A Holy Meal for a Holy Family

Paedocommunion is the climactic event of the covenantal family. It is the first real sign of contrast with worldly practices. There are distinct differences in the familial structures of this world. The Christian home is even more distinct because it embraces a sacramentally mystical life. This implies that the covenant family holds the keys to life and death. The failure of the covenant head leads to failure in  covenantal succession. The success, nevertheless leads to unfathomable progress in God’s kingdom. By investing in the catechetical development of children the home is enriched by a set of new visions. Visions that are trans-generational. Furthermore, the home is restored to sanity and stability when the family in its ontological equal status partakes of the meal Christ offers to all who are invested into his body.

Alistair comments:

The practice of paedocommunion is a very powerful tool for raising children in true piety. The Eucharist teaches children the joy of being in God’s presence and the solemnity of eating Christ’s Body and drinking His Blood. The Eucharist teaches children the necessity of living lives shaped by penitence, faith and thanksgiving. If we allow children to participate in a manner that denies the reality of the Supper we do them no service.

Hindering a child from experiencing the presence of Christ is to equate them to the families of the earth who do not possess Christ’s perfect sacrifice. The baptized child is as much a part of the covenant family as his/her parents. Peter himself calls us a holy nation, a royal priesthood. Embracing Christ’s meal for the entire family affirms Peter and consecrates the covenant home.

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About Uri Brito

I am the Pastor of Providence Church (CREC) in Pensacola, Fl.
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33 Responses to A Holy Meal for a Holy Family

  1. abg says:

    The requirements for the Lords supper are that the recipeints must be justified. Paul sets this limit all through the epistles where justification is the entrance into all the promises and special graces. ie Jacob and Esau. One was chosen the other rejected or not in Christ or foriegn to that life giving body.

  2. U.T. Brito says:

    Fortunately for those who defend the spiritual nurture of children the New Testament is not the only determiner of our theology, the law establishes certain practices for the covenant family at large (I am thinking of passover).Tim Gallant has written a great book on this issue entitled: Feed my Lambs (Also see debate between Tim Gallant vs. Steve Schlissel). Furthermore, I also think the New Testament sets a continual precedence for paedocommunion.
    Jacob and Esau were already heirs to that promise since birth. However, Esau forsook the covenant and abandoned the covenantal promises (I John 2:19).

  3. abg says:

    The NT argument in Romans on Jacob and Esau was not about any aspect of baptism or communion. In fact is was centered on the fact that works we unacceptable in the whole realm of justification and that righteousness was from a foriegn source apart from any work.It would go against the Pauls message to add these things into the Romans text.

  4. abg says:

    I still love ya man, i dont mean to be mean.

  5. U.T. Brito says:

    Hey Tom,
    I appreciate your interaction and questions. Of course I assume you know that since I am committed to the historical Reformed view of Covenant Theology (which subsequently leads to Paedobaptism and I would argue necessarily Paedocommunion) my understanding of the promises of God are entirely different that your presuppositions on God’s dealing with the children of God’s chosen people. As the Psalmist declares God’s faithfulness is to all generations. Certainly no one would deny that his faithfulness would apply to the children of the Old Covenant Church and so as you can see the promises apply to those in the New Covenant (at least my pre-disposition leads me to argue that way).
    Further, I did not mention that Paul’s message in Romans 9 was about communion and baptism (you implied that) nevertheless all promises are given to God’s covenant children.
    Of course you have to realize that your anti-Reformed sacramentology affects tremendously the way you interpret certain texts and I affirm that it also affects my interpretation. It is helpful to discuss the issue of paedocommunion, but I affirm that this is primarily an issue among Reformed sacramentologists. Not that you can’t add to the discussion, but to discuss paedocommunion with one that does not even affirm paedobaptism is like talking to a Brazilian about football when he is thinking RONALDO AND PELE and you are thinking Joe Montana and Randy Moss. It makes no sense.
    Nevertheless if you are interested in the discussion here are a few fundamental presuppositions that lead me to assert such a position.
    1) The Sacraments in the Old Testament are not changed in recipients in the New rather they are re-identified as baptism and Lord’s Supper.
    2) Covenant Promises are always made in the context of “you and your children.”
    3) Transgenerational morality and ethics transcend generations and must be passed on to our offspring through ritual or norms (see Frame on normativity). Again this has been a intramural debate among Reformed sacramentologists. I have plenty of information on the the history, exegetical and covenantal insights if you are interested. Again as Frame states it is hard to be interested in something that you are presuppositionally opposed.
    Anyway, see you this coming Sabbath day.

  6. U.T. Brito says:

    Hey ABG, I will try to bring a blank cd so you can download some sermons you told me about.
    Thanks again for your comments.
    Uri

  7. adam says:

    It’s simple. Those who do not allow children to participate have kept some from receiving the meal, and according to Paul – who teaches us that the meal MUST be taken in unity with the whole body – those who do so do “not come together to eat”. (1 Cor 11:20) Those who do not wait for their children do not obey the Lord who says, “wait for everyone”. Paul chastises the Corinthians for letting some go hungry (1 Cor 11:20). Non-paedocommunionists are really non-communionists. “Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper”

    I discussed this recently with a Roman Catholic. I ended up posting a bunch of stuff on my blog,
    http://www.adamnaranjo.com

    What is really interesting is that in the early Church the infants and children were given the Eucharistic elements BEFORE the adults.

  8. abg says:

    I do believe in believers baptism and you do also. Your condensention is part of your predisposition of a leneage bias and lack of understanding of this subject historically.Your attitude is more akin to the presumption of that community Paul was addressing in Romans. I have more support on my side from the covenant theologians than you do concerning pado-communion. Your embracing this is not “pure” covenant theology historically. Justification by faith is a prerequesite for a baptised covenant child for membership in the church and thus taking part in all the privileges. What good would it be for a person to take part in Christ body when he is not even recognized as a member of that body?

  9. abg says:

    I love ya brother. Hope to have more of these conversations. Love to do the cd thing for you. Bring two or three if you want. Im going to do some myself. If you want me to change something on the cds you have my email address.And you know im rite. he he he he

  10. abg says:

    Really what you believe is just plain mysticism, man.You are saying that baptism makes you a part of the covenant family but the reality is that the parents who are believers create that covenant reality.Then you are saying that baptism is the basis for communion when that baptism has no power other than a recognition and that communion which follows that act is effective. Its just not even logical and really is a contridiction.

  11. abg says:

    Now there are more agreement in my theology with a Presbyterian than a southern baptist. And as far as i am concerned there is only one minor difference and that is baptizing babies because when it come to adults we agree on believers baptism. I do respect you for your honesty. I would come to the same conclusion about baptism and communion as you do if i accepted the proposition that you accept if i were being intellectually honest to what i believe is a false proposition.

  12. Tom says:

    I should have said adults as new members.

  13. tom says:

    I would love to read and hear more of what you have. Thanks for the intellectual stimulation and i always have the last word.And i think you probably could have used Shane Williams in that soccer illustration.You know i dont cause problems publically about baptism. Unity brother Unity!

  14. U.T. Brito says:

    Hey Adam
    Great to hear your thoughts. Long time… I will check your posts on the topic.

  15. U.T. Brito says:

    Tom, thanks for sharing.
    Uri

  16. adam says:

    I believe justification by fait is the prerequisite as well. Remmber, Abraham was Justified by faith, and then God commanded him to give the SIGN of that faith (circumcision) to his whole household. Once the federal/covenantal had of the household is justified and given the sign of the covenant, the children must also be given the sign of justification by faith.

    Holding that baptized children are members of the Covenant is not mysticism, it’s calvinism. Calvin made such claims regularly.

    http://adamnaranjo.com

  17. U.T. Brito says:

    Adam,
    Always great to hear from you. Are you bothered by the term mysticism (that is not in the pejorative sense) but when it relates to sacramental thinking? Calvin seems to have used the concept of mystical union with Christ and mystical communion. So, can you elaborate on the concept of mysticism in the table? Thanks.

  18. adam says:

    U.T.,

    No, I’m not bothered by the word mysticism, as long as were not talking about “mysticISM”, but “mystery”.

    I didn’t mean to knock mysticism in my last post, I was just trying to make a point in response to abg. I’m all about the mystery of our faith!

    take care,
    adam

  19. U.T. Brito says:

    Adam,
    Thanks for the clarification. Are you aware of the topic of the 2006 AAPC will be?
    Uri

  20. Tom says:

    There is a distinction between mystical and “mysticism” and that is mysticism is belief in universal inclusion in Christ.

  21. U.T. Brito says:

    Tom,i agree there is a distinction, but mysticism being defined by universal inclusion is a bit unfair. Please identify your source for that definiton. I, Calvin, Luther and others have a mystical view of the sacraments. You accused me of affirming mysticism. If by mysticism you are referring to universal inclusion in Christ apart from covenantal communion you err, nevertheless if you mean that all who are part of the covenant through baptism or confession are included in Christ, then I take the charge with great joy.
    Uri

  22. Tom says:

    I stand on an individual salvation by justification by faith apart from any outward sign or work. That includes any precondition to salvation. Being in the covenant is being in Christ and that must have an inward call of the Holy Spirit and works as the proof of that change.Any other recognition as it relates to pado communion is like mysticism. [No reality]Then its just words and not the revelation. Think about an adult coming into the church who has not made a profession of faith but has been baptized as an baby. Would you agree with him taking communion?

  23. U.T. Brito says:

    Thanks Tom for your quick answer. You still have not given me the source of your definition of mysticism. I do think you may be getting to the heart of the question when you pose the adult scenario; If an adult claims to have been baptized in the church and comes to the church without having made a profession of faith should he receive communion? This is where you finally get to the point of the matter. First, I recommend Douglas Wilson’s book: Reformed is not enough (you must read it to understand his controversial title). Secondly, a child who is baptized in a covenant home and does not accompany the sign and seal of his baptism is a traitor to the covenant. Nevertheless, we should as it were “pull him by the throat of his baptism” and point him to the sign of the covenant. It is there as the confession states you have a sign of forgiveness. Baptism accompanies one througout life and eventually if you are one of God’s chosen people it will catch up with you and refresh your commitment and confirm your status.
    Thirdly, the adult who takes communion without a confession and without demonstrating the effects of his baptism is taking a great risk of falling into the hands of an angry God.
    It is my prayer that one day my own children who will partake of God’s covenant sign of baptism and partake of the holy food will state without qualification that there has not been a day in his life where he has not known the love of God for him.

  24. Tom says:

    U.T. Brito -Nevertheless, we should as it were “pull him by the throat of his baptism” and point him to the sign of the covenant. It is there as the confession states you have a sign of forgiveness. Baptism accompanies one througout life and eventually if you are one of God’s chosen people it will catch up with you and refresh your commitment and confirm your status.

    I never see this distinction in the call to salvation in the NT. Salvation is very simple and is to all men of any religion, race. The gospel is free and has not connection of acceptance to any outward ritual. In fact the Pauline argument starts from a proposition of mans inability that is any MEANS to attain justification and soveriegn grace that is ill merited grace. He argues from the point of trusting in the special group toward inability. I think you are reversing the direction even tho you believe in free grace. The direction is away from mans will and means and is layed on the will of God as the sole reason for salvation.

  25. Tom says:

    I should have said men of any religious background.

  26. Tom says:

    Does he argue against the Group. But the group had salvation that was originated in the will of God and not in the means of the group. That is the direction away from the means and exclusively in Christ.

  27. Tom says:

    I dont think its wrong to baptise babies or point them to Christ from that act. I have seen these things have an impact on the apoligetical aspect in the work of the Spirit in conversion. I am saying that any act wether it is from a praying parent or a forced confession is not scriptural. Here is the new testement dogma in justification by faith that it is a spiritual work on the heart apart from any other means. It does not offer any sign of baptism as a means and so has no saving power. Men are not more beholden to God by something they have done. It is exclusively a soveriegn act of God. And this direction away from man is set as a contrast from the ot rites and rituals.

  28. Tom says:

    Lets look at these other means in salvation outside of any work of man. The word of God is a means but the word doesent save. The word can be preached and still only have a general call on the heart what makes the word specially applicable is the Holy Spirit. That is the word is living and in that mystical application works salvation. Yet where is the water living or the elements of communion living? Even if i accepted pado baptism i still would need to make a distinction between this act and the use of the word. Which brings me to conclude that we are dealing with apples and oranges and thus that mystical work has no power in salvation and thus is purely closer to “mysticism” as a philosophy from mans mind.

  29. U.T. Brito says:

    Tom,it’s hard to answer to 5 comments. I have 600 pages to read in 5 days for seminary. For further discussion pose one question and wait for me to answer it. Since I assume you have never read a book on Paedocommunion and I have, I think I am in a better position to answer questions that you may have. Take this as a learning experience ( I take all my interactions that way). Remember I was a credo-baptist for a long time, so there is almost nothing you will say that I have not yet heard. Though interaction is a perfect venue, it is better to approach them in a a-priori fashion.I think it is already pretty obvious that our differences are presuppositional in nature and that we can reach the heights of discussion and you can still think that 1+1=2 and I can still think that 1 and 1 equals 11.
    Further, some of your questions need to be re-phrased so that I can actually understand what you are asking. I think you are probably (due to time perhaps) typing your thoughts too quickly and giving enough time for cogency and harmony.I highly recommend Frame’s writings in issues of interaction and theological engagement ( I have and continue to learn greatly from him). Sorry to say but Uri’s old days of I’m gonna tear your argument apart, and show you who is the theological boss is over (though I know that is exactly what attracts the theological web mass).I prefer the Frame approach, Let’s go out to eat, I will pray, you pay, and we will talk. :) Talk to you this coming Sabbath day.
    By the way, the Lord really blessed our Mission’s Conference.

  30. tom says:

    OK i will leave this subject. I know you dont want to discuss this issue since we see each other so much. Although i think you are taking the high road in your post i know that you are more polished in apoligetics since you read so much. Anyway you know i am joking. I just write what i think sometimes its better than going into a book and getting someone elses thoughts. We do not claim to be better than anyone by our knowlege of a certian author and so some times original thought can actually help us make our own phraseology. Rather odd at times but in the end it makes for a more natural belief system. Look at the process and freedom as much as the discipline. My question is do i enjoy what i am doing?

  31. U.T. Brito says:

    Tom,
    I think you are a great asset not only to our church but to those of us who believe theology is much more than abstract sounding words.
    Look forward having many more discussions with you in the future.

  32. Tom says:

    Thanks brother i do want to have more discussions. Look foward to seeing you too on the Lords day and i really appreiciate your service for my kids. God will bless you for it. Thanks love you brother.

  33. tom says:

    Ive already done a cd of 100 lectures for ya. Im going to do another one before sunday.

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