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Question and Answer

Paedocommunion

Question:

Paedocommunion appears to be gaining popularity within the Reformed community. Am I correct that the official OPC position is not one favoring paedocommunion?

Answer:

Paedocommunion is the belief that baptized children may be admitted to the Lord's table without having to make a profession of faith first. You are correct that the OPC position does not favor paedocommunion. The official position of the OPC is contained in our doctrinal Standards. Larger Catechism #177 says in part: "... the Lord's Supper is to be administered ... only to such as are of years and ability to examine themselves." (You can read the Westminster Standards, along with their Scripture proofs, by clicking here.)

In 1988, the General Assemblies of both the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church in America received reports from their respective committees on paedocommunion which argued both for and against the position. You can find the OPC reports online by clicking here.

As you read the OPC reports, please do not become confused by the "majority" and "minority" labels. While the report as a whole was received by the Fifty-fourth (1987) General Assembly, neither the committee (majority) report nor either of the minority reports was actually adopted as the position of the OPC. Instead, the Fifty-fifth (1988) Assembly adopted recommendations which opposed paedocommunion. (Because of membership turnover, at one point the majority of the committee did in fact favor paedocommunion; the action of the Assembly, however, reflects that they were really a minority within the OPC.)

Because this report consisted of both committee (majority) and two different minority reports, which had differing recommendations, to reduce confusion here are the adopted actions of the Fifty-fifth (1988) General Assembly relative to the matters contained in these reports. These recommendations originated with the Advisory Committee, not with the authors of the committee reports.

Recommendations

  1. That the Assembly advise Kidane-Hiwot and the sessions of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church that the requirement of the Scriptures and our subordinate standards for meaningful participation in the Lord's Supper is not age, but a faith that confesses, discerns, remembers, and proclaims the body of Christ while partaking.
  2. That the Assembly encourage the sessions to be more faithful in oversight of the flock of Jesus Christ, particularly the covenant children who are in truth members of the church.
  3. That the Assembly request the presbyteries to study the implications of the doctrine of the covenant for the observance of the Lord's Supper, public profession of faith, and the assumption of full covenant responsibilities by young members, and to report to the 57th General Assembly with specific proposals, including grounds, if they conclude that changes in the subordinate standards are required.

(These recommendations are from the Minutes of the Fifty-fifth General Assembly, pp. 60-62.)

I hope this information is helpful to you.


About Q&A

"Questions and Answers" is a weekly feature of the OPC website. At least one new question is posted each week, so there should always be something new here for you to read. (For those who would like to look at previous questions and answers, they will continue to be available as well.)

The questions come from individuals like yourself. If you have questions about biblical and theological matters, you are invited to send them by e-mail by using the "Pose a Question" link on the OPC home page or by clicking here.

The purpose of the OPC website's "Questions and Answers" is to respond to biblical and theological questions. Matters of church discipline, disputes, or debates go beyond the scope of our work. We recommend that you present your concerns in these areas to the appropriate judicatory. In most cases this will be to a local pastor, elder, or session. We do not want the website to replace personal involvement in, or commitment to, the local, visible church.

While we will respond to every serious questioner, we are not bound to give a substantive answer to every question, should we deem the question to be beyond the scope of our purpose or our own ability to answer.

You will receive an answer by email. Please be patient as many of our respondents are busy pastors. The response to your question may take up to two weeks. Some of the questions submitted will be chosen to be posted here, along with the corresponding answers.

The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

Note that the "Questions and Answers" posted on the site have been edited—all personal references are removed, Scripture references may be added, and sometimes portions are expanded—to make the questions and answers more useful to a larger audience.

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