by Rev. Tommy Lee

?Having argued that it was defective theology which led the medieval church of the West to abandon the practice of paedocommunion, I will now build a positive theological case for paedocommunion from the Bible. First, I will examine the Old Testament sacramental system to demonstrate that the children of God's people had access to the "communion" meals of those days and to explain why they had that access. Next, I will examine the New Testament sacramental system to determine if the status of the church's children has changed regarding their access to the church's communion meal. Finally, I will briefly answer the common theological objections to paedocommunion which rise out of the eleventh chapter of 1st Corinthians.

Old Testament Sacramental System

?What are the sacrificial / sacramental / covenantal / communion meals of the Old Testament which inform our understanding of the Lord's Supper? They are, at least, the Feast of Passover (also known as the "Feast of Unleavened Bread"), the Feast of Weeks (also known as "Pentecost"), the Feast of Tabernacles (also known as "Booths"), the manna1, and the family peace offerings (also known as fellowship offerings). The first thing one must notice when examining these "communion meals" with the question of paedocommunion in mind is the fact that children are nowhere excluded from participation. Rather, they are often explicitly included.

?Although there is (in some circles) great debate over whether or not children were allowed to participate in the Passover, I believe that the burden of proof is clearly on the shoulders of the one who would argue that the children were excluded. Looking briefly at the events surrounding this feast, we see that Moses insisted that the little children would participate (Exodus 10:9,10); the lamb to be used was to be enough for every member of the household (Ex.12:3,4); little children were explicitly commanded to observe this ordinance (Ex.12:24); little children were expected to be so involved that they would ask questions as to the meaning of the rite (Ex.12:25-27); little children (boys)2 are circumcised, and so are free from the only basis of exclusion given (Ex.12:43-49). 3

?Deuteronomy 16 concerns the Feasts of Weeks and Tabernacles. Here we find a direct command to the people of God that they are to rejoice in these feasts before the Lord their God with their sons and their daughters (vs.11,14).4 These children were also obviously participants in the "spiritual" eating and drinking of the manna and water of the desert.5 Exodus 16 (the "manna chapter") calls attention to the fact that God provided this food for the entire congregation. If one wishes to argue that the children of the congregation were not included in this "type" of the Lord's Supper, he must only ask himself, "What else was there for them to eat?".

?Finally, we come to the family peace offerings.6 Leviticus chapters 3 and 7 (verses 11 and following) contain the regulations regarding the peace offerings. We find there that the peace offerings were unique among all the offerings of Israel. In the peace offering, the worshiper and his family actually ate a meal with the priest and with God (a fitting "type" to "communion" with God - having a meal at His table). Deuteronomy 12, which concerns the prescribed place of worship which the Lord God will choose for His dwelling place, makes it clear that these peace offerings were indeed to be "family" peace offerings. It was for the entire "household" (v.7); the "sons" and the "daughters" were expected to be present and participating (vs.12 and 18). The family of Elkanah provides an illustration of this (or of one of the three annual feasts) in 1st Samuel 1.

?Now that we have established that the children of God's people were indeed participants in these covenant meals of the Old Testament, we must ask the question, "Why were they included?". I would like to suggest two answers to this question, but one will immediately see that these two answers cannot really be separated. In fact, the first answer assumes the second.

?First of all, one must realize that Yahweh, the Lord God, feels very strongly that the children born to His people are His children!7 Everywhere (to my knowledge) that the Bible mentions children in relation to a kingdom / covenant / church activity, they are always mentioned because God desires to include them in the kingdom / covenant / church activity under discussion. 8 How could Yahweh treat these children in any other way, in light of His promise in Genesis 17:7?9

?Secondly, one must realize (if I may speak anachronistically for a moment) that the covenant feasts were for all baptized people who had not apostatized. As our New Testament sacrament of the Lord's Supper is the fulfillment of all the Old Testament meals mentioned above, so our New Testament sacrament of baptism is the fulfillment of (at least) circumcision and the cloud and the sea and all of the Old Testament ceremonial washings.10 We saw above that it was circumcision that gave one a right to be a participant in the Passover feast (Ex.12:43-51). It was the "baptism" of the Red Sea that gave one a right to the manna. Numbers 9 and 19 (among other places in the Bible) teach us that it is the ceremonial washings which make one "clean" again, restoring his right to be a participant at the covenant feasts. All of these are "baptisms." They were the only "ticket" one needed to have access to the feasts. The children of God's Old Testament people were thus "baptized," so, of course, they were invited to the feasts.

New Testament Sacramental System

?As the Westminster Confession of Faith (hereafter, "WCF") teaches us, "The sacraments of the Old Testament, in regard of the spiritual things thereby signified and exhibited, were, for substance, the same with those of the New" (27:5). Therefore, if "baptized" children had access to the Old Testament covenant meals, and if the New Testament does not somewhere forbid this practice to continue, then it would only be reasonable to assume that God is still pleased to invite His little ones to His table. The question that must be asked is, "Does the New Testament give us any indication that the status of the church's children has changed with regard to the covenant meal?".

?I believe the answer is "no." Whenever the New Testament mentions the children of the church, they are only mentioned to emphasize their inclusion in the covenant community. 11 Peter tells us that the promise is (still) for us and our children (Acts 2:39); Paul insists that our children are "holy" (1st Cor.7:14). Just as we continue to mark our children with the "sign and seal of the covenant of grace," 12 so (it would seem to me) God expects us to continue to invite them to the sacramental meal. 13 He has nowhere told us to do otherwise.

1st Corinthians 11

?The eleventh chapter of 1st Corinthians is the only place where it is even suggested that God might have given us the instruction which would forbid our children from participating in the covenant meal of the New Testament. Before I deal with this passage specifically, I would like to emphasize the solitary nature of this interpretive option.

?The WCF teaches us that, "The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself: and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly" (1:9). This principle has become known as the "analogy of faith".14 "Usually,... use of the analogy of faith is held until one is ready to check one's interpretation of a passage against the rest of Scripture." 15

?So, when one interprets the commands to "examine" one's self and to discern "the body" (in 1st Cor.11:28,29) in such a way that discriminates against child-participation in the sacrament, one is then obligated (by responsible hermeneutical practice) to check this interpretation by other passages which "speak more clearly" (WCF 1:9). What one finds is that God has left us no other passage in the Bible which would indicate that our children are precluded from participation in the Lord's Supper. Indeed, so far from finding support for this sort of separation in the Lord's church at the Lord's meal, one finds that this is a very odd practice in the world of the Bible. Therefore, if one is to hold to this interpretation, one must be comfortable with the fact that this is the only passage which speaks in this way, and that even it does not do so clearly (i.e., children are nowhere in view in this passage).16

?I believe that any interpretation and application of this passage which would dismiss the idea of "whole-church"17 communion is an unfortunate misinterpretation and misapplication of this passage. What then does Paul intend by the commands to "examine" one's self and to discern "the body," if he does not mean (as is commonly believed) a deep personal introspection and a theological sophistication of which children are incapable?18

?Dr. Gordon D. Fee has given the church a very valuable commentary on 1st Corinthians which provides some very able answers to these questions.19 This brief appendix is not the place to reproduce all of Fee's exegetical work, but I encourage the reader to carefully examine this study for himself. Fee points out that this well-known passage is often misunderstood because it is usually only heard when it has been abstracted from the flow of thought in Paul's letter to the Corinthians. We are so familiar with its liturgical use that we forget that it comes in the eleventh chapter of a 16-chapter book!20

?In this part of Paul's letter, he is addressing the second of three concerns he has with the way that the Corinthians were behaving in their assemblies.21 This concern is that, when they come together for the Lord's Supper, they are falsifying one of the great truths that the Lord's Supper is intended to proclaim; therefore, they are, in fact, not even truly observing the Lord's Supper (1st Cor.11:20)! The Lord's Supper is designed to (among other things!) declare the unity of God's people (1st Cor.10:17).22 In contradiction to this intended unity, the Corinthians were expressing division along sociological lines (1st Cor.11:17,18).23 The rich (whom Fee refers to as the "have's") were detaching themselves from the poor (the "have-not's") (vs.21-22, 33-34). The "have's" were in effect shaming the "have not's" (v.22) by having their "own"24 supper (v.21) while their less fortunate brothers and sisters went hungry. In behaving in this manner, the "have's" were "despising" the church (v.22).

?That is the occasion which elicited the warnings we find here from the apostle. It is important to appreciate the fact that these warnings were not given by Jesus at the time that the Lord's Supper was instituted. They were warnings which were proper for the Apostle Paul to give to the church upon the occasion that was provided when these problems surfaced in the Corinthian congregation. It seems somewhat odd to derive an interpretation which would result in a radical division of the church25 at the Lord's Table from such an "occasional" reference (as opposed to finding such instruction at the time of the institution of the sacrament26). It is also somewhat ironic that the text in which Paul is addressing the problem of divisions at the Lord's Supper is the very one which is so often used to argue for divisions at the Lord's Supper (namely, the division between child and adult).

?It is within this context of the "have's" abusing the "have not's" that one must understand the commands to "examine" one's self (v.28) and to discern "the body" (v.29).27 The self-examination that Paul is commanding in v.28 is the same as the self-judgment that Paul is wishing the Corinthians would give themselves to in v.31. Namely, Paul is commanding them to examine themselves "as to their attitude toward the Table, especially their behavior toward others at the Table. It is in this sense that the Corinthians are urged to examine themselves. Their behavior has belied the gospel they claim to embrace. Before they participate in the meal, they should examine themselves in terms of their attitudes toward the body, how they are treating others, since the meal itself is a place of proclaiming the gospel."28 Therefore, the "examination" specifically called for here is not an all-inclusive, soul-searching, deeply profound contemplation of the entirety of one's thoughts, words, and actions 29 - something of which only introspective adults are capable. Rather, the self-examination here is specifically focused on the question, "Have I discerned the 'body'?".

?What does Paul mean when he calls us to discern the "body"? Does this phrase mean to "understand the spiritual relation between the sign and the thing signified in the sacrament"? Does it mean to "reflect upon the death of Christ"? I do not believe so. Rather, given the overall context of this command, and in light of the very language which Paul chooses to use, I believe it is clear that to "discern the body" means to "live in love and peace (what Fee calls "normal Christian hospitality"30) with your brothers and sisters in Christ. The "body" that we are to discern is not the Lord's physical body, but the church!31 In anticipation of this command, Paul has already used the word "body" to mean the "church" in 1st Cor.10:17. He will go on with the image of the "church" as "body" in the well-known "Spiritual gifts" passage in chapter 12 (in almost every verse, from 12 to 27).

?That Paul does not have in mind here the physical "body" of Jesus or the "bread" element of the sacrament is further evidenced by the language which he uses. Everywhere in this passage where Paul is speaking of the elements of the sacrament, he uses word pairs that represent both elements.32 Suddenly, in verse 29, he is only referring to the "body." The "blood" is now absent. Furthermore, whenever Paul intends for "body" and "blood" to refer to the elements of the sacraments, he uses the qualifier "of the Lord" or some form thereof. That he does not do so here seems telling.33

?So, when one is commanded to examine one's self before coming to the Table, he is to evaluate his relations with his fellow Christians, with whom he is "one bread and one body" (1st Cor.10:17). He is to ask himself, "Am I living in love and peace with my brothers and sisters in Christ?". If so, then he may proceed and enjoy the Lord's gracious gift of communion with the Savior and with the church. When he approaches the Supper in this way, he is understanding what is required of him in a way that is directly connected with the problem that Paul described in 1st Cor.11:17-22, and that Paul addressed in 1st Cor.11:33-34.34

?To bring this discussion back to the question at hand, I would point out that it is not young children who create class divisions and general disunion in the church (the "body"). Rather, it is adults who are either carnal in their behavior (1st Cor.3:1) or misguided in their convictions (as I believe is the case with churches who keep their baptized children away from the Lord's Table)35 who effect such disunity. We should not be afraid to bring our baptized children to the Lord's Table for fear that it might present a danger to them or to their faith. So far from presenting a danger to them or to their faith, their communing with Jesus would assure them that they are loved (and fed!) by Him. If Jesus walked into our homes today and announced His desire to have a "family" meal with us, who among us would forbid our children to participate because we fear that they would then not be as likely to respond to His love?

?In bringing this section of this appendix to a close, I would also like to point out that this interpretation of 1st Cor.11:17-34 does find attestation in other parts of the Scriptures. The "analogy of faith" principle of hermeneutics (described above) bears witness that the interpretation and application of 1st Cor.11:17-34 for which I have argued is not foreign to the sacramental system of the Bible. Isaiah 1:14-17 36reads as follows:

??"Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates;

??They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them. When

?? you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even

?? though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are

??full of blood. Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away

?? the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil,

??learn to do good; Seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; Defend the ????fatherless, plead for the widow." (NKJV - my italics)

This sounds very much like Paul telling the Corinthians that God was offended by their appointed feast (it's not the Lord's Supper - 1st Cor.11:20) and that they were ripe for judgment (vs.29-32). Like Isaiah before him, Paul goes on to command God's people to examine themselves (v.28), to stop living in sin (vs.22,33,34) and to live in love and peace with all fellow Christians, especially the less fortunate ones (vs.21,22,29).


? We desire to be the church that is "reformed and always reforming." The reformers of the sixteenth century were tremendous servants of God, and the church was mightily reformed under their ministries. However, we simply cannot expect one or two generations of reformers to reform everything. The men of the sixteenth century already had so much "on their plates," that it is amazing that they accomplished everything they did. May our generation not rest on the laurels of our Christian forefathers, refusing to move beyond their achievements. May we rather continue to be diligent students of the Word of God, presenting ourselves approved to God, workers who do not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2nd Timothy 2:15). And when obedience to the Bible calls us to reform some aspect of the church's practice, may we not fear to do so.


1. ?1st Corinthians 10:3-4 refer to the manna as "spiritual food," and the water which came from the rock (Exodus 17:5-7) as "spiritual water." In the argument of 1st Corinthians, these serve as types (God feeding his people) of the elements of the Lord's Supper. The Corinthians were not to arrogantly assume that since they participated in the Lord's Supper they were therefore free from God's discipline. The Israelites were also fed by God, yet "their bodies were scattered in the wilderness" (1st Cor.3:5).

2. ?Little girls and women were, of course, not circumcised. However, the fathers / husbands of these little girls / women were the heads of the families, so their circumcision was understood to "cover" the females of the family.

3. ?Professor Louis Berkhof, although not in favor of paedocommunion, did not even question the fact that children were participants in the Passover meal. He writes, "Children, though they were allowed to eat the passover in the days of the Old Testament, cannot be permitted to partake of the table of the Lord, since they cannot meet the requirements for worthy participation." Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology 2nd rev.ed. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1941), 656. For an extended argument, with a long line of evidence that children were indeed participants in the Passover meal, see Keidel, 306ff.

4. ?The first part of this chapter, which concerns the Passover feast, does not include this command. However, I do not think that this omission is very telling. First of all, one must deal with all the information about Passover which I have presented above. Also, Exodus 13:8 (the original passage commanding that this feast be observed annually) indicates that children were present. Secondly, we must keep in mind that the Lord's Supper is not merely the fulfillment of Passover. It is the fulfillment of all these covenant feasts. Even if children participated in all but one (which I do not concede), the paedocommunion principle would still stand.

5. ?See footnote 87 above.

6. ?The "vow-offering," the "thank-offering," and the "freewill-offering" were the "three classes within the peace-offering proper." (J.D. Douglas, etc., ed. New Bible Dictionary, 2nd ed. (Wheaton, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1988), s.v. "Sacrifice and Offering," by R.T. Beckwith.)

7. ?Concerning Jerusalem's harlotry with idols, Yahweh says, "Moreover you took your sons and your daughters, whom you bore to Me, and these you sacrificed to them to be devoured. Were your acts of harlotry a small matter, that you have slain My children and offered them up to them by causing them to pass through the fire?" (my italics - Ezekiel 16:20,21 - New King James Version, hereafter "NKJV").

8. ?See especially Gn.17; Ex.10:9,10; Dt.6; Josh.8:35; 14:9; 1st Sm.1:3,4; 1st Chr.20:13; Ezra 8:21; Neh.12:43; Ps.78:1-8; Joel 2:15,16; Mal.4:6; Mk.10:14; Acts 2:39; 16:31; 1st Cor.7:14. To my knowledge, the only kingdom / covenant / church activities from which children are forbidden are (for obvious reasons) church office and physical warfare. This only makes sense. It requires considerable maturity to lead and to fight effectively. However, it does not require much maturity to take part in a "family meal." At the time that I am writing this, I have a 10-month-old son who has been taking part in our family meals for several months now.

9. ?Taking this idea one step further, I believe the Greek word aganakteo ("to grieve much - to be indignant") provides some insight into God's emotions regarding the exclusion of His children from all the covenant blessings that He intends to give them. Limiting our study of this word to the Gospels, one finds that the disciples were twice "indignant." Once with James and John for their infamous request (Mt.20:24; Mk.10:41), and once with the woman who anointed Jesus with costly perfume (Mt.26:8; Mk.14:4). One also finds that twice this word is used to describe the "indignation" of Christ's enemies. Once because the children were praising Jesus (Mt.21:15), and once because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath day (Lk.13:14). However, the only time the emotion of "indignation" is assigned to the Lord Jesus Christ is when His own disciples were forbidding people to bring their little children to Him, that He might bless them. "But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased ["indignant"] and said to them, 'Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.' And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them." (Mk.10:14-16 - NKJV). This passage is often used to justify the principle involved in infant baptism, but one should note that these children were already circumcised. The point here seems to be that Jesus desires to "commune" with them. He wants to "bless" them.

10. ?For the connection between circumcision and baptism, see Col.2:11,12. For the connection between "the cloud and the sea" and baptism see 1st Cor.10:1,2. For the connection between the Old Testament ceremonial washings ("baptisms") and baptism, see Hebr.9:10.

11. ?See especially Mt.18:1-5; 19:13-15; Mk.9:36,37; 10:13-16; Lk.9:46-48; 18:15-17; Acts 2:39; 1st Cor.7:14; Eph.6:1; Col:3:20.

12. ?This language is taken from the WCF, 28:1. See also Romans 4.

13. ?Indeed, the question that Reformed believers often put to Baptist believers is very instructive. "If the children of the people of God were marked with the seal of the covenant (circumcision) for thousands of years, but were not supposed to be marked with the New Testament seal of the covenant (baptism), then would we not expect a direct command informing the church of the new status of their children?" Many of these Reformed arguments would continue to be persuasive (in my opinion) if we substituted the references to circumcision and baptism with references to the Old Testament meals and the New Testament meal. See especially these: John Murray, Christian Baptism (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1980), 62,63. (On these pages Murray is discussing Mark 10:14-16.) John Calvin, Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark and Luke (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1993), 390,391. (On these pages Calvin is discussing Matthew 19:14.)

14. ?Walter C. Kaiser and Moises Silva, An Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1994), 192.

15. ?Ibid., 192.

16. ?Of course, if God had intended to exclude children from this meal, one might expect such instruction to be found in the words-of-institution proper - that is, in the gospels. Yet, one does not find such instruction there either.

17. ?Our children, by virtue of their baptism, are indeed part of the church. ("Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible Church; but also... " - WCF 28:1, my italics)

18. ?Even if these commands are to be understood in such a way that precludes childhood obedience, it is still not clear that this would exclude children from participation. "Much more would need to have been said before it could be concluded that Paul was speaking to the general question of who may come to the table, or to the question of children's participation, or that he intended to exclude them from the supper. We do not understand Acts 2:38 to deny baptism to little children, Rom.10:13-4 to deny them salvation, or 2 Thess.3:10 to deny them food." Rayburn, 508.

19. ?Gordon D. Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians. The New International Commentary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1987), 531-569.

20. ?"Because the paragraph [here Fee is speaking specifically of verses 27-32] has had a long history of being read at the Lord's Supper independent of its original context, its interpretation has also been independent of that context, a problem that is increased by some inherent difficulties with the language. The entire paragraph is dominated by 'judgment' motifs, some of which are wordplays not especially easy to put into comparable English. Furthermore, the crucial term ('body') in the crucial sentence (v.29) is ambiguous enough so that the point of the whole argument is frequently missed altogether, or at least in its main emphasis." Ibid., 559.

21. ?The three are "a concern related to women's head covering or hairstyle when praying and prophesying (11:2-16); the abuse of the poor at the Lord's Table (11:17-34); and the abuse of speaking in tongues in the assembly (chaps. 12-14)." Ibid., 491.

22. ?"Our Lord Jesus, in the night wherein He was betrayed, instituted the sacrament of His body and blood, called the Lord's Supper,... to be a bond and pledge of their communion with Him, and with each other, as members of His mystical body." WCF 29:1, my italics.

23. ?The Corinthians had a considerable problem with divisions. See 1st Cor.1:10-17 and 3:1-4.

24. ?In contradiction to the "Lord's" Supper, which they were not having (v.20).

25. ?See footnote 103.

26. ?Fee notes that the words of institution as they are presented 1st Cor. 11 are not themselves the point of the passage in 1st Cor. 11. They are rather part of the corrective to the problem (which is described in vs.17-22) which 1st Cor. 11 seeks to address. (Fee, 562) Simply put, the point of 1st Cor.11:17-34 is not to give "ground-breaking" instruction on the Lord's Supper. Rather, the point is to correct an abuse of the Lord's Supper.

27. ?This "occasion" literally surrounds these warnings. The problems (the "have's" excluding the "have not's") are described in vs.17-22. The solutions (the "have's" must wait for / receive / welcome the "have not's," and - if they want to eat their "own" meals - they must do so in their own homes) are laid out in vs.33-34. The reminder of what the sacrament represents and the warnings regarding unworthy participation are right in the middle. See Fee, 532ff. for a suggested chiastic structure of this passage.

28. ?Fee, 562.

29. ?Although there are definitely moments when this is appropriate after one has been called into God's holy presence.

30. ?Fee, 568.

31. ?Consider this study note from the New Geneva Study Bible. "The warning in v.29 about 'discerning the Lord's body' almost surely refers to this failure to maintain the unity of the church as the body of Christ... Because some of the believers in Corinth were celebrating the Supper in a way that destroyed the unity it represents, God had brought judgment upon the community." R.C. Sproul, ed., New Geneva Study Bible (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), 1815.

32. ?For example, eat & drink, body & blood, bread & cup.

33. ?Some versions of the Bible do include such a qualifier in this verse, but they do so on grounds which are highly questionable and which lack convincing textual support. See Fee's discussion of this addition to the text in his commentary referenced above (footnote 4 of page 558 and on page 563).

34.?When the Supper is approached in this manner, it also serves to maintain the outward focus that is more appropriate to a corporate worship service. The Lord's Supper is particularly the part of the service where we are to recognize and express the unity we have with one another, as one body. As we are enjoying the Lord's grace to us at the covenant meal, we are communing with Him and with one another. The "feast" is to be a place of outward focus, even in the assigned subject matter for the individual examination! This is not primarily the place for the inward, withdrawn, and individualistic self-focus. (In a healthy, well-ordered worship service, the worshiper would have earlier been given the opportunity for such a focus. It would have occurred during a time of personalized and private confession of sin, immediately following the corporate confession of sin! But, that's a subject for another paper.)

35. ?One may accept the interpretation of 1st Cor.11 as presented above, yet still object that children remain excluded from the covenant meal because they lack the ability to examine themselves with regard to whether or not they live in love and peace with their family in Christ. I would respond with the example of the nuclear family. When our children are brought to eat and drink at the family table, and they disrupt the family peace (by, for example, throwing food at their brothers and sisters), they are disciplined. They are disciplined because we know that they have the ability to "examine" themselves (at a child's level). We do not expect a level of maturity in self-examination which God has not yet given them. Likewise, God does not expect a level of maturity in self-examination which He has not yet given them. Instead of forbidding access to the Table because they do not yet possess well-developed skills of self-examination, should we not rather use this God-given opportunity to further instruct them in the importance of self-examination and the need to "discern the body"??

36. ?Dr. Fee brought my attention to this passage. Fee, 564. The surrounding verses (10-20) have the same concern. Similar passages (brought to my attention in Rayburn, 509 and Keidel, 326) include Lev.23:27-29; 1st Sm.15:20-23; Ps.51:16-17, 19; Is.66:2-4; Jer.7:1-29; 14:12; Hos.5:6; Amos 5:18-27; and Mic.6:6-8

Click here to return to the sacraments page at CRTA.

This article Copyright © 1998 by the Rev. Tommy Lee, associate pastor of Providence Reformed Presbyterian Church (PCA) in St. Louis, MO. Feel free to print out copies for non-commercial uses. Do not post elsewhere on the WWW or in a print publication without obtaining permission from CRTA or the author.

Return to CRTA