The General Assembly voted this afternoon to recommit a recommendation made by the Committee on Review of Presbytery Records.

The recommendation (53) dealt with minutes submitted by the Pacific Northwest Presbytery and the actions of the 39th Assembly related to them. At issue was a candidate’s exception to Westminster Larger Catechism 177 (Wherein do the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper differ?) and the Book of Church Order 58-4 (dealing with the administration of the Lord’s Supper). The candidate in question disagreed with the statement that the Lord’s Supper is to be administered only to those who “are of years and ability to examine themselves.”

Last year, the 39th Assembly ruled that Pacific Northwest had granted an exception that is “hostile to the system or striking at the vitals or religion” (RAO 16-3e.5d.). This year’s Committee recommended that their response “be found satisfactory.”

The ensuing discussion touched off a lengthy debate on paedocommunion (often called infant communion). Several commissioners noted that such an exception is routinely granted in the PCA, but that infant communion is not practiced. Others cited instances where they believed paedocommunion was both taught and administered. Therefore, some argued, denomination-wide consistency is needed.

The Committee on Review of Presbytery Records will report to the 41st General Assembly.

2 Responses to Paedocommunion Exception Recommitted

  1. Ted Mahaffey says:

    In the two instances in our presbytery, in which exceptions were granted, it was conditioned upon their not teaching or preaching their views on paedocommunion. I’m aware that one of the pastors did not honor this condition. Through other issues he convinced the elders and church to leave the PCA. The other pastor caused a split in the church, resulting in the church leaving the PCA, and a new PCA church being formed out of the remnant. Neither of these men should have been approved by the presbytery. I am personally convinced that when men are weak in one doctrine, and paedocommunion is a serious one, there is more out there. I have to ask the question as to why a person with this view is allowed by the examining committee, to be brought before presbytery.

  2. Larry Edison says:

    I was, for decades, one of those in the minority. When ordained into ascension Presbytery, I was allowed an “Exception.” When I transferred in to Central Florida, it took a year for me to be granted an exception. But, it was granted. So while I believe paedocommunion is covenantal and Biblical, I:
    1. Did not split a church … and did not stir up controversy.
    2. Planted a church and stayed for 31 years (and spun off a daughter church – deliberately and in peace)
    3. Kept our practice in conformity with BCO
    4. Did educate people about my view versus the denomination’s view.
    In it all, there was peace and tolerance. Diversity. It is a wonderful thing. Just because someone is allowed an exception does not mean there will be trouble. Grace and diversity and even freedom within bounds can all go hand in hand.
    Larry Edison