Secondary Issue - Baptism

Discussion in 'Baptism' started by JM, Oct 8, 2018.

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  1. JM

    JM Puritan Board Professor

    If I recall...they must subscribe to the 1689.
     
  2. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

    Hi- I was out all day...so anyway, one local Calvinist Baptist pastor we know (grad from WTS) has a local Presbyterian pastor who will baptize babies if people feel strongly about it. The pastors respect each other and get along and if somebody doesn't want to leave the Baptist church but wants to get a baby baptized, they go over to the local Presbyterian. I guess it is during a service but I never asked. I happen to think this is an example of how churches should relate and be willing to help, but I doubt many here would agree.

    To tell you the truth we knew that quite a few people in that church had come out of the RCC. We rejoice in the marvelous fact of their salvation and becoming Protestant, but why exactly should I assume people who desire to baptize their baby have a Reformed and godly conviction? In those cases it wasn't my business and I didn't ask, but unless a person is taught, how do you know they don't have lingering vestiges of superstitious baptismal regeneration type thinking? How do you even know the desire to baptize anybody isn't Federal Vision-ish?

    I've met people in the PCA who talk about communion like there is magic in the elements and the pastor has had to try to talk to them privately, and I am not sure he got through. All that to say I think the mentality among paedos can be naive, ie, assuming people baptize babies for the right reason. I hope the pastors here really know what is going on with their people when they baptize a baby and don't assume anything. I think you'd be surprised how many people in the pews ascribe some magic to baptism.

    Jeri- you missed my point I think. There are endless threads here on this, year after year, and both sides make very excellent points that are fully scripture based. I choose to hold more to one side while fully accepting the other side, instead of being staunchly dogmatic that the other side is "in sin"- a position I think is ridiculous and needs a review of Romans and how to accept those whose conscience differs on disputable matters.

    If this is not a disputable matter where we accept one another, then why exactly are both sides allow to post and discuss here at PB as full members in good standing? Makes no sense if one side is in sin.
     
  3. Grant Jones

    Grant Jones Puritan Board Junior

    Ridiculous?.... Don’t shoot the messenger. Our Lord the creator of all we know commands us to keep his sacraments in his Holy Word.

    What is your definition of sin?
    I will give the short simple answer given in the Catechism questions I do with my daughters because it is always fresh on my mind.

    “Sin is any lack of conformity to or transgression of the law of God”.

    Is Baptism not a command? Are we not held to conform to Baptism as commanded in scripture?

    Regarding the rest of your post, I will leave it to others much more suited than myself to address the various inconsistencies and anti-confessional statements, which regardless if one is a confessional Baptist or Presbyterian, are concerning.

    As an example of a well known Baptist explaining (very charitably) that the Paedo position is sinful (his view not mine).
    https://www.9marks.org/article/the-sin-of-infant-baptism-written-by-a-sinning-baptist/
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
  4. RPEphesian

    RPEphesian Puritan Board Sophomore

    Glad to know it's a fair representation.
     
  5. RPEphesian

    RPEphesian Puritan Board Sophomore

    That's a fair question: can we hold fellowship while one side is in sin?

    Without hesitation, yes. Godly men all throughout history are wrong on this issue, yet accepted by Christ. It's either Calvin, Edwards, Turretin, Owen, and a host of others, or Spurgeon, Judson, Carey, Bunyan, and many others who are wrong. God has accepted both, works through both, sanctifies both. We are not only constrained, but gladly accept, all whom God has accepted. I'd be wicked to reprobate men like Spurgeon and my good brothers and sisters in Reformed Baptist circles. They would likewise be wicked to do the same to me and my girls (assuming their profession is credibly acceptable).

    God has accepted godly men and women who have baptized their children, and taught their children to do the same.
    He has likewise accepted those who never did baptize their children.

    Sins of ignorance are to be tolerated and graciously dealt with. Willful sins are another matter (which is what I think lay behind the near-slaying of Moses in early Exodus). Though, that doesn't mean sins of ignorance are without ramifications. No Baptist pastor is ever going to be able to consent to the baptism of an infant. Likewise, no paedobaptist pastor will assent to a rebaptism. That's only reality.

    And in the end, none of us will die knowing what sins we were still committing even in old age.

    It doesn't change the fact that it's sin, which is why the discussion needs to continue. It's not the prettiest way to be conformed to God's will, but debate is a means God uses. If anything, we walk away knowing the Scriptures better. It's ugly at times because of our sin and our ignorance, but maybe we just need to look at this as growing pains as we develop into Christ our Head (Ephesians 4).
     
  6. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

    Grant-

    I remember that Dever post very well when it came out, as it came up at another blog I look at, along with RS Clark at the same time writing that he would (hypothetically) discipline any young couple in his church who were Baptist and wanted to wait to baptize a baby. You know, discipline like church discipline for adultery or heresy.

    I thought both of them were sickening, and that episode of blog furor did more to turn me into the "both sides are biblical" position than any other. I happen to like Spurgeon and Edwards both; Piper and Sproul both enriched my life, and we've had wonderful pastoral care and love in Calvinist Baptist and PCA churches. I could list many others but you get the point. I read on this board and people on both sides make wonderful contributions to many various discussions.

    Like eating meat sacrificed to idols or not, sometimes things are matters of conscience and and different understandings. If the act is done by faith unto God, it isn't sin on either side. Nobody is saying it is ok to never baptize; nobody is against baptism. Everybody wants their kid to end up saved by faith and baptized, the two groups just have different timelines. I think it is tragic how the reputation of Reformed theology has been so damaged by the accusations of sins thrown around by some on the blogs.

    To give a personal analogy, I am convinced headcoverings are a NT command. I think that passage is MORE clear, not less, than the baptism subject in the NT. But I don't accuse people of sin if they don't agree, I look at it as something missing in their progressive sanctification and that none of us see clearly in this life. And I don't divide over it.
     
  7. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    It's not a slur or a judgment on anyone's character to determine that baptizing, or withholding baptism, from an infant is sin. It's simply a necessity- if the church were to give up its distinctions, whether paedo or credo, much would be lost. It may be a secondary issue but it's an important one. Brothers and sisters in Christ can and must still love and fellowship with each other, but the distinctions are necessary until the Lord comes. One view on covenant and children and baptism is right and the other view is wrong; one view reflects God's command and the other opposes it. This isn't the color of the carpet. A lot hangs on it. That's why good pastors must teach and require submission to distinct doctrinal positions in the churches. I guess we disagree on this but that's my take on it. I think good Presbyterian and Baptist churches are trying to find a way to accommodate the needy sheep outside their distinctives who need a good church, without compromising on those distinctives.
     
  8. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Junior

    I think you'll have a hard time proving from the Scriptures that the sacrament (or ordinance) of baptism is in the same class as eating meat sacrificed to idols.
     
  9. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    The big differences on the Sacraments between the LBC and the WCF are the reasons that this thread exists.
     
  10. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    Like Christ being really present?

    "the body and blood of Christ being then, not corporally or carnally, in, with, or under the bread and wine; yet, as really, but spiritually, present to the faith of believers"

    Like there are mysteries involved? " partake of these holy mysteries"
     
  11. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Junior

    Two categories are distinct. There are matters of God's law and matters of conscience. The line should not become so blurred that we come to say that different ideas of baptism are of no consequence. Clearly, anyway, they have very real practical consequences.
     
  12. Grant Jones

    Grant Jones Puritan Board Junior

    What do you mean by magic?

    Again BOTH confessions attest that something “spiritual” does take place when the people of God take part in and witness the sacraments being performed.

    Below I will quote Chapter 30 of your own confession:
    “7. Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible elements in this ordinance, do then also inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but spiritually receive, and feed upon Christ crucified, and all the benefits of his death; the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally, but spiritually present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses. ( 1 Corinthians 10:16; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 )”

    We have our confessions to set up boundaries and protective walls (to protect orthodoxy). Bottom line boundaries “separate”. However our historic confessions are blessings and should be applied and followed with integrity (unless one takes exceptions of course). And yes scripture is the supreme authority.

    Lastly, Sister Lynnie, I would encourage you to continue to study even your own confession and the Bible in the matter. Your posts on this thread evidence that studying your confession’s and above all scripture’s view on the sacraments would help you see why sincere Protestant brothers/and sisters “d”ivide (little “d”) over the sacraments..... especially paedo vs. anti-paedo.

    I do appreciate your thoughts on the matter and you taking the time to explain your angle.

    P.S. If you feel this strongly that there should be no divide, consider asking your current Elders why your congregation does not simply join the local Presbyterian Church or vice-versa (hopefully they can help answer as well). I think you will find even more things that provide solid reasoning why we routinely gather separately.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
  13. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

    Re magic, it had to do with women on nursery duty or for some reason not present during communion....bathroom emergency maybe....going into the kitchen after to get a piece of bread and leftover grape juice by themselves. Not a communal partaking at all. I know it may be hard to feel like you missed communion but the PCA pastor told us privately that they attributed something almost magical to the leftover elements when he spoke to them.
     
  14. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

    Grant, while I agree with you about communion, I stand my ground that there are probably quite a few people in Reformed churches bringing babies to be baptized, not for the reasons you would teach but for more magical effects akin to a Roman Catholic. Try probing this a bit if it comes up and you may find that the Federal Vision thinking is more insidiously present than you thought. Maybe my experience is not the norm, I don't know.
     
  15. Grant Jones

    Grant Jones Puritan Board Junior

    Understood.
    Reformed circles are not the only ones that have to fend off the belief that Baptism saves....

    Heck (sorry that is the Mississippi coming out), even in traditional southern baptist churches, baptism can wrongly be viewed as a “get-out-of-hell” free card.
     
  16. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

    By the way, for what it is worth, I do not support baby dedications at all. So when we talk about Baptists, I don't include the faux baptism of dedications.
     
  17. TheInquirer

    TheInquirer Puritan Board Freshman

    I get people have strong convictions on this topic and rightly so, it isn't trivial. However, do you know what a lot of people don't have strong convictions about? Loving one another.

    If people felt as strongly about loving the Lord their God and their fellow Christian as they do about other points of doctrine, I think we might be divided less when we probably agree on 98% of everything else.

    I am not asking anyone to throw out their convictions but only to hold them in the right priority in balance with what God also commands elsewhere.
     
  18. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Junior

    There was a baby dedication at our church. My wife aptly described it as a "dry baptism". :D
     
  19. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Junior

    I am not sure what you mean here without giving any specific examples.
     
  20. Andrew P.C.

    Andrew P.C. Puritan Board Junior

    I wouldn’t say it’s “secondary”. I would say that it’s important enough not only to make confessional status, but for at least one confession to conclude that it’s a “great sin” (WCF 28.5) to neglect the baptism of adults and infants.
     
  21. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Moderator Staff Member

    I have previously argued that Vos' "Doctrine of the covenant in Reformed Theology" is a helpful article for both Paedobaptists and Reformed Baptists to have a discussion on. Vos is a Reformed Paedobaptist and he gives a full discussion of a Reformed Paedobaptist Covenant Theology. Yet he leaves a discussion of Infant Baptism until the end of the essay. Therefore Reformed Baptists can agree with about 80% of the essay - the final 20% would be where the disagreement arises.

    Remember both the WCF and the 1689 Confession have much in common.

    The point I am getting to is this - my country has a smaller population than many big USA cities. It is not practical in small cities in New Zealand to have both a Reformed Paedobaptist and a Reformed Baptist church. So there has to be some Reformed church that caters for both. It may be different in the USA, but I would say that even in your country, as secular forces put more pressure on the church, for Reformed Paedobaptists and Reformed Baptists to work together. Surely we have more in common than with Calvinistic Dispensationalists, or with Calvinistic Charismatics etc.

    Yes our differences are real but keep it in perspective.
     
  22. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Moderator Staff Member

    Remember to keep the distinction between election and covenant otherwise you create other problems.
     
  23. RPEphesian

    RPEphesian Puritan Board Sophomore

    “We have Abraham as our Father!” We are very prone to abuse God’s kindness meant to lead us to repentance.
     
  24. Grant Jones

    Grant Jones Puritan Board Junior

    No one is going to debate that here. Especially since ,according to 1 John 5:1-3, loving God is keeping his commands. Our ( Baptist and Presbyterians) desire to be obedient to him in the sacraments is a result of our love for God and his Word.

    Again Baptism is not the only point of disagreement. No one is saying Baptist and Presbyterians should not love one another. No one is saying we Should not ever do joint projects together. No one is saying we may never ever attend one another’s services from time to time. No one is saying that a Presbyterian cannot EVER, in good faith, join with a solid confessional Baptist congregation or vice-versa. There are many circumstances where families, due to location (and other things), simply have to agree to disagree and still attend a congregation that is otherwise faithful to what they hold true. We are talking about a persons individual Church membership and if difference in views on Baptism (Paedo/ Anti-Paedo) is a valid (not a must but a valid) reason to separate. To which I would answer..Yes. As @Harley stated above (https://www.puritan-board.com/threads/secondary-issue-baptism.96455/#post-1179444). The difference is not simply “do I baptize the baby or not”; the implications of the Paedo/Anti-Paedo discussion are much greater.

    P.S. @Stephen L Smith ...you are right brother, geography often plays a large part.:detective:
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
  25. Joshua

    Joshua Administrator Staff Member

    I cannot fathom the logic that goes behind thinking a session may discipline one set of parents for something that they would not discipline a different set of parents. Or, for that matter, thinking that a doctrine such as Baptism, is of such insignificance that its proper belief about and execution may be subject to one’s uninformed conscience to such a degree that opposite sides of the matter may not freely call the other’s wrong belief about it to be sin.

    If any anitpaedobaptists take vows to be subject to the care/discipline of the rule and government of a denomination that upholds covenant baptism, they should be prepared to submit their children for baptism, regardless if they believe it to be biblical or not; otherwise, they should not join that church.

    BTW, discipline doesn’t start with excommunication. It starts with placing oneself under the preaching of the Word, rightly hearing and making proper use of it, and receiving the counsel and rule of those Whom the Lord has put over His people in that local chapter of Zion. Ultimately, if one’s conscience “cannot” abide the teaching (and required subsequent practice) of a denomination, one should not expect special treatment. No one is/should be arguing that a couple who is somehow (bewildering to me) surprised by such a requirement should be barred from the table without further loving direction given them from their elders, having opportunity to reconsider their actions, if not their beliefs.
     
  26. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    No joke, I saw my little baby cousin get “dedicated” last year, and the pastor dipped a white flower in water, poured the water over her head, and said, “I dedicate you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

    :scratch:
     
  27. Grant Jones

    Grant Jones Puritan Board Junior

    Sounds close to when I had my daughters baptized...minus the white flower.:D

    Maybe the pastor was a closet Paedo...and had everyone fooled...:rolleyes:
     
  28. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    I highly doubt it. He is a Charismatic pastor with very little theological training. He probably didn’t even realize he was practically performing an infant baptism, save one single word...
     
  29. RPEphesian

    RPEphesian Puritan Board Sophomore

    Agreed. I'm more referring to presumptive unregeneration combined with a standard of baptizing none before a certain age, and an outlook that almost treats a child's conversion testimony as unverifiable and doubtful until then. As a Baptist I held to presumptive unregeneration, and had my girls grown up under me with that view I probably would've doubted any profession of faith they made before 13. I could've potentially bruised the lambs.

    That being said, neither is it regeneration until proven otherwise. Charity is the only principle that helps us walk a safe middle ground for our childrens' sakes.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
  30. Cymro

    Cymro Puritan Board Junior

    Is there not wisdom in having separate denominations over a very important distinctive. To have the two views operating in one church is unworkable, because when one view gains the majority in membership then the collision occurs. So whilst we might be separated over that doctrine, that does not prevent exchange of pulpits, or the congregations having fellowship privately or publicaly.
    But the real division I feel is over views of the covenant, which is foundational to the iterpretaion of the ordinance.
     
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