For Those Who Went From Reformed Baptist to Presbyterian

Status
Not open for further replies.

FivePointSpurgeonist

Puritan Board Freshman
I am on my slow journey to understand covenant theology and from what I've seen and heard so far I've been more convinced of 1689 federalism, and have essentially decided to study baptist covenant theology exclusively until I understand it well enough.

But the other day I was listening to a panel discussion where Joel Beeke and Derek Thomas made some comments on paedobaptism which I found to be good arguments and now it's bothering me enough that I need to try and wrap my head around the Presbyterian view and really try and work out what I believe.
For those who are interested they mention it here at 45:10 and it goes for about 2 minutes.

Now a question for those who were once Reformed Baptist, and are now Presbyterian, and hold to paeodobaptism, what is it that convinced you of paedobaptism and the Presbyterian view of covenant theology?

For anyone else, what would be the most convincing arguments for paedobaptism?

Am I right to assume that I need to come to an understanding of covenant theology and then work out who is included in the covenant and then who is the sign of the covenant to be given to? rather than starting with credo/paedobaptism?

I appreciate any thoughts on this topic.
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
I am a former Reformed Baptist. I now worship with the Reformed Churches of New Zealand (Dutch Reformed with a Presbyterian influence).

I first became convinced of Reformed Church polity believing it has better Biblical 'checks and balances' than independency. Then 1689 Federalism turned me towards a Paedobaptist view of the covenant. 1689 Federalism has real discontinuities in its covenant structure that are not convincing. The link you provided above is very good on this. Also, I became unconvinced of the Reformed Baptist view of the new covenant. Heb 8:11 clearly teaches a yet- not yet aspect of the new covenant. The paedobaptist view is consistent here.

As a matter of interest some Reformed Baptists in your country helped me to come to a paedobaptist covenant theology. They were emphasising Baptist theology but not Covenant theology itself. That was problematic to me.
 

JP Wallace

Puritan Board Sophomore
In addition to what Stephen said, very briefly, and among other things:

1) I was not convinced that RB theology grounded in Jeremiah was consistent, and was rather selective in what continued and what didn't, and to my mind this text was treated differently that other OT prophecies i.e. to an extent with an over-realized eschatological viewpoint.
2) I was not convinced RB reflections on the similarities and function of circumcision and baptism were true to scripture
3) I came to understand that independency was a possible understanding of church government, but not the optimum structure and not that which seems to be observable in Acts.
4) I read John Murray on Christian Baptism which MUST be read, it's short!
5) I read Bannerman on the Church of Christ
6) I listened to Prof Edward Donnelly's 5 sermons on Baptism, you MUST listeh to these - he understands RB positions, and appreciates RBs, yet his teaching on baptism and covenant theology is different and excellent.

LIke Stephen the 1689 Federalism movement rather forced my hand so to speak, as did the KIngdom to Covenant perspective, both of which I believe are somewhat lacking in places whatever worthy characteristics are present in both.
 

Ethan

Puritan Board Freshman
I reread Galatians 3 for the 500th time and it finally clicked that the Abrahamic covenant was the covenant of grace. Everything began to click into place from there. The final hang up I had was that thanks to Doug Wilson I didn’t grasp the difference between essence and administration of the covenant. One can be in the administration of the CoG and not be United to Christ.
 

reformed grit

Puritan Board Freshman
I am an "anyone else", having been born, raised, and remaining Presbyterian. There most usually is a strong difference of meaning in  baptism between Presbyterian, Reformed Baptist, and Baptist. Thereto,  baptism often rightly comes with a strong emotional investiture of either a child's parents, the recipient, and/or all concerned. Paedobaptism usually emphasises paternal beliefs and reactions, while credobaptism is framed with the personal beliefs of the one baptised.

Unless one queries, "Why not both?" , which most often is considered right out, and with humble respect for  baptism differences, I find Dr. Seuss most compelling. The Sneetches, who are yellow beech bird-like creatures, learn a hard lesson of the Star-on & Star-off machines of fix-it-up-chappie, when Star-bellied Sneetches and Plain-bellied Sneetches collide over having a green star or not.  Paedobaptism at least gives one a green star of acceptance into a covenant community early on. I'm not saying there might not still be worry or concern over whether one is in or out, but like circumcision (though broader, to include females), one can look on one's own green star with a sense of belonging.
 

Eyedoc84

Puritan Board Sophomore
For me it started with Romans 4. As a baptist, I always said it was proof that faith must precede the sign. But it says circumcision is a signs and seal of the righteousness of faith. So what was it for Isaac? Ishmael? Abraham’s servants? I realized I was making circumcision one thing for Abraham and something different for everyone after him. So I went back and read everything the OT says about circumcision. It was a spiritual sign and seal for a spiritual covenant given to spiritual people. That it was externally administered to people who ultimately did not receive internal reality was the deficiency of those people, not a deficiency of the covenant or the sign.

Add to that the covenantal realities spoken of in Galatians 3 and elsewhere, it became unmistakable in my mind that consistent, reformed covenantal theology is paedobaptistic, or “household-baptistic”. My kids were all baptized at once when my oldest was 10 after I changed positions.
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
Yes, considering the OP is asking to hear from those holding to paedobaptism, I moved the thread.
 

J.L. Allen

Puritan Board Sophomore
I first ran into difficulties surrounding church polity. The way the church was to be governed according to Scripture immediately drew me away from the Baptist view of polity. Even elder-led independent churches were still not close enough. The church is to be connected so that there can be proper checks and balances (only by the grace of God because men will always find a way to twist good things).

Any time I put the sacrament of baptism in the forefront of my thought process, it clouded how I understood the scriptural, logical flow of redemptive history. I was making connections, but kept hanging up baptism. "but as a Baptist..."

I read John Murray on Christian Baptism. That is an absolute must.

1689 Federalism says CT from a Presbyterian view is too flat, but I started seeing it for the nuance and beauty of redemptive history unfolding progressively. Then the sacrament fell in line for me.
 
Last edited:

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
what is it that convinced you of paedobaptism and the Presbyterian view of covenant theology?

I read scripture without bringing to mind the sacraments first (when you have sacraments in mind while studying covenant theology - you will eisegete. Covenant theology is the heremeneutic the Lord has provided for all of Scripture. Therefore, when I studied covenant theology without the sacraments it was easier to understand. Once I grasped that I studied the sacraments. And paedobaptist.
 
Last edited:

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
The Holy Children of the Kingdom - Pastor Rom Prakashpalan

In this sermon we hear why the children of believers receive Christian baptism. That they are declared holy by God (1 Cor. 7:14) and that the kingdom of God belongs to such as them (Luke 18:15-17). In addition, we find that God's dealings with the children of believers has always been the same - that they are under the umbrella of the covenant of grace. Whether under Abraham, Moses, or Christ which is why the promises of God are to us and our children (Acts 2:39).
 

Wretched Man

Puritan Board Freshman
For me, it was seeing my children (oldest now is 6) grow… I realized I have been disciplining since they were basically toddlers and they need no evangelizing. They already profess faith (albeit nascent) and as children of me, they are apart of the NT age administration of the Covenant of Grace. It would simply be arbitrary to pick a time when they are properly mature enough in faith or understanding to be baptized.
 

JP Wallace

Puritan Board Sophomore
The Holy Children of the Kingdom - Pastor Rom Prakashpalan

In this sermon we hear why the children of believers receive Christian baptism. That they are declared holy by God (1 Cor. 7:14) and that the kingdom of God belongs to such as them (Luke 18:15-17). In addition, we find that God's dealings with the children of believers has always been the same - that they are under the umbrella of the covenant of grace. Whether under Abraham, Moses, or Christ which is why the promises of God are to us and our children (Acts 2:39).
I haven't listened to Roman's sermon, but Andres' points drawn from it are important.

  • Children as "set apart", still, under the new covenant as holy just as in the old covenant and Abrahamic covenant
  • The kingdom consists of children , i.e. they are not excluded, and the old argument that Jesus is teaching the necessity of child like faith does not work, that may be the point of verse 17 but not of 15 and 16 "of such" is the kingdom.
 

GulfCoast Presbyterian

Puritan Board Junior
I once was a Baptist. Now I’m a Presbyterian. So now I’m a reformed Baptist.
Myself as well. :)

The book, William The Baptist, by James Chaney was very helpful to me wrestling with these issues, as I too was a young Baptist lawyer who married a Presbyterian lady, just as in the book. :)

 
Last edited:

kodos

Puritan Board Junior
When I went from Baptist -> Presbyterian, I first began by seeing the importance of the Biblical Covenants and Church Government. But my exposure was only to Baptist theology - and once I saw the Covenants, I could not get a hold of the data points to make it so different in the New Testament as a Baptist. I was exposed to 1689 Federalism along the way, and it really made my dizzy - nor, could I find two Baptist men (seemingly) that would agree on the nature of Covenant Theology.

I then realized that my root problem was that I was so desperately trying to hold onto believer's only baptism that I was beginning to warp the entire Bible to suit this one view of the sacrament. But if I was willing to let go of believer's only baptism and have the Scripture guide me to a doctrine of baptism, then everything fell into place very quickly. This has been the same counsel I have given to the influx of people that have been coming into our church who have a Baptist background: put aside your commitment to credo-only baptism (which is pretty hard for the flesh, when your entire theological tradition is named after the sacrament!), see where the covenants take you and then determine who the recipients of baptism ought to be.

Our recent adherents have been embracing paedo-baptism readily after that, for which I am thankful. I will also second William the Baptist - it was the final book that I read that just made everything "click in place".
 

Santiago DO

Puritan Board Freshman
I've been learning about reformed theology for about 1.5 years. Right now, I'm part of a reformed baptist church, but I still consider myself somehow neutral on this topic.

Nevertheless, the more I read the Bible I tend more to a presbyterian view of covenant theology. But this kind of statements stops me from thinking about it seriously:

I realized I have been disciplining since they were basically toddlers and they need no evangelizing. They already profess faith (albeit nascent) and as children of me, they are apart of the NT age administration of the Covenant of Grace.

I'm referring to the "no need for evangelization". Sorry if I misread you, but this sounds like another way of salvation.

A lot of things in my theology are subject to change, but NEVER the fact that Jesus Christ is our ONLY Savior (Acts 4:12).
 

Eyedoc84

Puritan Board Sophomore
I've been learning about reformed theology for about 1.5 years. Right now, I'm part of a reformed baptist church, but I still consider myself somehow neutral on this topic.

Nevertheless, the more I read the Bible I tend more to a presbyterian view of covenant theology. But this kind of statements stops me from thinking about it seriously:



I'm referring to the "no need for evangelization". Sorry if I misread you, but this sounds like another way of salvation.

A lot of things in my theology are subject to change, but NEVER the fact that Jesus Christ is our ONLY Savior (Acts 4:12).
I think what he means is that they have been bathing in the gospel from birth. They don’t need evangelizing in the sense of going to the unreached among the nations.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top