Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Loving the Saints-Honesty is the Best Policy

Last Sunday in my communion meditation I said that an honest answer to why children are not allowed at the Lord’s Table is the belief that they are not welcome there. Specifically, that the reason is “that we think that Jesus does not like them that much.”

That statement may seem harsh and I did get some feedback from it. I want to make a bit of a clarification here. I am not saying that pastors and parents think bad thoughts about their own children. I strongly believe that pastors and parents think they are preventing harm coming to their children by keeping them away from the Table. It seems a strange thing to do to prevent harm but not if you think the cup is a potential curse for unworthy receivers.

I also grant that they have some good historical and even biblical reasons for doing so. I might add that I think that both their historical and biblical reasons are lacking. However, they are being faithful to what they think is the historical or biblical position. I am not asserting ill motives on their part.

However, if they are truly honest about their understanding of church history on this subject as well as their understanding of the Bible on this subject, it amounts to the fact that their children are not yet worthy recipients of the Table. As good Protestants, I hope they do not mean that worthy recipients merit God’s favor. What Protestants mean by worthy recipient is that they are objects of God’s favor. Since children are not welcome at the table, then they are therefore, by definition, NOT objects of God’s favor. I do not see how we can avoid this conclusion, no matter how we try to support a non- paedo-communion view from church history or even from the Bible.

Finally, we have to live with whatever the Bible teaches, even if it teaches that God does not like our kids that much until they reach a certain age. If that is what the Bible teaches, then I am prepared to alter my practice to conform to God’s standard. Thankfully, I have diverse Biblical teaching that explicitly tells me otherwise. God, the Father likes my children. Jesus does, too. And the Holy Spirit is willing to dwell with them on good terms. Not because they are good but because He is.


deactastic said...

It's not that God does not want them there. It's that they are not yet ready. If a child cannot yet understand (not just repeat) what the Lord's Supper celebrates, then they will be eating judgement unto themself.

Virgil Hurt said...

Who says that they are not ready? And who says that not being ready means that our children are eating judgment to themselves? Do you have a bible verse or just speculating. 1 Cor. 11 is talking about adults eating and drinking without reference to their less fortunate brothers and sisters. Do children do this?