Giving children communion?

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KyleB
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Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2011 2:04 am
Location: Creswell, OR

Giving children communion?

Post by KyleB » Mon Dec 03, 2012 2:49 am

I was raised with the understanding that partaking of communion is only for baptized believers. The church I was raised in held this view as far as I know. The church I am currently attending holds this view as well, although in recent years they have begun to make a notable exception. There is a separate "children's church" program that happens during the main church service (not Sunday school). They have the practice of taking communion there, even though lots of the kids aren't baptized. They don't make a point of excluding those kids from taking the emblems.

I have mixed feelings about this. What are your thoughts? I have been thinking about how the OT Passover ceremony was to be used as a teaching moment for children (Ex 12:26-27). The Lord's supper commemorates the New Passover, so might it be appropriate for families to do this together in order to spark conversations? However, kids taking it in a separate service doesn't seem like the same thing.

I've also considered 1 Cor 11:29, but I don't think Paul had in mind the issues that I'm talking about here.

Thoughts?

P.S. For reference, I have 3 daughters, the oldest of which is 5 and does not yet attend the children's church service. Aside from the communion issue, I'm not sure how I feel about "children's church" in general. When I was a kid, I had a Sunday school class, but i always sat in the worship service with my parents.

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Paidion
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Location: Back Woods of North-Western Ontario

Re: Giving children communion?

Post by Paidion » Fri Mar 20, 2015 12:04 pm

Hi Kyle,

In examining posts on family, I just discovered this one today, and was surpised that there were no responses.
As I see it, the qualifications for a person to participate in the eucharist (thanksgiving) or communion (sharing), is repentance (a change of heart and mind), baptism, and is living as Messiah Jesus taught.

It may be instructive to read what Justin Martyr (110-165 A.D.) wrote concerning the eucharist in his Apology (explanation) addressed to the Emperor of Rome, his sons, the senate, and to all Roman citizens:
But we, after we have thus washed him who has been convinced and has assented to our teaching,bring him to the place where those who are called brethren are assembled, in order that we may offer hearty prayers in common for ourselves and for the baptized [illuminated] person, and for all others in every place, that we may be counted worthy, now that we have learned the truth, by our works also to be found good citizens and keepers of the commandments, so that we may be saved with an everlasting salvation. Having ended the prayers, we salute one another with a kiss. There is then brought to the presiding one of the brethren, bread and a cup of wine mixed with water; and he taking them, gives praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and offers thanks at considerable length for our being counted worthy to receive these things at His hands. And when he has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all the people present express their assent by saying Amen. This word Amen answers in the Hebrew language to γένοιτο [so be it]. And when the presiding one has given thanks, and all the people have expressed their assent, those who are called by us deacons give to each of those present to partake of the bread and wine mixed with water over which the thanksgiving was pronounced, and to those who are absent they carry away a portion.

And this food is called among us Εὐχαριστία [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing [baptism] that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh. For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, “This do ye in remembrance of Me, this is My body;” and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, “This is My blood;” and gave it to them alone.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

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