Federal Vision baptism question

Discussion in 'Federal Vision/New Perspectives' started by littlepeople, Sep 15, 2010.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. littlepeople

    littlepeople Puritan Board Freshman

    From what I can tell, there is a general consensus within the FV that water baptism marks the beginning of covenant membership. Does anyone know how this applies to children. i.e. If I have twins, and only baptize one of them, is the other outside the covenantal obligations? I searched around, and I couldn't find a concrete answer.

  2. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Graduate

    They tend towards baptismal regeneration. They say we are definantly marked at the time of baptism but that any spiretual effects may not show up or take affect at the time of baptism. You are correct that say that the person is definantly withen the covenant at the time of baptism. They seem to straddle somewhat between a Lutheran and Calvenistic view on the matter almost trying to go between. As I understand it we affirm that only decreetaly elect people who are baptized are spiretualy marked when the Spirit in His own apointed time applies the affects of baptism withen a person spiratualy. They would say that everyone who is baptized is marked and really withen the covenant regardless of their decreetal stance as elect or rebrobate. This ties into their wierd views on apostasy.
  3. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    I think most paedo - or covenantal rather - baptists would say that those born to professing (hopefully believing) parents, have covenantal obligations.

    Baptism is but the sign and the seal of such obligations, privileges, responsiblities and promises.

    FVs seem to teach that children should be encouraged to believe that they are regenerated because they have been baptised, and when they doubt that they have faith just be pointed to their water baptism.

    This is very different from the Reformed doctrine of improvement of one's baptism, which is for those who for various reasons have good reason to believe that they are regenerate and have been baptised with/by the Spirit by Christ into Himself, to be encouraged by a remembrance of their water baptism which pointed to this.

    If we have good reason to believe that a person who has grown up in the Covenant is unsaved or that a child growing up in the Covenant is unsaved, the only way we should encourage these to improve their baptism is by encouraging them to take their Covenant obligations, promises, privileges and responsibilities seriously and seek the reality of regeneration and baptism in the Spirit which water baptism points to.
  4. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Highly recommend this recent interview with Wes White: New Broadcast: A Journey From and a Look at the Federal Vision | Covenant Radio (Great job Wes!)

    From the joint FV statement:
    Baptism does not unite or engraft a person to Christ, faith does.

    What the WCF says about Sacraments:
    Note, first that in Sacraments there is a spiritual relation between the sign and what it signifies.

    Note, next, that the grace that is signified by a Sacrament depends upon the Holy spirit and is conferred upon worthy receivers.

    Conclusion: Not all who receive the sign receive the grace signified by the Holy Spirit. This belongs to the elect alone.

    The WCF on baptism:
    Baptism is a sign of:
    a. Admission into the visible Church
    b. union with Christ
    c. Regeneration
    d. Remission of sins
    e. Giving up to God

    Do all who receive the sign, receive what is signified by the sign? No, as above, but just to be clear the Confession continues:
    Again we see the clear statement that the grace promised is conferred by the Holy Ghost to such that grace belongs unto, according to the counsel of God's own will. This includes union with Christ as one of those graces.

    In conclusion, we see in the Joint FV statement that baptism unites a person to Christ. Period. Everyone baptized. This is clearly denied by the Confessions that see that as a grace conferred sovereignly by the Holy Spirit.
  5. Kevin

    Kevin Puritan Board Doctor

    I had not heard that theory. All those (officers) in presbyterian churches must agree that we baptise those that are already in the covenant.

    So children are baptised because they are "christians, and federally holy before baptism, and therefore are they baptised:" (Westminister Dir. for the publick worship of God)

    ---------- Post added at 10:48 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:44 PM ----------

    Rich, How do you differentiatethe phrase ..."repenting of their sins"... as you cited from the joint FV statement & the confessional phrase "worthy recievers"?
  6. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member


    I can't tell if you're directing your entire post at me or just the last question so I'll just answer the last question.

    When the FV statement uses the word "repenting of their sins" it is within the context of everything that baptism obligates a baptized recipient unto. They start by saying that a person baptized is "united to Christ and to His Covenant people". Each person is then obligated, by their Covenant loyalty, to repent of their sins and trust upon Christ.

    As for worthy recipients, as quoted, the Confession states that the grace signified by a sign is conferred by the Holy Ghost upon them.

    What is signified by baptism includes remission of sin (by repentance) and other benefits. Only those who have that grace conferred possess what is signified by baptism. Repentance, then, would not be merely something that every person baptized is obligated unto by baptism but is one of those graces conferred.
  7. littlepeople

    littlepeople Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks for the info and resources. Rich, it was while listening to the Wes White broadcast that the question popped into my mind, it's a very good broadcast (2 thumbs up). Besides the errors that are pointed out by Wes White, Lane Keister, Guy Waters, and many many others faithful to the confessions; it seems that there are more basic problems that I haven't seen anyone interact with.

    This is what I'm getting at:
    It seems that the logical consequence of the FV leads to at least 3 very unbiblical and undesirable positions:
    1. Water baptism is necessary for salvation
    2. A believer's child is completely removed from all covenantal implications, obligations, blessings/curses until the date of his/her baptism. In short, it is baptism that creates a covenant bond, not birth.
    3. If baptism rather than birth creates the covenant bond, why do FV still consider their children appropriate subjects for baptism. Does that make sense?

    It seems like these are pretty basic and obvious problems for the FV position. And I'm sure someone else has pointed them out. I do think that "some" of the proponents are quite intelligent, so I would expect that someone in the FV has interacted with the 3 things mentioned above.
  8. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    Plain weird. I don't know if "interpretive maximalism" has been at work.

    Do they apply all this stuff about baptism to the Old Testament saints and circumcision?

    It's partly the idolatry of a more "consistent" view of the Covenant administration, but they're trying to be more "consistent" than Scripture.
  9. littlepeople

    littlepeople Puritan Board Freshman

    I don't see how they could. "But an uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant"

    broken my what?
  10. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    But baptism WITH a growing faith is saving!

    As Calvin Beisner pointed out, the half witted FV heresy/joke doesn't pass the test of systematic logic. Salvation is either dependent on works or it isn't. Duh. Why we are still too scared to excommunicate these people is beyond me.
  11. toddpedlar

    toddpedlar Iron Dramatist

    Thanks, all, for the positive feedback on the show with Wes. We really enjoyed the discussion, and are very thankful for his willingness to be 'out there' on his journey out of the FV.

    Also, just so y'all know what we've got planned at Covenant Radio, we do have an interview with Guy Waters planned for October on the subject of Justification, and have a series planned on the Canons of Dort with folks including Danny Hyde on the various points. I'm sure many of our topical shows this fall on Reformed basics will draw the FV doctrines into sharp relief against historic Reformed Orthodoxy.
  12. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    1. The FV would say that baptism is ordinarily necessary for salvation.

    2. The FV would say that at no time is anyone exempt from the covenantal obligations. However, the federal headship view they espouse would put the primary burden on the parents to obey FOR their children. Even after baptism, the covenantal structure of the family is still in play.

    3. The FV is a bit vague/contradictory on this point. On the one hand, they will pretty much all say that children are in the covenant by birth. And yet, they will turn around and say that they enter the covenant by baptism. If I remember correctly, at least some of them resort to de jure/de facto distinctions: children have the possession of the covenantal rights by right of birth, but are only legally part of the covenant by baptism. For the FV, since there is no page in between the OT and the NT, circumcision is still the main driving force behind infant baptism for the FV'er.
  13. littlepeople

    littlepeople Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you Rev. Keister. That's very helpful.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page