I am rethinking being Credo! (for Paedobaptists)

Status
Not open for further replies.

goretorade

Puritan Board Freshman
I have been rethinking my baptism view lately, and have come to a point were I am not sure if I truly believe that the children of believing parent(s) should be baptize. I am pretty sure I know the ends and outs of both sides, but the linchpin for me is that I am not sure if I see a two-fold membership in the New Covenant. I know that Israel was defined as being the people of God, but within Israel there was a true remnant of believers. And this seems to be the thought of paedo-baptists. Our children are members of the covenant people, but that does no guarantee that they are true members of the covenant people (the elect, or those in union with Christ). While from looking carefully from Scripture it seems to be that the new covenant members are truly in union with Christ and truly the elect. I do not see in the New Testament this two-fold membership that existed in the Old Covenant. I need help! I need to be given a solid defense on how children can be partakers in New Covenant if it seems that the New Covenant people are truly the elect, and truly in union with Christ. Or I need someone to give me a solid defense on why this is true, and why we should not baptize our children because they cannot belong to the New Covenant people without expressing faith in Christ. Any help would be appreciated, and do not fear I am taking this issue to my session for help as well. I am also more than willing to read any articles or books that can help clarify this issue I am having.

Grace & Peace
Mike
 

rjlynam

Puritan Board Sophomore
I just can't get around the "and his household" wording.

How are we to assume this does not mean children?
Why no clarification?

Wouldn't that be important?
 

larryjf

Puritan Board Senior
I know that Israel was defined as being the people of God, but within Israel there was a true remnant of believers. And this seems to be the thought of paedo-baptists. Our children are members of the covenant people, but that does no guarantee that they are true members of the covenant people (the elect, or those in union with Christ). While from looking carefully from Scripture it seems to be that the new covenant members are truly in union with Christ and truly the elect.
The Scriptures clearly teach that there are both the elect and the non-elect within the covenant community...

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. (Joh 15:2)

They went out from us, but they were not of us: for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. (1Jn 2:19)
 

Christusregnat

Puritan Board Professor
I have been rethinking my baptism view lately, and have come to a point were I am not sure if I truly believe that the children of believing parent(s) should be baptize. I am pretty sure I know the ends and outs of both sides, but the linchpin for me is that I am not sure if I see a two-fold membership in the New Covenant. I know that Israel was defined as being the people of God, but within Israel there was a true remnant of believers. And this seems to be the thought of paedo-baptists. Our children are members of the covenant people, but that does no guarantee that they are true members of the covenant people (the elect, or those in union with Christ). While from looking carefully from Scripture it seems to be that the new covenant members are truly in union with Christ and truly the elect. I do not see in the New Testament this two-fold membership that existed in the Old Covenant. I need help! I need to be given a solid defense on how children can be partakers in New Covenant if it seems that the New Covenant people are truly the elect, and truly in union with Christ. Or I need someone to give me a solid defense on why this is true, and why we should not baptize our children because they cannot belong to the New Covenant people without expressing faith in Christ. Any help would be appreciated, and do not fear I am taking this issue to my session for help as well. I am also more than willing to read any articles or books that can help clarify this issue I am having.

Grace & Peace
Mike
Mike,

Good questions!

Essentially the distinction between paedo and credo on this point is more words than substance. Many/most in the credo camp claim to hold to a "regenerate church membership" (RCM). The way that this is secured, it is often held, is to only baptize those with a credible profession of faith. Now, let me ask you, even if we grant the RCM idea, is this the actual experience that baptists have? If not, then has the New Covenant failed? After all, didn't the baptists only baptize believers?

What this serves to illustrate is the inherent contradiction in the baptist system. God never said He would change the members of the covenant, or the structure of the family within the New Covenant. Go back and read Jeremiah 31, and you will find that the same covenant people and the same law are in place. The change will be 1. The response of the covenant members; and 2. (as Hebrews points out) the forgiveness of sins by the blood of Christ.

Baptists have criteria of how they determine who is regenerate; they presume based on what they understand the Scriptures to teach on the matter. Paedos do the same thing: they presume based on what they understand the Scriptures to teach on the matter. The difference is that the Baptist, without any specific information in Scripture, excludes the children of believers, without any warrant. The paedo argues based on the overall teaching of scripture about God to us and our children; the Baptist assumes that Jeremiah 31 requires a change in the administration of the church. The problem is that all of the terms for the New Covenant: repentance, faith, true conversion, etc. were also required in the Old Covenant. The NT argues for its doctrines of salvation and Christian life from the Old Testament, when children were included. Therefore, anything that is an argument against paedo-inclusion is an argument against the OT, which (in turn) is an argument against the NT.

Cheers,

Adam
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Put simply, if you read the Book of Hebrews carefully you will note a threat to those of us in the New Covenant that we're under greater obligation to continue in faith. The lesser to the greater argument is used throughout the Epistle to demonstrate that, if apostasy from the Old Covenant was to be judged harshly then apostasy from the New Covenant is even more fearful.

Any attempt to create a visible Church that consists of the Elect alone is impossible. It simply cannot be accomplished. Baptism can never be on the basis of knowing who the elect are or none would be baptized. Profession is not to be confused with being elect nor do the Scriptures jump anywhere from the basis that the New Covenant consists of the elect alone and, therefore, baptize professors alone.

Fundamentally, baptism is for disciples - those that are to be trained in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Disciple does not mean elect but it does mean that the person is in the visible Church and is under obligation to believe in Christ and the Church is under obligation to train him in everything that Christ commanded. Note that the Great Commission is to make disciples: baptizing and teaching them everything Christ has commanded. Hence, those that are disciples are to be baptized and taught. Again, viewed properly it is perfectly compatible with a view of Hebrews that then warns such disciples of the dangers of being brought near all these spiritual blessings and then shirking away in disbelief. Simply noting that some are reprobate does not let men and women off the hook - they are under obligation and as the Church does not know who the reprobate are we are all commanded to fear together, strive together, and not forsake our assembling together.

Finally, it is apparently obvious that both the Old Testament and New Testament Scriptures command the training of children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Children are disciples by definition and by command of the Apostle and are to be baptized as disciples. When we properly understand baptism's role to mark out visible membership as well as promise salvation to all who believe then we properly understand why both children and professors are to be baptized. If we truly believe that only the elect are to be baptized then neither children nor professors ought to be baptized by the visible Church. But, because baptism does not confer union with Christ nor is it performed by the Church to state that a person has true faith but is a promise of salvation and only confers its benefits promised upon the elect, then baptism is appropriate for professors and their children.
 

Thomas2007

Puritan Board Sophomore
Our children are members of the covenant people, but that does no guarantee that they are true members of the covenant people (the elect, or those in union with Christ).

Mike,

This statement I find confusing - if our children are part of the covenant, then why would you withhold baptism from them? Think of it this way, it's like saying, my child was born in the United States, but I don't know if he's really a citizen - and I'm just not willing to recognize him as a legitimate member of society until he expresses a credible profession of faith in Republican Government.

I was raised a baptist's baptist, one thing I noticed that really stuck out to me when I was working through the baptism issue when studying the Reformed Faith is that baptists are covenantal toward the State.

They all see their children as legitimate members of society, and most will enumerate their babies into "social security" before they ever leave the hospital. While the ritual isn't the same, the idea is - one of communion and living in covenant community, it's just a statist communion. I don't know many baptists that don't get their infant children social security numbers - they don't say, "Well, ya' know, I'm going to wait until they grow up and see if they really believe in socialism, then they can make a credible profession and join." No, the parents sign the SS-4 "under penalty of perjury" without a second thought, those little babies can't know or understand what is happening to them or what that does to their legal status or anything. Their future labor has just been pledged by their parents in service to the State, into something they might not even believe in and worst of all, it is completely and totally non-redemptive.

The question you need to ask yourself is Christ Lord or not? Who owns the children? God or the State? Why can a child receive all the signs and seals of citizenship in the civil realm, but not in the ecclesiastical? Why do baptists rail against receiving those signs and seals in the ecclesiastical but not in the civil?

This may be a little different approach to the issue than what you are used to hearing, but this was the lynchpin for me. As a baptist I never realized that I was actually a "paedobaptist" just as much as the "baby spinklers" I chided. I was just baptistic in the realm of the Church and paedobaptistic in the realm of the State. Once I realized that the issue of baptism was a jurisdictional issue and not a soteriological one, the pieces fell in place for me.

If you are a believer, then your children are holy (1 Corinthians 7:14) - Christ is King and High Priest, He may not be every baptized childs intercessor, but He is their King whether they believe in Him or not. He has total Covenantal jurisdiction over them because they born unto Covenant members. Hence, we are commanded to baptize them - not asked to do it, commanded to do it. It's the law of our Lord no different than the law the baptist claims requires him to be covenantal toward social security.

The credo position, considered as a fully orbed doctrine, seems to me to postulate a Platonic division in the incarnation of Christ - and at root seems to be a form of Arminianism to me. It's an inversion of the parable of the wheat and tares - we know that the Lord commanded us not to pull up the tares, lest the wheat be uprooted also. Somewhere though, someone got the idea that if we try to make sure that no tares are planted, we've done a holy thing. Officially planted at least. All that does is destroys the unity of the Church by exempting children of believers from the jurisdiction of the Church, but make sure you bring those little heathens with you to every function, because we love children! :lol:

Anyway, you might consider expanding your thinking a little bit, are you going to rethink the credo position and apply it consistently to the whole person in every jurisdiction he lives in? Or are you just going to wrap baptism, the sign and seal of the Covenant, the whole Covenant, in a soteriological flag and miss the forest for the trees? Can Christ only be King to those He is High Priest unto, or is He priest to the elect only and King of all?

Christ is both God of very God and man of very man, two natures, one person - He is not divided against Himself, neither should we divide our children against Him pretending we can make His respective offices applicable in the present administration of His Covenant, by restricting the sign and seal of the Covenant to those that recognize His priesthood.

Cordially,

Thomas
 

rjlynam

Puritan Board Sophomore
Well said, Rich, very well said. I just love it when I learn stuff from this board !
 

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
Hi:

I have been reading Matthew Henry's Commentary, and he had this interesting point to make:

They are said to be three thousand souls (which word is generally used for persons when women and children are included with men, as Gen. 14:21, margin, Give me the souls; Gen. 46:27, seventy souls) which intimates that those that wre here baptized were not so many men, but so many heads of families as, with their children and servants baptized, might make up three thousand souls. These were added to them.
FYI

-CH
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top