1 Corinthians 11 – [Part 4] – “BE Who You Are”

2009 July 28

Filed In:

All Ate the Same Spiritual Food (Paedocommunion),

All Were Baptized in the Cloud and in the Sea (Paedobaptism)

“Judging ourselves rightly has been the common fear of many a Christian at the Lord’s table – as if it were about being good enough to get to the table.”


Paul frequently tells his hearers to “be who you are.”

In the following the underlined are the identity (“who you are“), and the bold are the call (“be who you are“):

Therefore, [since] you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him…  (Col 2.6)

1What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?…So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.  (Rom 6.1-3, 11)

Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, [since] you really are unleavened. (1 Cor 5.7)


In 1 Corinthians, Paul commands believers this way to live out of their identity; and he has two major identity themes I want to highlight here, and they converge in our pericope (1 Cor 10-12).

  1. – The body is one. [Jews and Gentiles are united in a single family, rich and poor together, not factionalized]
  2. – The body is holy.

As you skim the following, keep in mind that the opposites show up too- UNITY: disunity/fragmentation/strife/jealousy/division; HOLINESS: immorality, disobedience, unrighteousness.

Let’s examine a few passages before we see their convergence in chapter 11.

  • UNITY:   10I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 11For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. 12What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? (1 Cor 1.10-13)
  • UNITY: 3for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? 4For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?… 7So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. 9For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. (1 Cor 3.3-9)
  • HOLINESS: 16Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. (1 Cor 3.16-17)
  • HOLINESS: It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. 2And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. (1 Cor 5.1-2)
  • HOLINESS: Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.  (1 Cor 5.6-8)
  • UNITY and HOLINESS: Let him who has done this be removed from among you….But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindlernot even to eat with such a one. 12For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”  (1 Cor 5.6,11-13)
  • UNITY: “When one of you has a grievance against another,…brother goes to law against brother,” (1 Cor 6.1,6)
  • HOLINESS: Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor 6.9-11)
  • HOLINESS:  “For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.” (1 Cor 7.14)

So, Paul, by the Spirit, tells the church to “BE who you ARE.  You are HOLY, BE HOLY.  You are A UNITY, BE A UNIFIED.”

Major images used for the unity of the church in 1 Cor are field or vineyard, temple, and body, especially BODY.

There are two ways of hurting your fellow body member:

  1. impurity – engaging in unholiness which spreads like gangrene in the body.  Unholiness is contagious, a little leaven leavens the whole lump.  If a member will not repent he is to be cut out so that the body does not die, that the temple is not defiled.
  2. division – actually sinning AGAINST your brothers.  If you divide the body, the irony is you are actually engaging in unholiness.


We find that 1 Cor 3.16-17 (temple destruction) is very similar to 1 Cor 11.16-32 (body sickness).  In both cases, hurting the church is judged by God’s destruction:

16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”  (1 Cor 3.16-17)

“When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. 21For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. 22What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.   …27Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29For anyone who eats and drinks without [recognizing] the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.” (1 Cor 11.20-22, 27-32)


You are a body, so BE UNITED.  If you look down on, despise, treat poorly any other of your church body members, God will destroy your own body.  If you eat a meal of unity in a way that divides, then you are eating and drinking judgment upon yourself.  If you destroy God’s temple, God will destroy you, for God’s temple is holy, and that is what you are.

Judging ourselves rightly has been the common fear of many a Christian at the Lord’s table.  As if it were about being good enough to get to the table.  Paul is indeed addressing each individual with his responisbility to check himself, but the checking is for division, check to see if YOU are shaming the poor (11.22), check to see if you are drinking Dionysian drunken worship rather than sharing wine with your Christian brother (vv.20-21).  Paul is talking about making worship unholy by division.

This is an external, public hypocrisy sin.  Paul is not asking us to worry about being able to work out salvation in our minds before the cup gets to our seat.  This is also a big person sin.  This is not a sin of children.

We must admit that Jesus died for “even infants” (Luke 18.15-17), and we must admit that the symbol of broken bread and pour wine are a reminder of forgiveness and the removal of sin.  We are not to worry that “even infants” might commune with the God who saved them at the cross.  We are not to worry that “even infants” are not clean enough from the sin which was taken away by the breaking of his body and the pouring out of his blood.

We ARE to worry about taking the whole loaf of his body and feeding it to only part of his body.  We ARE to worry about getting drunk on the wine by hogging it while we leave some of God’s Vineyard hungry.  We ARE to worry about sharing the body in a way that we refuse to share the body with all the body.

Peter committed this sin at Antioch, refusing to be united with the Gentiles at the table (Gal 2.11-14) and was “not acting in line with the truth of the gospel”:

When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. 12Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.


17Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. (1 Cor 10.17)

13For 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. (1 Cor 12.13)



In post [5] I will deal with the 4 verbs people use to say that 1 Cor 11 requires age of children.


1 Corinthians 11 – [Part 3] – “Who You Are”

2009 July 24

Filed In:

All Ate the Same Spiritual Food (Paedocommunion),

All Were Baptized in the Cloud and in the Sea (Paedobaptism)


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.


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

1] it had always existed from of old (Ex 10.9-10, 12.47, 16.16, 17.3-6), and

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.


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.


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.”

Num 6.23-27

“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.)


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.


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.

1 Corinthians 11 – [Part 2] – “Examination and Unworthiness”

2009 July 22

1 Cor 10.3-4, 5-6, 11-12 says: all ate the same spiritual food, 4and all drank the same spiritual drink…they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did…Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction…Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.”

Paul speaks in direct reaction to Old Testament sin: They sinned as an example, so examine yourself!  Israelites should have examined.  They should “have taken heed lest they fall”.

In case you are joining us in medias res, the point of my long writing is to show that 1 Corinthians 11 DOES NOT exclude infants (that is, those who can eat) from eating at their father’s meal, the Lord’s Supper.  Yes, that was a loaded sentence.


1] God warned the people of the Old Testament about eating his meals and judgment.

2] But those meals still included children.

3] Therefore, the command to “examine” to avoid “judgment at a meal” does not exclude children.


The reason this is really such a bang-up argument, in my opinion, is that “our examination passage” (1 Cor 11), is directly preceded by 1 Cor 10, an OT EXAMINATION PASSAGE where Paul uses judgment at OT feasting to warn of judgment at NT feasting.  Paul’s argument can be boiled down like this:

We know that we ought to examine our actions in relation to the meal, because our fathers should have examined themselves before they ate so unworthily.

The POINT of this post is to examine the details of 1 Cor 10.  In 1 Cor 10, Paul reviews many cases of OT gross adult sin, and in effect says, “They should have examined themselves, but they at least serve as an example to us not to make the same mistakes”

Unity Demonstrated

10.2    No one was excluded from baptism

10.3    No one was excluded from eating

10.4    No one was excluded from drinking

10.5    ALL Should have examined themselves

10.12 Based on this example, we should examine ourselves (take heed)

SINS and MEALS listed:

5.7-8 Passover [Ex 12]

10.3   Manna, Quail [Ex 16, Num 11, Ps 105.39-41]

10.4   Water from the Rock [Ex 16, Ps 105.39-41]

10.7    Idolatry – Golden Calf actually mixed idolatry with Peace Offerings [Ex 32.1-6 esp 5-6]  (cf. 10.21)

10.8    Immorality – mixed with idolatry.  [Num 25.1-9]

10.9    Despising God’s provided food: Manna [Num 21.5-9]- greed and gluttony [cf. Ps 78.18, Ex 17.7].

“Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.”

10.10   Grumbling {Rebellion -Num 14.9, Murder threatened 14.9-10}

[Num 14.2, 29-37 cf. Ex 12.23, 2 Sam 24.16, 1 Chr 21.15, Ps. 78.49]

10.18   “Sacrifices” – usually means Peace Offerings



I hardly need to prove that children ate Manna, or drank the Water from the Christ-rock.

It is clear that children took part in the Peace Offerings (sh’lamim – a.k.a.: Fellowship Offerings, Sacrifice of Thanks, Sacrifice of Praise, Vow Offerings, Freewill Offerings). [Dt 12.5-7, Lev 10.14].

Passover was INTENDED [Ex 10-9-10] for children, and COMMANDED for ALL Israelites:

9Moses said, “We will go with our young and our old. We will go with our sons and daughters and with our flocks and herds, for we must hold a feast to the LORD.” 10But he said to them, “The LORD be with you, if ever I let you and your little ones go! Look, you have some evil purpose in mind. (Ex 10)

47 All the congregation of Israel shall keep [passover].  (Ex 12)


Simply put, the need for ALL to examine is proven by the fact that ALL Israel was unified by baptism, eating and drinking but were still judged for grown up sins.  Those who are old enough to commit these sins are old enough to examine and old enough to repent.  Those who are not old enough to examine, are not old enough to get in trouble.  Not old enough for judgment.  BUT they are old enough to eat.

Count Your Blessings….

2008 December 7

I’ve been really into reading the book of Numbers lately. It’s alluded to a lot in 1 Corinthians 10.

Click to see the book of Numbers at Logos

Click to see the book of Numbers at Logos

Talking to Children About Death

2007 November 26

We have two living children at home, one of whom is old enough to have lots and lots of conversation (2.5 years old).

How and when do you talk to your children about death? Feel free to respond, I will probably post any reply.

We have had four deaths in our family in the last 2 years (two in our house). So I will share a very brief bit about what we have found in our experience.

Our Response We have found that it is EASIER not harder to talk to young children about death than we expect it would be if we waited. I don’t think that most people ignore it, but because we are Christians, we feel obligated to discuss death as soon as possible with children.

A few (amongst MANY) reasons Christians cannot avoid talking about death:

  1. The fall as a theological prinicpal is meaningless without death. (Gen 1-3)
  2. The flood (as a pattern for Exodus) and the Exodus, and the Judgement and conquest of Canaan all involve death to purify the earth: God must have the right over his creatures, and the obligation to himself to  act against his enemies. Those who fight against God’s glory die.
  3. This brings up the problem of the universal enmity with God. All are enemies (as in the fall), therefore, all die. Is there a solution?
  4. The death of Jesus is CRUCIAL (pun intended) to the salvation of men.
  5. The resurrection of Jesus, proving the Lordship of Jesus over all things, is the object of our faith in the gospel (Rom 1.1-4, 10.9; 2 Tim 2.8); without death, resurrection means nothing. [See the Footnote Below for verses, or click above verse link].
  6. Our resurrection is based on Jesus’ resurrection (Rom 8.10-11, 1 Cor 15.45-49, 55-57.)

Our discussion: We have explained, as all our deaths have been inside God’s covenant family, that Jesus lives in heaven after his resurrection, and that our relatives have gone to Jesus and they too will be resurrected on the last day, and we will be with them again forever. We HAVE also explained the resurrection of judgment for those who do not worship the Triune God through Jesus.


Romans 1.1-4: 1Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, 4and who through the Spirit[a] of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God[b] by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 10.9: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

2 Timothy 2.8: Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel

Giving infants the ROYAL treatment they deserve.

2007 November 20

Feed My Lambs

I imagine that nobody has been on pins and needles to hear my review of chapter one of The Auburn Avenue Theology: Pros and Cons – Debating the Federal Vision. For some reason, I just CAN’T get through the review of chapter 1, even though I have read it three times.


Instead of waiting until I can get the whole thing together, I will skip the theaters and send this tidbit direct to video…or just play it here [much of this is my own wording or reasoning, but inspired by a paragraph in Wilson’s work]:

Think of all the adult people you know at church.

Not just any long term visitor, but actual recognized members of the church. Now ask – do you treat these people like Christians? You have to treat them as Christians- unless you have enough proof to excommunicate them (declaring thus that they are not-faithfilled toward the Lord).

When an adult unbeliever converts – we baptize them, and afterwards everything we do toward them is with the normal assumption that they are Christians. BUT WAIT!, you say. Some of them will prove to be false.

You are right. But until they do, you base their treatment on their baptism; this is CLEAR:

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

(Gal 3.27)

In fact, Paul explicitly uses baptism of ALL church members to prove UNITY of all church members so that they have to treat each other equally; see the next verse.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.


They are all ONE if they are “in Christ.”

—–So how do we know a man is “in Christ”?

—–ANSWER: “All the baptized have put on [become part of] the Christ, so none of you can act superior.”

If we treat Christians as Christians, then until a person proves to be a dead branch IN JESUS that God will break off and throw into the fire (John 15.1-6), we must accept them as part of the church – they are IN JESUS. And we say to them along with all of God’s people: “Hear O Israel, Yhwh OUR God, Yhwh is one God” (Deut 6.4 – My rephrasing – not inaccurate).

Here is the big therefore:

Therefore, we must treat baptized children the same way. Like Christians. WAIT, the Kingdom can’t belong to those too young to believe?

Now they were bringing EVEN INFANTS to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for TO SUCH BELONGS THE KINGDOM OF GOD. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not RECEIVE THE KINGDOM LIKE A CHILD shall not enter it.”

(Luke 18.15-17)


In the biblical pattern, it isn’t just any random child, or every child, but the children of believers who are set apart for God through his covenant. (Gen 17, Ac 2.38-39, 1 Cor 7.13-15).

Will some of them leave the church? Yes, some will. But in the same way as there are some adults who leave even after profession and baptism and who seem to be believers.

But we expect all people who are covenant members to be believers.  And we should expect it, trusting God’s promise in Baptism: that the people of God, as a group are saved. So we say to everyone in the group – “You are saved.” Even the Infants.

Which is what we do in Baptism, AND the Lord’s Supper.


–All scripture referrences, unless otherwise noted, are English Standard Version, thanks to Bible Gateway.

Paedocommunion (2) [after the Baby announcement]

2007 October 14


There is only one major passage used to try to go against it. 1 Cor 11. This passage isn’t telling people that if they don’t intellectually examine their sin before communing they will be in trouble. It is saying, there were people (gluttonous and rich) who were pushing out others at the table (poor and hungry). That kind of inequality and disunity is the exact opposite of the message of the table itself — unity and equality before the Lord. Also, some were still eating at demonic idol feasts, and Paul says: Choose one God or another! This is what is meant by “let each one examine himself that he not partake in an unworthy manner.” Not that we are to be “sinless enough” but that we are not to DEFILE the table by idol worship or hypocrisy directly related to the unity of the covenant community. (You see this same problem in Gal 1 with Peter and the Gentiles).

Baptism means a child is a Christian – it is the sign of initiation, the declaration of family membership, and the meal is the covenant renewal ceremony and is to be done for the whole covenant community…

In the Old Testament the two sacraments were circumcision and passover, and EVERYONE took the passover, down to the smallest who could eat. If we were going to change that we would expect a statement explaining the loss of covenant renewal to all the children, and the mentally handicapped.

But there is NO new testament statement dealing with that. 1 Cor 11 is about not destroying the symbolic meaning of the meal, and NEVER does he say – “restrict these people from the table.”


(And is STILL [always has been] the practice in the Easter Orthodox Church)

see: Tim Gallant’s article of ancient church quotes.