Churches Of Christ/LORD'S SUPPER

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Question
DEAR BRO. ROBERSON,
     
    I HAVE AN ELDERLY BROTHER IN THE CHURCH WHO WORKS ON THE LORD SUPPER TABLE. I WAS INFORMED THAT HE WAS GIVING HIS 5 YEAR OLD GRANDDAUGHTER THE LORD'S SUPPER, AND SHE IS NOT BAPTIZED. ON SUNDAY SHE HAD FOUR OF HER LITTLE FRIENDS WITH HER, AND I OBSERVED MY BROTHER GIVING ALL OF THEM THE LORD'S SUPPER. NONE OF HER LITTLE FRIENDS ARE BAPTIZED. IN YOUR OPINION, SHOULD I GO TO HIM ONE ON ONE TO DISCUSS THE MATTER? IF SO, HOW SHOULD I EXPLAIN TO HIM THAT THIS IS WRONG?

         THANK YOU,
         BRO. JAMES HARRIS

Answer
Brother Harris,

Greetings in the name of God. I pray that our God grants you peace and fills you with wisdom.

The Supper is rightly taken by believersvas a proclamation of our faith, and a reminder of the example of our God. Nonbelievers truly cannot do either of those and it is therefore pointless for them to share in communion.

Having said that, I don't know that there is any moral or spiritual problem with children of that age being offered it. If your friend is simply trying to be graceful toward the children, there is likely nothing untoward about that either. We do not understand the Supper as a sacrament as though the elements are other than cracker and juice. The children then are not desecrating anything.

I personally do not support giving communion to nonbelievers but neither do I believe doing so for these children is sin. Improper perhaps but not sin. If you want to talk with your friend, certainly do so but do so without judging or denigrating him.

If you want to know what your congregation should be practicing, you should, without mentioning any names, simply ask your elders what they teach. At the very least, your congregation should all be on the same page.

I will pray for and with you over the next week that our God will grant you wisdom and humility as you meditate on the word of God and talk with your friend.

May God bless you immeasurably in the months to come

Hoyt

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Hoyt Roberson

Expertise

I can answer just about any doctrinal, relational, or Scriptural question from a "traditional" church of Christ perspective, and from perspectives of somewhat more progressive congregations. If you want an answer from a particular perspective, let me know that up front, and I'll respond in that vein. If you want to peg me on the liberal-conservative spectrum, I would suggest a bit left of center. Depending on the question though, I might be far left, or perhaps rather toward the right.

Experience

I have fifty years as a member of Churches of Christ. Over those five decades, I have taught teen classes, adult classes, served as a deacon and congregational administrator, Lay Leader at two military congregations, and finally as a shepherd of a 500 member congregation. Most of the congregations I have been a member of have been "mainline" congregations, but I am quite familiar with more conservative and more liberal congregations and views as well. I read and subscribe to various books and periodicals for churches of Christ, and have discussed a variety of topics with representatives of our various groups both in person, and via mail. One of my Masters degrees is from Pepperdine, so let that guide your understanding of my formal training.

Organizations
Christian Association for Psychological Studies, American Association of Christian Counselors, and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

Publications
www.robersonblog.blogspot.com

Education/Credentials
I hold a Masters of Ministry degree from Pepperdine University, as well as a Masters of Counseling degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Phoenix.

Awards and Honors
The greatest temporal honor I have had is to be an elder for ten years. The next greatest temporal honor is having been asked to preach for our current congregation.

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