Paedo + Credo Courtship

Discussion in 'Family Forum' started by smhbbag, Jun 26, 2005.

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  1. smhbbag

    smhbbag Puritan Board Senior

    A long story, but I'll spare the details unless someone wants to hear them or thinks they need them in order to give a better answer.

    What are your thoughts on courtship (and thus, potential marriage) between a paedo and a credo?

    I'd like some insight from all angles - from fathers who may deal with this situation with their daughters, when a young man seeks to pursue their daughter but has differing convictions on Baptism....or from people who are currently married to someone with different views on Baptism, etc.

    For at least some background, she is Dutch Reformed and I am a Reformed Baptist. We have discussed this issue at length (just our conversations with each other alone on the issue are probably up to 10-12 hours at this point). Her dad is an incredibly faithful man of God and an elder at their church, and has led his family in godliness very well. LOL, I think I have a crush on her whole family :pilgrim: . Her brothers are great too, and are guarding her quite well I must say :)

    She and I have HUGE agreement on a looooong list of things, including: headship, parenting, birth control, wanting very large families, homeschooling, evangelism, eschatology, presuppositional apologetics, presbyterian church government, the Doctrines of Grace, a disdain for Dispensationalism and New Covenant Theology, politics (both leaning theonomic), Christian liberty, and a love of good eastern-NC style barbeque.

    But we both know, despite our very obvious attraction and great respect for one another, baptism is not and never will be a small matter. Your thoughts??

    Thanks in advance, everyone. :candle:

    [Edited on 6-26-2005 by smhbbag]
  2. Texas Aggie

    Texas Aggie Puritan Board Freshman

    "Doctrine of baptisms" (Hebrews 6:2). I see baptism as plural in this verse. Now you can look at Ephesians 4:5 and see one baptism (this is probably the most important).

    Two baptisms: one physical (outward appearance) for man & the devils to see. The other baptism is by the Spirit (at your regeneration).

    The one that saves is by the Spirit. You can get sprinkled or swim in a pool all day long and receive absolutely nothing.

    Move on to the meat and forget the milk. Leave the doctrine of baptisms behind and don't get hung up on the first principles of the doctrine of Christ (Hebrews 5 & 6).

    A man who fears God is key. My question to the young man would be "What do you do with the law?" If he replies "What law?" then I might be worried. Questions about baptism would be the very least of my concern.
  3. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Would your children be baptized credo or paedo?
  4. Texas Aggie

    Texas Aggie Puritan Board Freshman

    I suppose I would prefer to see credo for my children; however, paedo is just fine as well. The physical display of baptism is not as important to me as the spiritural aspect (other than the physical is a commandment from God to which I will obey).

    My real hope and prayer lies with the Spirit and that my children are made partakers of the New Covenant.
  5. Arch2k

    Arch2k Puritan Board Graduate

    I would just say that BECAUSE it is milk, that it is important. Is it wrong to be with her over this difference? I am not necessarily saying that. One thing to look at is that there is the opportunity for sin in the family right off the bat. What happens when you have children and they become 8 days old? To baptize or not to baptize, that is the question. Under your headship, the wife would be obligated to submit at this point, but at the same time, she would be in sin not to baptize her children.

    Also realize that two can not be perfectly joined in ALL beliefs, but should strive for perfection.

    All the more so in a marriage relationship.

    Don't take this as me advocating a particular position for your relationship, but just some principle's to think about.

    Good providence!
  6. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    If you can overcome the BBQ battle, you can overcome most other difficulties! ;) Eastern-NC style :up:

    Seriously, credo vs. paedo baptism for a couple is a very significant issue. It's not the most significant issue (the key Christian duty is to marry "in the Lord"), but it affects how you will both understand your childrens' relationship to the covenant and the covenant community, which are pretty major issues.

    Daniel Dafoe (Presbyterian) has this bit of counsel (arising from Amos 3.3) to women in his Religious Courtship:

    [Edited on 6-26-2005 by VirginiaHuguenot]
  7. crhoades

    crhoades Puritan Board Graduate

    Just convert to paedo and call it a day:lol:
  8. smhbbag

    smhbbag Puritan Board Senior

    Our family would be credo, and the children baptized upon a profession of faith and repentance. I thought this would be assumed, sorry I wasn't clear.

    Certainly, no scriptural case can be made that it would be sin for us to marry. The question is how wise this decision may be, and whether we understand the tension or difficulty that may arise from our one difference (literally, this is it. certainly not belittling baptism, but every other issue it's like having a conversation with myself :lol: )

    I do not think that she would be in sin to submit to my headship on that point. The way I see it, if the paedo's are correct, she is not bound to have her children baptized - I am bound to have our children baptized. I will be the one who is accountable to God on this decision, and I certainly do not take that lightly. I do not see how my poor headship would be her sin. Obviously, I don't accept the premise that paedobaptism is either commanded or permissible, but the point remains.

    Andrew, thanks for the citation of Dafoe - I've actually been reading that lately myself. While I always cringe when I hear Amos 3:3 cited for such a concept (a very common example of eisegesis), unity is indeed crucial for any in the church to 'walk together.' This certainly applies even moreso to married couples.

    This is why we have spent SO much time discussing every aspect of parenting that we can think of....and we are already of one mind in all of them.

    *What parenting issues do you think may arise from our differing view of children's covenantal status? What do you think we need to discuss? We have likely already covered it, but I definitely want to cover every base before I make the commitment to pursue her toward marriage.

    **Draught Horse - it seemed like the question you asked had a prepared response/rebuke/counsel after you got the answer you knew was coming....what is it? :)
  9. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritanboard Commissioner

    My two cents: If a Presbyterian is able to ignore the covenant for the sake of a mate, they are not really Presbyterian; at least technically. My belief, the yolking spoken of in scripture, is not limited to marrying unbelievers.
  10. smhbbag

    smhbbag Puritan Board Senior

    Is there a textual argument for this assertion? Namely that there are further restrictions on who you can marry beyond not marrying an unbeliever? Can you objectively establish according to the Word, or by deduction from it, that a paedo cannot marry a credo?

    btw, Scott, check your U2U :)

    [Edited on 6-26-2005 by smhbbag]
  11. Augusta

    Augusta Puritan Board Doctor

    Noah's family was saved by virtue of him. Achan's family died with him by virtue of him and his sin. Don't underestimate what your headship means. It may not be her direct sin just as Adam's wasn't ours, but we suffer with him and because of him. Just as Christ is our head and by virtue of Him what blessing we receive. And the reverse is true for those who are of their father Satan, what curses they receive. I thank God I am not a man and have to contend with those kinds of weighty things.
  12. smhbbag

    smhbbag Puritan Board Senior

    Most definitely. I absolutely recognize that my poor headship, if you assume withholding baptism from my infant is poor headship, can have a profoundly negative effect on my entire family. Absolutely. No question there - but the sin would be mine and mine alone. And I do recognize the weightiness of that.

    [Edited on 6-26-2005 by smhbbag]
  13. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritanboard Commissioner

    Just my opinion; for practical purposes solely. For instance, someone with a heart for oversea's missions should not marry someone whom does not.
  14. smhbbag

    smhbbag Puritan Board Senior

    except, Scott - I believe there is an absolute textual argument in favor of restricting marriage on that point. We marry, in large part, because we become better servants of God by that union. Our spouse aids us in holiness and service - and if they do not, we should not pursue marriage. I take this as a huge principle of I Cor. 7. Thus, I certainly agree with the restriction you listed.....but it's a pretty difficult proof to show that such a situation exists in the wrong application of baptism.

    I am not impeding her central service to our Lord as a Christian wife: for her to love, honor and respect her husband, and for them to write the law on the hearts of their children, and raising them in faith and obedience. With this missionary, there is such a roadblock to his calling as a man. Here, I don't think there is.

    [Edited on 6-26-2005 by smhbbag]
  15. Puddleglum

    Puddleglum Puritan Board Sophomore

    Can she in good conscience submit to you and not have your children baptized? That's the first question, in my opinion (and something that she has to answer herself).

    Other things that come to mind: how do you view children of Christian parents? If she thinks that they're regenerate (like some Presbyterians) and you plan on telling them that they're going to Hell until they have a conversion experience or at least a period of change (like some Baptists), my opinion is that you'd be setting yourself up for some difficulties.

    I'm sending you an U2U, btw.
  16. Scott

    Scott Puritan Board Graduate

    Jeremy: You should find a nice baptist girl. The conflict is immense. It influences how you view your children too. One parent will view (or want to view) them as in the covenant. Another views them as little pagans in need of conversion.

    Here are some sample problems:

    [1] Do you teach your unconverted children to pray? It does not make sense to instruct unbelievers to pray to God, excepting a conversion prayer.
    [2] If you do teach them to pray, do they pray in the name of Jesus (aside from a sinners' prayer, of course)? You would not teach pagans that.
    [3] Do you teach them that God's loves them (apart from common grace)? You don't typically spread that message to heathen.
    [4] What moral system would you teach? The Ten Commandments and related principles were written to God's covenant bride, not unbelievers. The terms of the covenant are a form of marriage vow between God and His bride. If your child is outside God's bride, then he is not properly a part of these vows. At best, it would seem you could teach some form of natural theology or natural revelation. It does not make any more sense to tell a child outside the covenant to do follow God's scriptures (his covenant terms) than it does to tell a wife to follow the marital instructions of man who is not her husband. She has no covenant duty to men not her husband.

    I have one set of baptist childrearing materials that teaches: children should pray only to God the Father, who is their judge. Uncoverted children should never pray in the name of Jesus, as they are not yet saved. (Why they would pray to God the Father, I don't know, as prayers that are not in the name of Jesus are ineffectual - but this is what the materials taught).

    Besides, whatever your view of proper baptism, it in itself is essential. Failing to administer the covenant sign and seal was a death penalty crime in the OT. Gen. 17. I would suggest that you and your future spouse at least be in agreement on all moral matters that were so serious that they involved the death penalty.

    Just my two cents.


    [Edited on 6-27-2005 by Scott]
  17. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    :ditto: to Scott, except on #4, simply because we of course believe the moral law to be binding upon all men. In the Old Testament, it is true that the moral law was only revealed to God's covenant community, but that is no longer the case.
  18. Michael Butterfield

    Michael Butterfield Puritan Board Freshman

    :book2: ". . . For whatsoever is not of faith is sin." Romans 14:23

    It would seem to me that from the start this principle of scripture would forbid someone marrying a person with a differing view onf baptism. How can the young lady put off baptism for credo baptism by faith? Would it not then be sin? Submission does not trump the sin of not baptizing your children. It would be a sin to go against "faith," would it not?

    I am teaching my own children (3 daughters and 1 son so far) that for a more informed and blessed maritial state that must marry only a paedo baptist, not so much becuase I have that much difference between me and a credo baptist, but for the sake of their unity and their faith. Again, the principle is that whatsoever is not of faith is sin. It would, under this principle, be a sin for them to marry a credo.
  19. Michael Butterfield

    Michael Butterfield Puritan Board Freshman


    Coupled with Scott's post, I would add that covenant discipline has a different emphasis and direction when there is a paedo view. I often, for example, use my childrens position in the covenant to deal with their own sins and in how I seek to impress upon them their special privilege of being covenant Children as tool of conviction. In addition, this is not a position with neutral consequences. It comes into child rearing and to add to Scott, it even affects how one conducts their family worship.

  20. Texas Aggie

    Texas Aggie Puritan Board Freshman

    Marry the girl if you truly love her. Don't get hung-up on the Paedo vs. Credo baptism issue (unless you are just looking for an excuse to dump her and this is the only thing you can zone in on).

    Let God take care of the situation. Baptism is a commandment from God. Go Paedo and show man and the devils that you intend to raise your child in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Go Credo later and let your child acknowledge repentance and faith towards God at regeneration (providing their name is even written in the Book of Life).

    Give me a break. God saves, the water does not. Marry the girl, seems you have much in common and are equally yoked.
  21. wsw201

    wsw201 Puritan Board Senior


    When you get married, you marry the whole family! Have you discussed this issue with her father?
  22. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Matt, I would advise you do some further research on this issue before dismissing it as such. If it was not important, God would not have devoted time to commanding, explaining and illustrating it in His Word. By your statement above, you even seem to think that neither side can be wrong to an extent significant enough to render them in sin. Read this thread. While I take the opposite position on baptism as the thread's author, he and others do an excellent job illustrating the serious nature of the sacrament. Either we take God's commands seriously or we do not, and one of the easiest and most subtle ways of doing the latter is to deceive ourselves by picking and choosing which parts of His law we will emphasize based on how we personally feel about their importance.
  23. Scott

    Scott Puritan Board Graduate

    "to Scott, except on #4, simply because we of course believe the moral law to be binding upon all men. In the Old Testament, it is true that the moral law was only revealed to God's covenant community, but that is no longer the case."

    I agree that the moral law is revealed to all and was during all ages of history. The idea is that the Bible is special revelation, which is entrusted to the Church. Credos view children as outside the Church. The scriptures, our marriage papers to God, do not properly belong to children if Credos are right.

    Natural revelation reveals God's moral law to all men. Discernment of this is through natural theology and natural revelation, not God's special covenant with His bride.

    In any event, the commands are largely coextenisive, but you just get there in different ways.
  24. Texas Aggie

    Texas Aggie Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks Chris. I will take a look at the thread you provided.

    I am not saying this commandment is not important.... obviously it is and we can get too hung-up on the matter.

    This issue is not important enough to throw away a possible wife (providing all the other ducks are aligned). God may reveal something to Jeremy or His possible wife later (or He may never). Baptism of their children would be the last issue on my mind... there are other greater concerns.

    Leave the covenant status of children to God. You (as the parent) do as you are commanded by the law and Spirit.
  25. Scott

    Scott Puritan Board Graduate

    Jeremy: I assume that the girl you are interested in was baptized as a baby. That could be a problem too. I expect if you are a consistent Credo you don't recognize her baptism as valid (i.e. you would be marrying someone who in your eyes has never been baptized). Further, Credo churches you would want to attend would likely not recognize her baptism as valid (some, like Phillip Way's or Doug Wilson's, might accommodate her), which would mean she would either have to violate her conscience and be rebaptized or never become a member (i.e. formally remain outside the visible church or remain a nominal member of her current church, which if you follow either the WCF or LCF is a very serious issue).

    There really are many nice baptist girls around. The issue of baptism is more important than most of the areas of agreement you listed (eschatology, apologetics, etc).

    My advice: become Dutch reformed through and through, including infant baptism (and I say this as a Scottish presbyterian). ;)
  26. Scott

    Scott Puritan Board Graduate

    "Leave the covenant status of children to God. You (as the parent) do as you are commanded by the law and Spirit."

    This is a misapplication of the doctrine of predestination. God decrees not only the ends, but the means as well. One of the means to the end (salvation) is the nature of quality of parental supervision.
  27. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    :ditto: Furthermore, a significant part of what one believes he is commanded to do by the law and Spirit is directly affected by his view of the covenant status of children.
  28. Larry Hughes

    Larry Hughes Puritan Board Sophomore

    Rather unique timing. This is an interesting question, this post, as my wife were discussing this very thing this weekend, having two baby girls to raise. I said, I would definitely want true Christian (reformed) husbands for them "“ but what about the whole baptism issue even if a man (or woman) were reformed otherwise.

    It is a serious issue if one thinks it through. How could I as one who now affirms covenant baptism and covenant continuity allow for any of my daughters to marry and have children that would disdain this. It may sound harsh and a dividing wall but at the end of the day it really is a significant dividing wall that I cannot see away to "œget around". John Calvin married an Anabaptist but after teaching her covenant Christianity and her coming to that.

    This issue is especially perilous for a woman because she must come under the spiritual headship of the husband. Thus, for her it would be to reject what she affirms the Word of God teaches, either way "“ which we should not do unless we are rejecting our former position as in error (speaking neutrally).

    I don´t think one is going to be able to produce this from either camp. Logically this is impossible and both camps would have to agree. Why? For in REALITY the Bible really only teaches one or the other, therefore you will not be able to find a text relating to a believer credo or believer paedo. From either camps understanding of Scripture (keeping in mind from a pure neutral without siding perspective one position is in error) the Scripture does not speak of the other´s position as valid and the other´s position would be foreign to Scripture. Therefore, it would be hard to produce the text. Because it is not a matter of the children in such a marriage being holy (set aside) because of one believing parent "“ for in this case both are believers "“ one would just happen to really believe it while the other doesn´t.

    Strictly speaking if the credo is going to be logically consistent with his/her theology on baptism he/she must view that his/her potential paedo spouse is not a member of his/her church nor really can be until he/she is rebaptized by immersion/post-regeneration (although some Baptist make exceptions to this by creating a manmade - kind of "œlesser member" membership, which kind of flies in the face of having two levels of Christians in a church like the issue at Corinth that Paul dealt with). One cannot divorce the membership issue here.

    And strictly speaking if the paedo is going to be consistent with his/her theology on baptism he/she must refuse such rebaptism as a sinful dispersion cast upon God´s promise contained in his/her sprinkling/paedeo baptism and an out right rejection of it. It would be one thing if one was already married and one spouse came to a different position, quite another to walk in with both eyes wide open.

    That alone causes problems. Future children compound this. Then, if the paedeo wife does not "œrebaptize", then has children and the children must wait for a profession of faith "“ they are going to eventually ask why their mom´s infant sprinkling is OK but not for them and why their dad says otherwise? Because one thing about kids that we adults could learn a thing or two, children don´t put on hypocrisy faces like we do, and are often times embarrassingly forth right and honest in there queries. Talk about some confusion.


    [Edited on 6-27-2005 by Larry Hughes]
  29. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    The historical example of John Calvin and Idelette de Bure is a good one to consider.
  30. biblelighthouse

    biblelighthouse Puritan Board Junior

    I really appreciate this thread, including the great posts by Bushey, Roberts, Hughes, and others. I hadn't thought a lot about this aspect of the PB/CB question.

    I have three young daughters, and I definitely want to teach them from childhood that they need to marry paedobaptists when they grow up. I don't want their marriages & families to have to deal with so much unneccesary turmoil . . . life will be challenging enough without it!

    I think the Amos quote is especially applicable: "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?"

    Some differences between spouses are inevitable. But baptism is just TOO BIG of a deal to ignore. People should not intentionally enter a marriage with someone from the opposite side of the baptismal fence.

    Thank you guys for writing what you did above, spelling out all of the problems that can be *certainly* expected in a credo/paedo marriage. You have helped me think this through more clearly. I agree with you.

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