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Friday, January 12, 2007

The Precedence of Paedocommunion Does Not Come From The Precedence For Covenant Baptism


There is a difference in precedence between infant baptism and infant communion. The former is built upon the OT precedence that infants of professing believers are to receive the mark of inclusion into the people of God. It is not suggested under the older economy that infants should participate in a covenant meal of communion with God. Moreover, the reality that the sign and seal of circumcision signifies need not be tied to the moment of the administration of the sacrament, whereas the practice of communion IS communion. Communion, in other words, is not merely a sign and seal that is to be considered later but rather it IS communion at the moment of partaking. Accordingly, whereas one can be passive when receiving the sign of entrance into the visible, covenant people of God such is not analogous to the practice of paedocommunion. The mind must be engaged in communion.

Ron
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15 comments:

Joshua said...

Ron,

I've posted at the webboard, but I thought you might miss it, so I'm posting it here as well.

Is not the substantive argument against paedocommunion drawn from 1 Cor. 11?

If so, the call to examine oneself, thereby engaging the mind (as you put it elsewhere) would depend upon the object upon which the mind is to be fixed, or the manner, would it not?

If so, and if the judging of the body in v. 29 is not referring to Christ's atoning work, but rather to the proper unity of the Church in partaking (the particular sin that the Corinthians are committing and which occasions Paul's discussion), could there still be a reason for prohibiting infants from the Lord's Table?

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

I think the argument is a bit more complex than 1 Cor. 11. I do think that some sort of covenant renewal precedent must be established from the OT. I don't think that we can take the "body" to be referring to the body of believers but rather the body of our Lord.

Ron

Tim said...

Did the cov't children pass through the baptism of the Red Sea? Did the cov't children eat of the manna and drink of the stone in the desert? Those are both explicit types of baptism and the Lord's Supper from 1 Cor. 10, which 1 Cor. 11 builds on.

BTW, how is communion communion, but baptism not baptism? That's really quite silly. The grace of baptism isn't tied to the time of the physical baptism, sure. Neither is the grace of communion tied to the time of communion. Both baptism and communion have the sensible sign and the thing signified. You write, Ron, as though communion differs from baptism in this, but it does not.
-Tim

Reformed Apologist said...

Tim,

The reason communion is communion but baptism isn't baptism is that at communion one can expect to commune with God in the sacrament. It's normative in other words. If you want to say that baptism IS baptism, then you preclude one from being regenerate before baptism or after baptism and you make it normative that one becomes united to the Lord through the sacrament.

Tim said...

Ron, I think they're both the same. There is something that's done when the sacrament is done. But the thing signified by the sign (that's done) is not necessary present. That's why koinonia with God spells death for some.

Also, what do you think of the absolute surety that the youngest of children ate and drank of the manna and rock from 1 Cor 10?

Reformed Apologist said...

Tim,

A sufficient condition for eating damnation to oneself is not discerning the Lord's body. Infants cannot discern the Lord's body. I wouldn't be putting the elements in your child's mouth.

With that said, it's rather irrelevent how one approaches the OT texts for the NT has explicit instructions.

My opponent on apparent contradiction this past week wrote a very good article on communion that I would commend to you. If I can find it on line, I'll post it on the blog under articles.

Reformed Apologist said...

OK I put up an article by Stuart Jones on communion. I remember it being quite good when I first read it.

Tim,

You're pretty steeped in FV if I remember. I don't think I'm going to say anything to you that hasn't already been said.

Best,

Ron

Tim said...

Okay, so 1 Cor 10 does not inform our understanding of 1 Cor 11? I'm in earnest. I've listened to and read what I can find from CCom folks (and PCom folks). Discerning the body includes including the youngest and most needful of the body. Should we include them in our eating and drinking, or should you and I (the rich) get drunk? I can understand if you have other things going, but I'm interested in your thoughts. If you are going to convince folks like me (not necessarily FV nor TR), then you'll want to answer the pertinent questions.
-Tim

Reformed Apologist said...

Tim,

If you'd think syllogistically you'd find that your argument from manna skips a premise, not to mention your conclusion undermines the explicit instruction about discerning the Lord's body. The premise you skip is that the principles you think you find in 10 are parallel to 11 without remainder, but the without remainder part is undermined by the warning to eat without personal reflection. Consequently, your assumption about 10 and how it informs 11 creates a contradiction regarding examination.

Finally, elders are overseers of the souls of the congregation and elders cannot examine infants to see if they're in the faith. This becomes more glaring when you have a two year old ignoring the sermon yet taking the table.

Please refrain from posting unless you build actual arguments.

Reformed Apologist said...

Tim,

You've done it again, but this time with uncontrolled emotion. You've avoided argumentation. All you've blurted out is an exclamation - "Oh come on, have thousands of years been overturned..." Tim, a lot of things have been abrogated, so you're going to have to refine your "arguments", which are merely assertions. That you think it's unlikely that what you perceive to be an OT precept was abrogated hardly disqualifies the premise that the precept was abrogated. You're not only begging the question, your premise is not consistent with your own theology, for you think, I trust, that the priesthood was abrogated, just to give one example. Abrogation is not a disallowable premise.

To suggest you want to discuss and not argue is an obvious smoke screen. Of course you would like to present an argument for your case, which should include a refutation of mine. My previous post was clear and rather than argue against it, you simply say "Oh come on, you think it all hangs on an interpretation of x." That's hardly an argument, Tim.

A necessary condition for receiving the supper is that one be able to examine himself, lest he eats damnation to his soul. An infant cannot examine himself. An infant does not qualify. (A two year old is arguably worse off, not better as I've alluded to above.) Bishops have oversight of the souls of covenant children; therefore, the session should prevent the practice until convinced the subject can discern the Lord's body from common food etc.

Tim said...

Ron, uncontrolled emotion?! Heh, seems like you have a penchant for hyperbole!

There's an argument (that's right, an ARGUMENT) from continuity and from typology. It's the same one you offer to Baptists when you speak about infant baptism. I'm arguing along the same lines (with the explicit typology of 1 Cor 10). Preferring to keep one topic on the table at a time, I've not engaged (yet) on the topics of the commands of 1 Cor 11, nor the responsibility of the elders. (These seem to be your two arguments.) So, Ron, were infants and two-year-olds included in the eating of manna? Further, do you think that young table eaters were included in the Jewish feasts (e.g., Passover)?

BTW, I'm in earnest when I tell you that I want to discuss this matter. You think I'm lying (putting up "an obvious smoke screen"), which is an unfriendly accusation. True enough, it's not like I don't have a horse in this race... I have four of them. I've been listening to and reading folks (both p-com and c-com) trying to make sure I have my mind wrapped around the positions and their arguments. I want to discuss the matter. If you still think I'm lying, then I suppose, brother, we have no where to go.

Reformed Apologist said...

Angry and imprecise is no way to go through life, Tim.

You've used up your last post by not interacting with the explicit instruction to examine oneself before coming to the table. All your OT typology cannot overturn NT teachings that run contrary to your perception of OT teachings. At the very least, given your four horses in the race, presumably children, I have little doubt that the teaching they're getting from your pulpit is more dangerous than their partaking of the Supper. Paedocommunion church's are usually weak in other areas. Error typically begets error and when that isn't the case, it usually accompanies error.

Best of providence.

Reformed Apologist said...

Since Tim probably didn't read Jones' article, he certainly didn't interact with it, I'll quote a snippet here: "The Passover fulfilled promises made to Abraham and also laid groundwork for the Mosaic covenant at Sinai. The essential unity of the covenant of grace traced back to Genesis 3 and fulfilled in Christ implies that the Passover was part of the larger covenantal process. Therefore, we must not assign too much weight to the Passover when seeking to understand the Lord's Supper. [RA notes: Letham makes the same point in his excellent book on the Supper. The Supper pertains to a covenant meal but not the passover per se.] Jones cont. In the book of Hebrews, Christ's death is viewed primarily in terms of the new covenant. A fleeting reference to the Passover is found in Hebrews 11:28, where it is mentioned merely as one among many faith-events in the Old Testament. Although the Passover anticipated the Lord's Supper, the true linkage between these feasts is the cross of Christ and its covenantally defined atonement."

Jones (and Letham) couldn't be more right.

Reformed Apologist said...

Tim's ethic is amusing. He takes down a post that I called him on for exhibiting uncontrolled emotion. After he takes it down, he responds with "Ron, uncontrolled emotion?! Heh, seems like you have a penchant for hyperbole!" The entire Federal Vision is not known for integrity though so what would one expect?

Reformed Apologist said...

The post of Tim's that he deleted:

Unless I build actual arguments? Brother, what does that mean?! Why the pot shot? Are you "building arguments" and I'm not? Sheesh. I'm just trying to discuss the issue. If you want me to buzz off, just say so, but don't act as if you're on the intellectual high ground and I'm being unreasonable or something.

So, the premise I've missed would be the injunctions in ch. 11? If so, this simply seems to be a way of saying that something *very* different has occurred between the way God fed his flock (CERTAINLY including the very youngest of them) in the Old and the way he now does it in the New. So, the Sacramental unity of thousands of years hangs on the way one interprets "examine" and "discerning" in chapter 11 (as if there are no other legitimate possible meanings)? Do you think that's the case? Is that the premise I'm missing?