Difficult Questions About Baptism & The Lord’s Supper

Curated Resources around Key Questions about the Ordinances of Baptism and the Lord's Supper


Should We Baptize Infants?

The issue of baptism — infant baptism in particular — can be a tricky thing for conservative Bible-believing Baptist and Presbyterians to discuss. One of the reasons for this difficulty is that both Baptist and Presbyterians approach Scripture with a conviction that the Bible alone should be the ultimate and final authority for faith and practice. Listen as Ligon Duncan and Thabiti Anyabwile talk about the differences between the Baptist and Presbyterian views of baptism.

Resources curated for The Gospel Coalition by Phil Thompson, Tyler Hosking, and Nick Harsh.

Should Baptism Be Spontaneous?

Throughout the book of Acts, there are many examples of people getting baptized almost immediately after conversion (e.g., Acts 2:41, 8:37-38, 16:31-33). Conversely, during the Medieval Period, it was not uncommon for Christians to wait until Easter to baptize everyone all at once. More recently it is normal for evangelical churches to hold classes for those who express interest in baptism. So which practice is right for churches to follow? Listen to Darrin Patrick, Mark Dever, and Matt Chandler as they talk about the tension that this question raises for church leaders.

Should Baptism Be Required For Membership?

Should baptism be required for church membership? The is a debate that Baptist have been having with one another for nearly 350 years, and godly men have disagreed sharply over the issue. In one sense, this issue primarily concerns credobaptist. But suppose a paedobaptist wants to join a church whose doctrinal statement affirms credobaptism? Should they be permitted to do so? John Bunyan said yes. Bobby Jamison says no. In the videos that follow, John Piper and Mark Dever will explain the importance of church membership (something they both see as essential), and it’s relationship to baptism.

Why Does It Matter That We Eat The Lord's Supper In A Worthy Manner?

The Lord knows our faith is weak so he instituted a meal — he both the host and the feast (Mark 14:22). When eaten in a worthy manner, the Lord’s Supper is a great means of sanctification and growth in a person’s life. For, “as surely as I receive from the hand of the minister and taste with my mouth the bread and the cup of the Lord as sure signs of Christ’s body and blood, so surely does he himself nourish and refresh my soul to everlasting life with his crucified body and shed blood.” (Heidelberg Catechism) Yet, for the one who eats in a flippant or cavalier way, the Lord’s Supper is an occasion not of great joy but great judgment. The juxtaposition of these two realities can be seen clearly in the videos below. John Piper explains the severe punishment that can come from taking the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner while Kevin DeYoung articulates the great joy that occurs when a person eats in a worthy way.

D. A. Carson — The Lord's Supper

Regrettably, it is not uncommon for people to feel disconnected while observing the Lord’s Supper. It is easy for one’s mind to drift or for someone to be unsure of the ordinance’s importance. Therefore, it is good to periodically go back to the basics — to articulate the significance and meaning of the Lord’s Supper. In the following sermon, D. A. Carson makes seven observations about the Lord’s Supper from 1 Corinthians 11:17–31.

  • Runtime: 32 min

    A sermon preached in 2008 on 1 Corinthians 11:17–31.

What Are The Purposes Of The Lord's Supper?

The Lord’s Supper is a simple act — we eat the bread and drink from the cup. Yet, it’s significance is profound. A person is not merely eating a meal when they take of the Lord’s Supper. The purpose is greater than this. In the videos that follow Mike Bullmore, Paul Kim, Ligon Duncan, and John Piper explain the importance and purposes of the Lord’s Supper.

Does The Lord's Supper Add Anything To Christ's Atoning Work?

In 1 Corinthians 11:27 Paul writes, “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord.” It is clear that one is not to come to the Lord’s Supper in a flippant or cavalier way. But why? What does the Lord’s Supper do for us? Additionally, if one is not to take of the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner, how holy must a person be in order to eat? These questions are answered in the following videos by Leo Schuster and John Piper.

Does Interpersonal Conflict Affect Our Communion With God?

Every time a person celebrates the Lord’s Supper, it should be a glorious reminder that payment has been made for sin — those in Christ stand forgiven. Paul writes in Colossians 3:13, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” It is, therefore, a great act of hypocrisy to celebrate the forgiveness of God in our lives while refusing to forgive a brother or sister in Christ. Paul Kim explains in the following video how interpersonal conflict can affect our communion with God.