ï"¿As I have over the past couple of years spent much time on this forum debating against paedo-baptists in an effort to preserve the validity of the Baptistic position, and as I have now been convinced that the Baptistic position is in error and am convinced of paedo-baptism, I thought it necessary to post a public recantation of the validity of the position I had been seeking to defend here over the past couple of years.
It has been a long road that has led to now, and I want to extend a word of appreciation for those here who have helped me to see where I have been in error: especially (but not exclusive to) to (screen names) webmaster, KCEaster, LOTW, WSW..., fredtgreco, Paul Manata, Scott Bushey, puritansailor and John V.
The issues that have led me to this change are many, but those which stand out are:
1. The nature of the promise. I was convinced (somewhere around 9 to 12 months ago) that the promises found throughout the Old Testament that God would be a God not only to those who fear Him, but also to their children (specifically Genesis 17:7; Deuteronomy 4:37,40; 5:29; 10:15; 11:21; 12:28; 30:6,19; Joshua 14:9 Psalm 25:12,13; 37:25,26; 90:16; 102:28; 103:17; 112:1,2; 115:14; Proverbs 11:21; Isaiah 44:3; 59:21; 61:9; 65:23; Jeremiah 32:39; Ezekiel 37:25) are just as applicable to the saints today as they were to Israel of old. Yet being convinced of this was not enough to throw out the Baptist position. I reasoned that these promises, though they all were covenant promises, given to those who are in covenant with God, do not require that the believers"(tm) children are also in covenant with God. Hence, I reasoned, that although both parent and child were in covenant with God in the Old Testament, only the believing parent was in covenant with God in the New Testament; the child is not brought into the covenant (temporally speaking) until he has believed and professed faith in Christ. However, as I have more recently searched among prominent Reformed Baptist authors, I failed to find even one of them who explicitly taught that these promises in the Old Testament are just as applicable to God"(tm)s people today as they were to Israel of yore.
2. The fact that whenever God has covenanted with specific individuals in the scriptures, His covenant also extends to the individual"(tm)s children. This is true with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Israelites at Sinai, Phinehas, and David. If this was the practice of God (Who does not change) back then, then should we not expect to find that the New Covenant should be similar in this respect? When we read the prophesies of the New Covenant, this is exactly what we find (Isaiah 59:21; Jeremiah 31:36,37; 32:39; Ezekiel 37:25). Is it no wonder that when we come to New Testament scripture, we find Jesus saying, "Suffer little children, and forbid them not to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven". We find the promise repeated in Acts 2:39: "for the promise is unto you and to your children...." We find the apostle addressing his epistles to the saints at Ephesus and Colosse in the which he specifically addresses the children. We find household baptisms. ([i:f0be22fe5d]Now I argued greatly that we could not prove that there were infants in these households and hence they were no support for paedo-baptism. However, what I failed to take into consideration was the fact that it was "households" that were baptized. It does not matter one iota whether one can prove whether their were infants in the households or not. The important point, which I totally missed, is the covenant language attached. God is still a God of households! He is a God to us and to our children.[/i:f0be22fe5d])
3. Continuity in the covenant community. The outward administration of the covenant of grace has always included children. No where in the New Testament is this ever repealed. The burden of proof is on the baptist to demonstrate that children are to be excluded from the covenant community is this administration.
4. There is no explicit command that says to baptize only those who do profess faith in Christ. As a baptist, I held firmly that baptism was a positive institution of our Lord, and as a positive institution it was to be administered only to those whom He commands. What I overlooked was that the only location where baptism is positively commanded (Matt 28:19), there is no mandate to baptize only after a profession of faith. The command is to disciple (which is a verb) the nations, baptizing and teaching them. There is no chronological order specified in the command([i:f0be22fe5d]It seems to me (I can"(tm)t prove this as I don"(tm)t speak or read Greek) that baptism is herein a component of discipleship; that is, disciple by baptizing and teaching.[/i:f0be22fe5d]). The baptist argument, just like the paedo-baptists argument, is completely implicit in this regard. Instead of following positive institution alone, as a Baptist I followed Biblical examples of baptism and concluded thereby that those who do actually profess faith are the only ones to be baptized.
About a month ago my whole baptistic theology came crashing down as I came to realize that I was dangling at the end of a limb, theologically speaking, with no help from the baptist authors to whom I have often gone for advice. In all the books and articles at my fingertips, I could not find the answers to my questions. As I re-read Malone"(tm)s and Jewett"(tm)s books, as I read Dagg"(tm)s book; as I re-read the short articles by Malone, Chantry and Welty, I saw their arguments for thebaptism of believers alone lacking under the scrutiny of the paedo-baptistic perspective. (Lest someone misunderstand me, these are all great men of the faith; educated theologians, the learnings of which I cannot begin to hold a candle to).
I also re-read Charles Hodge and Louis Berkhof on the issue. I read A.A. Hodge and Owen on the issue. I read Strawbridge"(tm)s article in response to Malone"(tm)s "A String of Pearls Unstrung". I read Matthew McMahon"(tm)s response to Malone"(tm)s "The Baptism of Disciples Alone". The weight of the burden of proof on my shoulders to prove that young children were not to be included in the New Testament administration (and hence not to receive the sign of baptism) became much more than I could bear. Alas, I yielded.....
The more I have been studying it, the more and more convinced I am becoming. It is so exciting to see things in a new light!
Anyway, I"(tm)m rambling.
Thanks again to those who have kept me on my toes.