A Little Time With The 1689: Day 344

Day 344

Of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

Chapter 28, Paragraph 2.

“These holy appointments are to be administered by those only who are qualified and thereunto called, according to the commission of Christ.”

Scripture Lookup

Matthew 28:19

1 Corinthians 4:1

Reflection

Friends gathering together wish to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. They are all believers, but none of them are elders in their church. Is it right for them to celebrate communion in that setting?

A young man comes to faith in Christ and desires to be baptized. His father, while not an elder, proudly baptizes his son. What a touching event, sure to be remembered by both family members – but is it biblical?

When we read about baptism and the Lord’s Supper, it seems at first glance there are no stipulations regarding who is to perform these ordinances. Doesn’t Matthew 28 pertain to Christians today? Aren’t Christians supposed to observe the Lord’s Supper? To have such events occur only at church seems stifling to our modern sensibilities, yet those who penned the LBCF state that only those qualified and called (i.e. the elders in the church) are to administer them. Why would they think this?

When we realize the importance of the assembly of saints, and the respect given to Jesus Christ as head of the church, we will rethink how lax we are with the institutions He has given the church. Jesus directed the Great Commission to the apostles and the church as a whole. Sam Waldron writes:

The Great Commission is not addressed…to every individual Christian….The right conclusion is that the Great Commission was given to the church corporately and not to the Christian individually.

Elders are given the responsibility for feeding the sheep in their care. That includes administering the ordinances. As we look into what baptism and the Lord’s Supper do for the believer, we will guard more carefully how they are performed.

Questions to Consider

  • Why is it important that the ordinances are observed correctly?

 

 

Why Mark Jones Is Right… and Wrong

Jones-Mark-HigherRes

Mark Jones

Let me be the first (perhaps not) Baptist to admit that Mark Jones was spot on in many regards in his post “A Plea for Realism”:Are Presbyterians Christians? It seems to me that Mark Jones is simply calling for a little intellectual honesty from us Baptists. Well, allow me to humor him.

I certainly agree that, if we do not allow unbaptized believers to take communion, that should include those who have been “baptized” in a way that we believe to be unbiblical and, thus, no baptism at all. If a paedobaptist came to my church who refused to be baptized post-confession due to having been sprinkled as an infant, we would not allow him to be a member, so why would we allow him to take communion? Baptism, in every Christian tradition, has historically preceded communion. Baptism preceding communion is both a historical and a biblical view. On this point, most Baptists and Presbyterians agree.

Therefore, for me to dissuade my Presbyterian friends from taking communion in my local church, I am not saying they are not Christians so much as that they have not followed biblical mandate in regard to the order of the sacraments. That is, baptism precedes communion. On this point, they would obviously disagree with me, because they hold to a different understanding of baptism. However, for Baptists to cave on this issue and allow for unbaptized Presbyterians (and that’s what we think they are) to take communion, we would be going against our confession’s definition of true baptism.

However, we are not alone in this stance. Presbyterians must take issue with at least some Baptists taking communion in their churches. Just this week, I listened to a somewhat refreshing episode of Reformed Forum in which Jim Cassidy admitted that Baptist parents are in sin who do not baptize their infants in keeping with a Presbyterian view of baptism. I think this is the only consistent Presbyterian view and, as such, I don’t see how Baptist parents can take communion in Presbyterian churches, unless Presbyterians encourage people in open, unrepentant sin to take communion.

ctc-album300Either way, both traditions have an issue when it comes to what Jones calls “catholicity” and baptism. Neither one of us can deny that we see the other as being disobedient to our Lord’s ordinance of baptism. Are Baptists inconsistent to call their Presbyterian friends Christians? Not quite as inconsistent, I would argue, as those Presbyterian churches that allow consistently Baptist parents to take communion.

So, perhaps the proper way to respond to our Presbyterian friends when they try to corner us on these issues is not to bend over backward to try to be ecumenical. Perhaps, the best response is to affirm them where they are correct, but demonstrate how they have to answer the same questions regarding their sacramentology. None of us are immune. At a certain level, each believe the other (credos and paedos) is disobedient at a certain level, and that must stand as a guard to the communion table at some point.

See also Tom Hicks’ response to Jones’ article. Michael Haykin has also chimed in, and Jones has offered his critique of Haykins’ response here.

LBCF of 1677/1689 – Chapter Twenty-Nine, Of Baptism

1. Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, to be unto the party baptized, a sign of his fellowship with him, in his death and resurrection; of his being engrafted into him; of remission of sins; and of giving up into God, through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life.
( Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2;12; Galatians 3:27; Mark 1:4; Acts 22:16; Romans 6:4 )

2. Those who do actually profess repentance towards God, faith in, and obedience to, our Lord Jesus Christ, are the only proper subjects of this ordinance.
( Mark 16:16; Acts 8:36, 37; Acts 2:41; Acts 8:12; Acts 18:8 )

3. The outward element to be used in this ordinance is water, wherein the party is to be baptized, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
( Matthew 28:19, 20; Acts 8:38 )

4. Immersion, or dipping of the person in water, is necessary to the due administration of this ordinance.
( Matthew 3:16; John 3:23 )

LBCF of 1677/1689 – Chapter Twenty-Eight, Of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

1. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances of positive and sovereign institution, appointed by the Lord Jesus, the only lawgiver, to be continued in his church to the end of the world.
( Matthew 28:19, 20; 1 Corinthians 11:26 )

2. These holy appointments are to be administered by those only who are qualified and thereunto called, according to the commission of Christ.
( Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 4:1 )