Paedo-Communion and 1 Corinthians 11:28

To my mind, almost the entirety of the issue hinges on the meaning of the word “dokimazo” in 1 Corinthians 11:28. This article (ht David McCrory) argues for paedo-communion on the basis of its understanding of the context and historical situation of the Corinthians when Paul wrote the letter. The specific section is about two-thirds of the way down the article under the title “Some specific objections; a. children cannot prove themselves.” I would suggest that the article does not do the word “dokmazo” justice at all. BDAG has this definition for the word, “to make a critical examination of something to determine genuineness, put to the test, examine,” listing this passage under that definition. What is one to make a critical examination of? The answer is “heauton” (oneself). Quite simply, it is eisegesis to claim that zero subjective aspects are attached to this examination.

BOQ It is possible for a covenant child, when tested (cf. I Cor. 10:13), to demonstrate by his words and behavior that he is living a godly life which seeks the approval of God. Such faithfulness can be observed even in a young child by both parents, elders, and other members of the church. EOQ But even this would require that the child no longer be an infant. Don’t get my position wrong. I think that children of age 6 are capable in some instances of such examination. I think other children of age 15 are incapable of it. This is where the session of the church is so important. But the article does not do justice to the definition of “dokimazo” in BDAG. The best article I have ever read on the passage dealing with paedo-communion is by George Knight. It is available in the Auburn Avenue Theology: Pros and Cons volume, available here.



  1. November 27, 2006 at 6:15 pm

    Yes but if we are going to argue for paedobaptism in light of the practice not being repealed from the OT into the NT, what about the practice of the children partaking of the “passover” mealin the OT? There is no repealing of children partaking of the covenant meal in the NT. If Christ is our Passover, then to partake of the meal that represents that should logically follow for covernant children now as well. Therefore it seems to follow a hermenutical inconsistency on the part of anti-paedocommunist at this point.

  2. greenbaggins said,

    November 27, 2006 at 6:21 pm

    To be honest, David, if 1 Corinthians 11 did not exist, I would be a paedo-communionist. I see no other obstacle to it. But I am simply not convinced by paedo-communionist exegesis of that passage. My only answer can be that 1 Corinthians 11 must modify our understanding of the Passover celebration. I do believe that children can be quite a bit younger than many Reformed folk say, and still be able to do such examination. That is why I hold to LC 177 and agree that paedo-communion is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

  3. November 27, 2006 at 6:32 pm

    I agree it appears contrary to the Standards at that point and would certainly take an exception there. And if what your saying about your postion is true, then your thinking contrary to all of reformed thought. If the overwhelming evidence of Scripture points in one direction, to use one passage to speak against it is to set Scripture against itself. We intepret the less clear in light of the more clear. Remember, Paul is not even dealing with the issue of paedocommunion in 1 Cor.11. Children aren’t even metioned. Likewise, the context seems to point to examinition in light of the conflict “within the church”. Paul abhors their dealings one with another. And if your willing to ignore the contextual aspect of this passage where does it stop? Are you really willing to defend your position entirely on a text that doesn’t even speak directly to the issue your trying to defend?

  4. greenbaggins said,

    November 27, 2006 at 6:39 pm

    Well, I don’t think that 1 Cor 11 is unclear. I would approach it this way: how would we find out whether children could partake or not? Well, we would go to the passages dealing with the Lord’s Supper. Specifically with regard to the Lord’s Supper, there are *no* passages that are explicit regarding children. So the fact that Paul does not explicitly address that in 1 Cor 11 cannot be an argument against my position. Since the very issue is the degree of continuity and discontinuity with Passover, then we would have to say, “What are the qualifications for participation in the Lord’s Supper?” There are no such qualifications on baptism in the paedo camp. But there are qualifications put on the participation of the Lord’s Supper. 1 Cor 11 is the only place where such qualifications would be present. If you wish to argue that I am swimming against the entire tide of Reformed thought on Scripture, then you would also have to say that the entire Westminster Assembly was doing the same thing. Seeing as how they define Reformed theology for me, I would certainly not be willing to go there. I see no inconsistency in their position on this point.

  5. Josh said,

    November 27, 2006 at 6:52 pm

    You guys do not think this is a bit ironic. I do. A Presbyterian arguing with a Presbyterian on good and necissary consequnce. On continuity in absence of explicite cancellation. Both use the arguments against Credo, then use the arguments against each other.


    No one has all their theology 100% correct. Of which I assume we can all agree. We have to constantly evaluate ourselves. Always reforming. I love the devotional posts, but this is the stuff that really gets my adreneline running!

  6. Josh said,

    November 27, 2006 at 6:53 pm

    P.S. All spelling and grammatical errors are NOT on purpose :-)

  7. greenbaggins said,

    November 27, 2006 at 6:56 pm

    Yup, very ironic.

  8. November 27, 2006 at 8:02 pm

    I agree that no passage deals explicity with the issue of p-communion. The same being said for p-baptism as well. I’m suggesting the same hermeneutic used to defend p-baptism is turned right around and ignored regarding p-communion. If we agree we should follow the continiuty of the OT unless we have clear probihition in the NT, I Cor. 11 doesn’t meet this. Again, children aren’t even mentioned. And I agree that 1 Cor. 11 is the most detailed exposition we have regarding the Lord’s Supper. And the silence regarding covenant children is astounding if we’re presuming Paul is instituting a relational change pertaining to covenant children and their relationship to the Church as it was clearly manifested in the Passover of the OT. If Paul was setting a new precedent regarding covenant children don’t you think he’d at least mention it? Or should we not presume here, like we do with p-baptism, it was normative and not even anticipated as an issue to 1st century Hebrews?

    As for Westminster, I think they missed the boat here. Or more precisely, they didn’t throw the baby out with the bath water, they just simple disregard him. Oddly enough there is ample evidence the pre-1500 church did to a greater or lesser extent practice p-communion. I want to deal with this in more detail on my blog, but for now allow me to say that no less a saint than Augustine practiced infant-communion. From his Sermon 147,7:

    ” Well now if you can tolerate the idea that Christ is not Jesus for some persons who have been baptized, then I’m not sure your faith can be recognized according to sound rule. Yes they’re infants, but they are his members. They’re infants, but they receive his sacraments. They are infants, but they share in his Table, in order to have life themselves.”

    It is my contention that it was the Divines that departed from the historical and biblical teaching. And it is here we need to be always reforming.

  9. Todd said,

    November 27, 2006 at 8:07 pm

    “There are no such qualifications on baptism in the paedo camp. But there are qualifications put on the participation of the Lord’s Supper.”

    Mark 16:16: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”

    Acts 2:38: “And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

  10. Todd said,

    November 28, 2006 at 8:16 am

    “If you wish to argue that I am swimming against the entire tide of Reformed thought on Scripture, then you would also have to say that the entire Westminster Assembly was doing the same thing. Seeing as how they define Reformed theology for me, I would certainly not be willing to go there.”

    But why can’t a mistake in this area–paedocommunion–be equivalent to a mistake about the connection between the pope and the antichrist? Is it really the Westminster Assembly that defines Reformed theology for you, or is it the American revision of the standards?

  11. November 28, 2006 at 9:24 am


    I might briefly add that my reference to your leaving Reformed thought was not on your understanding of the passage in Scripture (I Cor. 11). It was in the hermeneutical method your using (and they used) in order to defend your view. The Reformed Faith has always advocated the continuity between the OT and the NT. Therefore as a principle we argue for the continuning validity of the OT teaching unless it is repealed in the New. Rather than saying we have to find OT teaching reaffirmed in the New before it is binding. This is one of the strongest arguments for paedobaptism. It is in the breakdown of anti-paedocommuninst at this point regarding the reformed view of the Passover, it’s correlation to the Lords Supper and it’s recipents in relation to both Testaments I was referring too.

  12. Seth McBee said,

    November 28, 2006 at 12:28 pm

    This follows my same beliefs on paedo baptism and that I do not see any place for a child to take place in this meal that is spoken in 1 Cor 11. It speaks of us “proclaiming” the Lord’s death by taking of the bread and cup. I am sorry but if I don’t allow a pagan grown up to proclaim what he does not know I am not going to allow a child either. The words remembrance and proclaim were very closely tied together in Jewish life, to have remembrance of something meant to also then proclaim. How can a child or a pagan grown up remember where or what they haven’t experienced. For following Romans 6 it is though, as a Christian, that we were there with Christ when He died and rose again, of course by His righteousness and not ours, but to “do this in remembrance of Me” cannot be done by a child or someone who has not been saved. you cannot remember or proclaim what you do not know. The basic meaning of the Greek word remembrance is to recall KNOWN events, those who are not saved by His grace cannot remember these things.

  13. November 28, 2006 at 12:38 pm

    I am commenting on the thought that children aren’t mentioned in 1 Cor. 11. Are adults mentioned? Or is this letter to the Corinthians a letter to the visible church at Corinth which would include believers, their children, and even unbelievers?

  14. November 28, 2006 at 12:55 pm


    You bring up a good point. The context is critical in understanding Paul’s intent here. Paedocommunionist want to stress the context while antipaedocommunionst don’t. If we take a strict view of the context, Paul is talking to the entire Church. But more specifically to those who are quarraling among themselves. He is speaking to those taking the “greater portions”, etc. So in one very real sense, though the letter is addressed to the visible church, this issues concerns a subgroup of the church; namely quarraling adults. Paul’s concern over discerning the body of Christ was Christ’s visible body, the Church. The Corthinthains we dividing the body by their own standards, not Christ’s. So it is within this context Paul exhorts them to examine themselves. Not looking inwardly in soul-searching self-introspection, but rather to examine their behavior one with another. Paul was writing a bunch of back-biting, argumentitive, divisive Christians and telling them to “look at themsleves” they are not acting praiseworthy at all.

  15. Todd said,

    November 28, 2006 at 1:18 pm


    Why presume our children are unsaved? Hasn’t God promised to be God to us and to our children? Aren’t the children of the church in Ephesus (Eph 6:1-3) included among the saints (Eph 1:1) to whom the letter is written? Is there any exegetical evidence that Paul thought of the children under a different category than he did the other groups of saints (husbands, wives, fathers, slaves) he addresses? Paul addresses the whole congregation as saints!

  16. Seth McBee said,

    November 28, 2006 at 1:37 pm

    As far as babies are concerned I am of the camp that holds on to King David’s conviction that I will see those who are not of age (whatever that may be) in heaven. 2 Samuel 12:23.

    But when they are of “that age,” don’t ask, cause I don’t know what that age is. But they must confess Christ or they are not saved. Faith alone.

  17. greenbaggins said,

    November 28, 2006 at 2:52 pm

    I was wondering if this post might not entice Todd out of his lurker hole for a comment!

    Just curious, Seth, about 2 Sam 12. Where do you get the doctrine of coming of age? I’ve always wondered about the age of accountability in Baptist circles. What biblical support is used to defend that doctrine?

    BOQ Paedocommunionist want to stress the context while antipaedocommunionst don’t. EOQ David, I think that this is a bit over the top. Are you really saying that anti-paedocommunionists don’t pay attention to the context of 1 Cor 11? Have you read George Knight’s exegesis of the passage? Whatever the case, one cannot eliminate subjective examination from 1 Cor 11. One simply cannot. The BDAG definition (which you have not challenged) of “dokimazo” is that of testing to determine genuineness. We test ourselves to find out whether we are genuine Christians. This is by no means reading anything into the text. This definition works quite well within the context of quarreling Christians. Any Christians who are quarreling need to ask themselves whether their faith is genuine. What you have not proved is that the context forces your interpretation, and cannot work with mine.

    On the Reformed faith and hermeneutics, I would modify your statement somewhat, David. The Reformed faith recognizes fundamental continuity of the covenant of grace. But the Reformed faith also has said that their is some discontinuity as well as we progress from shadow to reality, from type to antitype. Otherwise, Hebrews would just be off when it says that we have better promises, a better Mediator, a better priest, a better sacrifice. Otherwise, Jeremiah 31 would be off when it claims that there is some discontinuity between old and new (“Not like the covenant I made with their fathers”). There is continuity *and* discontinuity.

    I deny that I have turned the hermeneutic around, however. As I have said the direction is toward paedo-communion, except that 1 Cor 11 (and the other passages in the Gospels that Seth pointed to) restrain that hermeneutic and explicitly introduce discontinuity. The fact that children are not mentioned in 1 Cor 11 is by no means a cogent argument against my point. If we said that, in order to drive, one has to have training in how to drive, including classroom training, one has to have passed a test that requires one to be able to read English, that would eliminate infants, since they cannot do those things. Didn’t mention infants, but they would be excluded from driving. As they grow up, they learn the necessary skills in order to do that. As I have said, I personally think that children could be admitted to the table earlier than 13 years old in many cases, though in other cases, they should not be admitted to the table. We are talking about the difference of just a few years, anyway. As I said, I think there are 6-year olds who could quite easily pass an examination for profession of faith. It would, of course, be a very simple faith in most cases, but it could very well be a credible profession of faith.

  18. Todd said,

    November 28, 2006 at 3:19 pm

    Seth, do you or would you teach your kids to pray to God as Father?

  19. Todd said,

    November 28, 2006 at 3:37 pm

    Is there really disconitnuity here, Lane? Didn’t the OT sacraments require self examination as well?

  20. greenbaggins said,

    November 28, 2006 at 3:48 pm

    Need a text, here, Todd.

  21. Todd said,

    November 28, 2006 at 4:00 pm

    Sure. How about the conversation commanded for participation in Passover in Ex. 12:26-27? If a child was incapable of participationg in this conversation, was he excluded from the meal? How about God’s condemnation of his people for midless participation in the festivals in Isaiah 1:10-20? How old does a child need to be to understand and meaningfully heed these warnings? How old before he can “learn to do good, seek justice, and correct oppression”? Or before he can “reason together” with the Lord? If these kind of requirements did not exclude young children from the OT signs and seals, how can the requirements of 1 Cor. 11 exclude our children, on whom the end of the ages has come?

  22. Todd said,

    November 28, 2006 at 4:00 pm

    “mindless,” not midless

  23. November 28, 2006 at 4:07 pm

    Lane you ask,

    “Are you really saying that anti-paedocommunionists don’t pay attention to the context of 1 Cor 11?”

    ~ No I’m not saying this. I’m saying they discount the contextual and historical situation Paul was addressing in order to maintain their interpretation.

    You say,

    “one cannot eliminate subjective examination from 1 Cor 11. One simply cannot.”

    ~ I agree. Even though I believe the context demands we view Paul’s exhortation as more of an “external” one rather than an “internal” one. We cannot eliminate the need for an internal change of heart in order for it to be reflected externally. And this is what Paul was desiring, reconcilliation and peace manifested in the church at Corinth.

    This also suffices for the use of the word “dokmazo”. We should examine ourselves. But I suggest this examing isn’t purely subjective. There is an objective element to it. Much like with paedobaptism. Paul’s charge to examine themselves stood. But it’s application is restricted by the context limiting it those who were causing the division. In this instance Paul’s call for examination makes perfect sense. It is our taking it out of this context and implying we have to subject ourselves to some introspective soul searching every time we come to the Table that causes me alarm. This practice of isolating passages, discounting the context, has historically lead to some very bad intepretation. I fear this is what’s happend in this case.

    Again your argument is from silence. Since infants aren’t mentioned in the text, your presuming they are included in Paul’s fencing of the Table. Granted my argument is from silence as well. Yet this silence and the reformed hermeneutic is in my favor to proceed with the OT mandate unless repealed in the New. How can it not be? Therefore, it is my contention that if infants (or even very young children, presuming it was very young children partaking of Passover) were to NOW be excluded from something they weren’t excluded from in the OT, we need a text clearly expressing this. Just as we don’t expect infants to demonstrate faith prior to baptism, to press Paul’s meaning to suggest they have to “examine themselves” to the same degree as an adult when we don’t expect the same in their baptism, is IMHO, an inconsistent principle.

    Consider this. Where in the NT do we find the early Church baptising infants and then at some later point, accepting them into full communion as members upon profession of faith? Where is Paul’s instuction for elders as to how to go about this practice? If infants and young people were not coming to the Lord’s Table, why the absence in the NT our practice now of accepting them later? Again, the silence seems to point to the evidence that a change DID NOT take place concering a covenant child’s place in participating in the covenant meal. Not that one of the most significant changes in God’s covenant dealings with children had.

  24. Lee said,

    November 28, 2006 at 4:19 pm

    Hear Calvin on the matter, “This distincition is very clearly shown in Scripture. FOr with respect to Baptism , the Lord there sets no definite age. But he does not similarly hold forth the Supper for all to partake of, but only for those who are capable of discerning the body and blood of the Lord, of examining their own conscience, of proclaiming the Lord’s death, and of considering its power. . . . A self-examiniation then ought to come first, and it is vain to expect this of infants. . . . Circumcision, which is known to correspond to our baptism, had been appointed for infants [Gen. 17:12]. But the Passover, the place of which has been taken by the Supper, did not admit all guests indiscriminately, but was duly eaten only by those wh were old enough to be able to inquire into its meaning [Ex. 12:26]. If these men had a particle of sound brain left, would they be blind to a thing so clear and obvious?”

    P.S. Todd, I think the Westminster was right to call the Pope the antichrist, and the American version messed it up by removing it. Although, I do not subscribe to the WCF.

  25. November 28, 2006 at 4:32 pm


    I am familiar with Calvin’s view and it is is really irrelevant since I’ve conceded to moving away from Westminster and most Reformed thought on my view. I would suggest that children (much younger than what we normally allow to the Table) are certainly capable of being instructed (even very simply) into the meaning of Communion. So though Calvin’s argument would probably exclude newborns, it still certainly lowers the age significantly from where it is practiced today.

  26. greenbaggins said,

    November 28, 2006 at 4:34 pm

    Then would you admit, David, that the child must understand before partaking? Or are you merely describing Calvin’s view here?

  27. November 28, 2006 at 4:40 pm

    I believe in order to correspond correctly with Passover (since I hinge my argument so closly on it) they must be capable of simply instruction. Therefore my view of paedocommunion limits it to the very young (2 yrs old or so?) that can understand simply instruction. I find myself opposed to the practice I metion above. Elders presume to know when a child is “ready” to come into full communion. There is no precedent for this in the NT. It seems totally contrived.

    One issue you haven’t brought up yet is the active/passive nature of the two sacraments. Some argue baptism is presumed passive while communion active. Some argue from this position saying since baptism is passive it is permissable for infants while communion is not it is active. I don’t agree with this but thought I’d throw it out.

  28. November 28, 2006 at 5:18 pm

    Lane, so would you be opposed to very young children who could receive this type of instuction partaking? And can you explain how you would defend my contention that there is no NT mandate given for Elders to “examine” young people in order to determine their readiness for full communion?

  29. Seth McBee said,

    November 28, 2006 at 5:37 pm

    As far as “coming of age” this is a very hard subject but is there not a time in a child’s life or a person’s life where they “confess” Christ, regenerated and sealed by the Holy Spirit? I contend yes, of course. At what age does a child “come of age” I have no idea, that is really up to the parents. I have been in discussion with some of my other brothers in Christ on this as well for it is very hard to know. But, if one does not allow paedo communion isn’t there an age where you believe that a child has believed and come to the age to examine himself? Isn’t that age different for different children? I would contend yes, the only other age I have heard is the age of 13 by Jewish rule of when a child became a man.

    I am very torn on when to believe a child is truly saved, for I do not know. But I would also contend we don’t know with adults either, for both have a faith of a child, if you would permit me to say so.

    Todd, as far as telling my child to pray to the Father, of course I do, for my child’s faith has no bearing whether or not God is God. He cannot be removed from His throne. The hard part is when you tell your child or the regenerate that Christ died for their sins. We don’t know, but it isn’t our job to TRULY know. Am I making sense? If not ask again.

    This is a very good discussion. As a Baptist, I do appreciate your positions more than I used to (years ago), not that I am convinced of it, but that isnt’ the point. I just know that Paul was writing to a church of believers on communion and was speaking to them. Did he think that all were truly saved? I don’t think so, but that is why he later states in 2 Cor 13:5 for us to test ourselves. It is our job to test ourselves to make sure we are in the faith, but I would have a hard time, as it seemed the same with Paul to not allow someone who confessed Christ to participate in communion. That is why he speaks of judgment later in 1 Cor 11. Sorry I am now rambling…

  30. Todd said,

    November 28, 2006 at 5:48 pm

    Seth: “Todd, as far as telling my child to pray to the Father, of course I do, for my child’s faith has no bearing whether or not God is God.”

    But doesn’t your child’s faith or lack of faith have bearing on whether God is that child’s Father? Before he is saved, should he be encouraged to think of God as his Father? Many Baptists don’t allow their children to address God as Father.

  31. November 28, 2006 at 5:52 pm

    Seth you say,

    “But, if one does not allow paedo communion isn’t there an age where you believe that a child has believed and come to the age to examine himself?”

    ~ The answer is yes, they do. And I agree that this makes many presbyterians functional baptist. They may baptize infants but they don’t allow them full communion and member status until later, usually around 13 or so. Often times it is much later than baptist, who I’ve known to baptize and commune children at 3 and 4. In this sense I believe baptist to at least be consistent with the sacraments. If your going to baptize them into the covenant, it seems inconceivable you’d turn right around and deny them the means of grace from that covenant.

  32. Todd said,

    November 28, 2006 at 5:56 pm

    A common but important question for Lane: Would you exclude an elderly church member who has become senile and has lost the ability to examine himself?

  33. November 28, 2006 at 6:03 pm

    Todd, you and Seth both see many of the same inconsistencies I saw as I came to the paedocommunion view. I asked the same question about the elderly in my church, some of who had lost that capacity, were homebound and yet continued to recieve communion. There was never given a cogent argument as to why in light of the sessions understanding of 1 Cor. 11.

    These, along with the many other things said here is why either the Baptist or Paedobaptist/paedocommunion views are the most consisent in thier application of the sacraments.

  34. Seth McBee said,

    November 28, 2006 at 6:09 pm

    For me, if I were a coventalist, it would be hard for me not to allow paedo communion, and David you pointed out something that yes I would do, and would do everytime. If there is someone who I have baptized then they are welcome to take communion. Let me ask you guys this, do you ever come to the table and NOT take communion because of sin in your life?

    but, yes, David, if baptized then welcome to take communion because we only baptize those who we believe are saved through faith and then we also believe that only those who are saved through faith should partake in communion because of my “remembrance” post before.

  35. Seth McBee said,

    November 28, 2006 at 6:11 pm

    by the way David, I do think that we all have inconsistancies in our thoughts on baptism and communion.

  36. November 28, 2006 at 6:26 pm

    Yes Seth people do occasionally refrain from partaking due to unresolved sin. Sometimes it is due to personal conviction sometimes the church has stepped in and is suspending someone due to unrepentant sin. Ex-communication is literally the cutting someone off from communion. But Communion should help us keep short accounts and desire to resolve sin in our life so that we can come and enjoy the fellowship of the saints.

  37. November 28, 2006 at 6:34 pm

    BTW Seth, my reference to consistancy is speaking relative to the three views being put forth. I’m not speaking in any ultimate sense of the word.

  38. John said,

    November 28, 2006 at 6:48 pm

    I don’t believe that 1 Corinthians 11 can be legitimately opposed to paedocommunion.

    First, when Paul says, “Let a man examine himself,” he is stating something generally. But general statements like this need not apply to every specific person.

    For instance, Paul also says, “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” But we don’t apply that to babies and little children, nor do we apply it to the infirm. That is, we don’t apply it to those who are incapable of working.

    So when Paul says, “Let a man examine himself and so let him eat,” that applies first of all to those who are capable of examining themselves. It doesn’t necessarily rule out participation on the part of those who are incapable of self-examination (e.g., babies, little children, the mentally handicapped, the senile, etc.).

    Second, as Todd points out, self-examination is required not only for the Lord’s Supper but also for the Old Covenant meals. An Israelite who partook in those feasts in unbelief would be judged for it. God expresses his disapproval of unbelieving participation, expressed in the form of participation while practicing wickedness, in Isaiah 1.

    And yet children are expressly said to participate in the Old Covenant feasts. They partook of the Passover and there was no age-requirement or knowledge-requirement they had to meet in order to do so. (The question in Exodus doesn’t mean they had to be able to ask or answer the question in order to participate; it merely means that when they asked that question their parents would have to give a certain answer.) The children also are explicitly mentioned in connection with the Feast of Tabernacles.

    So if the requirement to participate in the right way, in faith not unbelief, did not preclude the children from participating in the Old Covenant feasts, why would the similar requirement bar them from the Lord’s Table?

    Third, a general question: if the children were included in the Old Covenant at the Table, why would they now be barred from the Lord’s Table? The normal pattern from Old Covenant to New is that of greater and richer blessings, not a restriction of blessing.

    Fourth, self-examination in 1 Corinthians 11 does not require much intellectual ability or maturity. The word “dokimazo” refers to “proving” oneself, that is, making sure one is approved. (Note that the same root is used earlier in 1 Cor. 11 to refer to those who are “approved.”)

    Can a little child make sure that he’s “approved”? Can he make sure that he’s walking rightly in relation to Christ and His people? Certainly. He knows when he’s out of fellowship with Mommy and Daddy or with his brothers and sisters. Even a one-year-old can know that he’s out of fellowship with his parents.

    And his parents ought to help him. If he’s out of fellowship, they ought to tune him in. They ought to discipline him and restore him to fellowship.

    And if the child is too little to be out of fellowship with his parents or siblings or fellow church members, then he’s not out of fellowship with Christ either, so why bar him from the Table? If he’s not out of fellowship with Christ’s people, then he just is “approved.” He doesn’t need to do anything more to make sure he’s approved, that is, to “prove” himself.

    It seems to me, therefore, that nothing in this requirement necessarily bars a child from the Table or sets up a requirement that must be met by the child prior to coming to the Table.

  39. November 28, 2006 at 6:57 pm

    One concern I have come to consider is the consequences men face for holding convictions that might run contrary to accepted doctrine. Using our friend Lane as an example, if he did come to embrace paedocommunion and therefore in good conscience, not practice it, it places him in a very precarious situation. Many, many men have placed themselves under the care of the Church and as a result become soley dependant upon it for sustaining themselves and their families. It can become extremely difficult for a man to have to chose between a personal conviction and his lively-hood.

    I tend to believe if men were not so tied to the church in such a way as to be wholly dependant on it as a sole source of income and provision, it might very well free them up to express more freely their personal convictions concerning matters of faith.

  40. greenbaggins said,

    November 29, 2006 at 10:53 am

    Well, John, I would say that the phrase “in faith, not unbelief,” says it all.

    Let me put it this way: the elders are required to fence the table. This means that they only allow those to the table who can comprehend what is going on. For this reason I would not serve communion to an elderly person who cannot comprehend what is going on. What good would it do them? If we say that it would do them good without their knowing it, then we have gone into ex opere operato understandings of the Lord’s Supper. I will not go there. That’s Roman Catholic territory.

    BOQ The word “dokimazo” refers to “proving” oneself, that is, making sure one is approved.EOQ I can’t go there, John, for the reason that BDAG simply doesn’t define the word this way. It means “test to determine genuineness.” What else can one test but one’s faith? Children are not excluded from this testing. Therefore, they should have to be able to do such “dokimazo” in order to attend the table. Practically speaking, my position is not much different from David, since I believe that children are capable of much more than many think they are. There are children who would be able to understand the Lord’s Supper at age 6, whereas others I wouldn’t let come to the table even if they were 15, if they show no signs of taking the Sacrament seriously. I just cannot read 1 Cor 11 the way that John does. As I said earlier, if 1 Cor 11 were not in the Bible, I would be giving Communion to small children. However, 1 Cor 11 is in the Bible, and its terms cannot, in my mind, be so limited by various contextual factors as John and David have suggested. I believe that Paul here gives us general principles for attending the Lord’s Supper that apply in certain ways in certain contexts.

    If elders are required to fence the table during the actual observance, then surely they are required to fence the table before the observance. This goes for any squabbles going on that might make someone ineligible for partaking, and it makes the ignorant ineligible. I agree with Calvin and the Westminster divines.

  41. Todd said,

    November 29, 2006 at 11:13 am

    Lane, have you read Jeff Meyers’ article on this?

    Seth shouldn’t miss the Leithart article at the bottom.

  42. greenbaggins said,

    November 29, 2006 at 12:07 pm

    Jeff Meyers totally misses the boat when he completely eliminates all subjective examination of the person from the verb. He simply misses it. The verb means, according to BDAG (which I notice is conveniently absent totally and utterly from his discussion) “to make a critical examination of something to determine genuineness, put to the test, examine.” Under this definition, BDAG includes 1 Cor 11:28, where the object is oneself. Even if Jeff was right in severely limiting the meaning to church unity discernment, he would be wrong in limiting it to objective examination. One must discern inward unity with other church members as well. And to do that, one must be of an age to be able. This argument has never been shaken by anyone on the paedo-communion side of things. The word “dokimazo” simply requires ability in age. John’s point about limitation has been answered in comment 40.

  43. November 29, 2006 at 12:51 pm

    Lane, I agreed the definition has merit, but should not be used in such a sweeping manner as is commonly done. We should examine ourselves, our lives, our conduct towards other believers,etc. All things Paul expected in Corinth. But as I just mentioned on the other thread, we don’t have the same expectations from young children regarding baptism as we do in communion. We just simply don’t. And rightly so. And they didn’t in the OT either. The “examining” in I Cor. 11 does not HAVE to apply to infants, just like the other commands about being baptized aren;t applied to them. How does jumping hermeneutical hoops suggesting it MUST apply to them, even when not the object of Paul’s exhortation, make for sound application? Reformed people would never take this stand against another word like “all” in Scripture. We know when it says “all” speaking about salvation we can’t make such sweeping generalizations. There are many other contexual and hermeneutical considerations to make. But all that goes out the window with “dokimazo”. Welcome to the next generation of biblical exegetes.

  44. greenbaggins said,

    November 29, 2006 at 1:01 pm

    Next generation? How about “last several dozen” generations? :-) The hermeneutic I’m using is precisely the same as that of the WCF. There is zero difference.

    1 Cor 11 is the only place where Paul deals with the Lord’s Supper. It is sweeping, period. There is not other place in Paul where we find it laid out like this. The only other place in Scripture, as Seth mentioned, where the Supper is discussed is the institution of it, where it is plain that remembrance is the focus, again an impossible activity for infants. But you argue this yourself. You wouldn’t let infants to the table, David. I wonder whether you really are a paedo-communionist. Are we really arguing over one or two years?

  45. November 29, 2006 at 1:12 pm

    I’m arguing over a principle of biblical interpretation that distorts Paul’s meaning in the context given in 1 Cor. 11. This understanding has left us denying communion to covenant children until their teenagers. It has become a tool to divde the church unbiblically between communicant member and non-communicate members (as if their really were such a thing). All unbiblical practices. Ideas have consequences, and were seeing the results of this type of thinking.

  46. greenbaggins said,

    November 29, 2006 at 1:21 pm

    This understanding does *not* deny communion to covenant children until they are teenagers. I must have said it four or five times now, and I hope you read it this time: IT IS POSSIBLE FOR 6-YEAR OLDS TO BE WORTHY RECIPIENTS. That is *in no way* contradictory to my understanding of 1 Cor 11.

    Do you believe in the visible/invisible church distinction?

  47. November 29, 2006 at 1:44 pm

    Lane, I see your point and you have conceeded young children can and should come. But I’m speaking of the Reformed community at large who does practice what I’ve said here. You are the exception to the rule. It is the rule that needs changing.

  48. November 29, 2006 at 1:45 pm

    BTW, I do believe in a visible/invisible church distinction.

  49. greenbaggins said,

    November 29, 2006 at 2:26 pm

    If you believe in the visible/invisible church distinction, then why wouldn’t you believe in something to mark inclusion in each? Baptism marks the initiation into the visible church. Admission to the table marks admission to the invisible church (which can, of course, be an incorrect admission: we cannot see the heart). By the way, I wouldn’t use the word “conceded,” as this has always been my position for over a decade.

  50. greenbaggins said,

    November 29, 2006 at 2:27 pm

    But do you agree that my position is consistent with 1 Cor 11? If you do, then the rule does not need changing. Rather, we need more education.

  51. November 29, 2006 at 2:46 pm

    Concerning the visible/invisible church distinction, I’d suggest neither sacrament is capable of marking the invisible church. We confess and acknowledge there is an innumarable host that have been, are and will be saved. Yet the visible church can only approximate what that is. Whether we allow a 3 yr old or the same person at 13 yrs old to the Table, is not a sound measuing rod for the invisible church. The secret things belong to the Lord. Ours is not to try to peer into the heart and check for a “I’m an invisible church member card”. We gage the Church by the visible means Christ has given us. There is no biblical precedent suggesting the Lord’s Supper “marks admission into the invisible church”. It only demonstrates faithfulness to the visible one.

    As far as your position is concerned, I believe your a lot closer than many other Reformed ministers. I still think you misunderstand the main thrust, extent and intent of Paul’s exhortation to “examine ourselves”. The subjective nature of both sacraments has to deal with the ability of the individual partaking. That’s what makes it subjective. As a result, when we speak of infants, we understand they don’t understand and we graciously minister to them as they develop the ability to grow in the faith. There is nothing inherent in either sacrament that prevents us from doing this. As a result my question has been, why not do it? So, if we take yours and mine understanding of Communion, which seems to be measured in differences of degrees, I think it is a matter of education. If we approach it how the rest of anti-paedocommunist do, we need a new rule.

    One day I’m going to go to college and then seminary and maybe they can teach me something!

  52. greenbaggins said,

    November 29, 2006 at 2:53 pm

    I think the real reason why I do not wish to have ignorant babies at the table is found in verses 27 and 30 of 1 Cor 11. Yes, the Sacrament is a means of grace. However, if done in a wrong manner (and this is not limited, whatever may be argued about verse 28: verse 27 says “*whoever* eats in an unworthy manner.” I would certainly include ignorant partaking as “unworthy.”) it becomes a means of unblessing, or cursing. That is why some die or become ill. They didn’t evaluate (BDAG’s definition of “diakrino”) themselves properly. We could say then, that proper partaking of the Lord’s Supper is a matter of life and death. That’s why I don’t want my ignorant infant partaking.

  53. greenbaggins said,

    November 29, 2006 at 2:56 pm

    On the visible/invisible church distinction, I think that the church has the keys of the kingdom. They determine, to the best of their knowledge, who is part of the invisible church, not just the visible church. This is part and parcel of fencing the table.

  54. November 29, 2006 at 4:02 pm

    The Church holds the keys, but again the church isn’t infallible. We baptize our children in faith on the promise of God to redeem them. Whether they ever partake of the Supper or not doesn’t not change their eternal status. As a result, the promise doesn’t change from 3 to 13 yrs old. If we beleive the promise of God at 3 yrs old and have baptized them, then they should partake.

  55. greenbaggins said,

    November 29, 2006 at 4:16 pm

    Does the church have to be infallible in my understanding? We do the best we can. Otherwise, the elders should never examine anyone in the congregation for their faith, because they might make a mistake! So what if they do? If there is a mistake, even after careful examination, then the fault for their taking communion rests solely on the one who takes ir wrongly.

  56. Seth McBee said,

    November 29, 2006 at 4:53 pm

    “Do this in remembrance of Me”

    How can someone who is not saved remember where they have not been? This has to be answered in my opinion.

    read post 12 and let me know your dealings with this part of Scripture for it is said by our Lord in Luke as well.

  57. greenbaggins said,

    November 29, 2006 at 5:00 pm

    Yes, Seth, and those passages, (whatever may be said of Paul) are not to be limited in any way by age restrictions. Whoever would partake must have such remembrance and proclamation. By the way, David, you have not answered some of my points either, such as the “whoever” in verse 27 broadening the scope, and the force of “diakrino” in verse 31.

  58. Seth McBee said,

    November 29, 2006 at 5:03 pm

    I understand your point on age restrictions, but I would have a hard time if my 3 year old son came to me and said he “understood.”

    Again, to me, it is the parent along with the pastor who seeks and asks questions of the young one to see if they truly understand “examine” and “remembrance”

    Whatever that age is…

  59. greenbaggins said,

    November 29, 2006 at 5:06 pm

    Exactly. The church has the keys of the kingdom. They admit some and not others to the table.

  60. greenbaggins said,

    November 29, 2006 at 5:07 pm

    I guess what I meant is that the passage applies to all ages, and that there are not any qualifications that negate the plain sense of the passage.

  61. Seth McBee said,

    November 29, 2006 at 6:49 pm

    I agree, and I will tell you that my brothers and I over at all have been struggling with this “age” issue. Since we don’t baptize or allow communion until someone is saved. Tony has girls that are 10 year old twins and boys that are 8 and 5. Justin has a 5 year old boy and other wee ones, and I have a 3 year old and also an infant. We struggle with this notion of “what age” and “when” are they truly saved? so that they can be baptized and partake in communion

    We admit, this is very tough for us to know.

  62. John said,

    November 30, 2006 at 3:28 am

    Seth, Jesus didn’t say, “Do this in remembrance of me.” He said, “Do this as my memorial.” In other words, Jesus didn’t say, “Do this while thinking about me” which might presuppose that we’d have to know and understand about Him in order to “do this.” Rather, He told us to do something which would be His memorial.

    The Greek phrase is EIS EMHM ANAMNHSIN (“unto my memorial” or “for my memorial” or, as above, “as my memorial”). The word ANAMNHSIN links us with a lot of memorial stuff in the Old Covenant. In fact, this phrase in 1 Corinthians 11 is almost identical to a phrase found elsewhere in the Bible where it speaks about blowing trumpets as a memorial (in the Septuagint EIS ANAMNHSIN).

    To understand what Jesus means, we need to understand how memorials work in the Bible. On occasion, a memorial appears to be man-directed. That is, we are to see the memorial and remember something.

    But primarily, memorials in the Bible are God-directed. We do something and God sees or hears it. Thus “Yahweh” is God’s memorial name. It isn’t a name to remind us of something; it’s the name we use in our prayers to remind God. The rainbow functions the same way. God didn’t put it there primarily for us to see, but so that when He sees it He will remember and not destroy the earth with a flood.

    Similarly, the high priest wore Israel’s names on His shoulders as a memorial. Israel didn’t see him doing that, but God did. God remembered His people. They blew trumpets, too, as a memorial for God to hear. When God hears, He remembers. When God remembers, He acts.

    And so, too, with the Supper. We are to do it as a memorial of Jesus so that when we do this act — eating this bread together and drinking this cup together — we are memorializing Jesus and the Father sees what we’re doing, recognizes that we are the people who belong to His Son, and remembers us. And when He remembers He acts on our behalf.

    So it’s not that we have to be thinking about Jesus in order to partake of the Supper. That’s not what Jesus is saying. It’s that partaking of the Supper reminds the Father (and indirectly us, also) of Jesus.

    The partaking (not words we say or thoughts in our minds, but the eating and drinking together) also is a proclamation of the Lord’s death. To whom? Primarily to the Father. Secondarily, to each other.

  63. greenbaggins said,

    November 30, 2006 at 9:16 am

    John, there is one gigantic problem with your reading of “anamnesis.” The context is all about what we do in the Sacrament. When Paul quotes the words of the Lord, all the commands of the Lord are in second person “you eat, you drink.” The phrase in question hangs off two second person verbs “(you) do this, as often as you drink, in remembrance of me.” Even if you translate “as a memorial,” the utterly plain implication is that the ones doing the remembrance are the people doing and drinking. Verse 26 confirms this, because in this remembrance (“for” at the beginning of verse 26) there is proclamation, which again is in second person. So it is utterly impossible that the remembering is primarily done by the Father, and only secondarily by us. That is pure and simple eisegesis, John. The Father’s action is not in the context. Rather it is what we are doing when we partake. To say that we are proclaiming to the Father is also eisegesis. That is nowhere said.

  64. John said,

    November 30, 2006 at 12:48 pm

    Lane, I agree that those who are doing the actions are the people who are eating and drinking. But nothing in the text indicates that they are the ones who are “remembering.” Rather, they are the ones who are memorializing. They are doing this “as Jesus’ memorial.”

    That’s not eisegesis. That’s an understanding drawn from the OT, where the same phrase is used to speak of doing something “as a memorial.” Memorials in the Bible are ritual actions, primarily focused on God who is the Rememberer. There’s a whole biblical theology of memorials undergirding my claim about 1 Cor 11.

    Similarly, taking the proclamation as a proclamation to God is not eisegesis any more than taking it as a proclamation to ourselves or to unbelievers is eisegesis. The text simply doesn’t say who the audience of this proclamation is.

    There’s no reason to take it as unbelievers, I’d contend, because they aren’t even present at the Table. It’s possible to take it as a proclamation of the Lord’s death to each other, and I grant that. But it’s also possible, in light of the reference to “memorials” which this line helps to explain, that the proclamation is Godward.

    Again, if you contend that that is eisegesis because the text doesn’t say explicitly that the proclamation is Godward, I will contend that taking the audience to be the congregation or unbelievers is equally vulnerable to the charge of eisegesis because the text doesn’t say that either.

    How do we answer the question? Not just from the text but from the rest of Scripture, and I’ve attempted to do that.

  65. greenbaggins said,

    November 30, 2006 at 2:26 pm

    My point was not really about the audience, but about who is doing the remembering. If someone says “do this as a remembering,” what is the most natural way to read such a statement? It is that in doing it, the person doing it is remembering. There is nothing in the context to indicate that there is this great huge OT tradition of memorial behind the text.

  66. John said,

    December 2, 2006 at 2:57 pm

    Lane, when the Bible says that Israel is to blow the trumpets “EIS ANAMNHSIN,” who is doing the remembering? In the context, I’d say it’s God who is doing the remembering. The same is true of many of the other examples of anamnesis in the Old Testament. Many memorials in the Bible are God-directed.

    So the “most natural way” to read “Do this as my memorial” may not be the correct way. The most obvious way to read the passage ought to be to look at how the words are used in the Old Testament and to build on that. If we do, then it isn’t so obvious that we are the primary ones being reminded of Christ by this action. It seems to me that a good biblical case can be made for taking God as the primary rememberer and then us as secondary rememberers.

    That’s how it works, for instance, with the rainbow. The rainbow is in our sky so that we can see it. But the rainbow is there for God. He says that He will look at it and not judge the earth with a flood. He sees the rainbow and He remembers and we see the rainbow and we remember that He remembers.

  67. greenbaggins said,

    December 2, 2006 at 3:12 pm

    I grant the point that the OT should help us in determining how words are used. However, the context in which it appears in 1 Cor 11 is all about how we are to observe the Sacrament. In that context, it seems like quite a stretch to say that God does the remembering. Can you cite any commentators who hold to that view?

  68. John said,

    December 2, 2006 at 7:13 pm

    You write: “Can you cite any commentators who hold to that view?”

    Sure: Joachim Jeremias, The Eucharistic Words of Jesus. I imagine that Jeremias was followed by some other commentators, though I don’t have a very large 1 Corinthians library. As well, James Jordan has a lengthy lecture or two on memorials and how they work in Scripture.

  69. Mark Kodak said,

    December 4, 2006 at 5:43 pm

    If the conditions of any celebration of the Lord’s Supper reflect those of Corinth when Paul addressed the congregation there (ie. gluttony and drunkeness), then I would see it neccesary to require examination before partaking for those who are able.

    Otherwise, all baptized men, women, children, infants, elderly, whether senile or lacking their right minds, or immature, of all ages, are completely welcome at Christ’s table to eat Christ’s food.

  70. Mark Kodak said,

    December 4, 2006 at 5:46 pm

    John said:

    “It seems to me that a good biblical case can be made for taking God as the primary rememberer and then us as secondary rememberers.”

    He is completely correct here I think. We proclaim the Lord’s death to the LORD.
    We remind God of His covenant, not because He will forget, but because we forget every five minutes. And we affirm existentially within us the covenant by affirming it to Him by the Spirit within us. He is the God who remembers. “Zechariyah”

  71. Danny Bombaro said,

    December 14, 2006 at 2:17 pm

    Children born of Christain parents are as much recipients of the covenant promises as a senile old man who also happens to be in the covenant. So, let’em have it! It’s discernment on the parents part, as they can be responsible for a two year old, a sixteen year old, and sometimes a seventy-six year old. It isn’t a matter of age according to man’s understanding; it is a matter of the LORD applying the blessings of His promises to our families according to His wisdom and grace.
    Of course, if the child wishes to have PB&J spread on the communion bread … then we might need to better evaluate.

  72. greenbaggins said,

    December 18, 2006 at 11:38 am

    Mark Kodak (welcome to my blog, by the way), isn’t this just another way of saying that we are the primary rememberers? We are the ones who need to remember, not God, since He will always remember.

    Danny, welcome to my blog. Have you dealt with the exegetical issues surrounding this passage in 1 Cor? A great paper on this is to be found in the Auburn Avenue Theology Pros and Cons book, pp. 282-297. He says it a lot better than I can.

  73. Todd said,

    December 18, 2006 at 12:16 pm

    “We are the ones who need to remember, not God, since He will always remember.”

    But remember the purpose of the rainbow. God is the primary rememberer.

    13 I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17 God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

  74. greenbaggins said,

    December 18, 2006 at 12:40 pm

    Yes, but the connection between rainbow and the Lord’s Supper is quite tenuous. There is *nothing* in the context of 1 Cor 11 to indicate that “anamnesin” is supposed to have all the biblical theological baggage that John says there is.

  75. Todd said,

    December 18, 2006 at 1:49 pm

    Don’t you believe that the sacraments are covenant signs, Lane?

  76. Todd said,

    December 18, 2006 at 2:01 pm

    Here’s a sermon from Jeff Meyers on this topic:

  77. Todd said,

    December 18, 2006 at 2:05 pm

    And a short meditation from Mark Horne:

  78. Glen Jeffers said,

    February 9, 2007 at 4:21 pm

    I am a newcomer and admit I didn’t read all 77 posts but from beginning to end (first 10 and last 6) this blog seems to only concern children that are young physically. I believe Paul is addressing adults that are babies spiritually. Because they were babies he could not address them about spiritual matters (I Cor 3:1-3). The Lord’s Supper is a spiritual matter but I believe for the most part we have turned it into a mere agrument about the physical elements and thus we also are acting like mere men.
    Paul warned the the Corinthians (and thus we of this day) not to understand the Lord’s Supper only physically and miss the spiritual like our forefathers who did not enter the Promised Land (I Cor 10:1-17). Paul is saying in essence that our way of escape from our childish idolatry (V13,14) is to realize that WE (those united to Christ in His death) are the bread of the Communion (koinonia) (V 17).
    To rightly discern the Lord’s body and not partake unworthily (I Cor 11:29) is to recognize that WE are members of His body (I Cor 12:12-13, 27) and no longer treat each other with envy, strife, malice, contentions, jealousy, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits and tumalts (I Cor 3:1-3, 5:6-8 and II Cor 12:20) but to be broken (“this is my body broken for you, DO THIS…) of all this evil and to walk in love and peace we ALL our brothers in His body thus not bring division but unity (I Cor 13).
    Consider that perhaps the “children” Paul was addressing were physically adults that he wanted to grow up spiritually by walking in love; “Brothern, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babies, but in understanding be mature.”
    The communion we are called to in the Lord’s Supper is to die daily (koinonia in His blood) to our sinful nature and feed on the Word of God (Jesus the true bread). This true communion does not get boring but more exciting with every passing day.

  79. Glen Jeffers said,

    March 29, 2007 at 6:15 pm

    Is anyone stiil out there.

  80. greenbaggins said,

    March 30, 2007 at 9:45 am

    Yes, we’re still here, Glen, although the post is old, and there are more pressing concerns at the moment. Are you arguing for the paedo-communion view or the non-paedo-communion view? It’s a little difficult to tell.

  81. Glen Jeffers said,

    March 30, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    Thank you.
    Paul was addressing adult children (I Cor 3:1-3) and not children-children. Communion is not for children-children nor baby-adults. Paul said they could not receive the spiritual, solid food of communion because they were babies (I Cor 3:1-3). It is clear he was referring to communion because he said their forefathers missed the spiritual and did not escape their desert wanderings (I Cor 10:1-13). We can also miss the Promised Land today if we miss the spiritual.
    Communion is the specific reference Paul was talking about when he said, “…with every temptation will also make a way of escape” (I Cor 10:13). Escape from what? From our carnality, being mere men and babies. Today, we have missed the spiritual because we are to busy arguing about the physical (elements). We need to end the division we bring to the body of Christ by having a spiritual understanding of communion.
    Communion is the seal of a covenant commitment and children can not enter into covenants (contracts), especially like joining the army. However, today we have many baby Christians trying to due spiritual battle and are being defeated because they are still babies.

  82. greenbaggins said,

    March 30, 2007 at 3:21 pm

    I think, though, that the distinction between internally in the covenantm, and externally in the covenant has to be maintained. Otherwise, there is no basis for baptizing children, is there?

  83. Crystal said,

    April 2, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    Well,I just learned that if your not saved in a Baptist church where i was raised,That it is wrong to join a communion.Is it like that with all religions that believe in communion?You would think i would have known being a Baptist!!Its confusing to me and im sure to alot.I know i was always told the age of accountabilty is when you know right from wrong and understand the scripture.But im 30 and still dont understand alot of scripture..Im getting a bad felling about the communion thing,because i was told if you are not saved and you do participate in communion there is something about damnation,can someone please explain cause its scary.I know i have participated when i wasn’t saved because it was never explained or came out till recently!!If you can please explain this to me ill be more than happy to hear from anyone with answers..

  84. greenbaggins said,

    April 2, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    Hello, Crystal. Welcome to my blog.

    I’m not quite sure what your real question is. I’ll try my hand at it, but if it isn’t your real question, will you ask it again in a different way?

    Okay, the Lord’s Supper is for believers. The words of institution are in 1 Corinthians 11, which explains quite a bit about the Lord’s Supper (communion). It is certain that it is a sin to participate in the Lord’s Supper while not a believer. It is not wise, either, since Paul says that we would eat and drink judgment on ourselves. However, do you know that you were an unbeliever when you partook of it? If you were and unbeliever, then it is a sin just like any other sin that can be forgiven by the blood of Christ. Yes, it is a sin, but it is not more condemning than any other sin. If you became a believer afterwards, then know this: all your sin is washed away by the blood of the Lamb. You do not need to worry if you only trust Jesus.

    What I tell people in our church is that if they are a baptized member of a church that preaches the true Gospel, and they trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, then they are welcome to participate in communion. There is nothing in Scripture that says that a person *has* to be a member of a particular denomination in order to partake. So, if your church preaches the true Gospel of Jesus Christ crucified for sinners, and resurrected from the dead, and that Jesus has taken your sin upon Himself, and given you His righteousness, then you would be more than welcome to participate at the table of my church, provided you are a baptized member of that church.

    That’s my first shot at answering. Hope it helps.

  85. Crystal said,

    April 3, 2007 at 9:18 pm

    Thanks So much for answering my question.It helped me alot..God Bless You for putting my mind at ease..

  86. Glen Jeffers said,

    April 4, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    That was a very good comment Greenbaggins gave to your concerns. May I add that you continue to search for the Lord with your whole heart because he has a plan and a future for you and the Lord has promised that you will find him (Jeremiah 29:11-13). This is more than just getting saved – this is God’s plan and purpose for your life. This plan is intimately tied to a spiritual understanding of the Lord’s Supper because Paul said we can only understand God’s thoughts (and thus his plans for us) if we are spiritual and not carnal (I Corinthians 2:9 – 3:3). Chapter 2 verses 9-11 make it clear for you to understand what God has planned for and you that it is only revealed through His Spirit. This takes a wholehearted commitment. Paul’s warning to us is (I Corinthians 10:1-17) is that the halfhearted will not enter the Promised Land (Numbers 13:25 – 14:24). Please study these with the leading of the Holy Spirit so that you may show yourself approved (II Timothy 2:11-15). God bless you.richly.

    I am not familiar with your question (#82) about – “the distinction between internally in the covenantm, and externally in the covenant has to be maintained.”
    Please explain further how this relates to Paul addressing adult (physical) babies (spiritual) and that communion is not at all about children of young physical age. It is interesting that Crystal interjected comment #83 because I believe it portrays perfectly someone growing spiritually. I believe Paul is trying to get us to separate the physical age of a person with that persons spiritual age. To often we look at physical maturity (i.e. outward goodness and a form of godliness) with spiritual maturity (walking in agape love and having spiritual fruit of the Spirit – I Cor 13;1-8 & Gal 5:22-26).

  87. Matt said,

    April 9, 2007 at 11:48 am


    Like George Knight, whose article you cite approvingly in your post, you simply rely on Bauer’s lexicon to do your Greek research for you. You credocommunionists have not done your homework. A survey of the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (a searchable CD-ROM with all of extant ancient Greek literature through the Byzantine period) shows that there is no instance of “dokimazo” in all of Greek literature where it denotes the sort of introspection you claim in 1 Cor. 11:28.

    Let’s look at pre-Christian Greek literature first, and let’s consider only instances that are reflexive (the subject examines himself) or have persons as the object of the verb. Demosthenes 18.266 says “I am being examined for a crown,” and then talks about how he is judicially innocent of all crimes. This is not introspective. Again, in Plato’s Laws, 759D, some officers called “Expounders” are being examined. The scrutiny in question, the test indicated by “dokimazo”, is “to see that a man is healthy and legitimate, reared in a family whose moral standards could hardly be higher, and that he himself and his father and mother have lived unpolluted by homicide and all such offences against heaven.” In other words, it is again objective, not a matter of “looking into one’s being.” Again, in Thucydides 6.53, we see criminal informers being tested; in this case, to “dokimazo” them means to double-check the facts of their reports. Or in Xenophon, Memorabilia VI.1, we find talk of testing friends, where the test involves asking whether a person is “master of his appetites, not under the dominion, that is, of his belly, not addicted to the wine-cup or to lechery or sleep or idleness” and whether he is a debtor or quarrelsome.

    In every instance, the word refers to an objective and outward examination of a man’s behaviour according to some known standard. So, far from “missing the boat”, Jeff Meyers is completely correct to eliminate all subjective examination of persons.

    There is no reason at all to think that the reflexive pronoun being the direct object in 1 Cor. 11 should mean that introspection is the means by which “dokimazeto seauton” is accomplished. If I say, “Let a man kick himself for his errors of Greek lexicography”, the verb has a reflexive pronoun as its object. But it would be silly to say that the verb therefore must be accomplished by introspection. Just so, a survey of Greek literature proves that dokimazo is just as outward and objective as kicking is. That a man is to do it to himself does not change that fact at all.

    Finally, context is king. Nothing in 1 Cor. 11 has anything to say about introspection. Everything speaks of outward behaviour: refraining from fractiouosness and factions, waiting for each other before eating, etc. Thus the OPC Majority Report on Paedocommunion seems correct to say that the test in view in 1 Cor. 11 is whether one is living in love and unity with one’s fellow believers. This would be, again, objectively knowable and involves no introspection at all. It is a requirement that babies do not even have the ability to break yet.

  88. Glen Jeffers said,

    April 10, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    Matt, & Greenbaggins,
    Wow. Do we really need to go to pre-Christian Greek, the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (a searchable CD-ROM with all of extant ancient Greek literature through the Byzantine period, P;ato’s laws, etc to determine what the Holy Spirit is trying to say?
    I believe it is introspection based on the context of all scripture but especially first & second Corinthians. Here is why.
    1) Paul speaks about determining a brother to be carnal, babies and mere men by there outward, physical actions and speech (I Cor 3:1-3). Is conclusion from this examination is that they are not spiritual, which is an internal condition. We see this in what Jesus said in Matthew 15:18-20 and others that out of the heart the mouth speaks. Therefore, when I speak envy, strife and bring division I must examine my heart the the light of the Holy Spirit and the Word (Jesus).
    2) Can we agree that second Corinthians was written about 12-14 years after first Corinthians? Paul is concerned that after the period between the first and second letters to the Corinthians that outwardly nothing has changed concerning their behavior as he wrote in 2 Cor 12:20

    “For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults;…”

    If he comes to them and finds it to be true is next concern is that they have not even repented i.e. they are not saved or are not even on the foundation of Jesus (I Cor 3:11-15 & II Tim 2:19).

    Concerning this situation Paul gives the same admonition to examine themselves as he did in I Corinthians 11:26-34. However, his exhortation to examination is much stronger this time as we see in II Corinthians 13:4-6 but especially verse 5,

    “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?; unless indeed you are disqualified.”

    The test is to “see” if Jesus Christ lives in you. This is a search of the heart carried out by the Holy Spirit and the Word.

    The spiritual man that Paul speaks of and is itimately tied to the Lord’s Supper and frees us of our carnal nature is accomplished by two very important spiritual methods. One is circumcision of the heart (Deut 10:16, 30:6, Acts 7:51 & Rom 2:28-29) and the second is to be cricified with Christ (Rom 6:1-14 & Phil 2:5-8, 3:10). The Lord’s Supper is the sealing in blood of a covenant in which we are participants and in partnership and have fellowship (koinonia) in his suffering and death. Nether physical babies nor spiritual babies are of age to enter this type covenant. Obviously unbelievers will be damned with the world if they partke (I Cor 11:31) and baby carnal Christians who do not rightly examine (Holy Spirit and word) themselves as to their spiritual age can come under judgment (discipline, chastening, etc.) (I Cor 11:27-31).

  89. Matt said,

    April 12, 2007 at 1:12 am

    Paul continues: “Not that people will see that we have stood the test but that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed.” (2 Cor. 13:7). People might see or not see whether Paul has passed or failed the test. So it cannot be introspection.

    Real word study – unlike this hand-waving from George Knight and Lane Keister – involves looking at how Greek writers use words, not just pulling definitions out of a reference book and appealing to authority.

  90. Glen Jeffers said,

    April 12, 2007 at 9:59 am

    We can not always see outward if we have succeeded or failed. That is Paul’s whole point in the scripture. Paul outwardly “may seem to have failed” with all the trials and tribulations he went through but having written most of the New Testament we would have to conclude in hindsight he succeeded. Pardon me if I’m a little slow but you even say “People might see or they might not see whether Paul has passed or failed”, therefore success can be unseen (inward) so our examination must be of our thoughts, motives, etc. (introspection).

  91. greenbaggins said,

    April 12, 2007 at 10:07 am

    Matt, this brief a comment from you about word studies is hand-waving. Where is your exegesis?

  92. Matt said,

    April 12, 2007 at 10:35 pm

    My exegesis?? But you were criticizing the exegesis of the OPC study committee’s majority report on paedocommunion.

    My comment about word studies was a direct and to-the-point counter to your claims in your opening post, in which you suggested that the BDAG definition for “dokimazo”, combined with “heauton” being the object of that verb, overthrows the exegetical arguments of the OPC majority report. I took this to mean that you thought that lexicography and grammar were on your side. So I thought I’d point out that they are not.

    “Dokimazo” is never used in Greek literature to indicate anything other than objective and outwardly knowable examination. It is, after all, a factitive formation, a verb that is supposed to lead to a state of being “dokimos,” “approved”, so that everyone can know it. As such, it cannot possibly be private and subjective — that would defeat the whole purpose of the examination. It means “submitting oneself to the test” — in this case, meeting the standards of behaviour expected of members of Christ. Accordingly none of the occurrences in Greek literature are private and internal, but always public and objective. This is a hard fact about the meaning of “dokimazo”. Credocommunionists utterly fail to reckon with it. They don’t want to look it in the face.

    You then made an utterly wrong claim about the force of the reflexive pronoun “heauton.” It says nothing whatsoever about the mode of examination.

    You have done no damage at all to the 1988 OPC majority report’s exegesis. So I don’t need to provide exegesis of my own. There’s plenty of paedocommunionist exegesis out there, and you haven’t hurt any of it a bit with your fake claims about Greek.

  93. greenbaggins said,

    April 13, 2007 at 9:48 am

    Your reasoning is completely fallacious, as is the majority report’s. 2 Corinthians 13:5 provides a direct counter to your bogus claims. The Greek can mean putting something else to the test. But it can also mean putting oneself to the test, when the proper qualifiers are there. You are assuming that dokimazo always has to have an objective reference. But putting oneself to the test here obviously includes a subjective element. As one commentator puts it: “Paul asks the Corinthians to examine their own lives for evidence of salvation.” This passage provides, by the way, the most direct parallel to 1 Cor 11:28, since the object of the verb is the same “eauton.”

  94. Matt said,

    April 13, 2007 at 11:24 am

    I am not ASSUMING that dokimazo always has objective reference. I have INSPECTED all the occurrences of the word in Greek literature, and have seen that it always has objective reference. I have provided a lexical argument (the survey of usage), and a linguistic argument (dokimazo leads to being dokimos or adokimos). It is you who are doing the assuming — assuming that your own ideas about the word’s meaning are correct, without familiarizing yourself with ancient Greek usage, or doing any lexical research. If you would like the complete TLG search results, I can send them to you. But it is really not fair to accuse me of assumption when I have read all the instances of the word, and you have not.

    You continue to equivocate between reflexive testing and subjective testing. That is, you assert that just because Paul speaks of putting “oneself” to the test, that therefore the test is *within* oneself: “putting oneself to the test obviously includes a subjective element.” Not at all, Lane. This is what is known in logic as a non sequitur. One might say, “Let a man put himself in the stocks.” See? A reflexive pronoun as object, but the verb denotes nothing private or subjective at all. Just so 1 Cor. 11:28 indeed speaks of putting oneself to the test. But it does not follow at all that the test is introspective. Rather, the context (and the usage of the verb dokimazo itself!) shows that the test itself is an objective one: the standards of behaviour required of those who are in Christ, the same ones that Paul says he meets, and that people could see that he meets in 2 Cor. 13:5-7.

    George Knight makes another Greek blunder when he assumes that “let a man prove himself” must take place prior to the eating. The Greek says “and so (houto) let him eat”. We could also translate houto as “in this way let him eat” — i.e. the eating IS the test to which one subjects oneself. Those who fail suffer sickness and death. It is rather like the water test for adultery in the OT, or like the original Passover. “If we judged ourself, we would not be judged with the world.”

    Have you paused to consider that the churches in Greece — whose language has, after all, been spoken continuously for 3000 years — have a tradition of paedocommunionism that they claim goes back to their apostolic foundation? How perverse of them not to see that “dokimazeto seauton” actually rules out paedocommunion! Not, of course, that I agree with the theology of Eastern Orthodoxy. But surely you must allow that they have not constructed it in ignorance of the meaning of Greek words!

  95. greenbaggins said,

    April 13, 2007 at 11:59 am

    But you are letting your assumptions about what “subjective” is defined as, and what “reflexive” means define your interpretation of the data. You didn’t even bother to answer my exegesis of 2 Corinthians 13:5. There is no way that you can put a bifurcation between reflexive testing and subjective testing. The text explicitly states that one must determine whether one’s *faith* is genuine. This means not just that faith must have fruit. Faith has the elements of knowledge, assent, and trust as well. So Paul is telling us there that we must examine our faith to see if it has these three elements, not only in themselves, but also in how they work out in our lives. You’re putting this “internal/external” split in a person that doesn’t belong in the text, simply because you want it to not contradict paedo-communion. You are cutting off the fruit from the root, and saying that the examination has only to do with the fruit. Paul and James are all over this one, Matt. Neither can be considered without the other.

    The argument from the current Greek church makes a logical fallacy that assumes that the Greeks of today, and even Greeks of several centuries ago, understand ancient Greek. They don’t. I asked a Greek speaker about this once, and she said that they cannot read ancient Greek very well at all. I recited the first five lines of Homer’s Odyssey to her, and she couldn’t even translate one word of it. English people have the same problem when it comes to language such as this, “My eyes prevented the dawn.” This is the substance of a KJV verse in the Psalms. The word “prevent” there means “come before,” not “stop from happening.” If we have such trouble reading older English of only a few centuries, what about modern Greeks (and indeed of many previous centuries) trying to read Greek of 2,000 years ago. Presumably the Greeks also held to the OT, and yet they have icons in their worship. They hold to divinization. This argument of yours holds zero water.

  96. Matt said,

    April 13, 2007 at 2:34 pm

    You think that Paul, in 1 Cor. 11, has in mind the “three elements of faith” — “knowledge, assent, and trust”. You think Paul is commanding us to examine our faith to see if it has these three elements? Neither 1 Cor. 11 nor 2 Cor 13 has anything to say about this trifold division. And you accuse me and the OPC study committee of letting our assumptions define our interpretation of the data!

    I’m not the one who introduced questions of “internal/external” and “objective/subjective.” These are not at all necessary for a paedocommunionist reading of 1 Cor. 11. You claimed to find introspection in “dokimazeto heauton.” That’s when you brought in this internal/external business. I just took your claim and judged it by the evidence of Greek literature. How about an argument, Lane? Why does the pronoun “heauton” require the action of “dokimazeto” to involve introspection for the first and only time in all of Greek literature? “Reflexive” is simply a grammatical description of the pronoun “heauton.” It’s a reflexive pronoun. Yeah, so what follows from that? Nothing about internal/external divisions. Let’s leave them out, by all means, and then let’s see you make verse 28 forbid credocommunion.

    You say “the text explicitly states that one must determine whether one’s *faith* is genuine.” Bull. It says “let a man prove himself”, not “let a man test his faith.” Even in 2 Cor. 13, it does not say “test your faith,” but “test yourselves, whether you are in the faith, prove yourselves.”

    The inability of modern Greeks to read ancient Greek is a flaming canard, and you know it. Modern Greek is not related to Biblical Greek the way modern Hebrew is to the Hebrew of the OT. There is, rather, a continuous (albeit gradually changing) tradition of Greek-speaking Christianity. So if you don’t think paedocommunion was being practiced when the Greeks still understood “dokimazeto heauton” correctly, then you have two questions to answer: When was paedocommunion introduced into the Greek church? And can you show us any early Christian writing in which “dokimazeto” is understood in your sense?

    My answer to those questions is: “Paedocommunion wasn’t *introduced*, because it isn’t an innovation, but part of the apostolic faith, so it was practiced in the eastern church from the beginning,” and “you can’t find any instance of credocommunionist ‘exegesis’ of 1 Cor. 11:28 in the early eastern church for the very reason that such ‘exegesis’ depends on alien theological constructs, and not on the Greek of the passage.” But if you’re going to give any answers, you have some serious philological and historical homework to do.

    The paedocommunionist case has been made overwhelming in the last 30 years. Critics have to swim against a veritable tide of exegetical, philological, and historical evidence. It cannot be done.

  97. Stewart said,

    April 13, 2007 at 3:04 pm

    “The text explicitly states that one must determine whether one’s *faith* is genuine.”

    Lane, Acts 8:36-37 Philip also requires the same thing from the eunuch for his baptism. Is this a requirement children have to meet?

  98. Glen Jeffers said,

    April 14, 2007 at 5:55 am

    I can not discuss Greek, verb tense and usage like you more learned individuals but I do not believe the Lord intended the truth to be hidden from the unlearned. Paul said mans wisdom (flesh) is coming to nothing (I Cor 2:6) but true wisdom is from God (I Cor 2:17).
    I know it is introspection for several reasons;
    1) Jesus siad in Matthew 23:27-28,
    “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
    Outward evaluation only can lead to wrong conclusions
    2) Paul said (see point 2 number 88) in II Cor 13:5
    “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?; unless indeed you are disqualified.”
    Even Paul would not judge if Jesus Christ lived in them based only on their external sinfulness of contentions, jealousy, etc. (II Cor 12:21-20). If the test were merely outward Paul could have come to a conclusion that they shoul be excluded from the Communion.

    My conclusion is let us, as brothers in Christ, stop arguing over how the ancient Greeks did or did not use a certain word and walk in the love and peace of Jesus because Paul warned us in I Timothy 6:2-5
    2″And those who have believing masters, let them not despise them because they are brethren, but rather serve them because those who are benefited are believers and beloved. Teach and exhort these things.
    3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness,
    4 he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions,
    5 useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.”

    May we encourage, edify, and comfort one another (I Cor 14:5) and walk in love because I can have ALL knowledge and if I have not agape love I am NOTHING (I Cor 13:1-2). Love is the fulfillment of Communion and I hope we can all agree that we do not yet perfectly fulfill the command that fulfills all God’s commands – to agape one another (Romans 13:8-10).

  99. August 13, 2007 at 11:28 am

    […] the real but Spiritual presence of Christ at the Supper. I have dealt with paedo-communion already here. So, I will not has it all out again, but rather direct readers to read that post and the many […]

  100. August 22, 2007 at 8:07 am

    […] in 1 Corinthians that is the deciding factor (I am not going to deal with that here, however: see this post for a bit more. There is a small (or maybe not so small!) cottage industry growing up around the […]

  101. non scholar said,

    May 10, 2008 at 2:11 am

    Why doesn’t anyone ever look at verse 29 and ask how small children could possibly be discerning of the Lord’s body?

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