The Case for Covenant Communion: 2nd Edition (part 1)

I am very happy to report that Ichthus/Areopagus  wants to publish the second edition of The Case for Covenant Communion (hereafter, CCC) (now out of print). So I have begun work assessing the two book-length works addressing the anti-paedocommunion point of view published since CCC:  Children at the Lord’s Table?: Assessing the Case for Paedocommunion (Cornelis P. Venema) & Children and the Lord’s Supper (Waters and Duncan, eds.). I plan to give these books a fair reading and analysis.

My conclusion in 2006 in CCC was as follows:

“While there is no example in so many words of the children of believers in baptism or communion, there are numerous explicit texts on the inclusion of believers’ children in the new covenant (Deut. 30:6; Jer. 31:36–37; Acts 2:39), in the Church (Eph. 1:1; 6:1–4; Col. 1:2; 3:20; 1 Cor. 7:14), and the kingdom (Matt. 19:14; Mark 10:14; Luke 18:16). Communion is participation in these, if it is anything at all. No one can produce even one verse that explicitly excludes them from the tangible participation in the covenant promises through baptism or communion. In the final analysis all paedo-exclusion (anti-paedobaptism or anti-paedocommunion) is generated in theological inference from texts which are not explicitly addressing children.” (CCC, p. 164)
It will be surprising if Venema, Waters & Duncan, or anyone else can overturn that assessment. The main point is that our interpretation of texts should look to passages which address children or at least households (oikos), rather than passages that address adults. Such arguments usually then make inferences from such passages addressing adult sin (e.g., covenant breaking Pharisees or sectarian Corinthians). Then inferences are made to exclude children from participation (in baptism or communion). This is a misguided hermeneutic. A biblical interpreter should look to passages which address children and households to evaluate the status of children.

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Gregg Strawbridge

Rev. Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D. is the pastor of All Saints Church in the Lancaster, PA area.

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