Friday, October 28, 2011

Interesting Communion Quote

Pastor Weedon had this posted this on his blog over three years ago, but I absolutely love the quote, which is from Johannes Bugenhagen, Martin Luther's pastor, and it describes their practice of allowing children to communion in the Reformation era:

"After this confession is made, also the little children of about eight years or less should be admitted to the table of Him who says, 'Suffer the little children to come unto Me.'" (Concordia Triglotta, p. 82)


Sage said...

I wondered about that, you don't see it today very much. I've been studying the history of the Eucharist (got a book about it) and wonder how we go away from that practice.

Pr. Weedon has the best quotes, the man is a veritable compendium of historical facts.

The Rebellious Pastor's Wife said...

Yes, yes he most definitely is :)

Sage, there is a very good book that is out of print but locatable, it is called "Confirmation in the Lutheran Church" by Arthur Repp. It was referred to us when we started looking at this issue, and it has been excellent.

Tressa said...

I was just discussing this with a friend. When did the Lutheran church start setting confirmation at 8th grade or thereabouts? I will see if I can find the book you mentioned. I think many children are ready for communion before the age of 14. I know mine would have benefitted from it.

The Rebellious Pastor's Wife said...

Tressa, confirmation has long been tied to a rite of adulthood in the church. It just hasn't always been tied to communion. Look at the way the Catholics do it.

Luther wanted to get rid of Confirmation, since the Catholics called it a sacrament, and there is nothing in the Bible on it, but as long as it was understood to not be a sacrament, he was okay with keeping it. Melancthon and Bucer wanted to keep it to keep peace with the Calvinists, who liked the rite because if you had an oath, you had a foundation for church discipline. But again, not tied to Communion.

In the era of the Prussian Union, confirmation was also the point which boys and girls could socialize with each other, and it was brought over with the Germans who came to America during that time.

This period of time was also the era dominated by pietism and rationalism -- the 2nd Great Awakening, which maintained that faith is a cognitive process, not a gift given by the Holy Spirit. 13 or 14 seemed to be a good age where young believers could understand their faith and attest to it. This is an error. Children can understand doctrine much earlier, but they do not choose to have faith. They can also examine themselves and prepare themselves for communion using the Catechism much earlier.