Inconsistent approach to the Household Model of Baptism applied by Paedo-Baptists

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Grimmson

Puritan Board Sophomore
Inconsistent approach to the Household Model of Baptism applied by Paedo-Baptists:

I posted a question, with my typical rhetoric, in a thread that was I later found out was for Paedo-Baptism only to ask and answer. So I want this opened up for everyone to discuss, not just those with one particular perspective.

I mentioned in the original post that I admitted that those within the credo position have a tendency of being inconsistent in their approach by baptizing children at 3 or 4, without the children truly understanding the Gospel and the commitment they are in and their own arguments actually stand against their own practical practice. But that not the issue I want to address here I want to ask if Paedobaptists see an inconsistency with their approach of baptizing small or young children in a family of a father coming to faith versus a father coming to faith and not baptizing their 16 or 17 year old child that shows no desire of the faith what so ever? To piggy back on that same question, would you also have to baptize unbelieving wife as well, based on the household model, which is the primary justification for infant baptism? I think you all know what I would say, but I want to know what you all have to think. :)
 
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Sven

Puritan Board Sophomore
I'd say, first of all, that the household baptism is not the primary justification for our position, but rather an evidence that butresses our argument. Secondly, the matter of when a child is considered too old to be baptized as part of a new believers household is decided by different Churches. Children who are over the age of when Reformed Churches normally have them make profession of faith, would want them to make a profession of faith before baptizing them. Under that age they would normally be baptized. I do not think this is in anyway inconsistent with the household baptism model. This is not to say, however, that every Reformed Church operates in this manner.
 

JOwen

Puritan Board Junior
Dear David, "The primary justification for infant baptism" is not household baptism, but is a supporting argument found in the New Testament. The foundation for infant baptism is the continuity of the covenant sign being applied to dependents, of which households are apart. In my opinion, if an unbelieving wife will consent to baptism, she should. This is consistent with both OT & NT covenant headship. I have never seen this applied, however I think it is most consistent.

Calvin. "Luke commends the pious zeal of the jailer, because he dedicated his whole house to the Lord; in which also the grace of God illustriously appeared, because it brought the whole family to a pious consent."
 

charliejunfan

Puritan Board Senior
Children that are in the household should be baptized, if they are 18 in America they should either undergo baptism or leave the house, the age differs depending on which country they live in, in America it is 18.

The wife should be baptized regardless of profession.

I think one of the things stopping Reformed churches from doing things like this is Americas Baptistic/individualistic mindset, we are to afraid to do what we must to our families.
 

Grimmson

Puritan Board Sophomore
It seems to me that term household would include children, wife, slaves, bond-servants, and servants. Yet in many Presbyterian circles in the man does come to faith and is baptized his older children are not. At least such was the case when I attended a Presbyterian church.

John Lanier (there are a couple Johns in here), Thank you for the link, it was the place I originally posted this question to begin with and it was removed because am credo. I think I also responded to a question too, but here am in more neutral territory am less likely to be removed. That I why am posting it.

I have seen many Presbyterians try to use the household baptisms as evidence to support infant baptism and consistency of the covenants as a foundation, instead of mere support there of. And there is no biblical age of accountability in scripture; it is a practice and tradition that man has created in the church, and it has even affected Baptist there of. In a household perspective, there no such thing as being to old. If he living with you and the child is 18, then the person needs to be baptized. Likewise in our increasing immature age of children the same would be true if the person is 20. Therefore the question from a household perspective is not making the confession of faith for those in the household, but an act of baptism that required for everyone within the head of the household. That is the exegesis that applied to and practiced in the argument against credo that say that you must have that faith before hand. So the covenant sign goes beyond just dependents, but all in the household if we are to be consistent based upon the paedo reading of the old and new testament texts.

In fact does anyone know in history if Presbyterian slave owners actually forced their slaved to be household based upon this position?

It is in a inconsistency if you already established the lack of a need for a confession for all in the household for that moment while claiming the need for adults to make such a confession of faith for baptism within that household. If you think the new testament practice is for the entire household to be baptized, then the same principle must care over from infants to all that are subject to the household, believers or not. Personally, I see the household baptisms as a miracle because of the work of god for all those who believe in that household, what I think would be a rarity. You can see my thoughts in Argument Against Classical Covenant Theological Paedobaptism For Your Consideration

Pastor Jerrold, you are you telling me you baptize someone purposely that was not of the faith?

-----Added 7/23/2009 at 08:30:20 EST-----

and I guess the same question goes for Charles too, as John.

And another side question for Charles, does that include children who are still in the house at 19 or 20, which is acceptable as being part of the household in cases of college or perhaps other cases?

-----Added 7/23/2009 at 08:37:42 EST-----

And I think we can see here differenting views of consistency regarding who and who should not be baptized by using a model that paedos support.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
And I think we can see here differenting views of consistency regarding who and who should not be baptized by using a model that paedos support.

It is worth bearing in mind that the "consistency" does not concern the biblical principle but the application of it to a divergent situation where "liberty of choice" has been given in lesser or greater measure to the individual in modern democracies.
 

Cranmer1959

Puritan Board Freshman
Paedobaptism refers to "infant" children or those who are newborn into a Christian family. Unbelieving wives and teenagers do not fit that scenario and in that sense paedobaptists are also in agreement that faith is required of adults or teenagers prior to baptism. But the emphasis on the covenant promises means that children who are not old enough to believe or consent should be baptized since they are part of a Christian household and covenant and therefore covered by the promises given to the Christian.

This does not entail baptismal regeneration or any other such nonsense since the sacraments are merely outward signs or symbols of an inward grace. Where the person is not elect there is no inward grace and the sign is merely an empty sign. At some point the elect will be regenerated in accordance with the sign and brought to true faith. However, the sign and inward grace are not inseparably united. The baptized infant may grow up and refuse to believe and therefore becomes apostate.

The fact that you ask such questions shows that your position is not paedobaptism since your questions seem to be illegitimate and misleading. Baptism is equivalent to circumcision in the OT. Not every circumcised Hebrew is a genuine Hebrew. He must also be circumcised in the heart. Thus, the outward sign means nothing without the circumcision of the heart which accompanies it.

Charlie

Inconsistent approach to the Household Model of Baptism applied by Paedo-Baptists:

I posted a question, with my typical rhetoric, in a thread that was I later found out was for Paedo-Baptism only to ask and answer. So I want this opened up for everyone to discuss, not just those with one particular perspective.

I mentioned in the original post that I admitted that those within the credo position have a tendency of being inconsistent in their approach by baptizing children at 3 or 4, without the children truly understanding the Gospel and the commitment they are in and their own arguments actually stand against their own practical practice. But that not the issue I want to address here I want to ask if Paedobaptists see an inconsistency with their approach of baptizing small or young children in a family of a father coming to faith versus a father coming to faith and not baptizing their 16 or 17 year old child that shows no desire of the faith what so ever? To piggy back on that same question, would you also have to baptize unbelieving wife as well, based on the household model, which is the primary justification for infant baptism? I think you all know what I would say, but I want to know what you all have to think. :)

-----Added 7/23/2009 at 09:18:52 EST-----

Baptizing unbelievers and apostates only brings greater condemnation to them because true faith is required for the sacrament to be effectual. The only exception is infant baptism, of course, and such children are to be taught the Christian faith as they grow up and become believers themselves. If they depart from the faith, their baptism means nothing.

Charlie

Children that are in the household should be baptized, if they are 18 in America they should either undergo baptism or leave the house, the age differs depending on which country they live in, in America it is 18.

The wife should be baptized regardless of profession.

I think one of the things stopping Reformed churches from doing things like this is Americas Baptistic/individualistic mindset, we are to afraid to do what we must to our families.

-----Added 7/23/2009 at 09:23:27 EST-----

I disagree that an unbelieving spouse should be baptized without making a confession of faith. Such baptism would mislead the person into thinking they are "Christian" and in no further need of faith or conversion. The emphasis on paedobaptism is on the commitment of parents to raise the child in the Christian faith and bring them to a commitment of faith of their own. Since the unbelieving wife is resistant to Christian faith, baptizing her would only make her more condemned just as taking communion without faith brings greater condemnation, hence the need for self examination prior to taking communion.

Dear David, "The primary justification for infant baptism" is not household baptism, but is a supporting argument found in the New Testament. The foundation for infant baptism is the continuity of the covenant sign being applied to dependents, of which households are apart. In my opinion, if an unbelieving wife will consent to baptism, she should. This is consistent with both OT & NT covenant headship. I have never seen this applied, however I think it is most consistent.

Calvin. "Luke commends the pious zeal of the jailer, because he dedicated his whole house to the Lord; in which also the grace of God illustriously appeared, because it brought the whole family to a pious consent."
 

Grimmson

Puritan Board Sophomore
Paedobaptism refers to "infant" children or those who are newborn into a Christian family. Unbelieving wives and teenagers do not fit that scenario and in that sense paedobaptists are also in agreement that faith is required of adults or teenagers prior to baptism. But the emphasis on the covenant promises means that children who are not old enough to believe or consent should be baptized since they are part of a Christian household and covenant and therefore covered by the promises given to the Christian.

This does not entail baptismal regeneration or any other such nonsense since the sacraments are merely outward signs or symbols of an inward grace. Where the person is not elect there is no inward grace and the sign is merely an empty sign. At some point the elect will be regenerated in accordance with the sign and brought to true faith. However, the sign and inward grace are not inseparably united. The baptized infant may grow up and refuse to believe and therefore becomes apostate.

The fact that you ask such questions shows that your position is not paedobaptism since your questions seem to be illegitimate and misleading. Baptism is equivalent to circumcision in the OT. Not every circumcised Hebrew is a genuine Hebrew. He must also be circumcised in the heart. Thus, the outward sign means nothing without the circumcision of the heart which accompanies it.

Charlie

Inconsistent approach to the Household Model of Baptism applied by Paedo-Baptists:

I posted a question, with my typical rhetoric, in a thread that was I later found out was for Paedo-Baptism only to ask and answer. So I want this opened up for everyone to discuss, not just those with one particular perspective.

I mentioned in the original post that I admitted that those within the credo position have a tendency of being inconsistent in their approach by baptizing children at 3 or 4, without the children truly understanding the Gospel and the commitment they are in and their own arguments actually stand against their own practical practice. But that not the issue I want to address here I want to ask if Paedobaptists see an inconsistency with their approach of baptizing small or young children in a family of a father coming to faith versus a father coming to faith and not baptizing their 16 or 17 year old child that shows no desire of the faith what so ever? To piggy back on that same question, would you also have to baptize unbelieving wife as well, based on the household model, which is the primary justification for infant baptism? I think you all know what I would say, but I want to know what you all have to think. :)


No doubt paedobaptism does refer to the baptizing of infants. I am just taking the argument applied for the paedo position and then showing how based upon that argument or principle unbelievers in the household should be baptized as well. You are right to assume am a Baptist, but I do not think it is “illegitimate or misleading”, but showing where the principle is completely followed through based upon how the biblical texts are applied with in the NT.

I am not dealing with the idea of the infant never believing or coming to faith, but the idea of those that were never of any interest to the faith receiving the sign; which would have been the case with male children under their father and his servants in the Jewish faith.

Nor am I dealing with the issue of baptismal regeneration.

The issue is who do you give the sign to based upon a structure created and used to defend the paedo position. If it is used to defend paedobaptism then I think the same structure and principle must also apply to all within the household structure otherwise you are avoiding out your argument.

The fact that you have at least two within this thread that thinks an unbelieving spouse should be baptized shows that they disagree with you concerning “Unbelieving wives and teenagers do not fit that scenario”. Which means that this is a extremely important topic of discussion within your own camp and gives credos an opening of attack, because of the inconsistency of the position.

I have not attacked baptism as a sign nor the issue of election as it relates to the child, but who should receive it and how consistently. And how should it be related throughout the past as well.

I want to quote Tertullian:
“But they whose duty it is to administer baptism are to know that it must not be given rashly.”
And that why I am posing these questions. In fact, so I can throw some credo here, Tertullian recommends delaying baptism so that “the sponsors should be thrust into danger. For they may either fail of their promise by death, or they be mistaken by a child’s proving of wicked disposition.”

That was around 200 AD, so obviously the debate has been going on for quite a while. But the argument applied during his time is not the same being applied necessarily here, therefore I want to address how baptism is applied in these households in a consistent manner.

We expect those of an Arminianism theology to be consistant, why should we not expect the same for the rest of our theology? And you credos can respond too, this is a open forum.
 

A.J.

Puritan Board Junior
I have seen many Presbyterians try to use the household baptisms as evidence to support infant baptism and consistency of the covenants as a foundation, instead of mere support there of. And there is no biblical age of accountability in scripture; it is a practice and tradition that man has created in the church, and it has even affected Baptist there of. In a household perspective, there no such thing as being to old. If he living with you and the child is 18, then the person needs to be baptized. Likewise in our increasing immature age of children the same would be true if the person is 20. Therefore the question from a household perspective is not making the confession of faith for those in the household, but an act of baptism that required for everyone within the head of the household. That is the exegesis that applied to and practiced in the argument against credo that say that you must have that faith before hand. So the covenant sign goes beyond just dependents, but all in the household if we are to be consistent based upon the paedo reading of the old and new testament texts.

David, consider this text from Genesis.

Gen. 18:19 (ESV) For I have chosen him [Abraham], that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.

Did Abraham circumcise his household slaves without telling them first about the only true God or "the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice"? The text quoted seems to suggest otherwise. Abraham left his pagan homeland in chapter 12, and, he and his household were circumcised in chapter 17. Are we to suppose that Abraham did not care about the spiritual welfare of his bondservants between the time they left Ur and the time they were circumcised? Did Abraham tolerate idolatry in this household? Did he allow the people under his authority to set up idols for worship while he was worshipping the only true God? And yet many antipaedobaptists assume that Abraham's servants were "unbelievers" though the narrative does not say that. In fact, we see the obedience of one of Abraham's servants in Gen 24. He acknowledged the God of his master (see verse 27).

And further, Eph. 6:5-7 and Col. 3:22-25 do not address the slaves of Christian households as if they were "unbelievers." Paul, of course, does not address them on the basis of an infallible knowledge of whether they are elect or not. They are addressed on the grounds of their (Christian) profession. The same is also seen in Philemon 15-16. Philemon is exhorted to receive his slave Onesimus as a "brother beloved...in the Lord."

For perhaps he [Onesimus] therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever; Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?

In the case of adult children, I do think that the same applies. Abraham was commanded to command his children (which would include any adult children present) and his household to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice. Proof that Abraham obeyed God was that the LORD did bring to Abraham what He has promised him (see Gen. 18:19; cf. Rom. 4 and Gal. 3). Abraham obeyed God, and so should we.

:)
 
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Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
I'm just not seeing the argument.

I understand that to a credo-baptist, something might seem inconsistent here. Same as we get the "inconsistent" accusation concerning our rejection of paedo-communion. But all these inconsistencies are based upon credo-baptist presuppositions. Where is the attempt to understand our theological rationale for our own behavior, and demonstrate an internal inconsistency?

At best, all that the credo-baptist has shown here is that SOME paedo-baptists may not be as consistent with their professed principle. But inconsistency with the principle doesn't mean that the principle itself is wrong. Abusus non tollit usum.

On paedo-baptist presuppositions, its hard to see any inconsistencies on our part that are any more of a "challenge" to our theological basis for action, than the inconsistencies of credo baptist practice challenge his theological basis for action.

Does your church baptize a professor on the same day he walks the aisle? We seem to see that happen in Acts.

But the church across town makes the professor go through a membership class first. Another makes him wait a year or two. Another regularly baptizes three-year olds. They all justify their actions based on "the Bible" or "cultural necessity" or "prudence" or "sanctified wisdom," or something else.

I think
"this is an extremely important topic of discussion within your own camp and gives paedos an opening of attack, because of the inconsistency of the position."
Do you buy this argument?

As soon as you acknowledge that variations in BAPTIST practice don't really strike at the fundamentals of your own professed practice, then I will hop right on that concession and use it myself.



The fundamental error that's really going on here is a perfect illustration of the SAME drift of argument that has happened on the board a hundred times or more. Baptists base their practice essentially on the exemplars of Acts. Paedo-baptists go to didactic and instructional texts, and formulate their practice, and then appeal to exemplaristic texts for corroboration.

So, how does the baptist argue against our position in this thread? He goes to the exemplaristic text, finds what he thinks is an inconsistency (thus demonstrating standard credo-presuppositions) and tells us we need to "get it right." On the basis of exemplaristic texts.

Survey says! XXX Wrong answer.
Note what wasn't even attempted. Any dealing at all with our didactic, instructional, theological arguments. And even in this thread, when we appeal to them, it goes in one ear and out the other. A "hard case" practical test seems to the baptist that WE should feel challenged to the very foundation of our theology.

Not going to happen.
 

Grimmson

Puritan Board Sophomore
I think people here are thinking that I am personally attacking the Paedo position. I can, but that not my desire in here. The issue I see is the thoughts of household baptism seems to be inconsistent to me, as one can see with the issue of baptizing unbelieving spouses that some in here will do and some will not; both being paedo. The issue am posing is why require or baptize one member of the household that does not believe or confess Christ, such as an infant, while not requiring older children to receive the sign of Baptism who do not believe and an unbelieving spouse within the same household. Based on the household principle you would think all members of the household would be required to be baptized.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Based on the household principle you would think all members of the household would be required to be baptized.

Based on the same principle we expect that members of the household should be obedient to the head of it, as is indicated in the qualifications for an overseer; but the reality is that civil government allows liberties to individuals which takes authority away from the head of the home; the church is thus forced to evaluate how the "household" principle functions within this differing set of circumstances to ensure other principles are not transgressed in the process of applying it.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Where is your allowance for an "age of majority"? For differences in cultural emancipations for women, children, slaves (thank God we don't have them), etc.?

"He is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself." Jn.9:21
I don't think there's any more need to reach for further biblical rationale.
We don't live in the ancient world.

The variation of opinion mentioned in the thread--specifically dealing with wives--
Even if one opinion (within the paedos) gets the wrong answer, how does this challenge the fact that households were in fact baptized in the NT? Since they were, and IF wives were simply included as a matter of course, then it might be the case that such a practice should be the norm today.

But how would divergence from this position say anything about its propriety?
Particular church practice has NOTHING whatever to say about its normative propriety.
 

Grimmson

Puritan Board Sophomore
It is right that we do not live in the ancient world; but that is where we received the Abrahamic, Mosaic, and the New Covenant, along with their requirements there of. So we should not be looking at cultural norms to dictate practice, but scripture alone that came from such a world. I do not think am promoting slavery, for I am not.

I think John 9:21 was an interesting passage to apply for two reasons:
1) The parents answered that way because they were afraid to be kicked out of the synagogue
2) We do not know where the blind man was living, we know he was begging for his own survival; so we cannot really say this man falls at this time under his father’s household

I have not denied the household baptisms in the NT, however I do think why people were baptized should really be addressed. Is it because those in the household shared the same faith, which I would say is the case, or was it done not because of the shared faith but do to a strict obedience that I seem to get from people in this thread. And this faith vs. obedience affects not only older children and spouses, but directly towards infants that cannot make the decision for themselves.

The question posed, “But how would divergence from this position say anything about its propriety?”

The answer is simple, by getting away from the standard presented as you believe by God, you are actually in violation directly against him and the standard he has established.

So I am not going to make light of the position.

And if your going to ask about the age of accountability, I am not going to give a age of accountability, because scripture does not give it in such clarity and in reality it doesn’t really matter because the person part of the household anyway..

And if I am understanding some of what a couple of you are saying you can redefine the household based on the society and its norms and not based on how its used and implied in scripture. But correct me in that point because I do not want to misrepresent any of you.

Oh and if you want I can copy and past my thoughts on household baptisms form the link that I gave earlier and present the full text here in this thread.
 

Grillsy

Puritan Board Junior
Children that are in the household should be baptized, if they are 18 in America they should either undergo baptism or leave the house, the age differs depending on which country they live in, in America it is 18.

The wife should be baptized regardless of profession.

I think one of the things stopping Reformed churches from doing things like this is Americas Baptistic/individualistic mindset, we are to afraid to do what we must to our families.

The wife should be baptized regardless of profession?
 

A.J.

Puritan Board Junior
David, please do consider this post by Dr. Scott Clark from an old thread.

It's a good and question that poses challenges on either view. For the paedo view it means that it's possible that some adults are baptized who have not actually believed. The baptist has to argue that in every household baptism there were no infants and everyone made a credible profession of faith before baptism.

There are discontinuities between the administration of the covenant of grace under Moses (in the typology) and under Christ (the reality). In the typology the covenant was administered via various sorts of federal relations. In the new covenant, those federal relations are fulfilled and dissolved. Christ is the federal head of believers. He is our priest. He is our king. The new covenant is more inclusive (e.g., females) than the old. Remember, the contrast between the new and old covenants is not between Abraham and Christ but between Moses (and the typological, national, temporary covenant administration) and Christ.

That said, there covenant of grace is still administered in groups (though without the typological federal element). Congregations are groups. Families are groups. Households are groups. In Acts 16:15 Lydia and her "whole household" were baptized. Must we assume that they all believed? If we regard baptism as public initiation into the visible covenant community and the supper as the confirmation of one's status in the covenant community, then the household baptism is less problematic.

These narratives are difficult on either view, but on the traditional Reformed paedo view, where we distinguish between those in the covenant of grace externally and those who have embraced the benefits of Christ by faith and thus have an internal relation to the covenant of grace, we don't have to fold everything into the first sign. Unlike the FV, we don't have to make baptism unite every baptized person to Christ head for head -- thus confusing the sign with the thing signified. Unlike the baptist view, we don't have to make proof of regeneration an absolute prerequisite for the sign of initiation thus introducing a radical disjunction between the administration of the covenant of grace under Abraham and Christ.

We also have a proper place for two signs and seals that perform two distinct functions, initiation and confirmation. We can account a little more easily for such group baptisms. Lydia made a profession of faith and as the head of her household the rest (likely servants and probably infants given the sense of "household" in 1st century usage) were initiated into the visible covenant community. They have yet to undergo catechism in preparation for profession of faith and communion.
 

Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
Inconsistent approach to the Household Model of Baptism applied by Paedo-Baptists:

I posted a question, with my typical rhetoric, in a thread that was I later found out was for Paedo-Baptism only to ask and answer. So I want this opened up for everyone to discuss, not just those with one particular perspective.

I mentioned in the original post that I admitted that those within the credo position have a tendency of being inconsistent in their approach by baptizing children at 3 or 4, without the children truly understanding the Gospel and the commitment they are in and their own arguments actually stand against their own practical practice. But that not the issue I want to address here I want to ask if Paedobaptists see an inconsistency with their approach of baptizing small or young children in a family of a father coming to faith versus a father coming to faith and not baptizing their 16 or 17 year old child that shows no desire of the faith what so ever? To piggy back on that same question, would you also have to baptize unbelieving wife as well, based on the household model, which is the primary justification for infant baptism? I think you all know what I would say, but I want to know what you all have to think. :)

The idea that I think is flawed is that they aren't baptized. Now the real problem here might be with a wife that refuses ... but that would be her prerogative and when a person becomes old enough, they will have their name removed from the roll of the church if they do not profess their own faith.

It is a sad thing, but my second daughter, while baptized at a young age, has not professed faith and become a communicant member of the church. She moved out on her own a while back, and from what I can tell, she does not attend church. I believe, because she reached 21, she was required to show up before the session and give a reason why she should not have her name removed from the rolls of the church, and it is my belief that she did not do anything. So I have to believe she face the discipline of having her name removed. There is nothing so sad as to see ones children not professing the faith in which they were raised.

Yet conversion is something altogether different. First, I have seen families come for baptism when the parents came to faith (the whole household was baptized). In the particular case, the husband and wife came to faith, but the older children (up through about 10 years) were baptized. It was some time ago, but it does happen.

So in essence, when the session of a church feels that a person is old enough and of sufficient understanding that they should know to profess Christ and confirm their own standing by faith before God, it would not be appropriate to baptize them, only to remove their names from the roll of the church. It isn't inconsistent, but perfectly consistent from my perspective.
 

Grimmson

Puritan Board Sophomore
AJ, that was a good article and I do plan on speaking to Dr. Clark about this soon face to face. I am curious in what he thinks. The post actually raises another question for him and that is in the end he used the word “initiated” to represent their entry way to the covenant community. I do agree that baptism is an initiation, I would still pose that they had just a close of an understanding as Lydia did concerning the Jewish and later Christian faith. Therefore all sides of that household would need probably the approximately the same level of catechism. It does not however deal with the issue of those in the household of unbelief and the expectation to receive the sign regardless. And another side issue is the affect of discipline there of as well in the household if such an expectation is not met.

-----Added 7/24/2009 at 12:38:21 EST-----

Brain, am sorry your daughter has not professed faith.

-----Added 7/24/2009 at 12:48:48 EST-----

One thing I do want to point out to him is he does sort of misrepresent the baptist position.
"Unlike the baptist view, we don't have to make proof of regeneration an absolute prerequisite for the sign of initiation"
The only thing baptist ask for is a confession of faith, not a series of works prior to baptism. And for adults Presbyterians require just as much out.
 

A.J.

Puritan Board Junior
One thing I do want to point out to him is he does sort of misrepresent the baptist position.
"Unlike the baptist view, we don't have to make proof of regeneration an absolute prerequisite for the sign of initiation"
The only thing baptist ask for is a confession of faith, not a series of works prior to baptism. And for adults Presbyterians require just as much out.

I do not think Dr. Clark is saying that Baptists demand a "series of works prior to baptism." What he is saying is that Baptists demand the same thing of adult professors and their children before receiving baptism, that is, "proof of regeneration." Proof of regeneration is given in a confession of faith. And since Baptists require a confession of faith from both converted adults and their children before baptism is administered, then Dr. Clark rightly says that Baptists "make proof of regeneration an absolute prerequisite for the sign of initiation...." :)
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
David,
1) I'm not going to argue FOR household baptisms, based on the FACT (and it is a fact) that there were household baptisms in the NT. That's not how we (paedos) determine whether to baptize an infant, or anyone else, young, old, or in between.

If I appeal to NT texts that show a household being baptized, I'm going to interpret it in terms of how the Bible defines "household" (usage), and who I believe the Bible commands should receive the sign of the covenant. Those two things are not separable.

So, the descriptions of baptism are used as corroboration of my theology of baptism; they do not explicate for me the proper recipients. All they do is offer me a description of whom the disciples, in fact, baptized.

How many nonprofessing spouses, or other non-professing adults, does the NT explicitly say were baptized? None are recorded, therefore there is ZERO explicit testimony that any such persons WERE baptized.

Given the way in which household authority was understood in the ancient world (including the Bible), is it possible that some non-professing spouses were baptized? I don't see how this can be ruled out, unless a priori it shouldn't have been done. But even then there's no definite way to say it never happened (even if unwittingly). From either a paedo or a credo perspective, this might have taken place in error.


2) You seem to say that from a paedo persoective (a position you do not hold) that a paedos understanding of "household" demands that he think that every wife of a believer, regardless of her profession or her willingness certainly should have been baptized.

Do you think that maybe you could be imposing a "too rigid" formula on a position you are neither inside of, nor sympathetic to?

For instance, "household" could include every single member or resident of a house. Or, it could mean that same house "essentially". If I say, "my household went to Disneyland" but my oldest daughter (normally in my house) was visiting a prospective college in another state that week, my statement about taking my house to Disney wasn't falsified, despite the fact that one daughter wasn't there.

But it would be arbitrary to conclude that my infants weren't there, based on the fact that I don't have registrations for them, since Disney doesn't require individual registrations for children under 5 (just a supposition for the illustration).

The point? I feel as though a certain "rigidity" is being imposed on the definition of household on the paedo side, while rigidity of the same sort isn't being required from the credo side.


3) You can say, that you think that if a wife was literally compelled (against her will, irrespective of her will) to be baptized in the NT, then we should take the same stand today. And maybe, maybe if I agreed that wives were metaphorically dragged to the font for a baptism back then, then there might be an argument for insisting on a "biblical norm" today.

But once again, I sense an imposition from the credo side. On the one hand, an absolute monarchical patriarchy might have prevailed, and wives unquestioningly submitted to adopt their husband's religion, and made good-faith attempts to understand and believe the new faith of the "house". We are so out-of-touch with this form of societal structure, that we are scarcely in any position to even critique the possibility.

On the other hand, while I can conceive the former description, I find it as unreasonable to suppose that baptism was imposed on actual unwilling subjects, as it was unreasonable to suppose circumcision was imposed on unwilling subjects. The onus is on those who would insist that grown men were held down, fighting, while masters (starting with Abraham) cut their privates. The thought is absolutely. beyond. belief. They either submitted willingly, or they were excluded from the church.

So, were wives forcibly baptized? I cannot fathom it. If I adopt the credo-view of mandatory immersion for just a moment, the thought becomes even more unbelievable. Can you imagine a sputtering, obscenity-screaming woman rising up from the pool, disheveled but successfully dunked? Well, I cannot even fathom an unwilling woman being sprinkled.


4) So, I can imagine a submissive wife being baptized, but not a resistant one. Nor do I think the biblical data demands I suppose it, assuming household baptisms included those who were not offering "mental assent" to propositions of the faith.

What about today? I can imagine a submissive wife being baptized (but not a resistant one). But I'd go further. Why, under such a scenario, do we not suppose that the wife (women being purposefully educated in our society) is not only submissive as described, but capable of attending membership classes with her husband, and of a personal exam by the session?

Otherwise, steeped in unbelief, why would a "modern woman" submit to baptism? Here, once again, the inherent unbelievability of the proposed scenario for our modern age. If a woman says, "I refuse to believe any of this, but I want to come in along with my husband," or "I still want to belong to your social network," such may be honest, but it isn't honest submission. Genuine submission would consent to be taught, just like a schoolgirl consents to be taught her arithmetic.

But the truth is, wives aren't considered so far as that under the authority of their husbands in our Western society. The same arrangements do not obtain, so it is simply unreasonable to try to rationalize on the basis of inaccessible "norms" (so called).
 
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Grimmson

Puritan Board Sophomore
One thing I do want to point out to him is he does sort of misrepresent the baptist position.
"Unlike the baptist view, we don't have to make proof of regeneration an absolute prerequisite for the sign of initiation"
The only thing baptist ask for is a confession of faith, not a series of works prior to baptism. And for adults Presbyterians require just as much out.

I do not think Dr. Clark is saying that Baptists demand a "series of works prior to baptism." What he is saying is that Baptists demand the same thing of adult professors and their children before receiving baptism, that is, "proof of regeneration." Proof of regeneration is given in a confession of faith. And since Baptists require a confession of faith from both converted adults and their children before baptism is administered, then Dr. Clark rightly says that Baptists "make proof of regeneration an absolute prerequisite for the sign of initiation...." :)

AJ, based on what you say I can sort of agree. I do not really see making a profession of faith as a Baptist being proof of regeneration, but instead evidence of being a disciple of Christ.
 

Grimmson

Puritan Board Sophomore
David,
1) I'm not going to argue FOR household baptisms, based on the FACT (and it is a fact) that there were household baptisms in the NT. That's not how we (paedos) determine whether to baptize an infant, or anyone else, young, old, or in between.

If I appeal to NT texts that show a household being baptized, I'm going to interpret it in terms of how the Bible defines "household" (usage), and who I believe the Bible commands should receive the sign of the covenant. Those two things are not separable.

So, the descriptions of baptism are used as corroboration of my theology of baptism; they do not explicate for me the proper recipients. All they do is offer me a description of whom the disciples, in fact, baptized.

How many nonprofessing spouses, or other non-professing adults, does the NT explicitly say were baptized? None are recorded, therefore there is ZERO explicit testimony that any such persons WERE baptized.

Given the way in which household authority was understood in the ancient world (including the Bible), is it possible that some non-professing spouses were baptized? I don't see how this can be ruled out, unless a priori it shouldn't have been done. But even then there's no definite way to say it never happened (even if unwittingly). From either a paedo or a credo perspective, this might have taken place in error.


2) You seem to say that from a paedo persoective (a position you do not hold) that a paedos understanding of "household" demands that he think that every wife of a believer, regardless of her profession or her willingness certainly should have been baptized.

Do you think that maybe you could be imposing a "too rigid" formula on a position you are neither inside of, nor sympathetic to?

For instance, "household" could include every single member or resident of a house. Or, it could mean that same house "essentially". If I say, "my household went to Disneyland" but my oldest daughter (normally in my house) was visiting a prospective college in another state that week, my statement about taking my house to Disney wasn't falsified, despite the fact that one daughter wasn't there.

But it would be arbitrary to conclude that my infants weren't there, based on the fact that I don't have registrations for them, since Disney doesn't require individual registrations for children under 5 (just a supposition for the illustration).

The point? I feel as though a certain "rigidity" is being imposed on the definition of household on the paedo side, while rigidity of the same sort isn't being required from the credo side.


3) You can say, that you think that if a wife was literally compelled (against her will, irrespective of her will) to be baptized in the NT, then we should take the same stand today. And maybe, maybe if I agreed that wives were metaphorically dragged to the font for a baptism back then, then there might be an argument for insisting on a "biblical norm" today.

But once again, I sense an imposition from the credo side. On the one hand, an absolute monarchical patriarchy might have prevailed, and wives unquestioningly submitted to adopt their husband's religion, and made good-faith attempts to understand and believe the new faith of the "house". We are so out-of-touch with this form of societal structure, that we are scarcely in any position to even critique the possibility.

On the other hand, while I can conceive the former description, I find it as unreasonable to suppose that baptism was imposed on actual unwilling subjects, as it was unreasonable to suppose circumcision was imposed on unwilling subjects. The onus is on those who would insist that grown men were held down, fighting, while masters (starting with Abraham) cut their privates. The thought is absolutely. beyond. belief. They either submitted willingly, or they were excluded from the church.

So, were wives forcibly baptized? I cannot fathom it. If I adopt the credo-view of mandatory immersion for just a moment, the thought becomes even more unbelievable. Can you imagine a sputtering, obscenity-screaming woman rising up from the pool, disheveled but successfully dunked? Well, I cannot even fathom an unwilling woman being sprinkled.


4) So, I can imagine a submissive wife being baptized, but not a resistant one. Nor do I think the biblical data demands I suppose it, assuming household baptisms included those who were not offering "mental assent" to propositions of the faith.

What about today? I can imagine a submissive wife being baptized (but not a resistant one). But I'd go further. Why, under such a scenario, do we not suppose that the wife (women being purposefully educated in our society) is not only submissive as described, but capable of attending membership classes with her husband, and of a personal exam by the session?

Otherwise, steeped in unbelief, why would a "modern woman" submit to baptism? Here, once again, the inherent unbelievability of the proposed scenario for our modern age. If a woman says, "I refuse to believe any of this, but I want to come in along with my husband," or "I still want to belong to your social network," such may be honest, but it isn't honest submission. Genuine submission would consent to be taught, just like a schoolgirl consents to be taught her arithmetic.

But the truth is, wives aren't considered so far as that under the authority of their husbands in our Western society. The same arrangements do not obtain, so it is simply unreasonable to try to rationalize on the basis of inaccessible "norms" (so called).

Where to begin, I know number 1, lol
1)I did not deny ever that household baptisms took place in the NT. In fact there is evidence in this thread and in the link I posted that I see it in scripture, without a doubt. So do not accuse me of not recognizing it. Nor am I making a complete case that this moment against infant baptism.

Bruce, you said, “So, the descriptions of baptism are used as corroboration of my theology of baptism; they do not explicate for me the proper recipients. All they do is offer me a description of whom the disciples, in fact, baptized.”

They do tell you the recipients if you believe them to be those in the household and defined household in the same way I did and how it implied in scripture. I do not think I was that rigid, but was extremely broad how I used the term.

Also you said,” How many nonprofessing spouses, or other non-professing adults, does the NT explicitly say were baptized? None are recorded, therefore there is ZERO explicit testimony that any such persons WERE baptized.”

Your right none. This implies that all had faith in the household and my next post I am going to just copy and paste part of that post because I think I documented that well and I hate retyping arguments.

Also one can use the same argument and against you on the issue of baptizing infants, because we have zero recordings of such. Am sure you wouldn’t accept this argument against paedobaptistm, therefore do not try to use the same regarding non-professing people in a household.

2) I posed the question of unbeliever children and wives being baptized because I have never seen it discussed in your circles, let alone mine; which is the reason why I wanted my side to give their thoughts as well, but atlas and no offensive, all I get Presbyterians. In a age were women are less submissive this could be potential issue and I think it is worth thinking about, let alone the issue of consistency as we see applied through all children regardless of age.

I do not think your usage of household as you applied in your Disneyland example would really apply in the household model as it is used within your own circles and how it was used in the NT and how it related back to the Abrahamic covenant. To answer a clear cut question, I am being rigid and have defined my terms. In fact based on your own partners of crime in here, that a joke guys so don’t overreact, many believe that an unbelieving wife should be baptized regardless; even though the children may be a different story. But the question is do Presbyterians see this universally in relation to the model they support? I would give the answer as no, and I think we can see that here too.

I have no problem being rigid on the credo side. In fact I gave one criticism in this thread against those in my own camp. If you want to impose the same principle feel free and create a new thread. That if you feel unjustly treated here. Plus you may see me attack my own. I am sure you all love that.

3) I can actually imagine young men refusing circumcision. But that not the point of this exercise. In past generations no doubt women were more submissive. But the submissiveness of women to be baptized is not the focus, but those that may not confess faith in Christ that are the focus and whether or not it is proper, the biblical norm, to baptize them. I do not want to be loose goose here and want to clearly have my set up categories and then hear the evidence of if it is right or wrong in your applied theology on baptism. Like it or not, this household principle does open the door to the new perspective on Paul, which is why I want us to be clear with our answers.

Just because we do not have testimony of people resisting circumcision or baptism does not mean it didn’t exist. In the fact of circumcision, am I sure there were many young men that may have resisted. I know I would.

4) “So, I can imagine a submissive wife being baptized, but not a resistant one. Nor do I think the biblical data demands I suppose it, assuming household baptisms included those who were not offering "mental assent" to propositions of the faith.”
Based upon what you just said you should also disavow infant baptism as well.

To answer another question, a modern woman may submit to baptism because it is meaningless to her. But in an age of unbaptisms, yes they exist, a modern woman may not submit to one. So it really depends on the woman. You still do not cover even in your own line of questioning what to do within a model where the woman is not genuinely submissive.

If a woman want to attend a membership class with her husband that great. Or be tested by a session fine, but that does not deal with the headship issue where a woman chooses not to believe yet based on the household principle may need to be baptized. In turn affecting the headship of the husband.

Lastly, women on the basis of scripture are under the headship of their husbands, just as Eve was to Adam. This is not a cultural issue, but one of scripture and creation. We do not use cultural norms to dictate life in the church, otherwise the OPC would accept woman pastors. Likewise we should not use cultural norm to dictate our families lives; therefore it is not unreasonable, for we must be transformed by the renewing of are mind to that of a more biblical perspective. Otherwise we promote a lack of respect for truth and reason in how it compares to scripture.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Brother,

Your attempt to demonstrate an internal contradiction throughout the thread demonstrates that you really don't understand our position and attempts to help you understand it are not met with attempts on your part to understand but merely to reply with more of what you know about your own position.

You cannot mount an internal critique of a position unless you understand it and you clearly do not. Even your latest response is not an internal critique of paedobaptism but simply repeats what you already understand concerning your own understanding and doesn't engage meaningfully with CT.

I think a more fruitful use of your time would be to try to study the position a bit better rather than assuming you already know the internal pieces.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
David,
You aren't reading for comprehension.

For example, my #1, I told you what I will not do (for you, for anyone).

I can't speak for every PB, but if you read standard works of ours on baptism, you would know that we don't argue the way you seem bent on forcing me to.

I will ask (again), why should you expect ME to argue like a credobaptist? You seem intent on forcing a PB to argue from exemplaristic texts (that is, from "is" to "ought"). Well, I'm not going to commit that fallacious argument.

For the CB argument, you define household for the purposes of baptism as "professing members of this household", and go from there.
I don't need to define household for the purposes of baptism as "every single member of the house from top to bottom, no exceptions" in order for my theology of baptism to accommodate for my practice. I can use the standard CB definition (above) for SOME household baptisms, without being forced to limit that definition to the CB definition alone. It still works for me.

I don't have the same burden as the CB--who defines household in purely exclusionary terms--
that is, to define household for PB purposes in purely inclusionary terms.
And you can't force me to bear that burden. It's that simple.


Other problems with your response:

- "Rigid" and "broad" are not antonyms.

- You also have ZERO explicit testimony that any PROFESSING spouses were baptized. So, fine, I hope you DO use this argument in your next post. Your argument will depend entirely on asserting that "this must be the case because..." and appeal to your theology of baptism to defend it.

- You have had several people here defend spousal baptism in some form, and appeal to Scripture for a rationale. If not everyone agrees, that's not a truth-test. You don't think its a truth-test when it comes to CB's variations in practice, so its unreasonable for you to insist that PB's be perfectly unified. So, it is perfectly legitimate to point out: your inability to use the standard you wish to impose on others to defend the practice of your own side. Given your wry commentary, I think you already detect how this eviscerates your critique of its force.

- You can see men refusing circumcision, but you can't see women refusing baptism?

I've suggested the biblical data supports the possibility of a non-professing spouse being baptized. Since this most definitely isn't in conflict with my position, I fail to see what your point is. But you go farther, and say that the point of household baptism from the PB view (even though you clearly do not understand it) means the INSISTENCE on baptizing everyone, regardless of their compliance. So, I explained how this is NOT entailed by our view. You really need to follow the reasoning.

- Household principle --> NPP? Like to see that one spelled out. Near as I can figure, this is related to the standard CB argument that PB and PC "must" go together. Notice that CB and PC advocates use the same basic arguments, only inverted to one another. Both equate the sacraments--CB makes both signs of confirmation; PC make both signs of initiation. But since the Reformed reject an equitable sacramental principle to begin with, its hard to see this argument. And in any case, you'd also have to argue that household circumcision entailed a "proto-NPP" view. So your argument at that point would be against Abraham.

- You're comments on resisting circumcision not being mentioned is facile. The prospect of such opposition is anticipated in the very commandments and directives relating to it (both Gen17 and Ex12, and elsewhere). The barrier it posed to joining Israel is proverbial. And to refuse it (or not to apply it) was to instate separation from the nation. It is your burden to show that in the face of resistance, those applying the sign forced it upon the resister, rather than excommunicating him.

- re.#4 - Once again, you are not reading well. I say I assume "household baptisms included those who were not offering "mental assent" to propositions of the faith." This obviously includes older people, potentially including a spouse. So, how have I disavowed infant baptism? Because I wrote that a resistant wife should not be baptized? When I don't think the Bible demands it? Not offering mental assent is not the same thing as refusing mental assent. This is basic reading comprehension. You really need to read with more care.

- I haven't included what I think should happen in my "model"? If the woman isn't submissive? Did you actually read the post? As a cohesive statement? If she says, "I've heard it, I think I understand it, and I DO NOT believe this nonsense," then she's not a candidate for baptism. And, she never has been, even if we assume a 1st century instead of a 21st century setting.


***************************
I think I agree with Rich. At this point, you are merely being obtuse. You already know what you believe and think about a position you don't agree with. You are only prepared to receive certain answers to your questions, provided they resonate with inflexible axioms you hold as settled.

It has been explained several times to you that a PB goes to didactic and instructional texts to determine the proper recipients of baptism--and NOT to historical references to baptism. So, this whole line of inquiry is ultimately fruitless.

Even if there were not a single reference to ANY actual baptisms in the Bible, we would still have a complete theology of baptism. A basic how-to, and and understanding of who should receive it.
 
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Grimmson

Puritan Board Sophomore
First of all let me say I have studied this issue for quite a while and have read many working concerning this issue. So it is not like my questioning is without merit. I have said from the beginning what my position is and what my question was out of a sense of consistency. But perhaps your right, there is something I do not understand, So I will start with how I see you all to understand baptism.

Baptism, in the reformed sense, is a sacrament that is the sign and seal by the Holy Sprit of the believer’s faith, and not some mere outward sign there of. And it is initiating right into the new covenant. Even though it imparts grace, it is not a justifying grace and grants salvation. It is a replacement of circumcision that was given to not only given to infant boys in the Abrahamic covenant, but also to the male servants of the household as well.

The biblical foundation for this type of replacement theology being Colossians 2:11-12. Here we do we do parallel with Old Testament circumcision with baptism. However the real question is whether or not the household circumcision continues in the form of Christian baptism in the same sense. This passage really cannot be used for that, but is better to see the fulfillment of the promise of being circumcised in the heart by God. That is if we are to take a simple interpretative approach to the text and not add to it. In fact if you look at verse 12 careful we see that phrase “through faith” and the question remains if this through faith is for the personal believer or for the head of the household if we were to keep a consistent hermeneutic? I would say that it is for the individual reading it and those in the church body that have this faith and not based upon the headship principle.

Another justification for the use of headship is what a friend of mine said which is “it all about the covenant”; by the way he OPC and a graduate of a Presbyterian seminary. Here we see a direct hermeneutical approach, where we read the New Testament as if it is the Old. Should this be done? Why not instead do the opposite and read the old in light of the new, which would be the more biblical approach. As Dr. Clark clearly points out in his article there are discontinuities between the covenants, so the question is there a clear passage for their continuance of the use of households as an entry way into the Christian community outside of faith. Typically the passage that used is Acts 2: 39 for the continuance of the Abrahamic perspective of the household; for what is done for the head also carried over to the rest of the body. However we see Acts 2:39 as a general promise of salvation to all those who repent and be baptized. And it is this practice of faith that we do see carried over which brings trouble on the general household position of just a mere initiation. I am not saying it is not baptism is not an initiation, for it is true if we read Matthew 28 or Galatians 3:26-27. The question then implies if the use of households is different in the new compared to the old? As we can see it is; particularly with the baptism of women, who did not receive the sign in the old. So I think we must be careful of the Judizer approach that is applied in the call of continuance, especially in light of the Jerusalem’s council concern not to put a yoke to the people that no one was able to carry and the Holy Spirit cleansed their heart by faith. My friend was right about it being all about the covenant, but saying such does not really define what covenant and by how it should be carried over. It is the gospel by faith that people are saved, and not of the works of the law, as we see applied in the case of households. That does not mean that the Christian however is not concerned for the law, but I do think there is a confusion of the two when we try to read the New Testament by the Old.

Now the books that I have in my library concerning these issues that I have read are:

Christ, Baptism and the Lord's Supper: Recovering the Sacraments for Evangelical Worship by Leonard J. Vander Zee

Christian Baptism by John Murray

Institutes of the Christian Religion book 4

And Some of Warfield’s work on the subject

Now the following for my particular view on the Households baptism, which you can also find on Argument Against Classical Covenant Theological Paedobaptism For Your Consideration

“In regards to household baptisms, I think this was a rarity instead of the norm. In Lydia’s case we already know that she was a “worshiper of God”(Acts 16:14).Therefore she already had a strong influence in her household in regards to religious practice and there a good chance that they may have been present at the riverside; hence implying that they heard the Gospel from Paul and was baptized. Now with the Philippian jailer, in verse 34 we see that the “his entire household rejoiced that he believed in God”. I find it strange that non-believers would rejoice. In fact Jesus words are what echoes in my mind for the norm:

Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person's enemies will be those of his own household. Matthew 10:34-36

Believing is the key to baptism, not just the head of the household, but those in it. This can clearly be seen in Acts 18:8. And it distinguishes itself from the old covenant.”

I hope I was not to general, because I do want to be specific, but not to lengthy.

It is because of this continence and household justification for the use of paedo position that I posed this extended question in how it related to the rest of the household and those who are not of faith particularly that have yet received the sign of baptism because of their unbelief within your own circles. We all know what the Baptist position is, but please do not write this off because I am of a differencing view. I see this as an Iron sharpens Iron activity that can eventually be an issue within your own congregation. So please do not attack me personally.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
David,

You need to be able to properly distinguish between being challenged on your mastery of the facts and a personal attack. If I told you that you're wrong because you're ugly then that is a personal attack. If I tell you that you don't have your facts straight then that's not a personal attack.

The above is a horrible summary of paedo CT. It not only doesn't present our case properly but, yet again, intermingles your understanding of a teaching. I can scarcely decipher what you're presenting about what we believe before you go into "but I say". You don't demonstrate any substantive appreciation for the view and err at many critical points.

You can't establish that you understand a position simply by asserting that you've read many books about it. You have to demonstrate that you understand a position by representing it accurately. Then, and only then, can you mount an internal critique.

Your thread is (supposedly) about asserting incosistency in the Household model of Baptism applied by Paedo-Baptists. You nowhere, in this thread, accurately present the Confessional view of household baptism with which you may then, using our premises, demonstrate that they lead to a conclusion that is contradictory to the conclusion we draw. In the OP, as in your last post, you intermingle your own theology to demonstrate that your understanding of paedobaptist theology contradicts your understanding of certain Biblical principles. Your methodology is extremely sloppy.

In short, you have not demonstrated any inconsistency in the paedobaptist position but only that it disagrees with your own position. This we knew when you started the thread.

You have one more shot and then I'm closing the thread as pointless.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Westminster Confession of Faith

Chapter XXV
Of the Church

I. The catholic or universal Church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the Head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of Him that fills all in all.[1]

II. The visible Church, which is also catholic or universal under the Gospel (not confined to one nation, as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion;[2] and of their children:[3] and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ,[4] the house and family of God,[5] out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.[6]

The Confession summarizes the doctrine of Scripture regarding the "visible" church.

As for the case of an unbelieving spouse, it does not contemplate an unbelieving spouse being part of the "visible" church. Since baptism is to accompany those who believe and their children, it would not seem an unbelieving spouse would be baptized.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
Let me help you out point by point, David, so that you can see where you have misunderstood the paedo position.

Baptism, in the reformed sense, is a sacrament that is the sign and seal by the Holy Sprit of the believer’s faith, and not some mere outward sign there of. And it is initiating right into the new covenant. Even though it imparts grace, it is not a justifying grace and grants salvation. It is a replacement of circumcision that was given to not only given to infant boys in the Abrahamic covenant, but also to the male servants of the household as well.

First of all, the sacrament is a sign and seal of salvation. It is initiation into the visible church, NOT the invisible church (which can only be entered by faith). You do not seem to appreciate the importance of this distinction. It is vitally important, and it is the reason why Presbyterians do not believe in salvation by baptism. Baptism is not primarily about salvation, but about one's inclusion in the visible church. Your statement about imparting grace is only true of those who come to faith. Otherwise, it becomes a sign of judgment. I assume that you do not mean that Presbyterians believe that baptism grants salvation, even though that's what the grammar of your sentence says.

The biblical foundation for this type of replacement theology being Colossians 2:11-12.

No, the biblical foundation of replacement theology (I assume you mean the replacement of circumcision by baptism) is not only Colossians 2. I think an even more basic passage is Galatians 3 added to Jesus' view of children's place in the church in the Gospels. Galatians 3 says that those who are of faith are the true children of Abraham. In other words, there is fundamental continuity between Christians today and the covenant of Abraham. Peter repeats this promise in Acts 2 saying that the promise is not just for those who believe right now, but also for the believers' children, and for any who are far off. Baptism is then like a road sign that says "Minneapolis 30 miles." If you keep on that road going that direction, you have a pretty good indication that you will not wind up in Tokyo.

The main problem with your analysis is that it doesn't take into account the entire sweep of covenant through Scripture. Covenant theology is the bedrock of the paedo-baptist position, not a bare historically rootless supersession of circumcision by baptism. The covenant says that there is not only an inner substance to the covenant (to which only true believers belong), but also an outward administration of that covenant (equal to the visible church), to which believers and the children have always belonged. It is this outward administration, or visible church, to which the sign belongs, and points to the substance, saying "You need faith to have the substance."

Here we do we do parallel with Old Testament circumcision with baptism. However the real question is whether or not the household circumcision continues in the form of Christian baptism in the same sense. This passage really cannot be used for that, but is better to see the fulfillment of the promise of being circumcised in the heart by God.

You haven't even finished the description of the Paedo position, and already (as Rich says), you are seeking to dismantle it. As Rich said, you have not gotten to the heart of the Paedo position. And to be fair, I am by no means saying that it is impossible for a credo to understand the paedo position. I think Jewett has done rather well (although his mistake is to equate circumcision with outward things and baptism with inward things, when both circumcision and baptism were outward signs of inward spiritual realities either present or proleptic).

To answer your point directly, of course the passage in Colossians has to do with circumcision of the heart. But then, so does baptism. Baptism also is a sign that tells us that we must be buried with Christ in the baptism of faith, and raised to new life, which is another way of saying that our old heart must be cut off. So your objection isn't to the point of trying to eliminate the paedo position.

That is if we are to take a simple interpretative approach to the text and not add to it.

By this do you mean that good and necessary consequence are not possible with regard to biblical interpretation?

In fact if you look at verse 12 careful we see that phrase “through faith” and the question remains if this through faith is for the personal believer or for the head of the household if we were to keep a consistent hermeneutic?

On the contrary, the presence of "through faith" does nothing to undermine the paedo position here. You have probably not read carefully enough in the paedo literature at this point. Baptism always points one to faith just as circumcision did in the OT. The actual raising from the dead happens in faith. Your argument requires the paedos to be saying that the bare sign by itself brings resurrection, which is of course, a total straw man. Paedos do not believe this in the Presbyterian tradition. Paedos believe that the sign is united to the thing signified by a Spirit-wrought faith in the believer. There are three parts to the Sacrament: the sign, the thing signified, and the sacramental union between the two. The sacramental union is Spirit-wrought faith that connects the sign to the thing signified in the believer. From this it should be obvious that, to a paedo, it is a matter of indifference whether faith comes before the sign or after. Baptists acknowledge this too, unless they keep on requiring rebaptisms after someone really comes to faith. This would be quite inconsistent with the creed "I believe in one baptism for the remission of sins."

I would say that it is for the individual reading it and those in the church body that have this faith and not based upon the headship principle.

But the headship principle is explicitly in the passage in verse 10 and in verse 14. Now in those two verses, of course, it is Christ who is the Head of believers. But that is the very principle undergirding a father's headship of his own household. Circumcision automatically brings with it the idea of headship and covenantal continuity simply by being mentioned, since that was the sign of the covenant to Abraham. Covenantal headship is unavoidably in the passage.
 

A.J.

Puritan Board Junior
David, one should also bear in mind that the NT writers were not haphazard in their use of language. They knew exactly what they were writing and from where they were drawing their language. They knew their OT. And this is where your argument fails. You have not explained why Paul for instance would even draw an analogy between baptism and circumcision (an OT sacrament) at all or why Luke would use phrases like "you and your children" and "you and your household" at all. There are only ten actual cases of baptisms in the NT. And virtually half of them are household baptisms. What does a Baptist make of the repeated mention of households? We ought to put ourselves in the context of the people of their time and ask ourselves what they meant with their use of words, and how their first audience would have understood them.

Your interpretation of the baptism of Lydia and her household is plausible, but it is speculation at best. You also said that you find it strange that non-believers who may have been present with the jailer would rejoice with him that he had believed in God. Consider this: If a man had been terminally ill and is expected to die within three months, and if that man had suddenly been cured of his illness just before the three months were over, would not the members of his household rejoice with him that he had been cured? Absolutely! But that does not necessarily mean that the members of the man's household were also cured of that same illness. Similarly, the fact that the members of the jailer's household rejoiced with him that he had believed in God does not necessarily mean that everyone in that household must have been a believer or a self-conscious professor (as the Baptist position must insist).[1] There is nothing strange with either the language used by Luke or the paedobaptist interpretation thereof. Lastly, I do not see the point of citing Matthew 10:34-36 as somehow abrogating the household principle in the New Covenant. The gospel has always divided households even from the beginning (cf. Absalom). But that is far from abrogating the equally Biblical truth that God still runs his grace in the line of families. Have you ever thought of the implications in your theology of the truth that John the Baptist's role was to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children (Luke 1:16-17), and that the gospel preached to Abraham was to bless all the families of the earth (Acts 3:25; Gal. 3:8) through his Seed, the Lord Jesus Christ? So much for the abrogation of the household principle.

I can now see where you are coming from. Your objection is more than just an objection against paedobaptism. You are arguing against a millennia-old principle that believers and their children are included in the visible church. And your argument would have us believe that God's people in the NT accepted this radical change without any objection whatsoever. This cannot be accepted. Sorry.

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[1] My comments on the baptism of the jailer and his household are adapted from Rev. William MacIntyre's The Token of the Covenant.
 
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