Paedo-Baptism Answers Mark Hogan - Moving from Paedo to Credo Questions

Discussion in 'Paedo-Baptism Answers' started by HisRobes4Mine, Jan 25, 2019.

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  1. HisRobes4Mine

    HisRobes4Mine Puritan Board Freshman

    I was recently pointed to a series of podcasts on Sermon Audio about someone's move from the Paedo position to being a Reformed Baptist. Has anyone here listened to these podcasts and have a helpful response?

    I've been working through the issue for quite a while now and one thing I'm still unsure about is how Scripture points to the NC being an administration of the CoG like the AC. I think part of what I'm struggling with is how there can be unbelievers partaking of the blessings of Christ in the NC. Can you point me to areas in Scripture that would help me? Any podcasts, books, articles, etc. would also be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
  2. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    Samuel, the main point of what you're looking for is the constitution of the new covenant. Who is part of it, and how? Is there a differentiated covenantal membership? A couple of false trails lead off into the bushes at this point. The Arminian answer is that a person can partake of the saving benefits of Christ and the covenant and then lose them all. This would fall foul of the many security passages, such as Romans 8. The other false trail is the Federal Vision answer, which says that although the decretally elect can never fall away, the non-decretally elect can fall away from real saving benefits. In other words, the FV guys are Calvinistic when it comes to the decretally elect, and Arminian when it comes to the non-decretally elect (though some of them are pretty much pure Arminian).

    The normal Calvinist position is that there is an essence of the covenant, in which only believers partake. They are the elect. They are the only folks who receive actual saving benefits of any kind (since the chain of Romans 8 is an unbreakable whole: if you have one, you have them all). However, there is an administration of the covenant, even in the new covenant, by which various people partake of non-saving benefits, such as sitting under the preached word, praying with the saints, seeing the sacraments preach to them, enjoying the fellowship of the saints, but never experience saving faith. In addition to this category of non-saved people, there are the children of believers, whom we do not treat like pagans in our midst, but as children of the promise. They may or may not be saved, but we treat them as children growing up in the church, growing under the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

    The passages that support this position are many. That children of believers are part of the kingdom of God is proven from Matthew 19:13-15:

    Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven." And he laid his hands on them and went away. (ESV)
    The question I have never been able to get a good answer from credos about this passage is this: the wording does not suggest analogy or simile, as if people like or similar to children own the kingdom of God, but rather "to such belongs the kingdom of God." If they can possess the substance of the kingdom (which is far greater), then why not the sign?

    Concerning a differentiated covenantal membership, I would direct you to the various passages that point to the visible/invisible church distinction: Romans 9:6ff, 1 John 2:19. The former passage is sometimes disputed as to whether it can apply to the church today, since it is talking about Israel and Abraham's descendants:

    But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named." This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. (Rom. 9:6-8 ESV)
    However, this passage uses many present tense verbs, plainly connecting the situation of Israel to the church today. He is concerned about his brothers and sisters (verses 1-5). But he is primarily talking about the present condition, not the past. So, those who are of faith are the children of Abraham (as Galatians 3 says). But those who do not have faith are not unconnected to Abraham in any way. There has therefore always been a distinction in the Abrahamic covenant between those who are merely physical descendants, and those who are both physical and spiritual descendants.

    The ultimate passage connecting the Abrahamic covenant with the new covenant (thus showing that they are actually iterations of the same covenant) is Galatians 3, especially verses 7-9. The Scripture saw in advance (verse 8) that the Gentiles would be partakers of the Abrahamic covenant. The conclusion? All who have Abraham's faith are blessed (present divine passive) along with Abraham.

    Most Reformed authors would also argue that the warning passage in Hebrews 6 speaks to the "slippage" between those who are merely belonging to the administration of the covenant, but do not have the saving benefits, and then fall away. The benefits that Hebrews ascribes to those who fall away are covenantal benefits, but they are not saving benefits. If there is no differentiation at all in covenantal membership, then Reformed Baptists will have an impossible task of taking the warning passages into account. What did these people have? According to the RB position, they can have had nothing at all. But this is not how Hebrews 6 runs!

    As to literature, there are a great many books that are excellent. My favorite is Fesko's Word, Water, Spirit. Understanding the negative, condemnatory side of the sacraments (to those who do not by faith receive them) is extremely helpful, and Fesko brings this out so very clearly. It is a forgotten or underestimated dimension to the baptism debate.

    Richard Pratt has the best exegesis of Jeremiah 31 in relation to the debate that I've ever seen, explaining why the RB position has an over-realized eschatology when it comes to the interpretation of that passage.

    Other helpful resources include Hyde, McDowell,and Strawbridge.
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  3. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Junior

    Does the idea of "children of Abraham" have any place in the NC (Rom. 4:16)? What does this look like on a practical/visible level? Was the promise that Abraham would be a father to many nations bound by the old covenant alone?
  4. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    A quick addition to Lane's excellent post: in the Old Testament, there were those who participated in the external privileges of the covenant but not the internal and real privileges of the covenant. That is why Paul could say, "For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel" (Romans 9:6).

    There is also a new book coming out on Baptism by my friend, Guy Richard, the Executive Director of RTS Atlanta:
  5. Harley

    Harley Puritan Board Sophomore

    Hi brother,

    I became a household Baptist a year ago now, previously RB for about 7 years, so I sympathize with your struggles to understand the Scriptures in this matter. :) May God bless you immensely in your study.

    Concerning whether a person can in some sense participate in Christ and not be saved, the answer is yes. Christ had said so Himself.

    "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away." John 15:2.

    There is a level of membership where somehow has vowed that they believe and repent, have not really done it, Christ allows them to be members of the visible church and come into its governance, and He does mediate to them the preaching and oversight of pastors, prayers, and many other kind blessings, yet Christ does not make it effectual to salvation. He then makes a difference between this fruitless branch and the fruitful is that the fruitful is one where "he... abideth in me, and I in him." Jn. 15:5. Contrast that with John 15:2.

    "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit..." John 15:2
    "he... abideth in me, and I in him." John 15:5

    So in one you have union with Christ where someone possesses the reality of salvation, and they are one with Christ and one with His people, and Christ in His providence puts them in the care of the visible church. There are then those who are only affiliated with Christ as being governed by the Visible church (which is governed by Christ), but nothing more.

    The question is put another way: What does Christ mediate for unconverted covenant children? The question assumes that Christ's mediation is strictly salvific, but John 15:5 proves it is not. I don't know what else you would call Christ's behavior toward Judas as anything but an administration of the covenant of grace. Judas received preaching, oversight from The Shepherd himself, was taught how to pray, heard explanations of the parables, and heard things which the prophets had only longed to hear. Most frighteningly of all, Judas was being trained as an Apostle, who would have been in the highest tier of the New Testament governance possible. And this is all under the administration of Christ in that transition from the OT church to the NT church, and Christ did it all knowing this was a son of hell. That can't possibly be anything other than Christ acting as Judas' prophet and king, even if not doing the office of a priest.

    So hypocrites do have a real affiliation with Christ like the barren fig tree was really in the Lord's garden, but only after constant nourishing and bearing no fruit did the Lord finally decide to dig the tree out of the Garden.

    I might crawl back on later, perhaps listen to the podcast at some point. Not an easy issue, I understand, but may the Lord enlighten you brother :)

    [2019/01/25 12:27 PM - Added note that Judas was also being trained as an NT apostle]
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
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  6. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Just a side note based on the way the OP was phrased - distinguishing 2 sets of people in discerning this kind of a study:

    Set 1:
    Many studying this topic have gone from a Infant-Baptist to being a Credo-Baptist. (This is easy to see how this occurs when the focus is on baptism.)
    Or even "Presbyterian" (whatever that means to them) to being a Baptist.

    Set 2:
    There are none that I personally know of who are Covenant Theologians who became a Credo-Baptist.
    (i.e. there are no Turretins or Calvins or Witsiuses that turn into Spurgeons or Knollys or Keaches.)

    [Apples and Spaghetti in comparison of the two sets.]

    (One might say, I know of people who were in the Presbyterian church, who were even Presbyterian preachers, and then studied baptism and became Credo-Baptists; they've even written books about it after the fact. Yes, I do as well, those are "Set 1". Its really a question hermeneutically taken, just by way of notation; and once they are derailed on "trying to refute baptism issues" instead of taking on Covenant Theology, they generally don't recover from that track.)
  7. Kinghezy

    Kinghezy Puritan Board Freshman

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  8. JTB.SDG

    JTB.SDG Puritan Board Sophomore

  9. Harley

    Harley Puritan Board Sophomore

    Just listened to the first one. Wonderfully gracious. He did not treat PBs as locked up in an obscure tradition which they don't understand and can't possibly defend from Scripture. He even went to the defense of PBs against certain irresponsible arguments launched from the credobaptist camp. The brotherly love was music to the ear. I thought he stated the PB arguments quite well that he did state (wasn't sure about one or two), but both persons were incredibly careful to be accurate and fairly represent paedobaptists. I'll be sure to listen to the one where he critiques the position in the next podcast as I get opportunity.
  10. HisRobes4Mine

    HisRobes4Mine Puritan Board Freshman

    That is a verse that has caused me to struggle with how I understand the NC. I've always understood being in Christ to mean having union with Christ and enjoying all the blessings he gives namely salvation and the gift of the Spirit. Although lately since I've been reading through J.V. Fresko's fantastic commentary on Galatians my world has been rocked about how I've always understood the nature of being indwelt by the Spirit.
  11. HisRobes4Mine

    HisRobes4Mine Puritan Board Freshman

    Are you trying to say our understanding of election plays in to our understanding of the nature of the covenants?
  12. HisRobes4Mine

    HisRobes4Mine Puritan Board Freshman

  13. HisRobes4Mine

    HisRobes4Mine Puritan Board Freshman

    Scripture is very clear about the children of Abraham having a place in the NC. Galatians 3 states very clearly "If you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise." Part of of our understanding of what it means to be Christ's depends on our understanding of quite a few other passages of Scripture though.

    I'm not quite sure what Romans 4:16 means when it is referring to "the adherent of the law" in terms of its relationship to the visible level in the NC. I understand Paul's thought process to mean salvation through works vs. salvation through faith alone.
  14. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    Election plays a key role in our understanding of covenant theology in the following ways. 1. The elect participate in the essence of the covenant. They get it all. 2. Covenants are the historical way that God's elective plan plays out. Covenant theology is the answer to the question: "How does God get from His decree to our actual salvation in space and time?" The three main covenants: redemption, works, and grace when understood properly in their relations, unfolds God's eternal decree in history.

    That being said, the administration of the covenant of grace is broader in its scope than just the elect. In the OT as well as the NT, people are connected to the covenant's administration who are not elect. This explains apostasy, the visible-invisible church distinction, and the place of children in the church.
  15. Harley

    Harley Puritan Board Sophomore

    I'll give you some thoughts on what I did listen to. I thought Hogan does good in being charitable and providing some well-thought arguments.

    I don't agree with how he interprets Galatians 4, the allegory of Sarah and Hagar. The point of the passage isn't that there is a physical seed and spiritual seed in Abraham, and now the physical seed are no longer necessary now that Christ is here. The point of the allegory is that Hagar's place in the house of Abraham was abused. Hagar was Sarah's slave, and was meant to further Sarah's purposes and Sarah's will. She was never meant to be a second wife to Abraham and take Sarah's place. In the same way, per earlier in Galatians 4, the Mosaic Covenant was a teacher of the law, bringing everything down to the level of spiritual children so that the promises in the Abrahamic Covenant could be better understood. The place of the Mosaic is a help and not a replacement (remember, a later covenant doesn't disannull or alter a previous one per Galatians). However, that's exactly what the Judaizers did with the MC--they made it a replacement, and they made it what it was never intended to be--a law of works to salvation. The children of the flesh are those abuse the law of Moses and make it to a covenant of works, and are the ones who make the law of Moses to be bondage. However, that's not the nature or the function of the Mosaic, and it's completely contrary to the nature of the Abrahamic Covenant. That is why the children of the bondwoman may never inherit with the son of a free women.

    He makes the AC to be conditional based on "Walk before me and be blameless." However, the covenant was already established years earlier--about thirteen years or so before in Genesis 15--at the splitting of the bulls. At that point God had not put a single condition on Abraham, not even circumcision. There was no "walk before me and be blameless." Rather, Abraham splits the bull, and Christ alone passes through. The covenant is good as made right there. Genesis 17 is a confirmation of those promises, circumcision added, an exhortation to holiness included, and even the promise is magnified in some aspects.

    As for the conditional language in Genesis 17 or in Genesis 19, I think then all I'd need to do to prove that the New Covenant is conditional is quote verses such as "Pursue holiness without which no man will see the Lord," or "if by the Spirit you mortify the deeds of the body you will live."

    We don't deny the land aspects of the covenant with Abraham, but there was actually a greater land promise intended when Abraham was told, "In you shall all the families of the earth be blessed." Caanan was only a down payment, but Abraham was looking to be heir of the worldaccording to Romans 4. Abraham died saying that he was a stranger in the land of Caanan, never having nearly the full share intended in the Covenant, but Abraham was not looking for Caanan, but a far greater one. That's because the AC is about a land greater than Caanan.

    As for circumcision, let's start by saying that household baptists fully agree that New Testament interpretation of the Old is authoritative. The problem is that the NT is where we get some of what we believe. Hogan states that circumcision is in respect to a land promise, and it's a seal of a conditional covenant; but Romans 4:11 makes it clear that this is what circumcision is not. It is a seal of--not Abraham's righteousness--but the righteousness of faith, the righteousness of Christ. And this is supposed to be a seal of a merit-based covenant? Granted, Romans 4 is making the point that Abraham was justified before doing anything good or bad so that it matters not whether one is Jew and Gentile, and so circumcision's spiritual significance isn't immediately the thing in view, but Paul assumes what I've just said. Someone might say the righteousness aspect is for Abraham only, but that's a wild flip for it to mean one thing for Abraham but another for his future generations.

    Now, walk before me and be blameless. Circumcision sealed the covenant made thirteen years prior, as we know circumcision is a preacher of Christ and the Gospel. Just as we should read Romans 8:13 and Hebrews 12:14 in light of the New Covenant and do not make it merit-based, then in light of the Gospel in circumcision or being given and confirmed without conditions for Abraham, "be blameless" does not make the AC merit-based.

    He goes to Acts 15 to show that circumcision was a burden that their fathers have never been able to bear, and Galatians 5, "If you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you." Again, it's a law of works. How can that be true concerning a seal of the righteousness by faith? Circumcision preaches the Gospel and tells its benefits. Okay, the passage says it was an unbearable law despite all I'm saying--what was the issue at stake in the passages? It's not that people were being circumcised (Paul had some of his men circumcised if it proved necessary to his work among the Jews and none complained it was an extraordinary burden... at least we're not told), but the abuse of it. In both cases, men have come to the church saying that circumcision and the law of Moses were necessary in a justifying sense. We know this because Peter's response is that the Gentiles would be saved by faith just as the Jews.

    You can even take the Gospel and make it an unbearable burden. If you begin to believe that not only you must have faith, but must have a certain level of faith to be justified--and I know by experience--you will make even faith to be a millstone around your neck, repentance a dreadful burden, and the New Covenant will seem as inaccessible as the Covenant of Works itself.

    As for the biological aspect, Gentiles were free to get circumcised any time they wanted. Exodus 12, if a man was circumcised--him and his males in the household--he could eat the Passover and be just as any of the Jews for all religious purposes. Granted the required worship isn't as convenient if you live outside of Israel, but they had no barrier to membership. I personally think the wall of partition in Ephesians 2 is a man-made one--the Jews put a distance between themselves and Gentiles on the basis of being Abraham's physical and naturally superior children, but that was not what God intended from the beginning. It runs entirely contrary to the promise of the covenant, "In you shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." There was free access to the Gentiles if they wanted it.

    As for the use of John 1:12-14, Romans 8:9, they do not preclude a merely external connection to Christ, as the rest of the NT makes plain that it is possible to have only an external connection yet receive some form of mediation from Christ. John 15, Judas, the parables of the wheat and tares, the field, the barren fig tree, the foolish virgins, the olive tree in Romans 11, etc. The whole book of Hebrews as @greenbaggins has shared.

    Probably enough for now. God bless you.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2019
  16. Harley

    Harley Puritan Board Sophomore

    Brother, I did have a few more thoughts. I got through most of the second podcast. Maybe I'm in the cage stage, but this has become a joyful subject to talk about at the same time because there really is so much of Christ to be seen in the Abrahamic Covenant and its expressions in the New Covenant. Being still new to this subject myself and convinced of my position of a household Baptist I like to exercise my thoughts on it.

    Are circumcision and the Abrahamic Covenant things which are too heavy to be borne? I don't get that impression from reading any of Genesis. From my own experience, the Paedobaptist view of the Abrahamic Covenant is the happiest and most joyful of all views that one can take on this covenant. It's not about finding a view that supports paedobaptism--it's about seeing Christ very plainly in this covenant, and God using as a means to administrate salvation to the elect right there and then--first to Abraham promising that God would be a reconciled God to him, and it would be the same for many of his children, covenanting that the blessings not yet purchased would really be delivered in time and space to those who had faith. It's more been views such as the 1689 Federalist view that have made me prone to cast a suspicious eye on God's love and grace. But then, that's one person's experience talking.

    Hogan does acknowledge that there are spiritual realities represented by circumcision, though his ultimate interpretation seems to be ruled by the view that the AC is only temporal and works-based. I don't think such a view lets the spiritual significance of circumcision as attested by the Scriptures themselves take their full blossom. Circumcision is a cutting off of sin, as regeneration cuts off the life of sin. It is a cutting of a covenant (lit in Hebrew "I will cut a covenant") as the skin is cut off. As the wicked were cut off from Israel, so the skin is cut off. The cut also marked a man off as devoted to God. In every way, Christ was cut--He was cut off as holy and separate, cut off from Israel as a sinner. As the AC was cut in the body of the bull and Christ alone passed through, so the covenant was cut in the body of Christ on the cross. If this all is circumcision, then circumcision was not tied strictly to temporary promises. So a paedobaptist can say yes they did concern land in the Middle East, but that's not the only land that God promised in the AC. "I amy thy shield, thy exceeding great reward," "to be God to you," "in you shall all the families of the earth be blessed" all imply that Abraham would inherit both heaven and earth because Abraham through Christ would inherit God Himself.

    He poses the question, can a man have two covenant heads? Well, can a spy be a citizen in two countries? He can be. A Russian spy might become an American citizen, but the discovery of his treachery doesn't mean he was never subject to the laws of the United States and thus non-chargeable for his crimes against the US. Rather, his crimes against the US are aggravated in a way that they never could be for a sincere citizen who has broken the law. In the same way a man in Adam may join the visible church and profess Christ as his mediator, and rather than say "You're not elect so you don't belong here", Christ takes the man at his word as with Judas, and like the barren fig tree or vinedresser he works with the hypocrite.

    Hogan mentions that inconsistency of saying that children are not second-class citizens in the church yet not giving them the privileges of full communicant membership. But for a comparison, my children cannot vote, they cannot sign contracts, they cannot join the military, yet they are citizens of the United States by birth. When they hit age 18 those privileges become theirs, but they are true and real citizens until them. So children may not have a right to the Lord's Table due to the qualifications to partake which do require a certain mature understanding, but Christ does mediate to them discipleship through the pastors and elders, prayers of the church, etc. There is room in the adminitration of the New Covenant to say that some privileges may not be theirs because of their age and capacity. To settle all matters, Christ did say that of such is the kingdom of God.

    But is there any blessing in having only an external connection with the New Covenant? There is. For Christ to come near to a man in any sense at all is a blessing. "What is the value of circumcision," even for those who had no faith and were not true Israelites? "Much in every way. To begin with, they were entrusted with the oracles of God." There's a world of kindness in that word "oracles"--prophets, the Scriptures, the ordinances preaching Christ, the ministry of the Levites and religious elders, the knowledge of God which existed just about nowhere else in the world. Circumcision was valuable much in every way to those those same people whom Paul condemned In Romans 2 even though they made no profitable use of it. The Baptist concern with infants is that they have all these "privileges", but if they are unconverted how can they enjoy them? By that logic, Paul should not have said the value of circumcision was "much in every way." After all, wasn't it only external, not bringing salvific blessings but only representing temporal realities, and being only a type and shadow of the good things to come? That's just not how Paul sees it. He still says "muchin every way." For God to even bring an impenitent man within the sound of the preaching of the Word is an act requiring God's infinite patience. But for Christ to say of children "of such is the kingdom of heaven" and then to have them baptized and brought in as members of the visible church is an extraordinary kindness on God's part.

    Is an impure church membership built into the paedobaptist system? I might also ask the question whether the exclusion of some of the elect from the visible church is built into the Baptist system. If anything, the LBC says there are elect infants dying in infancy, but Christ gives no visible sign that any such belong to him? Right there one demographic of God's people is entirely excluded, anyone below age three or so because they cannot understand and profess like adults. In some churches there is an age minimum. MacArthur has imposed age 11, one church I attended had an age minimum of 16, and some RB churches don't generally baptize before age 13. You might even say the Baptist system might be just a bit too purifying, as it risks excluding those whom Christ has purchased and applied His blood in a saving fashion, and it'd be a ridiculous thing to say that almost nobody below the age of 11, 13 or 16 is converted even in Christian families. For the sake of the church purity do you really want to break the bruised reeds? I'd be more scared of that than unknowingly admitting a hypocrite into communion.

    I'll probably stop now. I hope I've been kind and good in my assessment and haven't proven I need more time in the cage. (Edit) But again, I appreciate both Hogan and the podcast host for their gracious manner in dealing with the PB view, first trying to represent it fairly and faithfully, and then answering. That's how disagreements should happen.

    EDIT 2019/01/27 3:38 PM ET: Comment on Galatians 3:27. I believe he used in support of his covenant theology, "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." But if this is physical baptism referred to here, it leads to baptismal regeneration. I think you can take this as Spirit baptism, but not physical. No threat to PB position.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2019
  17. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    I posted this in another thread dealing with the free offer but it is germane in the basic "orientation" a Reformed paedobaptist theology has to "pilgrim theology". I personally would find particular baptist theology on this subject to be not at all comforting as I battle daily with indwelling sin and struggle with the power the Christ supplies. Here's what I wrote:

    Do not be confused by the issue of whether God has or has not decreed election or reprobation. That's none of your business. It's not the business of the Church to say: "If you are elect then believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and you will be saved from your sins."

    In fact, think of the implications for yourself if you want to determine if God desires your salvation and you ground that desire in the knowledge that "surely He must because I'm one of the elect!"

    Really? What makes you sure of that reality? Was that the way you proceeded to respond to the Gospel?

    The Gospel offered Christ on the Cross crucified for sinners.
    I am one of the elect.
    Therefore I know that I should believe.

    No. In fact, our assurance of salvation is tied not to our knowledge of hidden things but to things revealed. It rather proceeds like this:

    Christ crucified is offered for the salvation of sinners.
    I am a sinner.
    I trust in Christ.
    I am assured that I have salvation in Christ.

    The testimony of the Spirit helps but it is grounded not in God giving us a peek at His decree but a grounding in Revelation that gives us assurance of salvation.

    This is one of the reasons I don't like the theology of Particular Baptists and a notion of baptism that is tied to a sort of "assurance of election" and "God doesn't want the reprobate baptized in His Church".

    The reason is tied to my conviction on the nature of revealed or creaturely knowledge and the fact that the Church's knowledge of God's decree is not the basis for our proclamation or the signifying/sealing of the Sacraments of the Kingdom.

    Being a Christian and an elder for as long as I have I have moved from seeing faith as a "Bang, it's there!" to a sort of "flowering, obscuring, tossing to and fro, seeming to get covered up, re-flowering, travail, progrees, etc." Not only may we be totally confident one day that someone we walk beside is "surely with God" only to see the same man totally repudiate the faith but we see our own trust in God wax and wane and wane and wane and then wax. We may go through days, weeks, months, years of seemingly dry ministry or prayer and grow frustrated at people who seem to lose interest in the Kingdom who need regular admonitions to press in.

    Thus, the "free offer" is not something we reserve (in our thinking) for those outside the Church but is true for how we view the Ministry of Word and Sacrament for those weary on the way.

    Men struggling with p0rnography, conviced they are going to hell and never believed.
    Dads and Moms thinking they're failing their kids and yelling at them.
    Mothers who are weary and worn down by the ingratitude of their children.
    Pastors and elders weaery of ministry and the people who leave unexpectedly.

    The Gospel has to come to each of us and remind us that Christ is for sinners. If we thought for a second that the Gospel is for only for "the elect" then we would camp out all day long asking ourselves if we're the elect and, if not, what's the point?

    As it is, the Gospel is for sinners and even we weary travelers never need doubt that God desires my salvation and sanctification. Today is a day to hear the foice of God, turn from my sin, and turn to Christ - either for the first time or time and again.
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  18. Andrew35

    Andrew35 Puritan Board Freshman

    My quick (and odd) story:

    I was a member of a number of Presbyterian churches for years, and found their arguments for paedo unconvincing. I still have my questions on some of the nuances, I think.

    Then I moved to an area with a good RB church... and discovered their understanding of the credo position was only superficially similar to my own. This made me want to investigate the issue in-depth.

    After reading and studying on both sides, I picked up Scriptural Baptism by Uuraas Saarnivaara, a Lutheran.

    Though I disagreed with some of the Lutheran's sacramentology, he did the best job I've ever seen of arguing paedo from Scripture--with virtually no explicit reference to Cov Theo, and only a passing discussion of circumcision. Not saying that's how it will be with every credo, but that was a huge advantage for me. I considered myself a burgeoning "1689 Federalist" and already had answers for typical Presbyterian arguments (many answers of which I have now forgotten; please don't ask).

    Ultimately, I came away convinced into Presbyterianism in an RB church by a Lutheran book. :)
  19. Kinghezy

    Kinghezy Puritan Board Freshman

    To be fair, that is a rocking name and probably presdisposed you to agree with him.
  20. Andrew35

    Andrew35 Puritan Board Freshman

    You may have something there...
  21. HisRobes4Mine

    HisRobes4Mine Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks for interacting with me as I walk through this. I will say that one of the things that frustrates me about listening to Baptists argue through this passage and others is that they conflate Abraham and Moses. Abraham is not Moses and Moses is not Abraham. The Abrahamic covenant was made 430 years prior to the Mosaic covenant and is not annulled by the entrance of the Mosaic covenant onto the scene (Gal 3:15-18).
  22. ChrisJuloya

    ChrisJuloya Puritan Board Freshman

    Hi Samuel,

    What helped me with my understanding of infant baptism were these articles that our elder shared to us.

    Here is one by Ptr. Larry Wilson on Why Does the Orthodox Church Baptize Infants?

    Another one from Ptr. William Shishko titled A Better Case for Infant Baptism, his argument after his debate with Dr. James White.

    And lastly Ptr. Jason Wallace's, An Open Letter Concerning Our Position on Baptism as a response to the accusation that they (Christ Presbyterian Church) believe that baptism saves.

    I'm not sure how deep you are already in your study of infant baptism but these articles were of much help to me as I continue to deepen my understanding of this sacrament and I hope that it too would be of benefit to you.

    Grace and peace,
  23. Harley

    Harley Puritan Board Sophomore

    Welcome brother. I'll listen to more today. Your understanding here is what helped me, and that's important in understanding Hebrews 8. If you do a study of the New Testament, you'll find a great difference in how both covenants are spoken about. In Hebrews the author draws encouragement from the AC, but always speaks of the MC as passed. Entirely different attitudes in the NT toward each one.
  24. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    It's not just Baptists that do this but many Christians (and some Presbyterians) mis-apprehend Paul's theology in Galatians and elsewhere about the Covenant.

    I don't know if I read it or was listening to a scholar point this out recently but Paul's "world" didn't have the vocabulary for certain concepts that we might have today in order to describe certain things. We might have the word "legalist" or "antinomonian" to describe a pattern of thinking.

    For Paul, however, he'll employ "the Law" or "circumcision" in certain fashions in order to condemn a pattern of thinking but then people will grab the words "law" or "circumcision" and conclude from how Paul is using it in a polemical concept that he is trying to teach us something about the Mosaic economy or about circumcision.

    Paul's point in Gal 4 is failry pointed. He's dealing with a misapprehension of righteousness that relies upon our own capacity (the power of the flexh) to accomplish righteousness. This is why he points out earlier in the Epistle that its foolish to think that we can be perfected by the power of the flesh.

    Paul's point in Gal 4 is an exension of that argument. It's not the idea of "Law = OC" vs (Gospel = NC" but more of a "fhesh" vs {spirit" or "death" vs "life" paradigm.

    Ishmael represents what can be done by man according to his own power. Isaac represents what can be done only by God's power. The "flesh" is enslaved to sin and is, like Ishmael, the son of a slavewoman if we are still under the dominion of the flesh. If, however, we are in Christ we are no longer sons of the bondwoman but sons of the freewoman. We (Jew and Gentile) who are in Christ are free. We don't place our trust in our "flesh" to accomplish righteousness but the power of Christ to Whom we are supernaturally united.

    That's not an OC vs NC paradigm where the Law or circumcision represents slavery while the Gospel is the NC and baptism which represents freedom. Rather, circumcision and the OC (properly conceived) required supernatural Mediation. Abraham sas Chrit's day and rejoiced. The "power" by which Abraham was justified and the power by which He kept the Law and the sign under which God's promise to keep him were all within the gracious Mediation of the Son of God - the Promised Seed. The signs and mediators that stood in for Christ in the OC were shadowy but there efficacy did not depend upon themselves but because of Christ and the sacrifice these signs and seals proleptically were signifying and sealing.

    Attmpts to see Abraham's promises or the sign of circumcision as solely physical or national miss Paul's point entirely. Those who argue in such ways actually find thmselves agreeing with the Judaizers on the basic nature of Agraham's promise and stand against Paul.
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  25. Harley

    Harley Puritan Board Sophomore

    Listened to last part. Whole thing has been good for my own view to get sharpened. So, for the last 20 minutes of the second one, and the third podcastg.

    Podcast is weak on household baptisms. He just says that compared to the thousands baptized in the first part of Acts there are not that many household baptisms. I wouldn't press that far at all since the book of Acts spans a couple of decades in itself, and if the churches grew then there were far more baptisms than those mentioned, and if there were many household baptisms mentioned in Acts then many more certainly took place. There are more extensive treatments of household baptism. However, in fairness they can only pack in so much in a podacst.

    For the New Covenant, the Baptist analysis falls apart when you see the New Covenant flowering out from the Abrahamic. There are old threads on the New Covenant in the Covenant Theology section of this board you can look at where the nature of the covenant is hashed out. Those were about a year ago now.

    As for the Passover argument that we are inconsistent, I do not believe children partook. The level of self-examination required in the Mosaic Law was too stringent to leave to a child. In the NT the requirement to discern the Lord's body and come worthily are standards I'm not willing to leave up to my children to evaluate. I think it's also clear that women didn't participate in Passover. Will give more if you want it. Also look up "What Mean Ye By This Service" by Richard Bacon.

    The Regulative Principle argument falls apart once you see the New Covenant flowering from and fulfilling the Abrahamic, but administrating the same substance--grace and salvation through Christ by the Spirit delivered in time to God's elect. They are both administrations of the Covenant of Grace because they do just that.

    As for the Roman Catholic argument, the idea that justifying New Testament practice from the Old Testament is how the RCs justify their practices, once you see the Mosaic Covenant beiong abolished but not the AC, the argument falls by the wayside. The only MC institute that "continues" is the Passover in the form of the Lord's Supper. All else clearly abolished. Even Hebrews 8 refers to the covenant "when I took them by the hand out of the land of Egypt," but not the one given to Abraham. Again, the MC does not replace/disannul the AC.

    He says that we continuously cut off the verse at "to you and your children." I've listened and read enough to know that's not the case, and PBs typically make a point to quote the whole thing because this argument gets passed around, and PBs don't fear the last clause anyway.

    I'm not worried about the lack of references to infants in Acts 2 or Acts 8. The argument for credobaptism goes that if repentance was required in some places, it was required for all those baptized, so all those in the household who were baptized were repentant and believed, excluding infants, thus household is a collective terms meaning most/all believed and repented in the household. Though, a PB can say on that logic that in places where the household is not mentioned, that if anyone presented their household then the household was baptized, whether or not the household is mentioned, and we may assume there were households. But if it's really an argument that in Acts 2 and 8 there are no infants mentioned, could we also conclude that no one under age 13, properly a child, was baptized? I've heard one man argue that because the terms in Acts 8 refer to grown men and women, and does not use terms referring to children, therefore infants were not included. The point though of Acts 8 is that Simon Magus was stunned to see the ordinance applied to both genders. That was unprecedented.

    I'm glad he didn't spend his podcasts in the old PBs-dont-agree-on-anything lines of argument, and he saved evaluation for the quotes for the last podcast. I think it's a much more fair way to present the PB argument by trying to sum the position up, and then look at quotes in light of your analysis. Many of the materials I've read basically present a PB argument, say "not all PBs agree on this", as though differing view discredits the PB cause, and then give the credobaptist interpretation (ironically, sometimes they give three or four Baptist interpretations without thinking twice... climbing down soapbox). Fred Malone's book was particularly bad for PBs-dont-agree quote-mashing.

    As for the quotes though, I see these quotes referenced time and time again in Baptist materials. They just don't get old for fodder for books, especially the Warfield one. But once you are settled on baptism, then you can evaluate the value of the quotes. But that's secondary. I tend to think the Warfield quote is not as strong in the Baptists' favor as they think.

    Mode? Won't go here, but baptizo is a little more flexible than just immersion even comparing Scripture with Scripture. I would check out the treatise on baptism by Samuel Miller. He has an appendage on mode.

    Thanks for sharing these brother. If you want good resources, look up Ted Donnely on baptism, and also Adam Kuehner from Southfield RPCNA, "Theological Foundations". I've appreciated both of these sets of messages.

    Brother, thank you! This puts it in perspective for me. It always seemed that Paul was referring to abuses of the ordinances, but I could never figure out how to say it or think about it. Wonderfully clear now. I think I understand where you are coming from on the second paragraph, but would you be willing to expand a little?
  26. Andrew35

    Andrew35 Puritan Board Freshman

    I agree with the baptism of infants and children not being the point of the text here, but my understanding of Acts 8 is a bit different.

    I see v12 as being parallel in structure to v3 ("both men and women"), with v3 suggesting the totality of the persecution (not just the men, but also the women), while v8 carries the implication being that even while persecution is removing active members from the church (in the person of Saul), God is adding new ones in.
  27. Harley

    Harley Puritan Board Sophomore

    Quite possibly. It is an unique thing too for a covenant sign to be given to women, so I think too it's mentioned because it does stand out. Also because the Greek structure seems to be a "both...and" phrase, as to put in focus something that is unexpected.

  28. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    The point I'm trying to make is that Paul didn't have a word for "legalist". That dones't mean he didn't have a concept in his thinking for what we would describe as "legalism" but he is going to use the words he does have in a way to convey the same idea. You and I may not employ the word "the Law" in a way that conveys legalism because it might confuse people if we were talking about employing the Law in a certain way but Paul does that and we need to pay attention.

    Is the law against grace? It depends what Paul is talking about. With respect to man as under the CoW, the law can only condemn and it can never serve as a means to righteousness. The man in Adam is dead. He is a slave. He is a child of Rahab in the allegory. He uses the Law to justify himself not reckoning that he is dead and under the wrate of God. The man in Christ, however, is brought from death to life. The Law no longer condemns him because his guilt was crucified in Christ. God is no longer his Judge but His Father. He has a new relationship to the commands of God because the fire has gone out of Sinai and it is now the Law of Christ.

    The point is that the terms of the Law or of Circumcision can be "attached" to different ideas and one needs to pay attention because Paul isn't going to just let the person assume that every time he uses the same word that the word bears the exact same meaning in every context. Because people are intellectually lazy there are ministers who miss this point. If I'm explaining something to the simple then I'll tend to employ additional words so I'm not confusing someone with a "it depends upon what you mean by that word" answer.
  29. SGW

    SGW Puritan Board Freshman

    Hi Samuel,
    Sorry for the delayed response but I wanted to post a link to a sermon that might be helpful. It mainly deals with what’s “new” about the NC but specifically addresses the issue of non-believers partaking in the blessings of Christ. The sermon was delivered last Sunday evening at Reformation OPC in Apache Junction, AZ (right in your backyard). Pastor Joel Ellis, along with the church he ministers at, just recently came into in the OPC. He’s an extremely gifted preacher as you will see if if have time to listen. His background is calvanistic baptist so he is very familiar with that perspective. I hope it is a blessing to you as it was for me.
  30. HisRobes4Mine

    HisRobes4Mine Puritan Board Freshman

    I'll start to listen to these when I'm traveling back and forth to work. Thanks for the recommend!
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