Synopsis: What About Baptism?

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A.J.

Puritan Board Junior
Anthony, I understand why you argue the way you do in your comments on the warning passages and the meaning of baptism.

It's because (1) you view of the New Covenant does not allow for a clear distinction between God's decree and His administration. Instead, the decree swallows up the administration. The problem for your position, however, is that the Bible does teach that until the coming of the Lord there are (and there will be) de facto members of the visible church who are not elect (Matt 22; John 15; Rom. 11; 1 Cor. 5, 10-11; Heb. 3-4, 6, 10; Rev. 2-3), as has already been implied. Baptism is not only a sign/seal of blessing. It's also a sign/seal of judgment to those who reject Christ and His benefits. Only in heaven or in the consummation will "...they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them...."

And further, (2) your position denies "sacramental union" (WCF 27:2, 3). Passages like Rom. 6:4-6, Col. 2:11-12, Gal. 3:27 and 1 Peter 3:19-22 make sense only once we bear in mind that the Holy Spirit does exhibit and confer grace to the elect by the right use of baptism (WCF 28:6). Baptism is a means of grace.

The force of Paul's exhortations to children in Col. 3:20-21 and Eph. 6:1-4 is lost once we cut it off from its Old Testament backdrop. Paul addresses members of households: husbands and wives, masters and bondservants, and, fathers and children. Col 3:20-21 and Eph. 6:1-4 simply repeats what we find in Exo. 20:12 and in Deut. 5:16. In the Old Testament, the children (or "little ones," NASB) were members of God's covenant and people. Why would Paul address them at all if they are now outside the covenant community of the Lord as your position must insist?

The jews objected because they clearly saw something New was being done.
They did not say - Paul teaches that the sign of the covenant has been changed, we baptize infants, rather than circumcise now. He clearly taught them they ought not to circumcise their children.
In Acts 15 no one said baptism is a "sign" a replacement sign to be given to infants.

But why did the Apostles forbid the Gentiles from being circumcised? What warrant did they have for discontinuing a millenia-old command to administer the sign of circumcision to people who enter God's covenant community? The Acts narratives make sense only if the baptism indeed is the sacramental equivalent of circumcision. The Apostles did not circumcise the Gentiles precisely because the latter have been baptized already.

If infants are now excluded from the covenant and people of God, Acts 15 would have been the perfect time and place for the Judaizers to present another objection to the Apostles. The Apostles already forbade the Gentiles from receiving circumcision. And now they were excluding the children who have been members of God's people for thousands of years? Yet we see total silence on this matter. There was no outcry whatsoever on the part of the Judaizers or even from the believing Jews.

B.B. Warfield notes,

No doubt a large number of the members of the primitive Church did insist, as Dr. Strong truly says, that those who were baptized should also be circumcised: and no doubt, this proves that in their view baptism did not take the place of circumcision. But this was an erroneous view: is represented in the New Testament as erroneous; and it is this exact view against which Paul protested to the Church of Jerusalem and which the Church of Jerusalem condemned in Acts xv. Thus the Baptist denial of the substitution of baptism for circumcision leads them into the error of this fanatical, pharisaical church-party! Let us take our places in opposition, along with Paul and all the apostles.

From The Polemics of Infant Baptism. cf. Acts 21

Brother, I don't think you have adequately dealt with the evidence presented by Robert from Mr. Bass's book. As has been shown, both the meaning of the disputed terms and Biblical usage support sprinkling and pouring. Baptism signifies the cleansing done by the sprinkling of the blood of Christ on the conscience of believers, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in His work of regeneration. Your comments on 1 Cor. 10 and 1 Peter 3 confirm the paedobaptist position. Immersion was a sign of judgment to the unbelieving people of Noah's time and the wicked Egyptians of Moses' time.

Blessings! :)
 

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
Hello Rob,
The if in Romans 6 is not a contingency.
3are ye ignorant that we, as many as were baptized to Christ Jesus, to his death were baptized?

4we were buried together, then, with him through the baptism to the death, that even as Christ was raised up out of the dead through the glory of the Father, so also we in newness of life might walk.

5For, if we have become planted together to the likeness of his death, [so] also we shall be of the rising again;

6this knowing, that our old man was crucified with [him], that the body of the sin may be made useless, for our no longer serving the sin;

7for he who hath died hath been set free from the sin.

8And if we died with Christ, we believe that we also shall live with him,

9knowing that Christ, having been raised up out of the dead, doth no more die, death over him hath no more lordship;

10for in that he died, to the sin he died once, and in that he liveth, he liveth to God;

11so also ye, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to the sin, and living to God in Jesus Christ our Lord.
it is more of a settled condition for a born again person, in other words as in verse 4 we were buried together/ his explanation only makes sense if real believers are in view.
I answered the question on immersion in reference to 1pet3, 1 cor 10.
those immersed died,not being rightly related to the judgment ie, in the ark, with moses at the red sea, and found in Christ come through safely.
Noah did not get wet in the ark [not even sprinkled:smug:] those with Moses came through on dry ground [ not even sprinkled by the cloud above or the wall of water] sprinkling does not fit even though I recall you in other posts have tried to imply that somehow they got sprinkled.
I enjoyed the material you posted, but I do not see or agree with the conclusions Mr. Bass or you draw from it.
I have found that such long presentations, which attempt to labour to make a point are more times than not trying to make up for a deficency. In this case the lack of NT, verses that can in any way suggest infant baptism.
Lumping together all kinds of verses that use the words sprinkle , dip, pour,annoint, purify, mixing together water , Spirit, oil, and other things were commanded in the OC. as if this somehow speaks directly to NT. baptism does not follow.
The pouring out of the Spirit does not relate to the mode of baptism.
The sprinkling of the blood does not relate to the mode of baptism
, The water of seperation of numbers 19 does not speak to NT.baptism I do think it speaks to JN.3;3-5
The priest was to bath his flesh in water vs 7,8 he was ceremonially unclean. In Hebrews 10;22 you attempted to answer the post by Laudante when he questioned you on this, but I do not find it convincing.
I make no claim to be a greek, or hebrew expert. The padeo writers use verses than do an end run saying in the greek this, or in the Hebrew that.
If you read credo writers that suggest otherwise.
I do not see in the book of Acts this kind of long winded, gigantic facade erected like an obstacle course in order for someone to get the message.
The other brother mentioned Acts 21
20And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:

21And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.
The jews objected because they clearly saw something New was being done.
They did not say - Paul teaches that the sign of the covenant has been changed, we baptize infants, rather than circumcise now. He clearly taught them they ought not to circumcise their children.
In Acts 15 no one said baptism is a "sign" a replacement sign to be given to infants.
I did skip over Much of what you pasted from the book because each section, and many of your conclusions based on his book I would not be in agreement with. I was thankful you posted what you did however, so i was just trying to avoid being contentious with you:)
I agree that these words were used. sprinkle, pour, etc. in their OT.context,and when quoted in books like Hebrews, 9-10. I do not believe it follows that they translate to baptismal mode however.
I find it amusing that you can correctly identify Spirit baptism, and what it means in reference to union with Christ, at certain times.
but if I played sermons by padeo pastors who confuse the issue of whether or not water or Spirit baptism is being discussed in the passages and what they actual benefits would be, there would be two different stories.
Sometime we can sit with open bibles together and look at some of our posts and discuss them, seeing where we can come to agreement, and what is it that separates us. If I am traveling through Pittsburgh I will try and contact you.
That being said because of the amount of times the language of sprinkling, sprinkling many nations,
25Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
is used, I can see where Mr. Bass, you, or any other believer keeps pushing for it to speak to mode. This reminds me more of the Numbers 19 passage.

Greetings Anthony:

I would like you to know that there is nothing in any of the posts I have written above that should make you think that you, or anyone else who holds your views, should question your salvation. I believe that you are a true brother in Jesus Christ, and I value your input as iron sharpens iron.

You have argued above that the Romans 6 and Colossians 2 passages cited above refer to the baptism of the Spirit. On this we both agree. You have also pointed out that these passages are given only to true believers. I can agree with that as well. These views, however, do not answer the questions that Mr. Bass has asked:

How does water baptism by dipping illustrate the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross?

How does water baptism by dipping illustrate the burial of Jesus Christ in a Sepulchre?

How does water baptism by dipping illustrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Sepulchre?

I have found in your last post a rather uncharitable statement. You wrote:

I have found that such long presentations, which attempt to labour to make a point are more times than not trying to make up for a deficency. In this case the lack of NT, verses that can in any way suggest infant baptism.
I was asked to summarize the book. A book that is only 100 pages long (including bibliography and index), and is, consequently, as books are evaluated, rather short. Could you imagine how long these posts would be if I was asked to summarize James White's book, The King James Only Controversy at 271 pages? Or, John Gill's, The Cause of God and Truth at 356 pages? Or, John Owen's, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ at 312 pages? And seek to do justice to their thoughts?

If I have erred in my summary of the book, then please do not lay it on the account of Mr. Bass' presentation of the subject, but upon my lack of ability to make what he has written more clear and concise. In this I do apologize.

Blessings,

Rob
 

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
When Participated in by Infants, the faith of parents is Required:

Did have all the parents of all the Israelites have faith, of whom those infants were circumcised ???????????????

Hi:

Are you speaking about true faith or professing faith? Esau had a profession of faith - especially when the Bible says that he sought repentance carefully with tears, Heb 12:17. Was he a member of the covenant community? Consequently, would he have circumcised his children?

Blessings,

Rob
 

William Price

Puritan Board Freshman
May I ask one question, and please excuse me if I am out of line...

What is the purpose for baptism? When I was baptized recently, I did so in obedience to the Lord's command, because I wanted to be obedient to His call. But, what then would be the purpose of baptizing infants according to scripture?

Right now, I am a credobaptist (I hope I said that right), but am studying to learn more.
 

A.J.

Puritan Board Junior
May I ask one question, and please excuse me if I am out of line...

What is the purpose for baptism? When I was baptized recently, I did so in obedience to the Lord's command, because I wanted to be obedient to His call. But, what then would be the purpose of baptizing infants according to scripture?

Right now, I am a credobaptist (I hope I said that right), but am studying to learn more.


Helllo William!

Here's a short answer to your question.

Heidelberg Catechism

74. Are infants also to be baptized?

Yes, since they, as well as their parents, belong to the covenant and people of God,1 and both redemption from sin and the Holy Spirit, who creates faith, are through the blood of Christ promised to them no less than to their parents.2 Therefore, by baptism, as a sign of the covenant, they must be grafted into the Christian Church, and distinguished from the children of unbelievers,3 as was done in the Old Covenant by circumcision,4 in place of which in the New Covenant baptism was instituted.5

1 Gen 17:7; Mt 19:14; 2 Ps 22:11; Isa 44:1-3; Acts 2:38-39, 16:31; 3 Acts 10:47; 1 Cor 7:14; 4 Gen 17:9-14; 5 Col 2:11-13
 

William Price

Puritan Board Freshman
May I ask one question, and please excuse me if I am out of line...

What is the purpose for baptism? When I was baptized recently, I did so in obedience to the Lord's command, because I wanted to be obedient to His call. But, what then would be the purpose of baptizing infants according to scripture?

Right now, I am a credobaptist (I hope I said that right), but am studying to learn more.


Helllo William!

Here's a short answer to your question.

Heidelberg Catechism

74. Are infants also to be baptized?

Yes, since they, as well as their parents, belong to the covenant and people of God,1 and both redemption from sin and the Holy Spirit, who creates faith, are through the blood of Christ promised to them no less than to their parents.2 Therefore, by baptism, as a sign of the covenant, they must be grafted into the Christian Church, and distinguished from the children of unbelievers,3 as was done in the Old Covenant by circumcision,4 in place of which in the New Covenant baptism was instituted.5

1 Gen 17:7; Mt 19:14; 2 Ps 22:11; Isa 44:1-3; Acts 2:38-39, 16:31; 3 Acts 10:47; 1 Cor 7:14; 4 Gen 17:9-14; 5 Col 2:11-13

So, then infant baptism is an issue of covenant, and nothing else. At least, that is what I gather from the catechism. I am not against such a practice if this is the case.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
William,
IB is a covenantal testimony, and in Reformed doctrine has nothing outwardly to do with effecting a work of grace upon the recipient--no more than any other work of grace upon anyone. If God uses one opportunity to do a secret work in anyone, old or young, we are none the wiser.

**********************
There is something else that can be said here. And it has everything to do with the way you described your own baptism. YOU went to baptism. You ACTED in obedience. There is a fundamental quality to your contribution; you come deliberately as an answer from your faith. I don't think it is far-fetched to say that when we examine a typical Baptist treatment of baptism, the "obedience" quotient is paramount.

There certainly is an obedience aspect to our own practice. In fact, it surprises many Baptists when we say that we do what we do expressly because we believe we are obeying commandment, and not because of tradition or mere desire, or a theological "consistency."

However, no one would dispute, I think, the observation that "obedience" as such does not figure into the expression of our doctrine of baptism. This has to do with what we understand baptism to symbolize, namely the sovereign regenerative work of the Spirit. In other words, we do not understand baptism as being a symbolic first act of obedience, but rather it is symbolic of God's monergistic act toward us.

To put it succinctly, in our view Baptism teaches not so much about Faith as it does about Regeneration.

Baptism "happens to" us; it is not so much an effect of my presenting myself (or my children). In Baptism, God makes the general statement, which is "particularized" in the participants.

The general statement is: "I will save to the uttermost, by the washing of regeneration, all persons--including this one here--who have faith in Jesus, in the gospel which is in this act being symbolically and to all other sensory means declared in this assembly." We confess that the promise is made generally and particularly, yet is efficacious only to the elect at the time God sets, when the blessing is appropriated by faith.

In other words, as with all other gospel promises, the only way to access them is by individual faith. There is the conditional "IF", as there would be in the same case with an adult professor.

The gospel begins to be proclaimed to a tiny infant. And by grace, all his life, day by day in the home, and Sunday by Sunday in church he hears it, and never (we pray God) may he deny it, but always hope in the Christ offered in it.

But the declaration of the promise of life to be found in Union with Christ is not itself contingent on the person. The promise never changes. It has been, and remains the same. So, baptism is God speaking by his church. It is a preaching of the gospel.

Thus, we never repeat a baptism. Because for a baptism to occur, it is not contingent on 1) the "right" heart of the recipient and correct timing, + 2) the "right" mode and church, + 3) the "right" authorized agent and words of institution. That is, for the Baptist unless all these are in alignment, there has been no "baptism" or that which was effected as baptism is invalid.

We generally accept any Trinitarian baptism, done by a church with formal, perhaps even mere historic, profession of the gospel. Because, it is the testimony of the gospel that is paramount, and NOT the worthiness of the minister (or condition of the "building") that matters.

If the church is no church, but a synagogue of Satan, or makes no pretense to the historic Christian church (like Mormons), refuses to baptize in the Trinitarian Name, or has no recognizable ministry from Christ--then we have to reject whatever that rite is as a true baptism. Someone "washed" there simply wasn't ever brought "into" the church, and had not even a whiff of the gospel. He needs to be baptized if he joins our church.

And there are disputes today in Protestantism over whether RCC baptism, which was acknowledged by the Reformers, should still be accepted today for the reasons/problems with the above points. These are matters that we have to wrestle with, but our wrestling with it is no more problematic for us than Baptists have determining whether they have to "get it right" this time with Joe, who doesn't think he was "really" saved last time he walked the aisle, or who wasn't dunked, or wasn't by a proper church, etc.

Our concern is with the open proclamation (or lack of it) of Jesus Christ, the only way of salvation, by an institution calling itself a church, and not the subjective state of a man's heart at some point.
 

Iconoclast

Puritan Board Junior
Rob,
Sorry to take so long to respond, I am travelling to the wesi coast and do not always have unline access.

I did not mean any personal offence to when I posted this;
I have found in your last post a rather uncharitable statement. You wrote:


Quote:
I have found that such long presentations, which attempt to labour to make a point are more times than not trying to make up for a deficency. In this case the lack of NT, verses that can in any way suggest infant baptism.
We have interacted enough times online that I think you would know I did not mean a personal attack on you.
I posted that as a general thought that the longer drawn out explanations are more often than not trying to compensate for a lack of some kind.
Sorry if it caused offence.
Now to answer your previous question, you asked this:
You have argued above that the Romans 6 and Colossians 2 passages cited above refer to the baptism of the Spirit. On this we both agree. You have also pointed out that these passages are given only to true believers. I can agree with that as well. These views, however, do not answer the questions that Mr. Bass has asked:

How does water baptism by dipping illustrate the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross?

How does water baptism by dipping illustrate the burial of Jesus Christ in a Sepulchre?

How does water baptism by dipping illustrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Sepulchre

If you substitue sprinkling, for dipping in the questions asked by Mr.Bass I think it makes it more obscure than more clear. If I see a Padeo Pastor sprinkling a sleeping or crying infant my first thought is not that water sprinkled on the babies head in any way reminds me a burial in a cave with a large rock rolled in front! Or that water sprinkled on the baby reminds me of Christ being risen.
On the other hand , Jesus when he spoke of His soon coming death, and rising in newness of life spoke of Jonah being in the fish for three days.
Jonah in the sea, not sprinkled but fully immersed.Cut off or seperated from the living/ psa69, yet safely brought through the ordeal .
When baptism by immersion takes place, and the words of Romans 6 are read, usually it is explained as a symbolic picture of the baptized going into the water [death/burial] then coming up out of the water[risen to newness of life]..
It would be hard to re-enact in a literal fashion, a death on a physical cross, and a burial in a literal cave, everytime there is to be a baptism
The flood with Noah, the exodus with Moses show the same thing and it is no mistake that both are mentioned in the NT. in reference to baptism.
Rob, i just see it simply as an easy outward picture of the work of the Spirit in new birth in a believer.
All of the passages dealing with sprinkling seem to speak more to santification, that regeneration.
The water of seperation I identify more with Jn. 3:3-11 Jesus expected Nicodemus to "know these things" as the teacher of Israel. this was before NT. baptism was inaugrated.
Does MR. Bass address the water of seperation?
Another thought I had was was Namaan told to sprinkle himself 7 times, or immerse himself? what word was used there?
I am out on the road going to Idaho,Boise, then to Bellvue Washington. I am hoping I can Get to see Pastor Ferrell up in Boise. Maybe I will run this thread by Him.
Sorry again if you took unnecessary offence to my wording, but I like to keep things more concise. TonyD:)
 

William Price

Puritan Board Freshman
William,
IB is a covenantal testimony, and in Reformed doctrine has nothing outwardly to do with effecting a work of grace upon the recipient--no more than any other work of grace upon anyone. If God uses one opportunity to do a secret work in anyone, old or young, we are none the wiser.

**********************
There is something else that can be said here. And it has everything to do with the way you described your own baptism. YOU went to baptism. You ACTED in obedience. There is a fundamental quality to your contribution; you come deliberately as an answer from your faith. I don't think it is far-fetched to say that when we examine a typical Baptist treatment of baptism, the "obedience" quotient is paramount.

There certainly is an obedience aspect to our own practice. In fact, it surprises many Baptists when we say that we do what we do expressly because we believe we are obeying commandment, and not because of tradition or mere desire, or a theological "consistency."

However, no one would dispute, I think, the observation that "obedience" as such does not figure into the expression of our doctrine of baptism. This has to do with what we understand baptism to symbolize, namely the sovereign regenerative work of the Spirit. In other words, we do not understand baptism as being a symbolic first act of obedience, but rather it is symbolic of God's monergistic act toward us.

To put it succinctly, in our view Baptism teaches not so much about Faith as it does about Regeneration.

Baptism "happens to" us; it is not so much an effect of my presenting myself (or my children). In Baptism, God makes the general statement, which is "particularized" in the participants.

The general statement is: "I will save to the uttermost, by the washing of regeneration, all persons--including this one here--who have faith in Jesus, in the gospel which is in this act being symbolically and to all other sensory means declared in this assembly." We confess that the promise is made generally and particularly, yet is efficacious only to the elect at the time God sets, when the blessing is appropriated by faith.

In other words, as with all other gospel promises, the only way to access them is by individual faith. There is the conditional "IF", as there would be in the same case with an adult professor.

The gospel begins to be proclaimed to a tiny infant. And by grace, all his life, day by day in the home, and Sunday by Sunday in church he hears it, and never (we pray God) may he deny it, but always hope in the Christ offered in it.

But the declaration of the promise of life to be found in Union with Christ is not itself contingent on the person. The promise never changes. It has been, and remains the same. So, baptism is God speaking by his church. It is a preaching of the gospel.

Thus, we never repeat a baptism. Because for a baptism to occur, it is not contingent on 1) the "right" heart of the recipient and correct timing, + 2) the "right" mode and church, + 3) the "right" authorized agent and words of institution. That is, for the Baptist unless all these are in alignment, there has been no "baptism" or that which was effected as baptism is invalid.

We generally accept any Trinitarian baptism, done by a church with formal, perhaps even mere historic, profession of the gospel. Because, it is the testimony of the gospel that is paramount, and NOT the worthiness of the minister (or condition of the "building") that matters.

If the church is no church, but a synagogue of Satan, or makes no pretense to the historic Christian church (like Mormons), refuses to baptize in the Trinitarian Name, or has no recognizable ministry from Christ--then we have to reject whatever that rite is as a true baptism. Someone "washed" there simply wasn't ever brought "into" the church, and had not even a whiff of the gospel. He needs to be baptized if he joins our church.

And there are disputes today in Protestantism over whether RCC baptism, which was acknowledged by the Reformers, should still be accepted today for the reasons/problems with the above points. These are matters that we have to wrestle with, but our wrestling with it is no more problematic for us than Baptists have determining whether they have to "get it right" this time with Joe, who doesn't think he was "really" saved last time he walked the aisle, or who wasn't dunked, or wasn't by a proper church, etc.

Our concern is with the open proclamation (or lack of it) of Jesus Christ, the only way of salvation, by an institution calling itself a church, and not the subjective state of a man's heart at some point.
Thank you, Bruce. I see what you are saying about infant baptism and true baptism. I appreciate the right spirit in which it was presented as well.
 

Iconoclast

Puritan Board Junior
Hello AJ,
You posted the following;

Anthony, I understand why you argue the way you do in your comments on the warning passages and the meaning of baptism.

It's because (1) you view of the New Covenant does not allow for a clear distinction between God's decree and His administration. Instead, the decree swallows up the administration. The problem for your position, however, is that the Bible does teach that until the coming of the Lord there are (and there will be) de facto members of the visible church who are not elect (Matt 22; John 15; Rom. 11; 1 Cor. 5, 10-11; Heb. 3-4, 6, 10; Rev. 2-3), as has already been implied.. Only in heaven or in the consummation will "...they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them...."

You are correct that I have a different view of the decree/administration. More so in reference to the NT.
I do not agree that only in heaven can the Jer.31/Hebs8 passage be true. I believe that is true for all who savingly believe right now.
AJ, when you say this;
Baptism is not only a sign/seal of blessing. It's also a sign/seal of judgment to those who reject Christ and His benefits
I see scripture as teaching that Spirit baptism is the seal. Credo baptism as an outward confession before men of the inward reality.
Any false professor who partipates in baptism, that very false baptism will be one more time he or she has taken God's name in vain.
In MT . 7 Jesus tells such persons depart from me, I never at anytime knew you. He does not say, I only knew you in an outward administration, but then you became a covenant breaker.
Your position has two aspects of the covenant of grace, savingly and inward,,, non savingly and outward. My position has only one, what you would call the invisible church. False professors who assemble with the church, are not of it.1Jn 2:19.
I can explain more if you like.did I understand your question correctly?
 

A.J.

Puritan Board Junior
Hello AJ,
You posted the following;

Anthony, I understand why you argue the way you do in your comments on the warning passages and the meaning of baptism.

It's because (1) you view of the New Covenant does not allow for a clear distinction between God's decree and His administration. Instead, the decree swallows up the administration. The problem for your position, however, is that the Bible does teach that until the coming of the Lord there are (and there will be) de facto members of the visible church who are not elect (Matt 22; John 15; Rom. 11; 1 Cor. 5, 10-11; Heb. 3-4, 6, 10; Rev. 2-3), as has already been implied.. Only in heaven or in the consummation will "...they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them...."

You are correct that I have a different view of the decree/administration. More so in reference to the NT.
I do not agree that only in heaven can the Jer.31/Hebs8 passage be true. I believe that is true for all who savingly believe right now.

Hello brother. I didn't say that only in heaven will the Jer. 31/Heb. 8 passage be true. The New Covenant has been inaugurated and is presently being realized as the gospel is brought to the Gentile nations/families previously unreached by the gospel (Acts 3:25; Gal. 3:8). But only in heaven will it be consummated.

AJ, when you say this;
Baptism is not only a sign/seal of blessing. It's also a sign/seal of judgment to those who reject Christ and His benefits
I see scripture as teaching that Spirit baptism is the seal. Credo baptism as an outward confession before men of the inward reality.
Any false professor who partipates in baptism, that very false baptism will be one more time he or she has taken God's name in vain.
In MT . 7 Jesus tells such persons depart from me, I never at anytime knew you. He does not say, I only knew you in an outward administration, but then you became a covenant breaker.
Your position has two aspects of the covenant of grace, savingly and inward,,, non savingly and outward. My position has only one, what you would call the invisible church. False professors who assemble with the church, are not of it.1Jn 2:19.
I can explain more if you like.did I understand your question correctly?

I already indicated that there are unbelievers in the adminstration of the New Covenant (Matt 22; John 15; Rom. 11; 1 Cor. 5, 10-11; Heb. 3-4, 6, 10; Rev. 2-3), and there will be unbelievers in the visible church until the New Covenant is consummated. I don't see how 1 John 2:19 somehow denies this.

Anyway, Mr. Wieland is presently dealing with the mode of baptism, and asking the Baptist posters to interact with the arguments (i.e., meaning of the baptizo and its cognates, and the Biblical usage of those terms) he presented from Mr. Bass' book. It would be better to discuss the proper recipients for a later time.

Blessings!
 

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
Rob,
Sorry to take so long to respond, I am travelling to the wesi coast and do not always have unline access.

I did not mean any personal offence to when I posted this;
I have found in your last post a rather uncharitable statement. You wrote:


Quote:
I have found that such long presentations, which attempt to labour to make a point are more times than not trying to make up for a deficency. In this case the lack of NT, verses that can in any way suggest infant baptism.
We have interacted enough times online that I think you would know I did not mean a personal attack on you.
I posted that as a general thought that the longer drawn out explanations are more often than not trying to compensate for a lack of some kind.
Sorry if it caused offence.
Now to answer your previous question, you asked this:
You have argued above that the Romans 6 and Colossians 2 passages cited above refer to the baptism of the Spirit. On this we both agree. You have also pointed out that these passages are given only to true believers. I can agree with that as well. These views, however, do not answer the questions that Mr. Bass has asked:

How does water baptism by dipping illustrate the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross?

How does water baptism by dipping illustrate the burial of Jesus Christ in a Sepulchre?

How does water baptism by dipping illustrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Sepulchre

If you substitue sprinkling, for dipping in the questions asked by Mr.Bass I think it makes it more obscure than more clear. If I see a Padeo Pastor sprinkling a sleeping or crying infant my first thought is not that water sprinkled on the babies head in any way reminds me a burial in a cave with a large rock rolled in front! Or that water sprinkled on the baby reminds me of Christ being risen.
On the other hand , Jesus when he spoke of His soon coming death, and rising in newness of life spoke of Jonah being in the fish for three days.
Jonah in the sea, not sprinkled but fully immersed.Cut off or seperated from the living/ psa69, yet safely brought through the ordeal .
When baptism by immersion takes place, and the words of Romans 6 are read, usually it is explained as a symbolic picture of the baptized going into the water [death/burial] then coming up out of the water[risen to newness of life]..
It would be hard to re-enact in a literal fashion, a death on a physical cross, and a burial in a literal cave, everytime there is to be a baptism
The flood with Noah, the exodus with Moses show the same thing and it is no mistake that both are mentioned in the NT. in reference to baptism.
Rob, i just see it simply as an easy outward picture of the work of the Spirit in new birth in a believer.
All of the passages dealing with sprinkling seem to speak more to santification, that regeneration.
The water of seperation I identify more with Jn. 3:3-11 Jesus expected Nicodemus to "know these things" as the teacher of Israel. this was before NT. baptism was inaugrated.
Does MR. Bass address the water of seperation?
Another thought I had was was Namaan told to sprinkle himself 7 times, or immerse himself? what word was used there?
I am out on the road going to Idaho,Boise, then to Bellvue Washington. I am hoping I can Get to see Pastor Ferrell up in Boise. Maybe I will run this thread by Him.
Sorry again if you took unnecessary offence to my wording, but I like to keep things more concise. TonyD:)

Hello Anthony!

I am sorry for taking so long in responding to you as well. After preaching in Aurora, OH last Sunday (Aug 9) I have driven over the past few days 1,500 miles back to Colorado Springs, and I will be here until Aug 26th (then back to Pittsburgh).

I was not so much offended as I was surprised by your comment. Would you consider John Owen's The Death of Death in the Death of Christ a "long drawn out" argument for Limited Atonement? Or, John Gill's The Cause of God and Truth on the matter of Election as "long and drawn out"? When a man seeks to be comprehensive in his presentation of a subject, then it does take much time and writing to cover the subject completely. I was also a little bit hurt, because I tried to deal with Mr. Bass' presentation as succinctly as possible. If any offense was taken, then I forgive you, and there is peace between us. :)

After reading your post I think the major difference between the two of us is this idea that New Covenant baptism somehow illustrates the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Rom 6 and Col 2 passages that are used by credo-baptists to prove their idea these passages are not addressing the mode of baptism either by sprinkling or dipping.

I think it important enough to write this again: The Rom 6 and Col 2 passages are not addressing the mode of water baptism either by sprinkling or dipping.

I believe that the argument which Mr. Bass uses is that the Rom and Col passages are referring to the baptism by the Spirit of God. This baptism irreversably unites us to Jesus Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.

You have to remember that in the Original Post Mr. Bass pointed out that the word baptidzo here does not mean "to dip," but to merge, or unite, in a permament fashion. The word closely resembles our English word "immerse" which indicates a union with something without disuniting it. Thus, "dipping" does not adequately define the word, because "dipping" is a "putting in and taking out." Whereas baptidzo indicates a putting in, but not a taking out - we are baptidzo into the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. We are united to Christ, but we are never taken out of that union.

Now, you mentioned Jonah. Is there any reference in the Bible that Jonah's experience reflected baptism by the Holy Spirit uniting us to Christ? I understand Jesus' use of Jonah's experience as prophetic of what was about to happen to him. But, where is it linked to the baptism of the Spirit? If I were to look at the circumstances more closely, then I do not see a dipping here: Jonah was saved from the water by a large fish which swallowed him whole. As he travelled about in this fish he was not dipped in the water, but spared from drowning in it. He was also spat out by this fish onto dry land. I am mystified how all of this can relate to water baptism at all?

Blessings,

Rob
 
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CDM

Puritan Board Junior
After reading your post I think the major difference between the two of us is this idea that New Covenant baptism somehow illustrates the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Rom 6 and Col 2 passages that are used by credo-baptists to prove their idea these passages are not addressing the mode of baptism either by sprinkling or dipping.

I think it important enough to write this again: The Rom 6 and Col 2 passages are not addressing the mode of water baptism either by sprinkling or dipping.

I believe that the argument which Mr. Bass uses is that the Rom and Col passages are referring to the baptism by the Spirit of God. This baptism irreversably unites us to Jesus Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.

:agree: A professor at RTS Charlotte a few years ago when discussing these passages said to our class, "To any baptist that may be in the room, there is not a DROP of water in either of these passages."
 

Iconoclast

Puritan Board Junior
Hello Rob,
Here is where I find an inconsistency with many who put forth the Padeo understanding of these sections. From your last post you wrote:
I believe that the argument which Mr. Bass uses is that the Rom and Col passages are referring to the baptism by the Spirit of God.
This baptism irreversably unites us to Jesus Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection
.

You have to remember that in the Original Post Mr. Bass pointed out that the word baptidzo here does not mean "to dip," but to merge, or unite, in a permament fashion. The word closely resembles our English word "immerse" which indicates a union with something without disuniting it. Thus, "dipping" does not adequately define the word, because "dipping" is a "putting in and taking out." Whereas baptidzo indicates a putting in, but not a taking out - we are baptidzo into the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. We are united to Christ, but we are never taken out of that union.
Now I agree with this as we have already established. I am looking at where you and MR.Bass say,
This baptism irreversably unites us to Jesus Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection

and again
We are united to Christ, but we are never taken out of that union.
Obviously then these statements would then speak of the elect alone.Anyone" irreversably united to Christ," and those who are" never taken out of that union" are the sheep.
I do not see either passage as pointing to ,or a sign of what "might" be signified. To say that the sprinkled infant is now in anyway "united" to Christ even in some type of outward administration in light of MR.Bass writing does not follow.
The idea of a breakable NT.covenant does not fit they shall all know me
I am aware that I have to account for 1Cor 10:1-11 all were baptized unto Moses, all drank of that spiritual drink,as well as the warning of Hebrews 3-4,and 10.
I have been listening to many sermons on these passages, particullarly from David Silversides on sermonaudio. He makes a strong presentation and does not shy away from any issue related to this topic.
However, when I listen to sermonaudio on Romans 6 the padeo presentations almost sound as if they were speaking of baptismal regeneration when addressing the text. { I do not think anyone here would defend that position!] I think I will try and save those sermons on a flash drive so I can point you to some of them. I do not want to name some of those pastors here online, as I will have some opportunity to discuss these matters face to face with them first and make sure I am not mis-understanding what they say.
I had earlier on in one of my first posts thanked you for posting what you did. I just raised a caution about trusting in the length of some explanations is all. I am not saying that someone should not seek to be comprehensive, just that they should not mix the apples and the oranges.
Jesus spoke of Jonah as a sign. I believe it figures in to the whole discussion of the death ,burial, and ressurection.
I see it in the same way Noah's flood or the exodus is viewed. My previous post addressed this. We are preserved from death in Union with Christ as in Romans 6. by Spirit baptism. Water baptism is the proper outward confession of the inward reality of Spirit baptism in a believer.
 

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
Hello Rob,
Here is where I find an inconsistency with many who put forth the Padeo understanding of these sections. From your last post you wrote:
I believe that the argument which Mr. Bass uses is that the Rom and Col passages are referring to the baptism by the Spirit of God.
This baptism irreversably unites us to Jesus Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection
.

You have to remember that in the Original Post Mr. Bass pointed out that the word baptidzo here does not mean "to dip," but to merge, or unite, in a permament fashion. The word closely resembles our English word "immerse" which indicates a union with something without disuniting it. Thus, "dipping" does not adequately define the word, because "dipping" is a "putting in and taking out." Whereas baptidzo indicates a putting in, but not a taking out - we are baptidzo into the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. We are united to Christ, but we are never taken out of that union.
Now I agree with this as we have already established. I am looking at where you and MR.Bass say,
This baptism irreversably unites us to Jesus Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection

and again
We are united to Christ, but we are never taken out of that union.
Obviously then these statements would then speak of the elect alone.Anyone" irreversably united to Christ," and those who are" never taken out of that union" are the sheep.
I do not see either passage as pointing to ,or a sign of what "might" be signified. To say that the sprinkled infant is now in anyway "united" to Christ even in some type of outward administration in light of MR.Bass writing does not follow.
The idea of a breakable NT.covenant does not fit they shall all know me
I am aware that I have to account for 1Cor 10:1-11 all were baptized unto Moses, all drank of that spiritual drink,as well as the warning of Hebrews 3-4,and 10.
I have been listening to many sermons on these passages, particullarly from David Silversides on sermonaudio. He makes a strong presentation and does not shy away from any issue related to this topic.
However, when I listen to sermonaudio on Romans 6 the padeo presentations almost sound as if they were speaking of baptismal regeneration when addressing the text. { I do not think anyone here would defend that position!] I think I will try and save those sermons on a flash drive so I can point you to some of them. I do not want to name some of those pastors here online, as I will have some opportunity to discuss these matters face to face with them first and make sure I am not mis-understanding what they say.
I had earlier on in one of my first posts thanked you for posting what you did. I just raised a caution about trusting in the length of some explanations is all. I am not saying that someone should not seek to be comprehensive, just that they should not mix the apples and the oranges.
Jesus spoke of Jonah as a sign. I believe it figures in to the whole discussion of the death ,burial, and ressurection.
I see it in the same way Noah's flood or the exodus is viewed. My previous post addressed this. We are preserved from death in Union with Christ as in Romans 6. by Spirit baptism. Water baptism is the proper outward confession of the inward reality of Spirit baptism in a believer.

Greetings Anthony:

There is much in your above post that I am in agreement with concerning baptism.

First, you are still reading into the Rom and Col passages the idea of water baptism. The idea of water baptism is not in those texts. If you would like to prove that water baptism can be found in the texts, then I am all ears.

I can see why you would think that paedo's are touching upon baptismal regeneration - the concept that one is instantly regenerated when one is water baptized. We are not looking at the passages as illustrative of water baptism, but of the Spirit of God working regeneration in the elect, or, in the colorful words of the Apostle - baptism by the Spirit.

Here is an obsticle for your view of water baptism as being present in these passages: If Paul has in mind water baptism, then he would be talking about baptismal regeneration, because both would then be spoken about in the passages.

Paedo-baptists categorically reject the idea that water baptism is being mentioned in the passages. What Paul is writing about is our being baptidzo or united to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ through the work of the Spirit of God. He is using the term baptidzo in a figurative sense in order to bring about a truth: That we are eternally baptidzo merged, immersed, united to Jesus Christ by the working of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.

In my humble opinion it is unbiblical to claim that water baptism symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ when all of Scripture tells us that it symbolizes the work of the Spirit of God in the heart of man. The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is already celebrated in the Lord's Supper and on the first day of every week - the day when Christ rose from the dead. Why do we need baptism to celebrate something that we already celebrate?

Here is another idea that is tripping you up. You wrote:

Water baptism is the proper outward confession of the inward reality of Spirit baptism
Water baptism is not an "outward confession of the inward reality." It is not a public (outward) confession of faith. I am talking with another credo-baptist on this very issue, and I cannot seem to get it out of his head. Here are some questions for you:

If a baptism is done privately, and in the middle of the night, like Paul did with the Phillippian jailor, is it a legitimate baptism?

Neither the 1689 nor the Westminster Standards ever argue that baptism is an "outward confession of an inner reality." Where do you find this teaching?

Most baptism (if not all these days) are performed privately in a church. How is this considered an outward confession?

Baptism is not a confession of faith. It is a sacrament of initiation into the New Covenant given to believers and their children. Baptism carries all of the significance of circumcision in the Old Testament except that the outward ordinance was changed. All of the inner realities found in circumcision are found in baptism. Since this is the case, and we find no law in the New Testament forbidding infants baptism, the regulation that allowed Abraham (a believer) and his household access to the New Covenant is still in force.

Blessings,

Rob
 

Houston E.

Puritan Board Freshman
All of the inner realities found in circumcision are found in baptism. Since this is the case, and we find no law in the New Testament forbidding infants baptism, the regulation that allowed Abraham (a believer) and his household access to the New Covenant is still in force.

Blessings,

Rob

Hi,

Yes, it does say household there and not just infants. So I assume you would have no problem baptizing a child of believing parents of any age? Let's say, 14, 18, 24...
 

Laudante

Puritan Board Freshman
Es de sabios cambiar de opinión (wise men change opinion, Spanish saying)

Hi everyone:

I want to thank you all for your valuable posts. I´ve bee unable to thank each one of them separately because I don´t have the "thank" button yet. And especially to you, Rob, for the amazing effort you´ve put in this thread, and which has made me rethink many issues which I though I had resolved long ago, again. I do value long explanation, and if it´s true that they can mean a lack of arguments, they can also mean an excess of them (and much more more frequently this latter, btw), so it´s wrong to judge a work by its extension. The reason why I delayed in responding is that many things in my life had changed in the last week (like a change of country, for example, from Mexico to USA, though not as a wetback, thankfully), so that´s why I haven´t had the time to sit here and write.

As I said in my first comment, I have considered myself 51% credo, till now, and that because one has to choose. There´s no third option in this debate (well, a third option would be to baptize children and then rebaptize them when adults; but will someone here propose this?). I find excellent arguments and also some perplexing questions for both sides. For example, in support of credo, I can´t help finding a relation between baptism and confession of faith, and a relation between baptism and salvation (not magically, of course), but 1 Pet 3 clearly says that "baptism now SAVES you", and the Nicean Creed says: Credo in una baptisma in remissionem peccatorum. In NT times, when someone had faith and repentance to be saved, the first step was to be baptized. It didn´t exist the modern practice of "just close your eyes and make a saving prayer". It was "repent and be baptized" (Acts. 2). So if paedos say that children are saved through baptism, they are admitting that some can be saved without faith, and they would have problems explaining how their baptism is not an opere operato rite, while if they say that children are not saved on the moment of their baptism, then why when they come to be saved later, if it happens, they don´t have to follow the regular practice of "repent and be baptized"? Yes, you can say this refers to adults only, but for their children the procedure is different. And could be, but the problem is that there is no direct Biblical warrant for that. And if the NT was written during the 50 or 60 years after Pentecost, it is obvious that thousands of children of believers were baptized in that time, and still there is not one mention of it in any of the 27 books, nor in any of the second century writings, either. This is puzzling, at the least. Other inconsistencies would be, for example, if baptism is the exact equivalent of circumcision, and not a "free" antytipe, so to say, then why baptizing girls? I´m not saying this is an unsolvable question, but just something that could be raised as a sort of objection. Or, better still, as Houston E. just said, what about the grown up children of new believers? Are they still in the covenant and should be baptized, even if they don´t seem to profess any faith? If not, what is the proper age to demark the line? Another objection could be that in nearly every instance of baptism in the NT, and in all the theologic references to it, it seems that water baptism shpould theorically match the Holy Spirit baptism or happen afterwards, in any case. To separate them can be perhaps something not far from the modern Pentecostal idea that you are first saved and somewhere later you receive the baptism of the Spirit.

Calvin says regarding the sacraments: "All the energy of operation belongs to the Spirit, and the sacraments are mere instruments which without his agency are vain and useless, but with it, are fraught with surprising efficacy". This implies that to baptize infants one has to assume that the Spirit is operating a regeneration in the baby, or otherwise we are wasting our time in a "vain and useless" rite. But the problem is that there is a more than significant number of those babies who will later show no signs of regeneration at all, even until death. Ishmael and Esau were members of the covenant family, and still they were out of the covenant. Again, I´m not saying that this are absolute arguments, but simply issues to think about. I think all this questions are legitimate to throw up.

On the other side, there are also some inconsistencies on the credo camp. For example, I cannot see how can you manage to hold a strict covenant theology, and practice credo baptism at the same time. Maybe this is why there is such a strong tendency on the Baptist side not only to be more "New Covenant" in scope, but also to tend toward premillenialism and even dispensationalism sometimes. There is also a greater tendency to separatism and radical evangelism (by this I understand the adopting of a certain "too broad" attitude and methods to attract more people). Of course this is not what always happens, but just a certain tendency. I say this after studying baptist history and sociology for not less than 10-12 years. Obviously, in the arminian baptist side things are much worse.

Finally, I´ll confess that in this last week my numbers changed, and I thank all the good posters here for their part in it. Now I would consider myself a 51% Paedo and 49% Credo. In other words, a Presbyterian with abiding doubts regarding baptism. The principal reasons for my change are:

a) I realized that 95% of the theologians I have always most admired are Presbyterians. It´s not that we should be moved only by human authorities, but such an excelent company summed on one same camp is less likely to be wrong than I.
b) The difficulty in dealing with convenant theology and credo-baptism at the same time forced me to make a decision to favor the first one.
c) I joined Grace OPC in San Antonio, and being in agreement with them in this issue is the best, in order to walk together in perfect unity and peace.
d) The arguments presented in this thread helped a lot, of course, too.
e) Reading some papers of one of my greatest heroes in theology, WGT Shedd (the guy in my avatar, for if someone didn´t know), I was finally convinced. One passage was especially powerful for that purpose, namely the following: "They (infants) are church members by reason of their birth from believing parents; and it has been truly said, that the question that confronts them at the period of discretion is not, Will you join the visible church? but, Will you go out of it? Church membership by birth from believers is an appointment of God under both the old and the new economies; in the Jewish and the Christian church... A citizen of the state must be presumed to be such, until the contrary appears by his renunciation of citizenship, and self-expatriation. Until he takes this course, he must be regarded as a citizen. So a baptized child, in adult years, may renounce his baptism and church membership, become an infidel, and join the synagoge of Satan; but until he does this he must be regarded as a member of the church of Christ... The possible exceptions to the general fact that baptism is the sign of regeneration are not more numerous in the case of baptized infants, than of baptized convents."
f) Finally, I understood that there is indeed a contradiction between saying that the children are members of the church in the Baptist side, and refusing to baptize them. Either you deny their membership, as the LBCF seems to do, or you accept to baptize them, as the Bible commands in the case of all members. I prefer the second option now, in consistency with covenant theology, though for years it seemed easy to me to believe that they are not members until they profess so.

And regarding the MODE of baptism, I find no problem in remaining in a 50-50 position, as I´ve been always. First, the counter arguments you gave about the verb louo (I don´t use the w, because although it looks like the omega, it sounds as u in English, not as o) weren´t convincing enough, and next time I have a time to sit and write I´ll try to explain why (unless in this week I become a thorough-going sprinkler, which doesn´t seem improbable now! I hope at least, however, that one of these weeks I won´t become a Romanist or a JW! Hehe, just joking). Finally, I wonder if this debate on the MODE is not the equivalent of discussing if the wine of the Supper should be served in crystal or silver glasses! The important thing is the Spirit working in the sacraments, and naturally the reverence and discernent with which we receive them, not the minute way of practicing them, like if we were still under the ceremonial law. You can be sure that if the mode were of utmost importance, there would be a Leviticus-kind book in the NT. There is good historical evidence, for example, that the Roman church by the end of the 1st century used regular, leavened bread for the Supper, instead of matzoh.

I´ve been accused multiple times of being taken by every wind of doctrine, because I´ve changed so many times my opinions on different theological issues. But that´s because I´m constantly growing, and this will require for anyone constant adjustments, even after many years of being believers. At least I can assure you that each and every change has been to draw me nearer to the classical reformed theology. Otherwise I would be a stubborn. Now my signature and bio reflect the changes suffered last week in life and doctrine.

Your servant in Christ (and sorry for the long post),
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
I have not been able to contribute much on the board lately. I am not going to be able to contribute much for the next few days but I did want to point to a blog entry I made tonight. It deals with Covenant heads and Covenant Children. I also have other things on my blog that might address some of the things mentioned in this thread.

Covenant Head and Covenant Children - The PuritanBoard

Sorry for the hit and run but that is all I can do at this time.

This is a major part of Chapter 2 of Alan Conner’s book Covenant Children Today.

Christ and the New Covenant Family



There is a lot of talk today about the “covenant family.” But, many who are teaching on this topic assume that the “covenant family” today is based on the same principles as found in the Old Covenant. That is to say, the children of believers are automatically considered as members of the New Covenant. But, does the Bible support this assumption?

An important principle in determining the nature of covenant children is to realize the role that the covenant heads play in this process. In God’s covenant with Abraham, he established that Abraham would have both a physical and a spiritual seed. The promise of a physical seed (Genesis 12:2) would begin with the miraculous birth of Isaac by the power of God (Romans 4:18-21). Isaac’s birth initiated the principle of a physical seed which would govern the covenant’s progress and fulfillment down through the centuries, consummating in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:16). But Abraham also had a spiritual seed. Since Abraham was a believer (Galatians 3:6, 9; Genesis 15:6), his spiritual seed constitutes both the believing remnant of Israel and believing Gentiles (Romans 9-10; Galatians 3:8, 14). Thus, God ordained that the nature of covenant children in Abraham’s covenant would be established by Abraham himself as the covenant head, both by his faith and his physical children.

But, what about the New Covenant? Should the nature of covenant children established with Abraham continue on in the New Covenant as well? The New Testament is clear that the New Covenant administration of the Abrahamic Covenant does not require the principle of a physical seed descended from Abraham for “be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham” (Galatians 3:7). This indicates that in the New Covenant we are dealing with Abraham’s spiritual seed. The unbelieving Jews have been broken off of the olive tree of the people of God (Romans 11:17-20).

This shift to an emphasis on the spiritual seed is also clearly demonstrated in the covenant head of the New Covenant, Jesus Christ. As God established in Abraham the nature of his covenant seed, so also he established in Christ the nature of his covenant seed. The same pattern holds for both covenants: the covenant head determines the nature of the covenant seed. Thus, as the head of the New Covenant, Jesus Christ would personally initiate the principle of his covenant seed just as Abraham did for his covenant. But, what kind of children (seed) did Christ have? As the head of the New Covenant, what is the nature of his seed?

As we consider what the Bible teaches about the covenant seed connected to Jesus Christ, we need to consider the Fatherhood of Jesus Christ in relation to his covenant children. Then, we will examine the way in which Christ defines his covenant family. When we do this, we will see that the New Covenant family is not based on physical relationships at all, but on spiritual qualities alone. Christ’s covenant seed and family is not based on the flesh as it was in the Old Covenant, but is a “household of faith” (Galatians 6:10 - KJV); a “family of believers” (Galatians 6:10 - NIV).

The Fatherhood of Jesus Christ

The Bible teaches that Christ’s relationship with his redeemed people is one that is rich and many-colored. The glory of Jesus Christ cannot be contained in one simple description. The Bible sets forth his redemptive character with many different analogies and pictures. To the Father, he is the eternal Son of God, but to Christians he is many things. Christ is the sacrificial Lamb of God who died in our place; the Vine and we are the branches; the Head and we are his body; the good Shepherd and we are his sheep; the Husband and we are his bride. In addition to all of this, Christ Jesus is also a Father and we are his children.

This last truth has important implications for how we are to view membership and the concept of covenant children in the New Covenant. What we will discover is that the Fatherhood of Jesus Christ argues strongly for the concept of spiritual children in the New Covenant, rather than children of physical descent.

Christ as our Eternal Father

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)


As Isaiah looked ahead to the coming of Christ who would inaugurate the New Covenant, he describes him as a Father to his followers. This relationship is verified in the way that our Lord loves his disciples as a father, cares for them as a father, provides for them as a father, and instructs and disciplines them as a father. What a precious thought. Our Savior is also our spiritual Father so that, in a sense, within the holy Trinity we have no less than two Fathers: God the Father, and God the incarnate Son, both of whom watch over us as spiritual Fathers in their own unique way.

Second, the obvious result of the fact that Christ is an Eternal Father is that he must also have children – since a father is such only if he has children. But who are his children? The children of Christ cannot be based on the genealogical principle found in the Old Covenant. But, if they cannot be his physical children, then who are they? The obvious suggestion is that they are his spiritual children.

The Gospels also indicate the idea that Christ has spiritual children; namely, his disciples. We see this in the following passages where Christ refers to his disciples as children:

And the disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! (Mark 10:24)

Little children, I am with you a little while longer. (John 13:33)

Jesus therefore said to them, Children, you do not have any fish, do you? (John 21:5)

Now what is the significance of Jesus calling his disciples children? Is he saying that they are immature and prone to error like children? This is possible, but the example from John 13 which took place during the Passover feast suggests that Jesus was assuming the paschal role of the head of the family who would preside at the meal and explain its meaning to his children. So, at least in John 13:33, the use of “children” would fit with the concept that Jesus is looking upon his disciples as his spiritual children. The other examples above can also be understood in the same way.

This concept of a spiritual father with spiritual children was also used by the apostles in the way they sometimes addressed those who came to faith under their ministry (see Galatians 4:19; 1 Corinthians 4:14; 1 John 2:1). And, most notably, it is used of all believers in their relationship with God since he is our heavenly Father and we are his children through the new birth and adoption into his family (John 1:12; Romans 8:14-17). All believers are “children of God.”

Christ’s Covenant Children

Behold, I and the children whom God has given Me. (Isaiah 8:18 in Hebrews 2:13)

Not only does the prophet Isaiah teach us about Christ’s role as a spiritual Father, he also has something to say about Christ’s spiritual children as well. These children are mentioned in Isaiah 8:18, which is also quoted in Hebrews 2:13 as the very words of Christ, “Behold, I and the children whom God has given Me.”

Here again it is quite clear from the context that these “children” who are given to the Messiah by God are not physical children but his spiritual followers united to him by faith. In the context of Hebrews chapter two, they are called “many sons” who are brought to glory (verse 10), his “brethren” (verses 11-12) for whom Christ made “propitiation…” (verse 17) and they are those who, along with Christ himself, put their trust in God (verse 13). No other kind of children is in view here. It is impossible that these covenant children of Christ are based on any principle of physical descent. They can only be spiritual children of faith. The principle of the Old Covenant family no longer applies to Christ and his New Covenant family.
Also of interest in this passage is the observation that these spiritual children that are given to Christ by God the Father are the reason for his incarnation:

Since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil. (Hebrews 2:14)

Christ came down from heaven to assume our human nature that he might set his children free from the power of death held by the devil (verses 14-15) and deliver them from their sins (verse 17). Christ does not bring this help to the angels, but rather to “the descendant (seed) of Abraham” (verse 16).

This is an important designation. To call the covenant children of Christ (verses 13-14) the seed of Abraham (verse 16) makes another important statement about the nature of Christ’s covenant family. Clearly, they are not defined in terms of physical descent as they were in the Old Covenant. Christ’s spiritual children are now the New Covenant equivalent to the seed of Abraham. They are his spiritual followers, his brethren for whom he died, and those who trust in God. Here we have a clear redefining of the “seed of Abraham” in the New Covenant. The genealogical principle of inclusion in the covenant by physical lineage is replaced by the spiritual principle of faith.

Christ’s Covenant Offspring

He will see His offspring. (Isaiah 53:10)

This same truth about the identity of Christ’s covenant children is also seen in Isaiah 53:10, when Isaiah speaks prophetically of Christ’s reward for his self-sacrifice for our sins. The prophet announces, “He will see His offspring.” Now what is the prophet speaking about? In what sense did our Lord have offspring? Again, it cannot be physical children in view. So, it must refer exclusively to his spiritual offspring who are connected to him through faith.

Thus, both testaments teach that the children of Christ are not physical children at all. Clearly, the genealogical principle of the Old Covenant cannot apply to him. And, as the head of the New Covenant, Jesus Christ establishes in himself the new governing principle of membership in his Church. As clearly as Abraham established his seed according to the principle of physical birth, so Christ establishes his seed according to the principle of spiritual birth. The old genealogical principle of being a member of the covenant by physical descent has come to an end. A new principle is established with Jesus Christ. Being numbered among Christ’s covenant children is now based on the principle of faith alone. As John 1:12 states, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” The New Covenant has a new standard for membership. Abraham’s physical principle of membership is replaced by Christ’s spiritual principle of membership.

Thus, the belief that the covenant family today follows the pattern of the Old Covenant is nothing but an assumption. It is based on so-called covenant logic that does not reflect accurately the teachings of the prophets as they foretold the coming of Jesus Christ and the New Covenant. Christ, as the head of the New Covenant, clearly establishes in himself the new standard for what it means to be a covenant child. It is a standard based on faith, not physical descent.

Christ Defines His Covenant Family

Not only is Jesus Christ our “Eternal Father,” and as such establishes a new principle for what it means to be his covenant child, but he also gave specific instruction on the nature of his covenant family. We find this in such passages as Luke 8:19-21:

19 And His mother and brothers came to Him, and they were unable to get to Him because of the crowd. 20 And it was reported to Him, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wishing to see You.” 21 But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.”

In the parallel account, Matthew gives these words, “whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:50). What is clear is that Christ is redefining the nature of his family. He uses this request from his physical family to teach about his covenant family. As his words indicate, the principle of the physical family is no longer the determining factor in establishing his covenant family. Hearing the word and doing it now comprise the spiritual qualifications for being one of Christ’s covenant family members.

This shows a deliberate intent on the part of Christ to distance himself and his covenant family from the physical principles of the covenant family established with Abraham. If Christ defined his “mother and brothers,” and also his “children” (see above) exclusively in terms of spiritual qualities, then where is there continuity with the Old Covenant? Where do children automatically become covenant members based on their physical descent from covenant parents? Christ’s words clearly exclude from his covenant family those who are connected only by physical ties. “My mother and My brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” He does not say that they are “those who hear the word of God and do it and their physical seed.” His New Covenant family is comprised only of those who hear the word of God and obey it. Infants cannot hear and obey the word of God.

On several occasions, the Lord emphasized this New Covenant principle which stresses the importance of the spiritual family. In Luke 11:27, Christ was teaching truths that were so profound that one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed.” But the Lord responded, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it” (verse 28). The exact same principle is revealed here as above. Christ is saying in the most emphatic way that blessedness is not based on the ties of the physical family. Notice his words, “On the contrary.” The Lord is downplaying the blessedness of his biological mother in order to draw attention to the greater blessedness of those who are connected to him spiritually. Those who hear the word of God and obey it are esteemed as more blessed than his physical mother. Mary’s blessedness would be rooted far more in her faith than in her merely being the physical mother of our Lord (cf. Luke 1:46-55). I’m sure these were shocking words indeed to this woman.
 

CharlieJ

Puritan Board Junior
Grammar/Exegesis Error

Rob, I just wanted to point out a Greek grammatical error in your post. I don't know if the error was caused by the author or by the way you worded your synopsis, but there is a slight problem. It's nothing that really damages the argument, but it's sloppy nonetheless.

In the dative case eis/men carries only the meaning, "by means of, with"

Lk 3:16 John answered them all, I baptize you with (men dative) water...
Acts 1:5 For John baptized with(men) water...
Also, Acts 11:16; Mk 1:8; Jn 1:26

First, εις never takes the dative case, only the accusative. I think the author meant εν, and I'm interpreting the slash mark to mean "when εν is used in a μεν clause." Second, μεν is simply a contrastive particle often used in conjunction with δε to show two alternatives (the μεν clause is the first and the δε the second). So, there is no reason at all that μεν would affect the meaning of the preposition. Now, I would agree with the author that in the statements made by John the Baptist (most of the examples), the instrumental sense makes more sense, but it has nothing to do with the presence of μεν.

For example, in John 11:6 we read τοτε μεν εμεινεν εν ω ην τοπω δυο ημερας, translated woodenly "Then he remained in the place in which he was for two days." Also Acts 12:5 - ο μεν ουν Πετρος ετηρειτο εν τη φυλακη. "So Peter was being kept in the prison."

Third, some of the examples given don't even match when εις is corrected to εν. Luke 3:16 contains a μεν clause that uses a dative without a governing preposition. The corresponding δε clause uses the εν preposition, and the meaning is presumably parallel, but as I've pointed out, the μεν is irrelevant to determining the semantic value of the case. Acts 1:5 and 11:16 are the same. John 1:26 does not contain a μεν.

So, I'm not making any judgments as to whether you or the author are at fault, but I figured either way, it would be best to let you know so you can clean it up. You've spent so much time on it, I figure you'd want to make it as perfect as you can.
 

Iconoclast

Puritan Board Junior
Hi Rob,
You asked the following:
If a baptism is done privately, and in the middle of the night, like Paul did with the Phillippian jailor, is it a legitimate baptism
Yes, It is done in obediance to Christ, aND OUTWARD AND PUBLIC.

Neither the 1689 nor the Westminster Standards ever argue that baptism is an "outward confession of an inner reality." Where do you find this teaching?
I find it in the bible in all the baptism passages- who can forbid water to thses who have received the Holy Spirit as we have?
Paedo-baptists categorically reject the idea that water baptism is being mentioned in the passages
Actually I find just the opposite. Col 2 is the main Nt passage used trying to link water baptism to circumsicion.
You are one of the few Padeos I have seen own Romans 6 as speaking of Spirit baptism of the elect and saving union with Christ.
For proof download from sermonaudio all such sermons and make a list of who says what. I think you will see very quickly what i am saying to you.
Most baptism (if not all these days) are performed privately in a church. How is this considered an outward confession?
When you sprinkle an infant it is not. But with believers baptism they openly confess faith in Jesus.
Baptism is not a confession of faith. It is a sacrament of initiation into the New Covenant
your theology makes you say this- but clearly this is not consistent with what you say you beleve Romans 6 teaches,
ONly Spirit Baptism places anyone in the New Covenant, more later on.:book2:
 

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
Hi:

CharlieJ:

It is probably my miscopying that is the problem. Since I am in Colorado Springs right now - I will have to check on it later.

Puritan Covenanter:

Abraham believed God and it was accounted unto him as righteousness. He was of the true spiritual seed of Christ. Yet, God commanded him to give the sign of this spiritual covenant to the children of Abraham. These children could be of the true spiritual Seed of the Covenant - such as Isaac and Jacob. Or, they could not be of the true spiritual Seed of the Covenant - such as Ishmael and Esau. The command to place the sign of the Covenant upon the 8 day old infants was not a matter of their own personal faith - but the faith of the parent.

In the presentation that you made - what do I see?

I see a presentation on the true seed of Abraham. A teaching that only those who actually and truly believe on the Lord Jesus Christ can be counted among the elect. This is a teaching that no Calvinist Presbyterian would ever deny.

In the presentation that you made - what do I not see?

I do not see a command in the New Covenant forbidding the children of the seed of Abraham the sign of the Covenant. I see many commands in the New Covenant that state the ceremonial laws of Moses have been fulfilled, and are now not to be practiced:

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, Jer 31:31,32a
The covenant that Jeremiah is talking about is the Mosaic Covenant. This is confirmed by the Apostle Paul in Hebrews 8-10:

Then Verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle made, the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary, Heb 9:1-2
Who can doubt that Paul is talking about the Mosaic Covenant? Especially when one continues to read all the way through chapter 10 of Hebrews? The New Testament has given us clear commands regarding the ceremonial laws of Moses.

The inclusion of the children of the seed of Abraham was not a matter concerning the Mosaic ceremonial laws. It was given to Abraham hundreds of years before Moses was placed in a basket in the Nile river. Where is the clear command in the New Covenant that forbids the children of the seed of Abraham the Covenant sign?

It has always been the teaching of the Old Testament that those who have the same faith as Abraham are accounted among the true seed of Israel. This is especially noteworthy in the life of Ruth (a Moabitess) especially in the light of Deuteronomy 23:3. The faith of Ruth made her of the seed of Abraham, and not that of Moab.

The New Covenant has disanulled many things in the Old Covenant. The New Covenant has also sustained many things in the Old Covenant - like the Ten Commands for example. The Old Covenant teaches the same thing that the New Covenant does in regards to the seed of Abraham. There is no clear command in the New Covenant that denies the children of the seed of Abraham the New Covenant sign.

With that in mind I find the arguments of the credo-baptists excluding children from the New Covenant sign to be lacking. The practice of including children of believers in the Old Covenant has continued into the New Covenant without interruption.

The question might be asked: Where is the clear command to include children in the New Covenant? If the command was given to Abraham in the Old Covenant, and there is no abrogation of it in the New, then the command stands in the New Covenant. We find many helps in the New Testament concerning the families of believers receiving the sign of the Covenant based upon the profession of faith of one, or more, of the parent(s). The passages are so famous that I will simply refer to them by verse number and answer the objections (which seem specious) by the credo-baptist:

Acts 2:38-40 - What about those who are "afar off" asks the credo-baptist? Yes, the promises are given to them that believe and to their children. The context of Peter's statement is proof enough of this.

1 Cor 14:11 - What about the unbelieving spouse should we baptize him/her? Asks the credo-baptist. Yes, the unbelieving spouse is elligable for baptism is he/she wants. The question is concerning the child of a believing parent. If such a child is considered by God to be "holy" or a "saint" then how can you refuse such a child baptism? Covenant theology requires the child of a believing parent to be baptized.

Blessings,

Rob
 

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
Hi Rob,
You asked the following:
If a baptism is done privately, and in the middle of the night, like Paul did with the Phillippian jailor, is it a legitimate baptism
Yes, It is done in obediance to Christ, aND OUTWARD AND PUBLIC.

Neither the 1689 nor the Westminster Standards ever argue that baptism is an "outward confession of an inner reality." Where do you find this teaching?
I find it in the bible in all the baptism passages- who can forbid water to thses who have received the Holy Spirit as we have?

Actually I find just the opposite. Col 2 is the main Nt passage used trying to link water baptism to circumsicion.
You are one of the few Padeos I have seen own Romans 6 as speaking of Spirit baptism of the elect and saving union with Christ.
For proof download from sermonaudio all such sermons and make a list of who says what. I think you will see very quickly what i am saying to you.
Most baptism (if not all these days) are performed privately in a church. How is this considered an outward confession?
When you sprinkle an infant it is not. But with believers baptism they openly confess faith in Jesus.
Baptism is not a confession of faith. It is a sacrament of initiation into the New Covenant
your theology makes you say this- but clearly this is not consistent with what you say you beleve Romans 6 teaches,
ONly Spirit Baptism places anyone in the New Covenant, more later on.:book2:

Hi:

Being in Colorado I do not have all of my Reformed commentaries with me, but I do have a few:

John Murray on Rom 6:

...The sequence of inference seems to be that if we were united with Christ Jesus in his death we must therefore have been buried with him ... The sum of verse 5 is, therefore, that if we have become identified with Christ in his death and if the ethical and Spiritual efficacy accruing from his death pertains to us, the we must also derive from his resurrection the ethical and Spiritual virtue which our being identified with him in his resurrection implies. These implications for us of union with Christ make impossible the inference that we may continue in sin that grace may abound, pgs. 217-219.
It is only by the work of the Spirit of God that water baptism becomes effectual to the true seed of Abraham. If that is what you are reading in the words of the paedo-baptists, then there is nothing wrong with that. As Calvin on Romans 6 points out:

3. Know ye not, etc. What he intimated in the last verse — that Christ destroys sin in his people, he proves here by mentioning the effect of baptism, by which we are initiated into his faith; for it is beyond any question, that we put on Christ in baptism, and that we are baptized for this end — that we may be one with him. But Paul takes up another principle — that we are then really united to the body of Christ, when his death brings forth in us its fruit; yea, he teaches us, that this fellowship as to death is what is to be mainly regarded in baptism; for not washing alone is set forth in it, but also the putting to death and the dying of the old man. It is hence evident, that when we become partakers of the grace of Christ, immediately the efficacy of his death appears. But the benefit of this fellowship as to the death of Christ is described in what follows ... Farther, it is not to the point to say, that this power is not apparent in all the baptized; for Paul, according to his usual manner, where he speaks of the faithful, connects the reality and the effect with the outward sign; for we know that whatever the Lord offers by the visible symbol is confirmed and ratified by their faith. In short, he teaches what is the real character of baptism when rightly received. So he testifies to the Galatians, that all who have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. (Galatians 3:27.) Thus indeed must we speak, as long as the institution of the Lord and the faith of the godly unite together; for we never have naked and empty symbols, except when our ingratitude and wickedness hinder the working of divine beneficence.
And, finally, Charles Hodge on Romans 6:

The reference is not to the mode of baptism, but to its effect. Our baptism unites us to Christ, so that we died with him, and rose with him. As he died to sin, so do we; as he rose to righteousness and glory, so do we. The same doctrine concerning baptism, and of the nature of union with Christ, therein expressed is taught in Gal 3:27, and Col 2:12, pg 195.
Maybe I should have been more concise: The mode of water baptism is not being taught in these passages. The effects of the baptism by the Spirit is being taught.

Blessings,

Rob
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
....The question might be asked: Where is the clear command to include children in the New Covenant? If the command was given to Abraham in the Old Covenant, and there is no abrogation of it in the New, then the command stands in the New Covenant. We find many helps in the New Testament concerning the families of believers receiving the sign of the Covenant based upon the profession of faith of one, or more, of the parent(s). The passages are so famous that I will simply refer to them by verse number and answer the objections (which seem specious) by the credo-baptist:

Acts 2:38-40 - What about those who are "afar off" asks the credo-baptist? Yes, the promises are given to them that believe and to their children. The context of Peter's statement is proof enough of this.

1 Cor 14:11 - What about the unbelieving spouse should we baptize him/her? Asks the credo-baptist. Yes, the unbelieving spouse is elligable for baptism is he/she wants. The question is concerning the child of a believing parent. If such a child is considered by God to be "holy" or a "saint" then how can you refuse such a child baptism? Covenant theology requires the child of a believing parent to be baptized.

Blessings,

Rob

First off Paul does mention circumcision in the book of Galatians. It has been abrogated.

It doesn't avail to anything.
(Gal 5:6) For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love....

(Gal 6:15) For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

(Gal 6:16) And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

Concerning your comment on Acts you are forgetting to mention that there is a Promise to all. The promise of for the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is for all those menitioned in the context that they are called. So yes, the promise is for children if they repent. They may be elect and in Covenant with God and partakers of the promises of the Covenant if they Repent and are baptized.

(Act 2:38) Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

(Act 2:39) For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, as many as the Lord our God shall call.


Concerning your Corinthians passage I have a blog about that here.
Sanctification in 1 Corinthians 7:14 - The PuritanBoard

It answers your question.


You seem to have missed the main point of the post I presented. Who is the Covenant head of the New Covenant and who are his offspring?

Christ is the Covenant Head and His Covenant offspring are the elect. His covenant Children are his offspring by his work and regeneration. They are his offspring. They are His Covenant Children.

Reread the post a bit more carefully.

Your brother,
Randy
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Concerning your comment on Acts you are forgetting to mention that there is a Promise to all. The promise of for the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is for all those menitioned in the context that they are called. So yes, the promise is for children if they repent. They may be elect and in Covenant with God and partakers of the promises of the Covenant if they Repent and are baptized.

Randy, point of clarification. The promise of Acts 2:39 has nothing to do with children who come to faith in childhood; or for that matter the age of those who are "far off" when they finally come to faith. The emphasis is on "as many as the Lord shall call to Himself." It is a gross misinterpretation of the text to suggest that Peter was speaking of covenant blessings apart from personal faith in Christ (Randy, not that you were suggesting that). The promise of Acts 2:38, 39 is on the basis of repentance and faith -- in response to the effectual call of God. Any other interpretation collapses under it's own weight.
 

Laudante

Puritan Board Freshman
Let me see if I´m understanding correctly

Randy and Bill:

I think that we all -paedos and credos- would perfectly agree that the blessings of the covenant are related with faith and repentance and nothing apart from it. But what the paedos understand is that the covenant consists on electing the children of elect parents, and producing in them, when the proper time arrives (and sometimes even from the beginning) the fruits of that election, that is, faith and repentance, and all the rest: regeneration, sanctification, etc. (Or, from God´s perspective if you prefer, the covenant consists on making elect saints born to elect parents). It could be discussed if this is the true meaning of Acts 2 and other passages -I now tend to believe it is, but not that this is the presbyterian interpretation. Now, you both say that only children who repent and baptize will be saved, and I agree, except when we are talking of children before the age of discernment. Actually, one of the motives that pushed me still more into the paedo side, after being in the oposite position for 15 years, was that I heard a pastor of a Reformed Baptist church telling a 3 year old boy that he would go to hell if he didn´t repent and be baptized by his own decision, even if he died at that age! If we take Isaiah 7 as a prophecy of Christ (and that´s what we should do of course), we know that even He couldn´t discern between good and evil when He was an infant (only because His divine nature so consented, naturally), so asking a three year old boy to discern more than what Christ did at his age sounds like a little too much. And besides, the words of that pastor contradict the LBCF as well (which is probably less consistent with the consequences of the Baptist view than the pastor). I believe more what W. Shedd says (paraphrasing): "For infants dying in the age before discernent, their baptism will be always a sure sign of their regeneration". Yes, it happens that children baptized in infancy backslide when grown up, but also adults baptized after a confession of faith often do so.

When a grown up baptized child comes to have faith and repentace, he is confirming his baptism and thus it becomes as valid as if it was performed after conversion. If he says: "I would baptize now if I weren´t baptized", then he is obeying God´s command just as the one who goes to be baptized. What matters is the disposition of the heart and the objective value of the sign of the covenant before God, not so much the "experience" of the rite. I, for example, was baptized as an adult, and I can tell you that the "experience" of my baptism in itself was far short from mystical. I didn´t "experienced" the death and resurrection of Christ through the rite, but rather through the path of the cross that began some time after the rite. And if someone says that my baptism wasn´t right because I didn´t "feel" anything (maybe due to the fact that I wasn´t prepared enough), then I would have had to baptize once again in each step of my growing process (which will end moments before my death). So confirming one´s baptism when conscious of its meaning, even if made in a moment of little or no conscience at all, is to make it valid. When a baptized child confirms his faith, he is not precisely entering into salvation, but simply confirming that he wants to be where he always was, and viceversa: when he backslides he is not "just" another sinner, but is a member of the church who renounces the privileges he had by birth, making the sign of the covenant applied to him a void sign, which is perhaps the first of the sins in his new chosen path.

I´m I understanding correctly the doctrine, you paedo guys?

A very interesting (and difficult) issue that the paedos have had always in front is whether to accept the baptism of heretics, if it is made with the trinitarian formula.

In Christ
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Ricardo,

I'm not saying that the Acts 2 passage negates the paedo argument. My point is that that it is an exegetical stretch to use that passage to support anything else other than it's plain meaning, which is, the repentance of those whom God has called. It is a soteriological passage. If I were a paedo I would not point to this passage as a proof-text.
 

Laudante

Puritan Board Freshman
Bill:

To make sure I´m understanding your point:

Would you paraphrase Peter´s words as: "If you repent and are baptized, then you would be saved, and the promise is that everyone who does this same thing, for example your children and those that are affar off, will be equally saved like you"?

Just asking in order to understand better what you mean by a "soteriological" passage.

Thank you.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Ricardo,

Here is the passage:

Acts 2:38-39 38 And Peter said to them, "Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 "For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself."
While faith is never mentioned by name, we know that it is indispensable from repentance. We also know that water baptism does not save, but the passage is saying to be baptized by water, independent from spiritual baptism, which is implied at the end of verse 38, "receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." In this case baptism would be the first step of obedience after believing the Gospel. The "promise" of verse 39, is two fold: 1. the forgiveness of sins ~and~ 2. the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise cannot possibly be separated from repentance and faith; two things that require cognition. Therefore, the promise is for those who display repentance. These are the same as those that the Lord calls to Himself in verse 39.
 
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