The Church is a messy place, and that means that not everything rolls out in the order that we might believe best fits with the patterns laid out in Scripture. Jesus is loving us into perfection, washing us with the water of His Word. But we’re not there yet, and in the mean time we have to be faithful when and where God has placed us.
So let me give you an example. I am told that in some communions it is common for children to begin taking the Lord’s Supper from a young age (or when parents deem appropriate) while withholding baptism until such an age that those in authority believe a true conversion has taken place.
Now in Presbyterian churches, it is frequently the opposite: babies are baptized and welcomed into the covenant and then later welcomed to the table when they are deemed old enough and/or mature enough to make a credible profession of faith in Jesus as Savior.
Now I happen to believe that both of these scenarios aren’t the best, though as far as I can tell, the latter Presbyterian practice at least has a good deal of historic precedent going for it. I have only become aware of the former practice in recent years and as far as I know hasn’t been a very widely held practice in the history of the church.
So in my ideal biblical world, I believe infants ought to be baptized and then when they begin sitting at their family dinner table at home and eating with their families, they ought to also be welcomed to the table of the Lord. In the course of things, this would probably mean that most kids would start taking communion around a year old, some earlier, maybe some a little later. Because the promises of the covenant are for us and for our children, believing those promises means naming our children in baptism into the family of Jesus and then teaching our children loyalty to that grace from their earliest days. It is absolutely necessary that they learn to trust and obey for themselves, but that is something that they learn by encouragement and discipline from faithful, believing parents. We ought to pray and trust that God’s promises are true for our children from an early age. This is not natural; it is supernatural. But God is often pleased to work His supernatural grace in little ones: for of such is the Kingdom of God. Continue Reading…