I am afraid that the paedo-communion discussion has been lost by the reformed side of the debate. I don’t wade into this lightly because I have some friends who are adamant about the issue, but I fear they are losing. Why? Because it has already been accepted in principle, now all that is left is to haggle over the age. The serious problems of paedo-communion are too often left out of the discussion, or worse, assumed to be true.
Let me give some examples. Steve Hays at Triablogue asks this question.
I have one question: If a pregnant woman takes communion, is that a form of paedocommunion?
Now I admit Hays is not arguing for either side just looking for some clarification, but you would be really surprised to see how often this argument comes up. Hays does not comment on the incipient sacramentalism in the thought. If the baby in the uterus partakes of communion through the mother then clearly we have the transmission of a spiritual blessing through a physical act: the act of eating. Which by the way is exactly what they say. Wilson calls it "eating grace" (Reformed is Not Enough. Pg. 93).
Rev. Douglas Wilson and Rev. Lane Keister are currently blogging through a book by Rev. Cornelius Venema about the issue of paedocommunion. I have great hopes that this will still end up in a strong rejection of paedocommunion as carrying with it a latent sacramentalism. However, Rev. Keister informs us that the book will make a difference between the "strict" view of anyone capable of eating coming to the table and the “soft” view which accepts young professions of faith. Rev. Wilson rightly called this a major flaw. More to the point Rev. Wilson informs us that the book considers the "soft" view a mere modification of the historic reformed view. Things get worse when we see that Rev. Keister admit he is a soft paedocommunionist. This debate is now between a "Strict Paedocommunist", a "Soft Paedocommunist", and a book that thinks "Soft Paedocommunism" is acceptable.
This is why I fear the debate is lost. The practice of allowing children and people in general to the table has been very lax in America for generations. The entrance to the table for most people is merely a Conversion Narrative (an invention of the New Side Presbyterians in the First Great Awakening). If you can tell people when you were saved or that Jesus is your savior, and the Session/Consistory believes you then you are allowed to the Table. Is that the historic Reformed Practice? More importantly, is that the Biblical practice?
In the next several posts I would like to examine this question as thoroughly as my meager efforts can. You will notice the title of the post involves the issue of Confirmation. I think that Confirmation is left out of the discussion far too often, and perhaps is the reason that all the important ground has already been ceded to the Paedocommunists. Few churches practice this rite of the church that was fully endorsed by the Reformation and a prerequisite to the Table.