Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Update On Paedocommunion as a Reformed or Presbyterian Practice

In a post last month, I quoted James Jordan in saying that the practice of paedocommunion is not a Reformed or Presbyterian practice.  Specifically he said that those who want to practice paedocommunion in the PCA "are poison to traditioal presbyterianism," and "if you believe in pc, you’re not in the Reformed tradition at all in a very significant and profound sense. No more than you’re Baptists."  Keep in mind here, these are his words not mine.

In response, there was some concern raised that I had provided an uncharitable and incorrect description of paedocommunion because I defined it as "the practice of allowing a child to partake of the Lord's Supper upon the sole condition of baptism.  This means that not only is a profession of faith not necessary to receive the sacrament worthily and as a blessing, the sacrament can be received worthily apart from faith and still communicate a blessing of grace."

Well, I do not want to be uncharitable or incorrect, so I offer, once again, the words of James Jordan in how he understands paedocommunion. 
  •   [Paedocommunion is] allowing all baptized and non-excommunicated persons to the table of the Lord . . .
  •  If our children eat at our table at home, they belong at Christ’s New Table also. Admission is by baptism, (emphasis mine).
  • Now, I believe that if we refuse to let our baptized covenant children come to the Lord’s Table, we are subtly but effectively communicating to them that they need to do some kind of works before they will be entitled to participate in this mysterious event. . . . If our children are entitled to sit at table at home, then they belong at the Table in church also.
 So, given what Jordan says here about paedocommunion, you can see why I defined it the way I did in order for his words about it not being a Reformed or Presbyterian practice could be rightly understood.  Jordan is not speaking of paedocommunion as the practice of allowing younger children who have provided a credible profession of faith from communing.  He strongly disagrees with that practice, stating that,
Now, I believe that if we refuse to let our baptized covenant children come to the Lord’s Table, we are subtly but effectively communicating to them that they need to do some kind of works before they will be entitled to participate in this mysterious event. . . . Also, we communicate the idea that participation in this mystical ritual is an attainment, not a gift. But away with such notions! If our children are entitled to sit at table at home, then they belong at the Table in church also.
So, to be clear, Jordan believes that requiring a profession of faith prior to participating in the Lord's Supper is wrong, and is not what paedocommunion means.  I was not being uncharitable or incorrect, I was simply defining paedocommunion according to his understanding.

3 comments:

  1. Maybe I'm alone in this (I notice that no one posts any comments in your blog), but I'm not sure what your point is in these things that you post. Are you just trying to educate people about what "others" are saying about a topic (like paedocommunion)? It's not clear to me what YOUR view is - or what you think the Scriptures view is. What is your point, then?

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  2. My point in the original post was fairly simple, I was fascinated by the fact that one of the leading advocates for paedocommunion said that it is not a Reformed or Presbyterian practice, and that the PCA was right in defending itself against those ministers who want to practice PC. He described ministers who want to practice PC in the PCA as poison to the PCA.

    If that came from someone who disagreed with PC then it wouldn't be very interesting to me--but for that to be said by a leading advocate, it just struck me as fascinating. It's like hearing Nancy Pelosi come out and say, "Hey all you liberal Democrats out there pushing for redistribution of wealth through over taxation of the wealthy--the conservatives are right in calling you out for your socialist agenda." If Rush Limbaugh said that, it wouldn't really make the news, but if Pelosi said it, it would make the front page headline.

    With regards to my position, I am a minister in the PCA who has taken vows (without exception) to uphold the Confessional Standards and Constitution of the PCA. So I believe that they have rightly interpreted the scriptures to teach that everyone (whether adult or child) must first make a profession of faith before coming to the table. Jordan says that baptism alone is the necessary and sufficient condition for coming to the table, which he acknowledges is not traditionally (confessionally) Reformed or Presbyterian. I believe the confessional perspective that teaches that where baptism is extremely important and is a necessary condition for the Lord's Supper, it is not a necessarily sufficient condition. In addition to baptism, one must confess his or her faith to the session.

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  3. Thanks for upholding the truth David.

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