Great Stuff — Wilhelm Loehe on Child/Infant Communion

Found over on logia-online:


loeheThe following excerpt in translation is drawn from Wilhelm Loehe’s “Neuendettelsau Letters.” The letters were published in 1858 to explain and defend some of Loehe’s practices, chief among them the way he practiced confession in Neuendettelsau. Translated is only an excerpt relevant to the question of child/infant communion. It may be noted that the letters have no addressee. The appearance of one is a rhetorical device. The excerpt is drawn from Wilhelm Loehe. Gesammelte Werke v.3,1, pp 226–228. The bold print in the translation reflects that printing. – Jacob Corzine, 10 October 2014.

Upon all of this and as the occasion allows it, I shall also touch on a concern which you have expressed. You connect the confession of children to the communion of children and deduce the latter from the former. You suggest that they have equal warrant, and you assume that I, in my heart, am as much in favor of the communion of children as of the confession of children. And I gladly concede to you that a conclusion in favor of the communion of children can be made on the basis of the confession of children. You also know yourself how much the church, carrying out pastoral care and administering the sacrament, was also moved in ancient times by the question of the communion of children, as well as in how many places and regions the communion of children was a common practice, even as it still is today in the Greek church. …more

Head over to logia-online to read the entire article.

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,, 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


Great Stuff — Wilhelm Loehe on Child/Infant Communion — 10 Comments

  1. No infants or very young children, precisely the same thing the CTCR statement is asserting.

    “I must nevertheless admit to you that the well-known and in the protestant church often emphasized quote, “Let a person examine himself then, and so eat . . .” justifies, in my eyes, the Western Church when it does not administer the sacrament to those not of age (die Unmündigen) and to infants, and in fact strongly stresses that a person must first be able to examine himself, if he is to be allowed to the Lord’s table.”

    And Loehe says he prefers admitting children to the Sacrament at around the 11th or 12th year.

  2. So, the CTCR is echoing Loehe, who basically says, “I cannot deny that a five year old who has been instructed, examined, absolved, and desires the Sacrament, should be communed, and to be honest, I wish that the readiness of the person, rather than age, would be the deciding factor, but it would make us uncomfortable, so we should just stick with the status quo, without ruling out exceptions, of course.”

    This solves everything. Awesome!

    (Why is Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” playing in my mind?)

  3. Pastor American, what is the age of the youngest child to whom you have provided the Holy Communion?

  4. Irish Lutheran –

    I was Irish and Lutheran way before you, Dude. 😉

    That you don’t know who “American Lutheran” was before you posted speaks volumes to your breadth of experience in this matter, and volumes about his sense of humor.

    Pastor Messer needs no introduction, were you as well-read as you pretend. But that is not my problem. What IS your problem? I have been reading you for a bit now, and you are condescending, derogatory, and at times simply abusive to those who will not fall in line behind whatever you say. That may be a result of literary style, which can be amended in short order with little work. Or it may be more indicative of how you relate to people, which suggests you have some serious work in front of you. Deciding that is above my pay grade, or my concern. Your job.

    I’ll do a dog-snarling-to dog with just about anyone (those that know me – know), but acting like a cur applying to the AKC ain’t gonna cut it. You could have approached Pastor Messer is a very civil tone – I know you’ll maintain your seemingly innocent question was civil, but anyone who has read Father Tom or knows him already long ago knew the answer to your “question” – and found your tone gratuitous at best. You meant for us to catch your tone.

    We did.

    Although I have refrained from speaking to this issue this time around, few doubt where I stand, either. But you really need to cool your jets in the way you comment to others.

    Seriously. Pax

  5. JB, it is a legitimate question, no need to have a temper-tantrum about it.

    I’d like to know the earliest age child that the pastor who goes by “American Lutheran” has given Communion to.

  6. The earliest I go is the tender age of 7/8 when it comes to communion since that is what our Lutheran tradition affirms. But if a 5 or 6 year old wowed me with their confession than I would have no problems giving them the sacrament either. It’s not about age and anyone who routinely deals with 12-14 year olds should know that the younger they are the more likely they are to learn the catechism.

    Also, why are we so quick to go by what 19th century Lutherans did instead of looking at what the 16th century ones?

  7. I’m glad to hear that you do not commune infants, babes in arms, or toddlers, and I would hope that the reason why is more than simply because this is “what our Lutheran tradition affirms.”

  8. Oooh, Irish . . .

    Sorry I hit a tender spot.

    Need callouses to argue theology. And my points made still stand. 🙂


  9. Mustn’t an adult examine himself before submitting to baptism, first counting the cost of putting his hand to the plow? Should we therefore delay the baptism of our children until they can count the cost of being a Christian?

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