Paedocommunion

“But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.  For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body…  For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

1 Cor. 11:28-32

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

1 Cor. 13:11

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Order of Contents

Articles  3
Calvin

Westminster Assembly
Books  2
Latin  1
History of Paedocommunion  2
Quotes  3

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Articles

Contemporary

Bacon, Richard – ‘What Mean Ye by this service?: Paedocommunion in light of the Passover’  1996  8 chapters

Schwertley, Brian – ‘Paedocommunion: a Biblical Examination’  2008  17 pp.

Pipa, Joey – ‘Paedocommunion: Wrong View of Membership and Sacrament’  2013  5 paragraphs

Pipa is the president of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

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John Calvin

Calvin, John

Institutes, need to get section

‘The Manner to Examine Children, Before they be Admitted to the Supper of the Lord’  in Works of John Knox, vol. 6, pp. 343-345

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The Westminster Assembly

Westminster Assembly – ‘On the Conditions for Partaking of the Lord’s Supper’  April 17, 1645

Keister, Lane – ‘Exceptions Required to be Taken by Paedo-Communion Adherents’  2009, 13 exceptions, 16 paragraphs

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Books

Wall, Thomas

Baptism Anatomized being Propounded in Five Queries…  Wherein the right that the infants of believers have to water-baptism is vindicated: the duty of believing parents in that matter, asserted: and that by the contrary tenet and practice, they ought themselves to be excluded from the Lord’s-Supper, is plainly and fully proved…  (London, 1691)

Infants’ Baptism from Heaven, of Divine Institution. Being a brief yet satisfactory answer to some objections made by Hercules Collins…  Wherein the right that the infants of believers have to water-baptism is vindicated: the duty of believing parents in that matter asserted: and that by the contrary tenet and practice, they ought themselves to be excluded from the Lord’s-Supper, is plainly and fully proved…  (London, 1692)

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Latin

Voet, Gisbert – 6. Question: Are Infants or Young Children to be Included [at the Table]?  in Ecclesiastical Politics, vol. 1, book 2, tract 2, section 4, ch. 3, pp. 757-8

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The History of Paedocommunion

Articles

Waterland, Daniel – ‘An Inquiry Concerning the Antiquity of the Practice of Infant-Communion as Founded on its Notion of its Strict Necessity’  †1740  in Appendix, pp. 75-135 in Sermons, vol. 2

Waterland (1683–1740) was an Anglican who held sacramentalist views, though here he ably surveys the history of paedocommunion.

Winzer, Matthew – The True History of Paedo-Communion  from the Confessional Presbyterian #3 (2007), p. 27-36

Winzer demonstrates that Paedo-Communion was an abnormal and sliver of a minority view in the early Church.

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Quotes

1500’s

The Discipline of the Reformed Churches of France  1559

Ch. 11, ‘Of Baptism’, Canon 10 & Ch. 12, ‘Of the Lord’s Supper’, Canon 2  in Synodicon in Gallia Reformata, vol. 1, p. xlvi

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The First Book of Discipline [of the Church of Scotland], 1560

The Fifth Head, The Necessity of Schools

“…the childrenprovided always, that first they have the form of knowledge of Christian religion: to wit, the knowledge of God’s law and commandments; the use and office of the same; the chief articles of our belief; the right form to pray unto God, the number, use, and effect of the sacraments; the true knowledge of Christ Jesus, of his office and natures, and such other [points] as without the knowledge whereof, neither deserves [any] man to be named Christian, neither ought any to be admitted to the participation of the Lord’s Table.  And therefore, these principles ought and must be learned in the youth.”

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The Ninth Head, Concerning the Policy of the Church

All ministers must be admonished to be more careful to instruct the ignorant than ready to satisfy their appetites; and more sharp in examination than indulgent, in admitting to that great mystery such as are ignorant of the use and virtue of the same.  And therefore we think that the administration of the Table ought never to be without that examination pass before, especially of those whose knowledge is suspect.  We think that none are apt to be admitted to that mystery who cannot formally say the Lord’s Prayer, the articles of the belief, and declare the sum of the law

Every master of household must be commanded either to instruct, or else cause [to] be instructed, his children, servants, and family, in the principles of the Christian religion; without the knowledge whereof ought none to be admitted to the Table of the Lord Jesus.  For such as are so dull and so ignorant, that they can neither try themselves, neither yet know the dignity and mystery of that action, cannot eat and drink of that Table worthily.  And therefore of necessity we judge it, that every year at least, public examination be had by the ministers and elders of the knowledge of every person within the church: to wit, that every master and mistress of household come themselves, and their family (so many as are come to maturity), before the ministers and elders, to give confession of their faith, and to answer to such chief points of religion as the ministers shall demand.  Such as are ignorant in the articles of their faith; understand not, nor cannot rehearse the commandments of God; know not how to pray, neither whereinto their righteousness consists, ought not to be admitted to the Lord’s Table.”

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David Calderwood

The Perth Assembly, 1560, p. 89 

The Reformed churches observe the same order in admitting to the Lord’s table, either the children of Christians, or strangers from other parts: they admit them not but with prayers and after due examination of their knowledge, and personal profession of the known truth.  The Church of Scotland at the first reformation [A.D. 1560] ordained that children should be examined for the first time at the ninth year of their age; for the second, at the twelfth, for the third at the fourteenth, and since has practiced continual examination in the Catechetical doctrine with prayers reiterate, for their growth in knowledge and sanctification; and without sufficient trial they were not admitted to the Lord’s Table.” 

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1600’s

William Bucanus

Institutions of the Christian Religion  trans. Robert Hill  (London, 1606), Locus 47, ‘Who are to be Baptized?’, pp. 720-1

“Then, because to whomsoever the promise appertains, to them also belongs the sign, as therefore baptism is bestowed upon infants, is likewise the Supper of the Lord to be administered unto them?

Certain of the fathers have thought so, as Cyprian (Sermon 5, De Lapsis [Of Falls]) and Augustine (Lib. de Eccle. dogmat., ch. 52), being moved by these words, Jn. 6:53, ‘Except ye shall eat the flesh of the son of man, and drink his blood, you shall have no life in you.’

But we deny the consequent.  For this place speaks not of a sacramental eating, but of a spiritual eating, or of faith, by which the faithful are quickened, which are annexed unto Christ, who offered his body and shed his blood for us.  And by this means the flesh of Christ is made unto us meat indeed, and his blood drink indeed.

Secondly, that to whomsoever the promise appertains, to them also belongs the sign, is true, but according to the divine determination, appropriated to every sacrament: to wit, so that the sacrament of ingrafting be bestowed as well upon infants as those of years, but upon male children only, and that not before the eighth day, in the old Testament: but in the new, both to the male and female without any prefixed time.  But the sacrament of nourishment to them of years only, and that for a certain peculiar end, and the diversity of the circumstance of the action.

So the Eucharist hath his proper end, that the death of the Lord should be declared in the public congregation in the using thereof.  It is also commanded, that everyone which comes to the Lord’s Supper should examine himself: yea and peculiar actions belong to the external rite, to wit, to eat and to drink, which are not fit for little children.  So under the Old Testament circumcision was appointed for infants but the Passover to them only which by reason of their age were able to ask of the signification thereof.  Hereupon came those vulgar verses:

‘Ebrius, infamis, erroneus, atque furentes,
Cum pueris, Domini non debent sumere corpus.’

‘To drunkards and thin-famous sort, to men misled and mad:
To children, Christ’s body to give, it were an action bad.’”

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“For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.  What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.  Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?  For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.”

1 Cor. 14:14-17

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Related Pages

Lord’s Supper

The Administration of the Lord’s Supper

Intinction