I understand RB confusion on sign/seal/paedo

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MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Which is it?

It is both. The sign is administered outwardly and it also represents an inward reality. To repeat, the fact that non-paedos have no such sign is indicative that they practically affirm no salvation for infants. This was slightly bearable when their practice was under the nurture of her free-will mother, Anabaptism, because that system denied original sin. But when this practice is taken up under the teaching of original depravity and sola gratia, it is intolerable cruelty.

Watson's book, by the way, is one example of breaking the ninth commandment after another.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
Assertion #1:
Related to this is the concept of "improving your baptism," the subject of WLC 167, which is about as clear example as there is of proceeding from an unwarranted assumption to a foregone conclusion. The assumption here being that baptism is essentially the same as circumcision and that the New Covenant is essentially the same as the Old. There is no scriptural support offered for this concept. (Edit: What I have in view here is those baptized in infancy, particularly.) I wonder why?
Assertion #2:
Another example is the injunction sometimes given by paedos to those struggling with assurance look to their baptism. That is little different than the "soul winner" telling someone to look to their decision card or that they walked the aisle and thus to never doubt their salvation. Rather, we should look to Christ.

Incidentally, Chris, I couldn't help but wondering which of these two statements you want to actually assert is true of us.

Do you want to assert that Presbyterians teach their members to improve their baptism by earnestly seeking to make their call and election sure (WLC 167) or do you want to assert that we teach our members to be negligent about their salvation because, after all, we're baptized?

I noticed you didn't point to a confessional basis for the second assertion. Would you care to offer one?

Other than asserting that the switch from GNC to "necessarily contained" on the part of the LBCF is a distinction without a difference, you haven't pointed to a confessional basis for your string of assertions about Baptists, so why should I have to offer one? But I'll play along anyway. :) I didn't say the 2nd one was found in the confession, but one doesn't have to look hard to find it in paedo literature or hear paedos speak in that way. I say if the shoe fits, wear it. I would imagine that few here would encourage someone struggling with assurance to look to their baptism, and for that I am grateful. But neither has any Baptist here said that they baptize based on a knowledge of who the elect are as you have continually asserted.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I'll just speak for myself. I affirm John the Baptist's regeneration in the womb, and I do not adhere to the use of the "specific place and time" language.

You affirm that on the basis of special revelation. You do not have special revelation in the case of each and every child. All you have is outward participation in the visible church. By not baptising infants there is no such participation, and so there is no practical affirmation of their salvation. They are consigned to outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.


Here we see once again the inconsistency and perhaps even the pragmatism (i.e. arguing whatever sounds good given the particular objection at hand) that is so often evident in paedo arguments. This is no doubt why those paedos who don't ignore T.E. Watson's Should Babies Be Baptized? hate it since Brother Watson used the paedos own words against them, effectively having other paedos refute the whole case for infant baptism. In one post we see the paedos argue that baptism is only a sign that the infant is in the outward administration of the covenant and that the efficacy is not tied to the time of administration. None here, I trust, would argue that an infant cannot be saved without it. Then in the next post or thread they say that if you don't baptize the child, then he is consigned to the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Which is it?

If you understood the point of Matthew's post you would note that the two are compatible. I am beginning to wonder whether you ever really understood the paedo position at all. Either you do not or are being obtuse.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Assertion #1:
Related to this is the concept of "improving your baptism," the subject of WLC 167, which is about as clear example as there is of proceeding from an unwarranted assumption to a foregone conclusion. The assumption here being that baptism is essentially the same as circumcision and that the New Covenant is essentially the same as the Old. There is no scriptural support offered for this concept. (Edit: What I have in view here is those baptized in infancy, particularly.) I wonder why?
Assertion #2:
Another example is the injunction sometimes given by paedos to those struggling with assurance look to their baptism. That is little different than the "soul winner" telling someone to look to their decision card or that they walked the aisle and thus to never doubt their salvation. Rather, we should look to Christ.

Incidentally, Chris, I couldn't help but wondering which of these two statements you want to actually assert is true of us.

Do you want to assert that Presbyterians teach their members to improve their baptism by earnestly seeking to make their call and election sure (WLC 167) or do you want to assert that we teach our members to be negligent about their salvation because, after all, we're baptized?

I noticed you didn't point to a confessional basis for the second assertion. Would you care to offer one?

Other than asserting that the switch from GNC to "necessarily contained" on the part of the LBCF is a distinction without a difference, you haven't pointed to a confessional basis for your string of assertions about Baptists, so why should I have to offer one? But I'll play along anyway. :) I didn't say the 2nd one was found in the confession, but one doesn't have to look hard to find it in paedo literature or hear paedos speak in that way. I say if the shoe fits, wear it. I would imagine that few here would encourage someone struggling with assurance to look to their baptism, and for that I am grateful.

This is not a "game" Chris. If you are going to continue to make sweeping generalizations that do not fit the framework of a Confessional view of Baptism then I consider this irresponsible. I expect better of someone who studied this issue and supposedly understood the paedobaptist position. You pretty much type two completely contradictory ideas in a succession of posts and your response is: "Well I know it's not Confessional but you're making stuff up too." I might as well quote an Arminian Baptist and port it here if this is the standard for conversation.

I reject that I have simply asserted things. I'm not given to "zingers" but lay out and defend my reasoning carefully. I don't expect you to agree with my conclusions but you cannot claiim I have completely run afoul of your Confession in my arguments. As I have noted carefully, I have never stated that a Reformed Baptist confesses that election is the basis for baptism. What I have noted, however, is the Confessional dissonance that causes that internal confusion between practice and actual belief. I have noted that Baptists begin all their arguments for baptism on the basis of an elect NC and have very little else to say in defense of the practice in most debates on the subject matter. It is not a mistaken impression of mine that most Baptists consider that arguing for an elect NC settles the matter with respect to their position. It's practically the only thing that is ever argued for in formal in informal debates.

I would also note that, unlike the Presbyterians, the Baptists do not have a detailed Catechism that works out some of the more practical aspects of how this stuff works itself out on the ground. I'm noting streams of thought that I've witnessed here and elsewhere that "fit" within an LBCF Confessional framework that gets interpreted a number of different ways by Baptists. You can hardly claim, however, that your second assertion fit within the WLC that precisely repudiates your straw man.
Pilgrim said:
But neither has any Baptist here said that they baptize based on a knowledge of who the elect are as you have continually asserted.
The person who identifies with the message of the cross by God given faith is the only valid person to be baptized.That is what was read and declared throughout the Nt. No more, no less.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
You affirm that on the basis of special revelation. You do not have special revelation in the case of each and every child. All you have is outward participation in the visible church. By not baptising infants there is no such participation, and so there is no practical affirmation of their salvation. They are consigned to outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.


Here we see once again the inconsistency and perhaps even the pragmatism (i.e. arguing whatever sounds good given the particular objection at hand) that is so often evident in paedo arguments. This is no doubt why those paedos who don't ignore T.E. Watson's Should Babies Be Baptized? hate it since Brother Watson used the paedos own words against them, effectively having other paedos refute the whole case for infant baptism. In one post we see the paedos argue that baptism is only a sign that the infant is in the outward administration of the covenant and that the efficacy is not tied to the time of administration. None here, I trust, would argue that an infant cannot be saved without it. Then in the next post or thread they say that if you don't baptize the child, then he is consigned to the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Which is it?

If you understood the point of Matthew's post you would note that the two are compatible. I am beginning to wonder whether you ever really understood the paedo position at all. Either you do not or are being obtuse.


That's funny, I'm beginning to wonder whether you understand the credo position. :) There are certain arguments that I didn't make as a paedo because I didn't find them helpful or perhaps even not accurate. As you have noted, some credos likewise make arguments that other credos don't find particularly helpful.

Brother, I think we've about done what we can on these baptism threads over the past few weeks, and continuing to go round and round is probably just going to generate more heat than light at this point. I want to make clear to you and those reading that I really appreciate what you have done with the PuritanBoard, both from a technical standpoint and with your moderation of the board. And I am equally if not more appreciative of what you seem to have been able to accomplish through your service to the Lord at Central Baptist Church under what at times were evidently some very trying circumstances.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
That's funny, I'm beginning to wonder whether you understand the credo position. :) There are certain arguments that I didn't make as a paedo because I didn't find them helpful or perhaps even not accurate. As you have noted, some credos likewise make arguments that other credos don't find particularly helpful.
Again, I'm willing to interact on the specifics. Whether you would have made the arguments or not is immaterial. Also, whether or not you think they fit your framework, in my mind, might reveal that you are unwilling to consider the consequences of your position. I can't tell you the number of supposedly false arguments that have just been left on the table if they are so easily confounded by your confessions. Men hold dissonant ideas together all the time. The reason I have these conversations is to challenge Baptists to think about the implications of their arguments from a practical theological framework because they think in the abstract about the decree of God in their arguments but then are all over the map in their practical theology.

Brother, I think we've about done what we can on these baptism threads over the past few weeks, and continuing to go round and round is probably just going to generate more heat than light at this point. I want to make clear to you and those reading that I really appreciate what you have done with the PuritanBoard, both from a technical standpoint and with your moderation of the board. And I am equally if not more appreciative of what you seem to have been able to accomplish through your service to the Lord at Central Baptist Church under what at times were evidently some very trying circumstances.

While I appreciate your sentiment, I'm not going to leave this discussion. I'm never content to simply give up that someone is convinced of their position. I will continue to engage in dialogue on this point. If you are comfortable that you've said what you can say then so be it. As I've stated already, if you're going to interact on these things then I think representing the doctrine accurately is a pre-requisite for the basis of an honest discussion.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
I don't think so but his definition is largely foundational for the Western church.

Largely, but not absolutely is probably the best way to look at it.

I'm assuming, and I am not familiar if Williamson et al deal with the Augustinian definition, that the writers of the confession presupposed the definition. I am saying that said definition is functional. This can be seen, with some variations, in Turretin.

As Keith Mathison has put it in his fine recent study, Given For You, "For Turretin, the connection between the signs and the things signified is a connection that occurs in our minds." (I can get source info later).

I still have a secret move to be employed in defense of paedo, but not yet.

Getting back on topic, I am very interested in both of these, Jacob! You can't just leave us hangin'.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
I'll just speak for myself. I affirm John the Baptist's regeneration in the womb, and I do not adhere to the use of the "specific place and time" language.

You affirm that on the basis of special revelation. You do not have special revelation in the case of each and every child. All you have is outward participation in the visible church. By not baptising infants there is no such participation, and so there is no practical affirmation of their salvation. They are consigned to outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

If infants cannot be in the visible church, then they cannot be members of the invisible church. It is really that simple, because outside the visible church there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.
 

Houston E.

Puritan Board Freshman
I'll try to tie my responses to Rev.Winzer and Rich into one post.

If she is of years she can speak for herself. But we're to open our mouths for the dumb, and that includes infants; the poor souls are shut out of Christ's kingdom because they cannot speak.

And for me, this is where the inconsistency begins (as we see in each of your conclusions). Baptist's are accused time and again of being "individualistic" in their thinking, not looking at it from the familial context. We've been told that we can't apply NT passages where Paul includes our children because to do so would be to count them as disciples, and to be a disciple is equated with salvation, etc....
Yet, the sign here is refused, because she is "of years". That would be considered "age of accountability" in Baptist terms and focusing on the individual. If it is the application of the sign that keeps "the poor souls shut out of Christ's kingdom" and "consigned to outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth", then one must say that because Sarah (and other women/girls/female infants for that matter in the OT)was not physically circumcised, she was not in the CofG.
But they were because it wasn't simply about circumcision but what the sign pointed to and found its fulfillment in...that being the "seed" or "offspring", the Lord Jesus Christ.

Semper Fidelis;422708]Far be it for me to speak for Rev. Winzer on this. I appreciate his answer. I agree that baptism signifies salvation but I assume that he would agree with me that baptism does not confer salvation nor is one baptized because they are saved already. This is sort of why I was asking the question.
As I noted earlier in the thread, and elsewhere, the primary confusion that Baptists have in the discussions on baptism is believing, as Rev. Winzer so aptly put it, that because they have special revelation about the nature of the elect they have special revelation about the recipients of baptism.

I never claimed that. I said I had no way of knowing who the elect were in my congregation. Yes, we know of John the Baptist because of special revelation.

There is actually a bit of schizophrenia in dogmatics and practice in this point and it sort of slipped out (as it usually does in these discussions) when you asked me if I would baptize an "unsaved" spouse. Baptists are so accumstomed to conflating their notions from special revelation about the elect that they tend to forget, in these discussions, that their daily practice has nothing to do whatsoever with knowledge of the identity of the elect. Even Randy sort of tripped himself up when he was accusing me of confusion for trying to point out this fact. It's not something that the RB has "switched on" in his mind and, even when I'm explicit about what I'm saying, it takes a lot to overthrow this dissonance between their dogmatics and actual practice. This is why I was asking for clarification to get you to start talking in the terms of the visible Church where the Sacrament of Baptism resides.

I knew why you were asking. I only used that word to point out that there was an adult member in my family that had not expressed faith. However, on the whole "saved/unsaved" issue because I've noticed that you do bring that up on occasion...do you consider yourself "saved" at this point in time? Or do you use other language for description?

Now, on that basis, I will state that the first thing you have to do is not confuse yet again what you think you're saying about the baptized when you baptize them into what Scripture says about it. I believe the RB is confused about the Scriptural nature of the sign.
You implied, for instance, that if I were to hypothetically baptize a child or a spouse I would be saying of them that "...they are saved...."

No, never said that. You implied that because I am a Baptist and asking this question. That is why I clarified that I was not contrasting the two.

This is a typical straw man importation of Baptistic thinking into what the Scriptural view (read Reformed paedobaptist) is of the nature of the Sacrament. You believe that we are baptizing because we have information of the individual that indicates they are united to Christ in salvation and are therefore marked out by the sign because the sign is pointing toward them and the Church is saying: "We are baptizing these people because we just discovered something inside this person that impels us to recognize their conversion and union with Christ."

Given Rev.Wizner's responses above, it seems that paedos get pretty close to saying the same thing. In the paedo case, the information on the individual is that they are from a parent(s) that has expressed faith. Wait! How do we truly know that though given we have no way of knowing who the elect are and we can't say if they are "saved" or "unsaved"? See you have to say the above about the parent(s) in order to baptize the child. "We are baptizing this child because we just discovered something inside this parent(s) that impels us to recognize the parent(s) conversion and union with Christ."

As I stated in another thread, however, this not only speaks to a confusion over a sign that is not meant to point to the individual but it goes to a confusion of what a disciple is. After all, it is to disciples that baptism belongs. If a person is a disciple in Christ's Church then they are to be baptized and taught. This is the nature of the Great Commission. Christ does not command the Apostles to look for evidences of mature fruit and then baptize.

You're implying that mature fruit is regeneration...I don't believe there was mature fruit coming from those to whom Peter said, "38 Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." It was expression of faith, which falls pretty early in the Ordo Salutis and definitely before sanctification.

Discipleship itself, in the commission, implies simply that a person is under the training and authority of the Church. To the Baptist that is accustomed to confusing discipleship with union with Christ this is shocking and difficult to bear and this is also the reason why entire sections of Hebrews have to be recast as impossible hypotheticals because nobody could be a disciple (to their thinking) that is ever warned of being cut off because nobody is a disciple (to their thinking) unless they are already united to Christ.

Once again, you're painting with a very large brush. Scripture speaks of those called disciples who were not in Christ. Was not Judas called a Disciple? However, for paedos, that baptized child is considered to be "in Christ" until deemed otherwise. The child has been given a sign that, as Rev.Wizner said earlier, is a "practical affirmation of their salvation" and removes them from being "consigned to the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth." So if that is the case, then why refuse that child communion at the Lord's table? They are in Christ until deemed otherwise. But deemed by who and upon what basis? It is only after an examination by the Elders that the child then be allowed to participate in communion. (And this is the trap FV's fall into because they are trying to be consistent.) You refuse them because they cannot examine themselves (1 Cor.11), but how do we know that if the only knowledge of regeneration that we can have comes from special revelation? Or if we can't presume profession? So it seems you look at them in the same way as Baptists.
They must display evidence of their regeneration in order to be truly in the church.

As I also noted in another thread, the notion of discipleship implies a training in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Proverbs notes that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the pursuit of the things of God and Ecclesiastes sees it as the end. Again, however, a priori assumptions that discipleship must imply a certain, congnitive, mature expression of the elect causes the Baptist to be literally blind to the regular parallels in the NT where we are commanded to train our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. I've pressed Baptists repeatedly on the basis for this training and it is always everything else as long as it's never called discipleship. Heaven and earth would have to move before any parallel to the Proverbs or the Psalms or Deuteronomy is admitted because our children might be our disciples in the home as long as we never call them Christ's disciples. What the material difference in that training is once the child decides he's going to jump the tracks and announce his discipleship within the visible Church? Nobody really articulates those points because those are matters of practical theology and RB theology deals primarily in the abstract in matters of the Covenant.

Here you admit that they are Christ's disciples. Are they "in Christ"? So, why refuse them communion again?

All that said, I am not an elder in Christ's Church. There are a variety of circumstances where, if the spouse of a believer presented herself to the Church to be baptized, it would be appropriate to baptize if she expressed willingness to be taught the things of God. If the spouse refused to submit to the teaching of the Church then she would be disqualified from baptism. It might be unsatisfactory for the Baptist who is looking to speak definitively of the heart of the person baptized but that is only because of the defect in thinking on the significance of this. Baptism is given to disciples. Discipleship does not imply a finished work.

And this is where you and Rev.Wizner seem to come to different conclusions. You would baptize, he would not. Yet, both of you point to the fact that there has to be something expressed on her part. What about the fact that she is the spouse of someone who is saved and considered "holy" just as our children are? What about the familial context?
Agreed that discipleship does not imply a finished work. Salvation is a process and is not completed until are reunion with the Father.

Even the father of the epileptic admitted honestly to Christ that he sort of believed but needed help with his unbelief. Chris has repeatedly asserted some sort of presumption in our theology in this and other threads but, as has been demonstrated, the only parties that dangerously presume upon their profession are the RB's. If they took stock of the unbelief that yet resides in their hearts they might not be so sure that baptism should point within them but would be seeking a more comforting, and Biblical, sacramentology, that kept the significance of the Sacraments upon God's work and His promises.

It seems that your thinking of Baptists is one of "I'm baptized and that means I'm saved". That is placing ones faith in a sign and not in what the thing signifies. I think I've shown that both sides have to presume upon profession.

Blessings!
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
We reject the principle that participation in both sacraments have the same basis. So the accusation of inconsistency is baseless. If one cannot be troubled to understand why someone does what he does, he isn't in any position to criticize or even reject the teaching (nor accept it, unless implicitly).

Paedo-communionists do not understand Reformed sacramentology (if they insist that they are Reformed), or else they REJECT reformed sacramentology. It's that simple.

Being allowed or refused the Lord's Table is an act of ecclesiastical disciplinary process. Baptism is not the same sort of discipline at all. End of story.

Elders are responsible to ANSWER to Almighty God for their acts or failures of discipline. If they invite someone to the Lord's Table, they have been tasked with the responsibility of judgment--does this person know what he is doing? What evidence is there?

The fundamental reason for hearing an adult's "credible profession of faith" when he seeks membership and baptism in the church is because we are also opening the Lord's Supper to this person. The time to instruct a person on the basic elements of the faith is when he first indicates his willingness to become a disciple. So when he has heard the gospel and can explain in elementary, satisfactory fashion what it is he claims to believe, he is properly eligible for immediate and full inclusion.

The same thing isn't true for his children. They are a part of him; they along with everything of his, belongs to God. They are now disciples, too, and no one asked them if they cared because what they think doesn't count. Their opinion at this point is meaningless. And on account of the fact that they are disciples, they ought to be baptized. So, there's more than one way to become a "disciple," and baptism marks disciples out.

But its just as plain that they aren't ready for the Lord's Supper, for they cannot examine themselves. They must be trained up in the faith until they can articulate for themselves the basics of discipleship. Otherwise, the elders really have no duty here. The p-c's would be correct. They would have no business holding back the L-S, for they would be under no obligation to exercise discipline. But this is manifestly not the case.

Receiving/taking the L-S is not strictly speaking a "right" of kingdom citizens. It is a permission, one that is granted not by baptism but by the constant oversight of the ministers and officers of the church.
 

Houston E.

Puritan Board Freshman
We reject the principle that participation in both sacraments have the same basis. So the accusation of inconsistency is baseless. If one cannot be troubled to understand why someone does what he does, he isn't in any position to criticize or even reject the teaching (nor accept it, unless implicitly).

I continue to be amazed at how when someone studies CT yet remains a Baptist he has never studied enough! :)
I have gone to MUCH trouble to understand why someone does what he does. My post was not to point out that one has to adhere to paedocommunion if a paedobaptist, but rather to point out that if one is going to use the argument in application of a sign (one that Rich has been using for quite sometime now) of that "we have no way of knowing who the elect are," and "tell us who you know God has predestined for eternal salvation?" and that presumption is your sole basis for baptism, discipleship, and membership in the church, etc.. - then one can't in turn use presumption to defend why they give the sign (that being on the basis of parents who have expressed faith). To remain consistent only those of the physical line of Abraham could be baptized to ensure they were truly part of the CofG. But that's just the point, it's not of a physical nature, but of a spiritual one. "28For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God."

Paedo-communionists do not understand Reformed sacramentology (if they insist that they are Reformed), or else they REJECT reformed sacramentology. It's that simple.
Being allowed or refused the Lord's Table is an act of ecclesiastical disciplinary process. Baptism is not the same sort of discipline at all. End of story.
Elders are responsible to ANSWER to Almighty God for their acts or failures of discipline. If they invite someone to the Lord's Table, they have been tasked with the responsibility of judgment--does this person know what he is doing? What evidence is there?
The fundamental reason for hearing an adult's "credible profession of faith" when he seeks membership and baptism in the church is because we are also opening the Lord's Supper to this person. The time to instruct a person on the basic elements of the faith is when he first indicates his willingness to become a disciple. So when he has heard the gospel and can explain in elementary, satisfactory fashion what it is he claims to believe, he is properly eligible for immediate and full inclusion.

But this goes back to Chris' point of Acts 2:42-47. There wasn't this "time" that passed. They expressed faith, were baptized, then broke bread with everyone else. Regardless if it was a few hours, or a few days, that's not much time. And besides, would you say they were not fully included?

The same thing isn't true for his children. They are a part of him; they along with everything of his, belongs to God. They are now disciples, too, and no one asked them if they cared because what they think doesn't count. Their opinion at this point is meaningless. And on account of the fact that they are disciples, they ought to be baptized. So, there's more than one way to become a "disciple," and baptism marks disciples out.

And this is what begins to happen is we see one requirement for children, one for adults. But define a child? Is it infancy? 5 yrs, 15 yrs?

But its just as plain that they aren't ready for the Lord's Supper, for they cannot examine themselves. They must be trained up in the faith until they can articulate for themselves the basics of discipleship. Otherwise, the elders really have no duty here. The p-c's would be correct. They would have no business holding back the L-S, for they would be under no obligation to exercise discipline. But this is manifestly not the case.

But once again, this is based on your presumption that they cannot examine themselves. Besides, in 1 Cor 11, Paul says to examine yourself, not have others examine you. (Let me clarify that I agree with examination, just pointing out the discrepancy)

Receiving/taking the L-S is not strictly speaking a "right" of kingdom citizens. It is a permission, one that is granted not by baptism but by the constant oversight of the ministers and officers of the church.

And in Acts we see that it was granted rather quickly. Were they wrong in doing this?
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
I'll just speak for myself. I affirm John the Baptist's regeneration in the womb, and I do not adhere to the use of the "specific place and time" language.

You affirm that on the basis of special revelation. You do not have special revelation in the case of each and every child. All you have is outward participation in the visible church. By not baptising infants there is no such participation, and so there is no practical affirmation of their salvation. They are consigned to outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

If infants cannot be in the visible church, then they cannot be members of the invisible church. It is really that simple, because outside the visible church there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.

Matthew and Daniel, I have purposefully kept my silence in both active baptism threads, but I need clarification from the both of you on this. Are you proposing a hypothetical based on the natural consequence of an elect infant not being in the visible church under the Baptist schema, or are you saying that Baptists are actively and materially consigning their children to damnation by not applying the sign of baptism? And because I'm a rather simple guy from North Jersey, please try and be direct in your answer.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
I'll just speak for myself. I affirm John the Baptist's regeneration in the womb, and I do not adhere to the use of the "specific place and time" language.

You affirm that on the basis of special revelation. You do not have special revelation in the case of each and every child. All you have is outward participation in the visible church. By not baptising infants there is no such participation, and so there is no practical affirmation of their salvation. They are consigned to outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

If infants cannot be in the visible church, then they cannot be members of the invisible church. It is really that simple, because outside the visible church there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.

Are we going to follow the WCF's qualification of Cyprian's statement of there being no possibility of salvation outside of the visible church, or are we going to follow the Bible? Of course Baptists say the latter since that language isn't found in our confession. You appear here to be identifying with Cyprian's absolute statement rather than the WCF's qualification of "no ordinary possibility" anyway.

This is another example of the inconsistency I pointed out with Rev. Winzer last night. Perhaps I was too hasty in assuming that no one here points to baptism for assurance since a punctiliously strict subscriptionist Presbyterian minister and a RP published author have now told us that unbaptized children are to be regarded as consigned to the outer darkness on account of their unbaptized state. In other words, there can be no assurance that any unbaptized infant is saved. And moreover, your post here is dangerously close to arguing for what is essentially an FV error. In response to the previous owner of this board in a thread where he argued things that the arguments offered up by yourself and Matthew here are eerily starting to resemble, Fred Greco noted that "to bring the invisible/internal into a discussion about baptism IS Federal Vision." I don't believe you are FV and indeed you have argued well against them. But perhaps you'd like to reconsider what you have posted here. I pray that you and those who agree with you will.
 
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Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
I think the question is: How are such infants to be regarded, according to a biblical classification scheme? To refuse to baptize anyone is to regard him as "non-Christian." This is not "radical" stuff. There is a definite "judgment of charity" here, but one with deep biblical roots in Covenant of Grace treatment of the Abrahamic faith.

I do not see where the FV stuff is getting dragged into this discussion. At least judge the comments within the professed framework of the men making them, and not by implying worked-out relations to other schemes.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
At least judge the comments within the professed framework of the men making them, and not by implying worked-out relations to other schemes.

Bruce, that is exactly what my intent is and why I directed my post to Matthew and Daniel. I want them to clarify their statements so a simpleton like me can understand them. I am not assuming anything.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
I continue to be amazed at how when someone studies CT yet remains a Baptist he has never studied enough! :)
Ho ho ho. But isn't this the crux? If we on this side feel as though we are continually having to correct misstated caricatures, is that not evidence that we have not, in fact, been understood?

There is a reason why a baptist and a p-c-ist see "consistency" in what they do (and in what the other does). It is because THEY share certain presuppositions that your CT brethren don't, and never have. Which is why in 400 years the charge of "inconsistency" has not been effective. Not that it hasn't bothered us--but at the end of the day, we just shrug and say you're not yet listening.
I have gone to MUCH trouble to understand why someone does what he does. My post was not to point out that one has to adhere to paedocommunion if a paedobaptist, but rather to point out that if one is going to use the argument in application of a sign (one that Rich has been using for quite sometime now) of that "we have no way of knowing who the elect are," and "tell us who you know God has predestined for eternal salvation?" and that presumption is your sole basis for baptism, discipleship, and membership in the church, etc.. - then one can't in turn use presumption to defend why they give the sign (that being on the basis of parents who have expressed faith).
All Rich has done with his argument is to show that using baptism as a demarcator of who is or isn't in the New Covenant is a failure. Presumption is all that's left, in that case. It's true for you, and its true for us. So the fact that someone on our side admits some presumption is no argument against pointing out that it is inescapably in your camp as well. The problem (as we see it) is what you claim to achieve by your scruples.
To remain consistent only those of the physical line of Abraham could be baptized to ensure they were truly part of the CofG. But that's just the point, it's not of a physical nature, but of a spiritual one. "28For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God."
Honestly not sure of what you're trying to get at here. There were plenty of outsiders who were "circumcised" into the OT Israel, ergo, became "seed of Abraham". And their children, and in that society most of their household including servants, were also circumcised, marking them as a part of the visible administration of the CoG. So, naturally we say that "only" those who belong to our houses should be baptized. Nor do we assume that an outward sign eventuates or actualizes a spiritual state of affairs. But it does inform us as to how a person is to be regarded.

Paedo-communionists do not understand Reformed sacramentology (if they insist that they are Reformed), or else they REJECT reformed sacramentology. It's that simple.
Being allowed or refused the Lord's Table is an act of ecclesiastical disciplinary process. Baptism is not the same sort of discipline at all. End of story.
Elders are responsible to ANSWER to Almighty God for their acts or failures of discipline. If they invite someone to the Lord's Table, they have been tasked with the responsibility of judgment--does this person know what he is doing? What evidence is there?
The fundamental reason for hearing an adult's "credible profession of faith" when he seeks membership and baptism in the church is because we are also opening the Lord's Supper to this person. The time to instruct a person on the basic elements of the faith is when he first indicates his willingness to become a disciple. So when he has heard the gospel and can explain in elementary, satisfactory fashion what it is he claims to believe, he is properly eligible for immediate and full inclusion.
But this goes back to Chris' point of Acts 2:42-47. There wasn't this "time" that passed. They expressed faith, were baptized, then broke bread with everyone else. Regardless if it was a few hours, or a few days, that's not much time. And besides, would you say they were not fully included?
1) I don't see where we are actually disagreeing much here. My point regarding the adult is that he hears the gospel, he gives a credible indication of his accurate perception of that back to the church and in short order he's baptized AND he is permitted/expected at the Lord's Table--that's full inclusion.

2) In that portion, I said absolutely nothing about a man's children, nor do I deem the passage referenced to speak to the question. You have a Jerusalem jammed full of adult males keeping feast according to the Law. I'd have to reckon that the majority of the initial converts referenced were male heads of houses, but I wouldn't exclude a portion of female and youthful representation, especially as one considers the resident population. Of course, I see v.39 as a restatement of Gen.17:10. But I don't see how anything stated positively in vv42-47 (or anyplace else) precludes the question regarding or consideration of the place of the children-under-age.
And this is what begins to happen is we see one requirement for children, one for adults. But define a child? Is it infancy? 5 yrs, 15 yrs?
Yes, so? In principle that's no different from the OT requirement to join the church. Why is it strange now, but wasn't strange then? The Jews considered 13 (bar mitzvah time) as the age of adulthood and self-accountability. Once considered an adult, the young men would be required (by Moses) to come up with their fathers to the three feasts.

We don't live in an age of codified regulation, but of maturity and wisdom (Gal. 3:23f). So, there is a measure of wisdom required in determining who should or shouldn't be included in a man's house for baptism. At some point, a parent has to say, "He is of age, let him speak for himself." I don't consider myself obliged to pronounce an absolute age-standard, like an oracle. Scripture never did.
But its just as plain that they aren't ready for the Lord's Supper, for they cannot examine themselves. They must be trained up in the faith until they can articulate for themselves the basics of discipleship. Otherwise, the elders really have no duty here. The p-c's would be correct. They would have no business holding back the L-S, for they would be under no obligation to exercise discipline. But this is manifestly not the case.

But once again, this is based on your presumption that they cannot examine themselves. Besides, in 1 Cor 11, Paul says to examine yourself, not have others examine you. (Let me clarify that I agree with examination, just pointing out the discrepancy)
I presume nothing in that case. Scripture tells me there are those so young "who cannot tell their right hand from their left" (Jonah 4:11). That is enough evidence to tell me there are those too young to do so, and I am obligated to judge of such capacity. If I weren't then I could neither admit nor exclude anyone. I would only then "set the table" and leave anyone at all to come and stuff themselves with judgment. What then of excommunication? Do we permit those under prohibitive discipline from coming? So, please be specific, what "discrepancy" do you speak of?
Receiving/taking the L-S is not strictly speaking a "right" of kingdom citizens. It is a permission, one that is granted not by baptism but by the constant oversight of the ministers and officers of the church.
And in Acts we see that it was granted rather quickly. Were they wrong in doing this?
Again, who are we speaking about? I know of baptists, now, who make a person wait a year to see if there is "evidence" of conversion, before admitting to baptism and the L-S. I know of no Presbyterian churches at all who enforce such a "waiting period."

I think a credible profession and baptism and L-S participation are normal and ordinary in swift succession--for grown-up converts. The question is: what is to be done with the little ones? For us, the question was settled back in Genesis, and the order never rescinded.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
If she is of years she can speak for herself. But we're to open our mouths for the dumb, and that includes infants; the poor souls are shut out of Christ's kingdom because they cannot speak.

And for me, this is where the inconsistency begins (as we see in each of your conclusions). Baptist's are accused time and again of being "individualistic" in their thinking, not looking at it from the familial context. We've been told that we can't apply NT passages where Paul includes our children because to do so would be to count them as disciples, and to be a disciple is equated with salvation, etc....
Yet, the sign here is refused, because she is "of years". That would be considered "age of accountability" in Baptist terms and focusing on the individual. If it is the application of the sign that keeps "the poor souls shut out of Christ's kingdom" and "consigned to outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth", then one must say that because Sarah (and other women/girls/female infants for that matter in the OT)was not physically circumcised, she was not in the CofG.

There is no inconsistency and the sign is not "refused." Your original question contained no such terms of reference. Baptism is proffered to all in the household; but it may be that adults refuse baptism; at which point, having spoken for themselves, it should not be forced on them.

Given Rev.Wizner's responses above, it seems that paedos get pretty close to saying the same thing. In the paedo case, the information on the individual is that they are from a parent(s) that has expressed faith. Wait! How do we truly know that though given we have no way of knowing who the elect are and we can't say if they are "saved" or "unsaved"? See you have to say the above about the parent(s) in order to baptize the child. "We are baptizing this child because we just discovered something inside this parent(s) that impels us to recognize the parent(s) conversion and union with Christ."

You are defining "faith" in a subjective sense. Historically Presbyterians define it in an objective sense. It is not the faith by which I believe, but the faith which is believed -- this is pre-requisite to baptism. Hence, in the Presbyterian system, individuals who themselves have been baptised, and have remained in the church, might bring their children to be baptised, even if they themselves have never personally professed faith in Jesus Christ.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
You affirm that on the basis of special revelation. You do not have special revelation in the case of each and every child. All you have is outward participation in the visible church. By not baptising infants there is no such participation, and so there is no practical affirmation of their salvation. They are consigned to outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

If infants cannot be in the visible church, then they cannot be members of the invisible church. It is really that simple, because outside the visible church there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.

Matthew and Daniel, I have purposefully kept my silence in both active baptism threads, but I need clarification from the both of you on this. Are you proposing a hypothetical based on the natural consequence of an elect infant not being in the visible church under the Baptist schema, or are you saying that Baptists are actively and materially consigning their children to damnation by not applying the sign of baptism? And because I'm a rather simple guy from North Jersey, please try and be direct in your answer.

Brother Bill

Thank you for your question. I am NOT saying that Baptists are denying that infants can be elect. I am not entirely sure about how to answer your first question, though I am sure Rev. Winzer can answer it much better than I can. However, I do believe that it is inconsistent for a Baptist to believe that infants dying in infancy can be part of the invisible church, but that infants are excluded from the visible church when the latter is the outward expression of the former (though does not exactly correspond).
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
You affirm that on the basis of special revelation. You do not have special revelation in the case of each and every child. All you have is outward participation in the visible church. By not baptising infants there is no such participation, and so there is no practical affirmation of their salvation. They are consigned to outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

If infants cannot be in the visible church, then they cannot be members of the invisible church. It is really that simple, because outside the visible church there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.

Are we going to follow the WCF's qualification of Cyprian's statement of there being no possibility of salvation outside of the visible church, or are we going to follow the Bible? Of course Baptists say the latter since that language isn't found in our confession. You appear here to be identifying with Cyprian's absolute statement rather than the WCF's qualification of "no ordinary possibility" anyway.

This is another example of the inconsistency I pointed out with Rev. Winzer last night. Perhaps I was too hasty in assuming that no one here points to baptism for assurance since a punctiliously strict subscriptionist Presbyterian minister and a RP published author have now told us that unbaptized children are to be regarded as consigned to the outer darkness on account of their unbaptized state. In other words, there can be no assurance that any unbaptized infant is saved. And moreover, your post here is dangerously close to arguing for what is essentially an FV error. In response to the previous owner of this board in a thread where he argued things that the arguments offered up by yourself and Matthew here are eerily starting to resemble, Fred Greco noted that "to bring the invisible/internal into a discussion about baptism IS Federal Vision." I don't believe you are FV and indeed you have argued well against them. But perhaps you'd like to reconsider what you have posted here. I pray that you and those who agree with you will.

Chris if you read the arguments of Rev. Winzer and myself again you will see that all we are doing is highlighting what we perceive to be an inconsistency in Baptistic thinking - we are certainly NOT saying that unbaptized children will be damned, all we are saying is that the Baptist view that infants can be part of the invisible church, but not part of the visible church is an inconsistency.

Neither myself nor Rev. Winzer have any sympathies with the Federal Vision. I wish these comparisons with the FV would stop; I am strongly opposed to the FV and have publicly condemned its view of justification as damnable heresy - as you yourself have noted. But the way things are progressing I am going to be accused of being similar to the FV because I wear shoes, and the FVers wear shoes as well, therefore, Daniel Ritchie must have sympathy with the Federal Vision.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Matthew and Daniel, I have purposefully kept my silence in both active baptism threads, but I need clarification from the both of you on this. Are you proposing a hypothetical based on the natural consequence of an elect infant not being in the visible church under the Baptist schema, or are you saying that Baptists are actively and materially consigning their children to damnation by not applying the sign of baptism? And because I'm a rather simple guy from North Jersey, please try and be direct in your answer.

The Reformed Anabaptist schema, being a mix of Anabaptist and Reformed traditions, has little systematic coherence when it comes to the subject of the visible church. Usually they say that the child's election is with God and leave it there. The result is salvation by election apart from means of grace; and because the salvation is separated from means of grace, the church is left without any means of discerning the child's salvation. So the practical result is one of considering the child as belonging to the outer darkness unless God invisibly intervenes to save him. Basically, the church has relinquished the keys of the kingdom of heaven with respect to those who have not come to years.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Matthew and Daniel, I have purposefully kept my silence in both active baptism threads, but I need clarification from the both of you on this. Are you proposing a hypothetical based on the natural consequence of an elect infant not being in the visible church under the Baptist schema, or are you saying that Baptists are actively and materially consigning their children to damnation by not applying the sign of baptism? And because I'm a rather simple guy from North Jersey, please try and be direct in your answer.

The Reformed Anabaptist schema, being a mix of Anabaptist and Reformed traditions, has little systematic coherence when it comes to the subject of the visible church. Usually they say that the child's election is with God and leave it there. The result is salvation by election apart from means of grace; and because the salvation is separated from means of grace, the church is left without any means of discerning the child's salvation. So the practical result is one of considering the child as belonging to the outer darkness unless God invisibly intervenes to save him. Basically, the church has relinquished the keys of the kingdom of heaven with respect to those who have not come to years.

Indeed the keys of the kingdom passage is rendered somewhat meaningless if we are supposed to believe that millions of people will be in heaven who were not in the visible church.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Matthew and Daniel, I have purposefully kept my silence in both active baptism threads, but I need clarification from the both of you on this. Are you proposing a hypothetical based on the natural consequence of an elect infant not being in the visible church under the Baptist schema, or are you saying that Baptists are actively and materially consigning their children to damnation by not applying the sign of baptism? And because I'm a rather simple guy from North Jersey, please try and be direct in your answer.

The Reformed Anabaptist schema, being a mix of Anabaptist and Reformed traditions, has little systematic coherence when it comes to the subject of the visible church. Usually they say that the child's election is with God and leave it there. The result is salvation by election apart from means of grace; and because the salvation is separated from means of grace, the church is left without any means of discerning the child's salvation. So the practical result is one of considering the child as belonging to the outer darkness unless God invisibly intervenes to save him. Basically, the church has relinquished the keys of the kingdom of heaven with respect to those who have not come to years.

Matthew, Reformed Anabaptist? Please help me out here. I may have just heard a term for the first time. Are there Anabaptists who consider themselves Reformed?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Matthew, Reformed Anabaptist? Please help me out here. I may have just heard a term for the first time. Are there Anabaptists who consider themselves Reformed?

Bill, a part of dogmatic and practical theology is the examination of traditions. The practice of rebaptising is developed from the Anabaptist, not the Reformed, tradition. Hence the name. Perhaps it will inspire rebaptisers to look more closely at the source of their praxis. Blessings!
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
So, I'm an Anabaptist now? Okay, Matthew. Well leave the discussion at this point.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I need to create a {sigh} icon. One of my "problems" is that I want to try to help people understand things but James White rightly notes that it's really easy to type something in error and takes a lot of writing to explain what was wrong with what was just typed. Now, the issue here, is that I don't expect you to bow the knee and agree with my position but you haven't even begun to understand my position based on your responses. If you've claimed to study the Reformed Confessions on this but I can't see it in your responses.
I'll try to tie my responses to Rev.Winzer and Rich into one post.

If she is of years she can speak for herself. But we're to open our mouths for the dumb, and that includes infants; the poor souls are shut out of Christ's kingdom because they cannot speak.

And for me, this is where the inconsistency begins (as we see in each of your conclusions). Baptist's are accused time and again of being "individualistic" in their thinking, not looking at it from the familial context. We've been told that we can't apply NT passages where Paul includes our children because to do so would be to count them as disciples, and to be a disciple is equated with salvation, etc....
Yet, the sign here is refused, because she is "of years".
I don't know if it was selective reading or not but did you actually catch that I stated that there might be a case where the wife should not be baptized and the part where Rev. Winzer stated that she could "speak for herself"? Where in my presentation did I ever state that a woman has to be held down to have baptism administered against her will? I stated that baptism is for disciples and, as I said, a woman who is willing to submit to the authority and teaching of the Church is a disciple - even if she might not yet be fully convinced. In some cases, she might be convinced enough to be willing to be taught. That there is no inconsistency here is apparently obvious to several Presbyterians but you express bewilderment that you're being accused of not understanding our view of discipleship. Well, read for yourself Brother.
Semper Fidelis;422708]Far be it for me to speak for Rev. Winzer on this. I appreciate his answer. I agree that baptism signifies salvation but I assume that he would agree with me that baptism does not confer salvation nor is one baptized because they are saved already. This is sort of why I was asking the question.
As I noted earlier in the thread, and elsewhere, the primary confusion that Baptists have in the discussions on baptism is believing, as Rev. Winzer so aptly put it, that because they have special revelation about the nature of the elect they have special revelation about the recipients of baptism.

I never claimed that. I said I had no way of knowing who the elect were in my congregation. Yes, we know of John the Baptist because of special revelation.

I knew why you were asking. I only used that word to point out that there was an adult member in my family that had not expressed faith. However, on the whole "saved/unsaved" issue because I've noticed that you do bring that up on occasion...do you consider yourself "saved" at this point in time? Or do you use other language for description?
Well, you introduced the idea of "unsaved spouse" and when I asked for clarification, you wrote words to the effect that I was speaking of saved/unsaved with respect to the basis for baptism. Just to be explicit:

1. Baptism signifies salvation.
2. The recipient of baptism might not be saved eternally.
3. A disciple is the proper recipient of baptism.
4. A disciple might not be saved eternally.

By the way, I do consider myself saved but you are moving from the realm of the work of the visible Church at this point in the conversation to a question of my personal understanding of the Scriptures.

By noting what the purpose and significance of baptism is and that those who are baptized are not necessarily saved eternally shouldn't give you the impression that a person may not have assurance of their salvation. Again, the asking of the question reveals that you have not studied our Confessions very well as you have claimed to do.

I will also add that though the person baptized may not be saved and that the sign does not confer salvation, we believe that the Sacrament of Baptism is a real announcement of the Promise of God and it does really confer the grace signified to those that are Elect. In other words, I look back to my baptism because the Promise of God to save all who trust in Him is announced to me there. My faith waxes and wanes but, by two Immutable things (a God who cannot lie and His Oath), I have full assurance of my salvation on the basis of God's Promise announced at my baptism.

Given Rev.Wizner's responses above, it seems that paedos get pretty close to saying the same thing. In the paedo case, the information on the individual is that they are from a parent(s) that has expressed faith. Wait! How do we truly know that though given we have no way of knowing who the elect are and we can't say if they are "saved" or "unsaved"? See you have to say the above about the parent(s) in order to baptize the child. "We are baptizing this child because we just discovered something inside this parent(s) that impels us to recognize the parent(s) conversion and union with Christ."
Again, I don't know what Confession you're reading. Where did you ever see me state that a parent has to be thought of as elect in order for them to present their children for baptism? They have to be disciples. As I have already noted, a disciple is not necessarily elect.

You're implying that mature fruit is regeneration...I don't believe there was mature fruit coming from those to whom Peter said, "38 Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." It was expression of faith, which falls pretty early in the Ordo Salutis and definitely before sanctification.
When I spoke of "mature fruit" I was thinking of conversion as one of those fruits because, sometimes, a person can be a disciple for a long time before conversion. Whether it's "early" in the ordo salutis is immaterial anyhow as the ordo is given to note logical priority but time is immaterial. As you agree with below, Judas was a disciple (baptized by Christ). He did not express the fruit of conversion. He should have born fruit even as Christ condemned the Pharisees for not bearing it. I also think of mature fruit in terms of understanding as well as the young are trained in the fear and admonition of the Lord, one of the fruits of that training is a mature understanding.

Once again, you're painting with a very large brush. Scripture speaks of those called disciples who were not in Christ. Was not Judas called a Disciple? However, for paedos, that baptized child is considered to be "in Christ" until deemed otherwise. The child has been given a sign that, as Rev.Wizner said earlier, is a "practical affirmation of their salvation" and removes them from being "consigned to the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth." So if that is the case, then why refuse that child communion at the Lord's table?
Because you've missed the point again. The point of Rev. Winzer's wording is that being outside the visible communion of the Saints is equivalent to being consigned to outer darkness. If you took stock of the profound necessity that the means of Grace in the visible Church serve toward our spiritual life in the Gospel then this would not seem terribly foreign. To be cut off visibly from the people of God is to be cut off from where God visibly nurtures His own. Only an un-Biblical, individualistic view would see the Church as optional to God's elective purposes for an individual.

We do not state that a child is "in Christ" in the sense of being united to Christ simply by being baptized. Nevertheless, in the same way you don't go around playing "Duck, duck, goose" with visible professors, we don't walk around with a wary eye trying to pin the tail on the reprobate members of our congregation. We hope for all disciples or we would simply cease to pray for their conversion knowing that it was hopeless in certain cases.

As for the Table, on the one hand you tell me that you don't expect "mature fruit" of disciples and then you wonder why we don't let every disciple join the Table. The answer is that they're not yet mature enough.

Where have I ever argued that every disciple is as mature as every other disciple? The Table belongs to the mature, understanding disciple. You don't have a category for these but don't import your understanding of disciple and overlay it on mine and then accuse me of inconsistency.

They are in Christ until deemed otherwise. But deemed by who and upon what basis? It is only after an examination by the Elders that the child then be allowed to participate in communion. (And this is the trap FV's fall into because they are trying to be consistent.) You refuse them because they cannot examine themselves (1 Cor.11), but how do we know that if the only knowledge of regeneration that we can have comes from special revelation? Or if we can't presume profession? So it seems you look at them in the same way as Baptists.
They must display evidence of their regeneration in order to be truly in the church.
I warn you of not importing Baptistic thinking into our Sacramentology and you repeatedly do so.

Examination is not a process of determining regeneration. It is a process of looking for fruit and for understanding but, in the end, every Session will admit that their judgment of a member's fitness is a fallible one. Further, we are not "just like the Baptists" in this point other than we both agree that we are fallible in our determiniation of looking for fruit.

In our case, we believe that a child's participation as a disciple trains and prepares them for maturity in discipleship. In your case, a child has no status until they become full-fledged baptized members and can participate in all mature ordinances. You actually train chilren in the Church but it's outside the ordinances and formal work of the Church since the children are not members thereof.

Here you admit that they are Christ's disciples. Are they "in Christ"? So, why refuse them communion again?
I already answered this.

All that said, I am not an elder in Christ's Church. There are a variety of circumstances where, if the spouse of a believer presented herself to the Church to be baptized, it would be appropriate to baptize if she expressed willingness to be taught the things of God. If the spouse refused to submit to the teaching of the Church then she would be disqualified from baptism. It might be unsatisfactory for the Baptist who is looking to speak definitively of the heart of the person baptized but that is only because of the defect in thinking on the significance of this. Baptism is given to disciples. Discipleship does not imply a finished work.

And this is where you and Rev.Wizner seem to come to different conclusions. You would baptize, he would not. Yet, both of you point to the fact that there has to be something expressed on her part. What about the fact that she is the spouse of someone who is saved and considered "holy" just as our children are? What about the familial context?
We obviously disagree on how that passage is to be interpreted in the first place. The unbelieving spouse is said to be sanctified by the believing spouse while the child is said to be holy. On the other hand, as already noted, a disciple is one who is to be trained in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Scripture commands that our children be trained - they are disciples. Adults cannot be compelled to be disciples.

Agreed that discipleship does not imply a finished work. Salvation is a process and is not completed until are reunion with the Father.
Well, it's good to see we agree on something. ;)

Even the father of the epileptic admitted honestly to Christ that he sort of believed but needed help with his unbelief. Chris has repeatedly asserted some sort of presumption in our theology in this and other threads but, as has been demonstrated, the only parties that dangerously presume upon their profession are the RB's. If they took stock of the unbelief that yet resides in their hearts they might not be so sure that baptism should point within them but would be seeking a more comforting, and Biblical, sacramentology, that kept the significance of the Sacraments upon God's work and His promises.

It seems that your thinking of Baptists is one of "I'm baptized and that means I'm saved". That is placing ones faith in a sign and not in what the thing signifies. I think I've shown that both sides have to presume upon profession.
The nature of the presumption is materially different. I think much of that is demonstrated already.

Blessings!

Rich
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Perhaps I was too hasty in assuming that no one here points to baptism for assurance since a punctiliously strict subscriptionist Presbyterian minister and a RP published author have now told us that unbaptized children are to be regarded as consigned to the outer darkness on account of their unbaptized state.

In relation to the above comment, let me just state that the views which I express either on the Puritan Board, the Reformed Covenanter blog, and my published books do not necessarily represent the views of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland of which I am a member in good standing.
 
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