Doug Wilson took the time to respond to my post criticizing his view of whether and when and how the church ought to admit children to the Lord’s Table.
I think his response indicates that I was correct about his errors.
In my post, I said that the difference between Wilson’s definition of faith and mine affects “how we think about the senile, the retarded, the mentally incapacitated, and babies in utero.” In his reply, Wilson raises the example of a man in a coma, stating that his incidental inability to eat is not the same as excommunication:
“If I administer the Supper to [a person in a coma who cannot eat], I am making claims about the power of the Supper “raw” that I do not wish to make. And if I refrain, I am making no statement that excludes him. And so I would refrain.”
But Wilson and I are agreed that inability to chew is irrelevant to formal exclusion from the Supper; it is a practical problem only. So it is irrelevant to the question of whether babies (who can chew) need to be thinking about something in order to be “admitted.” The real question is: What about an adult who can chew, and has been baptized, but can’t talk or think about Jesus because he has been injured in the brain? If the man can eat, but can’t think very well, then your withholding the Supper from him does indeed make a statement that excludes him. It makes a statement about the nature of the requisite faith. (The reference to “the Lord’s Supper raw” also implies something about the nature of faith and the way the sacraments work. Apparently they become “cooked” only when we think about them.)
I say that such a retarded or brain-damaged man should still receive the Lord’s Supper if he can eat. He is part of the body of Christ, and to be treated as such. As far as I can tell, Wilson thinks he shouldn’t get the Supper. Why not? Presumably because he isn’t thinking the necessary things. And that looks gnostic to me. But perhaps I am wrong, and Wilson would give the Supper to such a injured person. I hope he would. It is rather close to the core of what it means to treat the less presentable and weaker members of the body of Christ with special honor.
Who’s walking in accordance with the Gospel now?