At Redeemer, we’re hoping to give believing children and youth an opportunity to profess Jesus publicly by going through a brief 4 part study based upon the gospel and membership vows. We’re hoping children and youth will see this as an opportunity to exalt the saving work of Christ in their specific lives.
This Sunday our church, Redeemer Pres, will be receiving two new communicant members. They are sister and brother in the 7th and 8th grade respectively. The only thing that is kind of weird is that outside a youth baptism, where we did receive her as a communicant member (kids become members when their parents join the church by profession of faith), we’ve not recently (the last communicants class has been several years) made a distinction betwixt member and communicant membership.
But there’s a serious problem. Most Baptistic folks rightly find it special to declare VERBALLY that they in fact do personally believe in Jesus. For Baptists, this time is special because the child, youth, or adult now owns their own faith. And of course, whenever Presbyterians perform a believers’ baptism it is also special. Less water, but just as special.
So if you join a Presbyterian church, or are persuaded to join the Dark Side on this issue (depending on who you ask!), do you forsake a special opportunity and sacrament?
No, not at all, if the church follows the scriptural pattern of the Old and New Testament.
At some point in time, the baptized child, who has the sign and seal of God’s Covenant Promise (the sacrament seals the PROMISE, not the PERSON-a Presbyterian distinction) still must decide one day if he will be a covenant keeper or a covenant breaker. When he/she decides to take in Jesus for himself/herself, he/she has the opportunity to make that public profession before Jesus and His congregation by affirming the gospel and concomitant scriptural membership vows-simply what it means to be a member of God’s Covenant community.
THEN, the professing believer is invited to commune (hence the word “communicant”) at the communion table. He has declared what he/she believes to be true and now partakes in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. He/she belongs there because of the work of the Holy Spirit. This is no less a joyous occasion than a baptism, and this is what is happening this Sunday.