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Question and Answer

Does the Bible require baptism to take the Lord's Supper?


Is there biblical evidence to support the statement that baptism is required before partaking in communion?


Good question. I think you might begin here: under the Old Covenant, you had to be circumcised in order to be able to partake of the Passover meal. Exodus 12:48 says "If a stranger shall sojourn with you and would keep the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised. Then he may come near and keep it; he shall be as a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person shall eat of it."

The New Testament describes Christ as our Passover Lamb (1 Cor 5:7). The Lord's Supper is both a memorial of his sacrifice as our Passover Lamb, and a means of grace by which we partake of Christ's body and blood (1 Cor. 10:16). Now, since Baptism replaces circumcision as a sign of the covenant, the sign of our being admitted into that covenant and united to Christ (Col. 2:9-12), though it is not necessary to salvation (the thief on the cross was not baptized) it is a sign we are commanded to receive. Disobedience to Christ in this area is a sin and Paul warns us in 1 Corinthians 11 that we are not to come in an unworthy condition to the Lord's table (1 Cor 11:27). Therefore Baptism would then be seen as a requirement for all who would partake of communion.

More simply, why would you not want to be baptized? Is it shame for being identified or joined to Christ, a desire to not confess him? If that is so, why would you want to come to the Lord's Supper?

I hope this helps you in your thinking.

About Q&A

"Questions and Answers" is a weekly feature of the OPC website. The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

The questions come from individuals like yourself. If you have questions about biblical and theological matters, you are invited to send them by e-mail by using the "Pose a Question" link on the OPC home page or by clicking here.

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