Galatians 3:29 and baptism

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Bookworm

Puritan Board Freshman
I've recently been reading Paul King Jewett's book, 'Infant Baptism and the Covenant of Grace' and David Kingdon's book, 'Children of Abraham' in order to familiarise myself more thoroughly with the authors' covenantal arguments for believer's baptism (or 'believer baptism' as Jewett would have it). In many ways, Kingdon's book seems to be a popularisation of Jewett's more scholarly treatise.

Both authors concede much to the Paedobaptist position, in terms of the covenantal hermeneutic, the unity of the testaments, and the circumcision-baptism analogy. They basically acknowledge that Abraham's seed are to receive the covenant sign and seal. However, the point at which the authors part company with their Paedobaptist brethren, if I've understood them correctly, is in their identification of 'Abraham's seed'. Citing Galatians 3:29 and other texts, Jewett and Kingdon identify Abraham's seed in the NT with those professing faith in Christ (i.e. true believers). Therefore they conclude that baptism is exclusively for believers in the NT.

However, this leaves me with a question to which I'd appreciate responses from credo- and paedo-baptists on this forum. I understand that the NT seed of Abraham are those that possess genuine saving faith. But I'm left confused as to how can that be an argument for only applying the covenant sign to believers, when the same distinction between the natural and spiritual seed of Abraham was equally true in the OT? As Paul says in Romans 9:6, "For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel." Yet we know that in the OT the covenant sign was applied to all the male children regardless.

What step in the argument am I missing here?
 

rbcbob

Puritan Board Graduate
What step in the argument am I missing here?

The change in the New Covenant. In the former covenant membership was by lineage. In the New Covenant membership encompasses "those who know the Lord"

Jeremiah 31:31-34 31 " Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah -- 32 "not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. 33 "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 "No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."
 

PuritanCovenanter

The Joyful Curmudgeon
Staff member
Different Covenants. It comes down to discontinuity and promises of the Covenants. It also has to do with who the Covenant head is. There were promises that were included in the Abrahamic Covenant that included all of his posterity, and other promises that were just meant for the seed and the Covenant of Grace. Ishmael was excluded from that part of the Abrahamic Covenant Promises but there were promises made specifically for him. You can read some things in my blog on the PB.

The PuritanBoard - PuritanCovenanter

BTW, there are much better books to read besides Jewett.

Believer's Baptism by Shreiner and Wright
The Baptism of Disciples Alone by Fred Malone
Covenant Theology From Adam to Christ by Nehemiah Coxe
Covenant Children Today by Alan Conner

Blog Engtries.
Is the New Covenant Really New

John Tombe Genesis 17:7

Does Baptism Replace Circumcision
 

kceaster

Puritan Board Junior
Another interpretation of the 'new' covenant in Jeremiah is that it is a renewed covenant. Notice also with whom that covenant was made. It was to be made with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. Moreover, to whom was this covenant inaugurated? Initially, Jesus says that the cup is the new covenant in His blood. That covenant first came to the disciples of Jesus.

It could then be seen that the 'new' covenant bridges the old with the new, not the old against the new. There is a more sure word and the promises are even better between the old and the new, yet the ones to whom this covenant came were the same children of Abraham, who received not only the lineage of Abraham as Jews, but the faith of Abraham as the Spirit of Christ inaugurates a new outpouring.

But the covenant is made with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not to annul the Abrahamic portions, but to include the new spiritual portions as well.

If the covenant had only been made to those of the lineage of Israel and Judah, then the gentiles would have no portion in it. But it is clear that in the renewed covenant with His people, He grafted in wild olive branches to make one olive tree and to expand His covenant to encompass all those who stand afar off.

In Christ,

KC
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
The New Covenant is a phase of the Abrahamic Covenant, just as was the Old.

When a foreigner came to faith/professed faith in the God of Abraham, not only he was circumcised, but all his males.

In the New Covenant analogies of the Vine and the Olive Tree, there is no indication that only individuals are now to be engrafted in the New Covenant Administration.

Jeremiah 31:31-34 31 " Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah -- 32 "not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. 33 "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 "No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."

Certainly if the New Covenant was administered according to Scriptural principles there would be a lot of dead wood removed.
 

TeachingTulip

Puritan Board Sophomore
Circumcision/baptism is a matter of sanctification, not justification.

The entire nation of Israel was delivered and sanctified; the identifying sign being circumcision, but not all were justified by the grace of God.

This distinction between justification and sanctification applies to both covenants, in my opinion.

N.T. infants are baptised and thereby sanctified under the covenant of grace, but not necessarily (yet?) justified.
 

Sonoftheday

Puritan Board Sophomore
However, this leaves me with a question to which I'd appreciate responses from credo- and paedo-baptists on this forum. I understand that the NT seed of Abraham are those that possess genuine saving faith. But I'm left confused as to how can that be an argument for only applying the covenant sign to believers, when the same distinction between the natural and spiritual seed of Abraham was equally true in the OT? As Paul says in Romans 9:6, "For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel." Yet we know that in the OT the covenant sign was applied to all the male children regardless.

What step in the argument am I missing here?
Baptists see the sign as to be applied after one enters into the New Covenant. We see the New Covenant as being made up only of regenerate Believers and therefore apply the sacrament of baptism only to those who profess faith in Christ.
 

Bookworm

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks to everyone for their responses so far. However, I'm still flummoxed, :confused: so please humour me by allowing me to restate the question in a different way.

Kingdon in 'Children of Abraham' seems to argue that because there is in the NT a subset of Abraham's seed that is the 'true seed' (in the sense of sharing Abraham's saving faith), therefore the covenant sign ought to be applied only to them.

But, that was always the case wasn't it? The 'true seed' was only ever a subset of Abraham's offspring, even in the OT. So how does Kingdon get to the therefore in his argument...? (i.e. wouldn't this also have been a reason to apply circumcision in the OT only to the 'true seed', which we know wasn't what God commanded).
 

charliejunfan

Puritan Board Senior
There are the visible people of God, Professing Christians and their children, and then there are the TRUE people of God within the visible, those who were actually regenerated by Christ. This was the difference between Jacob and Esau, Esau was only visibly elect and Jacob was truly elect.

It is the difference of being in the Covenant of Grace by birth into a Christian home and failing the condition(FAITH in Christ), or fulfilling the condition(FAITH in Christ) of the Covenant of Grace which also proves one a member of the Covenant of Redemption.

Covenant of Works= Adam was to obey the law perfectly, he failed...

Covenant of Grace= kept by obedience to the law perfectly, we do this by faith in Christ who did it for us, for those who are never given faith by the Holy Spirit=they are cursed and judged by their baptism.

Covenant of Redemption= Christ was to obey the law perfectly for the elect and die for them thus fulfilling the Covenant of Works made with Adam in the garden and resulting in the accomplishment of the Covenant of Grace for those elect.

I'm just going to throw this out there until someone wiser and more articulate defends the paedobaptist position.

-----Added 9/15/2009 at 05:52:41 EST-----

"Thanks to everyone for their responses so far. However, I'm still flummoxed, so please humour me by allowing me to restate the question in a different way.

Kingdon in 'Children of Abraham' seems to argue that because there is in the NT a subset of Abraham's seed that is the 'true seed' (in the sense of sharing Abraham's saving faith), therefore the covenant sign ought to be applied only to them.

But, that was always the case wasn't it? The 'true seed' was only ever a subset of Abraham's offspring, even in the OT. So how does Kingdon get to the therefore in his argument...? (i.e. wouldn't this also have been a reason to apply circumcision in the OT only to the 'true seed', which we know wasn't what God commanded)."

The TRUE SEED are the ones who fulfill the condition of the Covenant and that is Faith in Christ(like Abraham had) thus making them a child of Abraham.

Still though the children of believers are IN covenant, but if they do not have faith they do not hold up to the covenant stipulations and are cursed rather than blessed.

You're becoming a Paedobaptist my friend :D
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Jewett's work is the clearest I have read on the subject from that perspective. His line of attack is simple -- the objectivity of the covenant. By subjectivising the covenant he is able to argue that it only applies to believers. What has he accomplished? (1.) He has followed a dispensational distinctive by discontinuing what was substantial to the covenant under the OT -- objective covenant membership including blessing and curse. If only believers are members of the new covenant there is no place for covenant apostasy and curse. Hence there is a substantial alteration in the covenant as it moves from Old to New Testament. (2.) He has replaced the sign for the thing signified. If baptism is now subjective it really has no objective significance apart from personal possession of the blessings promised. Many of the more recent defenders of antipaedobaptism follow this idea to the point of insanity. The logical conclusion of "true membership" would be that only the elect are to be baptised, but no person can know who the elect are. The only way to relieve this problem is to revert back to an objective criterion for judging who are more likely to be elect. At that point they depart from the biblical criterion and substitute their own in its place.
 

Poimen

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Thanks to everyone for their responses so far. However, I'm still flummoxed, :confused: so please humour me by allowing me to restate the question in a different way.

Kingdon in 'Children of Abraham' seems to argue that because there is in the NT a subset of Abraham's seed that is the 'true seed' (in the sense of sharing Abraham's saving faith), therefore the covenant sign ought to be applied only to them.

But, that was always the case wasn't it? The 'true seed' was only ever a subset of Abraham's offspring, even in the OT. So how does Kingdon get to the therefore in his argument...? (i.e. wouldn't this also have been a reason to apply circumcision in the OT only to the 'true seed', which we know wasn't what God commanded).

Paul:

You are correct. There have always been those who are of Israel and those who are Israel. (Romans 9:6) Paul applies this very principle to the New Testament church in Romans 2:28-29.
 

JTB

Puritan Board Freshman
Credobaptism argues that what was oikonomic (familial) and objective (a sign of promise) under the Abrahamic Covenant has become individual (no longer tied to familial headship) and subjective (a sign of election) under the New Covenant (that is NOT the Abrahamic Covenant).

One of the major reasons why I became paedobaptist was because the Baptist argument for administration upon a subjective declaration smacked of subtle disregard for the purpose of the sign--it isn't testifying about an individual's subjective state of mind, but of the objective work of God toward which we are to look, and hope, and hold fast to with regard to its meaning (a sign of God's promise).
 

A.J.

Puritan Board Junior
What step in the argument am I missing here?

The change in the New Covenant. In the former covenant membership was by lineage. In the New Covenant membership encompasses "those who know the Lord"

Jeremiah 31:31-34 31 " Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah -- 32 "not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. 33 "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 "No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."

This is not totally accurate. The institution of circumcision (Gen. 17:9-14) and the stipulations concerning admission to the Passover (Exodus 12:43-48) make it clear the membership in God's covenant community in the Old Testament was not limited to the physical descendants of the patriarchs. It was perfectly possible for people who were "not of thy [Abraham's] seed" (Genesis 17:12) to be included among God's people. Indeed, a foreigner who professed faith in the God of Abraham and was consequently circumcised with his household became like "one that is born in the land" (Exodus 12:48).

And as Rev. Winzer has rightly noted, there are blessings and curses in the New Covenant. Texts like John 15:1ff, Romans 11:11ff, 1 Corinthians 10:1ff, Hebrews 3-4, etc. indicate that there are reprobates who are in the covenant outwardly (but not inwardly). In heaven, all will know the Lord from the least of them to the greatest of them. But we are not in heaven yet.

-----Added 9/15/2009 at 11:32:26 EST-----

Thanks to everyone for their responses so far. However, I'm still flummoxed, :confused: so please humour me by allowing me to restate the question in a different way.

Kingdon in 'Children of Abraham' seems to argue that because there is in the NT a subset of Abraham's seed that is the 'true seed' (in the sense of sharing Abraham's saving faith), therefore the covenant sign ought to be applied only to them.

But, that was always the case wasn't it? The 'true seed' was only ever a subset of Abraham's offspring, even in the OT. So how does Kingdon get to the therefore in his argument...? (i.e. wouldn't this also have been a reason to apply circumcision in the OT only to the 'true seed', which we know wasn't what God commanded).

Brother, you are correct. It has always been the case that the true seed of Abraham are those who are in Christ by grace through faith (Gal. 3:16, 29). In fact, this is the very argument Paul used against the Judaizers.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
There are two phases to the Abrahamic Covenant, the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.

During the Old Covenant individuals who had no family were ingrafted, and individuals who had family were ingrafted with their family. It was both individualistic (if you were a bachelor boy) and familial if you had a family. The paedobaptist position follows this pattern.

Baptists are saying that the change that happens with the New Covenant phase of the Abrahamic Covenant is that part of the established form of Covenantal administration ceases, while another part is left.

I.e. If you have a family, they aren't given the sign of the Covenant, as per the Old Covenant phase.

If you don't have a family, you receive the sign, as per the Old Covenant phase.

An arbitrary change in Covenant administration (?)

On top of that, as Joshua points out, the original Abrahamic Covenant clearly made provision for children to be engrafted along with their parents. The New Covenant is the final phase of the Abrahamic Covenant.
 

Spinningplates2

Puritan Board Freshman
Abraham was to worship the God of promise. By Faith they were to forward. Believers baptism takes away the promise and makes it the response to a work, the act of accepting Christ. This is why so many teach that if a person cannot remember WHEN they where saved then they most likely are still lost. (most recently, Bill Friel and Ray Comfort)

Also, is there a thread where I can read why my Baptist brothers insist that sprinkling and pouring are not to be used in the modern age?
 

Bookworm

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks to everyone for the thoughtful comments in response to my questions. I've been doing a great deal of reading on the issue of baptism over the last three years, seeking out the best books from both credo- and paedo-baptist perspectives, and things are gradually becoming much clearer to me. I've also appreciated reading the discussions here on PB.

BTW, there are much better books to read besides Jewett.

Believer's Baptism by Shreiner and Wright
The Baptism of Disciples Alone by Fred Malone
Covenant Theology From Adam to Christ by Nehemiah Coxe
Covenant Children Today by Alan Conner
[/URL]

Thanks for these recommendations. I've read Stephen Wellum's chapter from 'Believer's Baptism', but perhaps I should read the whole book. I'm about to order a copy of Conner's book, but Fred Malone's is rather pricey here in the UK (£23.95) so I might need to save my 'pocket money' for that one! Coxe's book was also recommended to me by someone else, so that's another to add to the 'to read' pile... :book2:
 

louis_jp

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks to everyone for their responses so far. However, I'm still flummoxed, :confused: so please humour me by allowing me to restate the question in a different way.

Kingdon in 'Children of Abraham' seems to argue that because there is in the NT a subset of Abraham's seed that is the 'true seed' (in the sense of sharing Abraham's saving faith), therefore the covenant sign ought to be applied only to them.

But, that was always the case wasn't it? The 'true seed' was only ever a subset of Abraham's offspring, even in the OT. So how does Kingdon get to the therefore in his argument...? (i.e. wouldn't this also have been a reason to apply circumcision in the OT only to the 'true seed', which we know wasn't what God commanded).

Good question. I've been trying to work through this issue myself.

If I understand the credo- position correctly (and someone please correct me if I'm wrong), I think they would say that baptism relates directly to regeneration in a way that circumcision did not. Circumcision, and the OC with it, had an ethnic-genealogical quality to it (Romans 4:11 notwithstanding); whereas baptism, and the NC, is more purely spiritual. Note, for example -- although I wouldn't make too much of this -- that circumcision is performed on the organ of procreation and only on males, while baptism is performed on all believers and clearly symbolizes washing and purifying. In other words, old covenant boundaries are different from the new. God was dealing with a people-group in the OC; He deals with those washed and regenerated in Christ today. THEREFORE, the new covenant sign is applied only to the true seed, while the old covenant sign was applied to the true seed and to a broader covenantal community.

Having said all that, I'm a little confused by some of the paedo-answers in this thread. Didn't Calvin say that baptism was applied to infants on the presumption that they were in fact regenerate?
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Apparently circumcision is a sign of cleansing/cleanliness too; the removal of the foreskin with any underlying filth.

Not all paedobaptists agree with Calvin on everything he says on baptism.

The reason that children born into the covenant should be baptised is because they are covenantally holy by being born to believing parents (e.g. I Cor 7:14).

There is no evidence that the Covenant of Grace becomes superspiritual or hyperspiritual in its New Covenant phase.

If this was the case why don't we hear more of it in Scripture, e.g. in connection with the analogies of the Vine and the Olive Tree, and why weren't pastors given the ability to decide infallibly between the saved and the unsaved, instead of stacking the ranks of those baptised as adults with the unspiritual unsaved.
 

louis_jp

Puritan Board Freshman
Apparently circumcision is a sign of cleansing/cleanliness too; the removal of the foreskin with any underlying filth.

Not all paedobaptists agree with Calvin on everything he says on baptism.

The reason that children born into the covenant should be baptised is because they are covenantally holy by being born to believing parents (e.g. I Cor 7:14).

There is no evidence that the Covenant of Grace becomes superspiritual or hyperspiritual in its New Covenant phase.

If this was the case why don't we hear more of it in Scripture, e.g. in connection with the analogies of the Vine and the Olive Tree, and why weren't pastors given the ability to decide infallibly between the saved and the unsaved, instead of stacking the ranks of those baptised as adults with the unspiritual unsaved.

Like I said, I wouldn't make too much of the first point.

1 Corinthians 7 also says that the unbelieving spouse is made holy, but you wouldn't suggest that he be baptized, would you?
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
There are several assumptions buried in the question, one of which seems to be that anything predicated of subject A on basis X is likewise predicable of subject B if basis X is likewise present.

This is demonstrably false, logically fallacious. A certain quality may be a prerequisite for one person to be a minister (apt to teach), yet a woman who is "apt to teach" may not properly be a minister, because of Scripture regulations.

So, a holy child (an inherent quality according to the text) may meet a sufficient prerequisite for baptism, whereas a holy spouse (a quality which is invested in the relationship, not in the person, according to the text) may yet not meet that sufficient prerequisite.

1Cor.7 does not speak directly to the question of baptism; all it does is make important statements about individuals and relationships. If a certain apprehensible state of holiness is a proper condition for baptism, then the passage affirms that a child has that status by virtue of his birth--the child "is" holy. It is his own condition.

On the other hand, the passage states that the believing spouse does not contract an unclean state by virtue of his marriage to an unbeliever, but that his holiness sanctifies the marriage bond. The unbeliever enjoys (known or not) a quality of sanctity that is dependent upon maintenance of that bond. If he/she "depart", let him depart. But unlike the child he/she does not take any relational sanctification away with him/her. It is NOT the case that he/she "is" holy.

Paul points to the known fact of the child's holiness (none here arguing for regenerative holiness) as proof that the union itself is not polluted. The believer's portion is superior to the unbeliever's contribution, and the evidence is present in the child himself.

The question of whether the spouse should or shouldn't be baptized on the basis of the relationship--just as in the case of the child--has to be determined by a complete theology of baptism, and not on a resort to this text. Not too many people propose such a baptism theologically, and especially not in these days of radical social emancipation. But since the Scriptures themselves speak of such emancipations as real entities (Jn.9:21), we must recognize that there could be such a component in determining the propriety of some baptisms.
 

Ron

Puritan Board Freshman
What step in the argument am I missing here?

The change in the New Covenant. In the former covenant membership was by lineage. In the New Covenant membership encompasses "those who know the Lord"

Jeremiah 31:31-34 31 " Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah -- 32 "not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. 33 "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 "No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."

First, I'll try to put forth a lucid argument for infant baptism. Secondly, I'll touch upon the passage above in an effort to show that it may not be used as a principle of abrogation.

1. An Old Covenant precept was that whenever possible the sign of entrance into the covenant was to be placed upon all who were to be regarded as God’s people

2. Children of professing believers were to be regarded as God’s people under the Old Covenant

3. Children of professing believers whenever possible were to receive the sign of entrance into the Old Covenant by way of precept (1, 2)

4. God’s precepts may not be abrogated without explicit instruction or good and necessary inference

5. God never abrogated the Old Testament precept regarding who was to receive the sign of entrance into the Old covenant

6. The sign of entrance into the New Covenant is water baptism

7. God’s precept is that children of professing believers receive the sign of entrance into the New Covenant (3, 4 and 5)

8. God’s precept is that children of professing believers receive water baptism (6, 7)

Baptist, of course, will disagree with point 5. They will say that the abrogation of the principle in view is implicit in Jeremiah 31:34: "...they will all know me....”, which they say means that the New Covenant is made only with believers who know the Lord. Accordingly, they reason that we should ensure as best as possible to administer the New Covenant only to those who profess faith in Christ, which infants cannot due. The problem they run into with this line of reasoning is that the verse does not teach that the covenant is only made with those who posses belief! The promise of Jeremiah 31 is a promise of greater fidelity (verse 32), greater empowerment (verse 34), and a greater depth of knowledge (verse 34). It does not address the qualification for covenant entrance. (I’ll address “depth of knowledge” later).

Verse 34 does not speak to the question of with whom the covenant will be established. It merely teaches that those with whom the covenant will be established will indeed “know the Lord.” Before considering what it means to “know the Lord” we must first appreciate that verse does not teach us that the covenant will be made only with true believers after they believe. At the very least, if Baptists were correct, then the knowledge of the Lord would not be a blessing of the covenant but rather something that first must be obtained in order to enter into the covenant! Moreover, the verse cannot possibly exclude infants from covenant entrance who will grow up to “know the Lord” because the verse does not imply a change in qualifications for covenant entrance, but rather it speaks to the increase of blessings that will be received by those with whom God establishes the New Covenant! The verse is not speaking of a new qualification for entering into the covenant; rather it is speaking about something different that will occur under the newer economy as compared to the older economy for those who will be in covenant.

Since the Old Covenant was established with the elect alone, we may safely say that a saving knowledge was granted to all with whom God established the Old Covenant, barring no early deaths that would preclude saving knowledge. Consequently, the verse must be speaking to the quality and depth of that saving knowledge under the newer economy as opposed to the mere possession of it, which all those with whom God established the Old Covenant would have received. Not surprisingly, that is what we see in the New Covenant. Under the New Covenant with the establishment of the priesthood of all believers, through the revelation of Christ, the completed Canon and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit – we all “know the Lord”(!) in a manner vastly different than that under the old economy. In summary, Jeremiah 31 may not be used to defend a more stringent entrance examination for covenant privileges simply because it does not imply anything more than increase of blessings. Thankfully the glory of the New Covenant is not to be found in the exlusion of infants!

Ron
 

Iconoclast

Puritan Board Junior
Ron- In your post you said this in point 2
2. Children of professing believers were to be regarded as God’s people under the Old Covenant
All male children were given the sign/ there was no stipulation of a profession. They only had to have physical birth to get the sign. What about all the Israelites who were unbelievers as in Psalm 78?
They gave a "sign of the covenant to their children". Was that sign invalid?
Or was the sign valid because the promise was never given to each and every Israelite in particular, apart from faith being mixed into their heart and life? The covenant was breakable because they vowed to keep the terms of the covenant, and were unable to do so. God preserved a remnant, Isa 1:9 Rom9: 29And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha

-----Added 9/26/2009 at 10:24:45 EST-----

The next point I would respond to is this one,
6. The sign of entrance into the New Covenant is water baptism
No, entrance into the NC. is by new birth/Spirit Baptism.
They believed, many times spoke in tongues showing the new birth, then were subjects of water baptism.

I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:

32Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers

New/ Not according to the covenant.... your 8 point summary is off.
7For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

8For finding fault with them,
 

Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
The logical conclusion of "true membership" would be that only the elect are to be baptised, but no person can know who the elect are. The only way to relieve this problem is to revert back to an objective criterion for judging who are more likely to be elect. At that point they depart from the biblical criterion and substitute their own in its place.

:ditto:

If the argument were taken to the logical conclusion, we would leave baptism for only those in glory, as we could never be absolutely positive of the salvation of anyone this side of glory.

-----Added 9/27/2009 at 01:16:01 EST-----


The change in the New Covenant. In the former covenant membership was by lineage. In the New Covenant membership encompasses "those who know the Lord"

Jeremiah 31:31-34 31 " Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah -- 32 "not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. 33 "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 "No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." [/SIZE]

While I can understand why the church under age and the church now might be looked at as differing covenants, I do not believe this is totally accurate. While part of the promise of Jeremiah passage is realized, it certainly isn't fully realized in this age; we still teach each other, and we say to each other "Know the Lord". The fulfillment of this is not in this age, but only in the age to come. The corruption that remains, and our lack of perfected knowledge will have us teaching each other, telling each other (and our neighbors) of the Lord and his grace. So I would think this speaks to both those that are credo only and those that see baptism as a continuation of the covenant sign (and so rightly applied to both adult believers who have not been previously baptized and the children of believers) not of anything in this age, but only of the state of glory when all our neighbors will be in Christ.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Quote from Anthony
The next point I would respond to is this one,

Quote:
6. The sign of entrance into the New Covenant is water baptism

No, entrance into the NC. is by new birth/Spirit Baptism.
They believed, many times spoke in tongues showing the new birth, then were subjects of water baptism.

There are two aspects to the Covenant:-

(a) An internal, living, loving faith. Spiritual baptism/regeneration/washing in the blood.

(b) An external, formal, legal sign or bond. Water baptism.

We see this clearly in the covenant of marriage.

(a) The internal reality of love for one's spouse may happen long before the formal love-bond of marriage or it may happen after.

(b) The marriage ceremony is the outward, formal, legal bond and sign.

In a sense people are really and savingly in Covenant with God if they believe before they are baptised. They won't lose out on salvation if they don't get baptised, but they will disobey God and lose out on the priviledges, responsibilities and promises for those who enter fully into the bond of the Covenant with God by baptism.

Born-again people who refuse the sacraments of baptism the Lord's Supper are like lovers that refuse betrothal and marriage to Christ.

Those that refuse baptism for their children are refusing to betroth their children to Christ. The ceremony and mark of such betrothal is water baptism.

If Abraham - having faith, and therefore being in that sense in Covenant with God - had refused to be circumcised with his sons, Abraham would have been saved; but what else would have been lost by his refusal to enter the love-bond of the Covenant?
 

Iconoclast

Puritan Board Junior
Dear Anthony,

Your response to premise 2 doesn’t seem to address the premise. The premise is that all children of professing believers were to be regarded (i.e. treated) as believers (until they demonstrated something in doctrine or lifestyle incongruous to a true child of God). Nothing you said comes close to interacting with the premise.

Regarding your response to point 6, spirit birth is not a sign. Signs are visible - like circumcision.

In His grace,

Ron

Ron, Thanks for your response , however it seems as if you did not understand my post. I will clarify it for you. I completely and directly interacted with your premise in that your premise is not accurate at all.
You just said this;
The premise is that all children of professing believers were to be regarded (i.e. treated) as believers
All male children were given the sign of circumcision. not all children of professing believers Physical birth was all that was required for them to receive the sign. So your first three premises are already not accurate.

Then you put forth premise 4
4. God’s precepts may not be abrogated without explicit instruction or good and necessary inference
Acts 15 answers that question.
24Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:
In Acts 21 this was clearly understood;
21And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.
This speaks to your premise number 5.

Then you offer premise 6;
6. The sign of entrance into the New Covenant is water baptism
The bible does not offer this. It does not say "water baptism " is a replacement sign. They did not say it in Acts 15, or Acts 21. Your theological system says it, but the bible does not.
Again you misunderstood my response to premise 6. I did not use the language of "sign" Here is what I actually wrote-
No, entrance into the NC. is by new birth/Spirit Baptism.
They believed, many times spoke in tongues showing the new birth, then were subjects of water baptism

Ron, I understand that you do not support the credo view. Your view is that we are identical to the OT saints with a few improvements. You have to come up with an explanation to explain away the newness of the covenant.
9Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers
Your view says it is just like that covenant ,with a new sign although the Nt does not quite confirm this ascertion.

You then state this;
At the very least, if Baptists were correct, then the knowledge of the Lord would not be a blessing of the covenant but rather something that first must be obtained in order to enter into the covenant!

Ron in the baptist view God makes himself known to us at new birth-
2As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

3And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
45It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
12But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

13Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
These three passages in Jn 17,6, and 1 are clear in this to a baptist.
Being in the covenant is the work of God. We cannot, or do not exclude anyone, we just wait until the Spirit does the work of regeneration and works in the life of the person. We look to their profession as we cannot see their heart. That is what the Apostles did.
You and I might not be in agreement here, as a matter of fact I am confident that we are not. I did however react very directly with your post:um:
 

Ron

Puritan Board Freshman
"All male children were given the sign of circumcision. not all children of professing believers Physical birth was all that was required for them to receive the sign. So your first three premises are already not accurate."

Anthony,

A non-professing person was not to have his male child circumcised, for such a head of household had either broken covenant or was a complete stranger to the covenant. Accordingly, the first three premises stand without any legitimate refutation.

"Then you put forth premise 4 - Acts 15 answers that question.
24Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:"


Premise 4 is: “God’s precepts may not be abrogated without explicit instruction or good and necessary inference.” Accordingly, in order to refute premise 4, you must argue that God’s precepts may be abrogated without explicit instruction or good and necessary inference. Do you really want to go there? Such an argument would obviously be absurd. For if it was true that God’s precepts could be abrogated without his instruction then the entire Christian faith could be abrogated on a whim. Consequently, you have not begun to interact with premise 4. For the life of me I cannot see why any Christian would argue against that premise.

"In Acts 21 this was clearly understood; This speaks to your premise number 5."

That is unintelligible. Accordingly, we may not say that you have interacted with premise 5.

"Then you offer premise 6;
The bible does not offer this. It does not say "water baptism " is a replacement sign. They did not say it in Acts 15, or Acts 21.
"

Baptist theology recognizes baptism as the sign of entrance into the new covenant. That’s why they withhold the sign from infants!They consider infants as non-participants in the covenant and they reserve baptism for those they believe are to be regarded as the children of God, namely professing believers only. Accordingly, your argument does not interact with the premise 6 - not to mention that you are speaking contrary to Baptist theology.

I'm afraid that the rest of your post seems to be more of a short sermon than an argument. So, I've opted not to interact with that portion.

Anthony, I would suggest that you run your thoughts by a Reformed Baptist who is acquainted with these things because much of what you are saying is not true to the tradition you believe you are upholding.

Unworthy but His,

Ron
 

Iconoclast

Puritan Board Junior
"All male children were given the sign of circumcision. not all children of professing believers Physical birth was all that was required for them to receive the sign. So your first three premises are already not accurate."

Anthony,

A non-professing person was not to have his male child circumcised, for such a head of household had either broken covenant or was a complete stranger to the covenant. Accordingly, the first three premises stand without any legitimate refutation.

"Then you put forth premise 4 - Acts 15 answers that question.
24Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:"


Premise 4 is: “God’s precepts may not be abrogated without explicit instruction or good and necessary inference.” Accordingly, in order to refute premise 4, you must argue that God’s precepts may be abrogated without explicit instruction or good and necessary inference. Do you really want to go there? Such an argument would obviously be absurd. For if it was true that God’s precepts could be abrogated without his instruction then the entire Christian faith could be abrogated on a whim. Consequently, you have not begun to interact with premise 4. For the life of me I cannot see why any Christian would argue against that premise.

"In Acts 21 this was clearly understood; This speaks to your premise number 5."

That is unintelligible. Accordingly, we may not say that you have interacted with premise 5.

"Then you offer premise 6;
The bible does not offer this. It does not say "water baptism " is a replacement sign. They did not say it in Acts 15, or Acts 21.
"

Baptist theology recognizes baptism as the sign of entrance into the new covenant. That’s why they withhold the sign from infants!They consider infants as non-participants in the covenant and they reserve baptism for those they believe are to be regarded as the children of God, namely professing believers only. Accordingly, your argument does not interact with the premise 6 - not to mention that you are speaking contrary to Baptist theology.

I'm afraid that the rest of your post seems to be more of a short sermon than an argument. So, I've opted not to interact with that portion.

Anthony, I would suggest that you run your thoughts by a Reformed Baptist who is acquainted with these things because much of what you are saying is not true to the tradition you believe you are upholding.

Unworthy but His,

Ron

Ron,
Thanks again for your response. Again it is clear to me that we are not communicating very well. Sorry I could not be more helpful to you.
For you to say that Acts 15 and Acts 21 do not teach that circumcision was abrogated and that i did not interact with it is instructive to me.
No replacement sign was mentioned in those verses or anywhere else. It is not as you say
That is unintelligible. Accordingly, we may not say that you have interacted with premise 5.
You just do not accept it, would be more accurate.
Once again you are wrong when you state this-
Baptist theology recognizes baptism as the sign of entrance into the new covenant.
This statement indicates to me that you do not really understand the baptist position. You are mixing your view of water baptism as a replacement sign/and having a breakable NC., which baptists do not hold to.
Not at all. Baptists see water baptism as an outward sign and proper confession of an inward reality that has already come to pass,ie being born again. The person being baptized has already been placed in saving union with Christ by the Spirit.[Spirit Baptism is the entrance and seal.Eph 1:13 I was clear on that ,you do not believe it that way so you say it is,unclear or whatever. I am okay with you believing what you do and do not suggest that you are unintelligable, because I have not come to the same conclusion you do.
I see the logic of your position, and have come to understand what you think and infer is contained in scripture.
I just read the verses and try not to explain them away.
In Acts 21 when the Jews say christians are teaching no more circumcision I just believe they understood very clearly that a New Covenant is in place. They did not comment and say Paul taught baptism as a replacement sign.
No mention is made of a replacement sign. None at all. Not in Acts 15, Not in Acts 21, Not in Galatians.
As far as offering a short sermon that you did not interact with that is your choice to see it that way. I will stand by the verses I offered and the teaching contained in them.
Ron if you think about it you cannot see what I am saying or you would be a Reformed Baptist. There is a clear difference in how each side views the covenant of grace in the old and new covenant. You are not looking for any answer here as you believe you have come to truth.I get that Ron.
Thanks for taking some time to partially interact, but I think we would do better to speak face to face with open bibles as I would like to press you on some of your statements about Ot profession/ the condition of the apostates and their children in Psalm 78 which you did not really address.
Maybe in the providence of God I will get to visit you and see if we can come to a better understanding:book2:
 

Ron

Puritan Board Freshman
Anthony,

All thinking Christians consider baptism as the sign of entance into the visibile church. Added to that, the visible church is what all thinking Christians regard as the people of God. The inward reality of what baptism contemplates is not a sign of the covenant, which again all thinking Christians appreciate. Maybe start here, was circumcision a sign?

Ron
 
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