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Feed My Lambs:
Why the Lord's Table Should Be Restored to Covenant Children

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"We rightly say to covenant children, 'Remember your baptism!' This is to remind them of both their covenant responsibilities and their covenant privileges. But they cannot actually remember their baptism, of course. They were too young. It is actually the sacrament of the Lord's Supper that would cause them to remember their baptism. Participation in it would demonstrate very clearly that they have been initiated into Christ. It would prove to them that their baptism actually meant something."

Paperback: 220 pp. (2002)

Tim Gallant's Feed My Lambs is the first comprehensive treatment of paedocommunion in the English language, and remains indispensable to the discussion.

For over a millennium, the Christian Church in both East and West provided the Lord's Supper to its children. The Western (Roman) Church, however, gradually moved away from the practice, and largely abandoned it altogether in the thirteenth century. This move carried over into Protestantism.

Why did the Early Church commune children? What biblical and theological basis could provide a mandate for such a practice which is so foreign to our own way of thinking?

In Feed My Lambs, now in its second printing, Tim Gallant, engaging in sympathetic critique of the mainstream paedobaptist (and particularly the Reformed) tradition, carefully explores the question of "why." The profound conclusion: biblical norms require this practice to be reinstated.

Also available: Feed My Lambs Study Guide.

 

Table of Contents

Preface

  • Why Read This Book?
  • May You Read This Book?
  • How to Read This Book
  • Acknowledgements

Introduction

  • Recent History
  • John Calvin
  • Terminology

1. One Bread, One Body

  • Matthew 19: The Status of New Covenant Children
  • New Covenant Anticipation: The Impulse of Universalization
    • Jeremiah 31: breadth of benefits
    • Isaiah: stable generations
  • New Testament Confirmation
    • Galatians 3:27-28: universal inheritance
    • 1 Corinthians 10:16-17: a universal table
    • 1 Corinthians 7:14: the calling of covenant children
    • 1 Corinthians 12:13: sacramental parallelism
    • Marriage Supper and Lord's Supper
    • Circumcision and baptism
  • John 6: sacrament and reality
  • "Feed My lambs"

2. A Passover Lamb for Little Lambs

  • Passover Participation in Exodus 12
    • Dependent upon catechization?
    • The Passover count
    • Passover and the stranger
  • Deuteronomy 16:16: Rights and Requirements
  • New Testament Evidence Concerning Passover Participation
    • Luke 2: did Jesus wait until age 12?
    • The numbering of the five thousand: a Passover count?
    • The Last Supper
  • Passover Requirements and Children
  • Passover in Jewish Practice
  • The Positive Case for Passover as a Household Benefit
    • Admission in Exodus 12
    • The 'feast in the wilderness'
    • The terms of Deuteronomy 12
  • Passover and Lord's Supper: Relevance
    • The time and form of institution
    • Other New Testament connections
    • Lord's Supper and other Old Testament meals
    • Lord's Supper and the Day of Atonement
    • Implications of the connection

3. Our Children and 1 Corinthians 11

  • Appeals Against Paedocommunion from 1 Corinthians 11
  • Exposition of the Passage
    • Broader context
    • 11:17-22: the problem
    • 11:23-25: the reminder
    • 11:26-27: implications of the Supper
    • 11:28-32: the safeguarding of the Supper
    • 11:33-34: the outcome

4. Children at the Lord's Table in History

  • Contrary Evidence?
    • Second century Fathers
    • Origen
  • Paedocommunion in the Early Church
    • Justin Martyr
    • Cyprian
    • The Apostolic Constitutions
    • Augustine
    • Leo the Great
  • Which Comes First: Practice or Theology?
  • The Decline and Fall of Paedocommunion
  • The Hussites: An Attempt at Revival
  • Post-Reformation Period
  • The State of the Question Today

5. Objections Answered

  • I. Contrasts with Baptism
    • A non-covenantal sacrament?
    • An active sacrament
    • A sacrament of demand
    • A sacrament of communion rather than union?
    • Baptism and Lord's Supper: a pastoral assessment
  • II. Objections Based on Analysis of, or Comparison to, the Old Testament
    • Children may not approach the altar
    • Great Atonement, not Passover
    • New covenant intensification of standards
    • A sacrament only, not a meal
    • A disciplinary meal
    • The immature barred from meals requiring discernment
  • III. General Objections to Paedocommunion
    • Hints from the physical character of the Supper
    • Undermines catechesis?
    • Confession of faith required
    • Deferred citizenship rights
    • Nothing to be gained?
    • Faith versus superstition
    • Danger of a down-grade
    • Biological Christianity?
  • Conclusion

Conclusion

Appendix 1: The Covenant of Grace & Its Children

  • The Relationship Between Old Covenant and New
  • The Covenant of Grace in the Old Testament
    • One covenant or many?
    • The seed of the woman
    • Theft of the seed of the woman
    • Noah: covenant of grace or 'covenant of creation?'
    • Abraham: recovery of the seed of the woman
    • Mosaic meals and the covenant of grace
  • The Covenant of Grace and the New Testament
    • You and your household
    • What About Romans 9?

Appendix 2: Consideration of Practical Issues

  • Paedocommunion and 'Small Change'
    • Covenant expectations and discipline
    • The sins of the fathers
    • Profession of faith
  • What About Infant Communion?
  • Paedocommunion and the Reformed Confessions
    • Prohibition and inference
    • The desirability of revision
    • Revision: an illustrative example
    • Hindrances to revision
  • Paedocommunion and Fathers
  • "I'm Convinced - But My Church Isn't: What Now?"
    • Sanctified disagreement
    • Should my child make profession of faith?

Appendix 3: Brief Theses on Communion & Covenant Children

Bibliography

Scripture Index

Index of Names

(Index of Names in 2nd printing only. If you have a first printing, you may view name index here.)

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