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Children and communion?

Submitted: 10/17/2005
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Question: Should children be allowed to participate in communion?

Answer: Some teach that communion is exclusive, meaning that it is only for the saved. The criteria for determining who is saved is usually whoever is baptized and is not harboring any unconfessed sin in their heart. This view is derived from the Roman Catholic belief that communion is a sacriment.

We believe that communion is inclusive, meaning that anyone can participate, regardless of the state of their salvation. We base this on the following thoughts: The first communion meal was the Last Supper, which was a Passovr meal. Communion has its roots in the Jewish Passover. The first Passover meal was only for the Israelites. It was part of their deliverance from bondage in Egypt. It symbolizes the death of the Lamb of God for our deliverance from the bondage of sin. But once the Israelites were out of Egypt, they were told to keep the Passover every year as a memorial of their salvation. But this celebration was open to both Israelites and the strangers who were among them (see Numbers 9:13-14). Like Passover, communion is a time of remembering our salvation which was obtained for us by the Lord's death on the cross (see 1 Corithians 11:23-26).

Concerning participation by children, the question would be, are they mature enough to understand what is going on? Communion is a joyous event, but it should also be taken seriously. If they are not able to be serious and understand the significance of the Lord's death, perhaps they should wait until they are older.

We celebrate communion in our home groups and with our families at dinner, not every week but from time to time. We also believe it is an excellent way of bringing the gospel to unsaved people. We allow and encourage virtually everyone to participate.