Household Baptisms in the New Testament

Discussion in 'Baptism' started by Phil D., Sep 4, 2019.

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  1. RPEphesian

    RPEphesian Puritan Board Sophomore

    I'm incredibly late to this discussion, but a thought I had considered expressing earlier...

    I personally wish the term "paedobaptist" would go away, and so would the term "infant baptism." I think they are misleading, and the terms have simply been grandfathered in because the profession of infants is the real dividing line, since both Credos and Paedos both believe in professions prior to baptism in the case of adults, but what to do with infants is not agreed upon. But the terms "Paedobaptist" and "Infant Baptism" don't get to the marrow of the position.

    I would much rather use the term Household Baptist because it gets much closer to the core principle than does Paedobaptist. At the least, the term incorporates into itself the approved example of Scripture, showing that we submit to the Regulative Principle by following the approved examples given in the New Testament itself, properly understood within the whole teaching of the New Testament, and in the scope of the whole Word of God.

    As Ted Donnelly said, it doesn't matter to a Paedobaptist (Household Baptist) whether any infant was in any of the New Testament baptized households at all. However, for the Credobaptist it matters a great deal, because if even one single infant was baptized the whole Credobaptist position falls apart. But our principle remains intact with or without infants.
     
  2. RWD

    RWD Puritan Board Freshman

    Andrew,

    I said your arguments proved to much. You readily agreed. “I'm sure they did. That's not my point.”

    “What did I assume? I called it interesting.”

    But you also said, “All interesting omissions, again from a PB perspective.” (Bold mine)

    What does this “interesting omission” assume? I’ll try to untangle.

    Obviously you’re looking to draw out corroborating evidence for a position you hold. That’s to make an argument, as you acknowledged here:

    “Arguments from silence are weak. But that doesn't mean silences cannot be explored or remarked upon.”

    (As an aside, not all arguments from silence are weak. It’s a bit more complex than that. Some can be quite strong depending on onus, precedence and relevance.)

    There’s no shame in drawing inference from silence. Great, explore silence all you want. But since you’ve asked, what does your “weak” argument assume? I’ll try to explain...

    It assumes something that would make it “interesting” that there’s “Not even a whiff of sitting down with someone to carefully evaluate whether their conversions are ‘really real...’”

    Please catch this because it’s the crux of the concern. It’s only “interesting” to one who assumes that the narratives should include x, if we are to establish or maintain x. That’s your unspoken assumption if your remark makes any sense at all. Without that assumption, what you find interesting is unintelligible. In other words, you find it interesting that the narratives don’t include x because you have assumed that if x were indeed biblical, it’d be found in those narratives. You find silence to be “interesting omissions” of an unestablished precedence.

    Those sorts of assumptions might be true if one were defending precedence and, therefore, not accepting burden of proof for re-establishment of precedent-principle. Silence is great for defeating a position that seeks to overturn precedence. It’s of little use in how I see you using it.

    Proving too much:

    Maybe look at it this way. Using your strictures we might also say, there’s “not even a whiff of sitting down with someone to carefully evaluate whether they even believe in God.” (An example of a standard proving too much.)

    As you acknowledged, you’re sure you proved too much. You did. That also implies that the acid test for what you found interesting is flawed. Your strictures, which you acknowledged proves too much, undermines (by silence) what you’d also like to maintain, that the elders were not utterly derelict in their duty. That’s the point that I wanted to untangle. Given you’ve proved too much, your assumption by which you found omission interesting needs reworking. No biggy.
     
  3. Andrew35

    Andrew35 Puritan Board Freshman

    Yeah, I've read through this a couple times now and still am not able to connect what you seem to be saying with what I actually said.

    Maybe it's my fault for not communicating clearly enough.

    Thanks anyway.
     
  4. De Jager

    De Jager Puritan Board Freshman

    One can argue that the baptist side argues from silence. Not one word about witholding the covenant sign from infants, not one word about ensuring that all who receive the sign can make their own profession, not one word of the covenant community becoming more restrictive, yet that is the position.
     
  5. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Just to be clear, the point I was making was syntactical and exegetical. Earlier in the thread, the point was made that preference is to be given to the narrative accounts to establish a pattern for the administration of the Sacraments. On a purely narrative level, it is not possible to determine that "...surely the adults gave some profession." The reason why we assume this is the case has to do with a broader reading of the NT. For example, with 5000 baptisms in a day, is it possible that the Apostles baptized every person present who was hearing the command to be baptized? Could their willingness to be baptized have been a sufficient testimony that they are willing to be disciples?

    My larger point is that when one looks at the NT narratives and even the Epistles we see a great number of people falling away from the faith who had been baptized. Baptists want to interpret this as if the Apostles "did their best" in baptizing these people whom they thought were regenerate but never intended the NT to be a mixed covenant. My contention is that you have to be committed to a Particular Baptist hermeneutic before you start reading the narrative accounts in order to come to the conclusion that the NT is not a mixed covenant. People fall away from it. Its perfection is not in the participants but in the Mediator.
     
  6. RWD

    RWD Puritan Board Freshman

    Both sides present arguments from silence. Baptists argue that the NT is silent on infant baptism. Therefore, we are to go only argue from the credo baptisms of the NT. Whereas Paedos argue that nowhere does the NT forbid the practice. Therefore, we may baptize infants.

    The question is, which side has the burden of proof? If inclusion of covenant children is OT precedent, which it is, then Baptists must assume the burden of proof for NT exclusion. If they don’t succeed, then not only may covenant children receive the rite of inclusion, they must.

    More thinking Baptists and Paedos present positive arguments as well.
     
  7. RJ Spencer

    RJ Spencer Puritan Board Freshman

    To add a little "literalism" to the discussion check out Acts 16:34 - Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.

    I understand that this wording doesn't necessarily prove anything but I find it very interesting. The entire household that had just been baptized rejoiced that the Jailer had believed. Why doesn't it say that the entire household rejoiced that 'they' had believed?
    Also please note that I don't know Greek, this verse may only appear this way in the English.
     
  8. SeanPatrickCornell

    SeanPatrickCornell Puritan Board Freshman

    Different translations translate it differently:

    KJV:
    And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

    NKJV:
    Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.

    ESV:
    Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.

    HCSB:
    He brought them into his house, set a meal before them, and rejoiced because he had believed God with his entire household.

    NIV:
    The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.

    NASB:
    And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household.

    It seems that most translators agree that the Greek best expresses belief by the whole household.
     
  9. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    That all of his household
    came
    to faith in Jesus due to his salvation ?
     
  10. SeanPatrickCornell

    SeanPatrickCornell Puritan Board Freshman

    That isn't even close to what I said.
     
  11. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    Please clarify what you meant then!
     
  12. SeanPatrickCornell

    SeanPatrickCornell Puritan Board Freshman

    He and his whole household came to faith in Christ and were saved after hearing the preaching of the Gospel. I don't know how to make that any clearer.
     
  13. RJ Spencer

    RJ Spencer Puritan Board Freshman

    "Having believed in God with all his household" could mean that all of the household rejoiced with him. It may have nothing to do with exactly who believed. I believe that all of those translations are saying the exact same thing, The entire household rejoiced.
     
  14. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    It seems clear from the Greek the following that 'he (singular) rejoiced with his household,' and that the reason for this rejoicing was that 'he (singular) believed in God.'

    I'd point it out more clearly if I knew how to put the greek here on the PB. So it matters little what translations say and how we interpret those translations. The original language is clear on the matter.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
  15. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    And the household now being saved would have all been then water baptized due to salvation in Christ now correct?
     
  16. Phil D.

    Phil D. Puritan Board Junior

    It is equally clear that,
    "Paul and Silas spoke the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in his house."
    καὶ ἐλάλησαν αὐτῷ τὸν λόγον τοῦ Κυρίου, καὶ πᾶσι τοῖς ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ αὐτοῦ

    This fact necessarily informs the context of all of the other actions said to pertain to the members of the household.
     
  17. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    I was merely correcting the baptist brothers use of translations. Not trying to enter into the conversation really, however, I guess I will state of v32, all that is proven is that everyone heard in their ears the word of the Lord.
     
  18. Phil D.

    Phil D. Puritan Board Junior

    My point is that the majority of translations that indicate the belief of the entire household, including the highly literal NASB, are well-justified in taking into account other direct contextual indicators in their renderings. You seemed in one of your comments to attempt to somewhat discredit them.
     
  19. SeanPatrickCornell

    SeanPatrickCornell Puritan Board Freshman

    No.

    They would have been baptized due to a profession of faith in Christ. Unless the Apostles had regeneration goggles, they had no more idea than we do now who are actually saved.
     
  20. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    what about the syntax of this sentence contextually leads you to that conclusion?

    34 ⸂ἀναγαγών τε⸃ αὐτοὺς εἰς τὸν οἶκον ⸀παρέθηκεν τράπεζαν καὶ ⸄ἠγαλλιάσατο πανοικεὶ πεπιστευκὼς τῷ θεῷ⸅.

    Contextually, throughout the recording of the events, Luke is focusing on the jailer. The household is always mentioned as "...the jailer along with his household." The focus of the account is on his faith and response throughout. Both verbs in this sentence are third-person singular: He rejoiced, along with his household, {that} he had believed.

    I'm not disputing the issue that others heard or believed but merely some sort of implicit trust in the translation committees on this interpretation of the sentence. It is fully plausible that, because the focus is on the jailer throughout that it would focus on his rejoicing and his belief.

    It's rather like the report of the installation of some dignitary. There may be a picture that his family was present but the account telescopes in on the main person in the account even if it might also note that he rejoiced with his family.
     
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  21. Phil D.

    Phil D. Puritan Board Junior

    Rich, I address many of these points in the OP.

    But, yes, I do have a good amount of confidence in the translation teams involved in many of the versions in question. More so than in do-it-yourself translators, such as myself, in any event.

    In many, many cases we obviously would not especially benefit from a super strict transliterative rendering of the biblical texts. If someone thinks we would then I suppose they should probably use something like the YLT, - or better yet, just the English line in a Greek-English interlinear Bible. Clearly, context is among the important factors that rightly and necessarily inform good, meaningful translation.

    I think this principle can be illustrated by a notion alluded to in one post above, namely that all we can really gather from v.32 is that "everyone heard in their ears the word of the Lord." But should it really be supposed that is all Luke was intending to convey - the physics of audible hearing? Or, in concert with the many other accounts in Acts that are clearly meant to convey the rapid spread of the gospel, is Luke extolling the work of the Holy Spirit in confirming the Word to all those that are being referenced in multiple households? We may differ, but personally I believe the latter is almost certainly the case.
     
  22. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    The person who would be making that profession can be sure
    Would Luke though not be saying here that his entire household rejoiced due to them all being saved also?
     
  23. SeanPatrickCornell

    SeanPatrickCornell Puritan Board Freshman

    That person isn't the one writing the Book of Acts.

    How would Luke know they were saved? All Luke knows is that they made a profession of faith.
     
  24. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    The syntactical and contextual point was not some sort of argument for a wooden translation of the text but to note that the person identified as believing and rejoicing is the jailer. The adverb "along with his household" modifies rejoicing as it follows that verb and the ESV rendering makes sense given the context.

    We wouldn't say, for instance, that "he and his entire household believes the Gospel" but would use the plural form of the verb to capture the fact that all believe.

    Your OP aside, you still have to deal with the way the event is recorded in the verbs utilized. The reason why I studied the Biblical language was to be able to establish the text. Translators have their own theological agendas as do you.
     
  25. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    The question is not what Luke might have recorded but what he recorded. The fact is that he recorded (in this verse) that *he* rejoiced that he believed. The issue is where the adverbial idea "along with his household" is modifying rejoiced or believed.
     
  26. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    Cannot either word be seen as being the one being modified?
     
  27. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    The Holy Spirit knew though, so why would Luke not have His insight?
     
  28. SeanPatrickCornell

    SeanPatrickCornell Puritan Board Freshman

    This is kind of pointless speculation, isn't it? Are we supposed to know for a fact someone is truly saved before we baptize? You seem to have been arguing that yes, we do have to know for a fact someone is saved before we baptize.

    This, however, is not the Baptist position. Not even a little.
     
  29. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    No, not that we have to know, but the person themself should!
     
  30. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    So someone has to have full assurance of faith in order to be baptized? That makes no sense from a baptist perspective and denies the Scriptures itself (e.g. 1 John).
     
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