Andrew Fuller Friday: The Connection of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

First, Has baptism any such instituted connexion with he Lord’s supper as to be a prerequisite to it? No Baptist will deny it to be a duty incumbent on believers, but he may consider it as having no more connexion with the Lord’s supper than other duties, and the omission of it, where it arises from error, as resembling other omissions of duty, which are allowed to be objects of forbearance.

If there be no instituted connexion between them, it must go far towards establishing the position of Mr. Bunyan, that “Non-baptism (at least where it arises from error) is no bar to communion.” If Mr. Bunyan’s position be tenable, however, it is rather singular that it should have been so long undiscovered; for it does not appear that such a notion was ever advanced till he or his contemporaries advanced it. Whatever difference of opinion had subsisted among Christians concerning the mode and subjects of baptism, I have seen no evidence that baptism was considered by any one as unconnected with or unnecessary to the supper. “It is certain,” says Dr. Doddridge, “that as far as our knowledge of primitive antiquity reaches, no unbaptized person received the Lord’s supper.”—Lectures, p. 511. See Mr. Booth’s Apology, sect. 1. The practice of Christians having been uniformly against us, I acknowledge, does not prove us to be in the wrong; but an opinion so circumstanced certainly requires to be well established from the Scriptures.

To ascertain whether there be any instituted connexion between the two ordinances, it will be proper to observe the manner in which such connexions are ordinarily expressed in the New Testament. It is not unusual for persons engaged in argument to require that the principle which they opposed should, if true, have been so expressed in the Scriptures as to place it beyond dispute. This, however, is not the ordinary way in which any thing is there expressed. Nor is it for us to prescribe to the Holy Spirit in what manner he shall enjoin his will, but to inquire in what he has enjoined it. A Pædobaptist might say, If teaching be indispensably necessary to precede baptizing, why did not Christ expressly say so, and forbid his disciples to baptize any who were not previously taught? A Roman Catholic also, who separates the bread from the wine, might insist on your proving from the New Testament that Christ expressly connected them together, and required the one before and in order to the other.

To the former of these objections you would answer, Let us read the commission:—“Go, … teach all nations … baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost … Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you … and, lo! I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Is it not plainly the order of things as stated by our Lord Jesus Christ, you would add, that we are first to teach men, by imparting to them the gospel; then, on their believing it, to baptize them; and then to go on to instruct them in all the ordinances and commandments which are left by Christ for our direction. Thus also to the Roman Catholic you would answer:—Let us read the institution as repeated by the apostle Paul to the Corinthians,—“I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the night in which he was betrayed took bread: and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.” You would add, How dare you put asunder the wine and the bread which Christ hath thus manifestly joined together? The former of these answers must, I think, be approved by every Baptist, and the latter by every protestant. But the reasoning in both cases proceeds on the supposition, that the ordinary way in which the mind of Christ is enjoined in the New Testament, is by simply stating things in the order in which they were appointed and are to be practised; and that this is no less binding on us than if the connexion had been more fully expressed. It is as clear in the first case as if it had been said, Go, first teach them the gospel; and when they have received it, baptize them; and, after this, lead them on in a course of evangelical obedience.—And in the last case, it is no less clear than if it had been said, First take the bread, then the cup, and never partake of the one without the other.

But if this be just reasoning with a Pædobaptist and a Roman Catholic, why should it not be so in the present case? If the above be the ordinary mode of Divine injunction, we can be at no loss to know what is enjoined respecting the duties in question. All the recorded facts in the New Testament place baptism before the celebration of the Lord’s supper.

Excerpt from: “The Admission of Unbaptized Persons to the Lord’s Table Inconsistent with the New Testament,” in Miscellaneous Tracts, Letters, & Essays.

Fuller, A. G. (1988). The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller: Expositions—Miscellaneous. (J. Belcher, Ed.) (Vol. 3, pp. 510–511). Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications.

By |May 7th, 2021|Categories: Andrew Fuller Friday, Blog|

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