Necessary Inference aka, Good and Necessary Consequence.

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by Dan...., Jun 21, 2005.

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  1. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritanboard Commissioner

    Ditto! Excellent first post.
  2. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    I don't think you can attribute forcing EP on a congregant as "binding their conscience," because you cannot prove that we are commanded to sing songs other than the Psalms or "spiritual" songs ("spirit" ALWAYS referring to either satan or the Holy Spirit in the NT; obviously not a command to sing songs written by the devil).

    So, either way, we are commanded to sing songs from the Holy Spirit. Unless you're going to canonize some praise choruses, you run into some trouble there.

    On the other hand, if you refuse to allow a church to sing from the Psalms, you definitely are in error and "binding the conscience" of congregants, as we know for a fact, absolutely, we are commanded to sing at least some Psalms in worship. So, any church that does not sing from the Psalter every week, in some capacity, is in error, doctrinally speaking. This much should be agreed upon, and obviously those who confess the WCF should agree without any dispute ... that is, unless you wish to change it even more than America already has. ;)
  3. Michael Butterfield

    Michael Butterfield Puritan Board Freshman

    :candle: Okay, with you, I will say that I agree in the preponderance of Psalms, but I am not sure I understand the point here. Please help me. I never mentioned the devil, but how do we arrive at the idea that some are being forbidden to sing Psalms?
  4. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate


    When Mike mentioned "consequences as they are deduced from scripture and are therefore binding upon the conscience of men," it seemed to me he was referring to things that are rightfully binding upon all men's consciences. Thus, his mention of EP's nature as viewed by its adherants was an example of that, rather than an example of wrongfully binding the conscience, as you seemed take it as. Am I reading what you said correctly, Mike?

    All in all, these examples of what rightfully binds the conscience simply reiterate the central point that "good" and "necessary" are inseparable as the Divines were using the terms, and that a truly good exegetical inference from Scripture (which EP is, according to its adherants) is thus inevitably necessary as well from the position of its adherants (that is, rightfully binding upon the consciences of all men).

    Another example of the same principle is the fact that paedobaptists see the covenantal system of the Old Covenant as a good inference (because of the Covenant Theology hermeneutic of continuation) for paedobaptism, which is precisely why they also view paedobaptism as necessary and rightfully binding upon all men's consciences. Likewise, Baptists see the absence of explicit mention of infant baptism in the New Testament as a good inference (because of the Regulative Principle) for credobaptism, which is precisely why they also view credobaptism as necessary and rightfully binding upon all men's consciences.
  5. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    I am simply saying that to sing ONLY the Psalms does not bind one's conscience, because we are commanded to sing the Psalms in the New Testament. To not sing the Psalms in a Church WOULD bind one's conscience as that is a direct violation of a COMMAND in Scripture.

    The reference to the devil is the fact that, in the NT, the word for "spiritual" ("pneumatikais" as used in Eph 5:19 and Col 3:16) in Greek is always used to refer to something proceeding from the Holy Spirit of God or the spirit of Satan, and can be rendered as modifying all three words; that is, "psalms, hymns and songs".

    Of this matter, Edward Lohse says:

    Also, R. Schnackenburg says:

    So, we are either being commanded to sing songs that the Holy Spirit has written (i.e. Scripture) or songs that Satan has written. Given the context and the obvious implausibility (and laughability) of the other option, we are being commanded to sing songs that originate from the Holy Spirit.

    In other words, we are not commanded to either write or sing uninspired songs, and to not allow a congregation to do so can, in no way, bind the consciences of the believers involved.

    [Edited on 6-23-2005 by WrittenFromUtopia]
  6. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    Chris: I didn't see it that way. Maybe I'm wrong, but "binding" of the conscience is often used in a negative way, not in a positive way. If it is being used as a "good" thing in this case, I must've missed that part. If so, ignore what I said, except the good defense of EP mentality. ;)
  7. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Unless of course one disagrees with the first part of this sentence, which many in the Reformed community do. But let's not even get onto this tangent, as it is irrelevant. Again, if I'm reading him correctly, Mike's example of EP binding the consciences of men from the perspective of its adherants was referring to it rightfully binding their conscience in a good way (i.e. being necessary) precisely because they see it as a good inference, again simply being an example of that connection.
  8. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    You can disagree with the sentence all you want ;) But, where's the NT commands for writing these songs? I've been curious about that one for a while now. Oh well, not the topic.
  9. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I think he was referring to it in that way because just after speaking of that inference as being "good and necessary," it was then that he described it as being "therefore binding upon the conscience of men."

    :lol: For the time being, I have yet to conclusively decide whether to give a :up: or a :down: to that one!
  10. Michael Butterfield

    Michael Butterfield Puritan Board Freshman

    First, if I were to agree with you, I would have to agree with you about your assertion of the use of the word "œpneumatikais" that it is "œin Greek . . . Always used to refer to something proceeding from the Holy Spirit of God or the spirit of Satan," which I do not. That would make Eph. 5:19 and Col. 3:16 texts dealing with inspiration as much as Psalm singing, which I do not believe either. Now, I will be the first to admit that my Greek is a little rusty, but I find no such dogmatism in any of the Lexicons that I have. Needless to say, neither do I agree with the assertion that the three words accompanying "œpneumatikais" are synonyms for Psalms only. Additionally, I am not going to argue about EP here since that is not the subject matter. (I attended Elkins Park RPCNA for sometime when I was at WTS and am familiar with the argument. Oh, and I did enjoy EP and no instruments.)

    My only point was in justifying the RPCNA requirement of Psalm singing in their congregations based on the "œgood and necessary" clause of the WCF. Since in the RPCNA it is a "œgood and necessary consequence" then it is, I am assuming, a constitutionally binding element of your polity. Chris has understood my post. I am using bound in the same way that Luther used the idea of bound at Worms. That is the whole thrust of the "œgood and necessary" clause. You cannot separate them and I only used the EP position as an example. The EP position as held by RPCNA is, in other words, both good and necessary. I am, therefore, disagreeing with John Vandervliet who answered the question, which was originally posted by wsw201 who asking about the "œgood and necessary" clause asked, "œThough the consequence of a passage may be good, is it always necessary?" John answered: "œI would say "no" to that question." In fact, the answer is yes. Any good consequence is a necessary one for the meaning of scripture is one (IX. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself: and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.). You are, consequently, bound to that consequence. In the case of our EP brothers, it is Psalm singing. Conversely, the non-EP brothers do not see the good nor the necessary element and that for exegetical reasons. Needless to say, your argument about binding my be more with Dabney than with me, because I was quoting Dabney at that time thinking it would illuminate my understanding of binding. (I do understand it in the context of Chap. 20 of the WCF). No one is allowed to cry foul and use liberty of conscience as an escape clause; however, Chap. 20 does not address the "œgood and necessary" clause.
  11. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    I understand what you were saying, per my previous post. Thanks for clarifying, though. I'm sorry you don't agree with my assertions about the term "spiritual." I think it is a fair and accurate assessment of the text. Thankfully, in the WCF's chapter on religious worship, we don't have to use "good and necessary" consequence to figure out that they intended the Book of Psalms to be used in our Christian worship, and the Book of Psalms alone (also confirmed in the Directory of Publick Worship), since it is plain and simple for us to read and see. ;)
  12. biblelighthouse

    biblelighthouse Puritan Board Junior

    Well, even if the EP sect turns out to be right, the rest of us can take comfort knowing that we won't have to only sing Psalms in Heaven . . .

    As it is written:
    "And they sang a new song . . ." :bigsmile:


  13. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    Any sect that includes the Apostles, Augustine, Calvin, and others is a sect I'm proud to belong to.
  14. biblelighthouse

    biblelighthouse Puritan Board Junior

    Dude . . . chill. You are taking my comment WAY too seriously. It was supposed to be funny.
  15. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    I'm chilled. I honestly don't see much humor in attributing one's Biblical convictions to "sectarian" beliefs, though. Maybe I just take things like ... you know ... God's Word and my convictions about it ... pretty seriously.

    [Edited on 6-23-2005 by WrittenFromUtopia]
  16. biblelighthouse

    biblelighthouse Puritan Board Junior

    I said your group is a sect. I did not say that it is necessarily wrong. That difference is significant.

    The EP group is a sect. But perhaps EP is correct, while mainstream modern Reformed people are incorrect. That is certainly a possibility. The majority is certainly NOT always correct.

    So please do not take the word "sect" as an insult. It merely means that EP is "a group of people forming a distinct unit within a larger group by virtue of certain distinctions of belief or practice". And that is certainly true.

    It's not good or bad. It's just a description of the way things are today.
  17. Michael Butterfield

    Michael Butterfield Puritan Board Freshman

  18. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Please allow me this brief comment:

    I believe that "good and necessary" in the WCF refers only to those doctrines which the Church has rightfully concluded from Scripture, and are therefore considered to be God's doctrines, not man's. They must follow, given other doctrines. These bind the conscience, for one does not have the option to appeal to freedom of conscience to believe otherwise. In such cases 'good' and 'necessary' cannot be separated.

    For something like Presuppositionalism, we are still free to believe otherwise; no church has declared it to be a necessary doctrine, binding the conscience. Individuals have done so, but the churches have generally recognized that it is not God's doctrine, but man's. Frankly, I am surprised that more of us don't realize the difference. I am not implying that it is not a good inference. For some it is, and it would violate their conscience to believe otherwise, for that is how they understand things. But they have to respect that there are those who understand differently, and that the Bible has not bound any one particular view upon us. The arguments in favour of any such position are not conclusive enough for that.

    You can indeed separate good inferences from necessary ones in such cases. Necessary ones are always good, but good ones are not always necessary. A necessary inference leaves no escape. But we are allowed to follow our conscience, and not lord it over others in these mentioned matters, by making good inferences from revelation. As we grow in experience, wisdom, and in communion with the Son and the Spirit, with the Father, then our abilities to make better inferences will grow. We may change our minds on these things we are now convicted of. This has happened, even on this Board. These are good inferences, though out of respect for the holiness of God's Word and our own limitations, they are not to be deemed necessary, as if God's very Word, so as to bind the consciences of others.

    Some have changed their minds about baptism. It is not that they were not following their conscience before, it is that they are able to follow it better now, now that they have been educated in matters they were formerly ignorant of. They were not violating conscience, and were making good inferences on what they believed; were enabled to make better inferences with better knowledge. They are still following conscience to the best of their abilities.

    EP-ers and non-EP-ers agree that we must sing the Psalms. The disagreement is whether or not we may sing songs composed by spiritual people, who have expressed a doctrinally and musically sound song for worship, such as Amazing Grace, for instance. No one is binding anyone's conscience here, for each has respected the other as being dedicated with heart and soul to the worship of their Maker. And the limitations of such decisions has also been respected, so as not to "put words in God's mouth" based on our own limited knowledge.

    Frankly, all I need to say is that someone preached Classicalism, or Amillennialism, from the pulpit as if it were binding on the conscience, condemning those who believe otherwise, and you should all be in utter shock. Not that these views are so wrong, but that the minister far exceeded his mandate, and even is found to be misrepresenting God, subjecting Him and His doctrine to the logic of man. He may as well have been preaching Mariology. He is supposed to be speaking for God, not himself and his personal convictions of conscience which the Church has not bound on anyone else. These may be good inferences, but they are not necessary.

    Neither are they necessary for me to worship God; I can leave them at the door when I enter God's house, knowing that bringing such things into the sanctuary, opened up by Christ by His body, may offend God. After all, they are my own limited conclusions which I follow with my conscience, but about which I may change my mind if I am convicted with better understanding and wisdom.

    God allows beginners into the sanctuary, and that is what I am to consider myself before Him. And I am not to use my "knowledge" to belittle those who do not have my "knowledge", as if my knowledge were something to brag about. If I am a non-EP-er, a Classicist, an Amillennialist, that is my conviction, and I am obliged to hear the other sides of these issues. But I must not make others' decisions for them, as if my personal convictions are binding upon others. But I am also obliged to remind us all of the binding we are all under to limit our own personal views to a respectful distance of others' personal views, for they also base their views on Scripture, and in subjection to the holiness of God. If I or they are less educated than the other, it is still the case that God has opened the door of His sanctuary to both of us, and called us His very own.
  19. Michael Butterfield

    Michael Butterfield Puritan Board Freshman

    An additional :2cents:

    I will go a long way down the road with you when you say that all necessary consequences are good, but not all good consequences are necessary. However, I am not convinced that the language of the Confession is then being described. Certainly, I would also agree that based on this truism then we are allowed to follow our conscience, and not lord it over others in these mentioned matters, by making good inferences from revelation. I am just not convinced that this is the thrust or meaning of WCF 1.6. It is then the shifted to the realm of Romans 14 and disputable matters. I think we even see some of this idea in Paul´s attitude toward some of the Philippian believers. In Philippians 3:15 Paul writes: "œLet us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you" (KJV). Or if you like: "œLet those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you" (ESV).
  20. Steve Owen

    Steve Owen Puritan Board Sophomore

    Hello everybody!:handshake:
    It's very pleasant to be on this forum.

    I think it is possible to have a necessary consequence which is not good. One brother wrote earlier:-

    As Mr Howes says, the consequence is necessary from the two premises. But if the premises are false as I believe them to be, then the consequence is not good.

    There is such a thing as Good and Necessary Consequence, but we need to be very careful in respect of it. 1Cor 4:6 and 2John 9 warn us not to wander from the written word.

    Grace & Peace,

    Martin :D
  21. Michael Butterfield

    Michael Butterfield Puritan Board Freshman

    Please, what am I missing in this quote. I can only assume you are a Baptist, because there is nothing wrong with the premise and nothing wrong with the consequence unless I am really missing something here. Nevertheless, if I am missing something I cannot see how you can accept from a WCF position something that is necessary and not good. The whole point is that the "˜good and necessary´ clause of the confession stands or falls together. Just how careful are we to be? After all the Trinity is a good and necessary consequence, is it not?


    I live in Wales for three and one half years. And loved London. What part of England are living in?
  22. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Okay, another question: who decides what is good and necessary, as per the WCF use of the term? The WCF refers to doctrine, what is "expressly set down in Scripture" or "the whole counsel of God" as equal to it, not as the counsel of men. It speaks of what may be deduced from Scripture without imposing the will or traditions of man upon it. May a person decide that for himself? Or is this the task of the Church only? Or may a group within the Church decide that? Is it a possibility that what is "good and necessary" for one is not "good and necessary for another? Or, to say it another way: it is possible that one millennial view could be deemed "good and necessary" in one church, and not in another? Is it then good and necessary consequence?

    In short, where do we draw the line between "good and necessary" and those things which fall under the "light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word"?

    My own view is that I consider EP in the latter category, for those who are convicted of it. But I don't see any of the millennial views or apologetic views as falling under either, since they are not of the sort that are "concerning all things necessary for man's salvation, faith and life", as godly worship would be. After all, I was saved long before I knew there were different views on the millennium; and I don't need any of the apologetic views myself to know that God is, and that His Word is true, since it is He that gave that fruit of faith to me; I did not receive it by searching it out; and my certainty is built on His gifts and revelation of Himself to me, not on my own abilities to comprehend Him. I was decidedly converted when I was a child; my appreciation of the millennial and apologetic views came later, as a result of maturity in faith.

    So I see EP as an important matter, (one of godly worship) but one directed by the light of nature, following the rules of the Word to the best of our abilities. It is presented as a fall-back position many times; e.g., "we don't know for sure that the word 'hymn' in Col. and Eph. means what it does today, but it at least includes the Psalms for sure. So singing hymns is taking licence, and that is unwarranted." Psalm singing is necessary, but whether we may include hymns is the point of departure in the discussion. Therefore we use "Christian prudence" on such matters.

    I hold that an individual on his own, even if he holds a high office in the church, may not take it upon himself to decide what is good and necessary, equal to God's whole counsel and what is expressly set down in Scripture. If he did, I would see that as an extreme departure from his office and calling. The WCF equates what is expressly set down in Scripture with good and necessary consequence as representing "the whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man's salvation, faith and life" by saying it is "either expressly set down in Scripture" "or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture." So with either one, it refers to God's revelation, not our own determinations.

    In the case of the Trinity, for example, we are bidden by the Word to believe in one God. We are also bidden by the same Word to believe that the Father is God, that Jesus is God, and that the Holy Spirit is God. There is no choice but to believe in the Trinity if we are to believe the Word. That is a good and necessary deduction from Scripture; there is no escape from the deduction, and it is clearly God's counsel.

    By the way, both Michael and Martin, glad to have you both a-Board with us.
  23. Michael Butterfield

    Michael Butterfield Puritan Board Freshman

    First, thanks for the welcome. I do appreciate the tenor of most of the discussions I have read or participated in.

    Second, I think this is an excellent question! It is an excellent question because from a confessional perspective I think it obligatory for us to "œdo theology" in the context and under the watchful eye of the church. Consequently, we are in precarious position when we do theology outside of the church. Of course, this is even problematic in the context of this discussion board. It is really outside of the governance of the church. So, when we speak of good and necessary consequences, I would have to say that is only within the church that it can be exercised in its proper context. Therefore, the Confession is the perfect example of this principle, which would naturally lead to the whole issue of subscription, but I do not want to go there right now. Nevertheless, it seems to me that it is within the church that the good and necessary consequences must understood. (still cogitating, hmmmmm) :candle:
  24. Steve Owen

    Steve Owen Puritan Board Sophomore

    Hello Michael,
    You wrote:-

    You are correct that I am a Baptist. The purpose of my post was to point out that if one's initial premise is wrong, then one's inferences from that premise, no matter how logically necessary they may be, will not be good because they will stem from a faulty premise. I do not believe that the children of believers are in the covenant (John 3:6; Heb 8:10 ), therefore no matter how logical and necessary your deductions from that premise may be, I reject them. I hope that's clear.

    I believe that it is vital to stay very close to the Bible. It is possible to stray from it with a whole series of inferences, which may appear to be good and necessary, but which are ultimately based upon human reasoning, not Divine revelation. I gave a series of inferences on the 'Baptism' forum just recently, which you might like to consider:-

    Acts 2:41. 'Then those who gladly received [Peter's] word were baptized.'
    Logical Inference 1. Those who did not receive Peter's word gladly were not baptized.
    Logical Inference 2. Very young children are not able to understand the Gospel in order to receive it.
    Logical Inference 3. Very young children were not baptized.

    You asked:-
    I live near Exeter in Devonshire. I visit Wales frequently. I know the Heath Church in Cardiff very well. It is the largest Reformed congregation in Wales. Next week I am attending the 'Summer School of Theology' at the Metropoloitan Tabernacle ('Spurgeon's') in London. Joel Beeke was the main speaker last year. Excellent!

    Grace & Peace,

  25. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    Where is your 'proof' for asserting "Very young children are not able to understand the Gospel in order to receive it?"
  26. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I just remembered something the other day. Long ago, when I was a kid, I remember my grandfather reading the Bible after mealtimes. He would read in a kind of Dutch chant. The heritage of the churches he was from were so afraid of "adding to the Word" that they dared not even add their own inflection to it as they read it. The first mininster we had when our church started up was from that tradition.

    My father wasn't like that, though he was from the same background. He read in a normal voice, saying that he was reading the normal sense, like the Confessions said we had to understand the Bible. He still had that deep reverence for the Word.

    I don't think I agree with the chanting itself, but I sure do respect that kind of reverence for the Word. The problem with the chanting, I think, was that you could never really be sure of any meaning unless it is given by the church or the minister ( the dominee. ) It takes away the personal dedication and learning that reading yourself could achieve, in subjection to the Church creeds and confessions. In other words, the danger is that not only do you make sure that your own limited understanding is not superimposed on the Holy Word, but you even take away the Word's own meaning: it means that no inflection at all is recognized, therefore none is given. That's going too far; though it is a real reverence for the Word, it is too afraid to read the Word as it is written.

    But this kind of reverence for the Word is what is needed to determine good and necessary inference. I can see this is important to Martin, for he dares not go against the Word. He may have a false premise, but his reasoning from that premise is a necessity to him, not merely because it is inferentially correct to him, but because the Word is holy, and we cannot make of it what we want.

    We can show Martin that his premise is not fully founded, but that's not the point here. The point is the univocal meaning of the Word, and that certainty of revelation itself is alone the grounds for good and necessary inferences. We cannot and may not base it on any man's reasoning, no matter how holy he is ( Belgic Confession, art. VII. ) Even the churches are subject to the plain reading of it, granting each of us licence, even a command, to be critical of plain errors in the churches. The point is whether the premises are, as we believe them to be, direct revelation.

    Romans 14 shows that too. The unimpeachable part is the conscience of each person, every one whom the Spirit enlightens with His light through the Word. We may have different views on different things, some of us may even be wrong about some things, but that does not give leave to violate people's consciences. We are to educate, to teach, to admonish, correct, nourish, and be brother to those whose consciences won't yet allow them to accept or understand some of the deeper things of faith. And they, in turn, should not think more highly of themselves than they ought to, and ridicule things they do not understand. They too need to respect the consciences of others. The Spirit works both through the witness and authority of the Church, and He works in the hearts of individual believers.

    But "good and necessary consequence", I believe, deals with revelation, and what must follow from that revelation. It is not about personal views. And yet, what we do individually believe on less clear matters must always be as good and as necessary as we can get it.

    So, I may disagree with Martin, but I can appreciate his respect of the Word. I believe that paedo-baptism is founded on good and necessary consequence: once it is understood, there is no escape from its soundness anymore. But that does not mean that I love those less who don't yet understand that, or consider them any less a child of God. Salvation does not depend on our apprehension, but rather our apprehension depends upon salvation, and the fruits of it. "I know because I believe; help me know more that I may believe more." ( "believe" here is deemed a fruit of the gift of faith. )

    Well, that's how I see it.
  27. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritanboard Commissioner

    Thanks for allowing me the opportunity again in exchanging ideas.
    The above statement is an assertion as well. What you are saying is that all men whom hold to paedobaptism are relying upon human reasoning and not divine revelation.

    Contributors to the WCF:
    William Twisse (1578-1646)
    Cornelius Burgess (1589-1648)
    William Gouge (1578-1653)
    Thomas Goodwin (1600-1680)
    Philip Nye (1596-1672)
    Jeremiah Burroughs (1599-1646)
    Alexander Henderson (1583-1646)
    Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661)
    Robert Baille (1602-1661)
    George Gillespie (1613-1648)
    Stephen Marshall (1594-1655)
    Joseph Caryl (1602-1673)
    Obadiah Sedgwick (1600-1658)
    Richard Vines (1600-1656)
    John Arrowsmith (1602-1659)
    Thomas Gataker (1574-1654)
    Robert Harris (1581-1658)
    Edward Reynolds (1599-1676)
    William Spurstowe (1605-1666)
    John Wallis (1616-1703)
    Edmund Calamy (1600-1666)
    Simon Ashe (1597-1662)
    Thomas Case (1598-1682)
    John cotton (1584-1652)
    Thomas Hooker (1586-1647)
    John Davenport (1597-1670)

    Ponder the thought in regards to our contemporaries as well whom embrace paedobaptism, i.e. Gerstner, Sproul, Clark, Boice, Bahnsen, etc.

    This passage does not exclude children. Trying to hold to the idea that the Jews watching would have naturally (or by devine revelation) thought that their childrn were all of a sudden excluded from an equation such as this, when in the past, families were always dealt with as a unit is reaching.

    This is true.

    Here we go again; God regenerates infants. Discipleship does not necessarily imply conversion. Please sunbstantiate this claim that God cannot regenerate the infant.

    An assertion.

    Based upon the general idea of your premise, again I table the challenge to deal with the rest of items that are NI; it cannot be both ways; we cannot pick and choose those things which support our system alone. Having said this, are you ready as well to toss things like the trinity, the NYT tithe or woman taking the Lords supper? Either we are consistant or we are not. I know earlier you mentioned that you would deal with this later, however, it is my opinion that you cannot deal with the passage in Acts unless you deal with NI now. As mentioned, NI is not railing against sola scriptura, it IS SS.

    JohnV says:
    I agree John. :bigsmile:

    [Edited on 6-28-2005 by Scott Bushey]
  28. Steve Owen

    Steve Owen Puritan Board Sophomore

    Hello again, Scott,
    Thank you for taking the time and trouble in your reply to me.
    I'm afraid, however, that your list of Westminster divines does not move me. Indeed, I have to say that I find it a little worrying. It seems to me to deny Ecclesia reformata semper reformanda. That many of these men were shining lights in their day, who can deny? But to say that they had grasped all truth for ever is to make the Bible a dead thing rather than the living and active word of God.

    In my discussions with Roman Catholics, I find that they are also pointing to their great men of the past, and asking the same questions that you ask. Why is your list of names better than theirs? Or I could compile a list of famous Baptists, starting with Spilsbury and Tombes, travelling through Gill, the Haldanes, Dagg and Spurgeon, and ending with today's men like Richard Barcellos, the Renihans and James White, to name only those from your country. But what would such a list prove? We end in a school-boy squabble- "My list is better/older/longer than your list!"

    Listen to another Puritan, the Pastor to the Pilgrim Fathers:-

    You continued:-

    This is not inference; with respect, it is invention. You are imposing your prejudices upon the text. All these people had already been circumcised. Why on earth should they equate baptism with circumcision, when Peter says not a word about it? Look at what Peter says, and then look at what the crowd does, and you will see a wonderful correspondence between them, one that does not include infant baptism.

    God can do anything He wants. I say that it is not His normal practice. I cited Neh 8:2 in the other thread. 'So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding...'. Men, women and perhaps older children listened to the reading of the word, but younger infants, imbeciles and the deaf were excused because they could not understand. Or how about Exodus 13:14? 'So it shall be, when your son asks you in time to come, "What is this?" that you shall tell him.....'. It is pre-supposed that the son does not understand; he needs to have the 'Gospel' explained to him. His father is to wait until he starts to ask questions, then he is old enough to understand.

    If inference No.2 is correct, then No.3 must necessarily be so.

    I have said elsewhere that I do not reject 'Good and Necessary Consequence.' Indeed, that is what I have tried to supply here. But I would never use it where there is no Biblical support. 'By the mouths of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established' (Deut 19:15 ). The Bible speaks many times of credo-baptism; never of paedo-baptism. I use NI in support of the Scriptures, not in place of them.

    :ditto: I appreciate the sentiments here. As I read through this post, it sounds a bit aggressive. It is not meant to be, and I hope no one will take offense. 'As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens his brother.' I suppose that a few sparks must fly in order for this to happen, but we may still remain brothers. :handshake:

    Grace & Peace,

  29. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    No response to me? Okay.
  30. biblelighthouse

    biblelighthouse Puritan Board Junior

    Martin, I hope you don't mind the sparks flying in this post, my brother . . . I love my baptist friends . . . but this is a hot topic with me, so I won't hold back . . .


    There is not even one instance of "credo-baptism" in Scripture . . . unless you redefine "credo-baptism" so that the phrase loses its meaning.

    ALL paedobaptists (PB) believe that adults must make a profession of faith before baptism. There is no disagreement with credobaptists (CB) on this point. So demonstrating the post-profession baptism of an adult in Scripture supports the PB camp just as much as it supports the CB camp. Since CB and PB agree on proper adult baptism, neither side can point to an adult baptism to say that it "proves" one side or the other.

    A "credobaptist" is someone who believes in baptizing only people who make a profession of faith first. So to be honest when you say that the Bible "speaks many times" of credobaptism, you would have to be talking about Scriptural passages which say that only professing Christians may be baptized. However, there are no such verses anywhere in the Bible, so your assertion is incorrect.

    By definition, a credobaptist is an anti-paedobaptist. If a Presbyterian minister baptizes an adult after his profession of faith, that minister has not temporarily become a credobaptist. On the contrary, the post-profession baptism of adults is just as much a part of Reformed doctrine as it is a part of baptist doctrine. Baptizing an adult after profession does not suddenly make that minister an anti-paedobaptist!

    Where does the Bible say anything about Christian parents raising their kids in the Christian faith for a few years, and then baptizing them when they get to be 10-12 years old? Show me one example of that!

    Where does the Bible say, "Only professing believers are allowed to be baptized"? Show me!

    Where does the Bible say, "The infant children of believers are no longer included with their parents in covenant with God"? Where is that passage?

    There is absolutely no place in Scripture that gives a credobaptist precept. So instead, baptists look at the handful of examples of baptism that they find, and try to inductively come up with a precept to match. But as Matt has pointed out before, induction is a logical fallacy, and is not appropriate for determining doctrine.

    Rather, you should be looking at the overall flow of redemptive history, get a handle on the continutity of the covenants, figure out who the covenant members are, and figure out what the covenant signs are. Then you can make a better informed decision.

    I still don't think I have heard you answer the question, "Why do you let women partake of the Lord's Supper?"

    Well, why do you? There is not one explicit example in Scripture of it being done.
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