Hello friends, The good exchange over on the General Pattern of Baptism in the NT thread made me interested to learn more about some of the views our Reformed Presbyterian friends have regarding covenant children and how they are to be regarded and I came across an article tonight that had a very interesting passage from The Collected Writings of James Henley Thornwell. As highly regarded as Thornwell is I imagine this quote is familiar to some here. Whether you've interacted with it before or it's the first time you've read it, what is your reaction to it? Can anyone shed light from a historical theology perspective whether this view is/was popular in some pockets of American Presbyterianism? Are there many flavors/stripes within covenant theology today? Thank you in advance for sharing your thoughts on this! I very much appreciate it. I've learned a lot this past week from everyone and am thankful for you all. At last...here's the passage, which can be found in pages 341-346 of the volume here. But in heart and spirit they [that is, the baptized covenant infants] are of the world. In this aspect, how is she to treat them? Precisely as she treats all other impenitent and unbelieving men—she is to exercise the power of the keys, and shut them out from the communion of the saints. She is to debar them from all the privileges of the inner sanctuary. She is to exclude them from their inheritance until they show themselves meet to possess it. By her standing exclusion of them from the Lord’s table, and of their children from the ordinance of Baptism, she utters a solemn protest against their continued impenitence, and acquits herself of all participation in their sins. It is a standing censure. Their spiritual condition is one that is common with the world. She deals with them, therefore, in this respect, as the Lord has directed her to deal with the world…. Is not their whole life a continued sin? Are not their very righteousnesses abominable before God? Repentance to them is not the abandonment of this or that vice; it is the renunciation of the carnal heart, which is enmity against God: and, until they are renewed in the spirit and temper of their minds, they can do nothing which the Church is at liberty to approve as done by them…. As of the world they are included in the universal sentence of exclusion, which bars the communion of saints against the impenitent and profane. They are sharers in its condemnation. They are put, as impenitent, upon the same footing with all others that are impenitent. As rejecters of Christ, they are kept aloof from the table of the Lord, and debarred from all the rights and privileges of the saints. Their impenitence determines the attitude of the Church towards them; for God has told her precisely what the attitude should be to all who obey not the Gospel. What more can be required? Are they not dealt with, in every respect, according to their quality?.... Is it not equally clear that their condition, as slaves, determines their treatment in all other respects, until they are prepared to pass the test which changes their status? Is not this precisely the state of things with the Church and its baptized believers? Are they not the slaves of sin and the Devil, existing in a free Commonwealth for the purpose of being educated to the liberty of the saints?...But, until they come to Him, it as distinctly teaches that they are to be dealt with as the Church deals with all the enemies of God.