If you follow my blog at all, you know that a few posts back, a certain individual posted a plethora of comments on how our justification is (or isn't) related to the final judgment. Well, he's back, but this time for paedocommunion. Instead of publishing his recent comments in the comment section, I'll give him some actual blog space. Here are his comments on Dr. Leithart's paedocommunion article in Credenda-Agenda:
Leithart evidences his confusion on the Gospel throughout his article (not to mention the manifold 'straw-men' arguments he sets up):
"The gospel is not directly at stake in the paedocommunion debate."
"Instead, I focus on the ecclesiological issues raised by paedocommunion, which are simultaneously questions about the nature of the covenant, about the continuity of Old and New, about salvation, and about the gospel."
"The question is not only who's in and who's out, but rather what our decisions about who's in and who's out say about the church and the gospel we proclaim."
Peter, Peter! Is it about the Gospel or not!
Okay - I think this is worthy of looking at. I think Dr. Leithart was pretty clear in the larger context of these excerpts, but in deference to my buddy here, this is a good question. The solution is simply this - we can use the word, "Gospel," in a narrow sense and / or in a broad sense. In a narrow / systematic-theological sense, we may mean "justification by faith alone" or maybe even the "ordo salutis." Dr. Leithart is saying that paedocommunion doesn't threaten the "Gospel" as defined in this very specific sense. He goes so far as to mention Luther in this regard.
However, the word, "Gospel," can also be understood in a broader sense. For example, in Matthew 4:23, we read that Christ went about all Galilee preaching "the gospel of the kingdom." In this sense, the "Gospel" cannot simply be understood as "justification by faith alone" or even the "ordo salutis." In this context, the "Gospel" is the wider good news of Christ's kingdom coming in His Person and work. When Dr. Leithart says that paedocommunion does have implications for the Gospel, he means that it has ramifications for kingdom as it is expressed ecclesially and kerygmatically.
I will grant that clarifying these senses upfront might help. Unfortunately, I sense that many brothers can't even admit that words like, "Gospel," can have multiple legitimate meanings in the same context. When used in close context this can be confusing, but need not be if we read with careful charity.