What age should children receive Communion?

Today, we went to my wife's Evangelical church and I noticed no parent giving the communion bread and grape juice to their children. Is there an age at which children are too young to take communion?

Clarify Share Report Asked March 01 2015 Stringio Vincent Mercado Supporter

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Raccoo Bob Johnson Layperson. Self Educated Theologically - see full bio
There is no specific Biblical teaching on when children should be able to receive communion.

Most churches would say that if a person has been baptized, then it is ok to let them have communion. In some traditions, such as in many Baptist churches, this means that the kids would have some teaching about baptism and then if they make a public confession of faith in Jesus Christ, usually as part of the baptism ceremony, they are baptized. At that point they may then take communion.

Other churches, (including Catholic) baptize their children as infants. Can they therefore receive communion? No, because most of those churches have "confirmation" or some sort of formal teaching. After they have that teaching, and then if they confess faith in Jesus Christ, then they can take communion. Many churches make this a formal thing. At the end of the class the whole group is "confirmed" and they receive, as part of a formal ceremony, "first communion." Some churches don't use the term "first communion", but at confirmation, that is when they usually do take their first communion.

My personal feeling is that a formal confirmation class, or even less formal baptism class format puts pressure on kids to confess Christ when they don't really believe in him. The kids do it because all their other friends do it. I don't think these types of confessions are real for some kids, even though it may be real for some. It's a matter of their heart.

The same is true in less formal churches as well. Around the same age as formal churches teach confirmation (early teens), less formal churches will have a "baptism class." At the end of both, the kids confess Christ and then are able to take communion. Again, in my opinion this is a peer-pressure system where they'll get baptized because everyone else their age is doing it, so they say the words and then are "in." That's just not Biblical. It's still a matter of their heart.

Some congregations leave it up to the parent and child to decide. The child might have accepted Christ at home, and they and their parent decide to let them take communion.

But some parents are maybe too lax and they let their kids take communion because the child is just curios and everyone else in the church seems to be doing it. There is no meaning in that. I don't think that is right.

I don't think confirmation or baptism is truly a confession of faith in Jesus Christ unless, of course, the child really is sincere. 

Therefore baptism or first communion doesn't save. It may be a sign that they are saved, but not a guarantee. It depends on the motives of their heart.

That was a long way around to an answer. In short, if a person, no matter what their age, is truly and sincerely a Christian in their heart, then it is ok to take communion.

I'm not going to touch the subject of whether communion and baptism are ordinances or sacraments here. But I do not believe that the Bible says that Baptism or Communion grant salvation to anyone - that anyone is saved if they do either of these things. Salvation is of the Lord and of the accepting persons heart, The thief on the cross was saved and he didn't get the chance for baptism. It was his belief in Jesus Christ, even at the last minute, that saved him.

This topic isn't about the merits, approbation, method or reasons for Baptism. It is only about Communion so I won't comment on Baptism any further here.

March 02 2015 5 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Mark Wheeless
Communion, or The Lord's supper is an ordinance, along with baptisim that should be observed only after an individual has accepted Jesus Christ as their savior. Receiving communion in an unworthy manner is a sin against the body and blood of the Lord, as Paul states in 1 Corinthians 11:27. There is no age requirement involved with receiving communion, but an observance which should be kept by remembering the sacrifice JESUS made that WE, as Christians may freely partake in.

March 03 2015 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Image41 Ezekiel Kimosop
Scripture does not provide a minimum age at which a person may be admitted into Holy Communion. Evangelical churches traditionally do not serve Holy Communion to children because they believe that the Table should be observed only by people who are mature in age and have understood the call to obedience.

I worship in a church where we do not baptize children under age 12 because we believe that the those below this age may not make a conscious decision for obedience. The church regulations do not permit person to partake of the Table if they have not believed and are baptized according to the scriptures. 

Other church traditions are less rigid on this rule and even baptize infants and serve the table liberally even to unbelievers. I once heard a preacher defend this position when he argued that Judas was served by Jesus yet Jesus knew that he was not a true communicant of the faith (cf. John 17:12).

However, this argument is faulty for the reason that Jesus clearly declared during the institution of the Last Supper in Matthew 26:21-23 "...Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. 22 And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? 23 And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me" (KJV). 

My view is that whereas the issue of the age of accountability for children may be debatable, the church community should handle the Lord's Table with the spiritual deportment that Scripture commands in 1 Corithians11:17-30. Besides, children profess saving faith in Christ should be examined and affirmed by mature believers. The church leaders are stewards of God's grace (1Cor. 4:1-2; 1 Peter 5:1-4)

March 02 2015 8 responses Vote Up Share Report

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