James White vs Bill Shishko on Baptism

Discussion in 'Baptism' started by Osage Bluestem, Mar 31, 2010.

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  1. Osage Bluestem

    Osage Bluestem Puritan Board Junior

    This was posted on CARM. It is very interesting. Both made good points. I am still on the fence. I have a Sproul vs Macarthur debate to watch when I get time as well.


  2. MLCOPE2

    MLCOPE2 Puritan Board Junior

    Do you have a link to the Sproul v. Macarthur debate? I have wanted to listen to that for awhile but haven't been able to find it without purchasing it.
  3. Osage Bluestem

    Osage Bluestem Puritan Board Junior

    A friend of mine sent it to me via email. If you want it pm me and I'll forward it along.
  4. KSon

    KSon Puritan Board Junior

    Also profitable is the Schreiner-VanDrunen debate, found here (among other places):

    Credo-Paedo Baptism Debate: Dr. Thomas Schreiner and Dr. David VanDrunen

    ---------- Post added at 11:20 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:18 AM ----------

    I have listened to it. Not RC's finest hour by any means, and I say that as one who has a great respect for him.
  5. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritanboard Commissioner

    I greatly enjoyed the one with White and found myself drawn to the paedo position as a result of listening to Shisko. And, I say that as a Baptist.
  6. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    I concur, I enjoyed the White-Shishko debate. Unlike you, I found myself swayed by White's argument. Still, it was a good exchange. Objectivity is lost in these debates. I tried to listen while squelching my presupposition. Didn't work.
  7. jason d

    jason d Puritan Board Freshman

  8. KSon

    KSon Puritan Board Junior

    Very well put, having experienced the same thing.
  9. eqdj

    eqdj Puritan Board Freshman

    MacArthur is a Dispensationalist
    Tom Schreiner is either NCT or Dispensational (What's the difference between and a NCT and Calvinist Dispensational?)

    The only covenantal debates I'm aware of are Malone-Strimple at WCS, White-Shishko, and a very interesting debate between James White and Federal Vision-ish Gregg Strawbridge.
  10. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritanboard Commissioner

    Malone-Strimple was characterized by an abundance of fraternal good will and comity. Much briefer than White-Shishko, it was quite well done at WSC. Bill I said that it "drew" me towards the paedo position. I'm still a Baptist, however. So far.
  11. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    Dennis, I understood what you were saying. I concur that the White-Shisko debate was a good one. I simply added that I wasn't swayed by Shishko's argumentation. Part of that is based on my existing presupposition, and part of it is my assessment of how Shishko performed during the debate.

    Debates don't settle issues. I've found that all they do is define those issues better. A debater can be on the right side of the issue but lose the debate because of their personal performance. That happens all the time. The value I find in debates is how each side frames their argument. If I can figure out their belief system I can pretty much understand their position. It's then up to me to accept or reject their premise and conclusion.
  12. T.A.G.

    T.A.G. Puritan Board Freshman

    I am interested in hearing the JMAC and Sproul debate, I like most of you enjoyed the White debate as well. His closing argument was great in my opinion.
  13. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    The thing I remember most about the White/Shisko debate was a question from the audience: in response to White's insistence that an infant should not be baptized because an infant cannot have faith, someone asked about Psalm 22:9-10 -- "Yet You are He who brought me forth from the womb; You made me trust when upon my mother's breasts. Upon You I was cast from birth; You have been my God from my mother's womb." White seemed upset by the question.
  14. CharlieJ

    CharlieJ Puritan Board Junior

    Schreiner is most certainly not Dispensational. His NT Theology is based heavily on inaugurated eschatology, which no Dispensationalist would embrace to the extent that he does. He was a-millennial for most of his career but made a shift to pre-millennialism about a year ago when he was preaching through Revelation. Still, he's far from Dispensational.
  15. eqdj

    eqdj Puritan Board Freshman

    Dr. Schreiner wrote the ESVSB Notes for Romans. This is his note on Romans 14:5 ESV Online Study Bible | Crossway
  16. Osage Bluestem

    Osage Bluestem Puritan Board Junior

    If a person has come to saving faith from the womb, wouldn't it be more appropriate to wait until they are old enough to tell us they have come to saving faith to baptize them as opposed to baptizing them without their profession? If they died baptized or not the end result would be that they were with the Lord forever. The only difference seems to me that we gave them the oppourtunity to respond to the Lord in obedience by following his example in baptism where if we baptize them as an infant we take this choice away from them forever. It seems to me that baptism may be nothing more than a public display of a christians faith by signifying that they died with Christ and are risen with him to walk in a newness of life in union with him. If they are baptized as an infant they can never do this. Perhaps what baptism really is and why it is significant is that it is a witness to others of our faith?
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2010
  17. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    One could likewise say that it would have therefore been more appropriate to make David wait until he was a professing adult before he received the covenant sign of circumcision. This is the problem with these matters; in all our well-intentioned musings on these matters, we think we know better than God.

    The quotation from Psalm 22 in no way meant to be a proof text for infant baptism, but is an indication of how different the Lord's way in these matters is different than man's. If Jeremiah was set apart before he was born, or John had the Holy Spirit from birth, or David was made to trust from the knee of his nursing mother, then we need to at least consider that the Lord deals with infants (at least some infants) differently than our modern manmade views that too often insist on man's actions rather than God's grace in these matters.
  18. CharlieJ

    CharlieJ Puritan Board Junior

    This is irrelevant. Christian groups, such as Lutherans, have held views like this long before Dispensationalism. Dispensationalism is a specific theological system that should not be equated with "everything that differs from how I view the relationship between the old and new testaments."
  19. Osage Bluestem

    Osage Bluestem Puritan Board Junior

    We know that Jesus was circumcised. Why did he give us an example of baptism as an adult? Then God said he was pleased.
  20. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    Tim, you make a reasonable request. We certainly should take pre-natal references about David, Jeremiah, and John the Baptist into consideration. It would be theologically and intellectually dishonest not to. Are we able to draw any definitive conclusions from these texts re: pre-natal or infant salvation? In the absence of clear didactic teaching, I think not. The paedobaptist may draw an inference in support of their view, whereas the credobaptist can do the same. That God does something does not necessarily make it normative.
  21. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    The clear reference is that we have at least 3 examples of Scripture (make that 4 if we include Jacob) where the grace of God is upon infants, that is all. Likewise, we have clear teaching that the covenant sign under the old administration was to be applied to infant males ("pre-profession"). Of this there can be no dispute. It just strikes me at how humbling this is when we consider the covenant of grace, and how often it runs counter to conventional human thinking.

    I agree that we cannot take everything in an historical narrative (e.g., the book of Acts) as "normative." I don't know of anyone who thinks the Holy Spirit's transportation of Philip, for instance, is a normative mode of transportation for someone who is functioning as an evangelist. There are adult baptisms that take place in a missionary context in Acts, but there are likewise household baptisms as well. And credos and paedos draw different inferences from each of those examples, and often from within a particular theological rubric (or with certain presuppositions brought to the text, as you stated above, Bill). Perhaps that needs to be our starting point in these discussions. For instance, it has come to my attention recently that in this discussion, it is not so much the sacraments/ordinances that are the issue as it is the nature of the church. Baptists and Presbyterians view the nature of the church differently (and define it different), and the view of the sacraments/ordinances is a fruit of that difference. :2cents:

    David, with regard to Jesus' baptism, remember that John was administering a baptism "of repentance." Obviously Jesus did not need to "repent" since He was without sin. So there is obviously more going on that a simple public profession, even in this "adult baptism."
  22. Osage Bluestem

    Osage Bluestem Puritan Board Junior

    Interesting and insightful. This is such a difficult issue to get a grasp of.

    Could you elaborate of the differences of how Baptists and Presbyterians view the Church? I thought they looked at it the same way, that only the elect are the church.
  23. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    David, take a look at the statements on the church in documents such as the London Baptist Confession and the Westminster Confession. There are distinctions drawn when it comes to "the visible church." There are other differences as well.
  24. Osage Bluestem

    Osage Bluestem Puritan Board Junior

    LBCF 1689
    Chp 26
    Paragraph 2. All persons throughout the world, professing the faith of the gospel, and obedience unto God by Christ according unto it, not destroying their own profession by any errors everting the foundation, or unholiness of conversation, are and may be called visible saints;2 and of such ought all particular congregations to be constituted.3
    2 1 Cor. 1:2; Acts 11:26
    3 Rom. 1:7; Eph. 1:20-22
    Link: http://www.reformed.org/documents/index.html

    WCF 1646
    Chapter 25
    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]
    Link: Westminster Confession of Faith

    Is this the difference that you are referencing? The LBCF states that only professing believers are in the Church. The WCF states that professing believers and their children are in the Church.

    My question in regards to this that has been on my mind is this. We know that God's regenerated elect are indwelt by the Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of truth. God has used these people to preserve his word and uphold the gospel throughout the history of the Church. God inspired Paul (1 Tim 3:15) to call them "the pillar and ground of the truth." In the very next passage (3:16) Paul references the truth they hold up which is the gospel of Christ. How can the Church be the pillar and ground of the truth if many of it's members are not professing believers?

    1 Timothy 3:15-16 KJV
    [15] But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
    [16] And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

    It is interesting that he calls the Church the pillar and ground of the truth instead of the bible. It is indeed God's people he uses to preserve and pass on the bible and preach the gospel contained within. Why would God refer to non elect children that haven't professed belief as the pillar and ground of the truth?
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2010
  25. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Who said this:?
    Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, thou hast ordained praise."​
    Does the Bible mean what it says or not?

    Further, is the "church" (the pillar and ground of truth) essentially all the members collected into some body? Is that how the Bible invariably speaks of it? Or, does it speak of it also under a variety of perspectives: from the thing considered as a whole, to the government alone, to the membership, etc?
  26. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    Tim, inference certainly does abound. Does David's statement in Psalm 22:9 qualify as a proof text of infant salvation? Could that verse have all to do with God's providential hand on David's life, and David confessing that fact? We know that Jeremiah was called to be a prophet (Jer. 1:5), but we are not told he was regenerate pre-natal. John the Baptist lept at the presence of Jesus, but only Elizabeth is said to be filled with the Holy Spirit. John 18:6 displays the reaction to Christ's glory, even in the presence of unbelievers. Household baptisms are seen in the book of Acts, but we do not see evidence of baptism administered apart from faith. Tim, but as we both noted, our presuppositions taint our objectivity.

    I agree that the nature of the church is the central point of disagreement. The substance and administration of the New Covenant is at the heart of each baptism debate whether or not is said so. The nature and application of the sacraments are a consequence of our view of the New Covenant, not a material cause.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2010
  27. Osage Bluestem

    Osage Bluestem Puritan Board Junior

    God said this through David:

    Psalm 8:1:2 KJV
    [1] O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.
    [2] Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.

    Jesus said this as recorded under inspiration by Matthew:

    Matthew 21:15-16 KJV
    [15] And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased,
    [16] And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?

    It appears that Jesus fulfilled an Old Testament prophecy and he was making the chief priests and scribes aware of that.

    Matthew 16:18 KJV: The Church will prevail.
    [18] And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

    Matthew 18:17 KJV: The Church has authority.
    [17] And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

    Acts 2:47 KJV: People God selects to be saved are added to the Church.
    [47] Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

    Acts 8:3 KJV: The Church is made havoc of, men and women are thorown into prison. No mention of children.
    [3] As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.

    Acts 9:31 KJV: Church is spoken of in plural to indicate that church fellowships are local and under the central rule of God.
    [31] Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.

    Acts 14:23 KJV: Elders are ordained in each local Church.
    [23] And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.

    1 Corinthians 12:27-31 KJV: The Church has members with different gifts yet all are of the body of Christ.
    [27] Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
    [28] And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
    [29] Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
    [30] Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
    [31] But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

    Revelation 22:16 KJV: Jesus works in all of the local Churches.
    [16] I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

    Galatians 3:24-29 KJV: Once we have come to faith we are no longer under the law, then we are children of God. All who have been baptized have put on Christ, yet we weren't children of God until we came to faith. This appears that baptism happens after one has come to faith and that all in the Church are baptized because all in the Church have faith.
    [24] Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
    [25] But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
    [26] For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
    [27] For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
    [28] There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
    [29] And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

    John 3:36 KJV: The Church is believers in Christ.
    [36] He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
  28. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    Actually, Bill, Luke 1:15 does say John would be filled with the Holy Spirit while in his mother's womb. The texts say what they say; David trusted from his nursing mother's knee, Jeremiah was set apart before he was even born, John was filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's womb. Perhaps one might argue figurative language is in use in some cases, but it should be indisputable that God's grace was upon these men while they were infants.

    With regard to household baptisms, what is often missed is that there aren't that many instances of baptism actually recorded in the book of Acts. If you remove the obvious "male only" references (e.g, the men gathered at Pentecost, the Ethiopian eunuch, Saul/Paul), a significant portion of the baptisms recorded are of the household variety. The ages of the members are not mentioned, but neither is the faith of each member (rather, the faith of the head of household). Just as a side note, one interesting case in the book of Acts is Timothy. He is never mentioned as being baptized (we would have to infer that), but he is mentioned as being circumcised (post-conversion and post-Jerusalem council)!
  29. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis

    I am always afraid to watch these videos as I am sure I will turn Credo...
  30. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member


    You're right on John the Baptist. That was a huge miss on my part. Not good practice to be Puritan Boarding via iPhone during lunch. Thank you for the correction.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2010
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