Credobaptism and Paedobaptism: Difficult Questions to Answer.

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Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
Ishmael wasn't your average Joe was he? He was the son of a believer and in the eyes of the Lord, holy (1 Cor. 7:14).
 

Jerrod Hess

Puritan Board Freshman
Ishmael wasn't your average Joe was he? He was the son of a believer and in the eyes of the Lord, holy (1 Cor. 7:14).
I agree. Now what about Joe Anybody? I'm genuinely asking, this is not meant to be a "got ya" question.
 
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TheInquirer

Puritan Board Sophomore
My point in answering was to show the connection between baptism, disciple and our understanding of Covenant Theology. I was hesitant to post as I figured it would get off into a debate that has been had hundreds of times on this board.

OP, this is why it is so hard to have an organized discussion on the topic - you need a disciplined, respectful, and highly knowledgeable group of people to pull it off well. It's a complex topic with lots of moving parts.
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
While the short answer is "Yes, of course." It might be more accurate to say, as Baptists, we are endeavoring to "make disciples" of our children (Matt. 28:19).
Isn’t someone made a disciple by coming under the discipline and teaching and purview of the church? (It being the church that’s charged with discipleship and not parents per se.)

I know of professing Christians who aren’t joined to the visible church. It’s hard to think that they or their children fulfill the biblical definition of disciple.
 

RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
I am a student of Chinese in the sense that I like it and dabble in it when I get the time. That's student in a limited sense. But no one is grading me, and no one can certify my progress.

I am not a student in the same way as someone who retains a tutor, learns it in school, or in some other fashion comes under the direction of a teacher to whom he is accountable, and which teacher has an authoritative word on his progress.

You can disciple the unconverted or unchurched in a more limited sense; but it is not the same as one who is made accountable to the shepherds Christ has put in the church--pastors and elders--who are ultimately responsible for discipleship training and nourishing.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Hello Rob,

First, I would add to your list of questions, How do you interpret these passages?, and, How do you see the relationship – if any – between them? :

Col 2:11-13: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses

Deut 30:6: And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.​

Second, the crux of this issue really lies in the nature of the covenant(s) involved. Were there two covenants the LORD made with Abraham (as the 1689 Federalists believe, one with spiritual, and one with carnal or secular promises)? Or was there one Covenant of Grace running from Gen 3:15 to Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David to Christ?

Third, Why were both the regenerate and unregenerate commanded to be circumcised, and its corollary in the NT, why all the children of believers to be baptized in the New Covenant of Christ? [Answer: all were circumcised / baptized for the sake of the elect among them; and not all circumcised / baptized are elect.]

And fourth, what is the relationship between the Covenant of Grace, and the New Covenant?

Warning: there are differing views among paedobaptists, and a faulty paedo view only brings in confusion.
 

TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
Hello All,

A group of friends from both Presbyterian and Baptist circles are looking for an organized discussion around Paedo and Credo baptism. I thought it would be great to have a list of targeted questions to ask from both sides to answer. Some may be more difficult than others to answer. The questions would be used to drive definition and discussion. What questions would you ask to stump the opposition or create clarity in this type of forum. Here are a few ideas that I created off the top of my head:

1. Define the meaning of Baptism
2. How do you view the relationship between the Old Testament and the New Testament
3. Who is included in the New Covenant?
4. What is the relationship between Circumcision and Baptism?
5. How would you interpret 1 Cor 7:14?
6. How would you interpret 1 Cor 10:1-4?

Thanks,

Rob
Add, 'Is the distinction between the visible and invisible church legitimate? Explain your answer.'
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
While the short answer is "Yes, of course." It might be more accurate to say, as Baptists, we are endeavoring to "make disciples" of our children (Matt. 28:19).
Then you’ll already know how one does that...

The verb “make disciples” is qualified by the 2 participles that show how you make disciples, namely 1) baptizing them and 2) teaching them.
 

RobertPGH1981

Puritan Board Sophomore
Then you’ll already know how one does that...

The verb “make disciples” is qualified by the 2 participles that show how you make disciples, namely 1) baptizing them and 2) teaching them.

I would add sending children to a public school is essentially making them disciples of whatever they're teaching. As young children they are very impressionable and if you have any concerns over public schooling its around poor teaching curriculum & discipleship.
 
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C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Graduate
Isn’t someone made a disciple by coming under the discipline and teaching and purview of the church? (It being the church that’s charged with discipleship and not parents per se.)
Parents are to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. But one does not become a disciple until they embrace Jesus Christ freely offered to them in the gospel and give themselves up to him in baptism and membership in some particular and orderly church of Jesus Christ, wherein they are to walk in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
 
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TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
Parents are to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. But one does not become a disciple until they embrace Jesus Christ freely offered to them in the gospel and give themselves up to him in baptism and membership in some particular and orderly church of Jesus Christ, wherein they are to walk in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
So someone can be in the παιδείᾳ (nurture) of the Lord without being a disciple? Strong defines παιδείᾳ as "discipline; training and education of children, hence: instruction; chastisement, correction."

Thayer defines it as follows. Does this not describe discipleship?

1. the whole training and education of children (which relates to the cultivation of mind and morals, and employs for this purpose now commands and admonitions, now reproof and punishment.
2. "whatever in adults also cultivates the soul, especially by correcting mistakes and curbing the passions"; hence,
a. instruction which aims at the increase of virtue: 2 Timothy 3:16.
b. according to Biblical usage chastisement, chastening (of the evils with which God visits men for their amendment): Hebrews 12:5 (Proverbs 3:11).

Note that they are not in the παιδείᾳ merely of their parents, but of the Lord; they're his disciples.
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
Parents are to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. But one does not become a disciple until they embrace Jesus Christ freely offered to them in the gospel and give themselves up to him in baptism and membership in some particular and orderly church of Jesus Christ, wherein they are to walk in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
Yes, that seems to be the crux of the question; who do the Scriptures say is a disciple. Paul indiscriminately addressed the children of the church as disciples :)
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
But one does not become a disciple until they embrace Jesus Christ freely offered to them in the gospel and give themselves up to him in baptism and membership in some particular and orderly church of Jesus Christ, wherein they are to walk in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
This is contrary to what we already know Scripture clearly teaches...Judas Iscariot was a disciple.

Judas never embraced Jesus Christ freely offered to him in the gospel. He never walked in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. So your definition is false.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Graduate
This is contrary to what we already know Scripture clearly teaches...Judas Iscariot was a disciple.

Judas never embraced Jesus Christ freely offered to him in the gospel. He never walked in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. So your definition is false.
As the Baptist Confession states:

All persons throughout the world, professing the faith of the gospel, and obedience unto God by Christ according unto it, not destroying their own profession by any errors everting the foundation, or unholiness of conversation, are and may be called visible saints; and of such ought all particular congregations to be constituted.—BCF 26.2

Judas was "visible saint" insofar as his profession of Christ and manner of life were in agreement. But he was never a saint indeed. He had a name that he was alive, but was really dead (Rev. 3:1). And when his true nature was revealed, he lost even the title of a disciple. This isn't difficult to understand.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
When Paul says, "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Eph 6:4), are not this nurture and admonition distinct aspects of discipling? And can it not commence very early on in infancy? When we, adults, are in such nurture and admonition under our Saviour, are such not aspects of His discipling us?

A mother disciplines and teaches wee infants – are there not gradations of discipling according to the capacity of the one being discipled? With the elect infant such will take; with the reprobate it will not, and in this latter the rebellion will manifest eventually.

When the apostle, by the Spirit of Christ, says, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right" (Eph 6:1), is this not applicable to all children, even those who cannot yet comprehend it fully?
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
Yes, that seems to be the crux of the question; who do the Scriptures say is a disciple. Paul indiscriminately addressed the children of the church as disciples :)
He does not call them disciples but addresses the duty they have to their parents under the Law, which is universal and not limited to the children of believers.
Technically, Paul never addresses anyone as a μαθητης. The word does not even occur outside of the Gospels and Acts. However, what Paul does address children as is “saints” (Eph. 1:1, 6:1).
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Graduate
When Paul says, "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Eph 6:4), are not this nurture and admonition distinct aspects of discipling? And can it not commence very early on in infancy? When we, adults, are in such nurture and admonition under our Saviour, are such not aspects of His discipling us?

A mother disciplines and teaches wee infants – are there not gradations of discipling according to the capacity of the one being discipled? With the elect infant such will take; with the reprobate it will not, and in this latter the rebellion will manifest eventually.

When the apostle, by the Spirit of Christ, says, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right" (Eph 6:1), is this not applicable to all children, even those who cannot yet comprehend it fully?
Technically, Paul never addresses anyone as a μαθητης. The word does not even occur outside of the Gospels and Acts. However, what Paul does address children as is “saints” (Eph. 1:1, 6:1).
I have no qualms with saying that the children of believers are in a limited sense disciples and even "holy" (1 Cor. 7:14). But they are not the legitimate subjects of baptism unless or until they make a credible profession of faith (Mark 16:16; Acts 8:36-37, 2:41, 8:12, 18:8).
 
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Andrew Hall

Puritan Board Freshman
I might've missed this in the replies, but two essential questions for me are, "Of what covenant(s) is Christ the mediator?" and "For whom does Christ mediate in the new covenant / covenant of grace?"

Hebrews 8:6 says that Christ is the mediator of the new covenant (and not the old, since this is explicitly distinct and contrasted in this verse). This answers the question of whether or not the Mosaic covenant is to be equated with the covenant of grace. However, the real question is the relationship of the New to the Abrahamic, but this will force people to clarify their covenant theology.

Secondly, if Christ is mediator of the new covenant, then this will bring up the issue of whether or not someone can be a nonbeliever yet a member of the new covenant--because if Christ is your federal head and mediator before God, then you cannot fail to be saved. Ergo, everyone for whom Christ mediates (e.g., members of the new covenant/covenant of grace) must be saved (and hence no admission of not-yet-believing children to the covenant). But that's me as a Baptist, and I recognize that WLC 31 was not written by Baptists. Either way, I think this question forces you to define the nature and extent of Christ's mediatorial role and federal headship, along with questions of covenant administration vs. covenant membership.
 

Jerrod Hess

Puritan Board Freshman
I might've missed this in the replies, but two essential questions for me are, "Of what covenant(s) is Christ the mediator?" and "For whom does Christ mediate in the new covenant / covenant of grace?"

Hebrews 8:6 says that Christ is the mediator of the new covenant (and not the old, since this is explicitly distinct and contrasted in this verse). This answers the question of whether or not the Mosaic covenant is to be equated with the covenant of grace. However, the real question is the relationship of the New to the Abrahamic, but this will force people to clarify their covenant theology.

Secondly, if Christ is mediator of the new covenant, then this will bring up the issue of whether or not someone can be a nonbeliever yet a member of the new covenant--because if Christ is your federal head and mediator before God, then you cannot fail to be saved. Ergo, everyone for whom Christ mediates (e.g., members of the new covenant/covenant of grace) must be saved (and hence no admission of not-yet-believing children to the covenant). But that's me as a Baptist, and I recognize that WLC 31 was not written by Baptists. Either way, I think this question forces you to define the nature and extent of Christ's mediatorial role and federal headship, along with questions of covenant administration vs. covenant membership.
Do also bear in mind not every Baptist is 1689 Federalist. John Gill was explicitly one covenant, multiple administrations. 1689 Federalism does not have to be embraced to reject paedobaptism.
 
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Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Judas and Simon Magus, sure. How was Ishmael a disciple?
I'm not poking here, just addressing the query plain and simple: Gen.18:19.

"For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”

The house of Abraham was nearly the complete church in the whole world at this moment. It was certainly the one location where the LORD was visibly establishing it, to the exclusion of other options. Men like Melchizedek, who seem to have been believers apart from Abraham (but who recognized the other's faith) were leaving the world taking their patriarchal-style ministries with them. Followers who were left behind them needed to gravitate to the house of Abraham and his seed.

What the LORD says simply is that Abraham knew his teaching (discipling) duty, and had been called to faith and ministry with this task in view. Ishmael becomes the sign of the unbelieving older brother who persecutes the church, a sign finding its NT fulfillment in the case of Christ and his seed. Gen.24:36, "And Sarah my master’s wife bore a son to my master when she was old; and to him he has given all that he has." Cf. 2Cor.1:20, "For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us."
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Hello C.M.,

You say, “they [children] are not the legitimate subjects of baptism unless or until they make a credible profession of faith”, although all you have proved is the command to baptize adults who have been given faith with a credible profession, with which I heartily agree.

As is obvious, little children cannot give a credible profession of faith, and their believing parent(s) cannot tell with certainty if they are regenerate until they do. The reason they baptize them in infancy is the continuity of the command of circumcision to Abraham with the New Covenant putting the same token of the Covenant of Grace on their infants. He circumcised and we baptize our infants in obedience to the command of Jehovah; we put the sign and seal on all the infants for the sake of the elect among them. “For the promise is unto [us], and to [our] children” (Acts 2:38, 39).
_____

Hello Andrew (@Andrew Hall),

With respect to the issue you bring up of nonbelievers being members of the new covenant (Post #53), I have this to say,

Those who were not of faith had neither de facto (as a matter of fact) nor de jure (as a matter of right) membership in the Old Covenant house of God. When the LORD spoke through Moses saying to the multitude of Israel, “Ye are the children of the Lord your God....For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth” (Deut 14:1, 2), He was not addressing those whose father was the devil, who were the reprobate, though they were among the house of Israel. What they had was an appearance of being the tekna Theou (children of God), but in fact rotten grapes on the vine of Israel. This is the purport of the apostle Paul’s making distinction between true and false Jews, being Israel or merely of Israel.

Will it be said that they were de facto members by virtue of their presence in the camp? And that they had the right to enter the temple to worship? They were imposters, known to God, and were considered by Him uncircumcised, as it is written: “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh” (Ro 2:28), and, “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord” (Prov 15:8), even his thoughts and prayer are abomination! (Prov 15:26; 28:9). No, their presence in the camp, and names on the scrolls of their tribes, are as vessels in a great house, some for use unto honor and some unto dishonor (2 Tim 2:20), some unto mercy, and some unto wrath, these latter “endured [by God] with much longsuffering” (Rom 9:22, 23). Just as the Jewish state of our day is an imposter “Israel”, so these reprobates were imposter Israelites. The Israel of God was holy.

The unbelievers within the house of Israel had membership neither by right nor by fact. They were tares among the wheat, or to switch metaphors, but chaff. So things did not change regarding membership in the New Covenant house of Israel. It was the same. Only those of faith are counted as the seed.

To assert that God makes a covenant—call it the Covenant of Circumcision, if you will—with the merely physical children of Abraham, is equal to saying that He makes a covenant with the seed of the serpent, with the reprobate. But this He does not do.​

(From a long discussion on this in an earlier thread)
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Graduate
. . .all you have proved is the command to baptize adults who have been given faith with a credible profession. . .
That is all that can be proven by the Word of God. The Baptist Catechism (Q. 99) states it succinctly. . .

The infants of such as are professing believers are not to be baptized, because there is neither command or example in the holy scriptures, or certain consequence from them to baptize such. (Exo. 23:13; Deut. 12:32; Prov. 30:6; Luke 3:7-8)
 
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Jerrod Hess

Puritan Board Freshman
How is a paedobaptist to interpret Acts 2:41? — "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized"

I ask because this is often the passage referred to about the promises of the covenant, and reference to baptism. But the only people I see baptized in the text are those who believed. Genuine question, didn't want to start a whole 'nother thread.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
How is a paedobaptist to interpret Acts 2:41? — "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized"

I ask because this is often the passage referred to about the promises of the covenant, and reference to baptism. But the only people I see baptized in the text are those who believed. Genuine question, didn't want to start a whole 'nother thread.
Your words "I ask" make it seem like you are requesting a response in this thread, which is a mistake, I think.
If you want an answer to that Q, you should start another thread, so this one gets a little less derailed.
Otherwise, it's probably a good Q for "the list."
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
C.M., you said, “there is neither command or example in the holy scriptures” – that is, if you disallow the continuance of the Abrahamic covenant – with a change in the sign and seal thereof (to allow women said seal) – in the New Covenant.

But we are Abraham’s seed, and our parents obey the command (and example) given him.

Gal 3:29, “And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

Col 2:11-12, “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.”
 
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