A friend posted an article on Paedocommunion on Facebook today by Pastor Patrick Ramsey that I thought was very good.  As I thought about this issue again, it occurred to me that I had not put my thoughts down on paper.  In sharing them with you I hope to accomplish two things:  (1) to be useful to my brothers and sisters and (2) to test my views in the crucible of the internet.

 

At issue is not simply covenantal membership, but what one thinks is the benefit of the Supper.   How is the Supper a means of grace?  For an infant to benefit from the Supper, there would have to be a kind of grace conveyed via the elements apart from a conscious act of faith.  This is, as far as I can see, the medieval belief that grace (divine transformative power) is infused into a person simply because the sacrament works.   In the medieval conception, so long as the recipient was not opposed to receiving grace, the sacrament would work.  Since infants cannot oppose the grace it would ‘work.’  In the Protestant conception, however, the sacrament is seen as stimulating our conscious faith.  There is no transformative power in the elements.  Rather the elements stir up the faith that is in us, so that it becomes more active.  The bread directs our thoughts to Christ’s broken body; the wine to his shed blood.  Their very physicality adds a dimension that is missing in hearing.  As we eat the elements, we have a sense that we are receiving Christ, that He is ours and we are his.  Thus, faith is nurtured and strengthened.  As the Word helps us to look upon Christ and so love and trust him, so do the sacramental elements.

 

Paedocommunionists and Federal Visionists (often the same persons) really have embraced a medieval, sacramental view of Christian existence.  Whether they practice their beliefs or not, they hold fundamentally different views of how the Gospel works.  Such views cannot be confined to the Supper.  They will intrude themselves throughout their teaching.   The medieval conception of the Gospel is brilliant and brilliantly wrong.  It is, as the Reformers taught us, Satan’s great masterpiece.  We know where this kind of teaching leads.  Have we ceased to understand Satan’s devices?  If I have misunderstood them, I would be very happy to hear them explain how the Lord’s Supper benefits their infant children.

 

 

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