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Posts Tagged ‘covenant meals’


After examining church history and the Reformed Confessions, the next logical place to turn is the Scriptures. Cornelius Venema does just that in Children at the Lord’s Table?. He starts with the Old Testament.  Well, after briefly summing up the arguments from the previous two chapters.

Here is his summation of the argument made by proponents of infant communion:

“Advocates of paedocommunion often appeal to the inclusion of children within the covenant in its Old Testament administration as a point of departure for interpreting the teaching and practice of the New Testament. Paedocommunionists argue that since children in the old covenant received the sign and seal of covenant membership in the rite of circumcision, and since they were granted the privilege of participation in many of the covenant observances, including the important rite of the Passover, believers should proceed from the conviction that a similar circumstance likely obtains in the new covenant.”

That’s is a mouthful! Just like the argument for infant baptism starts in the Old Testament, they say, the argument for infant communion does too. But is the matter as clear as it is for circumcision? In Genesis 17, Abraham is commanded to place the sign and seal of the covenant on his children. Does such a command exist in the matter of Passover or other covenant meals?

He notes that all of Israel partook of the manna, with the exception of children who were not yet weaned (those typically under 3). They did not understand the manna to be a sign and seal of the covenant. It was God’s provision. Paul, following Jesus’ lead in John 6, uses this as a type to point to Christ. Christ was meeting their needs, Paul argues in 1 Corinthians 10. But Paul uses this in an unexpected way- their participation in that baptism in Moses and that spiritual food and drink did not save them. Many perished in the wilderness due to their idolatry. Paul is not developing a sacramental theology so much as warning the Corinthians against presumption. As I noted in the post on church history, John 6 uses the eating and drinking as a metaphor for faith.  The issue is faith. [One review of this book on Amazon claims he doesn’t address the topic of the manna. Oops!]

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