granted that it grew (Luke 2:40, 52), yet at EVERY point it was what it should have been at that point. Now “Jesus Christ is come in the FLESH” (I In 4:2, 3)–he’s HUMAN, as we are–go what the Holy Ghost did in Jesus, HE CAN DO IN US AND OUR CHILDREN; there is but one God, and human is human. John the Baptist was to be “filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother’s womb” (Lk 1 :15). David sang to God, ‘You brought me forth from the womb, causing me to trust on the breasts of my mother. On you I have been thrown from the womb; from the belly of my mother you [are] my God’ (Ps 22:9-10). So the youngest of children can be regenerated, can be believers, can be elect (not that we have a list of who the elect are so we can give communion to the elect and to the elect only); can be like Jesus. (Or not.)

A listening answer: the concern that faith be REAL in EACH individual in church is a fully valid concern, on the heart of God. But it calls for pastoral care and for growth, and sometimes for pruning; not for exclusion from God’s table for anyone we think to be one of God’s own children not blatantly straying, but for nurture–and concern for growth!–of which God’s table is a part. To exclude from the table of God’s family is experienced as a harsh, severe, and false judgment (at least by some). It does not (always) say, Grow up; rather it says, You’re not one of us, this is for the people of Jesus (so if you’re not admitted, you’re not considered to be living as one of the people of Jesus.) This may not be intended, but this impression really is conveyed sometimes.

The leaders of a church need to be concerned that each member of the congregation, from least to greatest, KEEP growing in the Lord–let there be MORE care for growth, more discipleship, more than what I see, though I rejoice in what there is. And if there be any doubt as to whether a person IS really a child of God, let the pastors take loving care, and help parents and others take loving care, looking for a good outcome. And if a baptized person goes blatantly astray, let righteous judgment be done to seek his repentance, even “to deliver such a one unto Satan (!) for the destruction of the flesh (!) that the spirit may be saved (!!!) in the day of the Lord Jesus” when such judgment is called for. And evangelism, with conversions followed by baptisms followed by admission to the Lord’s table, with lifelong discipleship, is good and right and commanded by God; let it be done. And some children baptized as newborns MAY not become Christians until some years later, or even never; let this possibility be kept in mind.

But having written all that, paedocommunionists want creedocommunionists to admit the solid possibility, as in the case of Jesus (and John the Baptist), that a child MAY be in line with God even before birth, and before weaning, and before great verbal fluency; and when we have adequate grounds to deem a child in this category, than the child, being (as best we can tell) God’s child–someone Jesus died for and shall come for–is to be reared as God’s child rather than considered Satan’s, and Godly rearing includes eating at God’s family table (unless excluded for severe misbehavior), thus putting the Table as a difference between God’s family and Satan’s. We would like it admitted that Godliness is more than merely verbal; faith without works is dead; John the unborn Baptist leaped for joy in the womb and his mother Elisabeth gave verbal blessing to one of God’s people (Luke 1 :39-45). We talk and sing of God, and pray, in the hearing of (and even to) little children before they are able to converse. (Well, we don’t pray TO them.) Feeding them is an expression of love and fellowship which they are able to appreciate; denying them food is also something of which they can be aware. God’s table expresses God’s love for us, not against words, but in a way that words cannot; if words would’ve sufficed, why ordain bread and wine as well as words? So feed and teach, teach and feed, exclude the unbaptized (unprofessed) and the grossly backslidden, readmit the repentant, feed and teach, teach and feed–they go TOGETHER. The death of Jesus was more than words, and we are promised the wedding SUPPER of the Lamb (not the wedding sermon!)–and communion proclaims the Lord’s death until he come. When we say “You are [as best we can tell] God’s child” AND we all eat together at God’s table, the table agrees with our words. If we say it but refuse table-fellowship, well, Peter did that at Antioch, and it was not good (Galatians 2); the Pharisees may have done that (or may NOT have said, you’re God’s child) but Jesus ate with a different bunch of folks, not just with well-taught scribes and nice clean Pharisees but with IRS/Mafiosi and with whores, let alone little children. GOD’S TABLE FOR (mistakes aside, and we’ll surely make some) GOD’S CHILDREN.

A contextual answer re I Cor 11: can children examine themselves and discern the body? (l) Corinth was mixing a meal with The Supper. In this context, were children eating the meal? (2) In I Cor 11, and 1-4, divisions were the problem. In that context, is dividing age groups part of Paul’s solution? (3) Corinth had a bad name for fornication in general, but Paul had had to SPELL OUT for Corinth’s church that it had to exclude (hand over to Satan) a man who was having his father’s wife, a man whose fornication was worse than usual so that Paul had heard of it across the Aegean Sea. In that context–they had to be TOLD to exclude a flagrant and blatant sinner–can one believe they were just routinely excluding children of believers?–and if exclusion amounts to handing over to Satan, is that for our children? (4) Was Paul focusing on children? Surely church leaders, able to make sure everyone is included who should be–and that, not self-centered introspection, is what ‘examine’ means here–are the solution; therefore they, not helpless children or poor people, are the problem Paul is addressing. (5) What are children unable to do? A two-year-old knows church is a special situation having to do with Jesus and God, so he knows the Supper is a church/Jesus/God thing, and he knows if he’s fed or not. He discerns Jesus, he discerns church (=congregation=grouping), and he discerns the Supper to be a Jesus/church thing; so he discerns the body. And he ‘examines himself’; see “(4)” just above and more details below. (6) Children ate Passover (contra Calvin, Gentry and Schwertley; see AB3 below) and other OT covenant meals (e.g. I Sam 1); in that context, when were they first excluded from communion? I Cor was written 25 years or so after Pentecost; wouldn’t exclusion require a much clearer and much earlier statement? Where’d a general covenant meal excluding children come from? (7) Hasn’t Paul just said in I Cor 7 that covenant children are holy, and in I Cor 10 that all Israel was baptized in the Red Sea and ‘communed’ (in a sense; perhaps not narrowly sacramental, but Biblically, I Cor 10, with a definite sacramental allusion) on water and manna? (8) I Cor 8 and 10 offer two options: God’s Table and demons’. Not three. Likewise the whole Bible: all people are either God’s or Satan’s. At whose table of the two do covenant children eat? (9) In context of Jesus’ ministry–his meals were scandalously inclusive–does exclusion of children from communion remind us of Jesus? Does it remind us He blessed children in the face of the apostles, in the face of church leaders? (10) In context of church history, can the exclusion of children from communion be proven to have orthodox footing in the first millennium? (Or even heretical footing?) Don’t we historically get exclusion from transubstantiationism (ooh, we can’t let kids spill the Blood of Jesus!), and from episcopal confirmation (which delayed a person’s First Communion until a bishop came around)? Don’t we now personally/denominationally get exclusion from hard-to-question habit and instinctive defensiveness (hey, we’ve always done this, what can be wrong with it? [see AB2, below]) Do we prefer the late medieval papacy over Cyprian, Augustine, and the Hussites? (11) In context of human nature and experience, what does exclusion actually say to our children? Does it bear a true witness? (If done, is it always done in a kind, thoughtful way, or do those fencing the table from unbelievers and hypocrites, but welcoming struggling Christians, COMPLETELY IGNORE non-communicant children?)

An issue-by-issue answer.

As for ‘examine oneself,’ the problem to be solved by this examination is NOT sin in general, but in PARTICULAR the failure to include at the Lord’s Table every single one of those who should be included: examine yourself to make sure you are loving your neighbor IN THIS SACRAMENT. So a newly-weaned child who, like everyone else in the church, takes some of the elements and hands them along IS examining himself to the extent of his duty. (A child who throws a tantrum or tries to keep it all may need to take the day off; may need to be denied communion this time.) Overseers, whose duty is to make very, ultra, extremely sure everyone is included at the Table who should be (and to exclude those who need exclusion, e.g. the professed Christian who is having his father’s wife), have a larger though similar duty. (Provided covenant children belong at the Lord’s Table, it follows that those who exclude children from the Table, or even fail to make sure they’re included, are the ones who have NOT ‘examined themselves’ in the I Cor 11 sense; even if they have fasted introspectively for 40 days, they have NOT made sure they are loving their table-neighbors by including them.)

As for ‘discern the body,’ more details later (“body” appears 43 times in I Cor), but I think ‘the body of Christ’ in I Cor 10-12 has a Christ-ward and a church-ward side (compare inward/outward). Christward, the body of Jesus was on earth (is now in Heaven, will return to Earth sometime after I write this sentence), and is in some sense in the sacrament (“this is my body,” whatever that means. Since Jesus said it, let us not be ashamed of His words whatever we

think they mean). Church-ward, churchward, the church is the body of Christ, the body of those who receive the sacrament. A two-year-old present at communion perceives whether he receives communion or not; he perceives whether he’s treated as one of the Jesus people who do the Jesus thing, or as an outsider; he perceives the congregation (church ward body), and, whatever he may know about Jesus, he knows that the Supper is a Jesus thing (Christward body). If “the body” is the church and baptized children are part of the church, those who exclude children from communion are themselves failing to discern the body.

As for ‘do this in remembrance of me,’ WHO are we remembering? Jesus, who trusted God His Father from conception. Jesus, who rebuked his apostles for keeping children away from him, and set a little child as their example. (Paul writes “in malice be children, but in understanding be men,” I Cor 14:20, likewise setting children as an example of absence-of-evil while not of knowledge.) We remember Jesus who died for children and who will return for children, with the Table now showing his death (for children) until he come (for children). We remember the Good Shepherd who ‘carries his lambs in his bosom,’ Is 40, and who told Peter not just “Feed my sheep” but also “Feed my lambs,” John 21. Is this the Jesus we remember? Does our method of “remembrance” befit THIS Jesus, who was himself a child once and who insisted on receiving children and who died, rose, and shall come for children, Jesus the Creator who ordained monogamous lovemaking ~d childhood as good things?

(James B. Jordan argues that ‘y’all do this into my remembrance’ or ‘into my memorial’ (Luke 22: 19, etc, somewhat more literally than usual), speaks of reminding God, not (just) ourselves, of the sacrifice of Jesus. If so, are we reminding God that Jesus died for our children and will come at the Judgment Day for our children?]

Pray let our “remembrance” be Christocentric. Jesus blessed children.

A longer, textual, answer, since this is a key argument, probably the key creedocommunion argument.

Look at I Corinthians itself in some detail. (The reader has the option, as usual, of skipping to other portions if s/he does not need all this detail.) I would say the overall theme of I Corinthians is unity in Christ Jesus, against a problem of division: “Paul called apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called saints, with all (!) that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord both theirs and ours (!): Grace unto you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ…God [is] faithful by whom ye were called into fellowship [koinonia] of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Now I beseech you brethren by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that ye all speak the same thing and there be no divisions among you but ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment; for it has been declared unto me … that there are contentions among you .. .Is Christ divided?” (1:1-3,9-11, 13). The book’s theme of unity already favors paedocommunion, for creedocommunion would divide the church, divide professors-of-faith from covenant infants.

One way to outline the book’s 16 chapters is (1) 1-4 apostolicity in Christ, (2) 5-7 sex, (3) 8-11 food, (4) 12-15:34 church, (5) 15:34-16 The Resurrection and resurrection living. [Excursus: For those acquainted with the fivefold covenant pattern spelled out by Ray Sutton in his book THAT YOU MAY PROSPER: DOMINION BY COVENANT and his newsletter COVENANT RENEW AL–both available at http://www.freebooks.com–this structure fits; though

there are other ways to structure the book, and even other ways to apply Sutton’s fivefold pattern to it, just as several harmony lines may be structured differently within the same piece of music. The fivefold pattern, also seen in other passages of Scripture, is (1) Transcendance, (2) hierarchy/history, (3) ethics/edibles, (4) output/oath, (5) succession/inheritance–forming the acronym THEOS.]

As to the body of Christ, the first 13 uses of “body” in I Corinthians (5:3-9:27) refer to the physical human body; the uses that most stretch this meaning are 6: 15, “your bodies are the limbs of Christ,” and 6: 16, “know ye not that he which is joined to a harlot is one body? For two, saith he, shall be one flesh.” Likewise the last 8 uses of “body” (13:3, 15:35-44) refer to physical bodies. The 17 uses in 12:12-27 develop the metaphor of the church as the body of Christ: “For as the body is one and has many members and all (!) the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free; and have all been made to drink (!) into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? .. those members of the body which seem to be more feeble are necessary, and those of the body which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor (!) … God … having given more abundant honor to that which lacked, that there should be no schism in the body (!) but the members should have the same (!) care one for another … ye are the body of Christ and members in particular.” Again,

while the. inclusion or exclusion of children at the Lord’s Table is not the direct issue in I Cor 12, yet what IS written there favors paedocornrnunion to some extent.

,That covers 38 of the 43 uses of “body” in I Cor, leaving.10:16-17 and 11:4, 27, 29 (in the “food” section, chapters 8-11.) Chapter 10 begs the Corinthians to “flee from Idolatry,” 11 :2-16 deals with head covering, and 11: 17 – 34 deals with division at the Lord’s Table.

I Cor 10: 1-11:1 uses Israel in the wilderness as an example to the Corinthians (10: 1-6), urging the Corinthians not to sin as the Israelites did (10:7-13). “Wherefore (10: 14 ff), my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we many are one bread, one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? … Y e cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils” (10:14-18, 21). 10:23-11:1 sets Paul’s example of not offending a brother, especially by not eating food sacrificed to idols, as an example to the Corinthians.

So: “body” in 10:16-17? “We many are … one body.” Surely this includes Christian children; surely they are part(s) of the body of Christ. If not, what are they? But then “we many are one bread, one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.” The body partakes of the body. We all, including church children, partake of the bread. Conversely, to be denied the bread is to be declared to be not functioning as part of the body, like the man who was having his father’s wife. (Paul in the first century knew nothing of sewing severed limbs back on, but his olive tree analogy in Romans 11 suggests that he’d like the idea.) I Cor 10 recognizes only two tables, the Lord’s and the devils,’ just as the whole Bible (except Gen 1-2) recognizes only two peoples, God’s people and the serpent’s. Who communes on the body of Christ? THE BODY OF CHRIST communes on the body of Christ. (As I wrote above, I think “body of Christ” has a Christward aspect and a churchward aspect.) The unborn, I would say, commune in their fashion, the unweaned in their fashion (of which the Bible takes note: the milk/solid food distinction is found in Scripture); and the baptized weaned commune after their fashion. “Body” in I Cor 10 gives no encouragement to creedocommunion, but to paedocommunion. Discern the body; feed the children!

But “are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar” (I Cor 10: 18)–did Israelite children partake of the sacrifices? And is not Paul speaking “as to wise men” (10:15)? Well, it’s “the sacrifices” (Greek “tas thusias”), so if children partook of ANY sacrifice, then they commune. (And if, say, the scapegoat lost in the wilderness got eaten by buzzards, would that establish buzzo-communion?–my point being that a wooden literal correspondence between eating sacrifices and communion is NOT exactly Biblical.) THE one true sacrifice is Christ, so if children partake of Christ in reality (and they do, else they go to Hell), then they eat at his table; if he died for them and is coming for them, the proclamation of his death until he come must include them.

As to I Cor 10: 15 and 18 in context, Paul is exhorting the church to “flee from idolatry” (l 0: 14, 20-22); would he allow idolatry for little children?–for he recognizes only two tables, the Lord’s and the devils’; and he recognizes (I take it) only the true altar of Israel and other, idolatrous altars. (Where did the children of the idolaters at Corinth, or around or Israel, eat?–if they ate from their vile altars, then surely, conversely Israelite children ate from God’s holy altar?)

As for who ate at the altar in Israel, I lightly skimmed Leviticus and Numbers without finding clear evidence there that children or females ate of the alter, but Deuteronomy 12, which emphasizes that Israel inside the land must offer sacrifices only at the central sanctuary, says

” … thither shall ye bring your burnt offerings and your sacrifices and your tithes and heave offerings … vows … freewill offerings … firstlings … and there ye shall eat before the LORD your God and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and ALL YOUR HOUSEHOLDS, wherein the LORD your God has blessed you” (Dt 12:6-7, emphasis added); “bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings … sacrifices … tithes … heave offerings … and all your choice vows … and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God, ye and your sons AND YOUR DAUGHTERS and your menservants and your maidservants and the Levite” (12:11-12); “You may not eat within your gates the tithe … or the firstlings … nor … thy vows … nor thy freewill offerings or heave offering … but you must eat them before the LORD your God in the place

… [He] shall choose, you and your son AND YOUR DAUGHTER and your manservant and your maidservant and the Levite … and you shall rejoice (12: 17-18, emphasis added)–and after all this emphasis on the LORD’s alter, follows a contrasting exhortation against idolatry (Dt 12:29914:2)–so it may well be that Paul had Dt 12-13, which clearly includes households in meals near the altar, in mind as he wrote I Cor 10, for the altar/idolatry contrast In Dt and I Cor is similar, rather than having in mind earlier texts (Lev, Num) which do not so clearly contrast with idolatry, nor so clearly include daughters.

“Body” in I Cor 11:24,27, 29? 11:2-16 on head covering seems irrelevant to the paedocommunion issue, and has been called one of the three toughest passages in the New Testament, so I’ll skip it, except to note that it encourages union (“neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord”!)–and a childbearing kind of union, at that.

11: 17-34 I think to be a unit; after some preliminary criticism relevant to the problem at Corinth (11:17-21) Paul names the problem (21), offers an alternative for hunger to evade/solve the problem (22), reminds them–still with the problem in mind–what Jesus did (23-25), expounds–with the problem in mind–the general significance of the Supper (26), applies this to the problem in a detailed general way (27-32) and in a very specific way (33), reminds them (34a) of the solution for hunger he’d given in 22, and stresses the importance of solving the problem (34b, c.) I take 11 :17-34 to be a unit because Paul states the problem and the solution for-hunger both early and late in the passage, and everything in 17-34 is relevant to this problem; nothing seems parenthetical. And after starting with “now,” it’s tied together by “for” (8 times), “Wherefore” (twice), and “but” (twice).

The problem/hunger solution is that “one takes before [another?] his own supper: and one is hungry and another is drunken. What! Have ye not houses to eat and drink in, or despise ye the church of God and shame them that have not?” (11:21-22) and again “Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry for one another and if any man hunger let him eat at home that ye come not together unto condemnation (!)” (11 :33-34).

The problem, says Paul, is terrible: “ye come together not for the better but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church; I hear that there be divisions among you … For there must be also heresies among you … When ye come together therefore into one place [this] is not to eat the Lord’s supper … shall 1 praise you in this? I praise not” (11;17-20, 22)–it MUST be solved (as the similar problem of Peter at Antioch had to be solved, Galatians 2). Implicitly, SHARE at church; explicitly, eat at home if you’re hungry (22). “For” (connected with the preceding) “I received of the Lord … Jesus … took bread and when he had given thanks he broke and said, Take, eat; this is my body which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of .me … also … the cup .. .is the new testament in my blood … as often as ye [plural] eat this bread and drink this cup ye do show the Lord’s death till he come” (11 :23-26). In contrast to the Corinthian divisions, Jesus SHARED thy bread and cup, SHARED “my body, which is broken for you” (in my terminology, “Christward body” in 11 :24), SHARED with ALL those at the table with Him at the Last Supper (in implicit contrast to the problem at Corinth that Paul is here addressing–so the contrast, though implicit, is intended), shared the Christward body with the WHOLE ‘churchward body’ in the room. Corinth must practice a similar sharing; for one to eat before another or more than another is contrary to the very institution of Jesus.

“Wherefore” (11 :27, in view of the institution of Jesus) “whoever shall eat this bread and drink cup of the Lord unworthily shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” Unworthy how? Guilty of the body how? The “body” in 10: 17 was the church: “we many are one bread, one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.” He who keeps the bread from his brother is guilty of the body, is sinning against the one church. Taking more he may think he is claiming greater worth, but he is taking “unworthily.” And he is guilty of the Christward body (11 :24) as well as the churchward body (these can be distinguished, but they do relate and overlap), for he is preventing some from the eating commanded by Christ–he is not remembering how Jesus related to people–he is not showing who the Lord’s death and coming are for ..

“But let a man examine himself and so let him eat of bread and drink of cup, for he that eateth and drinketh unworthily eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body” (11 :28-29). Unworthily how? Damnation how? Not discerning how? Not discerning who Jesus died for, not discerning who Jesus gave his body to, not discerning the church, not discerning the body to whom Jesus gave his body. This is a tolerable error, like matters of church calendars or of vegetarianism (Romans 14)? No, this is “DAMNATION.” Unworthily how? See previous paragraph.

(By way of other passages in which something apparently centered on oneself actually involves relationships with others–a similar pattern to that which I perceive in regard to I Cor 11 :28’s “examine himself’–I cite Genesis 2. In the center, that God took a rib from Adam involved Adam himself; but this was because Adam could not relate to the animals (earlier), and needed Eve to relate to (later). Self AMID RELATIONSHIPS and to fix relationships. I also cite Matthew 18. In the center, 18:8-9, “if your hand or your foot offend you, cut them off and throw [them] from you;” likewise with your eye. Let a man examine himself But this is in context of offending little ones, 18:6-7 AND 1O-14–and 18:8 begins with “Wherefore.” Let a man examine himself TO MAKE SURE HE’S NOT OFFENDING LITTLE ONES. Self amid relationships. I also cite Matthew 5:23-26. At the altar, examine yourself–and if you remember that your brother has anything against you, BE RECONCILED WITH YOUR BROTHER before you offer your offering. Self amid relationships. I imagine this pattern could be found elsewhere in Scripture by those who look for it.)

And can children discern the body in these ways, examine themselves, do this in remembrance of Christ? Sure. They discern that the Supper has to do with Jesus and the people of Jesus (body Christward and churchward, remembrance of Jesus); they can hand the elements along to others and not hog them.

AB2. I’ve never heard of paedocommunion! Can something so important have been left undone– TOT ALL Y IGNORED–since the Reformation, and still be right? How will our children be discipled and catechized if they’re already taking communion?

Answer one: unless things in church can be corrected from the Bible, the Reformation has no basis.

Answer two: creedocommunion is by no means a Reformation distinctive emphasis like justification or Scripture, but is something the Westminster Assembly had in common with the council of Trent and the late medieval papacy (and, for that matter, with the most radical Anabaptists) against the paedocommunion of Cyprian, Augustine and the Hussites.

Answer three: If the church had been going astray for about 1400 years (A.D. 117-1517), how likely is it that the Reformers fixed it completely in 130 years (A.D. 1517-1647)?

Answer four: the Reformers differed with each other on some points–so some of them must need correction–and by using a version of the Westminster Confession that differs from that of 1648, we already admit that Westminster’s work is subject to improvement.

Answer five: some Reformers–Luther, Musculus, Thomas Cartwright, Jeremy Taylor, Richard Baxter–had nice things to say about paedocommunion.

Answer six: among Reformers, the radical Anabaptists regarded everyone as unconverted, so of course they had no interest in paedocommunion, except as a stick to beat the mainstream Reformers with– “Hey, if you baptize children, why not give them communion too?” The human instinct when attacked is to defend oneself; so the natural instinct of Calvin and company, under Anabaptist attack, was to defend infant baptism and to defend the exclusion of infants from communion, since baptism/exclusion was what they were in the habit of doing. A few Reformers (Luther, Musculus, etc) did give passing thought to paedocommunion, but we cannot be at all surprised if other matters seemed more urgent to them: indeed lots of urgent matters confronted them! Like the Anabaptists, the mainstream reformers had to deal with sinners, and any novelty which might seem at a glance to make LESS of a claim for righteousness was not going to look good at a glance. (Paedocommunion makes the same ultimate demand for Christ’s righteousness as creedocommunion; it understands the beginning and early nurture of sanctity differently, but has the same aim: be ye holy–saith the Lord–for I am holy.)

Answer seven: Christianity already makes just such a radical claim and demand on unbelievers, as paedocommunion makes on creedocommunionists. Just because a Muslim, and his ancestors for 1300 years, have bowed toward the Ka’aba at Mecca and denied that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died for our sins and rose up alive from the grave, does not make him right; his very salvation depends on his changing. Just because a Hindu, and his ancestors for 3000 years, thinks he’ll have another chance if he messes up this life, does not mean he will. So in the Name of Jesus we already, and rightly, demand an even more drastic (and sometimes riskier and costlier in this world) change of mind and conduct than the change from creedocommunion to paedocommunion. Likewise we make on modern sinners the radical demand that they repent, e.g. of all fornication of every variety whatsoever, and put on Christ.

Answer eight: In Nehemiah 8:13-18, the returned exiles celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles (KJV “booths” there) though “since the days of Joshua the son of Nun … had not the children of Israel done so.” This was one of the three major feasts in the Law (Ex 23, Ex 34, Dt 16), for which all Israelite males were supposed to go up to God’s central sanctuary each year; yet it had dropped out of Israelite practice for almost a thousand years–and Israel had not ceased to be a (somewhat) true ‘church,’ within which was salvation, during that span. Yet it was finally noticed as something where God wanted action, and tradition was corrected from Scripture. So now: it’s (partly) broken: fix it! Habit can be corrected from Scripture.

Answer nine: you’ve never heard of paedocommunion because, like the feast of Tabernacles, it had been forgotten; but Christians of the first millennium (e.g. Augustine), and Christians (we hope) of the Eastern Orthodox churches, had/have never heard of anything else. (The Western church changed on this matter in the late Middle Ages; the Eastern church did not change.) In A.D. 1990, had you heard of the Internet or of cell phones? In 1970, had you heard of microwaves or TV remotes? Do you remember slide rules, TV dinners, drive-in theaters, phonograph records? Changes need to be evaluated, but are not necessarily bad.

Answer ten: as to whether paedocommunion is right, a positive case for it is in section (3); I’m first answering objections, since creedocommunion is the P.C.A. status quo. But if it’s right (section 3) and matters (sections 1 and 4), then make the change, as the Israelites did with the Feast of Tabernacles. However carefully the change must be made, whatever care must be taken of those who still consider it wrong (e. g. allowing them to form a separate, or parallel, denomination with church property, pensions, etc., with continued fellowship), however embarrassing to admit a mistake–if paedocommunion is right, and matters, and answers objections, then make the change.

Answer eleven (listening): How rear children? Catechization is lifelong; Paul, having been an apostle for years and written books of Scripture, was still ‘pursuing to take ahold of that for which Christ Jesus had taken hold of him’ and ‘did not consider that he had got it yet,’ but was still ‘pressing toward the mark’ (Philippians 3:12-14). If special catechization for admission to communion takes one quarter in Sunday School, there are 279 other quarters in a 70-year life. Press on ALL the time, not just at age 12 (or whatever)! The instruction of Moses that “these words which I command you this day shall be in your heart and you shall teach them diligently unto your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up” (Dt 6) was not an instruction about admission to Passover, but an instruction about lifestyle.

At age twelve or so, a session might want to examine a church-reared child for fitness to vote in church elections. And they might let parents of younger children keep a child from communion subject to general oversight by the session (if you think your three-year-old needs to skip communion this time, just check with an elder to make sure it’s OK, rather than require a formal trial before the session in all such cases), but at some point children may be brought directly under the session’s authority (so that a formal trial is required for suspension! excommunication). And I suppose the first admission of a child to communion (at weaning) would be the occasion of some special attention by the session to that child and parents. But paedocommunion calls for God’s children to eat at God’s table from weaning until promotion to glory, unless there are special reasons otherwise.

AB3. Children did NOT partake of passover; communion is NT passover (and probably more, but not less); so children should not partake of communion. (I treat this as a major objection less on its own merits than because of its historical importance [Calvin] and, for some brethren, experiential and perhaps tactical importance.) Kenneth Gentry [world class on almost everything connected with eschatology] in arguing against paedocommunion leaned heavily on the supposed exclusion of children from passover. Mark Home wrote a 25-page paper answering 7 tapes by Gentry. Those wanting more detail on this can go to hornes.org/biblicalhorizons. Home’s paper is called “GOD’S UNCOVERED PIT: Kenneth Gentry on Paedocommunion.” I mentioned Brian “Schwertley,” and his creedocommunionist paper “PAEDOCOMMUNION: A BIBLICAL EXAMINATION” (which contains more contemptuous expressions and questionable assertions than I like [an example of both: Schwertley, pp 7-8, calls “excellent” some remarks of Calvin which end “If these men had a particle of sound brain left, would they be blind to a thing so clear and obvious?” –a sentence Schwertley could have left out]) can be had from Still Waters Revival Books, http://www.swrb.com [world class, along with Banner of Truth, on Puritan and similar old reprints]. F.N. Lee also takes this line, judging by his extracts at swrb.com. When arguing in Section 3 that paedocommunion is Biblical, I advance many arguments other than, and independent of, passover, but I think OT children took passover and that the passover-to-communion argument is perfectly sound. (Some creedocommunionists admit, or seem to, that children took passover, e.g. Coppes, Reymond, and Beckwith.) So: that children did not take passover is to be an argument that they should not take communion?

Answer one: this would lead to PRECISELY the land of division in church that Paul forbids in I Cor 11: some go ahead and eat while others (even present in the same place) see them eating. Psalm 23: “He spreadeth a feast before me in the presence of my” –little children? No; “enemies.”

Answer two: the first Passover was definitely a meal, Jewish Passovers continued to be meals, e.g. the Last Supper, and Corinth had a meal. When weaned children were present, they must have eaten something; and the Bible recognizes milk and solid food, nothing in between. There’s indeed a distinction between sacrament and meal, but the Bible clearly uses each to illustrate the other, as we see from what they were doing (three sentences above), and from the term “Supper”–a meal term used for the sacrament–and from the manna/communion parallel in I Cor 10, among other arguments I could give that the Bible itself uses the meal/sacrament analogy. Communion is in some sense a meal. Children need meals.

Answer three: if the Lord’s Supper, incorporates (elements of) other OT meals besides passover (I agree that it does), then the participation of children in other OT meals is valid evidence that children should be included in the Supper. Biblically, this includes manna in the wilderness (of which children obviously partook; there was nothing else to eat, just as Jesus is our only Savior): I Cor 10 “all our fathers … were all baptized [sacramental allusion] unto Moses … and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink [manna and water; obviously sacramental allusions, and following immediately upon mention of baptism]; for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ [and where do we drink of Christ? At his Table]. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.” [Who was overthrown in the wilderness? The adults over 20 years old; the children later conquered the promised land.] Manna may not seem to be a sacrament, but I Cor 10 (and Jesus speaking of the bread from heaven, John 6:31-41 and 48-58) Biblically makes of manna an allusion to the Lord’s Supper. We MUST make this connection (manna to Supper); Jesus and Paul in Scripture make it! (Some connections alleged as evidence of the exclusion of children rest upon thinner evidence than this manna-Supper connection which Scripture itself makes; I agree that the meal of the 70 + 4 elders with God, Exodus 24, like everything else in Scripture, has instruction for us, but where does the rest of the Bible explicitly mention this meal of the 70 + 4 as Jn 6 and I Cor 10 mention manna?)

Another Biblical example is in I Sam 1. “This man” Elkanah “went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the LORD of hosts at Shiloh … and when … Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninah his wife and to all her sons and her daughters portions but unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion” (1: 1, 3-5). “THIS MAN” went up, “HE did so year by year” (1:7), but lo, his wives and children went up with him!–and they ALL ate and drank, including females and the young (1:4-5, 9)! After Samuel was born, Hannah made a special request to be excused from the yearly trip until he was weaned, to which Elkanah agreed (1 :22-23); after that, she resumed the yearly trip (2: 19), although she bore other children (2:21); both the yearly trip and the childbearing are clear in the text, so I suppose she either brought the other children to the sanctuary at a younger age than she brought Samuel, or else she left them with wet nurses while she was gone, or (just conceivably) Shiloh was so close to Mt Ephraim that she could go home from the sanctuary to nurse them? or (just conceivably), they had some kind of baby bottle, maybe of goatskin?? As best I recall, this is the ONLY example in the OT giving a clear PICTURE of who attended at the central sanctuary, and it clearly shows wives and children attending and eating; it also shows that from weaning on a child might not just visit the central sanctuary but live there. It also includes a family when it mentions only “he,” the man who headed it. It looks to me like OT ‘paedocommunion.’ And what feast was it? It was yearly. It was probably one of the big three (Passover, Pentecost, Tabernacles.) It was probably not Tabernacles, which drifted into disuse during this period (says Neh 8). One would think Passover, and thus a direct connection to the Lord’s Supper. If one thinks Pentecost, that’d be a direct connection to the Church (Acts 2, like I Sam 1, is a beginning); this OT picture might be intended, on this line of thought, to emphasize that women and children share the feast of the church. Since the text does not specify the feast, perhaps it’s intended (by God) to show participation in general, counteracting (by its clear inclusion of family when “this man” is specified, and its clear picture of family eating at the central sanctuary) silences that might otherwise be taken to exclude women and children.

Answer four, re Jesus and Passover in Luke 2: only adult males (Exodus 23:14-19 “all thy males,” Ex 34: 18-26 [KJV there has “all thy men children” (!), but more literal translations have simply “males,”], Dt 16: 1-17) were required to go up to Jerusalem to the three great feasts (Passover, Pentecost, Tabernacles), yet Luke 2 says “his [Jesus’s] parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover;” so we see that women were not forbidden to go up, which opens the possibility that children also were not forbidden, since the non-commanded Mary went up. Since the non-command about women does not require them to be excluded, the similar silence about children need not require them to be excluded (it can be no argument for their exclusion); and since the non-command about the trip does not bar the non-commanded from the trip, the non-command about the feast, similarly, need not bar the non-commanded from the feast; only the forbidden (clearly specified as the uncircumcised, Exodus 12, or unclean men or those away on long journeys, Numbers 9.) “And when he [Jesus] was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.” Here “they” includes Jesus, as we See from the following context; and this going was “after the custom,” which at least hints that he had gone in previous years. “And having fulfilled the days, in the returning of them [Greek autous, “of-them” not as part of the verb, as are the previous “they”s, but as a separate pronoun, possibly for emphasis], the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem … ” “Of them” in “in the returning of them” excludes Jesus,. but includes Mary (as we see from following context); so Mary at least “fulfilled the days;” which sounds as if she kept the feast, though she was not an adult male. Whether “they” in “they had fulfilled” includes Jesus is uncertain–the preceding “they” includes him, the following “of them” does not–but the following “of them” is more emphatic in Greek, so I reckon Jesus was part of the “they” who “fulfilled the days.” “As they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother know not.” His tarrying cannot have been a routine catechizing, and cannot be evidence of such a routine, for his parents, devout Jews who went to Jerusalem every year, “knew not.” Also, why would he be catechized after the feast rather than before? “But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey … ” If this was his first such trip with them, or even his first absence on a trip, would they have waited a day before looking for him? “They found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors [does “sitting” indicate authority–he was sitting as one of the doctors, not just being catechized?], both hearing them, and asking them questions [Who was catechizing whom?–it doesn’t even say they were asking him questions, though “answers” in the next line may indicate that they were]. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they [parents] saw him they were amazed … ” Again, this was not a routine procedure, nor can it be evidence for such, for they were “amazed” –not just amazed at his answers, for the previous line already said that [about a different batch of people], but amazed at where he was, a non-routine place: “when they SAW him they were amazed,” not “when they heard him.” I cannot say this PROVES that young Jesus was in the habit of taking Passover, but I think the evidence leans that way rather than the other. I can say that his exclusion is far from proven, and some affirmations of some who deny he partook are awfully dubious: that this in Luke 2 was a routine catechizing and serves as evidence of such a procedure, for example. (God gave us the text; if it be shown that 1st-century Jews had such a procedure, the evidence for it would not be in Luke 2.)

Answer five: James Jordan argued somewhere that the first Passover had to do especially with the first-born (Israelites had Passover, Egyptians had dead firstborn); that (later) Levites stood in for the firstborn of Israel; that there were 29 times as many Israelites as Levites, and 29 cannot be an average family size; that God set prices for the redemption of humans of various ages; that the few extra Israelites, not covered by Levites, paid the redemption-price for people under five years old; consequently, that the Passover had a special connection with children under age five (the age group Pharaoh had been killing.) I’m leery of stringing unconnected passages together (you’ve probably heard the old joke “Judas went out and hanged himself.” “Go thou and do likewise.” “What thou doest do quickly.” It’s all in the Bible, right? Old saying: “A text without a context is a pretext.”) But maybe these pieces do fit together; maybe the Passover was indeed especially about YOUNG children, whom Pharaoh had been having killed (Ex 1-2), and whom Moses insisted must go to the feast of the LORD (Ex 10:8-11).

BLOG ZONE
[new section]
Response to Rev. Dr. Francis Nigel Lee’s one-page creedocommunion statement (http://www.dr-fnlee.org/docs3/paidocom/pa… ).
1. Thank you, Dr Lee, for trying a one-page statement. (I fear my response will be longer.)
2. Interesting that paedocommunionists are for something and creedocommunionists against–not just for/against a certain line of action, but for/against in attitude. I’m for God saving infants and I’m for (and think God is for) celebrating this at communion. I’m sure Dr Lee is for God saving infants, but can he write a hymn celebrating their exclusion from communion?
3. Dr Lee’s 1st paragraph lists a number of passages about “age thresholds.” Irrelevant on the face of it. A three-year-old is qualified to eat a birthday cake, but not qualified to cook it.
-Genesis 2:17-24 is mostly about marriage, and Dr Lee omits verse 16 (“Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat.”) I suppose Dr Lee equates the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, 2:17, with communion. But surely the tree of life is a better fit–communion is about the Lord’s death until he come; it is centrally about receiving God’s salvation, and only incidentally about passing judgment on things as good or bad? The forbidden tree equates better with eldership, and we’re not saying infants should be elders and judges (or married).
-Genesis 14:13-24 features Abram rescuing Lot from Chedorlaomer and receiving bread and wine from Melchizedek. Note that Abram rescued “the persons” of all ages.
-Genesis 17:23-27 features circumcision. Again Dr Lee omits an interesting verse, verse 12: “And he that is eight days old shall be circumcized among you…” (Are these your age thresholds or mine?) All ages were circumcized; and men only were circumcized, a sacramental restriction lifted in the New Covenant (women are baptized).
-Genesis 22:2-19 features Abraham offering Isaac. (Again Dr Lee omits an interesting verse, 22:1: “God did tempt Abraham. This passage is perhaps not the most direct example for us, except of obeying God?) Isaac was old enough to talk. So was Jesus when Jesus died for our sins. But if Jesus died for people some of whom can’t talk, why cite Gen 22?
-Exodus 12:3-4, Passover: ‘…Take…every man a lamb…a lamb for a house, and if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor…take it…every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.’ Well? A “man” is to take a lamb, yet his household is includied in the eating thereof (as in I Sam 1.) And if anyone didn’t eat lamb, they must certainly have eaten something. (So should there be a “Lord’s Supper” for men and a “ladies’ supper or “babe’s supper” for others?)

D.V. I’ll get back to those passages, irrelevant and unimpressive for Dr Lee’s purpose though they be, but for now I’ll move on to other sections (paragraphs).

Don’t change “the clearly antipaidocommunionist teaching of our Westminster Confession …and…Larger Catechism.” / Clearly anti? As far as I know, paedocommunion was not an issue to the Westminster Assembly, so it was not “clearly anti,” though I suppose it assumed creedocommunion. (And as I’ve written above, on my theory an infant, at least from weaning, IS of age and ability to examine himself according to the contextual Biblical meaning of “examine himself,” i.e. make sure he’s including his neighbor; though I think it better to change the Westminster Standards than to re-interpret them as if we were doing what the Assembly had in mind.)

“True Presbyterians…respect Calvin’s views” [and at the foot of the page] “Cordially…” / Is it possible to exclude someone from the category of “True”–presumably putting them into the category of “False?”–and to do so “Cordially”? I cordially recognize brother Lee as a true Christian and a true Presbyterian, quite likely truer than I overall (God knows; I’m guessing on circumstantial evidence); I would like him to improve one point of doctrine and practice, and I cordially invite him to reconsider and to improve–if creedocommunion were sound, I’d expect to have seen an impressive argument in its favor by now.

“1, infant baptism signifies regeneration (but not conversion); 2, one’s first communion at teenage signifies conversion (not regereration)” / Looks incoherent, but I presume Dr Lee has in mind some theological complexities that mean something to him. To me, regeneration and conversion are pretty much the same thing, or two aspects of the same thing–regeneration (rebirth) being perhaps what God does, and conversion (=?profession of faith?) being an outward effect thereof. If by “regeneration” Dr Lee means an outward placing into the covenant, and by “conversion” means conversion from death to life 9inward with outward effects), how on that understanding can children be saved? I say (and I don’t know that my view is anyone’s party line) that infant baptism is believers’ baptism, and infant communion is believers’ communion, subject to such corrections as future behavior may require, but grounded in the notion that if anyone, including infants, is to be saved, God, Sovereign, must save them, by an inward work which includes the gift of faith (Eph 2:8-10), which we recognize by an outward work of baptism, official adoption into God’s family.

15 Dec A.D. 2009. Merry Christmas. Let me look at Dr. Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.’s article “Pauline Communion vs. Paedocommunion,” pages 163-210 of a book called “THE COVENANT: GOD’S VOLUNTARY CONDESCENSION” edited by Joseph A. Pipa, Jr., and C. N. Willborn, ISBN 1-931639-06-X, published by Presbyterian Press of Taylors, S.C. Gentry’s 48 pages follow a 15-page “Defense of Paedocommunion” by Robert S. Rayburn, and the editors hesitated (p214) to allow any paedocommunion presentation. Whose idea the size ratio was I don’t know; pastor Rayburn may have thought 15 pages was enough for him, and Gentry seems to spend most of his space constructing a theological straw man which he ascribes to Saint Paul rather than answering or constructing arguments; very different from his careful, sound treatment of eschatological topics. I might also note that “Voluntary condescension” describes infant communion–we reach out to our children, who cannot demand it of us–as opposed to creedocommunion, communion by works, namely by profession of faith.
Let me restate the heart of the issue as I (with Scripture in heart) see it. “As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show forth the Lord’s death until he come.” Did Jesus die for covenant children? Then when we show his death, we must include them; if we exclude them, we are showing that he did not die for them. Likewise for his coming. Does Gentry squarely tackle this? Not that I see at a glance through his article. He argues on and on about rules for ritual, not about connection with our Lord’s death. He strains at one gnat after another while swallowing a camel.
(Note: I’ll abbreviate “paedocommunion” as “pc” and “creedocommunion” as “cc.”)
On to Dr Gentry. If I’ve written emotionally above, in advance of proving much, so does he. His title assumes, in an emotionally slanted manner, what he hopes to prove. His first paragraph describes a cc response to a pc article as “effective,” though admitting it did not stop the debate the pc article had started, and admitting the pc position “has been adopted…by numerous ministers within conservative communions” (p163).
His second paragraph describes cc as “the historic Reformed practice” (p164). Sort of. It’s not a reformed (Calvinist, presbyterian) distinctive; John Calvin, the Council of Trent, and the radical Anabaptists agreed on cc, against Augustine, often considered proto-reformed. My AB2 above responds to this. Dr Gentry names his next section “THE REFORMED TRADITION,” (p164) as if the point of “reformed” were not to fix things. Does he use the original WCF? Is his denomination a 20th-century breakaway? Tradition? Well worth knowing, but tut tut; it either points us to the mind of Christ on a certain point, or not. (My observation is that very diverse traditions each notice some things and tend to ignore others, being too satisfied with what they have.)
Dr Gentry: “as I begin a Pauline critique of paedocommunion, I must emphasize to the Reformed Christian the alien nature of the revival of this ancient theological error.” (p165) Well, Paul’s tradition was sound. The Reformed tradition has room, however little, to improve. And pc is not wholly alien to reformed history–Musculus, Cartright, Taylor, Baxter had good words for it, as do its modern reformed advocates. Whether it is alien to reformed doctrine can be doubted; Calvin said of baptism that if children have the reality they have the right to the sign thereof, and applying this reasoning to communion, if Jesus died for our children then they have the right to the sign thereof, a fact Calvin overlooked, but a logic not alien to him.
Dr Gentry quotes Calvin leaning on 1 Cor 11 and saying children had to be taught before they could take passover. See above. He quotes the Belgic Confession and the Heidelberg Catechism as saying “believers only” and “all believers” (p166) should commune. Well? I consider that children are either believers or damned. My little ones trust me, can’t they trust Jesus? So they should partake.