Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Bad arguments for infant communion (part 2)

It's not too tricky to find other examples though which show that the "expanded privileges" formula is overly simplistic, and needs careful examination in each case rather than allowing a blanket application:
  • The Old Covenant believers were given a physical territory - New Covenant believers aren't.
  • Old Covenant believers had the visible presence of the Shekinah glory - we don't.
  • Old Covenant believers were defended from physical harm by an earthly king - we aren't.
Now, I don't doubt at all that any half-educated paedo-baptist will point out something about the above cases. He'll point out that our New Covenant privileges in the relevant area far exceed those of the Old; that the thing mentioned was largely external, and foreshadowed a far greater reality to come. That reality in each case would be heaven and/or the new heavens and the new earth, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, or the kingly rule of our Saviour at the right hand of God. The Jew's privileges were just part of the scaffolding, whilst the New Testament church was being constructed.

To that I say, amen and amen. It's just that Baptists say the same thing about infant participation in the outward ordinances of the Old Covenant. The membership of the physical seed of Abraham in the covenant was a shadow of the spiritual seed of Abraham. It was part of the scaffolding, because it maintained the existence of a people of God on earth despite rampant apostacy, ready for the time of the coming of the Messiah. It ensured that there would be a distinct people for Christ to appear amongst - and other purposes.

The privileges enjoyed by my children are vastly greater than those enjoyed by those of the Old Covenant, whether they eat or drink something or not. They have the glorious truths about the Lord Jesus Christ and his saving work taught to them daily. Though they may not eat the bread and the wine, it's biblically indefensible to hold that they're worse off than the Jews when they are presented with message of the cross and the resurrection without types or shadows clouding the view. Sometimes when I read such "expanded privileges" arguments as quoted in my opening post, I wonder if the person making such an argument really realises what he's saying. Has he become a full-blown sacramentalist who thinks that hearing the gospel is only a minor consolation compared to being able to eat bread and drink wine? Or does he think that Baptists leave their children in the car park when they go to church?

I'd challenge any paedo-communion-ist who affirms that the inheritance that we promised us in the gospel is greater than the physical land possessed by the Jews, and who affirms that the indwelling of Christ in believers is a greater privilege than the Shekinah glory in the temple, as to why he cannot also affirm that being raised and instructed with the gospel in its New Testament clarity is a far greater privilege than it was to eat the Passover.

To be continued...

No comments: