The Lord’s Table for the Lord’s Children
Welcome to the freshly-designed paedocommunion.com, where we have been advocating communing baptized children since 2002. Read on to learn why.
What is Paedocommunion?
Paedocommunion is the practice of giving the Lord’s Supper to baptized children. Such children participate apart from a coming-of-age ritual such as confirmation or profession of faith.
Paedocommunion was the universal practice of the Church until the late medieval period (c. 1200). It is attested at least as far back as Cyprian (c. 250), and is witnessed throughout the centuries following (e.g. in Augustine, Leo the Great etc.). Check out these quotations from the Early Church.
In the Western Church, the practice dropped off due to a combination of factors. Among these was superstition regarding the sacramental elements (leading even adults to refrain from participation, to the degree that a major council had to mandate a minimum of annual communion). In addition, the bishop had come to be viewed as the conveyer of the Holy Spirit, so that confirmation could not be conducted by a mere priest at baptism, but had to be performed by the bishop—which could take a long time for him to get around to.
Biblically, paedocommunion is grounded in the status of children within the covenant. Even as God counted Abraham’s offspring as His own, and therefore required that they be circumcised (Genesis 17), so too Jesus assumes a priestly role in relation to the children of new covenant believers, and calls them the heirs of His kingdom (Matthew 19:13–14).
Rather surprisingly, many who hold to infant baptism reject paedocommunion. They suggest that baptism and the Lord’s Supper are radically different in kind. Biblically speaking, however the two are tied very closely together. Baptism incorporates one into Christ and His Church (1 Corinthians 12:13). Meanwhile, the Lord’s Supper is precisely the meal of the Church. The Church is the one body together precisely because it partakes of the one bread together (1 Corinthians 10:16–17).
Consequently, just as the children of the old covenant were admitted to sacramental communal meals (such as Passover), so too the children of the new covenant belong at the table of the Lord. This is the position of a growing number of Presbyterian and Reformed scholars and pastors, among others, who are recognizing the profound biblical foundation that underlay the historic practice of paedocommunion.
Support info: This site is maintained primarily through the volunteer efforts of Tim Gallant. If you would like to donate, you can do so at timgallant.com.