Those who changed views on baptism, what changed your mind?

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dsanch1120

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For those who's views on baptism changed (credo to paedo, paedo to credo), what was it that convinced you and what happened after (in your family, with your church, etc.)?
For some context: I've been a lifelong baptist who grew up as a dispensational arminian. In college, my roommate introduced me to Tulip and Paul Washer, and I've been "reforming" since then, now subscribing to the 1689 LBC and covenant theology. After the birth of my daughter a few months ago, I've been rethinking my stance as a credo baptist and my wife and I have agreed to study the scriptures and pray that God would show us the truth about baptism. I ask "what happened after" because I know that me desiring my daughter to be baptized would cause problems with my church (which is baptist and some combination of progressive dispensational and NCT in theology) and I'm curious as to what people's experience has been.
 
Brother,
You might try reviewing some prior threads on this or similar topics. A view-change (actual or contemplated) is something that routinely happens, and gets brought up in the PB venue.

I have no change to tell you about, but I would like to offer you this word of counsel: don't uproot yourself by your baptism. There's more "at stake" in this thing than a modest switcheroo. There are two seriously distinguishable ways of reading the Bible that produce two, serious-minded but contrary conclusions about who the proper subjects of baptism are. You are not going to be well-settled if you think you are just getting consistent with a tradition you kinda feel at home in, and that disturbed state of your soil could cause other issues down the line. I speak as one who has seen the problems arise.

I'm glad you and your wife are together exploring so deep a topic. A decision to baptize your young children should be the "well, naturally!" conclusion of embracing a whole methodology, and a theology of the sacraments, prior to it. Infant baptism is properly a conclusion, not a practice in search of ad hoc justification.
 
Do you know WHY you are a Baptist now?

In my experience, most (not all) Baptists who switch do so because they don't actually have a good grounding in Baptist covenant theology and they get "Wow"-ed by the (seeming) consistency of the paedobaptism covenant theology.

Anyway, I never "switched" from one to the other. I was an unbeliever until my late 30s. I was 38 when I became a believer. I always "sort of" understood credobaptism to be "true" even as an unbeliever / nominal Christian. But once I was converted, I had to take a good hard look at every pre-conceived notion I had about what I thought I knew about the Christian religion.

I became "reformed" (i.e. a Calvinist) very quickly, because God's sovereignty in all things, including election unto salvation, was so blatantly obvious in scripture that I couldn't ignore it, even though it went totally against everything I'd ever been taught.

After realizing I was a Calvinist, I needed to decide whether I believed in paedobaptism or credobaptism so I knew whether to join to a Presbyterian church or a Reformed Baptist church. I was introduced to 1689 Federalism (I didn't know the name for it at that time, but I was introduced to the principles) and "Westminster" Federalism (aka, paedobaptist covenant theology) around the same time and so I studied them both.

Ultimately, the issue (to me) boils down to these points:
1. Is the New Covenant the same covenant or a different covenant with respect to the Abrahamic Covenant / Covenant of Circumcision?
2. Were Old Testament saints saved BY the Old / Abrahamic Covenant?
3. Is it legitimate to import the rules for circumcision over to the rules for baptism?
4. Does each biblical covenant stand on its own or do prior covenants inform us how to understand later covenants?

I concluded that the answers to these are as follows:
1. The New Covenant is a different covenant with respect to the Abrahamic Covenant. The Abrahamic Covenant promised the New Covenant, but did not provide salvation. The Abrahamic Covenant brought forth Christ. Christ provided the New Covenant.
2. OT saints were saved "under" the Old / Abrahamic Covenants, but were not saved "by" the Old / Abrahamic Covenants. Only the New Covenant is the "Covenant of Grace" and is the only Covenant by which anyone was ever saved. The New Covenant saved OT saints. The New Covenant was not "formally established" with sacraments and such until Christ, but the benefits were nevertheless available to the saints.
3. Circumcision was a positive ordinance, not founded in natural law. Baptism is a positive ordinance, not founded in natural law. Baptism is to be administered according to its own rules, not the rules of Circumcision. Circumcision went away and is gone.
4. Each biblical covenant stands on its own. Covenants are not "natural" constructs, they are institutions of positive law. Therefore covenants are not regulated by the rules for other covenants. They are regulated by the rules for themselves.

With all that said, I concluded that the command for baptism is to baptize those who make a profession of faith, and no others. So I've been a Reformed Baptist and nothing I've seen from the paedobaptist side has been particularly compelling since.

I strongly recommend the following two books, both by Samuel Renihan:
 
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After the birth of my daughter a few months ago,
I can only urge you to carefully examine the objective testimony of the Word of God. Don't let an 8, 9, or 10 (etc.) lb bundle of non-exegetical joy tip the scales in any direction that you do not see in the Scriptures. That seems to be your desire based on your post, I just wanted to highlight that based on your current circumstances, it may become an emotional issue, especially if she is your first child.
 
For those who's views on baptism changed (credo to paedo, paedo to credo), what was it that convinced you and what happened after (in your family, with your church, etc.)?
For some context: I've been a lifelong baptist who grew up as a dispensational arminian. In college, my roommate introduced me to Tulip and Paul Washer, and I've been "reforming" since then, now subscribing to the 1689 LBC and covenant theology. After the birth of my daughter a few months ago, I've been rethinking my stance as a credo baptist and my wife and I have agreed to study the scriptures and pray that God would show us the truth about baptism. I ask "what happened after" because I know that me desiring my daughter to be baptized would cause problems with my church (which is baptist and some combination of progressive dispensational and NCT in theology) and I'm curious as to what people's experience has been.
Your journey sounds familiar - I was born and raised in a dispensational arminian baptist congregation (my father was the minister), was exposed to Reformed theology in university, became a Reformed baptist, and then started considering the issue of baptism after marrying and looking forward to children. I generally second Rev. Buchanan's caution above. But I also want to encourage you to not quench the Spirit if you and your wife are being guided by prayer and Scripture. And the natural affection you feel towards your offspring should not be dismissed.

As for the question of "what happened after," we had moved away from the area where we had been attending a Reformed baptist congregation. Prior to the birth of our firstborn we moved back to that area and attended a different congregation (RPCNA) much further (over an hour's drive) away that we agreed with regarding baptism. When we moved ack we talked with our former pastor of the Reformed baptist congregation to share our decision. Our firstborn is now 20 and we are still close friends with that pastor. If you decide baptizing your daughter is the right thing to do, and your current congregation does not agree with that and will not do it, you will likely have to leave to (a) do what you believe is right and (b) keep the peace in the congregation (if it is progressive dispensational and NCT in theology, that might not be a bad thing regardless of your decision). I will also add that my father graciously attended the baptisms of all 3 of my children and all 3 of my sister's children (who also ended up in a P&R - PCA - congregation). Once assured that we were not acting out of a belief in baptismal regeneration, my father was quite accepting of our position, seeing it as not much different than the practice of dry baptism/child dedication prevalent in many baptist churches (having retired from the pastorate, he is occasionally called upon to fill pulpits in PCA and RPCNA pulpits - not that I agree with that practice).

May God give you peace in the deciding and the decision.
 
Understanding that I and my family are spiritual children of Abraham and that we serve the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. These realities still amaze and comfort me. I was born and raised a Baptist and transitioned my family over to Presbyterianism. I agree with Bruce's advise, BUT my journey did include uprooting for baptism. I was serving as a Deacon in our SBC church and after months of study, council, and prayer was convicted that my children needed to be baptized and could not in good conscience ask my Baptist Elders to consider preforming the sacrament on my children. We left our home church that I had attended since I was 5, was baptized in, met my wife and married in, raised my kids in, and was attended by both sets of our parents. The move was not easy, especially as we did our best to leave in the right manner and not just ghost everyone.

I did have Baptist relapse from time to time:D. However, in my review of 1689 Federalist seeking to state clearly their version of CT, I have not been convinced. Conversely, I find the Westminster Standards give a clear basic statement on how to understand the covenants in a simple form (* of course it doesn't get into the weeds). For me the 1689 federalist position had to be so nuanced that conclusion seemed to render portions of scripture meaningless. I also was not comfortable with some of the Anabaptist movement roots. I also found the often used "you just need to read more, or you don't understand" statements to be off putting. The other reformed Baptist brothers who also hold to the historic 1689 LBC confession (often misleadingly labeled "20th century reformed Baptist"), seem to have more in common with a Westminster understanding of the old testament covenants and the CoG, though they differ on what Presbyterians include as types&shadows when comparing circumcision and baptism. The reformed Baptist brothers (with Westminster view of the OT covenants) also seem to have a cleaner argument which I believe approaches scripture is a way that more consistently addresses certain passages of scripture that relate/connect the OT and NT covenants in comparison to the 1689 federalist.

Calvin's institutes also do a swell job of showing the essential continuity between covenants mentioned in the OT & NT. Calvin also takes time to point out some of the concerns with Servetus and the Anabaptist views on the covenants.

I too was a lifelong Baptist until about the age of 26. I began my journey as an Arminian Baptist.
 
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Like most otherr have said, examine your covenant theology first. I believe Dr. McMahon on the board said something to the effect that Covenant theology is a 4 hour (maybe more) lecture with baptism as the last ten minutes.
 
Like most otherr have said, examine your covenant theology first. I believe Dr. McMahon on the board said something to the effect that Covenant theology is a 4 hour (maybe more) lecture with baptism as the last ten minutes.
Dr McMahon comments on this in his great book 'Covenant Theology made easy'. He says 'baptism is a 5 minute conversation in a 5 hour conversation on covenant theology'. Page 345.

I have reflected on this statement for some years now - I think it nicely puts the issue in perspective.
 
If you look up recent threads you'll come across this-- I recently changed from a paedo view to a credo view. For me, it was the realization that I agreed far more with baptist covenant theology, particularly on the nature of the new covenant.

I'll second what has been said above and warn you not to change too quickly. I too came to faith in a dispensational, baptist church, and I believe my current, fairly difficult transition has largely been a result of switching to a presbyterian, paedo view without doing my due diligence. If I had taken more time to understand the variety of positions out there when I was becoming reformed, I believe it is very likely I would have stayed baptist then. Take your time and really consider the deeper theological issues which feed into the discussion on baptism.

I'll add that for a convincing articulation of one Reformed Baptist position, and a helpful comparison with Westminster Federalism, check out Pascal Denault's book: https://www.amazon.com/Distinctiveness-Baptist-Covenant-Theology/dp/1599253259
 
-Are children of one or both believing parents little pagans or children of the promise?
-How does one, in principle, have a problem with infant baptism but not infant circumcision?
-The sign of the covenant of grace changed, not the substance of the covenant of grace…Abraham is the “father of us all” (Ro. 4:16).
-Remember paedobaptists are both paedo and creedo. Creedos are only creedo. In other words baptism is not only related to the profession of new converts (Ro. 6 often cited), but also testifies to God’s sovereign work of salvation according to His covenantal promise; no infant baptizes themselves but the sacramental act pictures God doing for us what we could never do for ourselves (Gen 15, 17).
-Obey God’s commandment and leave the sorting out of the Jacobs and Esaus to Him (Esau was circumcised, yet I read of no complaints by the prophets etc. in the OT about an alleged contradiction between the sign and the thing signified. Just say’n.
 
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Reformed Baptist for 13 Years and experienced Dispensational Theology, Progressive Covenentalism, and 1689 Federalism. I fell into Baptist theology due to my relationships at the time. I was challenged by the birth of my daughter and wanted to keep an open mind and study it. Felt that the traditionally Reformed position was the most scripturally sound.

- Jer 31:31-34 is usually the go-to passage for Baptists to make it sound like the OLD is completely gone and the new has come.
** Covenant Made with Abraham is an Everlasting Covenant (Gen 17:17) creating a solid connection between Circumcision and the New Testament (Baptism in the Pedobaptism Position: Col 2:11-12; Rom 4:1-11)
** Only the Ceremonial Aspects of the Mosaic Covenant pass away as the Civil and Moral principles still apply to NT Believers (e.g., Ex 31:16-17; Matt 5:17-20)
** Promise to Children Continued between the Old and New Testaments (Jer 31:31-34 + Jer 32:39-40; Acts 2:38-39)
- New Testament focuses on New Adult Converts, and when families are mentioned, everyone is baptized. Why mention household baptisms at all in Acts?
 
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Why mention household baptisms at all in Acts?

Seems like we need another thread on this - read the details of the household baptisms carefully, especially that of Cornelius in Acts 10:44-48 (along with 11:13-18) and who was actually baptized and you may realize you might have overlooked something.

Additionally, if you are a child of Abraham and a Gentile, you can only make that claim through faith in Christ and not natural generation. No man is in Christ through natural generation or the will of man but must be born again by the Spirit. No child is guaranteed the Spirit by natural birth.

Every person is born dead in their trespasses and sins and by nature an enemy of God, doesn’t matter who your parents are (Eph. 2:1-3).
 
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No man is in Christ through natural generation or the will of man but must be born again by the Spirit. No child is guaranteed the Spirit by natural birth.
Yes, which was/is true in the OT & NT. So again, I find it interesting for Paul to remind the NT saints of the fatherhood of Abraham. Was Abraham a Gentile?
 
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Seems like we need another thread on this - read the details of the household baptisms carefully, especially that of Cornelius in Acts 10:44-48 (along with 11:13-18) and who was actually baptized and you may realize you might have overlooked something.

Additionally, if you are a child of Abraham and a Gentile, you can only make that claim through faith in Christ and not natural generation. No man is in Christ through natural generation or the will of man but must be born again by the Spirit. No child is guaranteed the Spirit by natural birth.

Every person is born dead in their trespasses and sins and by nature an enemy of God, doesn’t matter who your parents are (Eph. 2:1-3).
I am aware that some instances the people in the house believe. Not every instance in Acts do people in the household believe. Consider, the Phillipian jailer who believes and Paul says your household must believe which Baptists presuppose that they all did. No, the Jailer is forcing baptism and adherence to Christianity since they live under his roof. Same pattern as the OT. As for me and my house we will serve the LORD! Nobody under my roof will serve another God outwardly (church visible), inwardly only God judges (church invisible).

You also must consider the entire package of scripture and not compartmentalize.

1 Cor 7:14 declare believing children Holy. Clear as day. The spirit begets the spirit. How else could we be children of Abraham?

Jesus answered, 'Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.'" (John 3:5-6, NIV)

I know this isnt a popular connection but it makes a lot of sense considering that believers with faith help with the conversion of unbelievers. Paul continually refers to converts under his ministry as his children.

1Co 4:14 I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children.


1Co 4:15 For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.


1Co 4:16 I urge you, then, be imitators of me.



Presbyterians dont deny that their children may not believe until they are older, or not at all. Yet wa trust in the promise is to you & your children. The act points to a spiritual event that may or may not of happened yet. It doesn’t remove sin but it is an appeal to God for a clear conscience through the washing and renewal of the spirit. God also shows patterns of faithful parents discipling faithful children.
 
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I was baptized as a Roman Catholic as an infant (I do not recognize this as baptism) which presented two different issues for myself. After coming to Christ, I belonged to a CCCC church which oddly enough permits the understanding of both paedo and credo baptism.

About a year after I was born again I understood the commandment to be baptized, and was convicted on two different levels; the pattern clearly seen in the New Testament is those who believed were baptized. Believe, then be baptized. That is what I saw both then and now, and that’s not to mention my now covenantal understandings. Though those were not formed yet at the time.

Secondly, I firmly believe that the RCC is no longer a true Christian church and therefor do not think their baptisms are valid. I do not think that church holds the keys to the ordinances of Christ. It’s my understanding from interactions that Presbyterians tend to be somewhat divided on this issue.

I realized I just opened up two different cans of worms and all of us have heard the arguments for both matters, well at least the former matter ad nauseum. But giving the seemingly intention of this thread, which seems to be curiosity from personal testimonies, this was mine.
 
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