Monday, 24 March 2008

Bad arguments for infant communion (part 6)

Part one, part two, part three, part four, part five.

Or, alternatively, consider how real Jewish fathers must have praised God in Acts 2, after the Holy Spirit filled His Church:
"Thank You, Lord Jesus, for fulfilling the OT Feast of Pentecost on this glorious day today! For many years my family and I have celebrated the Feast of Pentecost in Your Presence, rejoicing before You, in eager anticipation of today. Thank You, Lord, that my little children will no longer be permitted to feast in Your Presence, now that the fulfillment of Pentecost has finally arrived. Thank You, Lord!
This paragraph is more of the same. Only a spiritual dullard could, when the glorious reality of the New Covenant had arrived, complain that his infants were no longer able to join in the outward ceremonies associated with the types and shadows. Only be overlooking the enormous advance which our children in New Covenant times have gained, now that they can hear and be instructed in the gospel in all of its revealed clarity, could we end up complaining about now being able to get some ceremonial food down their throats. The Lord's Supper is more than mere physical eating - when it is accompanied by a living faith in the gospel which it was instituted to commemorate. Our Jewish friend's real complaint seems to be that his little ones don't yet have that faith which qualifies them to eat.

The not eating here, is not, though, a real loss of privilege. Is not the Lord free to arrange his own covenants whichever way he pleases? On the one hand, he could administer a covenant, as I believe he did with the Old, so that there was an "easy" criteria for membership, but no automatic enjoyment of salvation privileges for those who were members. You just had to be born into the right family to be in covenant with God - but it was no guarantee of heaven. On the other hand, the Lord can administer a covenant, as I believe he has with the New, so that membership is restricted so that nobody has an "automatic" right to it (you must be born again - a sovereign work of God), but that all those who enjoy the membership are also guaranteed to be heirs of the fulness of salvation. Whether you agree that this is the way that Christ has done things or not - is he not free to do so?

If you agree that theoretically the Lord is free to administer the covenants in this way, then you've also seen through the theoretical argument presented above. There's no automatic right for the Old Covenant believer to complain that the New Covenant isn't like the Old, and whine that the Lord is being mean to his children.

The argument we've been examining hinges upon the notion of an automatic right - "expanded covenant privilege". I think I've now shown that this argument is biblically untenable.

To be continued...


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this series of posts, David. You and I are brothers in Christ, on opposite sides of this particular issue. But I think you bring up some important points worth discussing. Here are some of my thoughts about your posts here:

David Anderson said...

Thanks for dropping by, Joseph. I've downloaded your thoughts and will put a response up on the main bit of the blog, hopefully this week.

God bless,