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J.L. Allen

Puritan Board Freshman
My friend wrote this paper giving his objection to paedobaptism for a class at TEDS. This more or less summarizes his view. He said he would love to switch views should Scripture support it. I know, y’all know, that Scripture supports our view, but I’m too new to give a rebuttal at this level.

He’s asked me to consider his paper and to share with other Presbyterians and Reformed people. Please give it a read and a response. I appeal to the wisdom God has given you, brothers and sisters.


  • A Biblical Theology of the Signs of Inclusion into the Covenants FINAL (4).pdf
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Blueridge Believer

Puritan Board Professor
I would suggest reading Samuel Miller’s short work “infant baptism scriptural and reasonable”. It will have every answer to every argument brought up. You can find it online for free and I think it’s abailable in ebook form for kindle

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
From what I have thus far read, he makes the fatal error of not remaining consistent with God's covenant, which is said to be 'for all generations'. As well, he dispensationalizes the NC, 'all will know the Lord'.

"Put simply: everyone included in the old covenant community did not know the Lord; everyone included in the new covenant community, however, does know the Lord (Jer. 31:34). "

What of all the people that have been baptized and then fail to persevere? The general response to this is that they were never 'of the Lord, then!' How is this, practically different from what the Paedo does?

As well, it would seem as if he is intermingling the doing away with the ceremonial aspects and civil of the OT with the NT. Yes, the ceremonial and civil aspects are gone, but the covenanting aspects remain; there is no abrogation of it.

"This marks the distinctive problem: does the new covenant community only refer to those in the new covenant, or is there a biblical mandate to view the new covenant community as a visible, corporate solidarity? "

The above would seem to do away with federal headship; Consider household baptisms. Also, all the warning passages in scripture. If there is not a 'corporate
solidarity', how is it some are warned of falling away?

" Williamson delineates the newness of the new covenant in four ways: the complete removal of sin (Jer. 31:34; Ezek. 36:29,33), inner transformation of the heart (Jer. 31:33; Ezek. 36:26), intimate relationship with God (Jer. 31:34a; Ezek. 36:27), and its indestructability.16 "

How is this any different from what Abraham et. al possessed? He makes the error of not seeing the stated passages as a *now and not yet* event, dating all the way back to gen 3:15 where the protoevangelion was first proclaimed. How could it ever be said that Abraham did not have an "intimate relationship with God"?

"Israel was God’s treasured possession among all people, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Ex. 19:5-6), 17 officially constituted as the ‘assembly’ (לָהָק (at Mount Sinai (Deut. 9:10; 10:4; 18:16).1"

Israel remains the apple of God's eye in the *Israel of God*. That has never changed.

"The definition of the broader old covenant community finds a new definition in the new covenant community where “no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jer. 31:34). The new covenant community are God’s people, the true church, who really know him. 21"

Again, this was initiated in Gen 3; even though the credo continues to belabor this point, no one seems to want to acknowledge all the presumptive decisions in placing the sign on people who never persevere.

"Horton writes “Baptism, in fact, is now the true circumcision.”25 Moreover, they are “dual-oath” signs which could bless or curse depending on whether the recipient perseveres or falls away."

And here is the wrinkle: If they *know the Lord*, how can they fall away? it is an blatant contradiction, no?

"baptism and circumcision are not signs of inclusion into the same covenant."

Yes and no...different time period, same covenant community.

The author does well, according to his bend; at least he is being consistent in that; otherwise, he makes the same errors all credos do and most of it is based on presuppositions.


Puritan Board Junior
In the OT, there was a true invisible church mingled among the masses of the visible church. In the NT, there is a true invisible church mingled among the visible. "But we all know the Lord in the new covenant." No; we are living in the new covenant, and there are many in the new covenant church that still fall away from the Lord and don't persevere, which means that though outwardly they were part of the church, they never belonged to Christ. "Well, those people were never part of the new covenant." Okay, fine, then to help you understand, that's exactly what we would say about Old Covenant church goers who didn't really know the Lord.

Besides, by "all", Jeremiah never intended to mean every individual. "You're not taking the Bible literally." No, in that same passage speaking of the new covenant, Jeremiah mentions there will still be people in the new covenant church who "eat the sour grapes" and "die for their own sin" (31:29-30). It's a difference in administration. You might make the sweeping claim, as Jeremiah himself did earlier that all Israel had turned away from following the Lord, yes even "from the least of them to the greatest of them" (6:13; 8:10). It didn't mean each and every single individual. It meant by and large, taken as a whole, the whole lot of 'em. Well look, he's using the same words the same way in verse 34. "From the least to the greatest", it never meant each and every individual. Jeremiah's contrasting the administration of the OC with the administration of the NC. On the whole, the members of the OT visible church turned away from the Lord. Guess what? On the whole, most of the members of the NT visible church will know the Lord. What a difference Pentecost can make.
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Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
He said he would love to switch views should Scripture support it.
At this point, I am not going to contribute to the thread at the level of the invitation, and here's why:

I have said before (and will probably repeat myself in the future) I see very little spiritual advantage to getting Baptist-minded folk, who otherwise are staunch allies against many pernicious errors, to reconsider the matter of IB--even scripturally--when the goal appears significantly (if not mainly) "consistency" with other theological commitments.

I would never say, "I would LOVE to become a Baptist, if I could only be convinced by Scripture that the position was true." Why? Because, I would FEAR the trauma of "pulling myself out at the root by my baptism." I would become a Baptist only with tremendous reluctance, pulled against my will as it were, only compelled by necessity. And I think that someone coming to the conviction of IB, particularly having stoutly defended the opposite view, would not love the change either.

I realize, this person could simply be expressing himself seriously, with feeling, but not that eager to be confronted and shaken. But I must say once more: covenant-baptism, including infants, ought to be the conclusion of one's theology of baptism, an implication of his principled convictions. It should not (ordinarily) be a quest for that elusive "sensible" or "rationally convicting" argument.

Baptism is not superficial, even if some tend to regard it as such. Like a plant, it sends down roots into the soil of one's life of faith. Whatever it looks like from the air, it is not merely set out on the surface. One's understanding of baptism gets woven into the whole of one's theology, in some consistent manner. So that, a massive shift in how one views the sacrament (or "ordinance") has ripple effects.
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