All Who are In Eat, All Who Eat are In [Part 1]

2010 January 23

Unity and Feasting go together in scripture.  If you are on the fence about giving covenant children communion, let me suggest a few maxims and demonstrate them quickly:

  1. Both initiation (baptism/circumcision) and covenant renewal meal (Passover/Lord’s Supper) show the BOUNDARIES of who is labeled as one of God’s covenant members.
  2. Baptism AND Communion are labeled TOGETHER as makers of the the UNITY of the Body.

To say that one more time,  both sacraments express 1) Boundaries, and 2) Unity.  All who eat are in, all who are in eat.

Here is what I think is an efficient list Keep Reading>


Children as Examples of Repentance

2008 December 7

What is the point of  1 Cor 10-12?  Unity in the Body.

The key is unity with the Lord, and unity with his body – the people of the church.  Since we are one with the Lord and each other, we are urged to honor the body.   Does this mean that we look for every way to withhold the Lord’s supper from sinners?  How can we feel free to eat?  On what grounds should we judge the youngest covenant members?

Paul warns that in light of the Lord’s table, we should examine ourselves.

In 1 Cor 10 he gives numerous Old Testament examples of when the “baptized” and communing Israelites (vv.1-5) ought to have examined their behavior (vv.6-10).  Let’s remember at this point, that the children were always participant in Old Testament eaten sacraments (the Peace Offerings – see Ex 12.47 on who and Lev 7.11-38 for definition of the meal).  Paul himself emphasizes the whole community’s inclusion in both the rite of initiation, and in covenant renewal through eating spiritual food and drink (1 Cor 10.1-5).  It was both an inclusive group, and and a group whose members old enough to examine themselves needed examination.  But a requirement to examine did not rule out those too young to examine.

Examination does not exclude infants – and it is not NEW in the New Testament.

The Examples Even Give a Pattern for Mercy for “Your Little Ones.”

Those to young to examine are too young to need examination.  Both old and young are sinners.  Both old and young are saved by grace through faith.  We are told to ame sure that we are not defiling the table with gross public sin – but only those responsible for leading the group were held responsible by God in the following example:

One of the example passage to which Paul alludes, Numbers 14, gives a time when many died for grumbling…and God specifically says that the parents are responsible, but the little ones are not.

If we add to that 1 Cor 10.13 which says we face common temptations, and God always gives believers a way out, then we come to the following conclusion: We should not fear that our children will sin at a level that they have no way out of.  If they can “examine” themselves, then God may allow them to be tempted at a level needing examination, but they will be able to repent in accordance.  If they can’t examine because they aren’t able, then God simply will not allow tempation to sin at that level: “he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability” (1 Cor 10.13)- he is faithful to his people, and does not let us sin in a way in which we cannot deal with our Lord.

No one who comes to the table is not a sinner.  All are sinners, and all need grace, and that grace is presented in the picture portayed – the body and blood of a forgiving lamb.  If the gospel picture portays blessing only to the intelligent, then we will be prone to believe that forgiveness is somehow more effective over the people who have received it.  If the Children should be considered as already baptized into his death (Rom 6), then they should be portrayed as forgiven.

The point of coming is to show reception of forgiveness.

The reason some older people should examine themselves, is because their flaunting of public sin or sin against the church body DURING the meal, is not a picture of a man coming to receive forgiveness.  Rather, it is a man spitting on forgiveness.

Paul did not wrtie the warning in 1 Cor 10-11 in order to withhold the table from anyone.  His aim was not to put a stop to communion, rather it was to put a stop to public, unrepentant, gross sin.  If he comes with an attitude of sin against the altar (idolatry – 1 Cor 10.7, 14, 20-21), or against the church members – the poor, the weak, the gentile (1 Cor 11.21-22, 33-34; Gal 2.11-13; possibly Ac 6.1-4), then he doesn’t display a hand up to God, but a hand out against God.

As long as we come to the table as sinners before God, then we are accepted.  This is repentance.  The best example of such repentant faith, according to Jesus, is seen in “even infants,” for “the kingdom belongs to such as these” (Luke 18.15-17).

Adults who need to examine themselves need to examine if they are acting like the children in Christ who are the best examples of humble faith.


1 Cor 12.12-13 Unity Proven by Communion

2008 October 30

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body— Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. (1 Cor 12.12-13 ESV).

This 1 Cor 12 “drink of one spirit” I had not seen before Gallant pointed it out.  But, it appears that both Baptism and Communion are used as EVIDENCE of the singular body.  Universal participation proves universal equality spiritually.  This is VERY similar to the Galatians Baptism passage from yesterday.  And it is just the same as the earlier 1 Cor 10 passage, which focuses on the eating of the bread as opposed to the drinking:

1For I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3and all ate the same spiritual food, 4and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ….17Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.  (1 Cor 10.1-4, 17 ESV)


Giving Children the Royal Treatment They Deserve

2008 October 29

Feed My Lambs

I wrote the following for my main personal blog based on a paragraph out of Doug Wilson’s writing in Chapter 1 of The Auburn Avenue Theology: Pros and Cons – Debating the Federal Vision.


Think of all the adult people you know at church.

Not just any long term visitor, but actual recognized members of the church. Now ask – do you treat these people like Christians? You have to treat them as Christians- unless you have enough proof to excommunicate them (declaring thus that they are not-faithfilled toward the Lord).

When an adult unbeliever converts – we baptize them, and afterwards everything we do toward them is with the normal assumption that they are Christians. BUT WAIT!, you say. Some of them will prove to be false.

You are right. But until they do, you base their treatment on their baptism; this is CLEAR:

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

(Gal 3.27)

In fact, Paul explicitly uses baptism of ALL church members to prove UNITY of all church members so that they have to treat each other equally; see the next verse.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

(3.28)


They are all ONE if they are “in Christ.”

—–So how do we know a man is “in Christ”?

—–ANSWER: “All the baptized have put on [become part of] the Christ, so none of you can act superior.”

If we treat Christians as Christians, then until a person proves to be a dead branch IN JESUS that God will break off and throw into the fire (John 15.1-6), we must accept them as part of the church – they are IN JESUS. And we say to them along with all of God’s people: “Hear O Israel, Yhwh OUR God, Yhwh is one God” (Deut 6.4 – My rephrasing – not inaccurate).

Here is the big therefore:

Therefore, we must treat baptized children the same way. Like Christians. WAIT, the Kingdom can’t belong to those too young to believe?

Now they were bringing EVEN INFANTS to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for TO SUCH BELONGS THE KINGDOM OF GOD. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not RECEIVE THE KINGDOM LIKE A CHILD shall not enter it.”

(Luke 18.15-17)

Part of the rebuke to us is that THE PEOPLE WE SHOULD BE ASKING ADVICE FROM ABOUT HOW TO GET THE KINGDOM RIGHT IS THE INFANTS.

In the biblical pattern, it isn’t just any random child, or every child, but the children of believers who are set apart for God through his covenant. (Gen 17, Ac 2.38-39, 1 Cor 7.13-15).

Will some of them leave the church? Yes, some will. But in the same way as there are some adults who leave even after profession and baptism and who seem to be believers.

But we expect all people who are covenant members to be believers.  And we should expect it, trusting God’s promise in Baptism: that the people of God, as a group are saved. So we say to everyone in the group – “You are saved.” Even the Infants.

Which is what we do in Baptism, AND the Lord’s Supper.

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–All scripture referrences, unless otherwise noted, are English Standard Version, thanks to Bible Gateway.