Paedocommunion

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Bill Brown, Apr 16, 2006.

  1. Bill Brown

    Bill Brown
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    What say you regarding paedocommunion (partaking of communion by children)? More and more I am taking a negative view of paedocommunion.

    Comments?
     
  2. Frenchy

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    I believe the requirements for communion are found in 1 Cor 11.

    Those who are believers and who have been baptized who are in a right relationship with God and others, are to take commuinion. I do not believe you have to be a member of the church you are attending. we have visited other churches on vacation and took communion. we are all ONE body, ONE church.

    if your heart is NOT right you need to take the time to make it right, before taking communion. if you have aught with someone saved or not, you need to do all you can to be at peace with that person. after you have made things right on your part then the next time you can take communion. i have had to do this on occasion, not take communion until i talked with a neighbor or whoever.

    If a child is saved (which i believe a very young child can be) and has been baptized, and their heart is right, why not?
     
  3. Pipedude

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    I'm tempted to take the same position regarding this as I take toward teaching young children to pray to "their Father in heaven."

    The lost cannot pray in Jesus' name, and their father is the devil.

    But we have the children act otherwise. Not sure why, but we do. Anybody recommend that we don't?
     
  4. whatever

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    Bill Brown,

    Do you mean by children who profess faith, or by children of believers, or what? I guess I need more data before I can answer.
     
  5. I Am Blessed 24

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    I don't believe a child should partake of communion until he/she understands fully what they are doing.

    We have a closed communion. People must be members of our church to take the Lord's Supper.

    I would say that children could partake. If they understand enough to be saved, most of them can understand what the Lord's Supper is all about, but not all of them do...

    I would say it depends greatly on the child...
     
  6. Calvibaptist

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    I discourage parents from allowing their children to partake of communion until they realize not only the facts surrounding it, but also the gravity of the event. Partaking of communion in an unworthy manner caused some in Corinth to be sick and some to die. I, as a pastor, do not determine whether kids can take communion. I believe that is the responsibility of the parents.
     
  7. Andy T.

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    BTW, our issues with padeocommunion vary widely with what the Presbyterians are dealing with currently. The traditional Presby view on the sacraments is padeobaptism (baptizing infants), but then requiring confirmation of full membership (usually around ages 10-12, I believe) before one can take communion. But recently, there has been controversy among them - some of them see an inconsistency there, so they serve communion to even infants (at the discretion of the parents). The holders of the traditional view say this is wrong, because an infant cannot "examine himself" as I Cor. requires. Of course, I think this ultimately shows the unbiblical idea of padeobaptism. The padecommunion Presbys may be consistent with their own theology, but their view is really biblically inconsistent.
     
  8. rbell

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    We practice open communion...each who has confessed Christ as Lord of his or her life is welcome to dine at the Lord's table.

    That precludes any child who has not reached an age of understanding this. Only children who are believers participate in our church.
     
  9. Ransom

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    What say you regarding paedocommunion (partaking of communion by children)?

    If you would baptize a particular child, there is no reason to deny him the Lord's table. The prerequisites would be the same.
     
  10. Bill Brown

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    Personally I see merit in the Presbyterian view of communion. Many Presbyterian churches delay participation in communion until near the 13th birthday. Yes, this does seem to mimick the age when a Jewish boy becomes a man (in Jewish circles). The whole reason for my creating this thread is kind of complicated. I'll try to elaborate.

    Can a child come to faith in Jesus Christ? Absolutely! Can a parent believe that their child has come to faith in Jesus Christ when it truly is not the case? Absolutely! I believe it happened with my own child. It is sometimes difficult to ascertain whether a child has an understanding of sin (including the penalty of sin), their own sinfulness and the dynamic of Jesus Christ (who He is and what He accomplished for the forgiveness of sins). While I agree that parents are ultimately responsible to God for their children, the pastor and elders are ultimately responsible to God for shepherding the church.

    What would some of the benefits be of delaying participation in the Lord's Supper until a specific age...lets say (for arguments sake) thirteen? For starters I'll list two.

    Surety of salvation. If a child makes a profession of faith, it would not be a bad thing (imho) to provide a waiting or "review" period. What if the child made an emotional decision to the gospel? Did the child truly understand? Could the parents be fooled? I was. My daughter made a profession of faith at five years old, but in retrospect she did not come to faith in Christ until she was almost twelve. Knowing what I know now, would I really want it on my conscience that I was encouraging my child to partake of the Lord's table in an unworthy manner and actually heaping condemnation on herself (1 Cor. 11:27)? I believe we need to put away our Baptist distinctives and consider the issue.

    Consider the cost.What is required of a disciple of Jesus Christ? Considering the solemness of the Lord's Supper, it may (for an adolescent) be worth taking into consideration. It is in this area that parental teaching plays a very important role. Parents have a responsibility not just to provide for the physical needs of their children but also for their spiritual needs. One of these spiritual needs is to prepare their children for adulthood. Parents accomplish this by modeling proper Christian behavior and instructing their children in the truth of God's word. I have heard many stories of children, who made a profession of faith as a young child, only to admit that they never truly understood it. It resulted in a later conversion or living a life of unbelief. When parents center their family life around the word of God and live as though they mean it, children cannot help but be impacted by it.

    Yesterday morning a couple shared their experience regarding a teenage pre-summer camp that just concluded. They functioned as counselors. Their campers were teenagers that were raised in Christian homes. The couple shared that the teens stated, "We were raised with this stuff. How do we know if we really believe it for oursleves?" Wow. That blew me away. I am sure many (if not all) of these teens had made professions of faith as children. Depending on how their parents viewed the Lord's Supper, their children probably partook of the elements. Now they were asking if the faith of there parents was theirs. The couple that shared concluded by telling us that two of the teens placed their faith in Jesus Christ that week. These are teens who may have made a profession in their childhood and who had been raised in Christian families and attended one of the most prestigous Christian schools in the metro-Baltimore/Washington area.

    So I ask this question: could not the Lord's table be used as means of "confirming" the faith of a young person who is on the threshold of adulthood? I do not use the word "confirm(ing)" in the Roman Catholic sense. I don't want anyone accusing me of following Roman teaching. But when a child asks, "Daddy, why can't I have communion?" it is a divine opportunity to sit down with that child and lovingly instruct.

    And a question for pastors, elders and deacons: what level of responsibility do we bear in this area (if any)?

    IMPORTANT: I am not making accusations. I am raising questions that have been provoked in my mind and soul. I am also not drawing conclusions. I am open to the Lord's teaching on this matter and would appreciate your prayer and thoughtful replies.

    [ April 17, 2006, 03:01 PM: Message edited by: Bill Brown ]
     
  11. Andy T.

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    Bill, the problem I see with your proposal is that based on your reasoning, is even age 13 old enough? Maybe for some children, yes. But for most who made a profession early in their childhood, even 13 isn't old enough to establish if that profession was real or not. Some kids may not show solid evidence of faith until their late teen years. So I think your proposal is too arbitrary. If you really wanted to be safe, you might make the age 18. But of course, that would be ridiculous.
     
  12. Bill Brown

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    Andy - yes....absolutely...my reasoning is defintely involved, but I also have scriptural influence as to my reasoning. I threw out the age of 13 simply because that is historically seen as an age of accountability. I am not saying that is correct....just using it for arguments sake.

    There is no iron-clad method to determine whether anyone is saved. But when it comes to a child, I wonder whether we are too trusting.

    Andy...let me ask you this...age aside, what is your critique of the substance of my argument?
     
  13. Andy T.

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    If a child can give a credible profession of faith and there is no solid evidence that such profession is false, then at the discretion of the parents, the child should be allowed to take communion. And assumed in that is the child has a proper understanding of what is being celecrated - i.e., if they can understand the Gospel, surely they can understand that the bread and wine represent Jesus' body and blood and His sacrifice for our sins.

    And I don't doubt that the pastors/elders/deacons may need to step in at times. For instance, say a teenager is going through a rebellious state that is out in the open, if the parents still think it is o.k. to allow him to take communion, I think the church leadership should step in and counsel the parents on the matter, encouraging them to prohibit the rebellious teen from partaking.
     
  14. Bill Brown

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    Andy - thanks for your input.
     
  15. rbell

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    Of course...a question comes to my mind...

    If we want to make sure children "qualify," then why not make sure adults "qualify?" Wouldn't it be just as bad for a grownup to partake unworthily?

    The other issue about "rebellious teens"--I would want to be very, very careful about how I define "rebellious." Make extremely sure that you don't seek to disqualify teens just because they commit your "pet sin." I see potential for problems there. Also, in my church, over half the teens are the only church-goers in their household. Many are the only Christians. Do we approach non-Christian parents in this issue? Things get very thorny, very quickly here.

    I just want to avoid "second-class" kindgom citizenship.
     
  16. Andy T.

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    I think a rebellious teen is rather easy to point out - it is one who habitually and with impunity breaks the 5th commandment with no genuine repentance on the matter.

    Of course there will be hard cases, but there will also be easy ones, too - all handled at the discretion of the parents and [sometimes] church leadership.
     
  17. Bill Brown

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    I am not referring to rebellious teens. I fear my comments are not being taken in context. I am concerned about CHILDREN. Specifically young children through adolescents. Eventually there comes a time when a line must be drawn and a person must stand on their own two feet. Parents cannot make decisions for their children into adulthood. Young children (and sometimes adolescents) may have difficulties understanding the gospel. They cannot be used as an excuse, but it is a reality and is specific to the child. As always, God is sovereign over all. He knows the heart of the child. I know I was begging for a rash of negative feedback because this is contrary to modern Baptist teaching. Still...this has been nagging at me and I had to get my thoughts out in the open.
     
  18. rbell

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    But Bill...

    If they're old enough for our church to baptize them...

    ...aren't they old enough to partake of the Lord's Supper?
     
  19. Bill Brown

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    Yup....which brings up another topic..... :rolleyes:
     
  20. Calvibaptist

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    As a Baptist pastor, I have struggled with both baptizing and giving communion to young children. Most of them who "make a profession of faith" can't answer very simple questions about salvation, like, "Why should God let you into heaven?"

    I believe it is ultimately the parent's decision concerning communion, but if they are members of the church, the teaching ministry of the church (elders, pastors) should step in and instruct the parents on the proper use of the ordinances given to THE CHURCH.

    Since it is the church's responsibility to baptize and give communion, maybe there needs to be more examination of young people before it happens. Or we could be like other denominations and let anyone, even unbelievers, partake. But I doubt that would be a good idea.

    Maybe the issue of open/closed communion and the issue of young children being baptized would be good for another thread.
     

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