What am I? A Bapterian?

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Scot

Puritan Board Sophomore
O.K. guys, take it easy on me here. Don't bombard me with too much info. or chastisement!

First of all let me say that I believe that we are to baptise our children. I believe the sign is to be placed on them because they are set apart in the sense that they are in a christian covenant family. It seems though that when looking at the word "seal", I'm closer to the Baptist view. Let me explain:

When looking at how the reformed confessions explain baptism and the Lord's supper, I have a problem with the usage of the word "seal". When reading commentaries on the sacraments from reformed authors, it is always stressed that the sacraments DO NOT bring salvation. Yet, I believe scripture uses that word "seal" as something that's guaranteed. Everyone that I've asked can only give me Romans 4:11 or they quote from other authors. I've not seen a good biblical study yet that takes you through scripture to prove that the sacraments are "seals".

They say that the sacraments are "signs AND seals". I believe they are "signs OF the seal". They are pictures pointing to the substance. Here's a short explanation why I believe this is so. Any comments are welcome from both sides.

The greek word translated "seal" in Romans 4:11 is "sphragis" which means - a signet (as fencing in or protecting from misappropriation); by impl. The stamp impressed (a mark of privacy, or genuineness)

Wouldn't it be correct then, to say that the seal fences us in, protects us from theft and is a mark of genuineness? We could also say that it is God's mark of privacy, showing that we belong to the Lord. Is this not what happens when someone is given the Holy Spirit not when someone is sprinkled with water?

I cannot find any references speaking of the Old Testament ordinances being seals. I do however, see them spoken of as shadows in Colossians 2:17 and Hebrews 8:5.

The greek word for shadow is "skia" meaning - shade or a shadow (darkness or an adumbration).

Adumbration means to foreshadow, to give a sketchy representation, to suggest or disclose partially. There is nothing that I can find that shows these ordinances had any substance. They were pointing to the substance.

There are versus that show that a seal does have substance.

Ephesians 4:30: And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

John 6:37: ...which the son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. - our salvation is guaranteed in Christ who was sealed by God the Father

I believe that if we look at Romans 4:11 in the following way that it harmonizes better with the rest of scripture -

Romans 4:11:

"And Abraham received the sign of circumcision (the sign of spiritual circumcision which was the physical), which (spiritual) circumcision was a seal of the righteousness of faith which he had when he was uncircumcised (that is, which he had before he was physically circumcised in the flesh)."

Could we not view the second "circumcision" in this passage as spiritual circumcision not physical circumcision?

It seems to make more sense to me to view it in this way. Keep in mind that I don't claim to be a master theologian and I realize that I haven't exhausted the study on this subject.

So what am I? I think I'm somewhere in between a Presbyterian and a Baptist. A Bapterian! :think:

In Christ,
Scot
 

re4md

Puritan Board Freshman
Don't know what to call you, but when you find out, let me know. That is precisely my position.
 

grace2U

Puritan Board Freshman
Hi Scot,
Circumcision was to Abraham, [b:0999249d74]'a seal of the righteous ness of faith which he had while still uncircumcised.'[/b:0999249d74] So it is today for his true descendants although they remain uncircumcised (Gal 3:7).

'For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men, but from God' (Rom 2:28-9).

'"Behold the days are coming," says the LORD, "That I will punish all who are circumcised with the uncircumcised- Egypt, Judah, Edom, the people of Ammon, Moab, and all who are in the farthest corners, who dwell in the wilderness. For all these nations are uncircumcised, [b:0999249d74]and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart[/b:0999249d74]"' (Jer 9:25-6).

Those who have an outward covenant sign without the inward seal are ultimately no better off than those without either. Gal 6:15.

Blessings,
Seve
 

Scot

Puritan Board Sophomore
re4md,

Wow! I thought that I would be flooded with responses telling me that I'm misunderstanding and the sacraments are "seals." I can't believe that I've found someone that agrees. :banana:

[Edited on 6-7-2004 by Scot]
 

Scot

Puritan Board Sophomore
[quote:20fb6a2651]
Those who have an outward covenant sign without the inward seal are ultimately no better off than those without either.
[/quote:20fb6a2651]

I agree. It's what happens inwardly that is the seal (the Holy Spirit). The external application of water is the sign OF the seal. I believe that it points to the hope that we have for our children and in the case of an adult convert, points to what has already happened.
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
[quote:f907f2eee7][i:f907f2eee7]Originally posted by Scot[/i:f907f2eee7]
[quote:f907f2eee7]
Those who have an outward covenant sign without the inward seal are ultimately no better off than those without either.
[/quote:f907f2eee7]

I agree. It's what happens inwardly that is the seal (the Holy Spirit). The external application of water is the sign OF the seal. I believe that it points to the hope that we have for our children and in the case of an adult convert, points to what has already happened. [/quote:f907f2eee7]

I basically agree with that, as does the Larger Catechism (see question 161). But also don't forget that the sacraments are to be considered means of grace. When the Confessions speak of baptism as being a seal, they are referring to that fact, in that the sacraments confer grace upon the recipient, though they are [i:f907f2eee7]not[/i:f907f2eee7] seals in the sense of "guaranteeing" salvation. You're not somewhere between Presbyterian and Baptist thought on this - all Reformed Presbyterians agree that baptism is not a seal of a "guaranteeing" nature. Read question 162 of the Larger Catechism for Scriptural citations and further elaboration on the sacraments as "means of grace," and how the word "seal" is referring to that truth.

In Christ,
 

grace2U

Puritan Board Freshman
Hi Scot,
I believe your reasoning is much the best argument in favour of paedo-baptism. It is one that I respect even though I can't agree with it.

However, the Bible says that Baptism is for disciples (Matt 28:19), and one thing you may be doing is denying your children (if you have any) the joy of following their Lord's command to be baptized as and when they come to faith.

Every blessing,
Steve
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I don't want to discourage the discussion of paedo- and credobaptism, but that probably deserves its own thread, since this thread's purpose is to discuss the nature of sacraments as "seals," what is meant by that term, and how we apply that meaning.
 

Scot

Puritan Board Sophomore
Chris,

[quote:7fb693858c]
Reformed Presbyterians agree that baptism is not a seal of a "guaranteeing" nature.
[/quote:7fb693858c]

Yes, I understand that reformed Presbyterians agree that baptism is not a seal of a "guaranteeing" nature. However, when the Bible speaks of the seal, I believe it is speaking of it being of a guaranteeing nature. That's why I don't think we should call baptism and the Lord's Supper "seals." The "seal" that is given is the Holy Spirit. This is given to all the elect, not infants (or adults) when they're baptized physically. The physical act is the sign pointing to God washing away our sins. That's why I think we should say a sign OF the seal not sign AND a seal.

I've read the reformed confessions but I'd like someone to show me in scripture the reason that we should call these things "seals." Like I said, all that I can find is Romans 4:11 and I've posted how I think we should interpret that above.

I think some of the problem may be that most of the time when people see the word "baptism" in scripture, they automatically think of physical baptism when it could be speaking of spiritual baptism (the washing away of sin).

In Christ,
Scot
 

Scot

Puritan Board Sophomore
Steve,

Sorry, I do not see where God now wants us to change who should receive the sign. Just as when someone outside of Israel wanted to join with them, they were circumcised, so today we baptize adults who make profession and want to join the church. That does not mean we neglect putting the sign on our children. The sign has changed but I do not see where God now looks at the family differently.

I'd be happy to discuss this with you further if you'd like but I think Chris is probably right. We should do it on another thread.

Thank you for your comments. :bs2:

In Christ,
Scot
 
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