Thursday, November 02, 2006

At the table, but not in the door

I think it is safe to say that most of the churches in our area make no connection whatsoever between baptism and the Lord's Supper. It also seems to be believed that neither baptism or the Lord's Supper actually accomplish anything.

I grew up in the Evangelical Free church, and I was a participant at the Lord's table for several years before I was baptised. I don't think I was harmed by this in any way, but it does now seem strange to me that we did things this way.

"As many of you as have been baptised into Christ have put on Christ." Baptism is "putting on Christ". This is entry language. Baptism is the door into Christ and all His benefits. And one of His benefits is surely that He feeds us at His table.

If we look at the way it was in the old covenant, it seems to me that participation at the Passover (for instance) was not allowed for those who were uncircumcised. You had to have God's mark of ownership on you before you could partake. There are connections made in the new covenant between baptism and circumcision, in that they are both entry rituals into God's church.

If baptism is an entry ritual into the church,which it seems to be, then how does one get to the table before they get in the door?

The only way I can think of to make this work is to make baptism mean nothing, or to make it mean some response to God on MY part rather than His work on my behalf, neither of which I am willing to do. I think that evangelicals should be baptising their children much younger than they do, and then allowing them to the Lord's table.


Des Jones said...

Hi Jamie,

Thanks for the post. Heidi and I have been considering these things for a little while now, and are starting to list towards "younger" baptism of children. This is poignant as we are joyously expecting the arrival of number one in the Spring.

As we have been learning about covenant theology and working that out in our minds, paedobaptism seems to be the clear conclusion. Due to the dust storm that can arise from changing this view, we want to be careful in our decision making.

That said, there is a lot of stigma attached to infant baptism by evangelical Christians, and that is a hard one to get by for most. Although there is a low view of the sacrament of baptism, views can be held fiercely and the issue can and has been very divisive. How can we address this with family and friends when they hear the words "infant baptism" and instantly think that we are turning Roman and equating baptism to salvation? This is a conversation that I am expecting, but not feeling all warm and fuzzy about. Any wisdom that you have regarding this would be greatly appreciated.

Oh yes, and congratulations on CCC's inception to the CREC. We continue to pray for the church in GP. It sounds like you had an exciting drive back.

Anonymous said...

Jamie, you don't have to go farther than the Early Church to understand the sacraments of Baptism and Communion. The Apostles considered it essential, and eventually, Peter and Paul decided that it replaced cirmcumcision as the Lord's 'mark' on the soul of the believer.
The Early Church had a program called the catachumenate, in which those preparing for Baptism attended the first part of the Mass,where the Scriptures are read and there is a homily, but were taken from the Church BEFORE the Eucharist was celebrated, as they believed that as John 6:53 tells us, "Amen, Amen, I say to you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, you will not have life within you." If you think that Jesus did not mean this passage literally, then, when many of his disciples left that day, shaking their heads, saying, "this is a hard saying,sho can accept it?"John 6:60 why didn't Jesus call them back, saying, hey, wait, you didn't understand me properly? No, He said, "the words I have spoken to you are spirit and life, but there are some of you who do not believe.For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father." John 6:60,63,65