"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." - Jerome

Friday, April 19, 2013

Of Baptismal Regeneration, Paedocommunion, and Intinction.

Last night, while reading "Children at the Lord's Table: Assessing the Case for Paedocommunion" by Cornelis P. Venema, a connection between three issues aligned for me for the first time. Venema's book lays out a case against allowing children to partake of the Supper before they have professed faith. Within the PCA [Presbyterian Church in America], three controversies have been raising their head lately, all from the same group of people: agitating for intinction (dipping the bread in the wine to partake, rather than separate actions), paedocommunion (allowing children from birth up to partake of the Supper before making a credible profession of faith), and a variation of baptismal regeneration (saying all baptized children are regenerate/believers by virtue of their baptism). These three items are all foreign to historical Reformed and Biblical Theology, so I wondered why do "Federal Vision" types seem to hold all three?

Venema traces the emergance of the idea of "baptismal regeneration" in the late 300s, and then observed about the emergance of the practice of infant communion this:

"[In ancient eastern churches] the baptized member is immediately given the body and blood of Christ by 'intinction' (dipping of the bread into the wine). Unlike the Roman Catholic church, the Eastern church teaches that the mystery of the Eucharist must be communicated in both elements, is administered by intinction, and is given to infants upon their baptism and chrismation." [pg 19]

It then all made sense. If one believes a baby is always regenerated by baptism, they then are undoubtably a believer. If they are a believer, they take the Lord's Supper, and if they take the Lord's Supper and cannot yet drink from the cup, you need to dip it for them.

Thus is one example of how one error in theology (baptismal regeneration) can distort many other areas, and this without mentioning how it distorts the idea of union with Christ and justification, which then become benefits bestowed without faith - an idea at enmity to the gospel. The more you know, the more clear it is that "Federal Vision" is another system entirely and not merely a variation of Reformed Theology. It is a hop skip and a jump away from Rome, and has no place in evangelical churches, let alone Reformed Churches.