Monday, February 11, 2013

Dr. Pipa Addresses Paedocommunion

Administering the Lord's Supper to baptized children who are not professing members of the church assumes a wrong understanding of children's membership in the Covenant, writes GPTS President Dr. Joseph A. Pipa, Jr., in an online article in byFaith, a publication of the Presbyterian Church in America.

A Covenant child is an heir of the promises of the Covenant through his or her baptism, but baptism does not necessarily make the child an heir of salvation, he writes in the Jan. 16 article entitled "Paedocommunion: Wrong View of Membership and Sacrament."

Paedocommuion is the practice of administering the sacrament of the Lord's Supper to children merely on the basis of their baptism, without a further confession of faith.

"As members of the church and heirs of the promises, our children are legally part of the administration of the Covenant of Grace. In order to become communicant members of the covenant community, they must take the step of owning the covenant for themselves by consciously entering into the covenant," Dr. Pipa writes.

A second error in the practice of paedocommunion, Dr. Pipa argues, is that it assumes a wrong view of the sacrament, namely that there is blessing in the physical eating and drinking.

"The sacraments are visible preachings of the Word of God," he writes. "As such, their benefit is derived in exactly the same way as the benefit of preaching. Being physically present under preaching does not guarantee any blessing. Hearing must be joined with faith (Hebrews 4:2). For one to benefit from the Lord’s Supper, one must understand the meaning and promises (thus the necessity of the Word being preached and promises read)."

For the full article, go here. Dr. Pipa's article is one of two on the subject in this edition of byFaith. A countering view is advanced here.