Question on Baptist Covenant Theology

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Neogillist

Puritan Board Freshman
I have been wondering lately how the covenant theology of most Calvinistic Baptists differ from Reformed Theologians. I know there are some Baptists who hold to NCT, while others hold to CT, and yet differ from the Reformed on a few points; yet others like John McArthur are dispensational, and thus not truly Reformed.

I think John Gill was the first theologian who designed a baptistic covenant theology quite close to that of the reformers, and yet I heard Dr. Daniel Curt (a reformed baptist) say that his covenant theology was hyper-Calvinistic. Consequently, I am really not sure where most baptists stand, since they all seem to be dissagreeing among themselves over the covenant theology, while all agreeing over the issue of baptism. It appears to me that the lack of agreement among baptists on their covenant theology suggest that they have a hard time reconciling credo-baptism with CT.

From studying John Gill, I can tell his covenant theology was very consitent with his position on baptism, but I don't know about other baptists like Spurgeon, etc. I read that even John Piper doesn't know what he holds to in terms of CT and NCT. He finds aspects of both systems interesting.

I would appreciate to get some explanations on this.
 

natewood3

Puritan Board Freshman
There needs to be a Baptist approach to the covenants that accounts for the nature of the church as the new covenant community of God. This new eschatalogical community by definition is a regenerate community. I don't really know of anyone who has worked this position out in writing. Stephen Wellum, professor of theology at SBTS, argues for this position in his classes, but he has not yet written anything on it. Have you checked Mark Dever's chapter in A Theology for the Church on the church? I have not read it or even looked at it honestly, but I hear it is a good theology of the church from a Baptist perspective.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
This is a good topic and one that interests me. I don't presume to have an air tight argument on a Baptist theology that is covenantal. I applaud the motive behind NCT but can't buy into it at this point. Obviously Presbyterian Covenant Theology is not an option. Like Piper, I'm not in a rush to adopt a systematic theology. While I have a working knowledge of the covenants I have much more to learn and understand. If my systematic theology was a website it would say, "Under Construction."
 

Pilgrim's Progeny

Puritan Board Sophomore
It appears to me that the lack of agreement among baptists on their covenant theology suggest that they have a hard time reconciling credo-baptism with CT.
This would appear to be the case and is across the board i think among Baptists. I as a Baptist hold real tight to an almost fully Presbyterian view of Covenant theology, but am unwilling to take that step until thoroughly convinced.

From studying John Gill, I can tell his covenant theology was very consitent with his position on baptism.
I have not studied Gill in-depth on this, but am eager to. Mainly because I have yet to find consistency among Baptists, including myself, in this area. On top of this I am constantly being plagued of conscience in regards to my own children in terms of their conversion, in view of the common baptist logic that says intellectual understanding must precede credible confession in order to be a Christian, I do not buy it. My oldest children believe in Jesus, but my Baptist brothers say they are too young, I refuse to tell them their too young to believe upon Jesus and be saved, especially when they show repentance. This is a baptist dilemna in regards to CT in my understanding.
 

Pilgrim's Progeny

Puritan Board Sophomore
In my humble opinion, I fear the baptist hermeneutic comes close to violating the following Scriptures, not casting accusation, just concern here. I say this because these texts keep beating me up in relation to my own children. Is waiting for a credible profession of faith, like the baptist view of covenant says, causing our children to stumble? Especially when we deny them the title of Christian because they cannot formulate what we would call a credible profession, yet they live and desire to act in regards to Jesus as Saviour and show forth repentance, but are disqualified because of age.:scratch: Does God not birth these children into our homes to be raised to call Him Father and Jesus the Saviour of sinners, of which they are, and the Holy Spirit the comforter and teacher of the saints? If not, why not let them be born into a heathen home. So, why do we treat them as God's step-children until they make an "intelligible" and "credible" profession?:scratch:
42 And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. Mark 9:42 (KJV)
And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Matt 18:3-6 (KJV)
Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!
2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
Luke 17:1-2 (KJV)
sorry if this seems a little:offtopic:, but it is related. Maybe another thread is in order.
 

Neogillist

Puritan Board Freshman
I don't see what these passages of Scripture would have to do with the inclusion of infants in the covenant, since they appear to me to be a warning to reprobates who persecute the church. Jesus is simply saying that reprobates who persecute his church will receive a harsher punishment, such that it would have been preferrable for them to have never been born. I think Jesus is simply calling the elects "children" as in the spiritual sense, but is not necessarily referring to actual children.

I would not go as far as saying that the baptist perspective is a stumbling block to children. Those who hold to paedo-communion could lift the same passages against both paedo-baptists or credo-baptists opposed to paedo-communion.
 

Pilgrim's Progeny

Puritan Board Sophomore
I don't see what these passages of Scripture would have to do with the inclusion of infants in the covenant, since they appear to me to be a warning to reprobates who persecute the church. Jesus is simply saying that reprobates who persecute his church will receive a harsher punishment, such that it would have been preferrable for them to have never been born. I think Jesus is simply calling the elects "children" as in the spiritual sense, but is not necessarily referring to actual children.

I would not go as far as saying that the baptist perspective is a stumbling block to children. Those who hold to paedo-communion could lift the same passages against both paedo-baptists or credo-baptists opposed to paedo-communion.

I think the context speaks of actual children. I believe that turning actual children away from believing in Christ or going to Christ is in view. I am thinking of the activities as expressed in this thread http://www.puritanboard.com/f57/practical-benefits-infant-baptism-33040/ Actually turning children away from God. I see this and have been privy to this in the past in Baptist circles.
 
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