Tim Parker

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Remember the lamb

Below is a useful remark made by Liam Goligher in his book “The Jesus Gospel” about the slaughter of the passover lamb.

When I was a boy, I realised what this meant as I was reading this story. I too, was a firstborn son. And I loved to see lambs playing in the fields near our home. I imagined what it must have been like for the firstborn sons of Israel, children like me getting to keep a lamb in the house for four days before the night God had appointed. I knew I’d get attached to it and that I would be heartbroken when eventually it was slaughtered. And I imagined what my father would have said to me, ‘Son, either the lamb dies or you die.’ That takes us to the heart of it. God gave up his own Son, the lamb of God to die, so that I might never die eternal death but have eternal life.

Understanding the significance of the lamb death in the place of the first born was not an adult only affair. It was something in which the whole covenant family were to understand. Latter, when God's act of gracious rescue was remembered in the passover meal, children are again expected to be present, sharing in the meal and being instructed about the Lord's salvation brought about by the death of the passover lamb.

The same must be true today. Children are never to young to learn about to substitutional death of the Lord Jesus for sin. One of the ways that children of the covenant were to be reminded about and taught about this in the Old Testament was through the passover meal. Ort not the same to be true for the Lord's supper today?

In many of our churches, children's place at the Lord's table is orquard. Some times the thinking (resulting form a distorted understanding of the Communion) is that they will 'get in the way' and disturb the contemplation and solemnity of the Communion. However, even in bible believing Churches, I see little evidence of the Lord's supper being part of the children's ministry in any way.

Even if a church decides that children should not receive the bread and wine, I can see no reason why baptised covenant children should be excluded from witnessing and being a part of the communion.

It appear to be increasingly common in Evangelical services for children to remain in Sunday school for most if not all Communion services. This to me seems to run the risk of giving children to impression that the Communion is some sort of Adult only "religious" activity that is secretive and not for them. Where in reality, nothing could be further from the truth!

I intend to write further on this topic, please leave you comments and thoughts.


  • Well, you're right, of course. To exclude children from the Lord's Supper is to imply that their baptism didn't really work - that they aren't really members of the covenant community. But if they are (and all of the Reformers were agreed on that), then they mjst take their place at the family meal. The prohibition of paedocommunion in Reformed churches (and I think particularly of the Church of England, being my own stable) is nothing short of a theological travesty.

    By Blogger Liam Beadle, at February 26, 2007 11:58 am  

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