Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pedocommunion - The Bible Knows No Such Custom

A selection from a letter by Joseph Kinghorn, pastor of St. Mary's Baptist Church, Norwich, England, to his parents, with whom he had extensive correspondence. He asked his parents a series of penetrating questions about a pedobaptist's proposal to bring infants to the Lord's Table, that are relevant for the 21st Century. Some today, who baptize infants, also receive them for communion. Thankfully, the PCA recently took a strong stand against pedocommunion. Kinghorn speaks to this matter as it relates to the baptism of children. The letter was written April 2, 1792.

One of our Independents, Mr. Newton [not John Newton], has publicly proposed to his people to bring all their children to the Lord's Supper, as baptized persons, thinking they have as much right to one ordinance as to another. Now this is consistent.

But does it not make the absurdity of infant baptism appear greater? Can those have any right to church privileges, who cannot be supposed to make a credible profession of religion? Is not the tendency of this practice contrary to that inquiry and sober decision which ought to distinguish a man's actions, when he takes a part as a professor of Christianity? Is he who has always been in the church, he knows not why or when, likely to make, or has he the opportunity of making, his religious conduct so much his own, as if he had first believed, and then acted upon that belief? Is not this the strongest chain ever yet forged to connect the church and the world together, and to make the connection so intimate as to destroy the very essence of a Christian church? Is it not contrary to the tenor of the New Testament, where an attention to the Lord's Supper is described as not only the effect of professed faith, but also consequent on that examination which must necessarily be personal? And is not the best thing we can say of it, this—the Bible knows no such custom?

The Life and Works of Joseph Kinghorn, by Martin Hood Wilkin, reprinted by Particular Baptist Press, 1995, p. 208.

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