Reposting here for Credo feedback

Discussion in 'Credo-Baptism Answers' started by DMcFadden, Jul 20, 2008.

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  1. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Dennis,
    I would like to know what you think an Early age is? In fact what is your reference for this? I know that Tertillian was opposed to infant baptism. And if I am not mistaken Origen gives one of the first references to it.

    Again as others have recommended I would advise you to get Baptism in the Early Church by Hendrick F. Stander and Johannes P. Louw.

    Here is a descent review of the book..

    http://www.rbc.org.nz/reviews/BaptismInTheEarlyChurch.pdf

    Here is the ARBCA sites review.
    Baptism in the Early Church
     
  2. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member


    According to Augustine and other Early Church Fathers it was due to necessity. Death beds and sicknesses were the motivating reasons for the start of the practice. The Early Church veared away from sound theology concerning baptism claiming it was the means for the forgiveness of sin and a necessity if one was to enter the Kingdom.
     
  3. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritanboard Commissioner

    "... by a tradition at least as old as the 3rd cent., and virtually universal until the Reformation, children born to Christian parents have been baptized in infancy.
    Cross, F. L., & Livingstone, E. A. (2005). The Oxford dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd ed. rev.) (836). Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.
     
  4. JM

    JM Puritan Board Professor

    Good quote.
     
  5. refbaptdude

    refbaptdude Puritan Board Freshman

    Dennis,

    why were they baptizing infants? What was the theology behind this practice?:think:
     
  6. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritanboard Commissioner

    Certainly not Presbyterian covenant theology if that is what you want me to admit. Remember, I have NEVER been a paedo. However, I am wondering about the bases for our belief.

    My point was that regardless of the theology undergirding the practice, the church for the vast majority of its history has practiced infant baptism. Yes, I know our credo arguments for the precepts and teaching of Jesus, the absence of positive examples of infant baptism duirng the NT period, etc. My question had to do with the stubborn persistence of the practice over so many centuries.

    When we come to the doctrines of grace, we speak of the ancient Augustinian-Calvinist tradition. When we talk about eschatology, we point out the antiquity of both the historic premil and amil/postmil belief in the return of Christ to raise the saints, judge the world, and make all things new. But, when we look at baptism, the current popularity of the credo position thanks in no small part to charismatic expansion around the world, papers over the fact that the paedo position was the majority report in Christianity.
     
  7. CharlieJ

    CharlieJ Puritan Board Junior

    I'm not sure why a rejection of infant baptism should pose a greater historical problem than a rejection of sacramentalism, mariolatry, prelatory polity or papal authority. Didn't a lot of these doctrines originate in the early-medieval era and don't we repudiate them all?

    To be fair, Dennis, maybe we should be studying the Lutheran view of baptism some too.
     
  8. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritanboard Commissioner

    Charlie, when you are old enough that you quit buying green bananas :)lol:), your intellectual sieve becomes a bit more pragmatic. I already know that the RC and Lutheran views hold no intellectual attraction for me so they probably won't receive much of my consideration. I am just doing my "almost 55 year old" doctrinal gut check to be sure that my long held (but largely unexamined) assumptions (almost presumptions in my case) are biblically, theologically, and historically sound. The PB has exposed me on a regular basis (and for the first time) to real live (and very smart) paedos. That is the reason for my postings.

    Most of my doctrinal views were well formed decades ago. A couple of them were formed before college and seminary and could stand some "road testing."
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2008
  9. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Dennis:hAve you listened to the James White vs. William Shisko baptism debate? Itis very good.
     
  10. Wannabee

    Wannabee Obi Wan Kenobi

    I took my theology out and threw it on the table for examination as well; it was about 6 years ago when I recognized my legalistic views on KJVOnlyism. Eventually it's what brought be to embrace God's sovereignty fully. I knew He was sovereign, but didn't grasp the implications clearly until studying Calvinism. At the same time I checked into Bible versions, baptism, charismatics and any other aspect of my faith I was challenged on. But, unlike what you're doing, I did not do an in-depth study of church history. I simply read my Bible and what literature was available to me (very limited at the time).
    The result was that I then knew why I stood where I stood. It was very affirming.

    Study deeply Dennis. But guard against the philosophies of men. The man who tells the apostles that they should be baptizing babies needs to have an airtight argument.

    May God bless your efforts,
    Joe
     
  11. CharlieJ

    CharlieJ Puritan Board Junior

    Sorry Dennis, I don't think my post came across very clearly. As you know, I too am studying baptism and looking for evidence. I am trying to guard myself against poor arguments because, frankly, it would be much more convenient for me right now to be paedo.

    I do question whether it is legitimate to set all the theologies of "infant baptism" against credobaptism. It seems (though my historical study is very incomplete) that Zwingli's theology of infant baptism is, on the theological level, just as much an innovation as rejecting paedobaptism. He did reject all the prior reasons for it.

    If you came up with a theology of the Lord's Supper that no one had ever heard of before, wouldn't that be a "new" doctrine? I'm not sure external resemblance matters as much as theological reasoning. It sounds kind of like Dispensationalists who try to get mileage out of pre-millennialism in the early church.
     
  12. refbaptdude

    refbaptdude Puritan Board Freshman

    Dennis,

    From the very inception of infant baptism, the prevalent theological view held by those who practiced it was that baptism was the instrumental means of regeneration.

    Examples:

    248AD
    The Church received from the apostles the tradition of giving baptism even to infants. The apostles, to whom were committed the secrets of the divine sacraments, knew there are in everyone innate strains of [original] sin, which must be washed away through water and the Spirit - Origen Commentaries on Romans 5:9

    388AD
    You see how many are the benefits of baptism, and some think its heavenly grace consists only in the remission of sins, but we have enumerated ten honors . For this reason we baptize even infants, though they are not defiled by [personal] sins, so that there may be given to them holiness, righteousness, adoption, inheritance, brotherhood with Christ, and that they may be his [Christ's] members - St. John Chrysostom Baptismal Catecheses in Augustine, Against Julian 1:6:21


    Dennis, do you believe that baptismal regeneration is a departure from the gospel?

    The long period of time that seems to impress you so much (1400 years), was a period where the majority of the visible church had departed from the gospel. The greater part of the church (Roman, Orthodox, etc) that subscribes to infant baptism have no gospel at all. In the paedobaptist camp our Reformed brothers are a very, very small minority and are a new innovation. And there is not a single paedobaptist brother on the PB that would embrace the theology of infant baptism found before the Reformation – is this not telling!

    Baptists arose when the Gospel was recovered during the Reformation. Why? Since our soteriology informs our ecclesiology, there had to be a recovery of the gospel before the doctrine of the church could be recovered.

    May the Lord Bless your studies : )
    Steve
     
  13. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    By the 3rd century baptismal regeneration, hierarchical bishops. chiliasm, and infant baptism were all sneaking or dun snuk in to the church. Heresies swept through the church even during the days of Paul. Therefore, teh ancientness of infant baptism is no proof of its correctness.
     
  14. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritanboard Commissioner

    Yes, one week ago. I agree.
     
  15. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritanboard Commissioner

    Guys, OK, I get it. Antinquity doesn't prove truth. It does make me a bit more suspicious of new practices and new interpretations, however. Yes, I would agree that the RC view of baptism is WRONG. It would seem that you are hinting at the idea that somehow in the second or third century, the Gospel got lost in a thicket of weeds until the Reformation. However, as good as Calvin and Zwingli were, they just could not break away from tradition and do a thorough reform that would include credo baptism.

    That is what I have always believed, taught, and practiced. I'm just asking: Is it really true? Does the covenantal understanding, as articulated by our paedo brethren, do better justice to the flow of Scripture? Or, do Coxe, Waldron, Welty, Jewett, et. al. answer the paedos and establish beyond reasonable doubt the superiority of credo baptist views?
     
  16. JM

    JM Puritan Board Professor

    The R.C. Sproul vs. John MacArthur debate was good as well.
     
  17. a mere housewife

    a mere housewife Not your cup of tea

    (I had heard that the earliest practice of the post-apostolic church was to wait until people died to administer baptism, so that they wouldn't sin afterwards and lose the grace --infants were not automatically baptised, but neither were believing adults?)
     
  18. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Puritan Board Junior

    Dennis,
    This is a good question and worthy of the intense study of all of these areas. It sometimes seem as if because of the RC error that cloud will not go away anytime soon.
    The strength of the reformers was going to the scripture alone to see what it teaches in these areas.
    Because they were greatly blessed in their study and restored so much truth to the believing church it is hard not to be swayed by their argumentation,especially as we all agree in so much of what was reclaimed.
    The fact that some have questioned their covenantal understanding also needs to be examined as you are putting forth.
    Sometimes when I look at each view as set forth I look at how the explanations are given. Are they simple and straight forward? Or do I have to pull out the thesaurus are read through explanation after explanation telling me the verses do not really mean what they seem to mean. Then page after page of writing is set forth to tell me how to follow the maze to get to the end.
    While we do not have to re-invent the wheel, I just ask what if we were in the jungle and bibles were dropped in,in our language.
    If we read the bibles and the Spirit brought us to faith,what would our church look like? What would our confession of faith look like?
    Looking at the apostolic teaching in Acts, and the epistles what language did they use as they spoke to the hearer's?
    I see they often quoted the scriptures of the OT,as the new was still being completed. What I am getting at however- is the seeming ease of communication when they explained the texts.
    They spoke easily of our Lord. His person and work.
    Read through some of our posts:gpl::confused: Sometimes I do not see this basic ,clear ,explanation. I have my own ideas about how and why this is.
    Have you had similar thoughts on this? I know that sometimes in baptist circles we have an additional struggle with the arminian types who tell us no creed but Christ:um: This is what draws us to the reformers and like minded brethren to begin with.
    If any of us relocate and no Reformed Baptist Church is near by , we would go to a presbyterian, or Christian reformed church if available just to avoid the altar calls ,and the /with every eye closed/I see that hand,emotional pleas.
    The other churches seem to have done a better job with their confessions, but at what price? To the exclusion of any other view of the covenant?
    I would like to see confessional churches that can explain the confessions simply as the apostles explained the OT.
     
  19. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritanboard Commissioner

    I had heard that R.C. was kind of flatfooted in comparison with the textually exact encyclopedic knowledge of the Biblical data put forth by MacArthur.
     
  20. JM

    JM Puritan Board Professor

    Sproul didn't have his head in the discussion at all. He came off, in my opinion, sounding unprepared.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2008
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