Why Only Baptized Christians Should Take Communion

Pastor and blogger begins his post thus:

In a recent worship service in our church, I invited all “baptized believers” to join us at the Lord’s Table. That prompted a question from several people: why say, “baptized believers?” Is baptism really a prerequisite for taking communion?

Of course, not all churches would answer this in the same way. But the majority of Christians throughout history have believed that only baptized people should participate in Eucharistic meal. I think it’s a biblical position, and here’s why.  (emphasis added)

Mr. Hedges goes on to point our baptism and the Lord’s Table as the two sacrament given to the church and how they both function.

6657-communion_bread_wine.630w.tnThen comes the subheading: The Sequence: Baptism Precedes Communion.  Mr. Hedges points out that while baptism is to be repeated once as that sacrament of initiation, communion, on the other hand, is an ongoing “pledge of renewed trust in Christ and obedience to him.”

Next, Mr. Hedges turns to Acts 2:41-42, noting “it is only those who are baptized and added to the church in verse 41 who then participate in the breaking of bread in verse 42.”  For more on Mr. Hedges post,  see here.

I’ve been asked the same questions that pastor Hedges was asked.  And I’ve answered quite similarly, also turning to Acts 2:41ff.  I believe my post on The Meaning of Baptism points to this as well.

Not only do I believe in regenerate church membership, but I also believe the water baptism is part of the conversion process, as the book of Acts demonstrates, beginning with chapter 2.

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10 Responses to Why Only Baptized Christians Should Take Communion

  1. Simon says:

    A question then follows for Baptists: How is it possible that infants and children are denied communion (i.e. the fulness of the life of the Church)? We wouldn’t deprive our children of anything good if we could help it. Where is the Scriptural evidence that only believing adults (or those making a conscious decision) are baptised and therefore can partake in Holy Communion?

    Is this denial based on their inability to intellectually comprehend the sacrament? But then Paul calls the Lord’s table a mystery. Who can truly understand? I think the point is to partake in the Communion as a Church, as a Community of believers. No one fully comprehends the mystery of the Eucharist. But somehow we understand, and we mystically encounter Christ (literally if you are an RC/Orthodox/some Protestants) in the Communion. This, I think, is the point of the sacrament. When Frank Schaeffer first became Orthodox, he was aghast that the priest served the Eucharist to an infant because this baby could not know, he reckoned, what was going on. The Priest simply asked him whether he fully understood the mystery. He could not give an adequate answer of course. None of us can I believe. Let us simply go to the Lord’s table together and experience it and fellowship with one another in love! (including our children!) This is a good Reformed position I believe TC 🙂

    • TC says:

      Simon, while we have no scriptural evidence forbidding infants and children from the Table, we do have evidence for those who partook.

      Where does Paul call the Table a mystery? And even if he did, there are sufficient texts to suggest that the participant must do so by faith and have the capacity to discern the Lord’s body.

      Then we’re also talking about who actually makeup the New Covenant.

  2. Simon says:

    The other thing to notice about the practise of the majority of Protestants when it comes to the Lord’s cup is that they have little individual cups, which are handed out by deacons. I used to joke that these resemble shot glasses! The traditional practise is to drink from a common chalice, served by the Priest. Perhaps another symbol of the individualisation of the faith that came with the Reformation? Perhaps, I’m not sure….

  3. David Beirne says:

    The scriptural evidence cited wasn’t limited to believing adults. Many children are baptized in Baptist churches, my two when they were ten. The youngest I have baptized was six, but she gave a clear understanding of her faith. If a child has come to believe he would not be denied. We deny our children lots of good things until they are ready/responsible to handle the good thing. A bicycle is a good thing, learning to drive is a good thing, learning to cook is a good thing; you would allow an infant to do this? We wouldn’t want our child helping us cook until we were sure they understood how hot the stove was and how sharp the knife.
    As far as the common cup, at a recent Catholic funeral I attended, eucharist was served. Three priests, three cups, three lines. In Acts, there were thousands in the church in Jerusalem. Practicality would demand more than one. On the other hand, all our “shot glasses” were filled from one jug 😀 Isn’t that a better picture of the unity we have in Christ?

  4. TC says:

    Simon, yes, I’ve heard about the objections of the individual cups. I see the objection, but I think it is missing the point. As you know, I hold to the priesthood of all believers and so on. I’m a good Baptist, after all. 😉

    David, maybe I should have added that all those who have professed faith in Christ, including children. This accords even with the earlier Baptists confessions and catechisms, amidst these earlier debates.

  5. A. Amos Love says:

    TC

    Both your post and the comments mention…
    Take Communion – denied communion – Holy Communion.

    But – None of these terms are in the Bible – Was wondering…

    The word communion; What does it mean in the Bible?
    Not from a religious standpoint, or a religious tradition,
    or a religious sacrement, or a religious ritual.

    But – What does the Bible have to say about the word communion?

    • TC says:

      Amos, “communion” is taken from the KJV at 1 Corinthians 10:16. It’s the Greek koinonia, mean “sharing, fellowship, participation and so on.”

      The Lord has given us words to simply capture concepts. The concepts are the prize here, my friend. 😉

  6. FAULTY HERMENEUTICS BY STEVE FINNELL

    Hermeneutics is the science of interpretation of the Scriptures. What are the causes of faulty hermeneutics? Things that contribute to faulty hermeneutics are proof-texting, lack of prayerful study, pride, exalting men as infallible teachers, man made tradition doctrinal influences, self-imposed ignorance and dishonesty.

    FAULTY HERMENEUTICS dictates that Jesus was a sinner!

    Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

    Does this prove that Jesus was a sinner? Absolutely not.

    Hebrews 4:14-15 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weakness, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet is without sin.

    Jesus was not guilty of sin.—-PROPER HERMENEUTICS IS THE ANSWER.

    FAULTY HERMENEUTICS dictates that John the Baptist was the reincarnation of Elijah.

    Matthew 11:14 And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come.

    Does that Scripture prove that John the Baptist was Elijah reincarnated? No, it does not.

    John 1:19-23 This is the testimony of John….21 They asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.”…
    Luke 1:5-17…It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah….

    FAULTY HERMENEUTIC dictates that men are saved by simply believing that Jesus is the Son of God.

    Acts 16:31 They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.

    Does Acts 16:31 prove that men are save by faith only. No, it does not.

    The Scriptures teach that Faith John 3:16, Repentance Acts 3:16, Confession Romans 10:9,10 and Water Baptism Acts 2:38, 1 Peter 3:21 are all essential in order to be saved.

    John the Baptist was not the reincarnation of Elijah.—–PROPER HERMENEUTICS IS THE ANSWER.

    FAULTY HERMENEUTICS dictates that Jesus was God the Father.

    Isaiah 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

    Would this Scripture prove that Jesus is God the Father? No, it would not.

    Mark 13:31-32 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. 32 But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father alone.

    Jesus will not know the end of time until God the Father tells Him. Jesus is not God the Father.

    1 Corinthians 15:20-28….23 who are Christ’s at His coming, 24 then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father…..28 When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.

    Is Jesus God? Yes, Jesus is God, but Jesus is not God the Father.—–PROPER HERMENEUTICS IS THE ANSWER.

    FAULTY HERMENEUTICS dictates that men can be saved without being baptized because the thief on the cross was saved without being immersed in water. Can men today be saved without baptism. No, they cannot.

    Luke 23:39-43 ….42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come into your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

    Was the thief saved? Yes, the thief was saved, however, the thief was saved before the New Covenant was in force. Under the New Covenant men have to be baptized in water in order to have their sins forgiven.

    Hebrews 9:16-17 For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be a death of the one who made it. 17 For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives.

    The New Covenant, the New Testament, the New Agreement was only in effect after the death of Jesus. When Jesus was alive He forgave men of their sins for various and sundry reasons; the thief was one of those He forgave.

    The terms of pardon under the New Covenant are :
    FAITH (John 3:16)
    REPENTANCE (Acts 2:38)
    CONFESSION (Romans 10:9-10)
    BAPTISM (Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16)

    Can men today be saved like the thief on the cross? No.—PROPER HERMENEUTICS IS THE ANSWER.

    FAULTY HERMENEUTICS=30,000 different denominations and religious groups all claiming the absolute truth? PROPER HERMENEUTICS IS THE ANSWER!

    (All Scripture quotes from: NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE)

    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http//:steve-finnell.blogspot.com

  7. A. Amos Love says:

    Steve Finnell

    Was wondering – You mention Isa 9:6

    Isaiah 9:6 KJV
    For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:
    and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
    and **his name shall be called**
    Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God,
    **The everlasting Father,** The Prince of Peace.

    If Jesus, in Isa 9:6 is? ‘The mighty God?” And “The Prince of Peace?”
    Who is “son,” referring to, in Isa 9:6, as Everlasting Father?
    If NOT Jesus?

  8. A. Amos Love says:

    Steve Finnell

    Was wondering – Have you ever noticed this…

    1 – Didn’t John the Baptist only know OT prophesy?

    And John was to prepare the way of Jehovah our Elohim.
    And Jesus showed up. Couldn’t that mean – Jehovah = Jesus?

    OT – Isaiah 40:3 KJV
    The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness,
    Prepare ye the way of the LORD, (Jehovah)
    make straight in the desert a highway for our God. (Elohim)

    NT – Mat 3:3 KJV
    For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying,
    The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord…

    Wasn’t John the Baptist looking for Jehovah? Our Elohim?
    And Jesus showed up? – Wouldn’t that mean, Jehovah = Jesus?

    2 – In the OT, Jehovah, and Jehovah Elohim, is also “Our Father.” And Jehovah is not only “Our Father,” Jehovah is also “Our Redeemer” and “Our Saviour.” And beside Jehovah there is NO Saviour.

    If Jehovah is “Our Father?” “Our Redeemer? And “Our Saviour?”
    And Jesus showed up?

    Couldn’t Jesus, “Our Redeemer,” and “Our Saviour,” also be = “Our Father?”

    1Chronicles 29:10
    …Blessed [be] thou, LORD God (Jehovah Elohiym) of Israel
    **Our Father**…

    Isaiah 63:16
    …thou, O LORD, (Jehovah) art **our father,** **our redeemer;** …

    Isaiah 64:8
    But now, O LORD, (Jehovah) thou art **our father**…

    Isaiah 43:3
    For I am the LORD (Jehovah) thy God, (Elohiym)
    the Holy One of Israel, **thy Savior**:…

    Isa 43:11
    I, even I, am the LORD; (Jehovah)
    and beside me there is **NO Saviour.**

    Hmmm?

    Seems John the Baptist was preparing the way for
    Jehovah our Elohim, “Our Father.” “Our redeemer.” “Our Saviour.”
    And Jesus showed up. 😉

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