An apparent contradiction?

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shackleton

Puritan Board Junior
I have been reading about the sacraments lately and in reading about baptism I am a little confused. There seems to be a contradiction, or a disconnect. It almost seems like there would have to be one way of salvation for adults and another for infants, if the notion behind infant baptism were correct.

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.

On the subject I have read Hodge, Calvin, Turritin, Grudem, A.H. Strong. The problem arose while reading and I came to an understanding of what baptism does, as stated in WCF 28, the disconnect came when trying to fit babies into this formula, where the quote from Hodge comes in.

Could it be possible that if baptism is New Testament circumcision that it would only be for those who have made a profession of faith? Since both these are required for entrance into the church. Since the church is the new covenant community and circumcision was the entrance into the Abrahamic covenant community, then wouldn't it be correct to say that baptism would only be for believers?

My conclusion:
Church is new covenant community
Must be a believer to be a member of the church as evidenced by a profession of faith, which is followed by baptism.
Confession and baptism make one a member of the new covenant community
Therefore baptism is the new circumcision but only for believers.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Erick
Did you see this response in the other thread?
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.

Answer to the second question:
10:3 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 uncapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.​
To the first point, to be regenerated is to be endowed with a new capacity to believe savingly in the Lord Jesus Christ--previously an impossible condition to meet. In other words, it is necessary to lovingly apprehend Christ, to "see" him with the eyes of faith for who he is.

In our longer-lived selves, that capacity is acted upon in time and our faculties engaged, and we "see" the truth as it is in Jesus. In other words,, we exercise saving faith. We individually believe. and are saved. "Without faith it is impossible to please God."

Elect infants also must act on the capacity to believe they have been given through regeneration. Will they? Why not?!? In fact, they will "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" almost without having to "unlearn" anything, since all that growth takes place in his deivine presence. Do you think they believe in him? Will WE still be believing in him in glory? The answer to the latter is Yes, and so must be the former.
Baptism is not simply an "individual thing". It is a churchly thing, for the church. So, baptism of any one of us is also for the edification of the whole body. At the time of baptism, the faith being displayed most prominently is the faith of the parents. The words "I will be a God to YOU, and to your children after YOU," is made directly to them. THEY are participating/presenting their child. Of course, just as with Abraham, there is an implied condition there: ... if they believe the same faith you believe.

The simplest, childlike faith is also being portrayed there--a helpless child trusting in its parent's arms. If one says "I don't think actual faith is there at all," of course that is just presumption in the negative. Just as presumptive as if a professor made a profession, and we were to say: "that's probably a lie." Or even "that's probably the truth." We have no idea if it is or it isn't. Baptists and Presbyterians baptize adults on profession of faith, not on the truth of the profession. And they baptize infants (they confess as their motive) on the basis of a command by God to do so.

For many infants, no doubt the faith in view is proleptic--in view of future exercise. But since, say we, it doesn't matter when a baptism happens for a proper statement of God's promises, we baptize early. We baptize according to the divinely instituted custom of Abraham.
 
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shackleton

Puritan Board Junior
Baptism of infants is a promise by the parents to raise the child as God has commanded. Circumcision put a baby into the covenant community, he could not be saved outside of it just like now we cannot be saved outside the church. It does not save but sets one apart and places them within the covenant community.

It seems like the verses and attributes given to baptism are actually and would have to be referring to what the Spirit does for us in saving us. We are symbolically identified with his death and resurrection and the washing away of our sin, but the Spirit does this not water.

I wonder if Romans 6:1-6 even pertains to water baptism or if that is just read into it based on the present understanding of what baptism is believed to do.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
The quotation in Hodge is not Hodge's actual view. He is propounding how someone might think about the church in a way that excludes infants. If you read the headers for the propositions that follow, you will see that this is true.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
{he he he he}

Erick,
I'm not laughing at you. Just laughing, period, because we just got finished with a big discussion in another thread where the conversation ended up in the same place. "This verse or that isn't/is Spirit or water baptism."

Blessings.
 

AV1611

Puritan Board Senior
I wonder if Romans 6:1-6 even pertains to water baptism or if that is just read into it based on the present understanding of what baptism is believed to do.

Calvin:

3. Know ye not, etc. What he intimated in the last verse — that Christ destroys sin in his people, he proves here by mentioning the effect of baptism, by which we are initiated into his faith; for it is beyond any question, that we put on Christ in baptism, and that we are baptized for this end — that we may be one with him. But Paul takes up another principle — that we are then really united to the body of Christ, when his death brings forth in us its fruit; yea, he teaches us, that this fellowship as to death is what is to be mainly regarded in baptism; for not washing alone is set forth in it, but also the putting to death and the dying of the old man. It is hence evident, that when we become partakers of the grace of Christ, immediately the efficacy of his death appears. But the benefit of this fellowship as to the death of Christ is described in what follows.

4. We have then been buried with him, etc. He now begins to indicate the object of our having been baptized into the death of Christ, though he does not yet completely unfold it; and the object is — that we, being dead to ourselves, may become new creatures. He rightly makes a transition from a fellowship in death to a fellowship in life; for these two things are connected together by an indissoluble knot — that the old man is destroyed by the death of Christ, and that his resurrection brings righteousness, and renders us new creatures. And surely, since Christ has been given to us for life, to what purpose is it that we die with him except that we may rise to a better life? And hence for no other reason does he slay what is mortal in us, but that he may give us life again.

Let us know, that the Apostle does not simply exhort us to imitate Christ, as though he had said that the death of Christ is a pattern which all Christians are to follow; for no doubt he ascends higher, as he announces a doctrine, with which he connects, as it is evident, an exhortation; and his doctrine is this — that the death of Christ is efficacious to destroy and demolish the depravity of our flesh, and his resurrection, to effect the renovation of a better nature, and that by baptism we are admitted into a participation of this grace. This foundation being laid, Christians may very suitably be exhorted to strive to respond to their calling. Farther, it is not to the point to say, that this power is not apparent in all the baptized; for Paul, according to his usual manner, where he speaks of the faithful, connects the reality and the effect with the outward sign; for we know that whatever the Lord offers by the visible symbol is confirmed and ratified by their faith. In short, he teaches what is the real character of baptism when rightly received. So he testifies to the Galatians, that all who have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. (Galatians 3:27.) Thus indeed must we speak, as long as the institution of the Lord and the faith of the godly unite together; for we never have naked and empty symbols, except when our ingratitude and wickedness hinder the working of divine beneficence.

By the glory of the Father, that is, by that illustrious power by which he exhibited himself as really glorious, and as it were manifested the greatness of his glory. Thus often is the power of God, which was exercised in the resurrection of Christ, set forth in Scripture in sublime terms, and not without reason; for it is of great importance, that by so explicit a record of the ineffable power of God, not only faith in the last resurrection, which far exceeds the perception of the flesh, but also as to other benefits which we receive from the resurrection of Christ, should be highly commended to us.

5. For if we have been ingrafted, etc. He strengthens in plainer words the argument he has already stated; for the similitude which he mentions leaves now nothing doubtful, inasmuch as grafting designates not only a conformity of example, but a secret union, by which we are joined to him; so that he, reviving us by his Spirit, transfers his own virtue to us. Hence as the graft has the same life or death in common with the tree into which it is ingrafted, so it is reasonable that we should be partakers of the life no less than of the death of Christ; for if we are ingrafted according to the likeness of Christ’s death, which was not without a resurrection, then our death shall not be without a resurrection. But the words admit of a twofold explanation, — either that we are ingrafted in Christ into the likeness of his death, or, that we are simply ingrafted in its likeness. The first reading would require the Greek dative ὁμοιώματι, to be understood as pointing out the manner; nor do I deny but that it has a fuller meaning: but as the other harmonizes more with simplicity of expression, I have preferred it; though it signifies but little, as both come to the same meaning. Chrysostom thought that Paul used the expression, “likeness of death,” for death, as he says in another place, “being made in the likeness of men.” But it seems to me that there is something more significant in the expression; for it not only serves to intimate a resurrection, but it seems also to indicate this — that we die not like Christ a natural death, but that there is a similarity between our and his death; for as he by death died in the flesh, which he had assumed from us, so we also die in ourselves, that we may live in him. It is not then the same, but a similar death; for we are to notice the connection between the death of our present life and spiritual renovation.

Ingrafted, etc. There is great force in this word, and it clearly shows, that the Apostle does not exhort, but rather teach us what benefit we derive from Christ; for he requires nothing from us, which is to be done by our attention and diligence, but speaks of the grafting made by the hand of God. But there is no reason why you should seek to apply the metaphor or comparison in every particular; for between the grafting of trees, and this which is spiritual, a disparity will soon meet us: in the former the graft draws its aliment from the root, but retains its own nature in the fruit; but in the latter not only we derive the vigor and nourishment of life from Christ, but we also pass from our own to his nature. The Apostle, however, meant to express nothing else but the efficacy of the death of Christ, which manifests itself in putting to death our flesh, and also the efficacy of his resurrection, in renewing within us a spiritual nature.

6. That our old man, etc. The old man, as the Old Testament is so called with reference to the New; for he begins to be old, when he is by degrees destroyed by a commencing regeneration. But what he means is the whole nature which we bring from the womb, and which is so incapable of the kingdom of God, that it must so far die as we are renewed to real life. This old man, he says, is fastened to the cross of Christ, for by its power he is slain: and he expressly referred to the cross, that he might more distinctly show, that we cannot be otherwise put to death than by partaking of his death. For I do not agree with those who think that he used the word crucified, rather than dead, because he still lives, and is in some respects vigorous. It is indeed a correct sentiment, but not suitable to this passage. The body of sin, which he afterwards mentions, does not mean flesh and bones, but the corrupted mass; for man, left to his own nature, is a mass made up of sin.

He points out the end for which this destruction is effected, when he says, so that we may no longer serve sin. It hence follows, that as long as we are children of Adam, and nothing more than men, we are in bondage to sin, that we can do nothing else but sin; but that being grafted in Christ, we are delivered from this miserable thraldom; not that we immediately cease entirely to sin, but that we become at last victorious in the contest.
 

Poimen

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Erick:

There is one way of salvation for all: faith in Christ. The paedobaptist stands on the unity of the whole scriptures proclaiming the good news for all generations of believers, including ones who are not yet able to profess their faith in the Saviour. (Psalm 45:17; 72:5)

You assume too much however when you say that children are not capable of faith or repentance.
 

shackleton

Puritan Board Junior
The quotation in Hodge is not Hodge's actual view. He is propounding how someone might think about the church in a way that excludes infants. If you read the headers for the propositions that follow, you will see that this is true.

I know, I read what follows. It was his lead in to the topic of baptism as circumcision and saying that this was why babies were baptized and not to save them.

The problem is that both sides seem to have some really good arguments. Maybe there is a way to blend the two. A lot of good people who would agree wholeheartedly on the doctrines of grace part ways over this one issue. But it kind of goes back to ones belief of what was happening in the OT and how much of a difference there is between the OT and NT. Believers only baptizers seem to see a clear line of demarcation between the old and the new, whereas covenant baptizers see only one covenant of grace that goes from Genesis through Revelation. The new fulfills the old but it is often labeled as "replacement theology." I think fulfillment theology would be better.
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
The quotation in Hodge is not Hodge's actual view. He is propounding how someone might think about the church in a way that excludes infants. If you read the headers for the propositions that follow, you will see that this is true.

I know, I read what follows. It was his lead in to the topic of baptism as circumcision and saying that this was why babies were baptized and not to save them.

The problem is that both sides seem to have some really good arguments. Maybe there is a way to blend the two.

Not sure how you'd blend the two.. either you baptize infants or you don't...

A lot of good people who would agree wholeheartedly on the doctrines of grace part ways over this one issue. But it kind of goes back to ones belief of what was happening in the OT and how much of a difference there is between the OT and NT. Believers only baptizers seem to see a clear line of demarcation between the old and the new, whereas covenant baptizers see only one covenant of grace that goes from Genesis through Revelation. The new fulfills the old but it is often labeled as "replacement theology." I think fulfillment theology would be better.

"replacement theology" is a title never used by covenant theologians, though. It's a term of derision slapped on covenant theology by dispensationalists and others who disagree with its tenets. "Covenant theology" is just fine as a name.
 

Davidius

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I was under the impression that apparent contradictions are par for the course in Christian theology.
 

shackleton

Puritan Board Junior
Hence the term antinomy...I guess. We could go the Lutheran route and say that it is all a GREAT mystery.
 

regener8ed

Puritan Board Freshman
For those who would profess paedobaptism. Are all babies who are baptised and then die in their infancy saved? Please forgive my ignorance of covenant theology...
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
{he he he he}

Erick,
I'm not laughing at you. Just laughing, period, because we just got finished with a big discussion in another thread where the conversation ended up in the same place. "This verse or that isn't/is Spirit or water baptism."

Blessings.

Exactly.

What, precisely, is the point of this thread that wasn't addressed in the thread on assurance?

Shackleton: If you didn't understand (or agree with) the explanation of the relationship between sign and thing signified in the other Baptism thread then why didn't you raise it there instead of starting up a new thread that basically starts the whole thing afresh?
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
For those who would profess paedobaptism. Are all babies who are baptised and then die in their infancy saved? Please forgive my ignorance of covenant theology...
No

Many other paedos argue that they are saved by virtue of them being regarded as being in the covenant of grace, but some aren't dogmatic about it. Typically David's reaction to the death of his son is appealed to.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Could it be possible that if baptism is New Testament circumcision that it would only be for those who have made a profession of faith? Since both these are required for entrance into the church. Since the church is the new covenant community and circumcision was the entrance into the Abrahamic covenant community, then wouldn't it be correct to say that baptism would only be for believers?

My conclusion:
Church is new covenant community
Must be a believer to be a member of the church as evidenced by a profession of faith, which is followed by baptism.
Confession and baptism make one a member of the new covenant community
Therefore baptism is the new circumcision but only for believers.

By the way, your theology would fit in nicely with a "Church of Christ"-like facile formulation that makes the verbal act of profession and then the act of baptism itself instrumental to salvation.
 

shackleton

Puritan Board Junior
Shackleton: If you didn't understand (or agree with) the explanation of the relationship between sign and thing signified in the other Baptism thread then why didn't you raise it there instead of starting up a new thread that basically starts the whole thing afresh?

There has been a lot of talk lately about "hi-jacking" threads so I started another one to focus attention on what I was thinking after reading about baptism.
 

shackleton

Puritan Board Junior
I guess if one wanted to go to an extreme they could say that since Christ choose his elect prior to the foundation of the world, died for them and wrote their name down in the Lamb's book of life, then elect babies who die in infancy are saved and do not have to come to believe.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I guess if one wanted to go to an extreme they could say that since Christ choose his elect prior to the foundation of the world, died for them and wrote their name down in the Lamb's book of life, then elect babies who die in infancy are saved and do not have to come to believe.

Again, Erick, I think you need to read a few threads that explain the difference between the things hidden and the things revealed.

Just because we're Reformed and we embrace God's Sovereignty in the choice of His elect doesn't mean we get a "by" on the command that the hidden things belong to the Lord and the revealed things belong to us and our children.

Election is revealed to us to ensure that we ground the surety of salvation in the eternal purpose of God to be the author and finisher of salvation for those who believe.

The Church is then given a ministry on the basis of the things REVEALED. If people, including some theologians, would get that through their thick skulls then some of these "apparent contradictions" would not be apparent contradictions at all.

We do not baptize on the basis of a person's election. If that was the case then NOBODY would be baptized because, though the person may be utterly convinced of his election, the Church could not simply take a man's word for it. If their standard is to baptize only the elect then they would have to base the baptism on something other than profession or birth or any other thing that we could see.

The Church, in any orthodox scheme, can only ever ministerially declare the Promise of God and externally join a person to the Church - no matter the age or the profession. It is God alone, through the Spirit that blows invisibly, that know who among that visible number are.

The apparent contradiction you are experiencing is all because you keep trying to have the invisible break into the visible. It cannot be done. In fact, Erick, you are commanded by God *not* to try to peer into things hidden.

Now, you may conclude (wrongly in my estimation) that children are not proper recipients of Baptism but it will never (and can never be) on the basis of the hidden counsel of God - as if you know that children are or are not elect. You could not baptize professors on the the same standard. It will have to be only on the basis of that which is revealed.

I've stated over and over and over again that the problem that these sorts of discussions have is that some like to assume that, because they are absolutely sure that the New Covenant is with the elect alone, that they have some sort of basis to baptize on profession. It is a fallacy. I am about to try to put together a debate that proves just that point: that if someone grants the Baptist that the New Covenant is with the Elect alone it would not provide the visible Church with a single name of a person that they need to baptize.

To profess does not equal elect. I say again, to profess does not equal elect. To baptize does not equal elect. I say again, to baptize does not equal elect.

When I was a novice in Reformed theology, I used to try to square who one baptizes with the election of God. I matured in my thinking and came to the realization of the above. While people are muddy in their thinking, they'll gravitate to the idea of an elect people (hidden in the counsel of God) and try to draw a line to who the Church baptizes (things revealed). It cannot be done. It is forbidden that men try to peer into the hidden counsel of God. Full stop.
 

shackleton

Puritan Board Junior
In Acts 2:38-41 after Peter's sermon 3,000 people were converted and baptized upon a profession of faith. They were not put through the rigors as to whether they were all "true" believers or not, it was believed at face value that their profession was real.

Acts 2:38-41"Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38And 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. 39For 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.” 40And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls."

WCF 28:1" 28:1 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).

Baptism makes one a member of the visible church, and one is baptized upon a profession of faith. Nowhere does it say anything about the covenant community being made up only of the elect or the baptized being only those who are elect.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Baptism makes one a member of the visible church,
Correct
...and one is baptized upon a profession of faith.
Begs the question.

Nowhere does it say anything about the covenant community being made up only of the elect or the baptized being only those who are elect.

Correct.

Nor does the WCF. Hence, there is no real or apparent contradiction in the WCF. The WCF never states that there is more than one way of salvation. Baptism does not impart salvation nor does the WCF state that it does.

So what's your problem other than a presumption that the historical narratives of baptism upon profession have become the sole normative didactic teaching for you?
 

HaigLaw

Puritan Board Sophomore
To me, this issue is more simple than has been discussed above: baptism, like circumcision, is applied to believers and their children, based on the faith (or profession of faith) of the parent, not the child. Col. 2:11.

When we get into discussing whether the infants of believers (or professors of faith) who have died in infancy were within the elect or not, or whether or how they could exercise saving faith so young, we go beyond what Scripture tells us.

We have Biblical warrant that some have been regenerated within the womb, but not all, so we have to leave it at that, In my humble opinion.

:detective:
 

shackleton

Puritan Board Junior
That us why I put "apparent" in the title. I read all there was on baptism and why it was performed and understood it. The problem is that children do not fit into that category, (as Hodge pointed out in a quote I posted somewhere), but that was the lead in to his argument for covenant baptism or baptism as circumcision, baptizing the babies of believers to include them into the covenant community just like the circumcised children in the OT.

By the end of this year I will be taking a 5 hour class just on covenant (biblical) theology that will help a lot I am sure and I will go back and read Hodges argument again and some Turretin.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
That us why I put "apparent" in the title. I read all there was on baptism and why it was performed and understood it. The problem is that children do not fit into that category, (as Hodge pointed out in a quote I posted somewhere), but that was the lead in to his argument for covenant baptism or baptism as circumcision, baptizing the babies of believers to include them into the covenant community just like the circumcised children in the OT.

By the end of this year I will be taking a 5 hour class just on covenant (biblical) theology that will help a lot I am sure and I will go back and read Hodges argument again and some Turretin.

Well, you set the contradiction up by making the WCF seem to contradict itself by starting with Hodge's statement, making it normative, and then wondering why the Confessions seem to speak of two modes of salvation. The only "contradiction" would be whether one insisted that Hodge's statement was Confessional. It was not but then you seemed to think it was a Confessional statement and wondered how the WCF could say what seemed to contradict what Hodge said.

The reason they contradict one another is that they are not saying the same thing. Hodge was not Confessional on this point. You should have asked if Hodge was wrong and the Confession was right or vice versa.
 

shackleton

Puritan Board Junior
I was actually trying to use the confession to prove my point of an apparent contradiction by showing its definition of what happens to a person when they are baptized, what it symbolizes, to further prove that this criteria could not be applied to infants because it would imply either, (a) that infants would then be saved, like the RCC tries to say, or (b) Infants would have to be granted faith somehow. The confession goes on to say that it approves of option B.

I found option B to be either presumptive or absurd and unprovable.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I was actually trying to use the confession to prove my point of an apparent contradiction by showing its definition of what happens to a person when they are baptized, what it symbolizes, to further prove that this criteria could not be applied to infants because it would imply either, (a) that infants would then be saved, like the RCC tries to say, or (b) Infants would have to be granted faith somehow. The confession goes on to say that it approves of option B.

I found option B to be either presumptive or absurd and unprovable.

All your post proved was that you didn't understand the confession if you came to the conclusion that it taught either a) or b).
 

shackleton

Puritan Board Junior
Semper,
I see from your profile that you are more Presbyterian or Reformed and go to a SBC church whereas I am more Baptist, at least in my understanding of the sacraments, but go to a PCA church. Talk about a paradox. We are each one arguing that the other should hold to a view more in line with what is stated in their profile.

I don't mean anything malicious by this...
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Semper,
I see from your profile that you are more Presbyterian or Reformed and go to a SBC church whereas I am more Baptist, at least in my understanding of the sacraments, but go to a PCA church. Talk about a paradox. We are each one arguing that the other should hold to a view more in line with what is stated in their profile.

I don't mean anything malicious by this...

Nothing malicious about the fact that I attend a Baptist Church. I'm privileged to here as its the only choice in Okinawa but the people love the Lord.

Look, my point is that you sort of started out on the wrong foot in trying to understand the Confession. If you understand it properly then there are no apparent contradictions in the WCF. It is only when one imports something into it that is not stated.

The problem is when one brings a Baptistic framework into the phrasing. You need to dwell on the idea that there is a difference between the sign and the thing signified. Baptism is a sign of all the things the paragraph speaks of. Just because the sign is applied to a person (professor or infant) does not mean that everything that is signified by the sign becomes true of the recipient. That would be a Roman Catholic "working of the works" mentality. Baptism isn't magic.

Neither can the Church apply the sign because they know that the person receiving the sign already possesses all of the benefits signified by baptism. This, again, is impossible to know, with or without a profession.

If you really thought about it, if the Confession taught that whoever is baptized receives all the benefits of the sign then you should have asked, first, about an apparent contradiction in baptizing a professor. That is to say, how could the Church know that the professor being baptized is truly elect? It cannot. Hence, the Church is not baptizing people because they possess the benefits that the sign points to.

Thus, there is no either apparent or real contradiction in the baptism of either professors or infants. In neither case must the Church know who the elect are to baptize nor can they know. They baptize on the basis of who the proper recipients of baptism are and the sign still signifies all the things it speaks of but those benefits are only applied to those whom the Lord, in the fulness of time, redeems.
 
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