A Distinction In the Passover Observances

I want to draw attention to what I think is one of Venema’s most important points on the Old Testament evidence for paedo-communion (PC). He says this:

Any consideration of the precedent of the Old Testament Passover must take into account the important distinction between the first and subsequent celebrations of the Passover (pp. 67-68).

Now, it is important also to note that Venema regards the evidence as ambiguous. The provisions did not expressly prohibit the women and younger children from participation, but neither do the provisions require their participation. What is the exegetical evidence for this distinction between the original Passover and the yearly celebration of it? The initial Passover is described in Exodus 12-13 (including also the Feast of Unleavened Bread), whereas the yearly celebration is detailed for us in Deuteronomy 16.

I think Venema would grant the point (and I probably would, too) that young children participated in the initial Passover described in Exodus 12-13, for the simple reason that there would have been no other food for them to eat, as they ate it in haste.

In Deuteronomy 16, we find the following: Verse 16 specifically describes the males as appearing before the Lord God in the place which He chooses (בַּמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר־יִבְחַר יְהוָה). This last phrase is precisely the same phrase as is used in verse 7 in the particular instructions for the yearly Passover celebration. Since this phrase links the two passages together, it is more than reasonable to conclude that the Passover celebration described in the first part of Deuteronomy 16 is part of those three-times-a-year appearances of the males before the Lord. There is a two-tiered structure, therefore, to the celebration of the various feasts. There is the home celebration, in which everyone partook (see Deut. 16:14), and there is the solemn assembly, in which only the males partook. The point here is NOT that the evidence points to only the males participating in anything having to do with the Passover. The point is that the evidence is ambiguous with regard to participation. After all, is the Lord’s Supper in line more with the initial Passover commands, or is it more in line with the yearly Passover celebration? The question would be difficult to answer, I think, and that makes the evidence from the Passover shaky at best when used to support PC.

About these ads

44 Comments

  1. Andrew said,

    June 15, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Not at all.

    Since it seems to be conceded that children partook in the original Passover, the principal of inclusion is established.

    It is then up to the CCer to try to show that God changed his mind on this matter. Since it is admitted that the rest of the OT evidence is at best ‘ambigous’, we await to see what might be plucked from the New Testament.

    It certainly seems to me that though children being included in the original Passover might not decisively prove the PC case, it certainly tips the burden of proof onto the CCer.

    And that is one reason why, unless someone can get a watertight, knockdown exegesis of 1 Cor 11, I am unable to abandon paedocommunion.

  2. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    June 15, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Actually, the “evidence” is only ambiguous if some key errors are made.

    1. Artificially limiting Ex. 12-13 to the initial Passover. Ex. 12:14 & 17 make it very clear that what is being described is a yearly feast. See also v. 16, where the “solemn assembly” instruction connetcs this passage to Deut. 16:8.

    2. Ignoring key verse in Deut. 16. Verses 11 & 14-15 make it perfectly clear that the assembly at the place which God would choose included the entire covenant community–and those verses include the phrase “at the place which the Lord will choose” just as much as v. 16. Deut. 16:14 does not, as you claim, describe the one at home–read the very next verse, or compare it with v. 11.

    3. Logic! “All the males shall assemble” does not entail “Only the males shall assemble.” But you keep making that fallacy: the text says the former, but the latter is required for your argument.

  3. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    June 15, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Furthermore, the kind of two-tiered Passover suggested is impossible, since Deut. 16 forbids the Passover lamb to be sacrificed privately. The lamb can only be sacrificed at the central sanctuary, so if any family members are to eat it, they must be present at that place. If they weren’t at the central assembly, there was no Passover.

  4. greenbaggins said,

    June 15, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    Andrew, the principle of inclusion is not a “principle.” Secondly, you are only reasserting the argument of PC that they were included in the original Passover. My argument already took that into account, but further looks at the exegetical evidence for the yearly Passover in Deuteronomy, which you don’t seem to want to engage at all. So, you haven’t done any answering. Only posturing.

    Joshua, the manner of keeping the yearly Passover is not just mentioned in Exodus. You seem to be saying that Deuteronomy 16 has no bearing on the yearly Passover. What is said in Exodus is then modified Deuteronomy 16. As to your second point, if you read a little more carefully and a little slower, you will find that I did not skip over those verses AT ALL but argued that there is a two-tiered celebration: one at home and one at Jerusalem. I would appreciate it in future that if you are going to respond to an argument that you read more carefully. Verse 16 modifies verse 15, not verse 15 verse 14, since verse 16 is a summary of the qualification of the males being present at the three feasts in Jerusalem. Your argument about privately is complete hogwash. The level of celebration at Jerusalem with all the males is hardly private, but has all the males together, presumably. As to your third point, why mention males at all, plus “every man” in verse 17, if it really means the entire household. Besides, it could very well be argued that only the males were *required* to go. That women and children could go if they wanted and/or were able to go. But that is different from requiring the women and children to participate, which is what the PC position is arguing for.

  5. Jack Bradley said,

    June 15, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    Lane,

    I’m not sure if this makes full contact with you concern, but may prove helpful:

    STUDY COMMITTEE ON PAEDOCOMMUNION MAJORITY REPORT OF THE PHILADELPHIA PRESBYTERY (PCA) (5/86)

    I THE OLD TESTAMENT DATA

    THE BIBLICAL WARRANT FOR PAEDOCOMMUNION

    The biblical case for paedocommunion is founded upon a belief in the essential spiritual unity of the old and new covenants. Thus we can argue by analogy with old covenant practice, just as we do in support of paedobaptism.

    Since members of the Old Testament visible church were in later infancy and early childhood commanded by God to eat the Passover and other sacrificed meals of the old covenant, and since the Lord’s Supper has taken the place of these sacrificial meals, and is essentially the same in spiritual significance, infant and child members of the New Testament visible church are therefore commanded by God to eat at the Lord’s Supper, if physically capable, for we are not to add to or take away from God’s commandments concerning worship in his church (Deut. 12:32). Thus to exclude covenant children from the new covenant meal would be to deny them, without any biblical warrant, a privilege which they had enjoyed in the old covenant.

    http://tinyurl.com/lqrjnu

  6. Andrew said,

    June 16, 2009 at 12:59 am

    lane (Re 4),

    Apologies if my post is not clear.

    My point was not to contest your exegesis, merely to point out, that EVEN if we accept everything you say, the paedocommunnion posistion emerges as the propable posisition.

    It is very easy to confuse detailed, in depth exegesis with relevant exegesis. It is a mistake that baptists often make, and I fear one into which credocommunionists will easily fall as well.

    You also seem to say that the fact of inclusion does not establish the principle of inclusion. Not sure i see the difficulty, but if you object to the term ‘principle’, would you find ‘precedent’ more helpful? I am happy either way.

  7. greenbaggins said,

    June 16, 2009 at 10:00 am

    My point is this: even if inclusion was clear in the one-time occurrence of the original Passover, that does not give us warrant to assume that it would be that way when there was not so much haste required, and in the succeeding instructions regarding the yearly Passover. So, the point is that the evidence is NOT clear. Given, therefore, the regulative principle, what we do in worship must be founded on clarity in the Bible’s prescriptions, not lack of clarity.

  8. Jack Bradley said,

    June 16, 2009 at 10:48 am

    Lane,

    The majority reports of both the OPC and the PCA Philadelphia presbytery found sufficient evidence for ongoing participation of children in the Passover, and also claim the regulative principle from such evidence in endorsing Paedocommunion.

    The burden of proof is clearly on the CC’s regarding the supposed lack of children’s participation in the yearly Passover.

  9. Pete Myers said,

    June 16, 2009 at 11:54 am

    The burden of proof is clearly on the CC’s regarding the supposed lack of children’s participation in the yearly Passover.

    And what about hundreds of years of precedent across Reformed denominations (including my own – Anglican)? A couple of reports from two presbyteries may say something – but what it certainly doesn’t do is shift the “burden of proof” onto the cc position.

  10. Andrew said,

    June 16, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    Lane,

    You admit we have a fairly clear example of children being included. You admit we have no clear example of exclusion.

    Surely inclusion comes out trumps?

    You may want to argue that things change in the NT, or advance a theory to explain away children’s inclusion in the Passover, but do you not think the burden of proof is on you?

  11. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    June 16, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Lane,

    1. I’ll try to be civil, but this comment:

    “I would appreciate it in future that if you are going to respond to an argument that you read more carefully.”

    is the non pareil. Pot, kettle, black. How on earth did you get:

    “You seem to be saying that Deuteronomy 16 has no bearing on the yearly Passover.”

    from my comment–especially point 2, which focuses on Deut. 16? Why would I even bring up Deut. 16 if I thought it had no bearing?

    2. You asserted that the yearly Passover was *not* in view in Ex. 12-13, but only the initial celebration:

    “The initial Passover is described in Exodus 12-13…whereas the yearly celebration is detailed for us in Deuteronomy 16.”

    But Ex. 12-13 does have something to do with the yearly celebration:

    12:14–“This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.”

    12:17b–“You shall observe this day throughout your generations as a perpetual ordinance.”

    12:24–“You shall observe this rite as a perpetual ordinance for you and your children.”

    13:10–“You shall keep this ordinance at its proper time from year to year.”

    Thus, the instructions that are given throughout these passages are in the context of a perpetual ordinance, celebrated from year to year.

    The evidence about the yearly celebration must take into account both Ex. 12-13 AND Deut. 16. One cannot dismiss Ex. 12-13 when considering the yearly Passover.

    3. Actually, you still have not addressed Deut. 16:11:

    “Rejoice before the LORD your God–you and your sons and your daughters, your male and female servants, the Levites resident in your towns, as well as the strangers, the orphans, and the widows who are among you–at the place that the LORD your God will choose as a dwelling for his name.”

    This verse very clearly requires the entire community to participate at the central sanctuary–even using that same phrase that you place so much weight on (I can’t put in Hebrew fonts on this computer).

    In your original post, you never mention v. 15. Of the three verses I pointed out (11, 14,15), you actually only mentioned one of them (14), so no matter how carefully and slowly I read, I still find that you skipped over these verses in the original post.

    4. Now you have brought up v. 15, but you simply assert that 15-16 belong together, not 14-15. Let me respond:

    v. 15 is still giving the instructions about one particular festival, i.e., the festival of booths. Consider the structure:

    13–gathering in the produce
    14a–rejoice
    15–the LORD blesses the produce and the works of the hands
    15–you shall be joyful

    So, the same pairing of ideas–focus on the produce of the fields and the centrality of rejoicing–together with the singular of “festival” indicates that 13-15 is a unit. That makes 14-15 parallel with v. 11: each a) gives the list of who is required to be at the festival and b) reiterates that it will be held at the central sanctuary.

    You have asserted several times that only the males were required to go. 16:11 and 16:14-15, however, state clearly that the entire community is required to be present.

    5. I’m not sure what you’re referring to as “hogwash.” You appear to think that I am saying that the yearly, “males-only” celebration was private, so I must have miscommunicated. Let me restate:

    You said:

    “There is a two-tiered structure, therefore, to the celebration of the various feasts. There is the home celebration, in which everyone partook (see Deut. 16:14), and there is the solemn assembly, in which only the males partook.”

    My reply is this:

    a) Deut 16:14, as just argued, is not a “home celebration.”

    b) Ex. 12:16 also gives instruction that include a “solemn assembly,” in a context that clearly required the entire community to participate (12L25-27 & 43-49, esp. 47). Thus, the understanding of the “solemn assembly” must be taken from Ex. 12 and Deut. 16 together–and this indicates that the “solemn assembly” was for everyone (along with Deut. 16:11 & 14-15).

    c) Deut. 16:5-7 requires the Passover lamb to be sacrificed and eaten ONLY at the central sanctuary:

    “You *may not* offer the Passover sacrifice within any of your towns that the LORD your God is giving you, but at the place that the LORD your God will choose, to make his name dwell in it, there you shall offer the Passover sacrifice, in the evening at sunset, at the time you came out of Egypt. And you shall cook it and eat it at the place that the LORD your God will choose. And in the morning you shall turn and go to your tents.”

    So, there is no provision for two separate Passover celebrations, unless the domestic one is without the lamb. The lamb must *only* be sacrificed and eaten at the central sanctuary. If the women and children were not at the central sanctuary, then they could not eat the Passover. I apologize if that point was unclear, but I don’t see how simply labelling it “hogwash” constitutes an actual reply.

    6. “Why mention males at all…?” Actually, I can give a very good reason. Who would be most likely to try to avoid these sorts of festivals, especially when they have to do with harvest, etc.? The men, those who worked in the fields. Now, you might not find that persuasive, but all you asked was “Why mention the males…?” and I have given a reason. The fact remains, nevertheless, that to conclude “Only males must come” from “All males must come” is a logical fallacy.

  12. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    June 16, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Here’s the debate in summary form, as far as I can tell.

    The proposition being debated is this:

    “The OT does not require the participation of women and children in the yearly Passover celebration.”

    Lane holds the affirmative, I hold the negative.

    Affirmative 1

    Exodus 12-13 describes the initial Passover and Deut. 16 the yearly. Therefore, even if women and children participated in Ex. 12-13, that is irrelevant to the yearly Passover.

    Rebuttal:

    Ex. 12:14, 17b, 24 & Ex. 13:10 make it very clearly that the instructions and pattern there apply to later celebrations of the Passover, not only the first one. Therefore, if women and children in Ex. 12-13, that is not irrelevant. BOTH Ex. 12-13 AND Deut. 16 must be applied in considering the nature of the yearly assembly.

    Affirmative 2:

    Deut. 16 indicates that only males participated in the yearly celebrations.
    Proof: v. 16, which says that all the males must appear, contains the phrase “in the place which He chooses,” as does v. 7, which is an instruction for the yearly Passover. Therefore, the requirement that all males appear should be applied to the yearly Passover.

    Rebuttal:

    a) The conclusion “Only men are required” cannot be derived from “All men are required.”
    b) Deut. 16:11 contains the very same phrase “in the place which He chooses”–but all of Israel is required to attend.
    c) Deut. 16:15 contains the very same phrase “in the place which He chooses”–but all of Israel is required to attend (v. 14).
    c1) Affirmative responds that v. 15 goes with v. 16
    Rebuttal: structure of 13-15 is clearly instruction for one feast,
    while v. 16 is a summary of them all. Therefore, 14 goes with
    15 as part of the instructions for the Feast of Booths, not with
    the summary of all three feasts.

  13. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    June 16, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    I would just like to say again that I am NOT convinced of paedocommunion. But I also do not think the OT evidence is ambiguous: the entire community of Israel was required to participate at the yearly festival.

  14. Pete Myers said,

    June 16, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    I would be interested to see some very careful exegesis of Deuteronomy 16 to show that it is at least ambiguous whether children were allowed to attend.

    Presumably, however, the text is not ambiguous… it makes a definite statement one way or the other… Israel would have needed to have a clear statement from God as to who could and couldn’t attend the feasts.

  15. Andrew said,

    June 16, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Re 14

    Fair point, Pete. If children were included in the intial passover, we would certainly expect clear instructions to exclude them from later ones if that was indeed God’s wish. How else would the Isrealites have known this?

  16. Pete Myers said,

    June 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    #15

    Lane has given a credible reason for why children would be included in the first passover, and not in subsequent ones.

    But since so much of the conversation on this particular point turns on the exegesis of Deuteronomy 16, I’m very interested to see some detailed work presented.

  17. Andrew said,

    June 17, 2009 at 1:05 am

    Re 16

    Has he? I thought Lane had gave up on that idea, conceding that the arguement that children were excluded from the ritual passover was ‘ambigous’.

    In any case, Joshua’s remarks on Duet 16 seem pretty detailed and coherent to me on. I hadn’t actually realised how weak that passage was for the CCer untill rereading it in light of his comments.

  18. Pete Myers said,

    June 17, 2009 at 6:12 am

    #17

    Lane’s credible reason is given in #7:

    My point is this: even if inclusion was clear in the one-time occurrence of the original Passover, that does not give us warrant to assume that it would be that way when there was not so much haste required, and in the succeeding instructions regarding the yearly Passover.

    The original passover was taken in haste, and was the only meal that night for all involved. The subsequent celebration of the passover – as part of an integrated liturgical calendar – could be shaped more reflectively and carefully to display more clearly the theological significance of the things involved.

    Now… whether Lane is right or wrong on that, he has “given a credible reason for why children would be included in the first passover, and not in subsequent ones.”

    In any case, Joshua’s remarks on Duet 16 seem pretty detailed and coherent to me on. I hadn’t actually realised how weak that passage was for the CCer untill rereading it in light of his comments.

    “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” (Pv 18v17).

    Which is exactly why I was asking for some detailed work on Deuteronomy 16 “to show that it is at least ambiguous whether children were allowed to attend.”

    Incidentally I do not consider the passover precedent (or even the Last Supper precedent) to display an exhaustively regulative model for us as to how the supper should be taken. At the Last Supper, the families of the disciples were not present, there were no children or women taking the supper. Clearly Paul draws conclusions about the taking of communion from the Last Supper, but he never draws lines from who was present then to who should be present now. We must discern who are rightful participants, therefore, from the theological significance of communion.

    There are other disconnections between passover and communion. The passover was to be celebrated once a year, communion was celebrated whenever the Lord’s people met together. I do not believe a warning like 1 Corinthians 11v27 is ever given about eating the Passover.

  19. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    June 17, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    Pete,

    I don’t think that the ambiguity can be demonstrated. Deut. 16:11 & 14-15 are direct commands that everyone participate in the festivals. Therefore, Deut. 16:16 CANNOT be taken to mean that only males were required to be at the feasts–and that is essentially the only argument for ambiguity.

    And as for the Proverbs verse, Lane was actually the first one to state his case, and I was the second.

    .

  20. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    June 17, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    And Pete, Lane’s “credible reason” is only necessary if, in fact, the later instructions for the yearly celebration do exclude the children–which they unambiguously do not.

    While I’m not fully convinced of PC myself, I have a mania for accuracy in exegesis, and I was unhappy about the key moves in Lane’s and Venema’s case:

    1. Asserting that Ex. 12-13 is only about the initial Passover, contrary to the clearly and repeatedly statements about it being a perpetual ordiance, to be observed by the generations. So, those statements must be explained away before Ex. 12-13 can be dismissed–but that was never done and still has not.

    2. Asserting that Deut. 16 says only males were required to participate, contrary to logic (one cannot conclude “only men” from “all men”) and to the direct statements in v.11 and 14-15. In spite of asserting that he did deal with those verses, Lane has not to this point even mentioned v. 11, and he has clearly mis-applied v. 15, which belongs with 14, not 16.

  21. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    June 17, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Sorry, “clear and repeated statements”–don’t know why I put adverbs there!

  22. Pete Myers said,

    June 17, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    19-21

    Josh, I’ve heard you put your position on Deuteronomy 16 very clearly, thanks. What I’m asking for is a clear CC exegetical case being made from Deuteronomy 16.

    There’s no need to repeat yourself and your arguments, I’m just waiting to hear someone on the other side.

  23. greenbaggins said,

    June 18, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Joshua, here is my response. First of all, Deut 16, verse 11 is in the context of the Feast of Weeks, NOT in the Feast of unleavened Bread of which Passover is a part. Inclusion within the Feast of Weeks does not equal inclusion within the Feast of unleavened bread. Therefore, verse 7 is not modified by verse 11, but rather by verse 16. Verses 13-15 have to do with the Feast of Tabernacles, not the Feast of Unleavened Bread. So they, too, are not directly relevant to the question at hand, which is this: who was required to go up to the place that the Lord will choose for the Passover, which is one day of the seven regarding the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Verse 16 is a summary verse of what the heads of household are to do during all three of these feasts. Again, I ask the question: why issue this particular command to the males if it did not mean to say that only the males were required to go? The point here is not whether women and children would necessarily be excluded. The point is rather whether the women and children would be required to go. It is plain that they were not required to go. And if they were not required to go, then the line of requiring children in the Lord’s Supper is shaky at best. At the very least, Venema’s point is well established that they were not to be regarded as excommunicated if they didn’t go up. That is all that is necessary for the credo-communion case.

  24. Jack Bradley said,

    June 18, 2009 at 10:06 am

    OPC report: “…it must be noted from the context of Deut. 16:16, that although male adults were commanded to attend annually the three festivals, women and little children were allowed, expected, if not required to attend as well, if physically capable: “Celebrate the Feast of weeks … you, your sons and daughters …” (Deut. 16:10, 11), and “Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles … you, your sons and daughters” (Deut. 16:13, 14). The command, therefore, for male adults to attend would apply only to their unique role, as the federal heads of their families, of presenting the offerings to be sacrificed in the place of God’s choosing: “No man should appear before the Lord empty-handed …” (Deut. 16:6). Thus it does not refer at all to the requirement to eat the sacrificial meals, which would apply more broadly as something the whole family was expected to do. In addition, Deut. 12:6ff. makes clear that, since the peace meals were attended by whole families, it cannot be argued that worship at the central sanctuary was intended to make attendance by little children (or women) obsolete (e.g., see I Sam. 1:3ff.). Thus there is no reason to assume that little children would not go on eating the Passover meal, even at the central sanctuary, “each man according to the mouth of his eating”.

  25. Pete Myers said,

    June 18, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Jack,

    If we’re going to play the “I know some important Christians who thought what I think” game, then, here’s Calvin:

    Again, because only half of the seventh month contained three feast-days, i.e., from the first to the fifteenth, for the same reason it is only required of the males that they should leave their houses and celebrate the sacred convocations; for thus the females are spared, to whom traveling is not so convenient. Besides, through the fecundity promised them by God, they were almost always either pregnant or nursing. It is also certain that the boys and young men were excepted under the age of twenty, since God includes under the term males only those who were comprised in the census. If any object that in God’s spiritual worship there is no difference between males and females; the reply is easy, that the fathers of families presented themselves there in the names of their wives and children: so that the profession was extended to the other sex, and to those of tender age. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom04.v.v.iv.html

  26. Jack Bradley said,

    June 18, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Pete,

    The point is that the burden of proof is on the CC’s to show that children were not permitted to eat at the OT feasts. The quote from Calvin does not show this, nor does any exegesis I’ve yet seen.

    Sound exegesis persuades me that all Israelites were permitted to eat at the three feasts, children included. Adult males were required to participate, but women and children were allowed to participate.

  27. Andrew said,

    June 19, 2009 at 12:58 am

    Lane,

    I am very puzzled as to why you are spending time on this point, or what you think you achieve for the CC cause.

    Taking you exegesis at its strongest, we are left with the situation where children and women had the option to take the Passover, but not the obligation.

    But you want to deny this option in the New covenant to children (though not to women), so you are still going to have to produce arguements showing discontinuity in the NT. You will have to do this regardless of whether women and children actually participated or had the option to.

  28. Andrew said,

    June 19, 2009 at 1:01 am

    P.S

    As Calvin points out, the obligatory attendance of males is best understood as a practical arrangement, and should be viewed in terms of covenantal representaion.

    So we are still left with entire families participating, albeit in a representative fashion!

  29. Jack Bradley said,

    June 19, 2009 at 7:46 am

    Andrew, thanks for this perceptive reading of the Calvin quote.

  30. Pete Myers said,

    June 19, 2009 at 8:54 am

    The point is that the burden of proof is on the CC’s to show that children were not permitted to eat at the OT feasts.

    No it’s not. For reasons I’ve stated several times, but have been ignored, and can’t be bothered retyping them.

    The quote from Calvin does not show this, nor does any exegesis I’ve yet seen.

    You offered quotes from OPC Presbyteries that contained no exegesis – merely assertion. Which is why I retorted with the Calvin quote in the same vein.

    Hence my introduction to the quotation: “If we’re going to play the “I know some important Christians who thought what I think” game, then, here’s Calvin”

    Andrew:

    As Calvin points out, the obligatory attendance of males is best understood as a practical arrangement, and should be viewed in terms of covenantal representaion.

    So we are still left with entire families participating, albeit in a representative fashion!

    So… can I take communion as the covenantal representative of my son? Or can I take communion in church as the covenantal representative of my wife if she’s too ill to come?

    You’ve got two choices:
    Either… affirm those questions, and you’ve got a view of communion which is now very outlandish.
    Or… have to admit there’s differences between Passover and communion.

  31. Jack Bradley said,

    June 19, 2009 at 10:21 am

    B. B. Warfield, “The Fundamental Significance of the Lord’s Supper,’ in Selected Shorter Writings, Vol. I, pp. 332-338):

    “We must assuredly judge that our Lord, in instituting the Supper, meant to make it to the full extent to which these similarities point, a replica of the Passover. In this sense at least the Lord’s Supper is the Christian Passover Meal. It takes, and was intended to take, in the Christian Church, the place which the Passover occupied in the Jewish Church. . . The Lord’s Supper in its fundamental significance is just what the passover Meal was: the symbols are changed, the substance remains the same.”

    I’m of course not claiming Warfield as a PC, but the differences there are between Passover and communion have to do with the symbols, not the substance.

    I know you want more exegesis, Pete. It’s out there. Keep at it.

  32. Andrew said,

    June 19, 2009 at 11:19 am

    Re 30,

    Fair point, pete.

    I would not at all rule out that your participation in the Supper is representative for the family – i.e that it recommitts your family as a christian family – ‘makes your children holy’, as the apostle puts it.

  33. Pete Myers said,

    June 20, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    #31 Jack,

    I’m actually pretty happy with what I’ve read in Calvin and Witsius on this issue (in terms of exegesis).

    While baptism fulfills circumcision, and the Lord’s Supper fulfills passover, I don’t see b and c or ls and p analogous on every point.

    I moved from a pc position to a cc one basically because I read Witsius, and then 1 Cor 11 more carefully.

  34. Jack Bradley said,

    June 20, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    Pete,

    Did you read the excerpt I posted on I Cor. 11 from Rayburn? I’d like your critique of that, as you have time.

  35. Pete Myers said,

    June 22, 2009 at 5:48 am

    Jack, sorry I’ve scanned through the thread and I can’t find a comment that addresses 1 Cor 11.

    If you’d like to post it again, I’ll interact with it.

  36. Jack Bradley said,

    June 22, 2009 at 10:28 am

    Sorry, Pete. It was a previous thread:

    1. First, Paul isn’t talking about paedocommunion in 1 Cor. 11; he isn’t even discussing the general requirements for participation in the Lord’s Supper. He is addressing a sinful corruption of the Lord’s Supper practice of the church in Corinth. What he says there has to do with that issue. He would have had to say more than he said before we could take him to mean that covenant children were excluded from the Lord’s Supper by what he said. When he says to the Thessalonians that “he who does not work should not eat,” without a conscious thought we know he isn’t telling us to starve our children. He’s not talking about children there. And when Peter says to the congregation on Pentecost that they should repent and be baptized, the Reformed (and virtually all of Christendom) have known that he did not mean to exclude covenant children from baptism. When 1 Cor. 11 is your primary, if not your sole argument in favor of withholding the sacrament from covenant children, you don’t have much of an argument.
    2. Second, Paul doesn’t say anything in 1 Cor. 11 that the prophets of the OT didn’t say before him. He said that hypocritical participation in the worship of the church offended God and that the Corinthian Christians should repent and obey. They should not think the Lord’s Supper any good to them if they are not willing to live a holy life. But Isaiah and Jeremiah and Amos said that and said it as emphatically as Paul ever did. But, as we shall see, we happen to know that in the ancient epoch children did participate in the covenant, the sacramental meals. So when Isaiah said that his contemporaries should examine themselves and then should eat, he had no intention of excluding the children as a class. Why should we think that Paul intended to if Isaiah didn’t and Jeremiah didn’t and Amos didn’t when they said the same things Paul says in 1 Cor. 11?
    3. And, third, even if, for argument’s sake, we were to take Paul as meaning that little children should examine themselves, well, then, let them do it. The assumption seems to be that little children are incapable of spiritual acts and are therefore excluded, in the nature of the case, by Paul’s requirement that there be active mental and spiritual engagement with the meaning of the Supper on the part of those who participate. This point is often made as an argument against paedocommunion by Reformed authorities. But mental and spiritual life, as we all know, is a continuum and has very early beginnings as the Bible artlessly acknowledges when it speaks of a person “rejoicing” in his mother’s womb, or trusting in the Lord at his mother’s breasts, or knowing the Scripture from his infancy. A weaned covenant child should already be beginning to reckon with the meaning of Christ and his salvation and the implications of faith. Both the understanding and the practice of faith are continuums and their beginnings are, we are everywhere taught in Holy Scripture, ordinarily found very early in the life of covenant children. As the Word is given to a covenant child and its truth established in his heart, the sacrament naturally comes alongside to contribute its share to the establishment and maturing of faith. We teach our little children, our very little children to say “Our Father…” We teach them how to pray. We teach them that Jesus is their savior. We teach them to confess their sins to Him. We teach them that the promises of the gospel belong to them. We teach them that Jesus is their Savior. Why then, for what reason, on the basis of what biblical teaching or principle, then, would we require them to wait years to eat their Savior’s meal?

    http://tinyurl.com/mbrjrz

  37. Pete Myers said,

    June 28, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    Jack,

    Sorry, I’ve been very busy.

    Paul isn’t talking about paedocommunion in 1 Cor. 11

    None of the Bible writers are talking about abortion. Doesn’t mean the Bible has nothing to say about abortion.

    he isn’t even discussing the general requirements for participation in the Lord’s Supper. He is addressing a sinful corruption of the Lord’s Supper practice of the church in Corinth. What he says there has to do with that issue.

    This argument is bizarre. It’s like arguing that Galatians has nothing to do with works righteousness, because Paul is addressing the issue of circumcision. The whole Bible is written to specific situations, from which dogmas are extracted. To say the above is Biblical Theology taken to the level of absurdity. Especially since Paul actually makes generic assertions about the Lord’s Supper that he applies into their situation. Heck v23 is an explicit appeal to the fact that his teachings on this are general requirements for the Lord’s Supper. In v27, Paul even moves to the relative pronoun, no longer addressing “you” Corinthians, he now talks about “whoever” takes communion.

    So, this is not just raising Biblical Theology over systematics in order to obfuscate – it’s also bad exegesis (not that I see any exegesis Rayburn provides to attempt to prove this assertion).

    He would have had to say more than he said before we could take him to mean that covenant children were excluded from the Lord’s Supper by what he said.

    An ungrounded assertion. In fact – isn’t this the very matter under debate? Oh, hang on, so, Rayburn is presenting his conclusion on the disputed matter here as material evidence (heck the only material evidence so far) in order to prove said conclusion. I think I saw a Wikipedia article on this.

    When he says to the Thessalonians that “he who does not work should not eat,” without a conscious thought we know he isn’t telling us to starve our children. He’s not talking about children there.

    Not a symmetrical analogy.

    I could argue the case for that, but, rather than repeat myself, I’ll just point out that Rayburn has conceded something crucial with this statement – we treat children differently than adults simply because they’re children. So lots of things in the NT aren’t to be applied to children – despite their genuine covenant status – simply because they’re children. Errrr… isn’t that exactly what we ccs get criticised for doing?

    And when Peter says to the congregation on Pentecost that they should repent and be baptized, the Reformed (and virtually all of Christendom) have known that he did not mean to exclude covenant children from baptism.

    And the Reformed (and much of Christendom) have also explicitly addressed the question as to why that is the case for baptism, but not for the Lord’s Supper.

    If Rayburn is simply trying to cite precedent here, then, why didn’t he say anything about Calvin’s answer to his question? Or Witsius’ answer to his question? Or is he unaware that there have been answers to his question for at least 400 years?

    When 1 Cor. 11 is your primary, if not your sole argument in favor of withholding the sacrament from covenant children, you don’t have much of an argument.

    Only if I start by assuming paedocommunion, and not reading 1 Corinthians 11 too carefully or anything. If you squint really hard, and cock your head a little bit, you can just about see his point. Watertight. Amazing.

    Second, Paul doesn’t say anything in 1 Cor. 11 that the prophets of the OT didn’t say before him. He said that hypocritical participation in the worship of the church offended God and that the Corinthian Christians should repent and obey. They should not think the Lord’s Supper any good to them if they are not willing to live a holy life. But Isaiah and Jeremiah and Amos said that and said it as emphatically as Paul ever did. But, as we shall see, we happen to know that in the ancient epoch children did participate in the covenant, the sacramental meals. So when Isaiah said that his contemporaries should examine themselves and then should eat, he had no intention of excluding the children as a class. Why should we think that Paul intended to if Isaiah didn’t and Jeremiah didn’t and Amos didn’t when they said the same things Paul says in 1 Cor. 11?

    A more robust argument than point 1 (i.e. there are some actual reasons given to back up the assertions made). This is, however, not actual exegesis of 1 Cor 11. Much of it is still “Old Testament precedent”.

    The only part of it which is relevant to 1 Cor 11 is the argument that if the prophets thought children could examine themselves, then Paul must have as well. It was nice of Rayburn to narrow his reference from “the entire Old Testament” to “the prophets”, and even to name just 3 – Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Amos! When I’ve finished my exegetical study of those references to rummage for the bits he thinks are relevant to the debate, then I’ll provide a more detailed refutation. Get back to me in a decade or so.

    It’s great isn’t it not citing people? It’s a very effective way of proving your point. Because, no matter what I quote from Isaiah, there’ll be another 65 chapters that I haven’t addressed, all of which mysteriously now “prove” Rayburn’s point – so clearly in fact that he doesn’t even need to provide a proof-text. Isaiah, Jeremiah and Amos now prove Rayburn’s point until such time I manage to take a year off to write a book refuting his claim from every single verse of two major prophets, and a relatively long minor one. Clever guy Rayburn.

    Well, I say Rayburn’s wrong because the Psalms, Proverbs and Job clearly make a distinction between young and old covenant members, and their participation in covenant life. I dare you to quote me one verse that could be the exception that proves the rule.

    Rayburn’s final argument… is refuted by his own words:

    As the Word is given to a covenant child and its truth established in his heart

    That’s fine by me! Just as soon as my son gives evidence of his ability to receive the Word and the truth being established in his heart, I will submit him for confirmation – as a public testimony of his faith to the whole church – and then he can be admitted to communion in an orderly way.

    In summary Jack – give me one example from Rayburn’s quote that is actual exegesis of 1 Cor 11, and not simply asserting his conclusion from 1 Cor 11.

    I challenge you to read Calvin and Witsius on 1 Cor 11, and see how they consider the matter far more thoroughly than Rayburn has done (for starters, they actually refer to real Biblical verses, and cite real Biblical quotes… they feel the need to prove that things say what they claim they’re saying).

  38. Jack Bradley said,

    July 4, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Pete,

    Sorry for the delayed response-been away for awhile. I’m going to give you the last word on this. I appreciate your thoughtful response, even while disagreeing with it.

  39. Andrew said,

    July 4, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Pete,

    That was a rather heated repsonse from someone typically thoughtful in their reponse!

    Perhaps you need to think a little more on what Rayburn is saying. You criticize his lack of exegesis, suggest he is not paying attention to detail, etc. but this is irrelevant to his point. His point is simply that we cannot be sure the passage has children in mind. If they are not, all the detail we come up with on adult experience of the passover is neither here nor there.

    He cites two other examples of this in Scripture, and your response is that these are not exact analogies, but that you decline ‘to argue the case for that’. All your response amounts to then, is a verbose refusal to engage the arguement.

    It may be that you think the answer simple, the matter so obvious that it would be utter tedium to state it. But if you were to do so, it would be a great service to futhering the discussion – and certainly on this blog (and any other CC material I have read), a novel contribution. Moreover, it is the CENTRAL arguement. Prove that I Cor 11 must include infants, showing how we distinguish from the examples Rayburn proves, and you have proven your case. Or at least, you have shown that children should not have communion much before a year and a half, which is, I think, as strong as the CC case could ever possibly get.

    You critizise Rayburn’s failure to cite specific references in the OT, and excuse your failure to respond on that ground. You can surely do better than this. That the OT required ‘heart-participation’, not just external conformity in worship should be common knowledge. It is a bit like critizing someone for remarking (without detailed exegesis, preferably in the original languages!) that the Old Testament teaches the existance of God. Really? What verse do have for that then?

    You other point – that members of the covenant are treated differently according to age and ability – misses the mark. Firstly, that two examples given refer to the reponsibility of the the indiviual, not how they are treated – the disabled person is still fed when they cannot work, and the childbaptized. Secondly, they are resolved in favour of the child, not against him.

  40. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    July 5, 2009 at 1:20 am

    The only proof that only the men were required to go is Deut. 16:16.

    But, that verse cannot mean that only the men were required to go, for two reasons:

    1. Logical: ‘all men were required’ does not entail ‘only men were required.” I still have not been given an answer to this, except for “Well, why were the men required to go if it didn’t mean that only they were required to go?” I don’t think an appeal to a better argument is a valid response here (it seems to be a form of appeal to ignorance: “well, if you can’t come up with a better reason, then ours must be right”).

    2. Contextual: as Lane rightly points out, v. 11 refers to the Feast of Weeks, and vv.13-15 refer to the Feast of Booths. But v. 16 refers to them as well. Thus, for the Feast of Weeks, all the males were required to attend (v. 16), AND everyone else was required to attend (v.11). Now, if v. 16 means that only males were required to attend, then it is incompatible with v. 11. In fact, it’s contradictory: “Only adult males are required to attend” means “No non-(adult males) are required to attend.” But v. 11 clearly states the proposition that “Some non-(adult males) are required to attend.” Those are, logically speaking, a universal negative and a particular affirmative, respectively, and such propositions are in fact contradictory. Thus, there are either contradictory instructions for the Feast of Weeks (and, similarly, the Feast of Booths)–“No non-(adult males) are required…” and “Some non-(adult males) are required…”–or else v. 16 does not mean “Only” as the first point I made would lead us to expect.

    And Lane still has not responded to the issue of the applicability of Ex. 12-13 to the annual celebration. He has repeatedly asserted that those chapter are speaking of the initial Passover, not the subsequent yearly feasts. But that is clearly not the case, as the citations in comment 11, point 2 make perfectly clear.

    Pete, as far as burden of proof, I’m not seeing the reason why Lane’s position does not require it. Note, I don’t call it the CC position, because, as I have said ad nauseam, I am not fully convinced of the PC position–that would make me CC at this point–and yet I think that Lane’s position on Deut. 16 and the OT passover is markedly erroneous.

    From my perspective, Lane does bear the burden of proof, since his was the opening statement, and thus, in terms of debate, he is arguing the affirmative side of the proposition.

  41. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    July 5, 2009 at 1:46 am

    Andrew and Jack, I’m a little surprised at your hesitancy: the texts do not just allow for universal participation in the feasts (including Passover), they require it.

    Although that still doesn’t prove the PC position, so stop calling Lane’s view of Deut. 16:16 “the CC position.” I happen to be CC as well, and my position on the OT Passover is the opposite one, for sound reasons that I have repeatedly laid out here and have not seen effectively refuted.

  42. Andrew said,

    July 5, 2009 at 3:06 am

    Joshua,

    I have been highly impressed by your exegesis, and the failure of anyone to rebutt it speaks for itself. I also appreciate your integrity, as a non-PCer in letting the Word speak.

    My ‘hesitancy’ is tactical – even if Lane’s point is correct (optional passover for children) he still has to argue the OT/NT discontinuity.

  43. July 7, 2009 at 8:24 am

    [...] 7, 2009 at 8:24 am (Communion) Just to know where we are currently, this post and this post have not yet received a response from [...]

  44. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    July 8, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    Thanks, Andrew. Lane’s most recent post once again asserts the ambiguity of the Passover evidence, even though he has not refuted my arguments.

    And some more:

    Deut. 12 lays down the overall regulations for the use of the central sanctuary in the land, and those overall regulations include the following:

    v. 7a: And you shall eat there in the presence of the LORD your God, you and your households together…

    v. 12: And you shall rejoice before the LORD your God, you together with your sons and your daughters, your male and female slaves, and the Levites who reside in your towns…(cf. v. 18)

    This applies to all the sacrifices made at the central sanctuary (v. 6)–which includes the Passover.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 326 other followers

%d bloggers like this: