Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Feedback appreciated

So I have a question that I figured I'd throw out there to see if anyone can help me. I've been pondering the propriety of allowing Abbie to start taking the Lord's Supper.

Now, before the heresy hunters start sending in special forces, let me at least explain my thinking. You see, I want my daughter to learn the meaning behind the rituals that we go through on Sunday. I want them to have meaning for her. I don't want them to be just "adult" things.

I know that the Lord's Supper is a Christian memorial. Therefore, it is inappropriate for non-Christians to partake (although I don't know any church that actively tells them not to when they happen to be present). But does a four year old, who believes in Jesus as much as any four year old possibly can, qualify? I certainly don't think she's a non-Christian, yet she hasn't made a mature decision yet to make Jesus her Lord.

You see, Abbie will never have a "conversion experience." She will be raised to believe and will at some point either choose to adopt that belief personally or to reject it. But she will never be "converted" to Christianity. Therefore, being raised to believe and to be a part of a believing community, would it not be appropriate to teach her the meaning of the rituals of that believing community.

"But you can teach the meaning without letting her partake," you might say. True, I can give her a theoretical understanding of what is going on. However, I believe that there is experiential value to participating. What this experience will mean to a four year old, I have no idea. However, I'm tired of church education and family education be all theoretical/doctrinal/theological and not experiential.

So I picture my wife and I talking to Abbie about the communion and telling her than when the crackers and grape juice go by, we think about Jesus dying on the cross. We can tell her that the juice looks like blood, so we think about his blood, and that the crackers look like skin, so we think about his body. I think she can understand those elementary principles.

So I'm thinking about doing it. What are your thoughts? Would I be cheapening the Lord's Supper by letting her partake? Is there some biblical teaching that would preclude it?


Anonymous said...

As a fellow Christian, I really think you are trying to experiment and or "think" too much.

Your daughter Abbie is taught by watching you and your wife partake, by her not being able to partake, and by her watching others. You can teach by telling her about what the symbols represent, the importance and reverence that should be displayed, and that Christ instituted the supper before he died for us. It is a serious act (of worship) - i.e. a memorial. Another item to consider is that we are instructed to partake in a worthy manner (I Corinthians 11:27-34)

If you are trying to let her partake on the basis of her not a sinner, and would be saved at this point... Then in my opinion, the chances of her partaking in a worthy manner would probably not happen - not because she is your daughter, but because she is a four year old.

I disagree with a lot of the points in your blog. It really seems instead of going back to what the inspired writers wrote, that through extended education (from denominational schools) and a large vocabulary, you are trying to sound like an expert, and get people to challenge every belief they have. God inspired the writers so that the message would be clear and understandable to all men.

I know that things have happened in the past to perhaps test your faith, or raise questions, but I really encourage you to try to think more simply about the things that God has written for all, and try not to confuse yourself or people along the way.

Thank you!

Jeff said...


I'm not sure what your point is about partaking in a worthy manner, and how letting my daughter experience communion would violate that.

I appreciate disagreement when it is done in a respectful way, as yours was. I would welcome your opposing viewpoint on the postings that you disagree with. You will receive only respectful dialogue in response, I assure you.

I'm not "trying to sound like an expert." I've never been accused of coming anywhere close!! However, I do consult those who are experts, whether they come the denomination of my heritage or not.

You say "God inspired the writers so that the message would be clear and understandable." I agree. However, the hermeneutic that I was taught (possibly you, too??) complicates things beyond what God ever intended in Scripture by making it some book to cut and paste together in order to form scientific and syllogistic arguments. I am now convinced that this approach is an abuse of the intent of scripture.

Indeed, you are correct that things have happened to test my faith and raise questions. Don't those things happen to everyone? Aren't those tests the way the God grows us into his likeness?

Finally, I am not trying to confuse myself or anyone else. I am trying to sort through my already-existing confusion on some matters and inviting others like yourself to help me along the way. Honest dialogue only leads to growth, especially that dialogue which challenges our understandings and forces us to either bolster them or abandon them.

Once again, welcome to my blog, and feel free to show me my error on any post.

Anonymous said...

What does the "denomination of your heritage" mean? What are you trying to say?

Jeff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff said...


I was raised and continue to associate myself with the Churches of Christ. Many in my church have taken a misplaced pride in their belief that we are not a denomination. I have come to differ with that assessment. I have discussed my views on that here

I love my heritage, but have come to differ with them on some matters. As I work through these differences, I reflect on them here. My reasons for doing so are discussed here