All Ate the Same Spiritual Food (Paedocommunion),
All Were Baptized in the Cloud and in the Sea (Paedobaptism)
BOTH SACRAMENTS DECLARE WHO WE ARE
It’s the middle of the night and I’m holding a seven-month-old. In this middle of the night she has been cleaned and fed. These are two things we do with her and for her often. We do them because we love her and because we are her parents. God does these things for his children too. We should think of baptism and communion as cleaning and feeding. We should think of them as naming and continuously claiming. Baptism calls us “his” initially, and communion renews covenant; it re-proclaims our family relationship weekly. But if my children belong to Christ, if they have been bathed by him, marked out by him and are members in his family, they should dine at his meal as well. This was a norm in the Old Testament too! =)
In this post, I want to show that there is a unity to the body (which should be obvious to us), and that the body is marked out by both baptism and communion: the baptized are the body, and the body eats the meal.
THE DOCTRINE OF COVENANT COMMUNION
As a side note, before I continue, I want to point out that no one in the New Testament has to argue explicitly FOR infant communion, because
2] the doctrine is not properly “INFANT communion”; rather, the doctrine is “corporate identity and unity displayed in communion” or “Covenant Communion.” That is, the whole body communes, and children are in the body (Rom 6.3, Gal 3.27, 1 Cor 12.13, Eph 4.1-6). Since the contention is around children, we end up talking about infant communion.
I say this because we are accidentally used to thinking that BAPTISM is the only sacramental marker of the MEMBERS of the body. But the Biblical pattern, both in Old and New Covenants, both sacraments identify the members.
THE SACRAMENTS BELONG TO THE BODY
We have covenantal sacrements. We initiate covenant and we renew covenant. We kiss at a wedding, and we continue to kiss as married people – this is not only symbolic of our marriage, in a sense, it IS our marriage – at least in the celebratory part. I am married to the only one I kiss, and I kiss the one to whom I am married.
I bathe and feed my children. I don’t bathe and shelter other people’s children (don’t try to make an analogy walk on all fours). The point is that my children became my children, and I communicate my family love and grace to them constantly in renewal of that first fact. I treat my family as family, and only my family do I treat as my family.
What we are saying is – sacraments are the expression of belonging to the Lord. What I am not taking the time here to do is to prove that children are part of the covenant. THAT has to be a given here (Ex 17, Ac 2.38-39, 1 Cor 7.14). But I want to repeat, sacraments are about belonging – they shout identity.
A FAMILY NAMED TRINITY
We also share a name in a family – Look at the community of God’s family the same way:
23“Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,
24YHWH bless you and keep you; 25YHWH make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; 26YHWH lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”
27 So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matt 28.19-20 (Yes, I changed the word “in” into “into,” but rightly so.)
THE SACRAMENTS INDICATE NAMING INTO A FAMILY
Take a gander at Acts 2.38, 8.12, 10.48, 1 Cor 1.13, 6.11 to see how often baptism and naming go together.
In family, people are marked out by name, by wedding, by adoption, by birth. And FAMILY is a central aspect of that naming. Another Passage that needs a full discussion of its own for this exact family topic is Ephesians 3.6-4.7. In it Paul argues that the Gentiles are in the same family with the Jews, and together they derive unity by being in a family with a single father, this is known in our common baptism. To mix metaphors, we are a single body, with a single Ghost.
ONE BODY, ONE SPIRIT, ONE BATH, and ONE MEAL
Here’s where we get back to 1 Cor 10-12. This example of body unity is given over and over in 1 Corinthians. This comes out in both negative and positive passages, but the fact of unity is essential regardless of which kind of tone Paul has. We must look at 1 Cor 10.1-6 (reproof), and 12.13 (encouragement).
In Chapter 10, Paul says, – the OT saints were ONE BODY shown by SACRAMENTS but needed to examine themselves. In chapter 11, we must examine ourselves, but in chapter 12, we are ONE BODY shown by SACRAMENTS. It actually shows up in more than just these two sets of references. But here they are:
1For I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3and all ate the same spiritual food, 4and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. 5Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. (1 Cor 10.1-6)
12For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13For we were in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body— Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 14For the body does not consist of one member but of many. (1 Cor 12.12-14)
The Situation is the SAME today, and it includes our children, as it did in the past.