Paedo-Baptism Answers How would you answer this objection?

Status
Not open for further replies.

De Jager

Puritan Board Sophomore
"The New Covenenat is entered ONLY by being born again. Mere physical birth is not enough, as it was with the Old Covenant. Only those who have been regenerated, and have manifested said regeneration by repenting and believing in Christ, are proper candidates for baptism. If NC baptism merely replaces OC circumcision, why do we baptise girls?"

Would appreciate any insights here
 

Schoolman

Puritan Board Freshman
In Scripture, a people enter the Covenant. An individual converts. A people include both regenerate and unregenerate; the people of God is both the visible and invisible church.

The term in Scripture for “born again” is begotten from above. Baptism or dedication of children (as Grace Brethren and some Reformed Baptists may do) seals the covenant people into the covenant. Both the visible church and the invisible church participate in the covenant; the covenant is fulfilled in the invisible church, the truly regenerated. The sealing symbolizes and establishes the hope of the promises. Regarding genuine regeneration, there are no miscarriages in the kingdom of heaven; everyone begotten from above shall show the fruits in a verifiable profession of faith. That’s why although the language is strictly “begotten from above,” it is also translated as born again. What is begotten is or shall be ‘born again.’

So Baptists who baptize youth are emphasizing the fruits of the begetting from above, fruits of regeneration. Presbyterians emphasize God’s people’s hope and the covenants and the free gift of grace. Baptists emphasize apparent (but fallible) fruits of individual faith and conversion. Baptism then combines the sacrament of regeneration with confirmation to welcome the youth into full membership and communion. However, regeneration begins only invisibly unless accompanied by a visible means of grace. Whereas in reality, regeneration begins in the elect as early as possible in life, even as God has predestined us before the foundation of the world.

I believe that baptism of professing youth without any sealing in the Covenant suggests an incomplete understanding of being begotten from above, the covenants, and doctrines of free grace.

On circumcision.

Circumcision on males emphasizes the begetting or regeneration, as opposed to birth from a woman. Its physical form reflects the fact that the people of God was the historical Israelites: gentiles physically joined the Israelites as one people. After circumcision, the newcomer progressed from the Temple’s Court of Gentiles where he had received the word of God. He then could either return home in the nations with dual citizenship or he could stay as a new Israelite.

In the New Covenant, physical membership as an Israelite was no longer necessary. Now the true people of God remain in their born nation; the Temple and its sacrifices have ended. Any nation that bears effective witness of the gospel can claim to bear the light of Christ to the world. Therefore, circumcision is both fulfilled and abrogated, replaced by the sealing to the covenant in baptism (or at least dedication). Thus, the New Covenant broadens the old and empowers the one Covenant with many.

The Covenant is with the whole people of God. The invisible church of the regenerate receive all the blessings of the Covenant, especially eternal life. The whole visible church are awarded God’s favor through a godly government, the benefits and lessons of Christian morality, and whatever favor God may bestow on the nation to spread the gospel and further empower the covenant. That favor might be considerable. The visible and the invisible church shares in that favor. Failure to seal the whole family into the Covenant shirks those benefits to a family or nation bearing witness to the gospel, leaving the nation in a state of God’s wrath.

Thus sealing the whole family, especially the children, is an act of obedience with rewards to all. If the Covenant were entered only by being born again, there would be no punishment for those who are not, the penalties would not apply to them. The Covenant is not entered by being born again and there is no infallible way to determine who is born again.
 
Last edited:

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
"The New Covenenat is entered ONLY by being born again. Mere physical birth is not enough, as it was with the Old Covenant. Only those who have been regenerated, and have manifested said regeneration by repenting and believing in Christ, are proper candidates for baptism.
The New Covenant argument does not work for the Baptist position. Baptists baptise professing believers. They do not infallibly know who is a true believer. They do not know who the elect is. For this reason I believe the paedobaptist view of the external vs the internal church best accounts for the scriptural data. Note carefully Heb 8:11. Both Baptists and paedobaptists must teach professing believers to know the Lord.

For further information see https://www.ruinandredemption.com/new-covenant-part-1 and https://www.ruinandredemption.com/new-covenant-part-2
 

Eyedoc84

Puritan Board Freshman
"The New Covenenat is entered ONLY by being born again. Mere physical birth is not enough, as it was with the Old Covenant. Only those who have been regenerated, and have manifested said regeneration by repenting and believing in Christ, are proper candidates for baptism. If NC baptism merely replaces OC circumcision, why do we baptise girls?"

Would appreciate any insights here
To echo @Stephen L Smith , Baptists don’t baptize the regenerate. They baptize professing believers. So do paedobaptists. The question is whether children of believers are also to be baptized. Abraham was circumcised after faith, then given the command to also circumcise all (males) in his household (before/irrespective of their personal faith) as they were now a covenant household.

There are obvious reasons why only males were circumcised, and we have explicit command/example to baptize females.
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
"The New Covenenat is entered ONLY by being born again. Mere physical birth is not enough, as it was with the Old Covenant. Only those who have been regenerated, and have manifested said regeneration by repenting and believing in Christ, are proper candidates for baptism. If NC baptism merely replaces OC circumcision, why do we baptise girls?"

Would appreciate any insights here

For the first part, I would note that under the OC, physical birth placed one into the visible covenant community, though many were covenant breakers. An essential question at this point is this: is it possible to be a covenant breaker under the NC? If so, are covenant breakers all regenerate? If not all regenerate, how could they break a covenant they were never part of in the first place, if regeneration alone places one in this covenant community? I think we have to conclude that in both OC and NC there was a visible covenant community, not all of which were regenerate. At the end of the day, the visible/invisible distinction is necessary for both OC and NC and is at least a logical necessity for both credo and peado proponents, since both have to deal with those who are baptized and fall away, demonstrating they were never regenerate.

As to the second point, I don't know any paedo proponents who would ever say baptism merely replaces circumcision. There are a number of differences including the recipients of the sign. To insert the word "merely" is a straw man argument.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
The issue will turn, invariably, on the nature of whatever is going by the name "New Covenant." The Baptist understands the nature of that covenant as one thing, and the Reformed fellow understands it as another. Another way of getting to the root issue is with the question: Is the present religion of believers essentially the same religion as that of Abraham, Moses, David, and Isaiah?

If someone conceives of the NC as strictly spiritual in nature, this antecedent expectation is going to color all his reception concerning the covenant under which he understands he lives and operates. He is primed to think the NC is essentially (speaking to the nature of it) different from the covenant-presentations that may be found in all the biblical history leading up to the NC inauguration.

He begins with an understanding that previous covenants found in the OT are not strictly spiritual in nature. Those covenants may incorporate spiritual elements, or lead some of the covenant members to go beyond the earthy or carnal nature of those covenant arrangements, but in his way of thinking those covenants in their alternate nature (to the NC) could accommodate members who were not spiritual people, not regenerate; the NC cannot accommodate such, and this restriction means that "infant inclusion" presumes facts (faith) not in evidence, i.e. not shown by at minimum a verbal commitment.

The Reformed fellow doesn't wish to negate the "spiritual nature" of the New Covenant. The crux of the matter for him is that he begins with an understanding that previous covenants found in the OT share the same spiritual nature as the NC. The notable covenants of the OT were not essentially earthy or carnal but spiritual, and communicated the same basic spiritual truths as the NC unto believers of that age; the difference being the former covenants were promissory, the latter a fulfillment.

This, then works its way out in a NC administration that contains both an inward and an outward presentation. In this there is a parallel in the present age to the former administrations of one overarching covenant of grace controlling biblical religion, which also presented both externally and internally. Some Baptists will say: there is no more an outward administration of the divine covenant (in the NC age), but the Holy Spirit does all the administration there is for it--such covenant is that radically spiritual.

The Reformed fellow reckons circumcision (marking the youngest male members of OT covenant administrations after Abraham) was designed to mark the true and proper descendants of Abraham--that is, those who shared his faith, not merely or primarily his genes. That invariably it also marked some who were not "true sons" was not the fault of the ordinance, but of the faithless sons who repudiated the faith of their father. Gentiles in the OT became sons of Abraham by faith, and that included their taking his mark of circumcision when they joined the covenant people; and their reception included marking all the appropriate members of the believer's household, just as God ordained Abraham, citing the promise: "I will be God to you, and to your seed."

So, as the OP states the typical Baptist position, "Mere physical birth is not enough, as it was with the Old Covenant." This is a claim about the nature of the OC, and a claim about what makes it different in nature from the New. The teaching of it is plain: that physical birth WAS sufficient to make one a fully vested OC member--which the Reformed deny, saying faith was REQUIRED. That the sign might predate the profession was-and-is immaterial; those who believe the Bible do as they're told. One might want to further explain that Abraham was not an "Old Covenant" figure, predating it by several centuries. More than likely the statement shows the entire OT experience being conflated into a single "Old Covenant" perspective, something NT apostolic teaching is at pains to differentiate.

As for why women/girls are baptized: the freedom and the justification for applying the NT covenant sign of initiation to both sexes is just one more way the NC is better under fulfillment-administration than in the limitations found under prior, promissory covenant administrations.

Even if the Baptist you are talking with isn't disposed to accept what you have to say, it is better for you to understand why he is convicted as he is, so you can point out where the true differences between you are. You may also be able to offer a gracious response to strident questions, avoiding contention while making a contribution to his awareness.
 

Andrew35

Puritan Board Sophomore
The New Covenant argument does not work for the Baptist position. Baptists baptise professing believers. They do not infallibly know who is a true believer. They do not know who the elect is. For this reason I believe the paedobaptist view of the external vs the internal church best accounts for the scriptural data. Note carefully Heb 8:11. Both Baptists and paedobaptists must teach professing believers to know the Lord.

For further information see https://www.ruinandredemption.com/new-covenant-part-1 and https://www.ruinandredemption.com/new-covenant-part-2
To add another wrinkle, Baptists tacitly acknowledge this difficulty in practice by the fact that they don't always baptize professing believers.

At least, there is significant disagreement among Baptists on this point.

Many Baptists, especially of the Reformed variety, will not baptize children (sometimes as late as their early 20s!), whether professing or no, based on whatever threshold of "credibility" they have determined valid as evidence of regeneration.

This creates bizarre situations wherein children of nonbelievers are occasionally given preference in baptism over children of believers -- since the children of the believers may be making the decision out of a desire to please their parents. (Frankly, I always recall having something more of an inclination to displease my parents, but we'll leave that aside.)

This to me points to a flaw, or at least a weakness, within the baptistic system.

Evangelical/fundamentalist Baptists are in a way more consistent on this point when they prefer to baptize anyone who makes a confession who understands what they are saying and doesn't seem to have been coerced. Add the prevalent "baby dedications" among them, and you get a denom that, in my opinion, is subconsciously shifting away from their forebears in practice, but toward a more Biblical Christian norm. :)
 

De Jager

Puritan Board Sophomore
Thank you all for your responses.

I think this is a typical scenario wherein as Rev. Buchanan implied, the person does not really understand the nature of what they call the "old covenant". In my understanding, the "old covenant" is the Sinai covenant, which was replaced with the new covenant. However, the covenant of grace, established under Abraham runs through the scriptures and is still in force today. The children of Israel were already under the Abrahamic covenant of grace when they received the "old covenant" promises.

It is on the basis of the promises of the Abrahamic covenant of grace that one was circumcised, a sign and seal that pointed to some earthly but ultimately spiritual blessings - the righteousness that comes by faith. This covenant had an external and internal administration; the sign was externally applied to all in the visible believing community, and yet there was an invisible believing community that was a subset of the visible one. This is why we have such commands as "circumcise your hearts", urging the people to truly believe the promises made to them and sealed in circumcision. Before Christ, faith was key.

After the coming of Christ, faith is still key. As Tim mentioned above, the question is whether under the NC administration, one can be in the visible church and still be "in covenant". To this, I would say, why not? In the NT as in the old, we have many passages warning of falling away, urging us to keep the faith. The promise where we will all "know the Lord" infallibly will not be fulfilled until the consummation of all things and the new heavens and the new earth.

Does this sound reasonable?
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
"The New Covenenat is entered ONLY by being born again. Mere physical birth is not enough, as it was with the Old Covenant. Only those who have been regenerated, and have manifested said regeneration by repenting and believing in Christ, are proper candidates for baptism.

One knee-jerk reaction - (I didn't read everything so this is likely a repeat)
Adult Baptism - "physical birth is not enough" - Neither was it "enough" in the OT for adults. There had to be a profession of faith.
 

Eoghan

Puritan Board Senior
Acts 8:36 Q. What is the qualification to be baptised?
Acts 8:37 A. Faith, if you believe in your heart (that Jesus is the Son of God)

Most paedobaptists prefer other proof texts
 

JTB.SDG

Puritan Board Junior
As for the first few sentences: There are lots of things to say. How about going to Jeremiah 31:29-30. Is Jeremiah 31 about the new covenant? If that's so, then how do you explain there are transgressors among God's people who are "eating the sour grapes" and having "their teeth set on edge" in the new covenant administration?

Those who make these assertions seem to not be able to see the biblical juxtaposition of outward membership versus inward membership in the covenant. This didn't just start happening in the NC. This was always there. Take a look at Esau. Was he a member of the OC? He started that way, then he took his belongings and his family, and left Canaan and God's people who dwelt there. He was a member of the OC outwardly; at least until he left. It was at that time he showed himself to have never been inwardly. Thing is, there's always been a difference between being IN the covenant and being OF the covenant. Not all in the OC who partook of the RITE (IE, circumcision) had the REALITY. And guess what. It's the same in the NC.

As for the question about girls being baptized, it's simply that in the OC the women were represented/included in the circumcision of the men (IE, the girls' fathers). Thomas Blake touches on this briefly with these words:

“For the exception of women, though foederate, yet were not to be circumcised, I say. . .that they were of the circumcision, and it was an exception against Sampson by his parents that he would go to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines (Judges 14:3). Had he married in Israel, as he ought in obedience to God and his parents, he had married a wife of the circumcised, though that sex by nature is in an incapacity of that sign or seal.” (Blake, pp435-36).

And again: “There are many things of which we make no question, and yet we have no example of them. . .for women's receiving of the Lord's Supper, there is not a particular institution, or any particular express precedent for it in the New Testament. . .One goes about to give instance of particular precedents for women's receiving the Lord's Supper, and instead of a precedent urges 1 Corinthians 11:28 as an express command in formal terms for women, anthropos comprehending both sexes. . .We are then furnished with an express command in terms of formal, and with an example to boot of women's circumcision; and so the difference between circumcision and baptism (so often laid in the dish of paedobaptists) here falls to the ground; [for our Lord said]: 'Ye on the Sabbath-day do circumcise, anthropos, a man (John 7:22). [And again] 'If anthropos, a man, on the Sabbath-day receive circumcision, that the Law of Moses should not be broken. . .' (John 7:23). Here is Moses' command; the Jews practice, with Christ's approbation, in the same comprehensive latitude in regard of both sexes, as in Saint Paul for receiving of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. . .[So then, of the Lord's Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:28, it] is replied that the subject matter of the command as well as the grammar use of the word, proves females to be included. . .[But] if arguments borrowed from grammar use of words, be of that force; you see what they have proved: As anthropos is taken in one sacrament, so it is to be taken in another.” (Blake, pp414-15).

Having said all of that, I don't think just answering the questions at face value will necessarily help. You have to first discern if this person is genuinely open to considering the truth of the other opinion. If so I would give them a solid book to have them go through that goes to the heart of the issue. Then have a conversation about it. If you're looking for a resource, this may help: https://f5b3affa-3815-4a9f-8ecc-bd3...d/be37d2_2dc54c814e994ab4874e0ac1766ebea1.pdf
 

Schoolman

Puritan Board Freshman
Does the following work?—

The covenant is with the visible church. The eternal fulfillment of the covenant is for the invisible church (the born again).

Obedience to the covenant brings temporal favor to all (the visible church). Failure to remember the covenant brings temporal sanctions on all.

Temporal favors of the covenant include the uses of the law. Further, establishing the covenant with the whole family and even a nation brings favors such as a society thriving under a godly legal code, godly foundations of truth, great numbers exposed to the gospel, and spread of the gospel. Thus minding and keeping the covenant not only brings temporal favors, but the temporal favors also become means whereby eternal grace is administered.
 

Eyedoc84

Puritan Board Freshman
Acts 8:36 Q. What is the qualification to be baptised?
Acts 8:37 A. Faith, if you believe in your heart (that Jesus is the Son of God)

Most paedobaptists prefer other proof texts
That’s a great verse. Perfect for a pagan convert.
 

De Jager

Puritan Board Sophomore
Acts 8:36 Q. What is the qualification to be baptised?
Acts 8:37 A. Faith, if you believe in your heart (that Jesus is the Son of God)

Most paedobaptists prefer other proof texts
Hello,

This is the Paedobaptist answers forum so the answers should be coming from the reformed side. However, I will interact.

No Paedobaptist would say that faith is not a requirement for baptism. It most definitely is required, either by the person receiving the sign (as in the circumcision of Abraham) or by the parents of those receiving the sign (as in the circumcision of Isaac).

A read of the NT practice of baptism squares with the application of circumcision in the OT, in my opinion.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top