A Communion or a Commune?

I’m banging the drum again. Under the title Constant Conversion, Doug Wilson writes:

The true Christian life is a life of true conversion. The Latin is the word for turning around, turning from one direction to go in another.

This is something that has to be initially done at the very beginning of the Christian walk, and it is something that all of us must do daily, throughout the course of our Christian walk. And this is why gospel preaching is always preaching for true conversions.
It is wrong-headed to gather up the saints of God every week, and declare to them how to become the saints of God. But it is equally wrong-headed to act as though every baptized member is “in good” so long as they got their papers stamped by some ecclesiastical functionary. You must be born again, and when we say this, we are not talking the biblical symbols of it, like baptism, and we are not talking about our cultural symbols for it, like signing the back of a Bible, or going forward at a revival. We are talking about life.

When we are converted, we are turning away from death, and turning to life. When someone is first converted, they are turning from the state of death to the state of life. When someone has been long converted (in this world), there are always the remainders of death around us that we must turn from in our walk, in order to advance further across the threshold of life. We have crossed over into the precincts of Heaven, that is true, but how can we be satisfied with just a taste of that life?

Further up and further in.

These words really are words of life, and the sacraments were given to us to: 1) hammer home this truth, and 2) keep nailing it in.

Thanks to the Federal Vision gents, I can see this ongoing life and death choice in every Communion. But surely we must see that first life-and-death decision in every baptism?

They have remarried baptism and table, the first conversion and the ongoing conversion, which is only logical. But in doing so, they have divorced both of them from the new birth.

This means they are preaching two gospels. The first one says you are a Christian because you are merely hearing the gospel, and called upon to make that initial life-and-death choice. This puts the sacraments in the place of the gospel. In doing this, they have turned them into another gospel, a temporary rival. [1]

If this doesn’t cause too much confusion in the saints, it’s because they preach the true gospel very clearly, in fact, more clearly than just about any baptist I can think of. But their sacraments send a mixed message to the world: “Join our genealogy.”

Is their church community a communion or a commune? If the latter, their unconverted Old Covenant “genealogical” rites will hamstring their postmillennial expectations. Israel shows us that a genealogical gospel was never intended to conquer the world. In a recent (and otherwise excellent) sermon, Pastor Wilson commented that “Salvation extends to the world by generational blessing and promise.” Wrong. Salvation was extended to the world in that way. But no longer. B.C. was the age of progeny, “seed.” A.D. is the age of recruitment, “harvest.” Communists, gays and Muslims get it. Paedobaptists, somehow, don’t. This harvest must include but must extend beyond the repentance and conversion of our physical offspring.The Christian walk is just that: a walk.

In summary, God intends that both sacraments communicate this process of repentance: baptism for (among other things) the beginning of repentance, and communion for (among other things) continuing repentance. But in their sincere desire to communicate truth to their children, by allowing unregenerate children to participate in the sacraments, the Federal Vision pastors are actually contradicting the very truths these sacraments represent.

[1] I have discussed this here and here.

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