Presumptive regeneration more...

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Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
You know MAtt, I'm still having trouble finding where Witsius teaches presumptive regeneration. Do yo have any refernces? I've been trying to study all the men you listed in support of your view of presumptive regeneration in your catechism, and I certainly don't see them saying what you are saying. Ames, Rutherford, John Brown, and Owen, all argue that children are baptized because the covenant is made with them, and because [i:08be83f454]if[/i:08be83f454] they are saved, it is because they are in covenant, therefore we should not withhold the sign of the covenant. They never even asked the question of whether or not they were regenerate. The only time I have found the issue to be raised at all is regarding infants who die in infancy. So I would appreciate some more references please.
 

C. Matthew McMahon

Christian Preacher
Patrick, Let's stick with 2 basics - Calvin and the WCF.

Question 1 - What is Calvin saying here:

John Calvin, "We ought, therefore, to consider, that just as in the case of Abraham, the father of the faithful, the righteousness of faith preceded circumcision, so today in the children of the faithful, the gift of adoption is prior to baptism." (Opera Quae Supersunt Omina, Corpus Reformatorum, Volume 35, Page 8.)

John Calvin, "It follows, that the children of believers are not baptized, that they may thereby then become the children of God, as if they had been before aliens to the church; but, on the contrary, they are received into the Church by this solemn sign, since they already belonged to the body of Christ by virtue of the promise." (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 4:15:22. cf. 4:16:24)

You must, then definie "the promise" to be "ineffectual" rather than "effectual" based ON the promise. (Does that make any sense?)


Question 2 - Where does the WCF distinguish different people being baptized? (i.e. Do they say "When we baptize adults professing faith, then "X" happens, and when we baptize children "Y" happens.) Any hint of a distinguishing idea here? Or do they treat BOTH the same?




In terms of the others:

How can you miss what he is saying?

William Ames, "The infants of believers are not to be forbidden this sacrament. First, because, if they are partakers of any grace, it is by virtue of the covenant of grace and so both the covenant and the first seal of the covenant belong to them. Second, the covenant in which the faithful are now included is clearly the same as the covenant made with Abra­ham, Rom. 4:11; Gal. 3:7-9-and this expressly applied to infants. Third, the covenant as now administered to believers brings greater and fuller consolation than it once could, before the coming of Christ. But if it pertained only to them and not to their infants, the grace of God and their consolation would be narrower and more con­tracted after Christ's appearing than before. Fourth, baptism sup­plants circumcision, Col. 2:11, 12; it belongs as much to the children of believers as circumcision once did. Fifth, in the very beginning of regeneration, whereof baptism is a seal, man is merely passive. There­fore, no outward action is required of a man when he is baptized or circumcised (unlike other sacraments); but only a passive receiving. Infants are, therefore, as capable of participation in this sacrament, so far as its chief benefit is concerned, as adults." (The Marrow of Theology, Page 211.)


Owen links baptism and regeneration here (dead infants are regenerated? Is this what we are to suppose of dying infants? If it is, why is this different to assign the sign) He is making the point in his lsit that we are to think about them in that way - otherwise baptism becomes meaningless.

John Owen, "The end of his message and of his coming was, that those to whom he was sent might be "blessed with faithful Abraham," or that "the blessing of Abraham," promised in the covenant, "might come upon them," Galatians 3:9, 14. To deny this, overthrows the whole relation between the old testament and the new, the veracity of God in his promises, and all the properties of the covenant of grace, mentioned 2 Samuel 23:5...Infants are made for and are capable of eternal glory or misery, and must fall, dying infants, into one of these estates for ever. All infants are born in a state of sin, wherein they are spiritually dead and under the curse. Unless they are regenerated or born again, they must all perish inevitably, John 3:3. Their regeneration is the grace where of baptism is a sign or token. Wherever this is, there baptism ought to be administered. It follows hence unavoidably that infants who die in their infancy have the grace of regeneration, and consequently as good a right unto baptism as believers themselves...In brief, a participation of the seal of the covenant is a spiritual blessing. This the seed of believers was once solemnly invested in by God himself This privilege he hath nowhere revoked, though he hath changed the outward sign; nor hath he granted unto our children any privilege or mercy in lieu of it now under the gospel, when all grace and privileges are enlarged to the utmost. His covenant promises concerning them, which are multiplied, were confirmed by Christ as a true messenger and minister; he gives the grace of baptism unto many of them, especially those that die in their infancy, owns children to belong unto his kingdom, esteems them disciples, appoints households to be baptized without exception. And who shall now rise up, and withhold water from them?" (Works, Volume 16, Banner of Truth Trust (Carlisle, 1988) Pages 335-337)

Rutherford I think is quite clear - what does it mean to have salvation? Would Rutherford say that Gospel hypocrites, or reprobate men have "salvation?"

Samuel Rutherford, "It is clear that infants have their share of salvation, and by covenant it must be...And this promise made to Abraham belongs to them all..." (The Covenant of Life Opened, 1642(?), Pages 83, 104-105)


In terms of more references, I can do that, but not today.

have you read the "introductory" work to this - Lewis Schenck's book? You should get it. It would be of help.
 

C. Matthew McMahon

Christian Preacher
Witsius Quotes

(A couple in that direction)
Volume 2, 430f.

XVIII. The thing signified by baptism in general, is the
[b:843f2961ea]reception into the covenant of grace[/b:843f2961ea], as administered under the New Testament.


XLI. We readily acknowledge, that there is no express and special command of God, or of Christ, concerning infant-baptism : yet there are general commands, from which this special command is deduced by evident consequence. For to begin with what is most general; God declared to Abraham, that it was his constant and unchangeable will, that the sign of the covenant should not be denied [b:843f2961ea]to those in covenant with him[/b:843f2961ea], when he said, Gen. xvii. 13. " And my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant." By these words, he commands the sign of his covenant to be in the flesh of ail the posterity of Abraham, with which he had entered into a covenant of grace. From this general injunction, he infers, ver. 14. the necessity of circumcision, because he then gave it as a sign of the covenant. When therefore upon the change of the economy, he substituted, in the place of circumcision, anothern sign of the covenant, in consequence of that general command, all those in covenant are bound to take upon them the new sign. Moreover, believers under the New Testament belong to the spiritual posterity of Abraham, and are, [b:843f2961ea]if we consider its substance, partakers of the same gracious covenant[/b:843f2961ea] Rom. iv. 16, 17. not adults only, [b:843f2961ea] also their children[/b:843f2961ea] we shall presently shew. Whence it follows, that the sign of the covenant in their body, [b:843f2961ea]not to be denied to the young children of believers, any more than to believers themselves.[/b:843f2961ea]


XLV. Fifthly, They who belong to the church of God, have a right to baptism. The reason is, because baptism is the sign of association with, and seal of initiation into the church, Acts ii. 41. " they were baptized; and the same day there were added, namely, to the church, about three thousand souls.1' And then it is represented as the privilege of the whole church, that she is [b:843f2961ea]" cleansed by Christ with the washing of water by the word," Eph. v. 26. [/b:843f2961ea] But that infants belong to the church, appears from this, that when God commanded his church to be gathered together, he did not suffer their " little ones, and those that sucked the breasts, to be absent," Deut. xxix. 10, 11. Joel ii. 16. and protests that [b:843f2961ea]" they were born unto him," Ezek. xvi. 20.[/b:843f2961ea]
 

C. Matthew McMahon

Christian Preacher
Patrick,

There are other things to study. I would not lose sleep over this right now. It really hinges on understanding the promise in Genesis. It would be more helpful to understand what that means first than all this.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
[quote:be2faf860b][i:be2faf860b]Originally posted by webmaster[/i:be2faf860b]
Patrick, Let's stick with 2 basics - Calvin and the WCF.

Question 1 - What is Calvin saying here:

John Calvin, "We ought, therefore, to consider, that just as in the case of Abraham, the father of the faithful, the righteousness of faith preceded circumcision, so today in the children of the faithful, the gift of adoption is prior to baptism." (Opera Quae Supersunt Omina, Corpus Reformatorum, Volume 35, Page 8.)

John Calvin, "It follows, that the children of believers are not baptized, that they may thereby then become the children of God, as if they had been before aliens to the church; but, on the contrary, they are received into the Church by this solemn sign, since they already belonged to the body of Christ by virtue of the promise." (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 4:15:22. cf. 4:16:24)

You must, then definie "the promise" to be "ineffectual" rather than "effectual" based ON the promise. (Does that make any sense?)
[/quote:be2faf860b]
I take it to mean that we baptize children, not to make them covenant members, but because they already are covenant members. But that doesn't mean they are regenerate yet. They have been promised salvation certainly.

[quote:be2faf860b]
Question 2 - Where does the WCF distinguish different people being baptized? (i.e. Do they say "When we baptize adults professing faith, then "X" happens, and when we baptize children "Y" happens.) Any hint of a distinguishing idea here? Or do they treat BOTH the same?
[/quote:be2faf860b]

They don't tie the efficacy of the sacrament to the time of it's administration. But that doesn't mean the infants are presumed regenerate. They are baptized because the promise is made to them as well, by virtue of their believing parents. They are brought into the church as visible members because of their parents faith, until they can give their own profession of faith when they come to years of discretion.

[quote:be2faf860b]
In terms of the others:

How can you miss what he is saying?

William Ames, "The infants of believers are not to be forbidden this sacrament. First, because, [b:be2faf860b]if they are partakers of any grace, it is by virtue of the covenant of grace[/b:be2faf860b] and so both the covenant and the first seal of the covenant belong to them. Second, the covenant in which the faithful are now included is clearly the same as the covenant made with Abra­ham, Rom. 4:11; Gal. 3:7-9-and this expressly applied to infants. Third, the covenant as now administered to believers brings greater and fuller consolation than it once could, before the coming of Christ. But if it pertained only to them and not to their infants, the grace of God and their consolation would be narrower and more con­tracted after Christ's appearing than before. Fourth, baptism sup­plants circumcision, Col. 2:11, 12; it belongs as much to the children of believers as circumcision once did. Fifth, in the very beginning of regeneration, whereof baptism is a seal, man is merely passive. There­fore, no outward action is required of a man when he is baptized or circumcised (unlike other sacraments); but only a passive receiving. Infants are, therefore, as capable of participation in this sacrament, so far as its chief benefit is concerned, as adults." (The Marrow of Theology, Page 211.)
[/quote:be2faf860b]
Ames does not presume them regenerate. He bases the idea of their being baptized on the fact that 1) their parents are on covenant with God thereby bringing them into the same covenant, and 2) IF they are saved it is by virtue of their being in the covenant of grace, therefore we don't withhold the sign. He doesn't even ask the question of whether they are in fact regenerate. It is possible for them to be saved in the covenant, therefore we give them the sign.
[quote:be2faf860b]
Owen links baptism and regeneration here (dead infants are regenerated? Is this what we are to suppose of dying infants? If it is, why is this different to assign the sign) He is making the point in his lsit that we are to think about them in that way - otherwise baptism becomes meaningless.

John Owen, "The end of his message and of his coming was, that those to whom he was sent might be "blessed with faithful Abraham," or that "the blessing of Abraham," promised in the covenant, "might come upon them," Galatians 3:9, 14. To deny this, overthrows the whole relation between the old testament and the new, the veracity of God in his promises, and all the properties of the covenant of grace, mentioned 2 Samuel 23:5...Infants are made for and are capable of eternal glory or misery, and must fall, dying infants, into one of these estates for ever. All infants are born in a state of sin, wherein they are spiritually dead and under the curse. Unless they are regenerated or born again, they must all perish inevitably, John 3:3. [b:be2faf860b]Their regeneration is the grace where of baptism is a sign or token. Wherever this is, there baptism ought to be administered. It follows hence unavoidably that infants who die in their infancy have the grace of regeneration, and consequently as good a right unto baptism as believers themselves...[/b:be2faf860b] In brief, a participation of the seal of the covenant is a spiritual blessing. This the seed of believers was once solemnly invested in by God himself This privilege he hath nowhere revoked, though he hath changed the outward sign; nor hath he granted unto our children any privilege or mercy in lieu of it now under the gospel, when all grace and privileges are enlarged to the utmost. His covenant promises concerning them, which are multiplied, were confirmed by Christ as a true messenger and minister; he gives the grace of baptism unto many of them, especially those that die in their infancy, owns children to belong unto his kingdom, esteems them disciples, appoints households to be baptized without exception. And who shall now rise up, and withhold water from them?" (Works, Volume 16, Banner of Truth Trust (Carlisle, 1988) Pages 335-337)
[/quote:be2faf860b]
Again, he says, the same things as Ames. It is possible for them to be saved and the promise is made to them, therefore we don't withhold the sign. Notice, he emphasises infants dying in infancy.

[quote:be2faf860b]
Rutherford I think is quite clear - what does it mean to have salvation? Would Rutherford say that Gospel hypocrites, or reprobate men have "salvation?"

Samuel Rutherford, "It is clear that infants have their share of salvation, and by covenant it must be...And this promise made to Abraham belongs to them all..." (The Covenant of Life Opened, 1642(?), Pages 83, 104-105)
[/quote:be2faf860b]
Rutherford does the same thing too. They can be saved, and the promise is made to them, there for we give them sign. Rutherford also points out that baptism only brings one into the external covenant or visible church, not the internal covenant which is something only God can do through election and effectual calling. In fact, Rutherford even says quoting Cobbet, that the faith by which we bring them to Christ for baptism is "a faith grounded upon the possibility of election seperated from the Covenant, that is secret, and the Covenant revealed, and so this, not electiobn abtracted from that, can be the ground of faith, Duet 29:29." And then following the same thinking as Ames in the possibility of salvation, "It's clear that infants have their share in salvation, and by Covenant is must be." So Rutherford bases the ground of baptism the same as Ames, and Owen, on the possibility of their salvation, and the certainty that if the are in fact saved it's because they were in the covenant (or internal covenant for Rutherford).

They never ask the question of whether their children are in fact regenerate or not. They leave it unknown. And they all emphasise, in reading their thoughts on the church, that children are raised in the church under their parents profession of faith, until the children come to years of discretion and give their own profession.

Perhaps this is simply semantics, but I'm not finding where these men say "presume your children are regenerate." We raise them as Christians or disciples and federally holy, so they may learn the faith and take hold of the priveleges they were given. But they never presumed them regenerate until they came to years of discretion and they made profession of faith, at least when comparing thier views of infant baptism to their ideas of the nature of the church.

And another issue, which will probably tie back into Wayne's initiall post here, if you are holding to PR, then what do you do with stressing the need for conversion? The Puritans had a heavy emphasis on the need for conversion, which seems to contradict the idea that they held to presumptive regeneration. And this problem is surfacing in the Auburn Ave stuff too, which I think Phillips does a good job pointing out. They are losing their theology of conversion because they presume it to already have taken place, and tie the maintaining of it to their covenant faithfulness (and I know you don't do this Matt but I think the consequences may be similar with your view of PR).

[quote:be2faf860b]
In terms of more references, I can do that, but not today.

have you read the "introductory" work to this - Lewis Schenck's book? You should get it. It would be of help. [/quote:be2faf860b]
I'll look into this book. You pointed out in your catechism that Schenk quotes Hodge supporting presumptive regeneration, but there is no source from Hodge noted. Where is Schenk quoting from?

And perhaps Wayne, you could also add some some input here because you stated you do not hold to PR and yet hold to Hodges position. I also read through Hodges ST on infant baptism and I don't see where he teaches presumptive regeneration. So we have a conflict over what Hodge was teaching too.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Patrick writes:
"I take it to mean that we baptize children, not to make them covenant members, but because they already are covenant members. But that doesn't mean they are regenerate yet. They have been promised salvation certainly."

S: Who has promised? Does God fulfill His promises? Is it God or men who is faithful?


"They don't tie the efficacy of the sacrament to the time of it's administration. But that doesn't mean the infants are presumed regenerate.

S: The efficacy is in Gods promise, not the administration. The children are viewed as being IN covenant w/ God. What was the promise in relation to being in covenant? "I will be a God to you and your children". It has been asked many times before, what was the depth of the promise when God says to Abraham, "I will be a God to you and your children"?


P: They are baptized because the promise is made to them as well, by virtue of their believing parents. They are brought into the church as visible members because of their parents faith, until they can give their own profession of faith when they come to years of discretion. "

S: Pat, this type of thinking is, as Matt states, "Neo-Presbyterian", or baptistic in practice. My opinion is that this type of thinking also borders upon semi-Pelagianism; we want to see a work or we won't believe. This is part of the problem. An excellent book I am reading is by Horace Bushnell, "Christian Nurture". In the book, Bushnell implies that believers should never refer to their children as any less than children of God. They should not be compared w/ the pagan's child who lives up the street. They should be encouraged and corrected with statements like, "You are a Chrisitian, is that becoming of a child of God?"

P: "They never ask the question of whether their children are in fact regenerate or not. They leave it unknown.

S: Covenant children are in the covenant based upon Gods always faithful promises. This is not [i:605fd508e0]unknown[/i:605fd508e0]. The reason that the idea is never posed in the way you are looking for, is because of the exact reason Matt is mentioning; it was not the norm of thought for these men. Pat, you are presuming that these men had on the same glasses as you; they did not. Their minds were not full of the items that corrupt our lines of thinking in regards to covenant theology. The scofield error has permeated more roads of thinking than you can ever imagine.


P: And they all emphasise, in reading their thoughts on the church, that children are raised in the church under their parents profession of faith, until the children come to years of discretion and give their own profession.


S: Can you quote someone on this statement, "until the children come to years of discretion and give their own profession."?

P: Perhaps this is simply semantics, but I'm not finding where these men say "presume your children are regenerate."

S: With no disrespect meant Pat, It is semantics. You are presuming that these men are thinking like you think. Your presupps are fogging that which you are trying to understand.


P: "We raise them as Christians or disciples and federally holy,...."

S: Is their holiness just "federal"?

1 Cor 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.

Did Jesus see them as just federally holy?

Mat 19:13 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.
Mat 19:14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 19:15 And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.

Hendriksen writes:
"The reason Jesus gives for ordering the disciples to stop hindering the little ones from coming to Him is: "For to such"- that is, to them and to all those who in humble trustfulness are like them, belongs the kingdom of Heaven. In the present case the verse means that in principle all blessing of salvation belong even now to these little ones. A fact which was to be realized progressively here on Earht and perfectly in the hereafter.

The laying on of the hands was the symbolic act which indicated and accompanied the actual blessing that was then and there bestowed upon these babes. Mark 10:16 informs us that lovingly the Mster had taken them into Hs arms.



S: In regards to Jesus praying for them:

John 17:9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.

Hendriksen calls this "Intercession".

Heb 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

Hendriksen continues:

The fact that the Lord regarded these little ones as being already "in" the kingdom, as being now members of the His church must not escape our attention. He definately did not view them as "little heathen", who were living outside the realm of salvation until by an act of their own they would "join the church". He regarded them as "Holy seed". (1 Cor 7:14)


P: ".....so they may learn the faith and take hold of the priveleges they were given. But they never presumed them regenerate until they came to years of discretion and they made profession of faith, at least when comparing thier views of infant baptism to their ideas of the nature of the church."


S: Quote please??? As I have stated, I believe you are presuming this based upon presupps.......


[Edited on 5-15-2004 by Scott Bushey]
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Sorry Wayne, I'll reply to Scott then back on topic.

[quote:3bb0b00fdf][i:3bb0b00fdf]Originally posted by Scott Bushey[/i:3bb0b00fdf]
S: Quote please??? As I have stated, I believe you are presuming this based upon presupps.......
[/quote:3bb0b00fdf]

Here's what I had in mind.
Ames:
"12. The children of those believers who are in the church are to be counted with the believers as members of teh church, 1 Cor. 7:14, [i:3bb0b00fdf]Your children are holy[/i:3bb0b00fdf]. For they are partakers with their parents of the same covenant and profession.
13. Yet children are not such perfect members of teh church tht they can exercise acts of communion or be admitted to all it's privileges unless their is first a growth of faith. But they are not to be excluded from teh privileges which pertainto the beginning of faith and entrance into the church." (MOT, pg. 179-180)
"18. But the Supper is to be administered only to those who are visibly capable of nourishment and growth in the church. Therefore it is to be given not to infants, but only to adults." (MOT, pg. 212)

Rutherford:
"So the Lord promiseth life and forgiveness shall be given to these who are externally in the covenant, providing they believe, but the Lord promiseth not a new heart and grace to believe, to these that are only externally in Covenant. And yet he promiseth both to the Elect." (COL, pg. 94)
"We believe many infants (we reserve to the holy and glorious Lord his liberty in election and reprobation, Rom. 9:11,12) among the Jews were saved by the covenant of grace, though they died infants." (COL pg. 91)

Witsius:
"There is also a twofold holiness. The one is merely relative, external, federal; and consists in a person's being seperated from the fellowship of the impure and profane world, numbered amongst te people of God, and having access to many promises... But the otherkind of holiness is internal, and absolute, peculiar to the regenerate, consisting in conformity to God, and the image of divine purity...
In like manner, the participation of the covenant of grace is twofold. The one includes merely symbolical and common privileges, whihc have no cetain connection with salvation, and to which infants are admitted by their relation to parents that are within the covenant; and adults, by a profession of faith and repentence, even though insincere...
The other participation of teh covenant of grace, is pataking if its internal, spiritual, and saving blessings, as the forgiveness of sins, the writing of the law in the heart, &c.
But if you consider the external form of the Church, God has appointed stewards over it, who are entrusted with the dispensatiobn of external privileges... None has right even to these priviledges, who are not renewed and sanctified; for they are signs and seals of spiritual grace, which belongs to believers only, and are consequently profaned by unbelievers who venture to recieve them. It is incumbent on the Stewards to give serious and faitful warning of this, to all, and to every individual, lest by rash and unhallowed approaches, they procure judgment to themselves. But since it is not their preogative to know the heart, they are bound to demand a profession of faith and repentence from all who make application for communion in the Church." (Apostles Creed, V2, pg. 353-357)
Now why would Witsius demand a profession of faith and repentence from all (I assume the children too) who make application for communion if he were already presuming the regeneration of the children? Are they not already partakers of the promise?

But with that said, I guess the real difficulty I have is the antinomian baggage the term [i:3bb0b00fdf]presumptive regeneration[/i:3bb0b00fdf] carries with it from recent controversies. I don't see this in the older theologians, especially in light of their emphasis upon the need for conversion, especially noticable in their sermons. But maybe I am misunderstanding your view of presumptive regeneration? Perhaps you are right about my glasses but I still seek clarification.

[Edited on 5-16-2004 by puritansailor]
 

Reena Wilms

Puritan Board Freshman
PURITANSAILOR WROTE :

"But with that said, I guess the real difficulty I have is the antinomian baggage the term presumptive regeneration carries with it from recent controversies. I don't see this in the older theologians, especially in light of their emphasis upon the need for conversion, especially noticable in their sermons. But maybe I am misunderstanding your view of presumptive regeneration? Perhaps you are right about my glasses but I still seek clarification. "

Presumptive regeration is for me also a difficult issue. As i told before here the Netherlands, this "Presumptive regeration" is only found in "liberal churches", why the orthodox reformed churches are against it, because of the antinomianism. The most orthodox reformed churches here are very clear in the teaching/preaching on the need of coversion in the churches.

Ralph
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
PuritanSailor writes:
"But with that said, I guess the real difficulty I have is the antinomian baggage the term presumptive regeneration carries with it from recent controversies. "

Pat,
Please expound upon some of the "baggage" ? I don't see any from my view.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
[quote:74bec1b62a][i:74bec1b62a]Originally posted by Scott Bushey[/i:74bec1b62a]
PuritanSailor writes:
"But with that said, I guess the real difficulty I have is the antinomian baggage the term presumptive regeneration carries with it from recent controversies. "

Pat,
Please expound upon some of the "baggage" ? I don't see any from my view. [/quote:74bec1b62a]

Essentially, the perversions which the CRC and many Dutch denominations (and I suppose Anglicans and Lutherans as well would fall into this) that since our chidlren are presumed regenerate, we don't need to worry about their salvation. If they rebel, hey that's ok, because they'll come around eventually. It results in not sharing the gospel with your children because you already presume they have it.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
[quote:33349564c6][i:33349564c6]Originally posted by puritansailor[/i:33349564c6]
[quote:33349564c6][i:33349564c6]Originally posted by Scott Bushey[/i:33349564c6]
PuritanSailor writes:
"But with that said, I guess the real difficulty I have is the antinomian baggage the term presumptive regeneration carries with it from recent controversies. "

Pat,
Please expound upon some of the "baggage" ? I don't see any from my view. [/quote:33349564c6]

Essentially, the perversions which the CRC and many Dutch denominations (and I suppose Anglicans and Lutherans as well would fall into this) that since our chidlren are presumed regenerate, we don't need to worry about their salvation. If they rebel, hey that's ok, because they'll come around eventually. It results in not sharing the gospel with your children because you already presume they have it. [/quote:33349564c6]


My 2 cents:
The extensive nature to "nurturing" them would cover all aspects. Preaching the full counsel and character of God would cover, repentance, belief, salvation, election, sin and the result for rejecting these things. The warning passages are there in scripture for that exact reason. Seeing these scriptures does not in any way create a conflict in the realm of CT and the status of our children. They are there for the exact purpose you state; to present the obvious warning to those covenant peoples whom reject that which saves.
 

Dan....

Puritan Board Sophomore
A couple of quick questions for Scott:


1. In your view of "presumption", based on the promise of God (to be a God to you and to your children), is there a difference between presumptive election and presumptive regeneration? ([i:3a1d84f752]in other words, if one said that he presumes, based on the promise of God, that his children are elect, though not yet necessarily regenerate -in what way does your view disagree with his?[/i:3a1d84f752] )

2. If you answer question 1 above, "there is a difference", then, what do you base that difference upon? You cannot base it on the promise of God, because the one who presumes election also believes the promise of God that He will be a God to his children. ([i:3a1d84f752]In other words, what in the promise of God gives you reason to presume that your children are [u:3a1d84f752]already[/u:3a1d84f752] regenerate, rather than presuming only that your children will be (at some point in their lives) regenerate?[/i:3a1d84f752] )

I hope my questions made sense.

As for me, I trust in the promise of God, that He will be a God to my unborn child ([i:3a1d84f752]due in June -it's getting close:D [/i:3a1d84f752]), and hence, that this child will, in time, be converted. Yet, I cannot say that the promise of God is that my child is already regenerate.

[Edited on 5-16-2004 by Dan....]
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
[quote:10e4d78898][i:10e4d78898]Originally posted by Dan....[/i:10e4d78898]
A couple of quick questions for Scott:


1. In your view of "presumption", based on the promise of God (to be a God to you and to your children), is there a difference between presumptive election and presumptive regeneration? ([i:10e4d78898]in other words, if one said that he presumes, based on the promise of God, that his children are elect, though not yet necessarily regenerate -in what way does your view disagree with his?[/i:10e4d78898] )

2. If you answer question 1 above, "there is a difference", then, what do you base that difference upon? You cannot base it on the promise of God, because the one who presumes election also believes the promise of God that He will be a God to his children. ([i:10e4d78898]In other words, what in the promise of God gives you reason to presume that your children are [u:10e4d78898]already[/u:10e4d78898] regenerate, rather than presuming only that your children will be (at some point in their lives) regenerate?[/i:10e4d78898] )

I hope my questions made sense.

As for me, I trust in the promise of God, that He will be a God to my unborn child ([i:10e4d78898]due in June -it's getting close:D [/i:10e4d78898]), and hence, that this child will, in time, be converted. Yet, I cannot say that the promise of God is that my child is already regenerate.

[Edited on 5-16-2004 by Dan....] [/quote:10e4d78898]

Dan,
There is a difference. Election does not necessarily imply any specific time frame. One could be regenerated late in life, i.e. adult. Could God be a God to my children if in fact they were not regenerate? The promise is specifically to "my [i:10e4d78898]children[/i:10e4d78898], not my son or daughter whom is an adult. How could I reconcile saying to my child, "pray to ye father" when in fact I even doubt they are children of God? How could I bend the knee w/ my daughter and imply that God hears her prayers when in fact her prayers are an abomination? From the idea of CT, God says that they are NOT an abomination; that I am to teach her to pray, to worship, to repent, etc. Unbelievers or those whom are elect and not yet regenerate can not claim this!

[Edited on 5-16-2004 by Scott Bushey]
 

Dan....

Puritan Board Sophomore
[quote:2df813719b]
Dan,
There is a difference. Election does not necessarily imply any specific time frame. One could be regenerated late in life, i.e. adult. Could God be a God to my children if in fact they were not regenerate?
[/quote:2df813719b]

The promise of God is that He will be a God to your children. If He so chooses to convert them at 65, He is faithful. He kept His promise.

[quote:2df813719b]
The promise is specifically to "my children, not my son or daughter whom is an adult.
[/quote:2df813719b]

You are mixing terms. The term for "children" as in "offspring" and the term for "children" as in "infant offspring" are not the same.

The promise is specific. It is to you and to your children - [i:2df813719b]teknon[/i:2df813719b], i.e. offspring (Strongs 5043- a child as produced) - it is not the term [i:2df813719b]paidion[/i:2df813719b] which is specific to an infant or young child (Strongs 3813- an infant or half-grown boy or girl). In the Old Testament, we find the promise is to [i:2df813719b]ben[/i:2df813719b] (Strongs 1121 -son in the widest sense). Had God wanted to mean by that "infant children", there is a Hebrew word specifically for that also -[i:2df813719b]yeled[/i:2df813719b] (Strongs 3206 - a lad or offspring, boy, child, young one).

Your adult offspring is still your child (i.e., offspring) and is still heir to the promise.


[quote:2df813719b]
How could I reconcile saying to my child, "pray to ye father" when in fact I even doubt they are children of God? How could I bend the knee w/ my daughter and imply that God hears her prayers when in fact her prayers are an abomination? From the idea of CT, God says that they are NOT an abomination; that I am to teach her to pray, to worship, to repent, etc. Unbelievers or those whom are elect and not yet regenerate can not claim this!
[/quote:2df813719b]

Why not? Where do the scriptures say that an unregenerate cannot pray to God? [b:2df813719b]- But this is a diversion.[/b:2df813719b] Getting back to the question: The question is about the promise of God. Where does God say that He will convert your children at an early age? The promise is to you and to your offspring. If you interpret that promise as to you and to your offspring, while he/she is still in infancy, then you have added to the promise.

God is faithful. If He so chooses to convert our children as adults, then such would be in keeping with His promise.

[Edited on 5-16-2004 by Dan....]
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Dan writes:
[quote:b90418472b] "The promise of God is that He will be a God to your children. If He so chooses to convert them at 65, He is faithful. He kept His promise."[/quote:b90418472b]

Scott responds:
Dan, regeneration and conversion are two different things. If God promises to "be a God" to my children, it is not to be confused when he actually converts them. John the baptist was regenerated in the womb (and even then, filled w/ the HS), yet not until he had the word preached to him could he have been regenerated.

Dan continues:
[quote:b90418472b]"Your adult offspring is still your child (i.e., offspring) and is still heir to the promise."[/quote:b90418472b]

Dan,
Sorry, but your reasoning does not follow. Please show me one scriptural example where an adult seed is referred to as "child". When God says, "your children and their childrens children, he is not talking about adults, i.e. sons and daughters.

Dan:
[quote:b90418472b]"Why not? Where do the scriptures say that an unregenerate cannot pray to God?"[/quote:b90418472b]

Scott answers:
Dan, this is not a diversion. Actually it is at the crux of the issue. We know that anyone can attempt to pray. In my opinion, it is quite irresponsible for one to tell their unregenerate aquaintances 'to pray', as if to imply God really hears these prayers, when in fact they are an abomination. You see Dan, you have only two options in regards to this proposition; either God hears every prayer or He only hears particular prayers, that of His people. Now, I am not talking about omniscience; we are addressing particular prayers that God is inclined towards. Which one is it Dan? That said, I again say, it is quite irresponsible to tell one's children to pray and that God hears their prayers, when in fact, it is an abomination to Him. Hence, the scriptural admonition is with the idea that our children ARE in fact part of the family of God. CT is based upon this premise; it must be, else the conflict in which we are dealing with right here is irreconcilable.

"Prov 15:8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.

Prov 15:9 The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness."

Prov 15:26 The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD: but the words of the pure are pleasant words.

John 9:31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.

Dan adds:
[quote:b90418472b]"Where does God say that He will convert your children at an early age?" [/quote:b90418472b]

Scott says:
I never said God promised to convert my children at an early age. I do believe the promise though; and thats the point. Based upon that, I trust Gods faithfulness in regenerating her and later converting her. I will rear my Zoe in the way she should go. She will be brought up as a believer, a child of the most high. If as an adult, she rejects all that I have taught her, all that God has done for her, let her be as a heather or the tax collector. The scriptures are clear; the warning passages are there. Let all heed them.

Dan writes:
[quote:b90418472b]"The promise is to you and to your offspring. If you interpret that promise as to you and to your offspring, while he/she is still in infancy, then you have added to the promise."[/quote:b90418472b]

Dan,
Did Abraham not believe along these same lines?


Dan,
2 questions which I have not yet gotten an answer to?
1) What does it exactly mean when God says that He will be a God to my children?
2) How did Abraham view his childrens salvific state, i.e. When he looked at Ishmael or Issac? Did He see them differently? If you would have asked him, "Abraham, are your sons heavenbound?", what do you think he would have said? How do you think he understood this promise?

[Edited on 5-17-2004 by Scott Bushey]
 

Dan....

Puritan Board Sophomore
Dan writes:


[quote:e11ee59653]
Scott responds:
Dan, regeneration and conversion are two different things. If God promises to "be a God" to my children, it is not to be confused when he actually converts them. John the baptist was regenerated in the womb (and even then, filled w/ the HS), yet not until he had the word preached to him could he have been regenerated.
[/quote:e11ee59653]

Different, yes. But not unrelated. Those who are regenerated are quickened. They have new life in them already. That is what the word means. Having been given new life, those who have been regenerated are thereby enabled to walk in a manner different than that of the Gentiles (Eph 2:1-5) because of the work of God in them.

If our children are regenerated at an early age, then this will be true of them. They will walk as those who are regenerate. Regeneration cannot be alone. New life will grow.





[quote:e11ee59653]
Dan,
Sorry, but your reasoning does not follow. Please show me one scriptural example where an adult seed is referred to as "child". When God says, "your children and their childrens children, he is not talking about adults, i.e. sons and daughters.
[/quote:e11ee59653]

Just one???? No problem -

Ex 1:7 - And the [b:e11ee59653]children[/b:e11ee59653] of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, and multiplied....

(Children in this verse is [i:e11ee59653]ben[/i:e11ee59653] Strongs 1121 -the same word in Jeremiah 32:39 -"for the good of them and their children after them"). If one had much time his hands, he might be able to count up the scores of times that just the phrase "children of Israel" appears in the Old Testament. Are all of these references to infants and none to adults?

[quote:e11ee59653]
Scott answers:
Dan, this is not a diversion. Actually it is at the crux of the issue. We know that anyone can attempt to pray. In my opinion, it is quite irresponsible for one to tell their unregenerate aquaintances 'to pray', as if to imply God really hears these prayers, when in fact they are an abomination.
[/quote:e11ee59653]

First, yes, it is a diversion. Not that it is not an important issue, but the question at had is to whether or not, based upon the promise of God, our infant children are to be presumed regenerate. Now based upon the promise of God, wherein do you find that your children, unto whom He has promised to be a God, are to be viewed as already regenerate? This is the question that you have not yet answered.

Second, are you saying that it is wrong to admonish the unregenerate to fall on their faces and beseech God that He may be merciful to them? Are they to wait until they show signs of regeneration before they begin beseeching Him? (This would be hyper-Calvinistic by the way). Are they not also to thank Him for the common graces that they do enjoy?


[quote:e11ee59653]
Scott says:
I never said God promised to convert my children at an early age. I do believe the promise though; and thats the point. Based upon that, I trust Gods faithfulness in regenerating her and later converting her.
[/quote:e11ee59653]

Can you provide scripture that demonstrates that there is a time gap between regeneration and conversion?

[quote:e11ee59653]
Dan,
Did Abraham not believe along these same lines?
[/quote:e11ee59653]

Along which lines, that God had regenerated his children, or that God would regenerate them? If you are saying that he believed that God had already regenerated them, then can you provide the scriptures that lead you to so conclude?

[quote:e11ee59653]
Dan,
2 questions which I have not yet gotten an answer to?
1) What does it exactly mean when God says that He will be a God to my children?
[/quote:e11ee59653]

Just what He said, He will be a God to them. He will acomplish that which He has promised. If indeed they do believe to the saving of their souls (no matter at what age), then it is evidence that God has kept His promise.

[quote:e11ee59653]
2) How did Abraham view his childrens salvific state, i.e. When he looked at Ishmael or Issac? Did He see them differently? If you would have asked him, "Abraham, are your sons heavenbound?", what do you think he would have said? How do you think he understood this promise?
[/quote:e11ee59653]

Did he view them salvifically, or as heirs to the covenant? He could have viewed them as heirs to the covenant, and not yet converted. For you to say emphatically that he viewed them as already regenerate is speculation.

[Edited on 5-17-2004 by Dan....]
 

Dan....

Puritan Board Sophomore
Scott,

One more thing...

[quote:76d4ea9398]
If you would have asked him, "Abraham, are your sons heavenbound?", what do you think he would have said?
[/quote:76d4ea9398]

If you ask one who holds presumptive regeneration and one who holds presumptive election this same exact question, would they both not answer, "yes, I believe that my children are heirs to the covenant promise that God has given to be a God to me and to my children as an everlasting covenant, and hence, I believe that my children shall inherit the end of the promise, i.e., eternal life in the presence of Christ." ??? Is that not what both (PR and PE) would presume? Are you saying that Abraham presumed anything more than this? On what basis?
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Dan writes:
[quote:e42848ca25]"Just what He said, He will be a God to them. He will acomplish that which He has promised. If indeed they do believe to the saving of their souls (no matter at what age), then it is evidence that God has kept His promise. "[/quote:e42848ca25]

Dan,
There is much more to the statement than you have given credit. When God says, "I will be a God to them", this is more of a command. God has decreed it. Your above statement is baptisitic minded; it makes Gods command -conditional-. The command is not made w/ qualifications. My children WILL believe.

Psa 110:3 Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.

[Edited on 5-17-2004 by Scott Bushey]
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
[quote:95167ae279][i:95167ae279]Originally posted by Scott Bushey[/i:95167ae279]
Dan,
There is much more to the statement than you have given credit. When God says, "I will be a God to them", this is more of a command. God has decreed it. Your above statement is baptisitic minded; it makes Gods command -conditional-. The command is not made w/ qualifications. My children WILL believe.
[/quote:95167ae279]
How is it conditional? You both agree that it is God who produces the faith. It is all of grace. This allegation of conditions or "semi-pelagianism" simply is unfounded Scott. There is nothing semi-pelagian about it. God produces the work of salvation not men. The disagreement is over the time it happens, or perhaps the time we should presume it happens.

[Edited on 5-17-2004 by puritansailor]
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
[quote:a1dc88a49b][i:a1dc88a49b]Originally posted by puritansailor[/i:a1dc88a49b]
[quote:a1dc88a49b][i:a1dc88a49b]Originally posted by Scott Bushey[/i:a1dc88a49b]
Dan,
There is much more to the statement than you have given credit. When God says, "I will be a God to them", this is more of a command. God has decreed it. Your above statement is baptisitic minded; it makes Gods command -conditional-. The command is not made w/ qualifications. My children WILL believe.
[/quote:a1dc88a49b]
How is it conditional? You both agree that it is God who produces the faith. It is all of grace. This allegation of conditions or "semi-pelagianism" simply is unfounded Scott. There is nothing semi-pelagian about it. God produces the work of salvation not men. The disagreement is over the time it happens, or perhaps the time we should presume it happens.

[Edited on 5-17-2004 by puritansailor] [/quote:a1dc88a49b]

Pat,
Here's Dan's statement again:
"Just what He said, He will be a God to them. He will acomplish that which He has promised. [color=Red:a1dc88a49b]If [/color:a1dc88a49b]indeed they do believe to the saving of their souls (no matter at what age), then it is [color=Red:a1dc88a49b]evidence[/color:a1dc88a49b] that God has kept His promise. "

The rationale for God "to accomplish" is not conditional upon whether or not my child believes. The decree is, she WILL believe.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
[quote:8cefcfbbb1][i:8cefcfbbb1]Originally posted by Scott Bushey[/i:8cefcfbbb1]
Pat,
Here's Dan's statement again:
"Just what He said, He will be a God to them. He will acomplish that which He has promised. [color=Red:8cefcfbbb1]If [/color:8cefcfbbb1]indeed they do believe to the saving of their souls (no matter at what age), then it is [color=Red:8cefcfbbb1]evidence[/color:8cefcfbbb1] that God has kept His promise. "

The rationale for God "to accomplish" is not conditional upon whether or not my child believes. The decree is, she WILL believe. [/quote:8cefcfbbb1]
If your understanding of the promise is that your child will actually believe, how then did God keep his promise to Esau? You seem to be going beyond presumptive regeneration now.
Are you saying that when God promises to be a God to our children that God promises to actually save all our children?

[Edited on 5-17-2004 by puritansailor]
 

Dan....

Puritan Board Sophomore
[quote:171ee3c33c]
Your above statement is baptisitic minded
[/quote:171ee3c33c]

Thank you. I'll consider that a compliment.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
[quote:f47f3c61cb][i:f47f3c61cb]Originally posted by puritansailor[/i:f47f3c61cb]
[quote:f47f3c61cb][i:f47f3c61cb]Originally posted by Scott Bushey[/i:f47f3c61cb]
Pat,
Here's Dan's statement again:
"Just what He said, He will be a God to them. He will acomplish that which He has promised. [color=Red:f47f3c61cb]If [/color:f47f3c61cb]indeed they do believe to the saving of their souls (no matter at what age), then it is [color=Red:f47f3c61cb]evidence[/color:f47f3c61cb] that God has kept His promise. "

The rationale for God "to accomplish" is not conditional upon whether or not my child believes. The decree is, she WILL believe. [/quote:f47f3c61cb]
If your understanding of the promise is that your child will actually believe, how then did God keep his promise to Esau? You seem to be going beyond presumptive regeneration now.
Are you saying that when God promises to be a God to our children that God promises to actually save all our children?

[Edited on 5-17-2004 by puritansailor] [/quote:f47f3c61cb]


Pat writes:
[quote:f47f3c61cb]'If your understanding of the promise is that your child will actually believe, how then did God keep his promise to Esau?'[/quote:f47f3c61cb]

Esau is a special case as his mother was informed prior to his birth of his 'condition'; however,
even if that had not been the case, it is Esau who broke covenant w/ God, not vice versa.

The promises of God, in Him, are yea and in Him, amen!

Dan,
To think baptistically in regards to this subject, one will never understand the principle because it is foundated on CT. Whether or not one see's baptistic thinking as compimentary I guess depends upon their theology.....

Also, I will foward you gentlemen back to my previous post quoting 'Hendriksen'; I believe he explains the position better than I could.

[Edited on 5-17-2004 by Scott Bushey]
 

kceaster

Puritan Board Junior
All...

What has helped me think my way out of this conundrum is that I believe my children to be regenerate but I am not looking for a "Damascus Road" scenario. We practice daily repentance and attempt to keep short accounts. We bring them up the way we are supposed to as best we can understand. But our bringing them up or our encouraging them to repent on a daily basis will not mean their regeneration draweth nigh. Perhaps it has already happened, perhaps it has yet to, or perhaps it will never be.

But in presuming their regeneration, we aren't building into the equation that they can now take it easy and do what they please. We make them work hard to understand the things of God, which of course they cannot do if they are unregenerate. We expect them to learn their Bible and catechism. We expect them to examine themselves before taking the Lord's Table.

We are not looking for a conversion, we are training disciples. To me, making disciples has presumptive regeneration built into it. Why else would we even bother?

If people went around with signs on their heads on whether or not they were regenerate, would we even teach the ones who weren't? Because we do not have the sign, do we not presume all to be regenerate within the church, including our children, whether or not they have had a conversion experience?

To sum up, teach them to be repentant, teach them to love the Word, teach them to study doctrine, and trust in the promise of God. If they totally turn their back and walk away, we'll know it. But until them, we hold them to a holy standard. In the end, all of our work and all of our hopes had better rest in God instead of in a conversion. Everyone should know by now that conversion experiences are not all like unto Paul. Some of them are like Simon the Sorcerer.

In Christ,

KC

[Edited on 5-17-2004 by kceaster]
 

kceaster

Puritan Board Junior
Scott...

No. But it sounds like a good title. Who is the publisher and where could I get it?

Blessings,

KC
 

Dan....

Puritan Board Sophomore
Scott posted earlier,

[quote:d12fec62f6]
They should be encouraged and corrected with statements like, "You are a Chrisitian, is that becoming of a child of God?"
[/quote:d12fec62f6]

I would never, ever, ever correct my child by telling him/her that "he/she is a Christian". Maybe (if they do profess), "you profess to be a Christian", but never "you are a Christian".

Is this what you mean by thinking Baptistically? If so, then Baptistic I hope always to remain. Soothing a conscience by telling them that they are something that they may not be is, in my opinion, dangerous.

If this is the thought process of one who holds presumptive regeneration, then I want nothing to do with it.

[Edited on 5-17-2004 by Dan....]
 

kceaster

Puritan Board Junior
Dan...

How exactly would you admonish a child who was caught in a sin?

Do you treat them as if they should know better? Do you punish them? Do you tell them that they need to ask the Lord for forgiveness? Do make them say they're sorry?

If you do any of these things, then by necessity, you must presume they are regenerate, for the unregenerate does not know better, they go unpunished, and they will neither say they are sorry, nor repent.

I apologize if this is not the proper doctrine, but this is how I look at presumptive regeneration. I treat my kids as disciples. I chastise them if they do wrong, and I expect them to do right.

In Christ,

KC
 
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