Martyn Lloyd-Jones' views on Baptism

Discussion in 'Baptism' started by Mocha, Jan 2, 2006.

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  1. Mocha

    Mocha Puritan Board Freshman

    This thread is for those who are interested in reading about Martyn Lloyd-Jones' views on Baptism. His views on baptism "almost never appeared in his public ministry", but on one occasion (as part of his on going Friday night lecture series on Biblical Doctrines) he actually did share his views. Iain Murray, commenting on Lloyd-Jones' views on baptism, said:

    For the rest of this post, I will share from his tape on "Baptism", which was part of his Biblical Doctrines series (Tape # 2233). In order to keep this post from getting too long, I will be selective in presenting his views, and will summarize and use point form where possible.

    A) What is the meaning of "Baptism"?

    1) The primary meaning is "union".

    ML-J says:

    - Matt. 28:19 1 Cor. 1:13; 10:2: 12:13 Romans 6:3-6 Gal. 3:27-28 Col. 2:11,12

    ML-J says:

    2) A sense of "cleansing" and "purification".

    ML-J says:

    Acts 2:38 Acts 22:16 1 Peter 3:21

    ML-J says:

    1 Cor. 6:11 Titus 3:5

    ML-J says:

    B) What exactly is the purpose of "Baptism"?

    ML-J summarizes by saying:

    C) Who is to be baptized?

    1) What are the New Testament arguments that are produced in favour of infant baptism?

    i) Brought little children to the Lord to bless them

    ML-J says:

    ii) Acts 2:39

    ML-J says:

    Martyn Lloyd-Jones goes on to respond to other New Testament verses that paedobaptists use to support infant baptism, but I think I can summarize his responses with this one response. He says:

    2) What are the Old Testament arguments that are produced in favour of infant baptism?

    i) The analogy that is based upon the Old Testament and circumcision

    ML-J says:

    ML-J concludes this section by saying:

    The quotations by Martyn Lloyd-Jones have been taken from a tape. Please excuse any mistakes in punctuation.

    Mike
     
  2. Ivan

    Ivan Pastor

    No response?
     
  3. Mayflower

    Mayflower Puritan Board Junior

    What i know is that Lloyd Jones, held to believers baptism but not to immersion but by sprinkeling.
     
  4. Mocha

    Mocha Puritan Board Freshman

    Ivan,

    I didn't want to respond in the first post. I just wanted to put Martyn Lloyd-Jones' views on Baptism out there. I will respond later.

    Mike
     
  5. Mocha

    Mocha Puritan Board Freshman

    Compare the following two quotes:

    For Martyn Lloyd-Jones, the "seal" represents something that I know consciously is already happened to me. It's about the one being baptized.

    For Mark Ross, the "seal" is not about the truth of the one circumcised, but a truth about God. It guarantees what will happen if there is faith.

    The questions therefore are: What exactly is "sealed" in baptism? Is it a truth about the one being baptized or is it a truth about God? Is it a truth about something that has happened or is it a truth about something that will happen? Does one need to be conscious and aware of what is happening or not?

    Mike
     
  6. non dignus

    non dignus Puritan Board Sophomore

    MLJ said:
    That line of reasoning sounds alot like the Arminian argument against sovereign predestination:
    "What is the Christian predestined to? Salvation? No! He is predestined to be conformed to the image of God." !?

    Why not take the simple face value of the text first?
     
  7. Mocha

    Mocha Puritan Board Freshman

    David,

    To truely understand Acts 2:39 we need to understand it's history and context. If we can do this, it should help us from importing other meanings into the text.

    I believe the history of this text, specifically the promise, originates in Joel 2:28-29, where it says:

    To say the least, something spiritual is going to happen to all flesh, something that involves the Holy Spirit. I believe this "all flesh" is referring to "all kinds of flesh" and this is what Acts 2:39 will expand upon.

    John the Baptist speaks more on this promise when he says:

    This promise (or baptism) is something spiritual.

    Jesus speaks more on this promise when he says:

    This promise (or baptism) involves the heart.

    Again, Jesus speaks more on this promise. He says:

    This promise (or baptism) is to clothe with spiritual power.

    On the day of Pentecost, Peter explains about the amazing and astonishing things they are seeing and hearing. He says:

    But who is the promise of the Holy Spirit for? Acts 2:39 says:

    In other words, this promise (or baptism) is for believers. Which believers?

    Since the promise was only poured out on believers, and since the promise is only for those whom the Lord calls to himself, it seems to me that the promise can't be made to unbelieving children. There needs to be repentance first, as verse 38 makes clear.

    David, I would disagree with you that Acts 2:39 is clearly referring to our natural and unbelieving children.

    Mike

    PS - You said this line of reasoning sounds like Arminianism. I don't understand why you would say this. The promise is only for those who are effectually "called". Sounds calvinistic to me!
     
  8. Mocha

    Mocha Puritan Board Freshman

    ML-J says:

    If those in the New Covenant administration are "Baptized into" Christ, and if those in the Mosaic Covenant administration are "Baptized into" Moses, then were those of the Abrahamic Covenant administration "Baptized into" Abraham?

    Mike
     
  9. non dignus

    non dignus Puritan Board Sophomore

    Originally posted by non dignus
    That line of reasoning sounds alot like the Arminian argument against sovereign predestination:
    "What is the Christian predestined to? Salvation? No! He is predestined to be conformed to the image of God." !?

    Why not take the simple face value of the text first?
    [/quote]

    Mike,
    I agree Peter is speaking of Joel 2 and I agree Joel and Peter were not in an historical vacuum. However, I believe Peter is conflating Joel 2 with Gen 17 because the reference to children and servants is in both passages, and because Joel was 'fleshing out' the Abrahamic promise that he would be a blessing to the gentiles- all flesh.

    That the covenant was to Jewish descendents was a no brainer to the audience Peter was addressing. Why would he need to state the obvious? Why didn't he use more specific terminology indicating generations of descendents if he didn't mean actual children in that very day? Because I think the Gen 17 covenant is in view.

    As a side note, when young mothers came to John for Baptism, do you think the young mothers were OK with their children being excluded from the ritual? With circumcision and purification/dedication directed to infants, it stands to reason that John would have sprinkled the babies along with their mothers.
    Yes. 'Spiritual', 'heart', 'power' I agree there is a greater emphasis in the NC on calling people who are outside the covenant. This is a better covenant. Peadobaptists have no argument with the new changes in the calling of outside members. But that doesn't necessarily change the already established modes within the covenant family. The idea that a Jewish baby didn't share in Abraham as a newborn was unthinkable. It is equally unthinkable in the Christian context. Jews understood "The promise is to your children provided they remain in faith until the end.". Isn't that the inference?

    Next, I think you are making some large assumptions. 1. That God doesn't outwardly call children through birth. 2. That all infants are unbelievers. and 3. That infants need to repent.

    The outward calling of the Jewish people was through birth. One Christian parent sanctifies through birth.

    Credos can't have it both ways. If children can not use reason and abstract thinking processes to believe, how can they cognitively be in rebellion too (which the need for repentance implies). The idea of an infant in need of repentance is a little absurd. Infants, while certainly not innocent, are blameless.

    Growing up in a covenant home, catechism offsets the ordinary condition that besets those called in adulthood. Ideally, holy children bypass the vain education that fosters rebellion and active unbelief. Thus the idea that infants are unbelievers is only possibly half true, and even then doesn't qualify as rebellion.

    It is no doubt that spirit baptism is upon believers. But that doesn't prove its opposite. Belief entails thought- does that mean non-thinkers cannot be spirit baptized? Eating entails work- does that mean non-workers may not eat? "If a man does not work, neither shall he eat." The argument from silence would say, "infants do not eat." Thus it is a category error that infants are not included in eating or covenant initiation.
    Please forgive me. My explanation was not thorough. Just as the Arminian overlooks the necessity of being saved in order to be conformed to the image of God, MLJ seemed to overlooked the necessity of being covenant children in order to be descendents.

    And I would say the promise is to all who trust in Christ along with their children. I think Peter agrees.
     
  10. Bryan

    Bryan Puritan Board Freshman

    When I first got his Great Doctrines of the Bible, which BTW is one of my favorite books that I think everyone should have, I looked up his view on the Sacraments. Baptism is one fo the few areas I disagree with him on.

    Bryan
    SDG
     
  11. Archlute

    Archlute Puritan Board Senior

    This past week I happened to be reading in MLJ's "Great Doctrines of the Bible" just after reading through Zwingli's disputations with the Anabaptists in the Library of Christian Classics. It struck me that, being as well read as MLJ was, he completely ignored the fact that Zwingli had refuted this very argument, which the Anabaptists had propounded against the reformers, when he (Zwingli) pointed out that this was a convenient spiritualizing of the text in order to avoid its clear reference to the physical offspring of believers. He noted that the Anabaptists had no problem being overly literal regarding other passages when it suited their purposes.
     
  12. Mocha

    Mocha Puritan Board Freshman

    David,

    You said:

    I'm not sure if I can agree that Joel 2 and Gen. 17 are conflated in Acts 2:39 because Gen. 17 is talking about children of Abraham (I believe in both a natural sense and a spiritual sense), but Joel 2 is talking about the spiritual power that will come upon the spiritual children. One is a promise of a seed, and the other is a promise of the Holy Spirit. They are two separate promises.

    I believe Peter is emphasizing two things: scope and perpetuity (i.e. you, your children, all that are far off). We see Jesus emphasizing the same things in Matt. 28:18-20 and Acts 1:8.

    Here we have scope and perpetuity.

    Here we see scope.

    Why didn't he use more specific terminology indicating generations of descendents? It was not uncommon to use natural language to express something spiritual.

    We don't know if infants were sprinkled by John or not. The Bible does not tell us one way or the other. Since John's baptism was a baptism of repentance, and since and infant cannot repent, it seems to me that John did not baptize infants.

    I guess that's the big question. Is there a change in "mode" or not?

    Both sides are making assumptions. Since the Scriptures are not clear on this subject, assumptions need to be made, and dogmatic statements need to be avoided.

    I agree!

    I agree, but there is no command to baptize the sanctified one.

    Whenever one is born again, he/she is in the covenant. So, an infant may be blameless, but if he/she is not born again, it seems to me that he/she
    is outside of the covenant. Regardless if an infant is born again or not, the church has not been instructed to baptize until there is a profession of faith.

    Are you saying the catechism offsets sin? If there's not a changed heart, there's going to be rebellion. No doubt!

    I guess it's best to to ask:

    1) What is the meaning of Baptism?

    AND

    2) What is it's purpose?

    I would say that covenant children are spiritual children. In other words, covenant children are those who have been born of God (See John 1:12-13).

    We're back to the question of "mode" again. :um:

    Mike
     
  13. Mocha

    Mocha Puritan Board Freshman

    Bryan,

    What specifically do you disagree with him on?

    Mike
     
  14. Mocha

    Mocha Puritan Board Freshman

    Scripture often uses natural language to speak of something spiritual. Although it may include the natural children (if they believe), the emphasis is on those who will believe throughout the generations. This is not the first time that scope and perpetuity have been emphasized. It's clearly emphasized in the New Covenant.

    Mike
     
  15. Bryan

    Bryan Puritan Board Freshman

    I'll try to get back to this on the weekend. Currently my home computer is out getting repaired and I'm only online from computers at school. I should have a computer at home on the weekend where I can write with the book in front of me :)

    Bryan
    SDG
     
  16. non dignus

    non dignus Puritan Board Sophomore

    Mike,
    Thanks for the speedy and thorough reply. I am honored.
    OK. But are they unrelated? Joel was building revelation, adding line upon line, precept upon precept. Peter's work is building a more complete revelation. This way a single constuction is made by builders over centuries. We know the 'Seed' of Abraham is Christ. The promise of the kingdom and all it entails is put together in Christ. The culmination of the Abrahamic promise is more expansive covenant, the promised Holy Spirit circumcising the heart, symbolized in Baptism. I would say Peter is building on Joel's work for the common construct of the COG with it's pinnacle in Christ.

    Speaking of Joel 2, credos argue that because infants can't make a profession of faith, they can't be in the covenant. (is that correct?)

    However, " And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered......" Joel 2:32
    Thus, if infants cannot call on the name of the Lord, they cannot be delivered. !?

    OK but scope and perpetuity doesn't negate part of the whole. Covenant children are included in the set of "you, your descendents, and all whom the Lord will call". Credos have the same problem with Jesus' words in the great commision. He commands us to baptize all nations. Infants belong to the set 'all nations'. Infants belong to the set "...the household of...".

    "Let the little children come to me and do not prevent them."

    The spiritualizing of 'children' is indelicate because 'children' has a regular meaning that could pertain to the question. A good example of a less subtle analogy would be "beware of the leaven of the Pharisees" because the regular meaning of leaven wouldn't fit well in that usage. But 'you and your children' seems unambiguous in view of Peter speaking plainly to the masses.
    The sign has changed certainly from circumcision to baptism. Col 2
    However, the objects of initiation have not changed.
    Amen. What are the assumptions of the paedobaptist?
    and there is no prohibiton either! The benefit of the doubt would go to inclusion of the holy, not exclusion.
    How do you know if the infant is born again or not? John the Baptist had the Holy Spirit in the womb. Children of Christians don't necessarily have a 'born again experience' because regeneration happens in early childhood when it would not be detectable. If a tangible experience were the prerequisite, they would never be able to show cause for baptism!

    Children brought up in the church do not repent. There is no need for it because they have been raised in the covenant. Will you concede that a manifestation of repentance is not necessary for an infant because an infant has a completely different condition than an adult?
    Catechism offsets unbelief. The child is totally depraved, not utterly depraved. While regeneration is necessary, the manifestation of it is not. Profession of faith doesn't apply to infants because they are in a different category. Similarly, working in order to eat does not pertain to infants. 'Pray without ceasing' is not to infants. 'Love your wife' is not to infants.
    Should infants eat?
    Yes. In order to cut down on verbage I will confine my redoubt to these two foci in my next endeavor, with your permission. Blessings to you Mike, and thanks.
     
  17. Archlute

    Archlute Puritan Board Senior

    Mike,

    You must be hard pressed to assert that this passage contains an emphasis upon those who would believe throughout the generations. Where is that emphasis? It is clear that Peter is speaking to actual persons, and that those persons would have taken him to be speaking of themselves (bodily), their children (bodily), and all those who were (physically and covenantally) far off. I say bodily and physically here in a way that is inclusive of the body/soul unity, but with emphasis upon the point that Peter was not spiritualizing this message, rather he was clearly speaking of created beings.

    Reading this passage in a spiritualized fashion is just reading into it a major assumption that can not be found in the history of the Church until Anabaptist polemics. That is why I pointed out that MLJ should have known better than to use that argument. Elsewhere he critiques the dispensational view as being an historical novelty (of which I agree), yet he fails to realize that this defense of credo-baptism is just as much an historical novelty itself. To the best of my knowledge, it cannot be found among the writings of the first 1500 years of the Church, which is why the reformers (not just Zwingli) were so quick to critique it.
     
  18. Steve Owen

    Steve Owen Puritan Board Sophomore

    There is no need to 'spiritualize' the passage at all.

    'For the promise is to you and to your children and to all who are far off, as many as the Lord shall call.'

    What's the promise? That if these people believe, repent and are baptized they will be saved. Where's the problem?

    Who are those 'who are afar off'? They are the Gentiles (Eph 2:13 ).

    It's just another way of saying, 'Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved' (v21 ).

    Martin
     
  19. non dignus

    non dignus Puritan Board Sophomore

    Isn't it implied that the Lord is calling 'you, your children, and those far off'? What would it serve knowing the children can't respond in faith?
    Wouldn't Credo reasoning lead to the idea that the infant cannot be saved because she cannot call on the name of the Lord?
     
  20. non dignus

    non dignus Puritan Board Sophomore

    MLJ said,

    "The first thing and the important thing about "Baptism" is, that it suggests union. Being placed into something. Baptized into the Holy Ghost, baptized into Christ, baptized into Moses. It suggests a union. So that it is very important that we should bear in mind that the primary meaning of baptizing is not cleansing, but union. "

    I see a vital union between a mother and her child for example. When the mother is born again by the power of the Holy Spirit, she is allowed into the covenant and her baby is not?

    How is this not a rupture of the familial union of mother and child?
     
  21. non dignus

    non dignus Puritan Board Sophomore

    ML-J summarizes by saying:


    The main thing and the first thing about "Baptism" is that it is something that God has chosen to do to us. It is God giving us this "seal" of our regeneration. And as we are baptized, he's speaking to us, and he's telling us, that we are regenerate. He is "sealing" it in that way. But, of course, as we do that, we are incidently bearing our witness to the fact that we have believed the truth. Otherwise we would never have asked for "Baptism". We would never have sought it. So that secondarily, it is a bearing of witness and of testimony... "

    I love how he begins the summary, "the main thing is God has chosen to do to us..." Amen. All the glory to God.

    But then unfortunately he reverts back to a subjectivism that is all too common with credo thought: "Secondarily....Because of Him....I believed the truth so I asked for baptism...I sought it." Being a so-called Calvino-Methodist it is no wonder his attention is easily turned inward. It is very subtle as he gives God first place and then eases himself into second place. I know this all to well as I am quilty of such navel gazing and self adulation from my fundamentalist days until now.

    Grace is all of God and none of me. Faith is bestowed. Knowledge is bestowed. Sanity is bestowed.

    He is the Baptiser because He chose to separate us for special use. It's not about my regeneration or whether my cute little rug rats are regenerate.

    It's about "I will build my church."
     
  22. Steve Owen

    Steve Owen Puritan Board Sophomore

    I don't quite understand you. The children can respond in faith as they grow up.
    I take it that you belive in the '5 solas'. One of those is 'Faith alone.' I do not discount the possiblility of very small children trusting in Christ, but until they can clearly and credibly express that faith, they should not be baptized. Young children will often say what they think their parents want to hear.

    You wrote elsewhere:-
    I think you do Lloyd-Jones an injustice here. Baptism is an ordinance of the Lord. It is what we do in obedience to His command when we are converted. 'Then those who gladly received his word were baptized.' (Acts 2:41; cf. also 8:12 ). There is the biblical pattern for baptism. Will you say that these people were 'subjective' and 'inward-looking'? It is all of Christ and none of us, but the proof of our conversion is that we obey the commands of Christ (John 14:15 ). One of these is baptism.

    Grace & Peace,

    Martin
     
  23. non dignus

    non dignus Puritan Board Sophomore

    Martin you said,

    "I don't quite understand you. The children can respond in faith as they grow up."

    You have a precision on this board that I admire. But notice the verb tense: It is not 'the promise will be to you, your children...' ?

    "I take it that you believe in the '5 solas'. One of those is 'Faith alone.'

    Another is Grace alone which comes before and is the reason for faith.
    Grace is when the Lord vouchsafes the promise on the basis of the parent's faith.

    "I do not discount the possiblility of very small children trusting in Christ, but until they can clearly and credibly express that faith, they should not be baptized. Young children will often say what they think their parents want to hear."

    Which is precisely why they shouldn't be baptised on their 'profession' of faith. It isn't credible. The parent's faith is credible.

    "You wrote elsewhere:-
    ""But then unfortunately he reverts back to a subjectivism that is all too common with credo thought: "Secondarily....Because of Him....I believed the truth so I asked for baptism...I sought it." Being a so-called Calvino-Methodist it is no wonder his attention is easily turned inward. It is very subtle as he gives God first place and then eases himself into second place. ""


    "I think you do Lloyd-Jones an injustice here. Baptism is an ordinance of the Lord. It is what we do in obedience to His command when we are converted. 'Then those who gladly received his word were baptized.' (Acts 2:41; cf. also 8:12 ). There is the biblical pattern for baptism. Will you say that these people were 'subjective' and 'inward-looking'? It is all of Christ and none of us, but the proof of our conversion is that we obey the commands of Christ (John 14:15 ). One of these is baptism."

    Yes, I was a bit harsh. But is it we who are doing it? Isn't it the Lord through His church Who is doing it? I want to steer clear of an emphasis on obedience in soteriology. Isn't obedience irrelevant as a factor in "grace alone"? I agree it is the proof. So why the introspection?

    No, I would say they were outward looking to the Word more than to baptism.

    PS. Martin, I'm having a bit of trouble using the bracketed quotes. What is your method of parsing the quotations and responding between them? I do enjoy your offerings here.
     
  24. Steve Owen

    Steve Owen Puritan Board Sophomore

    Hello David,
    First of all, thank you for your kind words. I'm not sure that everyone on the board will agree with them;)
    You wrote:-
    If you think about it, all promises, by definition, refer to the future. In Acts 2:38, Peter makes a promise; if his hearers will repent and be baptized (I think faith in Christ is surely included here), they will have their sins forgiven. But this promise isn't only for them, it's for their descendants ('children') as well and to the Gentiles ('all who are afar off'). In fact it 'Is what was spoken of by the prophet Joel...........whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved' (Acts 2:16, 21 ).

    You continued:-
    Amen! But then you said:-
    No sir! You can't believe for your children. 'Most assuredly I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God..........that which is born of the flesh is flesh' Those who become the children of God do not become so by human descent (John 1:13; Rom 9:8 ). Grace is when the Lord opens the eyes of a poor blind sinner and enables him to believe.

    The parents' faith may be credible for themselves, but it cannot help the children save in teaching them about the Lord and setting a godly example (both of which are very important, but have no bearing on baptism). Children should be baptized when they reach an age to give a credible profession of faith.

    In fact, in infant baptism you are only substituting the obedience of the parents for that of the children. Baptism is not something you do to get right with God. Baptism is what you do when you are right with God in obedience to His command through His apostle (Acts 2:38 ). First the repentance then the baptism.
    I enjoy yours too, brother. Use the square brackets [ ] and write quote in between them. Then insert your quote and to finish, write /quote in between the brackets. I hope that makes sense!

    Every blessing,

    Martin

    [Edited on 1-6-2006 by Martin Marprelate]
     
  25. non dignus

    non dignus Puritan Board Sophomore

    Thanks Martin,
    Here goes:

    I take it Joel is saying an infant can't be saved because he cannot call on the name of the Lord?!
    I disagree. In terms of the visible covenant, not election, circumcision was such a sign and seal for covenant baby boys. The children are holy, in the covenant, and therefore are marked as such-sealed.
    Right. You're talking about the invisible, or election.
    Yes. Covenant infants are right with God until proven otherwise. When you see a covenant baby in diapers, do you see a poor blind sinner? I see a royal heir under tutors.
    I think you are making a category mistake. Should infants 'eat' though they do not work?
    I'm sorry I can't give you more time right now. Thanks
     
  26. Steve Owen

    Steve Owen Puritan Board Sophomore

    Hi David!
    Those who die in infancy and the mentally handicapped who cannot understand the Gospel, we lay in the hands of God saying, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Gen 18:25 ). They are certanly not saved by someone splashing water on them.
    If there was any such thing as a covenant baby, he would still be a poor blind sinner. 'That which is born of the flesh is flesh.' That's not internal or external, that's God's truth for us all!

    David, we seem to have hi-jacked the thread away from Dr Lloyd-Jones. Might I suggest that if you want to continue the discussion, you either send me a private message or start a new thread.

    Here are a couple of links that you might find interesting

    http://spurgeonunderground.blogspot.com/2005/11/what-is-christian.html

    http://spurgeonunderground.blogspot.com/2005/11/what-is-church.html

    Grace & Peace,

    Martin
     
  27. non dignus

    non dignus Puritan Board Sophomore

    Good thought. Thanks, I'll study the Spurgmeister.
     
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