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Baptism discuss Baptism and the 2 questions I have in the Theology forums; Rich, maybe I didn't express my point well enough, so let me try again: Paedobaptists both tell us that the absence of specifically mentioning infants ...

  1. #81
    Phil D. is offline. Puritanboard Sophomore
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    Rich, maybe I didn't express my point well enough, so let me try again: Paedobaptists both tell us that the absence of specifically mentioning infants in the biblical narratives on baptism is due (in part at least) to the fact that children, both in ancient Jewish and Gentile cultures, occupied such a high status in the family unit that they were naturally included in all things pertaining to ancient "households" (e.g., see Tim's arguments in #19 and #21 of this thread, and J. Jeremias, Infant Baptism, throughout) -- as well as that the same phenomenon of "absence of specifically mentioning infants in discussions of baptism" in subsequent Christian writings was due to the low status that was generally ascribed to children, as Rev. Winzer posited in #67. Thus my objection was that the same argument of silence cannot credibly by used in such antithetical ways to account for the same thing. In other words, it was simply an objection against what I perceive to be a we-can-have-it-both-ways-as-long-as-it's-convenient methodology sometimes used within the larger paedobaptist community, rather than an attempt to address the substantive merits, per se, of the individual arguments.

    As for Acts 2:38 applying to the children of believers, I absolutely believe it does. "...For the promise (i.e., to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, upon meeting the preceding requirements of first repenting and being baptized - thus the promise clearly does not refer to the simple or inherent right of anyone to receive the sacrament of baptism apart from the given qualifications) is unto you (Peter's as then still unrepentant hearers) and to your children, to as many as the Lord our God shall call unto himself (the elect)." Indeed, as it is a very succinct presentation of the universal terms of the gospel, I think this passage applies equally to every person in the world.

    But then again, based on how this conversation typically goes between credo's and peados, we probably don't want to rabbittrail too far on the proper exegesis of Acts 2:38 here, do we?
    Phil Derksen
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  2. #82
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    Quote from Phil
    "...For the promise (i.e., to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, upon meeting the preceding requirements of first repenting and being baptized - thus the promise clearly does not refer to the simple or inherent right of anyone to receive the sacrament of baptism apart from the given qualifications)
    There are no qualifications for receiving the baptism by/with the Spirit into Christ, apart from being one of the elect. It happens - since the inaugural period in the Book of Acts - to all believers at regeneration and is monergistic. Our water baptism points to it and is the sign and seal of it, whether or not we are baptised with water before or after we are baptised by Christ into Himself by/with the Holy Spirit.

    The early believers couldn't be baptised into Christ with the Spirit until He had ascended to God's right hand. Since those early days in the Book of Acts, baptism with the Spirit has coincided with regeneration.

    E.g.

    Do you not know that all of us who have been baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.(Romans 6:3-5, ESV)

    And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. (John 14:16-18, ESV)

    In the Old Testament regeneration was sometimes called "circumcision of heart". It didn't matter whether physical circumcision happened before or after circumcision of heart, or not at all in the case of girls and ladies, but physical circumcision pointed to and was the sign and seal of this spiritual circumcision.

    What about those who were physically circumcised but never spiritually circumcised? Paul teaches us that their unbelief does not nullify God's covenant faithfulness.

    Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, "That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged." (Romans 3:1-4)

    The same could be said in paraphrase with regard to Christians (nominal "Christians") and baptism:-

    Then what advantage has the Christian (or if you like "Christian")? Or what is the value of baptism? Much in every way. To begin with, the Christians were entrusted with the oracles of God. What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, "That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged."
    Last edited by Peairtach; 10-04-2010 at 03:23 PM.
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  3. #83
    Semper Fidelis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil D. View Post
    Rich, maybe I didn't express my point well enough, so let me try again: Paedobaptists both tell us that the absence of specifically mentioning infants in the biblical narratives on baptism is due (in part at least) to the fact that children, both in ancient Jewish and Gentile cultures, occupied such a high status in the family unit that they were naturally included in all things pertaining to ancient "households" (e.g., see Tim's arguments in #19 and #21 of this thread, and J. Jeremias, Infant Baptism, throughout) -- as well as that the same phenomenon of "absence of specifically mentioning infants in discussions of baptism" in subsequent Christian writings was due to the low status that was generally ascribed to children, as Rev. Winzer posited in #67. Thus my objection was that the same argument of silence cannot credibly by used in such antithetical ways to account for the same thing. In other words, it was simply an objection against what I perceive to be a we-can-have-it-both-ways-as-long-as-it's-convenient methodology sometimes used within the larger paedobaptist community, rather than an attempt to address the substantive merits, per se, of the individual arguments.
    This is seeing the problem in terms of a false dilemma where silence on a particular subject doesn't have to be for the same reasons in every community. Everybody went to Church on the Lord's Day. The reasons may be very theological in the minds of those who consciously changed their day of worship in the NT accounts whereas those that picked up the practice may be silent on it because "...that's what we always do." One argument may be appropriate given the nature of Jewish households and it's good as far as it goes but is not the all-controlling argument.

    As for Acts 2:38 applying to the children of believers, I absolutely believe it does. "...For the promise (i.e., to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, upon meeting the preceding requirements of first repenting and being baptized - thus the promise clearly does not refer to the simple or inherent right of anyone to receive the sacrament of baptism apart from the given qualifications) is unto you (Peter's as then still unrepentant hearers) and to your children, to as many as the Lord our God shall call unto himself (the elect)." Indeed, as it is a very succinct presentation of the universal terms of the gospel, I think this passage applies equally to every person in the world.

    But then again, based on how this conversation typically goes between credo's and peados, we probably don't want to rabbittrail too far on the proper exegesis of Acts 2:38 here, do we?
    You simply prove my point that you've just read "history" in a way that is controlled by your theology of baptism. Peter uses language that I see fits within a context of Abrahamic Promise while you conflate Promise with the graces conferred by the same and infer a whole Sacramental theology into the statement. We don't even have to go to the ECF's to see a divergence in how we interpret the language of Church History but to the Apostle himself.

    Why do you list the WCF as your Confessional subscription in your profile?
    Rich
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  4. #84
    Phil D. is offline. Puritanboard Sophomore
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    Richard,

    I certainly meant "qualifications" in the context that the elect will exercise their God-given faith by responding affirmatively to the call of the gospel, and following through with what becoming a faithful follower of Christ entails.


    All: I get the sense that I've already been more assertive in this thread than is probably becoming of a freshman to this board. I also think I'm among those culpable for taking much of the conversation here a bit off-course from the what was intended with the OP. Moreover, it seems to me that some of the posts (including my own) are becoming increasingly edgy and/or contentious, for which I apologize. Obviously, many of us are passionate about the issue of baptism, and rightly so. And it is certainly proper for iron to sharpen iron. Still, I think the usefulness of my participation in this thread is drawing to a close. I do hope that some of the original source materials that I have cited here, as well as my better comments may have been helpful in some way to those who may have read them. I know for my part I have really enjoyed and benefited from the vast majority of others' contributions here. But taking a breather now will probably do me good. If and when another thread is started on the subject of baptism, you may well hear from me again (for better or worse...). Until then, best regards to all.

    Phil D.
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    Semper Fidelis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil D. View Post
    oreover, it seems to me that some of the posts (including my own) are becoming increasingly edgy and/or contentious, for which I apologize. Obviously, many of us are passionate about the issue of baptism, and rightly so. And it is certainly proper for iron to sharpen iron. Still, I think the usefulness of my participation in this thread is drawing to a close.
    FWIW, I was not offended. It's a forum for debate and discussion and the discussion has been civil.

    Thanks for your participation.
    Rich
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  6. #86
    Phil D. is offline. Puritanboard Sophomore
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    Rich, you asked (and apparently posted at the same time that I was writing my intended farewell post), "why do you list the WCF as your Confessional subscription in your profile." That's certainly a fair question, and merits an answer. In short, because, all things considered, I believe it is the single best summary of the biblical faith out there. In the various matters where it differs with the LBC, baptism excepted, I usually find that I actually agree more with the formulations given in the WCF. For example, even with regard to the sacraments, I prefer the term "sacraments" (obviously, given my own designation) over that of "ordinance", since I believe they are, properly used, a means of grace, with a true spiritual dimension to them. In other words, I believe they indeed inwardly seal and confirm the spiritual benefits which they signify. This vital role seems to be largely ignored, or at least implicitly downplayed in the LBC. I also differ from many baptists in that I am not inclined, nor do I feel a compulsion to ultimately pronounce someone "unbaptized" if they received the rite as an infant. And, yes, I realize that in many ways this mix of convictions makes me a rather enigmatic oddball. But I'm simply trying to walk faithfully in the light God has, and will continue to graciously give me concerning each facet of my faith. Given all this, I'm sorry if claiming the WS as my overall preferred statement of faith offends somebody. While I suppose this explanation may raise more questions than it answers, I'm not sure what else to say for now.
    Last edited by Phil D.; 10-07-2010 at 03:29 PM. Reason: simple correction of a typo
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    Semper Fidelis's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reply Phil. I think if you really wrestle with the idea of Sacramental union and the relationship between Promise (grace signified) and grace conferred that you might realize you either do or do not agree with the Sacramental ideas in the Reformed confessions.

    Blessings!

    Rich
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  8. #88
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    Hi Phil:

    If the Early Church Fathers could get the meaning of water Baptism so wrong, and so quickly after the 1st Century, then why would one have confidence in their supposed views concerning adult immersion?

    Blessings,

    Rob
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    armourbearer is offline. Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil D. View Post
    First, we have long been told that we should accept the idea that infants were baptized in the apostolic church because the important status of children within the family unit was so obvious and integral to the cultures of that time that their inclusion in baptism would naturally be taken for granted (thus explaining the lack of any direct mention of the practice in the NT). Are we now to believe that the reason no Christian writings produced immediately after the NT era includes any reference to children being baptized is because their status was suddenly so reduced that it resulted in a general "lack of interest" concerning them? Surely, if employing the same argument from silence in such antithetical ways regarding the same issue is to be deemed appropriate, then those who may hold a different view of the historical datum are at a decided disadvantage in any discussion of it, to say the least.
    That infants were treated as part and parcel of the family unit does nothing to create a "status" whereby they are treated as individuals in their own right. The dilemma you have created is therefore non-existent. Family integration explains household baptisms and lack of status explains the lack of individual instruction relative to their baptism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil D. View Post
    Secondly, if one is to put any practical stock in the fact that some ECFs deemed the practice of baptizing infants to have been handed down from the apostles, to be consistent should they not also perform such baptisms in the manner which many ECFs also claimed to have been handed down from the apostles - namely, triple immersion?
    Where running water was not available pouring sufficed.

    The affirmative point I was making did not pertain to the authority of "apostolic tradition," so any argumentum ad absurdum is irrelevant. The question is, What was practised in the second century? We have modern scholars seeking to make judgements based on the minimal evidence which has been preserved over the centuries and overlooking the unchallenged testimony of church fathers who lived within a generation or two of the sub-apostolic fathers. My argument is that their appeal to apostolic practice should not be excluded simply because the second century evidence itself lacks explicit reference to infant baptism.
    Yours sincerely,
    Rev. Matthew Winzer
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    Peairtach's Avatar
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    Richard,

    I certainly meant "qualifications" in the context that the elect will exercise their God-given faith by responding affirmatively to the call of the gospel, and following through with what becoming a faithful follower of Christ entails.
    Not to go on at great length, Phil. It's good to have you on the Puritan Board. We're all brothers in Christ whether we discuss and argue about baptism or not.

    In the Reformed view faith and repentance logically - if not necessarily chronologically - follow regeneration/baptism with the Spirit, and for Baptists a profession of this must precede water baptism.

    The interesting thing is that the Presbyterians and Reformed Baptists would agree that the Apostles and others were baptised with water long before they were baptised with the Holy Spirit into Christ, which breaks the Reformed Baptist contention that you must be baptised with water only after being baptised with the Spirit into Christ.

    Peter's remark,

    For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself." (Acts 2:39)

    would have been understood to mean that the children are included in this new phase of the Covenant, as they were from the time of Abraham.

    Being under the promise of the Covenant didn't mean that such children or adults would receive anything automatically without faith in the promise of God. The same is true today with baptism. Romans 3:1-4 shows this.

    But since the promise was "for them" circumcision could not be denied them, and the same is true for baptism today.

    It would be interesting if someone like Rich or someone else could better "unpack" that phrase "the promise is for you and your children" and what it means that the promise is peculiarly for the children of believers differently to others.

    Do Reformed Baptists believe that the promise is for their children?
    Richard Tallach
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  11. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by Semper Fidelis View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    Did the orthodox ever question the Trinity, once it had been established? That would be a parallel question to ask.
    Depends on what you mean by orthodox.

    First, the point is that the Trinity was an established doctrine handed down by the Apostles in their teaching. This, later writers argue for. Your statement that the "Church hadn't settled it" sounds more like those that see the doctrine as created by the Church rather than something in the Apostolic faith that had to be clearly articulated.

    Second, Athanasius was banned 5 times from his bishopric for defending Nicene orthodoxy because a large and influential segment of the Church became Aryan. The point is that your argument is weak. The Trinity is even more foundational to Christian orthodoxy than Baptism. The same can be said for the humanity and divinity of Christ that were early defended by Iraneus. The same can be said for the Gospel, which, within Paul's own preaching ministry, was being trampled underfoot by the Judaizers.
    I completely agree with your facts. I think you're missing my point. The one Holy and Apostolic Church has always been faithful to orthodoxy, because there has been an unbroken chain of truth from the Apostles down. If it was challenged, it was from without, not within, for the essential practices and beliefs of the Church have been maintained. The rule of faith, the Trinitarian formula in baptism, the LS, etc, were all preserved. The orthodox would never have yielded on these.

    Along comes Tertullian and others suggesting a different approach to baptism, one of cardinal practices of the Church. He is not branded a heretic for it, nor is there a universal outcry, rather, many believers apply it. How did he get away with it? Probable conclusion: the baptism of infants wasn't one of the practices handed down by Apostolic authority, like the Trinity, the deity of Christ, etc. It's something the Church introduced, but apparently it wasn't on the same level of dogma, or Tertullian would have been shot down immediately.

    Not. You are the one "psychologizing" on why Tertullian felt comfortable taking on a doctrine. Why does Tertullian never appeal to Apostolic teaching on the subject to note that his is the view of the Apostles? The aberrant nature of his doctrine of baptism is very germane as is his willingness to later abandon all Christian orthodoxy. If we're going to evaluate the character of a man then the fact that he abandoned Christian orthodoxy wholesale is completely germane to whether he's "held fast" by historical orthodoxy on a particular doctrine.
    He doesn't cite apostolic authority for his view because they are silent on the matter, which is my point. If the ad hominem were to stand, it'd be pertinent to see, at least, when his baptismal views coincided with his departure from orthodoxy. Though he eventually went Montanist, was his baptismal tract accepted at the time? was he not a valuable contributor to the Church overall? By your stance, we might need to discard everything he wrote.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Tallach View Post
    The interesting thing is that the Presbyterians and Reformed Baptists would agree that the Apostles and others were baptised with water long before they were baptised with the Holy Spirit into Christ, which breaks the Reformed Baptist contention that you must be baptised with water only after being baptised with the Spirit into Christ.
    Richard, are you talking about the Apostles having received John's baptism, prior to their regeneration? Doesn't the transition period apply here?
    Dennis Oh
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Semper Fidelis View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    Did the orthodox ever question the Trinity, once it had been established? That would be a parallel question to ask.
    Depends on what you mean by orthodox.

    First, the point is that the Trinity was an established doctrine handed down by the Apostles in their teaching. This, later writers argue for. Your statement that the "Church hadn't settled it" sounds more like those that see the doctrine as created by the Church rather than something in the Apostolic faith that had to be clearly articulated.

    Second, Athanasius was banned 5 times from his bishopric for defending Nicene orthodoxy because a large and influential segment of the Church became Aryan. The point is that your argument is weak. The Trinity is even more foundational to Christian orthodoxy than Baptism. The same can be said for the humanity and divinity of Christ that were early defended by Iraneus. The same can be said for the Gospel, which, within Paul's own preaching ministry, was being trampled underfoot by the Judaizers.
    I completely agree with your facts. I think you're missing my point. The one Holy and Apostolic Church has always been faithful to orthodoxy, because there has been an unbroken chain of truth from the Apostles down. If it was challenged, it was from without, not within, for the essential practices and beliefs of the Church have been maintained. The rule of faith, the Trinitarian formula in baptism, the LS, etc, were all preserved. The orthodox would never have yielded on these.

    Along comes Tertullian and others suggesting a different approach to baptism, one of cardinal practices of the Church. He is not branded a heretic for it, nor is there a universal outcry, rather, many believers apply it. How did he get away with it? Probable conclusion: the baptism of infants wasn't one of the practices handed down by Apostolic authority, like the Trinity, the deity of Christ, etc. It's something the Church introduced, but apparently it wasn't on the same level of dogma, or Tertullian would have been shot down immediately.

    Not. You are the one "psychologizing" on why Tertullian felt comfortable taking on a doctrine. Why does Tertullian never appeal to Apostolic teaching on the subject to note that his is the view of the Apostles? The aberrant nature of his doctrine of baptism is very germane as is his willingness to later abandon all Christian orthodoxy. If we're going to evaluate the character of a man then the fact that he abandoned Christian orthodoxy wholesale is completely germane to whether he's "held fast" by historical orthodoxy on a particular doctrine.
    He doesn't cite apostolic authority for his view because they are silent on the matter, which is my point. If the ad hominem were to stand, it'd be pertinent to see, at least, when his baptismal views coincided with his departure from orthodoxy. Though he eventually went Montanist, was his baptismal tract accepted at the time? was he not a valuable contributor to the Church overall? By your stance, we might need to discard everything he wrote.
    Arguments from silence cut both ways. We frankly don't know how what the overall reaction was. Origen was whacked out on a lot of things and had some local support even though others in the Church were convinced of his departure from orthodoxy. Details from the early Church are sketchy at best.

    My larger point, which has been obscured by this lame appeal to Tertullian, is that no ECF raises a vocal objection to the widespread practice of infant baptism on the basis that it is an innovation and that the Apostles taught otherwise. We cannot find a single ECF witness that condemns the innovation in support of the idea that the Apostles taught the baptism of converts alone. Somehow, by the time of Tertullian, it was everywhere and nobody condemns it as an innovation.

    The fact that Tertullian feels "safe" to have a strange view of baptism and that we don't read of anyone condemning him is hardly a refutation of this point. It's not as if Tertullian is proposing a reform of the view but a view that is just crazy and bears no resemblance to any view currently held. In other words, Tertullian's project wasn't to try to get rid of infant baptism, per se, but he just had a really weird view of baptism that would have no Apostolic origin in many different ways. The fact that others delayed their own baptisms has more to do with what they thought baptism did for them than anything having to do with the age of the recipient.

    Let's follow your argument, however, and see if it makes sense. Tertullian wrote:
    For no less cause must the unwedded also be deferredó in whom the ground of temptation is prepared, alike in such as never were wedded by means of their maturity, and in the widowed by means of their freedomó until they either marry, or else be more fully strengthened for continence. If any understand the weighty import of baptism, they will fear its reception more than its delay:
    Did Tertullian feel "safe" teaching this because it was not an established Apostolic teaching that the unmarried should be baptized? Was the baptism of the unmarried "unsettled" in the Church at the time? Is the fact that others followed suit a support for its Apostolic origin? Is the lack of any contemporary writings condemning Tertullian on this point proof that this was not a settled issue of orthodoxy?
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    Semper Fidelis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Tallach View Post
    The interesting thing is that the Presbyterians and Reformed Baptists would agree that the Apostles and others were baptised with water long before they were baptised with the Holy Spirit into Christ, which breaks the Reformed Baptist contention that you must be baptised with water only after being baptised with the Spirit into Christ.
    Richard, are you talking about the Apostles having received John's baptism, prior to their regeneration? Doesn't the transition period apply here?
    Christ also baptized - John notes that He baptized more people than John (his disciples that is).
    Rich
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    Quote Originally Posted by Semper Fidelis View Post
    Let's follow your argument, however, and see if it makes sense. Tertullian wrote:
    For no less cause must the unwedded also be deferredó in whom the ground of temptation is prepared, alike in such as never were wedded by means of their maturity, and in the widowed by means of their freedomó until they either marry, or else be more fully strengthened for continence. If any understand the weighty import of baptism, they will fear its reception more than its delay:
    Did Tertullian feel "safe" teaching this because it was not an established Apostolic teaching that the unmarried should be baptized? Was the baptism of the unmarried "unsettled" in the Church at the time? Is the fact that others followed suit a support for its Apostolic origin? Is the lack of any contemporary writings condemning Tertullian on this point proof that this was not a settled issue of orthodoxy?
    It'd be interesting to find out why he proposed this. Were the unmarried socially deviant in some way? inflamed with lust? and therefore not fit for Church membership?

    Note, Tertullian is not the only one leading the charge toward adult baptism. John Chyrsostom, Basil, Gregory Naziansus and Jerome were all baptised as adults, though each having at least one Christian parent. These figures lived in different regions of the empire, suggesting the practice was widespread enough. Remember that at this era of church history, the rule of worship and the rule of faith are inseparable. Unlike our modern era, what the early church practiced in their worship, they believed. While they would never have neglected the sacrament of eucharist, some segments of the Church seemed, at least during a period of time, to neglect the practice of infant baptism.

    To be fair, none of these Fathers denied the validity of infant baptism, true. But consider as an example that some contemporary worship advocates, may not deny the validity of EP either. The silence doesn't necessarily say much.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Tallach View Post
    The interesting thing is that the Presbyterians and Reformed Baptists would agree that the Apostles and others were baptised with water long before they were baptised with the Holy Spirit into Christ, which breaks the Reformed Baptist contention that you must be baptised with water only after being baptised with the Spirit into Christ.
    Richard, are you talking about the Apostles having received John's baptism, prior to their regeneration? Doesn't the transition period apply here?
    Yes. But it's interesting to note that many in the first century were baptised with water long before they were baptised with the Holy Spirit into Christ.

    The same is true for many Presbyterians, and some Baptists.

    In the Old Covenant many were cicumcised long before they were circumcised in heart. The sacrament didn't have to be carried out after a person claimed to have believed.

    Why does baptism have to be carried out after a person claims to have believed?

    The promise is to believers and their children, just as it was in the Old Covenant to those who were ingrafted into the Abrahamic Olive Tree (Romans 11).
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    Yes. But it's interesting to note that many in the first century were baptised with water long before they were baptised with the Holy Spirit into Christ.
    I think the transition period needs to be taken into consideration here. At least a couple of the disciples were John's disciples, and perhaps some others baptised by Jesus. They were not indwelt with the Spirit until Pentecost, but this is not the pattern for present-day believers.

    Why does baptism have to be carried out after a person claims to have believed?
    why wait after a profession? I guess it makes sense (to Baptists) to immerse into Christ those who are in Christ by faith. My question for the Presbyterian is why are only parents and their infants to be baptized? What about teenagers and middle aged progeny?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    why wait after a profession? I guess it makes sense (to Baptists) to immerse into Christ those who are in Christ by faith
    Profession is not coextensive with "those who are in Christ by faith". Whenever I see someone state that they immerse those who are in Christ by faith I immediately know that an important distinction has just been confused. As Richard points out there is a Promise announced in Acts 2:38-39 by Peter. Failure to properly distinguish Promise signified from the sovereign sealing of that Promise is always at the heart of this confusion.

    Repent and be baptized notes the spiritual union between grace conferred to the elect (repentance) and the sign of all the graces Promised by God to His people. The Church cannot and does not baptize on the basis of the knowledge that the graces of the CoG have been received. It can, however, note the apparent fruit in a person's life and the Promise is still true: if faith and repentance then this baptism seals God's Promise to save.

    In other words, whether a person is baptized as an adult, the Promise is still in effect: if you have faith and repentance then baptism is God's signifying to you that He saves to the uttermost. That means that when a man falls into deep sin and doubts the actual possession of faith and repentance prior to or at the time of his baptism, he does not have to go back to the minister and ask to be baptized again. Why? Because the Promise is "yes" and "amen". God promises to save the man baptized who has faith in Him. If that faith comes before baptism then it's True. If that faith comes after his baptism, years later, that baptism is true.

    Baptism is God's Promise unto us. God's signs have always acted this way. God speaks. God signifies things unto us. They are meant, everywhere, to be looked back upon, to be reflected upon, and to draw strength from.
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  19. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by Semper Fidelis View Post
    Repent and be baptized notes the spiritual union between grace conferred to the elect (repentance) and the sign of all the graces Promised by God to His people. The Church cannot and does not baptize on the basis of the knowledge that the graces of the CoG have been received. It can, however, note the apparent fruit in a person's life and the Promise is still true: if faith and repentance then this baptism seals God's Promise to save.

    In other words, whether a person is baptized as an adult, the Promise is still in effect: if you have faith and repentance then baptism is God's signifying to you that He saves to the uttermost. That means that when a man falls into deep sin and doubts the actual possession of faith and repentance prior to or at the time of his baptism, he does not have to go back to the minister and ask to be baptized again. Why? Because the Promise is "yes" and "amen". God promises to save the man baptized who has faith in Him. If that faith comes before baptism then it's True. If that faith comes after his baptism, years later, that baptism is true.

    Baptism is God's Promise unto us. God's signs have always acted this way. God speaks. God signifies things unto us. They are meant, everywhere, to be looked back upon, to be reflected upon, and to draw strength from.
    Rich, this Promise of God signified in baptism, then, seems to me to be a conditional promise. Also, if the promise is given to children of believers, and some of those children disbelieve, what does that also say about the promise? Is not the New Covenant supposed to be founded on "better promises" than the old one? (Heb 8:6)

    I would also ask whether Acts 2:38-39 is meant to teach on baptism, per se. I would point to Romans 6 as a clearer teaching on the significance of baptism (ie. baptism as burial into Christ).

    (any RBs out there wanna jump in, please feel free!)
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  20. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil D. View Post
    Rich, maybe I didn't express my point well enough, so let me try again: Paedobaptists both tell us that the absence of specifically mentioning infants in the biblical narratives on baptism is due (in part at least) to the fact that children, both in ancient Jewish and Gentile cultures, occupied such a high status in the family unit that they were naturally included in all things pertaining to ancient "households" (e.g., see Tim's arguments in #19 and #21 of this thread, and J. Jeremias, Infant Baptism, throughout) -- as well as that the same phenomenon of "absence of specifically mentioning infants in discussions of baptism" in subsequent Christian writings was due to the low status that was generally ascribed to children, as Rev. Winzer posited in #67. Thus my objection was that the same argument of silence cannot credibly by used in such antithetical ways to account for the same thing. In other words, it was simply an objection against what I perceive to be a we-can-have-it-both-ways-as-long-as-it's-convenient methodology sometimes used within the larger paedobaptist community, rather than an attempt to address the substantive merits, per se, of the individual arguments.

    As for Acts 2:38 applying to the children of believers, I absolutely believe it does. "...For the promise (i.e., to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, upon meeting the preceding requirements of first repenting and being baptized - thus the promise clearly does not refer to the simple or inherent right of anyone to receive the sacrament of baptism apart from the given qualifications) is unto you (Peter's as then still unrepentant hearers) and to your children, to as many as the Lord our God shall call unto himself (the elect)." Indeed, as it is a very succinct presentation of the universal terms of the gospel, I think this passage applies equally to every person in the world.

    But then again, based on how this conversation typically goes between credo's and peados, we probably don't want to rabbittrail too far on the proper exegesis of Acts 2:38 here, do we?
    Phil,
    Many here agree with you when you say this;
    As for Acts 2:38 applying to the children of believers, I absolutely believe it does. "...For the promise (i.e., to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, upon meeting the preceding requirements of first repenting and being baptized - thus the promise clearly does not refer to the simple or inherent right of anyone to receive the sacrament of baptism apart from the given qualifications) is unto you (Peter's as then still unrepentant hearers) and to your children, to as many as the Lord our God shall call unto himself (the elect)." Indeed, as it is a very succinct presentation of the universal terms of the gospel, I think this passage applies equally to every person in the world.
    The promise in Acts 2.......is the promise of psalm 16 made by tne Father...to the Son;
    30Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;

    31He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.

    32This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.

    33Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.

    34For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,

    35Until I make thy foes thy footstool.

    36Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
    That promise is what is being spoken of throughout the whole passage.....just read it and see.


    Rich T. asked...
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Tallach View Post
    Do Reformed Baptists believe that the promise is for their children?
    You answered him........but they define promise, sign, and seal differently than we would.
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  21. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by Semper Fidelis View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    why wait after a profession? I guess it makes sense (to Baptists) to immerse into Christ those who are in Christ by faith
    Profession is not coextensive with "those who are in Christ by faith". Whenever I see someone state that they immerse those who are in Christ by faith I immediately know that an important distinction has just been confused.
    As Richard points out there is a Promise announced in Acts 2:38-39 by Peter. Failure to properly distinguish Promise signified from the sovereign sealing of that Promise is always at the heart of this confusion.
    Repent and be baptized notes the spiritual union between grace conferred to the elect (repentance) and the sign of all the graces Promised by God to His people. The Church cannot and does not baptize on the basis of the knowledge that the graces of the CoG have been received. It can, however, note the apparent fruit in a person's life and the Promise is still true: if faith and repentance then this baptism seals God's Promise to save.

    In other words, whether a person is baptized as an adult, the Promise is still in effect: if you have faith and repentance then baptism is God's signifying to you that He saves to the uttermost. That means that when a man falls into deep sin and doubts the actual possession of faith and repentance prior to or at the time of his baptism, he does not have to go back to the minister and ask to be baptized again. Why? Because the Promise is "yes" and "amen". God promises to save the man baptized who has faith in Him. If that faith comes before baptism then it's True. If that faith comes after his baptism, years later, that baptism is true.

    Baptism is God's Promise unto us. God's signs have always acted this way. God speaks. God signifies things unto us. They are meant, everywhere, to be looked back upon, to be reflected upon, and to draw strength from.
    Hello Rich,
    I would like to respond to your post.
    1]
    Profession is not coextensive with "those who are in Christ by faith".
    "those who are in Christ by faith". have a make a proper profession
    of faith by water baptism. They openly confess Christ by water baptism, verbal confession and praise, and by good works adorning the doctrine of Christ.
    Titus tells us of those who have a false profession; 16They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
    2]
    As Richard points out there is a Promise announced in Acts 2:38-39 by Peter. Failure to properly distinguish Promise signified from the sovereign sealing of that Promise is always at the heart of this confusion.
    No....the promise spoken of is the promise spoken of earlier in Acts 2;23-36....the confusion goes away if you read the whole passage, and as In Suk also remarked,as well as Phil.....Romans 6 can be properly understood.
    3] The sovereign sealing of the "promise" is not water baptism. We are sealed by the Spirit Himself;
    13In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

    14Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

    also here in hebrews10

    15Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,

    16This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;

    17And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

    18Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.

    19Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

    20By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

    21And having an high priest over the house of God;

    22Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
    4]Baptism is God's Promise unto us. No.....The word of God declaring that all who believe in the biblical Jesus,and His covenant death for those he came to save according to the scriptures is the promise unto us.
    36For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise

    and again,here is the word of promise;
    \ 9But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.

    10For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

    11And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:

    12That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

    13For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,

    14Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.

    15And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.

    16For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife.

    17Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:

    18That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:

    19Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;

    20Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
    Anthony D'Arienzo
    Hope Reformed Baptist Church:
    Medford, N.Y.
    All that die have not the plague, and all that perish eternally are not guilty of the same profligate sins.The covetous are excluded from the kingdom of God no less severely than fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, and thieves, 1 Corinthians 6:9,10.

  22. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Semper Fidelis View Post
    Repent and be baptized notes the spiritual union between grace conferred to the elect (repentance) and the sign of all the graces Promised by God to His people. The Church cannot and does not baptize on the basis of the knowledge that the graces of the CoG have been received. It can, however, note the apparent fruit in a person's life and the Promise is still true: if faith and repentance then this baptism seals God's Promise to save.

    In other words, whether a person is baptized as an adult, the Promise is still in effect: if you have faith and repentance then baptism is God's signifying to you that He saves to the uttermost. That means that when a man falls into deep sin and doubts the actual possession of faith and repentance prior to or at the time of his baptism, he does not have to go back to the minister and ask to be baptized again. Why? Because the Promise is "yes" and "amen". God promises to save the man baptized who has faith in Him. If that faith comes before baptism then it's True. If that faith comes after his baptism, years later, that baptism is true.

    Baptism is God's Promise unto us. God's signs have always acted this way. God speaks. God signifies things unto us. They are meant, everywhere, to be looked back upon, to be reflected upon, and to draw strength from.
    Rich, this Promise of God signified in baptism, then, seems to me to be a conditional promise.
    What do you understand by "conditional"? Are any of the promises of God accessible apart from faith as a "condition"? No, God doesn't give an eternal promise, and then take people to heaven who don't believe him or his word. Are they going to be in heaven second-guessing God at every turn? What is the promise inherent in the gospel of Jesus Christ? That if you repent and believe, God will save you from your sins. Which apostle ever preached a gospel that didn't suspend the enjoyment of salvation upon the condition of believing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    Also, if the promise is given to children of believers, and some of those children disbelieve, what does that also say about the promise?
    It says nothing about the promise other than it says about the same promise given to the instant professors of belief in that promise. What of the professor who apostatizes? You wouldn't suggest there was a problem with the promise in that case, would you? You have a "built-in" condition in the case of the professor, namely that his faith is genuine, that it has been engendered by the Holy Spirit. But that reality isn't accessible to your inerrant judgment. So, why should you demand more of the reality exposed in the case of an infant? If your proposal, at this juncture, is that faith as the necessary condition is IMPOSSIBLE for an infant, then we are back to the grand questions of whether infants can be saved, on what basis are they saved if not by faith, what level of development among the elements of faith is requisite, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    Is not the New Covenant supposed to be founded on "better promises" than the old one? (Heb 8:6)
    Define "Old Covenant". I define the Old Covenant as the Mosaic administration. It is replaced by the New in Christ's administration. But New Covenant promises aren't any "better" than the promises to Abraham, because Paul teaches that we have received what was promised to Abraham in the New Covenant, and that the introduction of Mosaic "promises" (which were legal in nature) could not annul the covenant made by promise to Abraham.

    Of course, it is also better now to have the reality of Christ-come, rather than Christ-TO-come. So, the promise-to-save, made unto us in this age, is also "better" than the promise made to Abraham, in the sense that the foundation of the promise is more apparent than ever it was. The winds of time have exposed more of the Eternal Rock upon which it is built. But it is not a different promise.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    I would also ask whether Acts 2:38-39 is meant to teach on baptism, per se. I would point to Romans 6 as a clearer teaching on the significance of baptism (ie. baptism as burial into Christ).
    Doesn't Act.2:38 use the language of "baptism"? Of course Act.2:38-39 teaches on the subject of baptism, however, it does so in a narrative context, and as I have frequently argued, narrative texts don't typically function well as foundational texts for baptismal theology or practice. How does that text speak to us? It connects the institution of baptism to God's previous promises to Abraham, through the explanatory preaching of Peter on the inauguration of the new age.

    Rom.6 is useful for teaching the significance of baptism. Of course, there is a whole catena of texts that teach on the significance of baptism, Rom.6 being quite helpful on the doctrine of union with Christ. (As you know, I provided an entire post on the wide-ranging signification of baptism, as it recapitulated the equally wide-ranging signification of circumcision). But, as you also know, baptism is not only "burial" into Christ in that passage, but also "resurrection" in Christ. Furthermore, baptism is experiencing a "putting on Christ" Gal.3:27 like a suit of clothing, and a "drinking of one Spirit" 2Cor.12:13 like a tall glass of refreshment.

    We don't have any trouble with those didactic passages that deal with the signification of baptism. But we also don't have the hangups, on the one hand, that they have who insist on the pure objectivity of the sacraments (that they work ex opere); nor that they have on the other that insist on the essential subjectivity of the sacraments, and a testamentary "order" that must be followed to legitimate the application. Our grand insistence is that FAITH in the meaning of baptism is necessary to the enjoyment of that which it signifies, unto any persons who receive the sign. And only those whom Scripture teaches should receive the sign rightly receive it, which we believe includes the infant children of believers.
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  23. #103
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    I'm not educated enough to break down the original language. My hope is that on the Day of the Lord we (credo & paedo) will both be told by Jesus, that what you did honored me because you did it to the best of your ability and convictions, according to my word.
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  24. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by Contra_Mundum View Post
    Doesn't Act.2:38 use the language of "baptism"? Of course Act.2:38-39 teaches on the subject of baptism, however, it does so in a narrative context, and as I have frequently argued, narrative texts don't typically function well as foundational texts for baptismal theology or practice. How does that text speak to us? It connects the institution of baptism to God's previous promises to Abraham, through the explanatory preaching of Peter on the inauguration of the new age.
    I'm curious how you're reading the text:
    Act 2:38 And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
    Act 2:39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself."

    What i see is,
    1. Baptism is not itself the promise, it is the condition that needs to be satisfied. The Holy Spirit, it seems, is the actual promise. So, for consistency's sake, if baptism is the promise, then we would have to conclude that those who are baptised are necessarily gifted with the Spirit.

    2. It is this promise (the Spirit) that is given (conditionally) to "you, your children, and all who are far." Do you read these 3 items "you, your children, and all ...," as a list? or, isn't it most likely that "everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself" is the summary category that subsumes all 3 items?

    The question now would be, Are not 'those whom the Lord calls to himself' otherwise known as the regenerate?

    If so, then is it not the regenerate who are charged to "repent and be baptised?"
    Dennis Oh
    LBC 1689
    In transition, Seoul Korea
    "The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time" -- Carl F. H. Henry

  25. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Contra_Mundum View Post
    Doesn't Act.2:38 use the language of "baptism"? Of course Act.2:38-39 teaches on the subject of baptism, however, it does so in a narrative context, and as I have frequently argued, narrative texts don't typically function well as foundational texts for baptismal theology or practice. How does that text speak to us? It connects the institution of baptism to God's previous promises to Abraham, through the explanatory preaching of Peter on the inauguration of the new age.
    I'm curious how you're reading the text:
    Act 2:38 And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
    Act 2:39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself."

    What i see is,
    1. Baptism is not itself the promise, it is the condition that needs to be satisfied. The Holy Spirit, it seems, is the actual promise. So, for consistency's sake, if baptism is the promise, then we would have to conclude that those who are baptised are necessarily gifted with the Spirit.

    2. It is this promise (the Spirit) that is given (conditionally) to "you, your children, and all who are far." Do you read these 3 items "you, your children, and all ...," as a list? or, isn't it most likely that "everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself" is the summary category that subsumes all 3 items?

    The question now would be, Are not 'those whom the Lord calls to himself' otherwise known as the regenerate?

    If so, then is it not the regenerate who are charged to "repent and be baptised?"
    As I noted previously, this issue boils down to confusion. Both my post and Bruce's posts contain the answers to your questions. Baptism is not the Promise. Nowhere was it said to be. Somehow you are unable to read even a fairly straightforward presentation where the relationship between Baptism as the signifying act of the Promise and the graces signified by the Promise were laid out. Stop and read what has already been presented. I don't even know how to respond when you fail to even properly read what has already been presented. It's one thing to disagree with a position because you've studied and understand it but I'm not certain you even apprehend what was explained to you between Bruce and myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Iconoclast View Post
    Hello Rich,
    I would like to respond to your post.
    1]
    Profession is not coextensive with "those who are in Christ by faith".
    "those who are in Christ by faith". have a make a proper profession
    of faith by water baptism. They openly confess Christ by water baptism, verbal confession and praise, and by good works adorning the doctrine of Christ.
    Titus tells us of those who have a false profession; 16They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
    Anthony,

    You make a simple category error that is equivalent to the following:

    All dogs are mammals. (All the elect profess faith in Christ)
    Therefore, all mammals are dogs. (Therefore, all who profess faith in Christ are elect)

    As I said before: profession of faith is not coextensive of those who are in Christ by faith.

    You have not "responded" to what I stated but only demonstrated the confusion I wrote about earlier.
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  26. #106
    steadfast7's Avatar
    steadfast7 is offline. Puritanboard Junior
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    Quote Originally Posted by Semper Fidelis View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Contra_Mundum View Post
    Doesn't Act.2:38 use the language of "baptism"? Of course Act.2:38-39 teaches on the subject of baptism, however, it does so in a narrative context, and as I have frequently argued, narrative texts don't typically function well as foundational texts for baptismal theology or practice. How does that text speak to us? It connects the institution of baptism to God's previous promises to Abraham, through the explanatory preaching of Peter on the inauguration of the new age.
    I'm curious how you're reading the text:
    Act 2:38 And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
    Act 2:39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself."

    What i see is,
    1. Baptism is not itself the promise, it is the condition that needs to be satisfied. The Holy Spirit, it seems, is the actual promise. So, for consistency's sake, if baptism is the promise, then we would have to conclude that those who are baptised are necessarily gifted with the Spirit.

    2. It is this promise (the Spirit) that is given (conditionally) to "you, your children, and all who are far." Do you read these 3 items "you, your children, and all ...," as a list? or, isn't it most likely that "everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself" is the summary category that subsumes all 3 items?

    The question now would be, Are not 'those whom the Lord calls to himself' otherwise known as the regenerate?

    If so, then is it not the regenerate who are charged to "repent and be baptised?"
    As I noted previously, this issue boils down to confusion. Both my post and Bruce's posts contain the answers to your questions. Baptism is not the Promise. Nowhere was it said to be. Somehow you are unable to read even a fairly straightforward presentation where the relationship between Baptism as the signifying act of the Promise and the graces signified by the Promise were laid out. Stop and read what has already been presented. I don't even know how to respond when you fail to even properly read what has already been presented. It's one thing to disagree with a position because you've studied and understand it but I'm not certain you even apprehend what was explained to you between Bruce and myself.
    Rich, I was responding to your own post #98 where you said:
    Baptism is God's Promise unto us. God's signs have always acted this way. God speaks. God signifies things unto us. They are meant, everywhere, to be looked back upon, to be reflected upon, and to draw strength from.
    I admit a tendency to misread and misunderstand what is written sometimes, forgive me. I was simply responding to this idea that baptism is a promise. I'm arguing that Acts 2:38ff does not support that. Perhaps you were not deriving your statement from that verse, in which case we have just talked passed each other. I would still like to argue that text, however, if you're willing. Thanks for your patience.
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  27. #107
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    Semper Fidelis is offline. 2 Timothy 2:24-25
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    You need to understand what I write in light of everything else written. Baptism, as a sign, connects to Promise and thing signified. If I promise to give you $100 and a check for $100 then the promise (payment of $100) is related to the check (sign of $100) and to the actual thing signified ($100).

    It's not the best analogy but at least it demonstrates a relationship between a speech act (I promise something) to a sign (something that signifies my earnest) and the actual conveyance of the thing promised and signified.

    You need to move back a little bit from the whole picture and consider how God's Promises relate to His Acts or Signs and then how He sovereignly seals things to His Signs based on His Promises. Of course it is a gift of the Holy Spirit that is Promised in Acts 2:38-39. That is clear. Baptism is the sign that visibly and viscerally connects human history to a Sovereign Promise and Act. It is not, in itself a bare thing that has all power within itself. Simply by being baptized a professor that day was not assured he would receive the Promise. A condition was attached, which was repentance.

    Repentance, as we learn in other parts of Scripture, is an evangelical grace. It comes, truly, from union with Christ along with all other Evangelical graces. Yes, of course, Romans 6 is a fuller explanation of how God unites us into Christ by our baptism. That gives explanation of how a physical sign (baptism by water) is related to something sovereignly conferred by the Holy Spirit (baptism into Christ). They may be distinguished but should not be considered separate ideas altogether. A person is assured by his baptism in water that when he lays hold of Christ by faith, that he is engrafted into Christ and possesses, most assuredly, every grace promised and announced by his baptism (to include repentance).

    The presence of conditions (believe upon Christ) only becomes a problem in the mind when the person believes it is something he produces within himself rather than recognizing that it is the work of the Holy Spirit that produces the condition necessary for the person to have faith.

    The amazing thing about the work of God is that He commands and promises things in His Word that men are incapable, in themselves, of performing or fulfilling. God fulfills the conditions in Christ and applies the fulfillment of those conditions sovereignly by the work of the Holy Spirit.

    I exhorted on something related to how Christ's work establishes the Kingdom of God last evening: http://www.hopeofchrist.net/2010/10/luke-1114-28/
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  28. #108
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    Marrow Man is offline. Drunk with Powder
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    Thanks Tim. I was bringing up the patristic issue only because I've heard it said by paedos that circumcision leading to infant baptism was a natural and obvious transition for the early church, and that the Abrahamic covenant connection to baptism is clear in the scriptures. Are there any writings other than this incidental one that might point to the covenantal connection?
    As I was reading in John Fesko's Word, Water, and Spirit this morning, I noticed that he references two passages by Augustine that make an explicit connection between circumcision and baptism, specifically with regard to Abraham/Isaac. The first is in On the Baptism of Infants (2:43) and the second is found in On Baptism, Against the Donatists (4:24). Just thought I would pass that along FYI.

    I can't find an online source to quote the first work, but here's the full section of the second:

    And if any one seek for divine authority in this matter, though what is held by the whole Church, and that not as instituted by Councils, but as a matter of invariable custom, is rightly held to have been handed down by authority, still we can form a true conjecture of the value of the sacrament of baptism in the case of infants, from the parallel of circumcision, which was received by God's earlier people, and before receiving which Abraham was justified, as Cornelius also was enriched with the gift of the Holy Spirit before he was baptized. Yet the apostle says of Abraham himself, that "he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith," having already believed in his heart, so that "it was counted unto him for righteousness." Why, therefore, was it commanded him that he should circumcise every male child in order on the eighth day, Genesis 17:9-14 though it could not yet believe with the heart, that it should be counted unto it for righteousness, because the sacrament in itself was of great avail? And this was made manifest by the message of an angel in the case of Moses' son; for when he was carried by his mother, being yet uncircumcised, it was required, by manifest present peril, that he should be circumcised, Exodus 4:24-26 and when this was done, the danger of death was removed. As therefore in Abraham the justification of faith came first, and circumcision was added afterwards as the seal of faith; so in Cornelius the spiritual sanctification came first in the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the sacrament of regeneration was added afterwards in the laver of baptism. And as in Isaac, who was circumcised on the eighth day after his birth, the seal of this righteousness of faith was given first, and afterwards, as he imitated the faith of his father, the righteousness itself followed as he grew up, of which the seal had been given before when he was an infant; so in infants, who are baptized, the sacrament of regeneration is given first, and if they maintain a Christian piety, conversion also in the heart will follow, of which the mysterious sign had gone before in the outward body. And as in the thief the gracious goodness of the Almighty supplied what had been wanting in the sacrament of baptism, because it had been missing not from pride or contempt, but from want of opportunity; so in infants who die baptized, we must believe that the same grace of the Almighty supplies the want, that, not from perversity of will, but from insufficiency of age, they can neither believe with the heart unto righteousness, nor make confession with the mouth unto salvation. Therefore, when others take the vows for them, that the celebration of the sacrament may be complete in their behalf, it is unquestionably of avail for their dedication to God, because they cannot answer for themselves. But if another were to answer for one who could answer for himself, it would not be of the same avail. In accordance with which rule, we find in the gospel what strikes every one as natural when he reads it, "He is of age, he shall speak for himself." John 9:21
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