Resources for Reformed Baptist Perspective

Discussion in 'Credo-Baptism Answers' started by ProtestantBankie, Aug 30, 2016.

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  1. ProtestantBankie

    ProtestantBankie Puritan Board Freshman

    Could those Reformed Baptist Brethren provide links to writing (pref. concise) which gives a REFORMED Baptist perspective on the following

    a) The Distinction between the Old and New Covenants vs Old and New Dispensations of the Covenant of Grace
    b) The Distinction between Children of Believers and Unbelievers (if any).
    c) The Place of Circumcission and It's relation to Baptism (if any).
    d) The Visible Church and Baptisms relation to it and
    e) Baptism as a Means of Entry into the Visible Church
    f) The "Sin" of Baptizing Infants
    g) Exegesis of Hebrews 8

    Thank you.

    I am not a Reformed Baptist but I have a real need due to circumstances to get a grasp of RB principles on this subject. I have listened to Dr James White and Dr John MacArthur. Dr White's sermons on the Old and New Covenants and on the Membership of the New Covenant.
     
  2. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    I'm not really a RB right now, (there aren't more than a handful that post here regularly) and am not one by church affiliation. But I'm fairly familiar with what they teach.

    I don't have links for some things immediately at hand. At this point, I'm much more familiar with books than I am with links to brief articles. But I've made brief comments below each point and have posted a few links:

    Baptists aren't of one mind on this. Some Reformed Baptists (such as David Kingdon, and Sam Waldron I think) believe the Old and New Covenants are the same in substance but differ in administration. The typical phrase is "One covenant, two administrations." More recently, proponents of "1689 Federalism" assert that the Old and New Covenants differ both in substance and administration, although they do uphold the perpetuity of the Moral Law. Most of the recent writing about this is likely from this perspective. There are several threads here about this.

    The main difference here seems to be whether or not each successive covenant in Scripture is considered to be an administration of the covenant of grace. "1689 Federalists" deny that the Mosaic Covenant is an administration of the covenant of grace. The phrase "by farther steps" in the London Baptist Confession of 1689 appears to be sufficiently vague as to allow both views. Whether or not the 1689 Federalist camp is correct from a Biblical standpoint, it does seem to me that what they are teaching is closer to what many older Baptists taught. I've found that many older Baptist writings do not comport with what they call "20th Century Reformed Baptist" teaching of one covenant with two administrations. The 1689 Federalism site I linked above contains several brief videos in which they compare and contrast their views with those of others, along with other material.

    Practically all Baptists that I know of reject the idea of "covenant children" in the sense that Reformed paedobaptists would use that term. But all would say that children of Christians have great privileges (and conversely, great responsibility due to the light they are exposed to) in being raised in a Christian home and attending church. They deny that they treat their children as pagans. You may find some differences on how this works out practically.

    There may be some differences among Baptists in this as well, although I think it would probably be acknowledged that both are markers of entrance into the covenant community. Some of it relates to whether or not physical circumcision (as opposed to the circumcision of the heart, etc) has any spiritual import or significance or if it was mainly just a marker of national, ethnic Israel. Many RBs (and other Baptists) would point out that it seems that all male Israelites were entitled to circumcision and were required to be circumcised whether or not one or more of their parents were actually believers. They would point out the discontinuities in the administration of circumcision and baptism, arguing that extended family, unbelieving spouses and others aren't baptized today whereas the equivalents would have been circumcised under the old covenant. They would also tend to argue that all partook in the Passover (which is disputed by some in all camps) and that regardless it is inconsistent to deny communion to baptized covenant members. This is probably one reason why many paedocommunion advocates are former Baptists.

    With these two questions, are you referring to the visible/invisible distinction and/or the outward and inward administration of the covenant of grace? I think I've noted some things that relate to these questions in earlier answers. I'll add that most Baptists who take ecclesiology seriously would argue that those baptized should join the church at that time, (some say it is the "door" to visible church membership) that it is a "church ordinance" and thus shouldn't be administered at things like association meetings or tent revivals. On the idea of regenerate church membership (in other words, the idea that ideally only true Christians should be members of the church, a prominent Baptist emphasis) more careful Baptists would argue that they baptize on the basis of a credible profession of faith and not that they can infallibly know that any particular person is in fact regenerate.

    Those who use this phrase are generally referring to the idea that infant baptism has no scriptural warrant (i.e. that there is no command, example or inference for the practice in the NT) and is thus a violation of the Regulative Principle of Worship. If someone is referring to the "Evils" of baptizing infants, there are many more issues.

    Regrettably, I don't have much time to delve into this and particular resources escape me. Maybe Gill's Commentary. There is a lot of Reformed Baptist teaching on Sermon Audio, although I know you are looking for written material. You can search by text there. But in general this question has to do with the "newness" of the New Covenant whereas Reformed paedobaptists tend to emphasize the continuity of the NC with what came prior and say it is really more of a renewed covenant. If you can find James White's "The Newness of the New Covenant" online, you might find that to be of help.

    I think a lot of your questions can be answered by simply going through the baptism forum here, especially those which ask what is new about the New Covenant. In general, I think all of your questions have been addressed at one time or another, although some of the older threads are very long and it might not be worth the time it would take to read hundreds of posts, some of which may have generated more heat than light. But some threads are relatively short and have the virtue of being substantive, irenic and to the point. There are probably also some pertinent posts in the covenant theology forum, although debates are confined to the baptism forum per board rules.

    Some of these questions may be answered by a close study of the 2nd London Baptist Confession of 1689, particularly where it differs from the WCF. This page has the two confessions side by side.

    The articles on Monergism are often brief. But note that the likes of John Piper and Sam Storms wouldn't be considered "Reformed Baptists" in the covenantal confessional (1689) sense, although they may agree with RBs on particular issues. Malone, (several essays are linked there) Welty and Reeves would be good places to start.

    MacArthur is a dispensationalist when it comes to eschatology and ecclesiology (i.e. WRT the nature of the universal church, which he says exists only between Pentecost and the Rapture) and should likewise be disregarded unless by "Reformed Baptist" you simply mean someone who affirms TULIP and is baptistic. But that's not what adherents of the 1689 mean by that term.

    The Reformed Reader also has a lot of older Baptist material. If you are on Facebook, there are a number of Reformed Baptist groups that have members who can answer your questions.

    A couple of other blogs that contain a lot of material are https://pettyfrance.wordpress.com/ and https://contrast2.wordpress.com/
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2016
  3. ProtestantBankie

    ProtestantBankie Puritan Board Freshman

    This is excellent. Perhaps you could suggest the big heavy books that you mention as well - I will consult these when I have sufficient time and am just laying some ground work initially.

    I knew what was meant by phrases, I would more like to see further development of the arguments. Ie, a Paper where a Reformed Baptist will speak of the evil/sin/mistake/error of infant baptism.
     
  4. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    Check out this website:

    http://www.1689federalism.com/

    They have a book there that I would recommend for a good summary on the differences between Westminster Covenant Theology and 1689 Baptist Covenant Theology. It is called The Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology by Pascal Denault. It is a short read, but a very good one, in my opinion.
     
  5. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    Some are not that big and heavy. (I'm referring to approximately 200 pages or less.)

    Several of the books that Reformed Baptist Academic Press sells have to do with the baptism issue. (See the ones by Crampton, Coxe/Owen, Conner and Denault. I haven't delved into Denault's "Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology" yet, but from what I understand, he cites many 17th Century Particular Baptist (i.e. Calvinistic) writers.)

    David Kingdon's "Children of Abraham" is also not that long, although it is long out of print and usually rather difficult to find, especially at a reasonable price. He is from the UK, so maybe you won't have as much trouble finding it as some others might. Erroll Hulse is another British Baptist who has probably written some worthwhile things on the subject.

    Fred Malone, "The Baptism of Disciples Alone" (This one is more big and heavy.)

    Jeffrey Johnson, "The Fatal Flaw" (More or less teaches a "1689 Federalism" view of covenant theology, although there wasn't really such a movement at the time he wrote it. Sadly, it is rather poorly edited.)

    Matt Waymeyer, "A Biblical Critique of Infant Baptism" (Waymeyer isn't a Reformed Baptist and is more or less dispensational, being a graduate of The Masters Seminary, where John MacArthur serves as President. But this rarely if ever comes through in the book, which has been recommended by at least one Reformed Baptist (Greg Welty). I think it is quite good, especially for its size, although there are certainly other places to turn if you're looking for something specifically by a Reformed Baptist author.)

    Paul Jewett, "Infant Baptism and the Covenant of Grace." This one is a bit longer. It is also by a man whose theology was suspect on inerrancy and eventually sexuality. (Dennis McFadden, who may have been a student of Jewett's, if I recall correctly, can tell you all about him.) But many regard the book as something of a classic, and not without good reason. Some of this has to do with the quality of his argumentation. It is polemical yet largely irenic, to my recollection. He does write from a covenantal perspective, more or less. Given the number of books that have been published in the past 30 years or so, this one is less important than it once was.

    G.R. Beasley-Murray, "Baptism in the New Testament."

    Schreiner and Wright's "Believer's Baptism" is a collection of essays that contains some material that is worthwhile. And you can buy the Kindle edition very cheaply from time to time, at least in the USA. But the centerpiece of the book (by S. Wellum) is a rejection of covenant theology altogether. It represents what an increasing number of Calvinistic Southern Baptists in the USA (and probably elsewhere) believe, but it does not reflect "Reformed Baptist" thought in the confessional sense. The same goes for P. Gentry and S. Wellum's "Kingdom Through Covenant."

    There are also a good many old classic books (generally, pre-1923 in the USA) that are freely available online at Google Books and the Internet Archive. Alexander Carson and Abraham Booth are two classics that come to mind, although those are indeed big and heavy. You can find many of these here.

    Well, all of them regard it as being one or more of those things. Some of those who say it is sin regard any doctrinal error as sinful, including their own. Are you looking for something that explores at what point something that is erroneous or mistaken becomes sinful or evil?

    A lot of the older writers (i.e. prior to the 20th Century) associate infant baptism with state churches. Given the Baptist commitment to separation of church and state, that this is considered to be an additional evil/mistake/error to be added to the list is not surprising. This classic work by an early Southern Baptist leader cites this among other "evils." John Gill's Infant Baptism: A Part and Pillar of Popery is another old polemical title.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2016
  6. ProtestantBankie

    ProtestantBankie Puritan Board Freshman

    This is the most useful post I have read on the PB.

    Thank you so much for this.
     
  7. Tyrese

    Tyrese Puritan Board Sophomore

    The Bible. I guess I'll add the 1689 confession of faith. Sorry, I couldn't resist. ;)
     
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