Reformed Orthodoxy on John 15

The FV has appealed to no other text as frequently or as misguidedly as they appeal to John 15, as if it were patent evidence of their view of temporary, historical, conditional union with Christ effected by baptism. Todd has a nice section from Thomas Watson indicating how Reformed theology actually understands the image of the vine in John 15.

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  1. Dr. Clark,

    I was reading an article on paedocommunion written by a pastor affiliated with the CREC. I won’t name him, but I did find his several booklets/articles on infant baptism convincing, and I highly recommend them. Unfortunately, he is an advocate of paedocommunion.

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe in paedocommunion, and I don’t sympathize with the FV folks. I hold to the confessional and Reformed doctrine of justification, and the distinction between the church invisible and church visible. I understand the nature of the sacraments. Baptism is a sign of initiation (like circumcision) while the Lord’s Supper is a sign of renewal. While the relationship between baptism and circumcision is explicitly clear, there are many covenant renewal meals which had different terms of admission in the OT that it would be incorrect to absolutize the relationship between the Lord’s Supper and the original Passover. For instance, the parallels between the institution of the Lord’s Supper and Siniatic covenant meal are quite obvious (e.g. the words of the institution, the ones who partook, etc.). The latter meal did not include children. So I find the paedocommunionist argument from Exodus 12 inherently unconvincing.

    The CREC pastor argues in his article that confessional Presbyterian and Reformed churches err in making a distinction between communicant and non-communicant members. He explains that since the one body partakes that one bread (1 Cor. 10:17) and drinks into one Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13), and that the ones baptized into that one body (1 Cor. 12:13) includes believers and their children, then paedocommunion must be practiced.

    I consulted the WCF (chap. 25), and saw that it uses 1 Cor. 12:12-13 as a Scripture reference to the visible church, which includes the children of believers.

    WCF Chapter 25

    2. The visible Church, which is also catholic or universal under the gospel (not confined to one nation as before under the law) consists of all those, throughout the world, that profess the true religion,a and of their children;b and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ,c the house and family of God,d out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.e

    a. Psa 2:8; Rom 15:9-12; 1 Cor 1:2; 12:12-13; Rev 7:9. • b. Gen 3:15; 17:7; Ezek 16:20-21; Acts 2:39; Rom 11:16; 1 Cor 7:14. • c. Isa 9:7; Mat 13:47. • d. Eph 2:19; 3:15. • e. Acts 2:47.

    What is the confessional response to this particular argument? Thanks.

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