Recantation. I was wrong about Infant Baptism.

Discussion in 'Baptism' started by Dan...., Aug 21, 2004.

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  1. Dan....

    Dan.... Puritan Board Sophomore

    ï"¿As I have over the past couple of years spent much time on this forum debating against paedo-baptists in an effort to preserve the validity of the Baptistic position, and as I have now been convinced that the Baptistic position is in error and am convinced of paedo-baptism, I thought it necessary to post a public recantation of the validity of the position I had been seeking to defend here over the past couple of years.

    It has been a long road that has led to now, and I want to extend a word of appreciation for those here who have helped me to see where I have been in error: especially (but not exclusive to) to (screen names) webmaster, KCEaster, LOTW, WSW..., fredtgreco, Paul Manata, Scott Bushey, puritansailor and John V.

    The issues that have led me to this change are many, but those which stand out are:

    1. The nature of the promise. I was convinced (somewhere around 9 to 12 months ago) that the promises found throughout the Old Testament that God would be a God not only to those who fear Him, but also to their children (specifically Genesis 17:7; Deuteronomy 4:37,40; 5:29; 10:15; 11:21; 12:28; 30:6,19; Joshua 14:9 Psalm 25:12,13; 37:25,26; 90:16; 102:28; 103:17; 112:1,2; 115:14; Proverbs 11:21; Isaiah 44:3; 59:21; 61:9; 65:23; Jeremiah 32:39; Ezekiel 37:25) are just as applicable to the saints today as they were to Israel of old. Yet being convinced of this was not enough to throw out the Baptist position. I reasoned that these promises, though they all were covenant promises, given to those who are in covenant with God, do not require that the believers"(tm) children are also in covenant with God. Hence, I reasoned, that although both parent and child were in covenant with God in the Old Testament, only the believing parent was in covenant with God in the New Testament; the child is not brought into the covenant (temporally speaking) until he has believed and professed faith in Christ. However, as I have more recently searched among prominent Reformed Baptist authors, I failed to find even one of them who explicitly taught that these promises in the Old Testament are just as applicable to God"(tm)s people today as they were to Israel of yore.

    2. The fact that whenever God has covenanted with specific individuals in the scriptures, His covenant also extends to the individual"(tm)s children. This is true with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Israelites at Sinai, Phinehas, and David. If this was the practice of God (Who does not change) back then, then should we not expect to find that the New Covenant should be similar in this respect? When we read the prophesies of the New Covenant, this is exactly what we find (Isaiah 59:21; Jeremiah 31:36,37; 32:39; Ezekiel 37:25). Is it no wonder that when we come to New Testament scripture, we find Jesus saying, "œSuffer little children, and forbid them not to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven". We find the promise repeated in Acts 2:39: "œfor the promise is unto you and to your children...." We find the apostle addressing his epistles to the saints at Ephesus and Colosse in the which he specifically addresses the children. We find household baptisms. ([i:f0be22fe5d]Now I argued greatly that we could not prove that there were infants in these households and hence they were no support for paedo-baptism. However, what I failed to take into consideration was the fact that it was "œhouseholds" that were baptized. It does not matter one iota whether one can prove whether their were infants in the households or not. The important point, which I totally missed, is the covenant language attached. God is still a God of households! He is a God to us and to our children.[/i:f0be22fe5d])

    3. Continuity in the covenant community. The outward administration of the covenant of grace has always included children. No where in the New Testament is this ever repealed. The burden of proof is on the baptist to demonstrate that children are to be excluded from the covenant community is this administration.

    4. There is no explicit command that says to baptize only those who do profess faith in Christ. As a baptist, I held firmly that baptism was a positive institution of our Lord, and as a positive institution it was to be administered only to those whom He commands. What I overlooked was that the only location where baptism is positively commanded (Matt 28:19), there is no mandate to baptize only after a profession of faith. The command is to disciple (which is a verb) the nations, baptizing and teaching them. There is no chronological order specified in the command([i:f0be22fe5d]It seems to me (I can"(tm)t prove this as I don"(tm)t speak or read Greek) that baptism is herein a component of discipleship; that is, disciple by baptizing and teaching.[/i:f0be22fe5d]). The baptist argument, just like the paedo-baptists argument, is completely implicit in this regard. Instead of following positive institution alone, as a Baptist I followed Biblical examples of baptism and concluded thereby that those who do actually profess faith are the only ones to be baptized.

    About a month ago my whole baptistic theology came crashing down as I came to realize that I was dangling at the end of a limb, theologically speaking, with no help from the baptist authors to whom I have often gone for advice. In all the books and articles at my fingertips, I could not find the answers to my questions. As I re-read Malone"(tm)s and Jewett"(tm)s books, as I read Dagg"(tm)s book; as I re-read the short articles by Malone, Chantry and Welty, I saw their arguments for thebaptism of believers alone lacking under the scrutiny of the paedo-baptistic perspective. (Lest someone misunderstand me, these are all great men of the faith; educated theologians, the learnings of which I cannot begin to hold a candle to).

    I also re-read Charles Hodge and Louis Berkhof on the issue. I read A.A. Hodge and Owen on the issue. I read Strawbridge"(tm)s article in response to Malone"(tm)s "œA String of Pearls Unstrung". I read Matthew McMahon"(tm)s response to Malone"(tm)s "œThe Baptism of Disciples Alone". The weight of the burden of proof on my shoulders to prove that young children were not to be included in the New Testament administration (and hence not to receive the sign of baptism) became much more than I could bear. Alas, I yielded.....

    The more I have been studying it, the more and more convinced I am becoming. It is so exciting to see things in a new light!

    Anyway, I"(tm)m rambling.

    Thanks again to those who have kept me on my toes.
  2. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Moderator

    Dan, I know it took alot to come out and confess this massive change of perspective in theology. It is refreshing to see your devotion to learning and knowing our God. I did have one thought though after reading your "recantation" here, what will you be doing about your membership at your church? Will they allow you to dissent in this area of doctrine? Have you made your change of mind known to them too? Just a thought.... Lord be with you as you continue to learn and grow.
  3. voided user1

    voided user1 Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you for having the honesty and courage to broadcast your new position! It is important to stand by faith where you must.

    Berkhof best sums up the paedo position for me, "It may be said at the outset that there is no explicit command in the Bible to baptize children, and that there is not a single instance in which we are plainly told that children were baptized."
  4. SmokingFlax

    SmokingFlax Puritan Board Sophomore


    Thank you so much for your candor in this issue. I appreciate hearing of your struggles in understanding doctrine as I too am wrestling with this (and other) links in the chain of theology. Just hearing about the struggle and work for understanding of another believer helps (me) to move this issue out of the realm of theory and into that of practicality. Also, it is good to see that I am not alone in the hard work of study in the things of God.

    Thanks again.
  5. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Jude 1:25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen.
  6. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    :amen: and :amen:

    God is Sovereign. We continually rely on the Spirit's illumination. Even after the disciples were saved:

    Luke 24:45, "Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,"

    May He continue to do so with all of us.

    Amen Dan!
  7. LawrenceU

    LawrenceU Puritan Board Doctor

    Praying for you, Dan.
  8. pastorway

    pastorway Puritan Board Senior

    praying indeed......
  9. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    There is more to this discussion Board than we often realize. God has used it in mighty ways for me, from the first time I read up until now. And He continues to do so for all of us. It is such an honour to be a part of it, to be used by God for others, as well as have such brothers who help, in a true bond of fellowship.

    Praise be to God for all He has done among us.
  10. Radar

    Radar Puritan Board Freshman

    First, Dan, I applaud you for your exhaustingly diligent effort in study. I won't burden you with accolades nor concerned prayers on the results. :)

    Do you have kids already? If so, where will you go, when will you go, how will you proceed, etc., in carrying out your new decision?


  11. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    There is more to this discussion Board than we often realize. God has used it in mighty ways for me, from the first time I read up until now. And He continues to do so for all of us. It is such an honour to be a part of it, to be used by God for others, as well as have such brothers who help, in a true bond of fellowship.

    Praise be to God for all He has done among us.[/quote:5b844aa010]

    :ditto: Dan, even though you're not one of the people I've interacted with a whole lot on this issue, I've read your thoughts in such discussions over the past several months, and commend you for your study, not so much for the outcome alone, but for the diligence and care you obviously have for knowing and glorifying God, as evidenced by the fact that you were able to make such a massive theological shift at all. I'll pray for you as you think and pray about what to change externally in light of your new convictions, how your close companions relate to them, and just your continual personal meditation on the issue. :pray2:
  12. blhowes

    blhowes Puritan Board Professor

    Its helpful for those of us, who are thinking through these things, to consider the reasons why people 'change camps'. Thanks for sharing some of your thoughts about why you changed.
  13. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor


    I made this step about two months ago. Ex nihilo and I will be s tarting membership classes at Pineville Presbyterian Church this Wednesday
  14. notgollum

    notgollum Inactive User

    I've been a believer since the mid seventies and have only recently
    come to the same conclusions. Just spoke to a brother who bought it back then when I was unwilling to look deeper at the issue.
    He said "what took so long".
    Within the last three months there has been a pretty big exodus from the ARBCA congregation in my area over to an OP church over governmental convictions. Many of us have adopted the "household position" and now feel that the puzzle is complete. Strawbridge's web site has some convincing writings as does Matt's.
    Look for a debate soon between James White and a prominent OPC pastor to be held on Long Island N.Y. If I get more specific info on this I will post it on this board.
    Meanwhile have fun with your brothers at your ARBCA Church. :lol:
  15. pastorway

    pastorway Puritan Board Senior


    Have you contacted your pastor or elders about this change in your view? If you have that is good. If not, please do so as soon as possible. Not so that they might bring you back to your former position, but so that they might continue to shepherd you as you are a member of their church and under their care.

  16. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Exactly the advice I was going to give Dan, but he is ahead of us both and already in the process.
  17. pastorway

    pastorway Puritan Board Senior

    Good to hear.

  18. Dan....

    Dan.... Puritan Board Sophomore

    Thanks for the encouraging words, prayers and concerns from all of you.

    May God be gracious to all of His people and hasten the day when we all will be united together in our Father's House and our theological differences that we had in this life will be the furtherest things from our minds.

    The elders of my church are aware of my theological shift (That is as far in to detail as I will go on a public forum).
  19. kceaster

    kceaster Puritan Board Junior


    I am happy for you and I commend you for doing the homework. It is quite evident, regardless of your conclusion, that you have done the work. Would that we could all work that hard to understand. I have miles to go on that score.

    In Christ,

  20. luvroftheWord

    luvroftheWord Puritan Board Sophomore

    Wow, Dan. Your recantation is almost detail for detail the same as mine was, and almost in the same order as well. It's interesting how God teaches us the things he does. I have thoroughly enjoyed the various talks we've had on this subject, and I praise God for his faithfulness to give wisdom to those who seek it diligently. I now look forward to your future interactions on this issue from the other side of the fence. I'm sure your insights will be invaluable to us all.
  21. Don

    Don Puritan Board Freshman

    praying for you Dan...
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