Great Stuff — CTCR On The Communing of Infants and Young Children

Witness Mercy Life TogetherFound over on WMLTblog:

 

On 13 September 2014, the CTCR adopted without dissent a document titled, “Knowing What We Seek and Why We Come: Questions and Answers concerning the Communing of Infants and Young Children.” The CTCR also adopted as a supplement to the aforementioned document, “Response to the Request for a Supplement to the CTCR Opinion, Response to “Concerns of the South Wisconsin District Circuits 18 and 19 Regarding Infant Communion” (1997).” Both documents are given in their entirety below.

Among other questions, the CTCR document addresses, “What historical precedent is there for paedocommunion?” Answer: “there is no evidence for a widespread practice of paedocommunion in the earliest centuries of the church’s history.”

In the early days of the Missouri Synod, the Synod’s Constitution while not mentioning an age for confirmation suggested that a minimum of 100 hours of instruction should be given before a person received communion.

The document also discusses the Scripture passages regarding self-examination and notes how even though the Lutheran Reformers were aware that the Eastern churches practiced infant communion, they did not seek to introduce this practice.

The document is well worth the read.

Knowing What We Seek and Why We Come: Questions and Answers concerning the Communing of Infants and Young C…

 

 

Response to the Request for a Supplement to the CTCR Opinion, Response to “Concerns of the South Wisconsin…


 

Another helpful resource on the topic of infant communion can be found here:

Theses on Infant/Toddler Communion” by Professor John Pless.

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord, LCMSsermons.com, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at KNFA.net.

Comments

Great Stuff — CTCR On The Communing of Infants and Young Children — 55 Comments

  1. Well Helen, I would assume that Lutherans of any age would know that the 8th commandments still applies. Yet, if communion occurs before the rite of confirmation the communicate is at odds with the majority of congregations in the LCMS whose own constitutions state the a communicate members is one who has been confirmed. Thus, making a rock and a hard place issue for the Pastor serving a parish that doesn’t practice early communion when they visit another parish.

  2. @Irish Lutheran #41

    You wrote: “I have been giving Pastor Todd some grief for his refusal to speak out explicitly against the communing of babes in arms and very young children.”

    From one year ago:

    http://issuesetc.org/2013/10/09/2-infant-communion-pr-david-jay-webber-10913/

    http://thebarebulb.com/2013/09/17/these-little-children-are-christians/

    http://thebarebulb.com/2013/09/19/you-are-here/

    http://thebarebulb.com/2013/09/22/elegy-for-a-dead-horse/

    In addition, ten years ago, I spend almost two years meeting every month (along with the other circuit visitors of the Southern Illinois District) with two pastors who were promoting infant communion (both of whom eventually converted to Orthodoxy).

    My position, public and private, for the last decade, has been consistently opposed to infant communion. TW

  3. Look at this thread. It’s nothing but a bunch of personal opinions. It’s time to admit that you can’t make your case against infant communion from Scripture because Scripture nowhere condemns this practice and neither does our Christian Book of Concord. All of these opponents to the catholic practice of infant communion seem to have forgotten these words from Epitome VII:18-20.

    8. We believe, teach, and confess also that there is only one kind of unworthy guests, namely, those who do not believe, concerning whom it is written John 3:18: He that believeth not is condemned already. And this judgment becomes greater and more grievous, being aggravated, by the unworthy use of the Holy Supper, 1 Cor. 11:29.

    9. We believe, teach, and confess that no true believer, as long as he retains living faith, however weak he may be, receives the Holy Supper to his judgment, which was instituted especially for Christians weak in faith, yet penitent, for the consolation and strengthening of their weak faith [Matt. 9:12; 11:5. 28].

    10. We believe, teach, and confess that all the worthiness of the guests of this heavenly feast is and consists in the most holy obedience and perfect merit of Christ alone, which we appropriate to ourselves by true faith, and whereof [of the application of this merit] we are assured by the Sacrament, and not at all in [but in nowise does this worthiness depend upon] our virtues or inward and outward preparations.

  4. This is for anyone to chime in on. I’ve been trying to think seriously about Irish Lutheran’s points and I welcome your constructive comments. I’ve been thinking about Irish Lutheran’s statement about subscription to the confessions. I was glad he said what he did because it’s an important topic and he offered a clear explanation for one understanding of subscription I’ve seen before. He said: “An unconditional subscription to the Lutheran Confessions is an unconditional subscription to the Confessions’ doctrinal assertions about the need for proper instruction and examination and the ongoing need for such and the ability of the communicant to examine himself before receiving the Sacraments”

    What’s interesting is that I’ve been listening to the Issues Etc segment on the Smalcald Articles with Pr. McCain and something occurred to me as he was talking about Part II, Article III on chapters and cloisters that I think demonstrates well why someone would not agree with Irish Lutheran, at least completely. We might say, if we agree with Irish Lutheran, that “an unconditional subscription to the Lutheran Confessions is an unconditional subscription to the Confessions’ doctrinal assertions about the need for returning monasteries to their good intention of educating learned men and virtuous women so that they no longer violate the doctrine of vocation and chief article on redemption, and further for the ongoing need for monasteries to produce essential personnel for the secular government and cities and countries. …”

    However, Pr. McCain demonstrates very well that Luther’s assertion for reform here is founded on a historical error, namely that monastic chapters and cloisters were formerly founded for the purpose of education. Rather, they were founded in imitation of pagan spirituality in the eastern Roman Empire and the whole system has always trampled the doctrine of vocation.

    Pr. McCain demonstrated that Luther’s reasons for the intended practice of monastic chapters and cloisters moving forward were wrong, or limited to Luther’s experience. However, he does clearly agree with Luther’s doctrinal conclusion that monastic chapters and cloisters violate the doctrine of vocation and the chief article on redemption through Jesus Christ.

    His logic makes sense to me, even if Luther misunderstood the history and theology of monastic chapters and cloisters, thinking they were better than they really were, even if his statement about what should be done moving forward in terms of practice is based on that incomplete historical understanding, it is not problematic. What matters is the heart of the article, the doctrinal conclusion. Assertions about practice may or may not be good because the Reformers may have had bad information about early practices, such as Luther on monastic chapters and cloisters. After listening to Pr. McCain talk it is difficult for me to say that subscription must mean more than subscribing unconditionally to the doctrinal conclusion, that every description of intended or actual practice derived from a doctrinal conclusion must be adhered to as Irish Lutheran and others would argue.

    Thoughts?

  5. @Rev. Joseph Fisher #1
    Well Helen, I would assume that Lutherans of any age would know that the 8th commandments still applies.

    I don’t remember what I said that needs a reminder about the 8th!

    True about confusion when visiting… the children I know (from an Austin liberal mega-wannabe) have been told not to commune when they (rarely) visit a congregation which doesn’t practice early communion and high school confirmation. [I can’t speak for everyone there.]

    I also know at least one Pastor who would be willing to commune younger than the “traditional” age but does not do so, because of that lack of unanimity about it that you reference.

    Re the constitution: Is that clause in the one section that supposedly cannot be changed?

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