Child Communion

At the very center of the strong family emphasis that you will find in our churches, you will also find our practice of communing our children at the Lord’s Table. This is unusual in Protestant churches, and in some places it is even controversial. A few words of explanation here would probably be helpful.

Children have their unique challenges in their walk with Christ, as we all do, but an additional challenge is that as a class they are routinely treated as spiritual “outsiders.” Even in churches that baptize infants, it is often the case that a credible profession of faith is required before a child is admitted to the Lord’s Supper. But in our churches, the Lord’s Table is not protected with a profession of faith; the Lord’s Table is regarded as a profession of faith.

It is true that little children do not yet know how to make this profession; it is our assigned task to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord so that they learn how to do it. We teach them to make this profession by making it together with them every week. In our view it is analogous to bringing them home from the hospital right after they were born, and speaking to them in English . . . even though they don’t know English yet. That is quite true, but the fact that we do this is why they grow up to speak it fluently. We want our children to grow up speaking communion with Christ as their native language.

We are (all of us) saved through the gift of faith, from first to last, and it is no different with our children. As with all communicant members of the visible church, it is possible for a child who grows up this way to turn away from Christ. When such a sad event happens, they are to be disciplined as any other member would be.

But in the meantime, the apostle Paul compares the entire congregation to one loaf of bread (1 Cor. 10:17). And it is our conviction that all who are bread should get bread.

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Josh Sommer

Doug,

How do you reconcile this practice with the fact that it is nowhere regulated within the Scriptures, or with the obvious problem presented in 1 Corinthians 11:27,28? Thanks.