Why I became credo

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jpechin

Puritan Board Freshman
I'm a new guy, so you will hopefully excuse what is likely the umpteenth million thread started on this issue and allow me to cut my young milk teeth on this issue...

I recently came out of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Great denomination, and I can say nothing wrong of them.

I had to become a credobaptist primarily for the following reasons:

1. When applying a similar hermeneutic as you would toward regulative worship, one must find that the new covenant trumps the old. The types and shadows of the old are fulfilled in the new, and I think that it is nearly unimportant who is in the visible church, in light of the invisible that has been made fully known in the new covenant. Our desire is definitively now to save our children, not make them a token member of some visible fraternity (as sweet as our fellowship is, there are tares). We do absolutely nothing eternal with the water baptism - it is the spirit of God and the visible fruits thereof that we hope and pray for in our children; obviously that is of God alone, but our children reap the wonderful benefit of being surrounded by the true children of the covenant by faith and His Holy word (two of the means by which God saves).

2. When I asked the OPC elders how I should consider a baby that has died after baptism but before they have displayed any fruits of repentance or faith, the answer was, "we should assume that this child is saved." This is the most consistent and systematic version of paedobaptism, as I presently understand. One is imparting the covenant, rather than God laying His guarantee upon it with the sealing in the Spirit. I simply cannot accept this model, in light of God's sovereignty.

3. Somewhat secondary/tertiary, these: The tradition of washings and baptisms is to ceremoniously wash one's sins in the manner of washing one's conscience and/or dedicating oneself to the teaching of a rabbi or sect of Judaism. The mikvah was often done on a regular basis, but just as there is only one bapitsm within the Spirit, we as Xristianos need only wash once. In light of this intent, along with the connection between the Lord's Supper and baptism, along with the admonishment that we need to examine ourselves before partaking of the elements, and with the practice of one fasting and praying and examining oneself in the early church prior to baptism (a great book on this matter is "Baptism in the Early Church", published by ARBCA).

In all things, let there be grace and I apologize if any of this sounds too beligerant. That's not my goal. That would be to crush paedobaptists and prove them wrong (KIDDING!!!). :lol:

Sincerely, let God and His word be glorified, and all creeds, confessions, perspectives, assumptions, etc be made secondary. Sola Scriptura, brothers.

Sola Deo Gloria!
 
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Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
2. When I asked the OPC elders how I should consider a baby that has died after baptism but before they have displayed any fruits of repentance or faith, the answer was, "we should assume that this child is saved." This is the most consistent and systematic version of paedobaptism, as I presently understand. To me, this contains the vestiges of popery. We are imparting the covenant, rather than God laying His guarantee upon it with the sealing in the Spirit. I simply cannot accept this model, in light of God's sovereignty.
That is presumptive regeneration; other Presbyterians do not hold such a position. The balanced Presbyterian view is that we expect covenant children - through diligent use of the means of grace - to keep the way of the Lord, however, we do not presume anything. The child is to be warned of the dangers of covenant breaking, and urged to embrace Christ as He is freely offered in the gospel.
 

JonathanHunt

Puritan Board Senior
Well... we.... er... we don't get many threads like this.

Come on then, who's going to start congratulating our brother for going paedo to credo? Lots of dittos and icons and stuff?

C'mon baptists, lay it on thick!

:lol: Onlllly kidding.

Welcome, Jeremiah, and enjoy the ride.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
2. When I asked the OPC elders how I should consider a baby that has died after baptism but before they have displayed any fruits of repentance or faith, the answer was, "we should assume that this child is saved." This is the most consistent and systematic version of paedobaptism, as I presently understand. To me, this contains the vestiges of popery. We are imparting the covenant, rather than God laying His guarantee upon it with the sealing in the Spirit. I simply cannot accept this model, in light of God's sovereignty.
That is presumptive regeneration; other Presbyterians do not hold such a position. The balanced Presbyterian view is that we expect covenant children - through diligent use of the means of grace - to keep the way of the Lord, however, we do not presume anything. The child is to be warned of the dangers of covenant breaking, and urged to embrace Christ as He is freely offered in the gospel.
This 'balanced Presbyterian view' seems to be pretty clear in the WCF:

WCF 10:III. Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit, who worketh when, and where, and how he pleaseth. So also are all other elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.
Why would an OPC church believe in presumptive regeneration?
 

Zenas

Snow Miser
Yeah, the no.2 don't jibe. Niether I nor my Teaching Elder holds to the presumptive view, and I find no merit for it in Scripture. It smacks of popery to me too. :p
 

AV1611

Puritan Board Senior
The types and shadows of the old are fulfilled in the new, and I think that it is nearly unimportant who is in the visible church, in light of the invisible that has been made fully known in the new covenant.
This does not show how baptism is to be applied to professors only.

Our desire is definitively now to save our children
Our desire is that God would save our children just as it would have been if we were born under the Old Testament.

When I asked the OPC elders how I should consider a baby that has died after baptism but before they have displayed any fruits of repentance or faith, the answer was, "we should assume that this child is saved."
The Canons of Dordt teach:

Article 17 - Children of Believers Who Die in Infancy
We must judge concerning the will of God from His Word, which declares that the children of believers are holy, not by nature but in virtue of the covenant of grace, in which they are included with their parents. Therefore, God-fearing parents ought not to doubt the election and salvation of their children whom God calls out of this life in their infancy (Genesis 17:7; Acts 2:39; 1 Corinthians 7:14).​

To me, this contains the vestiges of popery.
But you would be wrong to think that.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Jerry,
I'm curious, did you ever have any of your children baptized? If so, was it because of theological convictions, or just because that was the tradition you grew up in?

I suppose I'm just curious to know if you have switched churches to one more in line with your convictions, rather than a change of mind on the proper subjects of baptism.
 
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jpechin

Puritan Board Freshman
That is presumptive regeneration; other Presbyterians do not hold such a position. The balanced Presbyterian view is that we expect covenant children - through diligent use of the means of grace - to keep the way of the Lord, however, we do not presume anything. The child is to be warned of the dangers of covenant breaking, and urged to embrace Christ as He is freely offered in the gospel.
That would be much more biblical, in that model. The problem, then, though, is that there is really no difference between the Presbyterians and bapties other than a lack of obedience based on the method of baptism based on the model of scripture.

From that standpoint, I would think one would want to use a hermeneutic similar to the regulative principle, right? Can you tell me what the differences are between those methods of hermeneutics and help me to understand why each side uses a different approach when examining covenantal elements? (honestly, trying to learn)
 

sastark

Puritan Board Graduate
2. When I asked the OPC elders how I should consider a baby that has died after baptism but before they have displayed any fruits of repentance or faith, the answer was, "we should assume that this child is saved." This is the most consistent and systematic version of paedobaptism, as I presently understand. To me, this contains the vestiges of popery. We are imparting the covenant, rather than God laying His guarantee upon it with the sealing in the Spirit. I simply cannot accept this model, in light of God's sovereignty.
That is presumptive regeneration; other Presbyterians do not hold such a position. The balanced Presbyterian view is that we expect covenant children - through diligent use of the means of grace - to keep the way of the Lord, however, we do not presume anything. The child is to be warned of the dangers of covenant breaking, and urged to embrace Christ as He is freely offered in the gospel.
I'm sure I'm opening a :worms: but...

So, you would tell a grieving parent that we really can't speak to the eternal state of their dead child? This may seem like I'm playing the "emotional manipulation card", but I think it is a very applicable question to ask: pastors have to deal with this exact sort of situation.

I tend to agree with the Canons of Dordt on this, as quoted by Richard.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
The types and shadows of the old are fulfilled in the new, and I think that it is nearly unimportant who is in the visible church, in light of the invisible that has been made fully known in the new covenant.
This does not show how baptism is to be applied to professors only.

Our desire is definitively now to save our children
Our desire is that God would save our children just as it would have been if we were born under the Old Testament.

When I asked the OPC elders how I should consider a baby that has died after baptism but before they have displayed any fruits of repentance or faith, the answer was, "we should assume that this child is saved."
The Canons of Dordt teach:

Article 17 - Children of Believers Who Die in Infancy
We must judge concerning the will of God from His Word, which declares that the children of believers are holy, not by nature but in virtue of the covenant of grace, in which they are included with their parents. Therefore, God-fearing parents ought not to doubt the election and salvation of their children whom God calls out of this life in their infancy (Genesis 17:7; Acts 2:39; 1 Corinthians 7:14).​

To me, this contains the vestiges of popery.
But you would be wrong to think that.
But doesn't the OPC subscribe to the WCF as opposed to the 3 Forms of Unity?
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
The WCF and Cat.s don't speak to the pastoral question, and only 10.3 on "elect infants dying in infancy" directly address the issue. But the 3FU does substantially state a common Presbyterian position.

At the end of the day, all ANY of us have for ANYTHING in which to hope is God's Word of promise. So, Christian parents are obligated to hope in God's promise to save their child.



**P.S. I'm still waiting for an answer to my above query, Jerry, if you don't mind.**
 

Zenas

Snow Miser
I think it's a step too far for us to say that believer's child who dies in infancy is elect, unquestionably. If this is true, we should all kill our children as soon as they shoot out of the womb.

I know Dr. Sproul has taken this position, but I don't think he's correct in doing so. I rather think that we can take confort in the fact that God is sovereign and good and that those children dying in infancy have no other option than to depend on the Holy Lord of the universe. That fact conforts me. Even if my child died, I would know God would act judiciously and just with regard to their position before Him, as He would with me.

At the end of it all, have we any reason to answer back to God for Him damning our children or electing them? They deserve either as much as we do. It's a hard pill to swallow but it's the truth.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
The WCF and Cat.s don't speak to the pastoral question, and only 10.3 on "elect infants dying in infancy" directly address the issue. But the 3FU does substantially state a common Presbyterian position.

At the end of the day, all ANY of us have for ANYTHING in which to hope is God's Word of promise. So, Christian parents are obligated to hope in God's promise to save their child.



**P.S. I'm still waiting for an answer to my above query, Jerry, if you don't mind.**
It seems to me, the Reformed position is that parents are not to doubt the election of their children, nor assume the election of their children, but simply, as Rev Buchanan states, hope in the promises of God.

I also think Rev Buchanan asks a good question. Waiting for an answer.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
I think it's a step too far for us to say that believer's child who dies in infancy is elect, unquestionably. If this is true, we should all kill our children as soon as they shoot out of the womb.
I'm not for granting false certainties, however this is nothing but a non sequiter. Should we do this, assuming it were true, we would send them all to heaven at the expense of our own souls--a horrific trade.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
Hmm. There are several positions held over the course of Reformed history. The Southern Presbyterians (Thornwell, Dabney, Girardeau) held that children of believers are pagan until converted. Hodge and Warfield held that they are assumed to be (notice the force of the word "assumed") regenerated until proven otherwise (also the position of Calvin). No Presbyterian has ever said that all infants of believers are regenerated. The question is much more like this: how should we treat them? Personally I do not think we need to expect a violent conversion experience, even though that will happen sometimes, even with the children of believers. And I would counsel Baptists on this, too: if your child tells you he is a Christian, you should not only believe them, but nurture them in the Christian faith. We should not teach them to doubt their salvation just because they may not be able to point to a time when WHAM! they became a Christian. Think of John the Baptist, think of the Psalmist, who trusted from his mother's breast. There are many ways of coming to Christ. Some are violent, and some are gentle. Some are "growing into it" and some are pitch darkness to the light of day. We should not force all people into one mold only.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Jeremiah, I am thankful for the change in your baptismal conviction. Grace to you and your family. I pray you left the OPC church displaying grace to those who were your shepherds in Christ.
 

AV1611

Puritan Board Senior
But doesn't the OPC subscribe to the WCF as opposed to the 3 Forms of Unity?
I am sure that they do but my point was to show that the Reformed view is that we have no reason to doubt that our children, if they die, are saved. This is founded upon God's promise.

A Presbyterian view can be found in Hodge:

The phrase "elect infants" is precise and fit for its purpose. It is not intended to suggest that there are any infants not elect, but simply to point out the facts -- (1.) That all infants are born under righteous condemnation; and (2.) That no infant has any claim in itself to salvation; and hence (3.) The salvation of each infant, precisely as the salvation of every adult, must have its absolute ground in the sovereign election of God. This would be just as true if all adults were elected, as it is now that only some adults are elected. It is, therefore, just as true, although we have good reason to believe that all infants are elected. The Confession adheres in this place accurately to the facts revealed. It is certainly revealed that none, either adult or infant, is saved except on the ground of a sovereign election; that is, all salvation for the human race is pure grace. It is not positively revealed that all infants are elect, but we are left, for many reasons, to indulge a highly probable hope that such is the fact. The Confession affirms what is certainly revealed, and leaves that which revelation has not decided to remain, without the suggestion of a positive opinion upon one side or the other.​
Reformed Theology Resource Center: Dedicated to the Reformed Faith
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
I'm still waiting to know if any of Jerry's children were baptized. Until I hear otherwise, I'm not assuming there was a "change" in convictions.
 

py3ak

They're stalling and plotting against me
Staff member
Bruce, would the same logic apply in reverse? Not too long ago a person whom I believe has no children announced on the board that he had become a paedo-baptist. Are we to disbelieve this until he has a child and baptizes him?
 

shackleton

Puritan Board Junior
I remember coming across and argument by Loraine Boettner in his book Studies in Theology where he basically said, "Who is to say that all, babies who die in infancy are not a part of the elect?"

An interesting quote from Charles Hodge's Systematic Theology book 3 page 546 in the section on infant baptism, "The difficulty on this subject is that baptism from its very nature involves a profession of faith; it is the way in which by the ordinance of Christ, He is to be confessed before men; but infants are incapable of making such confession; therefore they are not the proper subjects of baptism. Or, to state the matter in another form: the sacraments belong to the members of the Church; but the Church is the company of believers; infants cannot exercise faith, therefore they are not members of the Church, and consequently ought not to be baptized ."

WCF 28:1 states, ":1 Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ (Mat 28:19), not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible Church (1 Cor 12:13); but also, to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace (Rom 4:11 with Col 2:11, 12), of his ingrafting into Christ (Rom 6:5; Gal 3:27), of regeneration (Titus 3:5), of remission of sins (Mark 1:4), and of his giving up unto God through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life (Rom 6:3, 4). Which sacrament is, by Christ’s own appointment, to be continued in His Church until the end of the world (Matt 28:19, 20)."

It does almost leave one (me anyway) with the lingering question that there would have to be two methods of salvation. One for adults, which is the way laid out in the New Testament, and another for babies. Does God suspend what he says is true for everyone else for the sake of babies who are not capable of believing? The answers I have read are along the lines of, babies would have to then be regenerated in the womb. This seems absurd but it is the logical conclusion one must come to in order to have babies who die before being regenerated, saved. On the other hand I do not believe God overlooks sin until a magical age of accountability. If we are all born sinful then we would all be responsible for having our sin atoned for and since the atoning of sin comes through justification through faith the person justified would have to be capable of having faith.

It seems like paedobaptism leads to an inevitable contradiction.

What about the mentally retarded, where do they fall in all this.
 
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tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
It seems to me, the Reformed position is that parents are not to doubt the election of their children, nor assume the election of their children, but simply, as Rev Buchanan states, hope in the promises of God.

I also think Rev Buchanan asks a good question. Waiting for an answer.
No to pick a fight, but the Reformed position is not only to hope in the promises of God, but to act on that hope by applying the sign and seal of the covenant of grace to our children.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
It seems to me, the Reformed position is that parents are not to doubt the election of their children, nor assume the election of their children, but simply, as Rev Buchanan states, hope in the promises of God.

I also think Rev Buchanan asks a good question. Waiting for an answer.
No to pick a fight, but the Reformed position is not only to hope in the promises of God, but to act on that hope by applying the sign and seal of the covenant of grace to our children.
So the sign and seal saves now if a child dies in infancy? Is there more grace given to an infant child because of his baptism? I am not sure that is a good Paedo position.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
2. When I asked the OPC elders how I should consider a baby that has died after baptism but before they have displayed any fruits of repentance or faith, the answer was, "we should assume that this child is saved." This is the most consistent and systematic version of paedobaptism, as I presently understand. To me, this contains the vestiges of popery. We are imparting the covenant, rather than God laying His guarantee upon it with the sealing in the Spirit. I simply cannot accept this model, in light of God's sovereignty.
That is presumptive regeneration; other Presbyterians do not hold such a position. The balanced Presbyterian view is that we expect covenant children - through diligent use of the means of grace - to keep the way of the Lord, however, we do not presume anything. The child is to be warned of the dangers of covenant breaking, and urged to embrace Christ as He is freely offered in the gospel.
I'm sure I'm opening a :worms: but...

So, you would tell a grieving parent that we really can't speak to the eternal state of their dead child? This may seem like I'm playing the "emotional manipulation card", but I think it is a very applicable question to ask: pastors have to deal with this exact sort of situation.

I tend to agree with the Canons of Dordt on this, as quoted by Richard.
There would seem to be Biblical warrant (i.e. David's child) for saying that if a covenant child dies in infancy then we can expect them to be saved as God has promised to be a God unto us and to our seed after us.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
That is presumptive regeneration; other Presbyterians do not hold such a position. The balanced Presbyterian view is that we expect covenant children - through diligent use of the means of grace - to keep the way of the Lord, however, we do not presume anything. The child is to be warned of the dangers of covenant breaking, and urged to embrace Christ as He is freely offered in the gospel.
I'm sure I'm opening a :worms: but...

So, you would tell a grieving parent that we really can't speak to the eternal state of their dead child? This may seem like I'm playing the "emotional manipulation card", but I think it is a very applicable question to ask: pastors have to deal with this exact sort of situation.

I tend to agree with the Canons of Dordt on this, as quoted by Richard.
There would seem to be Biblical warrant (i.e. David's child) for saying that if a covenant child dies in infancy then we can expect them to be saved as God has promised to be a God unto us and to our seed after us.
It seems to be a stretch to go from 'not doubting' the election of infants of believers as per Dort to 'expecting them to be saved' as per Ritchie based on the obscure passage about David's child. What about the example of Esau? Wouldn't it be safer to not doubt and yet not expect but to just admit it is a part of God's secret will?

(Or am I being a fence-straddler?)
 

Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
I'm sure I'm opening a :worms: but...

So, you would tell a grieving parent that we really can't speak to the eternal state of their dead child? This may seem like I'm playing the "emotional manipulation card", but I think it is a very applicable question to ask: pastors have to deal with this exact sort of situation.

I tend to agree with the Canons of Dordt on this, as quoted by Richard.
There would seem to be Biblical warrant (i.e. David's child) for saying that if a covenant child dies in infancy then we can expect them to be saved as God has promised to be a God unto us and to our seed after us.
It seems to be a stretch to go from 'not doubting' the election of infants of believers as per Dort to 'expecting them to be saved' as per Ritchie based on the obscure passage about David's child. What about the example of Esau? Wouldn't it be safer to not doubt and yet not expect but to just admit it is a part of God's secret will?

(Or am I being a fence-straddler?)
I fail to see how the passage is obscure since David said that he would see the child again. Moreover, I am not sure how Esau comes into it as he did not die in infancy.

It should be noted that the Canons of Dordt are more explicit on the question than the Westminster Standards are.
 
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