Presbyterian/Baptist Discussion

Discussion in 'Baptism' started by Ryan&Amber2013, Oct 7, 2018.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    Sooo..... On Wednesday, after our book study, a Baptist friend of ours who has been worshipping with us, wants to discuss his covenantal federal Baptist position with the group. We want him to become a member (he has two toddler girls), but so far nothing is convincing him. He's really got his feet firmly planted.

    So what do you think is the single most influential point, either from the Bible or practically, that I can bring up to help convince him?
     
  2. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    You know, you might want to just listen and learn rather than try to convince him at this time. I'm a Reformed/Presbyterian guy worshipping with Baptists, and I appreciate the times people have really listened and asked questions and tried to understand what I believe, without arguing back at me. Knowing first that they understand me makes me much more willing to listen to them when it's their turn.

    Anyway, maybe that would apply in the situation you face.
     
  3. Grant Jones

    Grant Jones Puritan Board Sophomore

    @Jack K
    :agree:

    @Ryan&Amber2013

    Also if he is wanting to share a view publically that is contrary to your church’s constitution in a class, I would ensure the session is aware and has apporoved. There have been times at my old church (SBC) where someone shared a view publically “out of line” with the church’s specific doctrine and it caused many of the younger (spiritually) Christians to stumble.

    P.S. R. Scott Clark’s Podcast series “I will be A God to you and to your Children” https://heidelblog.net/2018/08/heidelcast-series-i-will-be-a-god-to-you-and-to-your-children/

    And even better in my opinion was Ligon Duncan’s lectures from his Covenant Theology class at RTS (Free Audio on ITunes you”).
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
  4. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    Yes, this is very wise. He has actually been worshipping with us for a long time, and he has shared many times what he believes and why. The main goal here is membership, so both of us know the point is to try to persuade him, and he's good with that.
     
  5. jwithnell

    jwithnell Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I'm not sure I understand your question. Membership in what?
     
  6. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    In a Presbyterian church. He won't settle in a Presbyterian church because he can't justify the theology.
     
  7. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Sophomore

    Then what is his reason for attending?
     
  8. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    There are no local reformed Baptist churches around.
     
  9. Grant Jones

    Grant Jones Puritan Board Sophomore

    Well (depending on how long he has been visiting) he may need more convincing on the importance of formal Church Membership more than hinging it all on the Paedo position.
     
  10. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    Of course, in a PCA church he does not need to agree on that point of doctrine to become a member. And unless you have particularly overbearing elders, it is unlikely that as a member he would be pressured, in violation of his conscience, to baptize any children he might have. The strongest form of discipline he might face would be to submit to further instruction about baptism, which he sounds prepared to do already.

    It can take many years of patient teaching to reorient a person to a better way to see the big themes of the Bible, so that they come to see why infant baptism makes sense. It seldom happens all at once, through one or two study sessions, and we should not expect that it will. But if yours is the best church option for this guy now, he can become a member already while the process is ongoing.
     
  11. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    I've heard this is the case with most PCA churches. Ours however, I don't think would allow membership to one who would withhold baptism from their children. I may be mistaken, but doesn't the Book Of Church Order talk about the duty of members in pursuing peace in the church, not withholding their elders from baptizing children?
     
  12. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    This is a good point. He doesn't see that as Biblical. He says by nature of being in the life of the church, the elders have spiritual oversight over the people.
     
  13. Grant Jones

    Grant Jones Puritan Board Sophomore

    Yeah that is problematic. Below are two quotes from a book I was required to read for Deacon Training. Not looking to debate the statements, but the statements are meant to illustrate the seriousness we should take with formal Church membership.

    “Membership in the local church is the visible expression of belonging to Christ; conversely, one cannot appropriately consider him\herself to belong to Christ if he\she does not belong to Christ church in a formal way”

    “ If you refuse to belong to a local church, submitting yourself to the care of Christ’s shepherding elders, you deny that you are part of the flock, and thus in fact cut yourself off from contact with the good shepherd who leads his flock by that means“

    With A Shepard’s Heart, by John R. Sittema pg.210-211 (BTW Recommended by the non-MARVEL Dr. Strange @Alan D. Strange )

    Formal membership to a local Church is an outward sign of our willingness to submit to the Elder’s whom Christ has given and further a willingness to submit to Christ.
     
  14. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Sophomore

    I was convinced of paedobaptism through the discussion about and defense of it in both Dabney’s Syllabus and Notes of the Course of Systematic and Polemic Theology and Geerhardus Vos’ Reformed Dogmatics. The combination of these two works won me over.
     
  15. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Freshman

    Have him read this short little book. Seriously.
    William: The Baptist https://www.amazon.com/dp/159638218X/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_Cw8UBbWWWQ9QP
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  16. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    According to the BCO, members vow to submit to the government and discipline of the church and to study its purity and peace. Elders must "see that parents do not neglect to present their children for baptism."

    In practice, I think it's fair to say that in most PCA churches these two duties do not lead to conflicts where parents are forced into either violating their consciences or disobeying their elders. Wise elders don't let it come to that, knowing that conscience matters. And having unbaptized children in the church is generally not seen as disruptive to the church's peace, especially if the parents are otherwise submissive and continue to study the issue humbly.

    However, when persons of Baptist convictions come seeking membership, elders might advise them to find a church that better fits their beliefs. Most Presbyterians don't like to refuse membership outright to teachable persons who have a credible profession of faith. But they may, in kindness and wisdom, suggest that everyone would be happier if the applicant looked elsewhere.

    If your elders feel their duties to see that children are baptized require particularly strong disciplinary measures, or if they think quiet disagreement about baptism is inherently unpeaceful, or if they have examined this particular situation and strongly feel that the guy would be better off in another church, they might prefer not to admit him. Would they refuse outright? They might. But if they don't really want him, why would he press the matter anyway?
     
  17. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    One of the things I think is important here is to ask what he thinks about the paedo-position, and what are his main objections to it. If, for instance, his main objection is that he doesn't think the paedo-position even has any basis whatsoever in Scripture, then you can offer a biblical exegesis that is clearly designed only to convince him that the paedo position comes from an exegesis of Scripture. In other words, he doesn't have to become paedo in order to join the church. As Jack said, the conversation has to include iron-shod proof that you are listening to him. You might also want to ask what his intentions are as to sharing his position. Is he simply aiming for mutual understanding? Or is he aiming to convince the entire church? The former is always a laudable goal, whereas the second is more than bordering on subversive.
     
  18. Reformed

    Reformed Puritan Board Freshman

    I agree it would be a bit much to force this theological position considering it is not actually found within Scripture itself, but rather, is an extrapolation of the principle of circumcision and baptism as a replacement.
     
  19. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    The Presbyterian position is based on more than that, of course.

    The reason many Presbyterian elders I know wouldn't force the issue is not because they feel the Presbyterian position may be weak. Rather, if a parent believed baptizing their child was wrong, the elders would want to avoid pressuring that parent to make a dishonest vow or to participate in the sacrament against conscience.
     
  20. Reformed

    Reformed Puritan Board Freshman

    If the position is based on more than that biblically then that is news to me. I know there is the historical tradition they base it off of but I'm not familiar with any scriptural evidence for infant baptism whatsoever. Even R.C. Sproul said it is not found within Scripture.

    That being said, I agree if that is the position most elders take that this is right and proper to not force a breach of conscience.
     
  21. Grant Jones

    Grant Jones Puritan Board Sophomore

    David,
    If you are going to look at it from that perspective...that sword cuts both ways. If I remember Sproul's Statement correctly, he way explaining how BOTH sides would love a specific Chapter and Verse to say either "thou shalt baptize your infants" or "thou shall not apply the sign to thy infants". So let's be careful not to pull Sproul out of context, nor ignore that your point cuts both ways (paedo and anti-paedo).

    For Example: Could you please point to a specific chapter and verse that says "Do not apply the covenant sign to your infants", especially considering it was the practice of the OT Church for centuries.

    Again, I am not looking for a debate, just pointing out an example that we need to be fair, especially on this point. Bottom line, the Paedo's believe it IS in scripture and the Baptist think not. Either it is or it isn't in scripture, that is the question. I digress as not to get too off topic.:detective:
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018
  22. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    This thread is probably not the place to discuss the various reasonings in-depth. But if you poke around on the board, you will find enough meaty and scriptural discussions, from both sides, to ensure that you are no longer able to be summarily dismissive of either view.
     
  23. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Can you cite the place where Sproul said the above?

    Consider good and necessary consequence and inference. There are many things that are doctrinally sound, but cannot be seen written in scripture. For example:


    1) Paedobaptism-the sign changing from circumcision to water baptism
    a) Female infants and their covenantal status-females are 'in' covenant even though they did not have a sign placed on them.

    2) The Trinity

    3) The Covenant of grace and redemption

    4) The change in the sabbath from the last day of the week to the first day

    5) Woman taking the supper

    6) The local church vs the Universal Church

    7) The Regulative Principle

    8) Membership

    9) Baptism of adult children belonging to Christian parents

    10) Mode of baptism

    11) Church Polity
     
  24. Reformed

    Reformed Puritan Board Freshman

    Sproul said it many times during his life. I can find a specific quote if you want but he did not hide the fact that it is not found in Scripture, because it isn't.

    1. I don't think this is doctrinally sound which is why I hold to LCBF not WCF.
    2. There is clear evidence for the Trinity in Scripture so this should be taken off the list.
    4. There is also evidence that the early church followed this in Scripture as well.
    5. I'm not sure what you mean here.
    6. Not sure what you mean here either.
    7. It depends what you mean when you say the Regulative Principle. Some people take this to a level that is NOT doctrinally sound.
    9. I don't agree that this is doctrinally sound.
    10. The mode of baptism by immersion seems clear in the text.
    11. Not sure what you mean here.
     
  25. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    It is difficult for me to appreciate the idea as any theologian would tell you that not every doctrine the historic church has held to over the ages, is spelled out in scripture. As I said, there are many things we embrace built on good and necessary consequence or inference; hence, your argument towards paedobaptism and that it cannot be found in scripture is flawed.
     
  26. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    "1) I don't think this is doctrinally sound which is why I hold to LCBF not WCF. Many a man has muttered the words you write only, in time to become Presbyterian. Jus sayin...
    2. There is clear evidence for the Trinity in Scripture so this should be taken off the list. Not really-one gets to the doctrine by deduction
    4. There is also evidence that the early church followed this in Scripture as well. No direct command to change the day from the last day to the first-again, deduction.
    5. I'm not sure what you mean here. No positive command for woman to take the supper.
    6. Not sure what you mean here either. The distinction between local church and universal is difficult for most to see; presuppositionalism helps when you understand the doctrine between the two. Most laypeople or the unschooled have a very hard time seeing this fact.
    7. It depends what you mean when you say the Regulative Principle. Some people take this to a level that is NOT doctrinally sound. Ok....
    9. I don't agree that this is doctrinally sound. You don't believe that adult children who come to faith should be baptized? I believe you misunderstood me. I am saying that why is it that we do not see one instance in the NT where a child grows to a young teen or adult and then that child receives the sign? Not one example? You would think that this moment in time, to be stupendous, yet the writers of the NT never cite one case! Why is that?
    10. The mode of baptism by immersion seems clear in the text. OK...
    11. Not sure what you mean here. The way the church should be ruled.
     
  27. Herald

    Herald Moderator Staff Member

    Ryan, if the gentleman in question is firmly resolved in his baptismal position, and further discussion/counsel on baptism does not seem likely to change his mind, then his greater problem is not joining a local church. If what you say is true - that your elders will not approve him for membership as a Baptist - then he needs to move on, even if there are no Reformed Baptist churches nearby. I'm in a similar situation. There are no Reformed Baptist churches within a reasonable commute from my house. I found a Baptist church in a nearby town that is about as theologically like-minded as I going to find in this area. The preaching is sound and the Gospel is clearly proclaimed. I could have gone the Presbyterian route as well, but my stand on baptism is firm. The lack of a Reformed Baptist church in my area was no reason not to find the best church family situation I could.
     
  28. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Senior

    But if you poke around on the board, you will find enough meaty and scriptural discussions, from both sides, to ensure that you are no longer able to be summarily dismissive of either view.

    Bingo!!

    It is one thing to be convinced your side is a stronger position. One person tries to persuade with continuity of covenants and baptism as circumcision, etc. The other side quotes Romans 6 and being buried and resurrected with Christ in Baptism as evidence of meaning regeneration and true saving faith. And they both go at it banging heads and quoting theologians for as long as they both shall live.

    Regarding the OP, I would drop it. What makes either side think they will convince the other when you can read threads here that go on for page after page with every imaginable appeal to scripture and quotes from great and godly men of the past, posted by truly fine and obviously godly theologically astute men? Other than getting your friend to at least understand the difference between Reformed paedo baptism and Roman Catholic baptismal regeneration, so at least he is rejecting the correct paedo mentality and not a RCC mentality, I think you are wasting energy trying to convince him, and he may just did his heels in deeper.

    The bottom line is if your church allows both or not for membership, while teaching their position, and if he can submit to the leaders or not. He may have to move on. My PCA experience was that the PCA allowed Baptists membership but not eldership (probably not deacons either). My Calvinist Baptist experience is that some allow infant baptism if you get it done elsewhere, without arguing or criticizing, and some insist on rebaptizing for membership if you got baptized as a baby, even if you regard your infant baptism as true baptism. (I wouldn't give in to that against paedo convictions). But then you have folks on both sides calling the other side sinners, so you can't make assumptions about any church until you ask.
     
  29. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Sophomore

    Sometimes people do change their minds. (I'm one.)
     
  30. Grant Jones

    Grant Jones Puritan Board Sophomore

    :ditto:

    If it was not for a good friend of mine arguing (the classical since) with me about it, I may not would be Pedo today.
    We debated it at least 10 times before I repented (haha).
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page