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.