Presumptive Regeneration/Presumptive Election

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Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Whatever the case, the table has requirements. One being conversion. Even a regenerate infant does not meet that. A regenerate infant cannot examine themselves for fitness, hence he is eliminated from partaking on those grounds alone.
 

C. Matthew McMahon

Christian Preacher
Originally posted by Paul manata
Matt, gotta go out to work. I will respond later. There were quite a few areas where you misread/misinterpreted what I said: Before I respond maybe you want to repost? Here's an example

YOU SAID: He has a changed mind. He is a new man. He is fit for the table.

MATT SAID: No, actually, he has not changed his mind - the Holy Spirit did. Later, he will exercise it around biblical propositions that he can understand after learning how to speak, and growing into a child who can interect with information.


If you notice I never said HE changed his mind. I just said he has a changed mind.

Also, how can I respond until you tell me about you cognitive undersatdning story, you've still not done this.

in the words os Arnold: I'll be back

[Edited on 11-24-2004 by Paul manata]

Sorry about reading too fast on that one.

Real simple: Infants (babies - gaga googoo) cannot exercise faith. They are cognitively unable to link together the Gospel propositions to believe.

That's it.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
They are not fit for the simple rationale that they do not meet the scriptural mandate to partake, i.e. examination.
Also, regenerate people require conversion also.......

[Edited on 11-24-2004 by Scott Bushey]
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
A 3 yr old is not able to examine themselves. I don't need to presume that; clinically, I know the brain is not in gear yet. Why does your church have a communicants class?
 

C. Matthew McMahon

Christian Preacher
Originally posted by Paul manata
Originally posted by Scott Bushey
They are not fit for the simple rationale that they do not meet the scriptural mandate to partake, i.e. examination.

you examine to see if you are a follower of Christ, are a new man, have been born of the Spirit, etc. so why not presume that they have the criteria that an examination would show? Scott, you don't reeeeaaally presume them regenerate, do you? It's kind of like a "wink-wink" think.

But anyway, shouldn't all three year olds be able to partake?

Theologically, practically, exegetically you are simply throwing away 1 Cor. 11 from t he mix. Let's say this - say every passage that has anything to do with "examining" yourself" was throw away or did not exist. What you are saying, THEN, would make perfect sense. However, because we have Specific scriptural mandates for examination by THOSE that PARTAKE, the infant is excluded. Just like a novice, in certain respects, is excluded from bing a minister. That are not capable yet for many reasons. In this case, they simply do not have the capacity to OF THEMSELVES, not by proxy, meet the requirements of the supper. The Supper is NOT ONLY that on e is regenerate, but that they have the cognitive abilities to examine themselves based on the context of 1 Cor. 11.

There is absolutely not way that you could take or imply that PR would necessitate an infant at the table. Its not possible based on Scripture, and the warrants for the supper.

You are hermeneutically overthrowing yourself with the rationale that all we need is to be "regenerate." Where in the world is that stated as the ONLY prerequisite?? why are we HAVING THIS DISCUSSION? (I mean, you can't win, so.......)

[Edited on 11-24-2004 by webmaster]
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Originally posted by Paul manata
Originally posted by Scott Bushey
A 3 yr old is not able to examine themselves. I don't need to presume that; clinically, I know the brain is not in gear yet. Why does your church have a communicants class?

THANK YOU! Finally. Now, if the physical brain is required for thinking, examing, etc then you must say that men like, the Apsotle Paul, John, Peter, James, etc can't think since they have no brain!

Finally we're moving somewhere. All youn guys have done is to assert without looking at your presuppositions. Now, let's do that?


Paul,
Sorry- thats ridiculous.
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Originally posted by webmaster
Originally posted by Paul manata
Originally posted by Scott Bushey
They are not fit for the simple rationale that they do not meet the scriptural mandate to partake, i.e. examination.

you examine to see if you are a follower of Christ, are a new man, have been born of the Spirit, etc. so why not presume that they have the criteria that an examination would show? Scott, you don't reeeeaaally presume them regenerate, do you? It's kind of like a "wink-wink" think.

But anyway, shouldn't all three year olds be able to partake?

Theologically, practically, exegetically you are simply throwing away 1 Cor. 11 from t he mix. Let's say this - say every passage that has anything to do with "examining" yourself" was throw away or did not exist. What you are saying, THEN, would make perfect sense. However, because we have Specific scriptural mandates for examination by THOSE that PARTAKE, the infant is excluded. Just like a novice, in certain respects, is excluded from bing a minister. That are not capable yet for many reasons. In this case, they simply do not have the capacity to OF THEMSELVES, not by proxy, meet the requirements of the supper. The Supper is NOT ONLY that on e is regenerate, but that they have the cognitive abilities to examine themselves based on the context of 1 Cor. 11.

There is absolutely not way that you could take or imply that PR would necessitate an infant at the table. Its not possible based on Scripture, and the warrants for the supper.

You are hermeneutically overthrowing yourself with the rationale that all we need is to be "regenerate." Where in the world is that stated as the ONLY prerequisite?? why are we HAVING THIS DISCUSSION? (I mean, you can't win, so.......)

Matt,

(By the way, I agree that PC is a VERY bad thing)

Isn't the question here not whether or not one needs to examine oneself, but rather what is one examining oneself for?

So it is very possible to say, as all PC advocates say - that someone is to examine themselves for signs of regeneration (by the way, I would like to see where the Bible talks about the sacrament using the distinction of regeneration vs. conversion - it doesn't) rather than for signs of having "closed with Christ" ? So a 3 year old by that definition could indeed examine himself. He makes the examination that a PC advocate espouses. You ask him, have you been baptized (which is a sign of presumptive regeneration) ? If the anser is yes, we are to presume that he is regenerate, and 1 Cor. 11 is "thrown out of the mix." The only thing you have to fall back on is whether the Supper is for the converted as opposed to the regenerate. I think that is a hard task to prove Biblically, but go ahead and try.

Does that make sense, Paul?
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
An infant or toddler cannot examine themselves; adults however, whom have been converted can. That is why we do not stand to embrace PC.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
You have one so that you can examine. Whether one is PR is irrelevent. regeneration is not conversion and conversion is not regeneration. How many times do I have to repeat that Paul?
 

C. Matthew McMahon

Christian Preacher
Isn't the question here not whether or not one needs to examine oneself, but rather what is one examining oneself for?

No, its both. Can't have one without the other.

It terms of the "brain" (material,. immaterial, etc.) we are not talking about an infant who dies. (When did this come intot he mix??) That's ANOTHER case. Stick to the case in point - i.e. babies in human bodies who cannot think cognitively to examine themselves at the Lord's Supper.

Round and round.

Nice evasions.

I am glad you don't like PC.
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Originally posted by webmaster
Isn't the question here not whether or not one needs to examine oneself, but rather what is one examining oneself for?

No, its both. Can't have one without the other.

It terms of the "brain" (material,. immaterial, etc.) we are not talking about an infant who dies. (When did this come intot he mix??) That's ANOTHER case. Stick to the case in point - i.e. babies in human bodies who cannot think cognitively to examine themselves at the Lord's Supper.

Round and round.

Nice evasions.

I am glad you don't like PC.

Matt,

I'm not evading or going round and round. Let's take a case where one can think cognitively but does not show fruit of conversion. Say a 3 or 4 year olf. I assure you, a 3 year old CAN think cognitively. I have had 3 of them. They can think. They can even understand that they have been baptized. I have asked that question of them when a sibling was to be baptized.

I don't want to talk about non-cognitive babies. That is a much harder and more esoteric case. Let's talk about a child who has (1) been baptized, (2) knows that he has been baptized, i.e. has cognitive ability, and (3) does not show fruit of conversion, i.e. cannot express a credible profession of faith.

Now, the question is, should that child be able to partake of the Supper? There are only three possible answers:

1. Yes, because he is presumed regenerate and the Supper is for those who are regenerate - new creations in Christ.

2. No, because the Supper is not for the regenerate (new creations in Christ) but only for the converted.

3. No, because he is neither presumed regenerate nor converted until he shows fruit of closing with Christ (mostly likely a credible profession of faith - "But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" )

Now I don't think you want to say #1, unless you are thinking about following Frankie Schaefer into Eastern Orthodoxy, or joining the Federal Vision club. :D

If you want to say #2, you must show where the Bible speaks not ONLY of examination, because the 3 or 4 year old can examine himself for signs of being baptized, and hence regenerate, but you must show where the Bible says that the Supper is only for the converted, and how being converted is distinct from regeneration.

If you say #3, we can give up the discussion, 'cause we agree. :D
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Why do we baptize a child of a faithful parent? If he has his own faith then he can receive baptism on his own account. Cannot a child of 3, then, who has no believing parent also receive baptism if he believes? Do we not bapatize a child on the account of a parent's faith?

We have gone from presuming a status of membership for a child of believing parents to one having the same responsibilities in the faith as his parent. Why? That has completely undemined why we baptize. If you baptize an adult you presume; and if you baptize a child you presume. The question is what is it we presume: regeneration or election? It is not a question of whether a child can examine himself for participation in Communion, because when it becomes that then it is clear that we have not understood why we baptize our children. We blur the lines that distinguish the sacraments, and we blur the lines of why children are included in the Covenant until they are able to stand on their own. And I don't think that there can be that much difference between standing on their own in lesser matters, such as smoking, voting, driving, working, and so on, and that of taking on the full responsibilities of living a life of faithfulness. It is not just a matter of taking on the responsibilities that your age allows for; it is a matter of taking on the full responsibilities. If it was in part only, then the rest of it still falls under the parents' responsibilities.

So it cannot be that PC follows logically from PR; in fact the opposite is true, that PR obviates PC. The child's parent(s) must be (a) believer to receive the sacrament of baptism; and he himself must be a believer on his own recognizance to receive the sacrament of Communion. That is, he must be on record as having taken on the full responsibilities of faith to be able to examine himself. If a child were able to do that, then we no longer baptize him on the grounds of his parents' faith, that God's promises are extended to their children, but on his own account. That is a trap many have fallen into in my Reformed setting: caught in the conundrums of assuming too much, and accounting too little.
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Originally posted by Paul manata
The real issue here is that people *don;t want* it to lead there. I'm still confused why everyone agrees with this definition of regeneration, and then also says that there are not two definitions of regeneration. Here's the quote:

Regeneration, ***or new birth***, is an inner re-creating of fallen human nature by the gracious sovereign action of the Holy Spirit (John 3:5-8). The Bible conceives salvation as the redemptive renewal of man on the basis of a restored relationship with God in Christ, and presents it as involving ***"a radical and complete transformation wrought in the soul*** (Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:23) by God the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5; Eph. 4:24), by virtue of which we become 'new men' (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10), no longer conformed to this world (Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9), ****but in knowledge**** and holiness of the truth created after the image of God (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10; Rom. 12:2)" (B. B. Warfield, Biblical and Theological Studies, 351). Regeneration is the "birth" by which this work of new creation is begun, as sanctification is the "growth" whereby it continues (I Pet. 2:2; II Pet. 3:18). Regeneration in Christ changes the disposition from lawless, Godless self-seeking (Rom. 3:9-18; 8:7) which dominates man in Adam into one of trust and love, of repentance for past rebelliousness and unbelief, and loving compliance with God's law henceforth. ****It enlightens the blinded mind to discern spiritual realities**** (I Cor. 2:14-15; II Cor. 4:6; Col. 3:10), and liberates and energizes the enslaved will for free obedience to God (Rom. 6:14, 17-22; Phil. 2:13).


See, there's knowledge, hatred of sin, etc!!!!! Why can't anyone see this? I know you don't WANT it to lead there but you can't say that a regenerate person doesn't have the above things since (1) you agreeed with the definition. (2) you said there are not two definitions. If an infant is characterized by the above then I don;t see how you can deny them.

If sanctification is a means by which it grows then why deny the child a MEANS OF GRACE so that his regeneration can grow???


I don't find people being consistant here.

Paul,

I agree. When one reads Owen's Vol 3, you are left with no other conclusion.
 

AdamM

Puritan Board Freshman
Here is an excerpt from Gerstner´s Rational Biblical Theology (Volume 2, p.123-124) that I think will be relevant to our discussion. Note that the first quote is from the book "The Covenant Idea" by PY De Jong:


"œThus much less was expected of the children in the way of assuming their responsibility of walking according to the demands of the covenant holiness than of adults, although both were regarded as in possession of the principle of saving grace. The reason why children were not allowed to partake of the Lord´s Supper lay in the fact that they could not prove themselves"¦." De Jong, The Covenant Idea, p.60


This is the plainest statement of this colossal error to be found in the long paragraph. Both adults and children "œwere regarded as in full possession of the principle of saving grace." If so "œregarded" it was unjustifiably so regarded of baptized children before they gave the same credible evidence that their parents gave.

One notes in passing the paedocommunion thinking here. Baptized infants are regenerate children and as such as entitled to the Lord´s Table. Only they cannot "œdiscern" (1 Cor 11:29). But Paul´s discerning is a spiritual discerning (even unregenerates can rationally "œdiscern"), and if the infant has saving faith, he also has infantile discerning. Also the "œprove themselves" would be quite unnecessary if God promised that children of believing parents were elect and regenerate and these children do have the gracious principal within themselves. Does one challenge God to prove Himself?

Next comes the bomb that explodes that explodes and destroys this whole doctrinal pattern of assume infant regeneration. This utterly inconsistent statement follows:

Where it not the case, sooner or later excommunication would be applied, since the individual did not manifest the presence of saving grace. De Jong, The Covenant Idea p.60.

At the very end of the paragraph our author returns to this fatal theme with these words:

Thus the church was not regarded as the institution in which the child has a place in order that he might be considered a hopeful candidate for receiving God´s grace. Rather, he has a place because he possesses that grace either by virtue of promise or presence. De Jong, The Covenant Idea p.61.

This is one of the most amazing instances of inconsistent thinking I have ever read, and yet it is standard for many theologians of this covenantal stripe at this point. Consider a plain statement of the position:

1. All baptized infants of believers are "œin full possession of the principle of saving grace."

2.Reformed theology teaches that all who possess "œsaving grace" are elect, regenerate, persevering. And then, inconsistently:

3.Nevertheless, some of these children may never show the "œpresence" of this grace and be saved. Some who once possessed "œsaving grace" will "œsooner or later" be excommunicated from the church and salvation, thereby showing by their failure that they never had saving grace!

What in the world can "œhe possesses that grace either by virtue of promise or presence" mean? De Jong insists that the "œpromise" of God guarantees the grace of the baptized infant. What could be more certain of infallible? "œPresence" may or may not be accurately determined by men, but if there is promise of God no determination of men is necessary nor could "œpresence" fail to appear some time, early or late in life, whether its "œpresence" is recognized or not.

The Edwardsian view is consistent. It finds no promise of God that all the children of believers are elect and regenerate and possessing the "œfaith-principle" and "œdivine grace." Hence covenant children the obligation to seek for the "œpresence" of faith which, if found would imply election, regeneration, and eternal life in the cases of those baptized infants who did possess the election of God.

The Rational Biblical Theology of Jonathan Edwards (Volume 2), by John Gerstner p. 123-124.

[Edited on 25-11-2004 by AdamM]

[Edited on 25-11-2004 by AdamM]
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
:banghead:

Sorry brothers, but I think you're missing what Matt and Scott are saying, and my thoughts have been of no help. I have no false idea that some in the discussion are favouring Paedo Communion. I understand what is going on here.

I do have the notion, though, that there are Paedo Communion-ites following this discussion. I have in mind particularly persons who are not members here, but who have been invited to read along, as this topic is of great concern to them right now.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Sorry, I missed this discussion. Been gone for a few days. Here's the hang up for me, and perhaps it's more ecclesiastical than theological, but it keeps me holding loosely to PR with some reservation, especially thanks to Fred's and Paul's posts.

To be a member of Christ's church means you belong to Him, you are His people, you are those who have been brought from death to life. You cannot be a member of the invisible church without this work of grace at least beginning (i.e. regeneration). As members of the visible church, we make presumptions because we can't see the heart, only God can. We presume that those in the visible church are in the invisible church until we see fruit contrary to this, in which case discipline is exercised. When we baptise infants of believers because they are covenant children, we call them "members" of the visible Church. The very fact we call them "members" in the Church presupposes a work of grace has begun in them. One cannot be a member of the invisible church without the work of grace in the heart, and in order to admit them to the visible church we must presume this work has taken place. Otherwise we are claiming children of wrath (i.e. if we don't presume the work of grace beginning) are in fact saints which is expressely forbidden. To call someone a member of Christ's church presumes they are the special recipients of God's saving work of grace. Though election is certainly an act of grace, the work of grace doesn't begin in the individual until regeneration. That is why at this point I think PR is the more logical position, just to be consistent with the title we give to our children as members of the Church. Any thoughts?
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Originally posted by puritansailor
Sorry, I missed this discussion. Been gone for a few days. Here's the hang up for me, and perhaps it's more ecclesiastical than theological, but it keeps me holding loosely to PR with some reservation, especially thanks to Fred's and Paul's posts.

To be a member of Christ's church means you belong to Him, you are His people, you are those who have been brought from death to life. You cannot be a member of the invisible church without this work of grace at least beginning (i.e. regeneration). As members of the visible church, we make presumptions because we can't see the heart, only God can. We presume that those in the visible church are in the invisible church until we see fruit contrary to this, in which case discipline is exercised. When we baptise infants of believers because they are covenant children, we call them "members" of the visible Church. The very fact we call them "members" in the Church presupposes a work of grace has begun in them. One cannot be a member of the invisible church without the work of grace in the heart, and in order to admit them to the visible church we must presume this work has taken place. Otherwise we are claiming children of wrath (i.e. if we don't presume the work of grace beginning) are in fact saints which is expressely forbidden. To call someone a member of Christ's church presumes they are the special recipients of God's saving work of grace. Though election is certainly an act of grace, the work of grace doesn't begin in the individual until regeneration. That is why at this point I think PR is the more logical position, just to be consistent with the title we give to our children as members of the Church. Any thoughts?

Patrick,

It was good to be with you last week.

Here is the problem with your comments (as I see it): even if we set aside compeltely the issue of paedocommunion - say we are talking about a 14 year old - why do we require a credible profession of faith from them before they partake? If what we are to do is presume that they "belong to Him" until "we see fruit contrary to this, in which case discipline is exercised" then any child of the covenant who has cognitive ability (so as to get around Matt & Scott's problem) should be admitted UNLESS they have apostatized. And in fact, this is exactly the position of the new federal vision-type theologies. The problem is, that this is 180 degrees from Calvin's position (significant, because Calvin is Schenck's hero for PR). Calvin diligently and in excrutiating detail examined children of the covenant before they could partake. (By the way, so did all the other Magisterial Reformers) This makes no sense in a PR scheme.

What we are left with is a presumption that gives to children all the benefits of the covenant, calls them Christians, says that we are to view them as regenerate, says we should point them to their baptism for assurance, but then denies them the sacrament until they do something else. This makes no sense to me. (And in fact, this is EXACTLY the line of argument used by paedocommunionists - go to the yahoogroup for rtdisc where a whole bunch of PC's hang out, read Tommy Lee, read the Federal Vision guys. They argue this point)
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by Paul manata
Patrick,

I hear everything you're saying. My argument has been, though, that PR leads to PC. So, my "tactic" in this discussion is to defeat PR by saying that if you hold to it you need to also hold to PC. Notice, this does not necessarily refute PR. It only aims to refute a specific type of PRist, namely, the PRist who believes that PCism is wrong.

Well, unlike Matt and Scott, I think infants can have some sort of faith. I don't think there is a time gap between regeneration and faith. Faith is the response of regeneration. You are brought to life, you eyes open, and can't help but see the truths of God, perhaps not clearly at first (just like when babies are physically born and only see about a foot in front of them). But I leave this in the realm of mystery. There's more to thought than just the physical brain as you mentioned earlier. But I'm still working through all this.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I invited some. It was me.

Also, please remember that there are other members of this Board reading too, and not all of us are paedo baptist. Lets not undermine the valuable work done so far.

I am not saying that any of you are paedo communion-ites.

That's my position John. I would love to see them explain it for me becuae even if they do I would still be PE. PR-->PC just seems to be a problem that I have perceived. That's all.

Yes, I understood that. And I respect that too. As I understand it, though, PR obviates PC, and does not logically lead to it. I believe Matt and Scott are saying that too. As I said before, I do not wish to argue over the term 'regeration'; I think it leads to faults in our thinking when we try to hang too much on the term. Not because we are not able to think, but because we are not given enough information. The ordo salutis is fine, but can we be absolutely certain that it is the norm for every conversion? I do not have that confidence, as I am not sure yet that God is still above the ordo when it is applied that way. And He must be, or our thinking is vain.

I am not trying to talk anyone out of their understanding. I am asking you all to be carefull that you don't end up ceding much more than you think you have to gain. I can imagine someone new to the concept of Paedo Baptism doing a double take on it now, and reverting back to Credo Baptism. And all because we are disputing over words. But even more so, I can imagine someone being persuaded toward Paedo Communion losing the one strong argument against it that they can all understand, and that is that they baptize their children.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by fredtgreco
Originally posted by puritansailor
Sorry, I missed this discussion. Been gone for a few days. Here's the hang up for me, and perhaps it's more ecclesiastical than theological, but it keeps me holding loosely to PR with some reservation, especially thanks to Fred's and Paul's posts.

To be a member of Christ's church means you belong to Him, you are His people, you are those who have been brought from death to life. You cannot be a member of the invisible church without this work of grace at least beginning (i.e. regeneration). As members of the visible church, we make presumptions because we can't see the heart, only God can. We presume that those in the visible church are in the invisible church until we see fruit contrary to this, in which case discipline is exercised. When we baptise infants of believers because they are covenant children, we call them "members" of the visible Church. The very fact we call them "members" in the Church presupposes a work of grace has begun in them. One cannot be a member of the invisible church without the work of grace in the heart, and in order to admit them to the visible church we must presume this work has taken place. Otherwise we are claiming children of wrath (i.e. if we don't presume the work of grace beginning) are in fact saints which is expressely forbidden. To call someone a member of Christ's church presumes they are the special recipients of God's saving work of grace. Though election is certainly an act of grace, the work of grace doesn't begin in the individual until regeneration. That is why at this point I think PR is the more logical position, just to be consistent with the title we give to our children as members of the Church. Any thoughts?

Patrick,

It was good to be with you last week.

Here is the problem with your comments (as I see it): even if we set aside compeltely the issue of paedocommunion - say we are talking about a 14 year old - why do we require a credible profession of faith from them before they partake? If what we are to do is presume that they "belong to Him" until "we see fruit contrary to this, in which case discipline is exercised" then any child of the covenant who has cognitive ability (so as to get around Matt & Scott's problem) should be admitted UNLESS they have apostatized. And in fact, this is exactly the position of the new federal vision-type theologies. The problem is, that this is 180 degrees from Calvin's position (significant, because Calvin is Schenck's hero for PR). Calvin diligently and in excrutiating detail examined children of the covenant before they could partake. (By the way, so did all the other Magisterial Reformers) This makes no sense in a PR scheme.

What we are left with is a presumption that gives to children all the benefits of the covenant, calls them Christians, says that we are to view them as regenerate, says we should point them to their baptism for assurance, but then denies them the sacrament until they do something else. This makes no sense to me. (And in fact, this is EXACTLY the line of argument used by paedocommunionists - go to the yahoogroup for rtdisc where a whole bunch of PC's hang out, read Tommy Lee, read the Federal Vision guys. They argue this point)
It was great to see you too. I'll be back soon :)

I guess I don't see a conflict with PR and strict examination for admission to communion. It presumes the work of grace has begun, but not that this child is yet mature enough in faith to partake of the Supper. I also think that just as our presumption regarding adults is conditional upon their fruit, so it must be with children. If they are turning towards the road to sin, we change our plan of action than if they were faithfully exercising their duties.

[Edited on 26-11-2004 by puritansailor]
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Originally posted by puritansailor
Originally posted by Paul manata
Patrick,

I hear everything you're saying. My argument has been, though, that PR leads to PC. So, my "tactic" in this discussion is to defeat PR by saying that if you hold to it you need to also hold to PC. Notice, this does not necessarily refute PR. It only aims to refute a specific type of PRist, namely, the PRist who believes that PCism is wrong.

Well, unlike Matt and Scott, I think infants can have some sort of faith. I don't think there is a time gap between regeneration and faith. Faith is the response of regeneration. You are brought to life, you eyes open, and can't help but see the truths of God, perhaps not clearly at first (just like when babies are physically born and only see about a foot in front of them). But I leave this in the realm of mystery. There's more to thought than just the physical brain as you mentioned earlier. But I'm still working through all this.

I certainly think that is possible -after all, I have cited Owen on this several times with the exceptional case of elect infants dying in infancy. but here is the problem then Patrick:

if a child is presumed regenerate, presumed to have faith, and presumed a member of the invisible church, what right do we have to deny them admission to the table?
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Originally posted by JohnV
As I said before, I do not wish to argue over the term 'regeration'; I think it leads to faults in our thinking when we try to hang too much on the term. Not because we are not able to think, but because we are not given enough information.

But here is the rub John:

how do we avoid the term when what is at issue is EXACTLY what is meant by the term "regeneration" ? If you say that infants are presumed regenerate, and I say, "what do you mean by that," you can't rightly say, "I can't tell you, just trust me."
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by fredtgreco
Originally posted by puritansailor
Originally posted by Paul manata
Patrick,

I hear everything you're saying. My argument has been, though, that PR leads to PC. So, my "tactic" in this discussion is to defeat PR by saying that if you hold to it you need to also hold to PC. Notice, this does not necessarily refute PR. It only aims to refute a specific type of PRist, namely, the PRist who believes that PCism is wrong.

Well, unlike Matt and Scott, I think infants can have some sort of faith. I don't think there is a time gap between regeneration and faith. Faith is the response of regeneration. You are brought to life, you eyes open, and can't help but see the truths of God, perhaps not clearly at first (just like when babies are physically born and only see about a foot in front of them). But I leave this in the realm of mystery. There's more to thought than just the physical brain as you mentioned earlier. But I'm still working through all this.

I certainly think that is possible -after all, I have cited Owen on this several times with the exceptional case of elect infants dying in infancy. but here is the problem then Patrick:

if a child is presumed regenerate, presumed to have faith, and presumed a member of the invisible church, what right do we have to deny them admission to the table?

They aren't mature enough in faith to partake yet. They must be able to examine themselves.
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Originally posted by puritansailor
Originally posted by fredtgreco
Originally posted by puritansailor
Originally posted by Paul manata
Patrick,

I hear everything you're saying. My argument has been, though, that PR leads to PC. So, my "tactic" in this discussion is to defeat PR by saying that if you hold to it you need to also hold to PC. Notice, this does not necessarily refute PR. It only aims to refute a specific type of PRist, namely, the PRist who believes that PCism is wrong.

Well, unlike Matt and Scott, I think infants can have some sort of faith. I don't think there is a time gap between regeneration and faith. Faith is the response of regeneration. You are brought to life, you eyes open, and can't help but see the truths of God, perhaps not clearly at first (just like when babies are physically born and only see about a foot in front of them). But I leave this in the realm of mystery. There's more to thought than just the physical brain as you mentioned earlier. But I'm still working through all this.

I certainly think that is possible -after all, I have cited Owen on this several times with the exceptional case of elect infants dying in infancy. but here is the problem then Patrick:

if a child is presumed regenerate, presumed to have faith, and presumed a member of the invisible church, what right do we have to deny them admission to the table?

They aren't mature enough in faith to partake yet. They must be able to examine themselves.

And so we come back again (maybe the 6th time) to my question: examine themselves with respect to what? if it is their regeneration, their membership in the body of Christ, and if PR is true, then the examination should be something like:

Q: Are you baptized
A: Yes
Then partake, and if we see fruit that you have apostatized, we will stop you.

If they are to examine themselves with respect to regeneration/conversion/union with Christ, and PR is not true, then there is no issue. We presume that they are elect, and one day God will show evidence of that work by regenerating them and united them to Christ, at which point they will show fruit (first a profession with their mouth, then walking in holiness)
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Originally posted by Paul manata
Originally posted by puritansailor


They aren't mature enough in faith to partake yet. They must be able to examine themselves.

Someone who is regenerate for 2 years 9remmebr the definitions now, growing, hating sin, knowledge of spiritual things, etc) isn't more mature in the faith than a 30 year old who has been regenerate for 5 minutes?

As Fred said, examine themselves for what? If you really do presume what you say you do, then if my definitions (on top oage three are read) are what you presume, you should presume that they meet the requirements of self-examination.

I still don't really know which side of the fence I fall on in terms of PR/PE (in light of the hypothetical questions I posed to both sides early in this thread), but I also don't see how either one has to necessitate paedocommunion. For even if regeneration is presumed, that cannot be enough to warrant assumption that the requirements for "examination" are fulfilled, otherwise no adult, baptized church members would ever need to examine themselves before partaking. Think about it - Paul's very instructions in 1 Corinthians 11 were directed at the members of the Corinthians church, and thus people who were already presumed to be regenerate, covenant members of the body.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by fredtgreco

They aren't mature enough in faith to partake yet. They must be able to examine themselves. [/quote]

And so we come back again (maybe the 6th time) to my question: examine themselves with respect to what? if it is their regeneration, their membership in the body of Christ, and if PR is true, then the examination should be something like:

Q: Are you baptized
A: Yes
Then partake, and if we see fruit that you have apostatized, we will stop you.

If they are to examine themselves with respect to regeneration/conversion/union with Christ, and PR is not true, then there is no issue. We presume that they are elect, and one day God will show evidence of that work by regenerating them and united them to Christ, at which point they will show fruit (first a profession with their mouth, then walking in holiness) [/quote]

I think we would examine more than just baptism. They must be capable of examing whether or not the have experienced that work of grace, whether their profession is truly from the heart, or just an intellectual or cultural assent. How do they look at Jesus? What significance does his death mean to them? And the meaning of the Supper? Have they repented of sins? etc.

Just because they may be presumed regenerate, doesn't mean they actually are (as with adults). We need more evidence as they grow older and more capable of expressing themselves and living accordingly. The presumption is conditional because we can't see the heart only the outward behavior. At least that's how I am understanding it thus far...

Paul, as for the 30 year old who has only been saved 5 minutes, he may indeed not display the maturity of faith necessary to partake of the Supper. He may learn a lot faster than a small child might, but still, there must be growth and maturity.
 
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