Should Paedo churches allow Baptist members to not baptize infants?

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he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
My church allows any baptized, professing believer to come to the table. All the Presbyterian churches that I've been to do that. Is that unusual?

My church only allows "members in good standing of an Evangelical church."

My former church (also PCA) worded it differently and I took communion even though I was not a member anywhere. The pastor said, "members of Christ's church in good standing." Even though I had no membership anywhere, I considered myself a member of Christ's church and was not in gross sin, so I took the bread and wine. I eventually became a member there so this became a non-issue, but I could have been wrong in my interpretation of the pastor's statement. I think that is the correct view, though. I think anyone who is in Christ should be allowed the table. I think membership has practical and spiritual benefits, but I don't think it equals unity with Christ.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
That's the entire point, summarized. Folks who will not belong to a church, are saying that THEY will be in charge of their spiritual lot, from beginning to end.

Bruce, I want to make sure I understand you correctly. If you moved into an area where the only church available had serious doctrinal issues that precluded you from joining (either by your choice or the choice of the church), you would be making a statement that you are in charge of your spiritual lot, from beginning to end? If your conviction on baptism would cause you to face eventual church discipline, wouldn't you compound your sin of supposed erroneous doctrine by taking vows you cannot fulfill? Would it not be better to be a faithful attender and pray that God will lead you to a church you would be able to join? In this situation, which the couple moving from our area is about the face, I would not accuse them of neglecting spiritual authority. In fact, I would commend them for their acknowledging the authority of scripture in their life and having the principle not to take a rash vow.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Remember too, "church discipline" takes many forms. In the PCA that is at least:

1) informal admonishment
2) formal admonishment
3) suspension from Lord's Supper
4) excommunication

Even a "regular attender" (not a member) can be informally admonished as part of general protection of the flock. They cannot be excommunicated but the lesser forms could be applied and they could leave without breaking the vows must take on that point. My understanding is discipline can in some cases be done in absense of the person for a member, but not for a non-member (e.g. regular attender).

Just for clarification, attenders could be disciplined under 1,2 and 3 correct? Is that what you mean by 'lesser forms'? If so, this would be an argument in favor of allowing non-members to partake of the LS! One more avenue for church discipline.

In practical effect, probably only #1 for a regular attender.

Formal admonishment involves more process (remember, presbyterians are (often for good biblical reason) big on process, appeal, etc.)

When verbally fencing the Lord's Supper (e.g. for the Pastor to say that someone who is "a member in good standing of a church where this gospel is preached"), is a generalized instruction, not really particularized to a person. Discipline is always particularized to the alleged offender.

It's not a "suspension" in the sense of a step of discipline.

So, what does 'formal admonition' look like?
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
I'm sorry, but no professing Christian has a RIGHT to the Lord's Supper. Hear me? NO RIGHT to it.

You don't even have a RIGHT to preaching, or to baptism--if by "right" you mean access on your own terms. That's the definition of "right," and rights are typically granted by a higher authority--unless there is NO higher authority.


The family analogy is perfectly apt. My children do not have "rights" to the privileges of my house. They do not have a "right" to the refrigerator, a "right" to the car keys, a "right" to education.

There is a just argument that they have some "rights" granted them by God, which their Mother and I are supposed to respect and in some cases provide for (according to our wisdom and judgment). Those "rights" are supposed to mediated to those children through the authority structure of this house. They enjoy those "rights" through the parents.

The principle of "appeal" (to higher authority) is the mechanism by which lesser authority is held accountable for its activity in mediating the rights of subordinates. But anyone who thinks that he's ONLY accountable to God will be disturbed to find that God is displeased with wholesale disregard for the forms He established. There is such thing as "abuse of authority," but such abuse is no license to disparage authority.

I exercise discipline in my house by FEEDING my children: "Come and eat, NOW." By EDUCATING my children: "2+2=4, memorize it" "i before e except after c, your answer is wrong" "did you read your history assignment? good job." By TAKING THEM to church, to grandma's, to the eye doctor, AND to the woodshed.


Discipline is not merely PUNISHMENT! It is the LIFE of the church. Receiving Baptism and the Lord's Supper are BENEFITS of belonging to Christ. So is sitting under Gospel ministry. All the blessings of discipline are just as much a free gift of God as a new heart.

No sensible church will turn away people from hearing the gospel, from hearing the Bible preached in fullness. Because that is the DOOR to heart-submission to God in every area. They should open that venue to ALL, and not just to members.

And they should be sensible about admitting members of the church-universal to their own table, but they may set their own rules as to the manner they will allow it. But it is out of the question that someone who CANNOT BE EXCOMMUNICATED (by any body) should be IN-COMMUNICATED, that is, permitted to the Table.

A half-moment's reflection should be sufficient to make this perfectly clear. That man is his OWN BOSS. his own authority. OK fine, then he can get his own Lord's Supper from himself, or from Christ himself. After all, he doesn't need anything mediated to him, so he can just find a church without any standards, or one that has no idea they will be held accountable by Christ for the care they exercised in these matters.


The point, as far as an unpersuaded Baptist holding membership in a Presbyterian church goes--he is a sinner, and his mind (to our way of thinking) needs sanctification in this area. Shall we punitively discipline a member who tells us "I am having trouble getting my head around the idea of Limited Atonement"?

Admonish him? Scold him? Keep him from the Table? Why?! He needs to keep coming, and have a teachable spirit. He needs to "believe that he may understand."

Obviously, if a man cannot be persuaded of a church's doctrine or practice, if he's hardened to it, then he cannot become a member. Or he needs to find another church, to which authority he can honestly submit. But a man in error should listen in the congregation. He should be submissive to the loving, patient, parent-like care of a church's minister and elders.

Bruce, so is a Christian then forced to believe a doctrine that they do not agree with in order for them to be a member and enjoy the blessing of church discipline, preaching and the sacraments? Wouldn't I be guilty of hypocrisy if I joined a church that required my assent to a doctrine, even if I don't believe it? I'm not talking about the neophyte or the ignorant; I'm referring to a person who has studied the doctrine, in this case, baptism. Is that person to be cast outside of the gathered body of believers and treated as though they are schismatic?
 

Wannabee

Obi Wan Kenobi
A couple of thoughts come up through this discussion.
One, it is difficult. Souls are held in the balance according to our decisions. We cannot wink at sin. We have an eternal charge.
Two, one should not move their family lightly. It is rare that one must move their family to an area where there is no likeminded church that they can plug into. Survival is necessary, but it is rarely a matter of survival. Often it is a matter of increased income or comfort. If these are our motives then we err and put ourselves in a spiritually compromising position. A church that we can embrace and that can embrace us must be at the top of our list in considering a move.

I appreciate the views of various perspectives here. They reveal the struggle and hearts that desire to glorify God and edify their brethren in Christ.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
A couple of thoughts come up through this discussion.
One, it is difficult. Souls are held in the balance according to our decisions. We cannot wink at sin. We have an eternal charge.
Two, one should not move their family lightly. It is rare that one must move their family to an area where there is no likeminded church that they can plug into. Survival is necessary, but it is rarely a matter of survival. Often it is a matter of increased income or comfort. If these are our motives then we err and put ourselves in a spiritually compromising position. A church that we can embrace and that can embrace us must be at the top of our list in considering a move.

I appreciate the views of various perspectives here. They reveal the struggle and hearts that desire to glorify God and edify their brethren in Christ.

Joe, I generally agree with you, but be careful in ascribing motives. People move for different reasons. Yes, a job may transfer someone, but if your skill is specialized, and you need to support your family, you do what you must. None of us live in a perfect world. On the PB we can often present sanitized versions of what should be; but they are not often based in reality. Often times we must minister to people where they are.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
KMK
Moderator

So, what does 'formal admonition' look like?

Presbyterian Church in America
Book of Church Order

Rules of Discipline
Chapter 30

Church Censures

30-2. Admonition is the formal reproof of an offender by a church court,
warning him of his guilt and danger, and exhorting him to be more
circumspect and watchful in the future.

An action on behalf of the court (session, presbytery, general assembly- 3 levels of courts [that's why general assembly is a spiritual court in presbyterianism], attaches process, and even a right of appeal.

This does not mean formal admonition is public in the sense of announcing it to the congregation. Ordinarily, steps 1-3 are private, but the level of private engagement widens progressively.
 

Wannabee

Obi Wan Kenobi
Joe, I generally agree with you, but be careful in ascribing motives. People move for different reasons. Yes, a job may transfer someone, but if your skill is specialized, and you need to support your family, you do what you must. None of us live in a perfect world. On the PB we can often present sanitized versions of what should be; but they are not often based in reality. Often times we must minister to people where they are.

I'm not aware that I ascribed motives or said any differently.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Joe, I generally agree with you, but be careful in ascribing motives. People move for different reasons. Yes, a job may transfer someone, but if your skill is specialized, and you need to support your family, you do what you must. None of us live in a perfect world. On the PB we can often present sanitized versions of what should be; but they are not often based in reality. Often times we must minister to people where they are.

I'm not aware that I ascribed motives or said any differently.

Joe, I may have read your post wrong. Sometimes I'm a quick-draw McGraw when it comes to reading posts. Bad habit. I apologize.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
The point, as far as an unpersuaded Baptist holding membership in a Presbyterian church goes--he is a sinner, and his mind (to our way of thinking) needs sanctification in this area. Shall we punitively discipline a member who tells us "I am having trouble getting my head around the idea of Limited Atonement"?

Admonish him? Scold him? Keep him from the Table? Why?! He needs to keep coming, and have a teachable spirit. He needs to "believe that he may understand."

Obviously, if a man cannot be persuaded of a church's doctrine or practice, if he's hardened to it, then he cannot become a member. Or he needs to find another church, to which authority he can honestly submit. But a man in error should listen in the congregation. He should be submissive to the loving, patient, parent-like care of a church's minister and elders.

Perhaps I am being thick-headed, but I'm not entirely clear on what you're saying here. Could you clarify? Are you saying you would allow a credo-Baptist to become a member as long as they had a teachable spirit? Or are you saying that allowing membership of a Credo-Baptist into a paedo-Baptist church is unwise?
Montana,
Yes, completely yes to your initial understanding. It is as simple as the membership vow. If a person cannot, will not listen to preaching of God's Word with a minimum of an open mind--on whatever comes out of the pulpit--SOMEONE needs correction.

Perhaps it is the Pastor! The pew-sitter takes his concerns to the appropriate supervision. Otherwise, it is an ungodly bristling at the preached Word; it is resistance to Christ speaking.

It seems so obvious on other points, doesn't it? Sister Arminian sitting there, beet-red with anger at that "horrible" doctrine of election that preacher is spouting. But she comes back and sits to that Word, and one day a few weeks later, she is in tears of gratitude. Her mind was softened by her submission. And now she not only receives such election teaching, she rejoices in it.


What I'm saying is: a Baptist who is so unalterably convinced of his point that he will not even listen to contrary preaching on the subject, or will "forsake the assembling together" on the day of an infant member's baptism--he should not be a member in that church. If the session knows he is obdurate past persuasion when he is thinking about possibly joining, they should refuse him for his conscience' sake.

In that case, I would call it "unwise". He is reserving to himself an area which he will not be in submission, going in he knows it. What if that area was "how to treat your wife"? No controversy, right? He can't say "No, I won't listen if you try to tell me I should NEVER beat my wife! What about when...?!? Seems a pastor ought to recognize that situation its OK." Sorry, I'm not taking this guy in voluntarily, until he changes his tune.

If its a no-brainer, that guy shouldn't be getting a membership (over a matter of practice related to his faith), then why is "baptism" (a matter of practice borne of theology borne of faith) a kind of "gray area" for us?

Historically, this disagreement is WHY there are Baptist churches. "Can't submit; OK, we've got to make our own church where we get it right."
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
The point, as far as an unpersuaded Baptist holding membership in a Presbyterian church goes--he is a sinner, and his mind (to our way of thinking) needs sanctification in this area. Shall we punitively discipline a member who tells us "I am having trouble getting my head around the idea of Limited Atonement"?

Admonish him? Scold him? Keep him from the Table? Why?! He needs to keep coming, and have a teachable spirit. He needs to "believe that he may understand."

Obviously, if a man cannot be persuaded of a church's doctrine or practice, if he's hardened to it, then he cannot become a member. Or he needs to find another church, to which authority he can honestly submit. But a man in error should listen in the congregation. He should be submissive to the loving, patient, parent-like care of a church's minister and elders.
Perhaps I am being thick-headed, but I'm not entirely clear on what you're saying here. Could you clarify? Are you saying you would allow a credo-Baptist to become a member as long as they had a teachable spirit? Or are you saying that allowing membership of a Credo-Baptist into a paedo-Baptist church is unwise?
Montana,



What I'm saying is: a Baptist who is so unalterably convinced of his point that he will not even listen to contrary preaching on the subject, or will "forsake the assembling together" on the day of an infant member's baptism--he should not be a member in that church. If the session knows he is obdurate past persuasion when he is thinking about possibly joining, they should refuse him for his conscience' sake.

Bruce, is a person obdurate if they are studied on a point of doctrine and have a well formed conviction? As with this couple from our church who is relocating; could they not sit under the teaching of a Presbyterian church, with a good heart attitude, but not be swayed by the teaching on baptism? Their lack of acquiescence to the teaching they are receiving is not because of a hardened heart, but because they are convinced by other scriptural arguments.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
That's the entire point, summarized. Folks who will not belong to a church, are saying that THEY will be in charge of their spiritual lot, from beginning to end.

Bruce, I want to make sure I understand you correctly. If you moved into an area where the only church available had serious doctrinal issues that precluded you from joining (either by your choice or the choice of the church), you would be making a statement that you are in charge of your spiritual lot, from beginning to end? If your conviction on baptism would cause you to face eventual church discipline, wouldn't you compound your sin of supposed erroneous doctrine by taking vows you cannot fulfill? Would it not be better to be a faithful attender and pray that God will lead you to a church you would be able to join? In this situation, which the couple moving from our area is about the face, I would not accuse them of neglecting spiritual authority. In fact, I would commend them for their acknowledging the authority of scripture in their life and having the principle not to take a rash vow.
Bill,
Honestly, it would be a form of "taking charge" of my own spiritual lot. And either myself, or that church, will have to answer to God for that choice. I'm not afraid to say that. But I would also hesitate to move to a place where I could not join a church.

I can tell you now, today I cannot imagine what kind of shattering experience would be required to take me out of my mind on baptism, and likewise yourself I suppose. So, I am "unbaptized" to most baptists, I am not able to join their church without a second "baptism" (as far as they are concerned), and some of them anyway will follow that up by refusing an unbaptized person communion.

How can I join that church? I would not put myself in a position of compounding my sin through insubordination.

A baptist could at least know his baptism was recognized by that Presbyterian church. And he could be a communicant, provided he sat for the teaching on whatever the text for Sunday was. He might be STILL be unpersuaded, at the end of it. But he came, he listened, he compared the lesson to his conscience. He got something out of the Word. And he is not held back from communion.

If the church taught the Word, preached Christ, was the best choice from a less-than-ideal selection, I would come and come back again and again--for the Word. I would play "lone ranger" Christian, and ask God for an improvement by whatever means of my situation. But I would not consider my situation tolerable.

I would probably move away from there if I could. I would make a church-home my principal driving conviction concerning where I should go.
 

Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
This is no different than a credo church insisting that a person who being paedo and was baptized as an infant be baptized as an adult in order to join the church. I no of no baptist church that would allow a person baptized as an infant to join the church as an adult without submitting to baptism yet again, even though from a Presbyterian point of view, that is sin.

Brian,

See what our dear sister Kathleen wrote. If the ONLY church in town is a paedo church, and you're a credo, you should attend the paedo church. I've said about three times so far, but it keep getting skipped, that if the elders indicate they will discipline me for not baptizing my children then I won't officially join the church. Would you expect a single young woman, like Kathleen, to start her own church? I would expect that the paedo church would warmly welcome the credo who would want to join/visit.

Of course they would welcome someone to visit ... there are no vows being taken. Of course it could become difficult if the person of the "opposite" belief tries to vocally maintain their belief (we recently had that problem at our church with a credo that wanted to always challenge that position in our Sunday School program, at Sunday evening Bible study, and the women's study). It is one thing to attend and be charitable with the difference and not try to continually bring up that difference at every opportunity, and to continually be argumentative on the subject.

But I also presume that the last part of my statement is being missed. No credo church I know would allow a paedo to become a member without being re-baptized (from the paedo perspective) as a believer. All of the credo churches I've seen require believer's baptism in order to become a member ... please correct me if I'm wrong on that. The paedo would certainly be welcome to visit, but I'm sure the same would be true there ... it would not be "okay" for a paedo to visit and try to "win converts" to paedo beliefs.

I believe the OP was about "membership" not just visiting.
 

Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
I do see that this would be a contradiction, but I think it would be impossible for a Baptist church to allow what they see as unbaptized adults to join their church, BUT I do think Paedos could allow the parents of unbaptized babies to be members. I do think that it is correct to baptize babies and include them in the visible church, however, I think to exclude parents because of their contrary understanding is too harsh. Especially if the church states (as most Presbyterian ones do) that you have to be a member for communion. Then the parents are left without the sacrament based on an issue that does not, in my opinion, separate them from Christ's love.

It is essentially the same thing. I baptist would not allow a believer to join without baptism in the way they view baptism, but that would be sinful for someone that was baptized as an infant (it would call into question the efficacy of God in the original baptism the person was submitted to in infancy). So someone already baptized, should not be baptized again to join a church (even baptists would reject the idea of re-baptizing someone that they recognized the baptism of once ... one faith, one Lord, one baptism is a requirement of scripture).

As a side note, I do not believe that the OPC nor the PCA fence the table to only those who have membership in the local church, or even in their own denomination. I know that we include a warning that only those that are members in good standing of a Bible believing church, and not in some sin that would prohibit them from the table should partake, but very rarely do we have anyone that has not been under discipline in our own church (or known to be under discipline from their church) whom we would not allow at the table. I know some churches do a much more narrow fencing of the table, but I do not want to speak for them (and I cannot speak with authority in any case, I only speak to what I have experience with in my own church and those of which I have previously been a member ... I am deacon, not presbyter.)
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
If one wants to really study the original situation from the historical context I would look at John Bunyan's opinion and the way the Particular Baptist's held to Church membership. I believe the Particular Baptist of the late 1600's were a bit more lax than than modern day guys are. I referrenced this before in three places. One was concerning rebaptism and the other was about self baptism, but I will direct you to this one.

Baptists shared with Lutherans, Zwinglians, and Calvinists, their protest against the totalitarianism of the papacy and their zeal to recover the spirituality of the Church. They were Calvinists standing within the covenant theology expressed in the Westminster (putting aside paedo baptism). On the other hand, the General Baptist (which were mostly pelagian) were originally English separatists or Puritans who broke with the Church of England, which they regarded as a false church, perverted by error. Their sectarian spirit and point of view was carried over into their church life. On the other hand the Particular Baptists arose out of a non-Separatist independency. They were Congregational in polity but more ecumenical in spirit. They did not renounce the Church of England as being entirely corrupt. They sought to maintain some bond of unity between themselves and Christians of other Communions. Among these Particular Baptists were those who were willing to admit into its membership, without rebaptism, those of other communions.

p.22 A History of the Baptists By Robert G. Torbet
Kenneth Scott Latourette did the forward to the book.
The above is taken from Torbets History of the Baptists.

I would have problem's keeping anyone who believed and lived the Gospel from the table despite their view of covenant baptism.
 

Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
I've heard this from both sides, and I will add my own voice as well. It is NOT okay for a person who has any choice to decide to move a family to a place that has no faithful church which to attend.

I faced such a decision about 8 years ago, and while it meant taking a pay cut to about 20 - 25% of my former salary, I would not move my family to a place where the job paid the same, but we would have not had a reasonably good assurance of a good church. Eventually, I stopped looking anywhere else, and accepted that God was calling me to a different lifestyle (from an economic point of view).

If someone moves because of work to an area without a good church when it is possible to stay put, they have only themselves to blame.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
This is no different than a credo church insisting that a person who being paedo and was baptized as an infant be baptized as an adult in order to join the church. I no of no baptist church that would allow a person baptized as an infant to join the church as an adult without submitting to baptism yet again, even though from a Presbyterian point of view, that is sin.

Brian,

See what our dear sister Kathleen wrote. If the ONLY church in town is a paedo church, and you're a credo, you should attend the paedo church. I've said about three times so far, but it keep getting skipped, that if the elders indicate they will discipline me for not baptizing my children then I won't officially join the church. Would you expect a single young woman, like Kathleen, to start her own church? I would expect that the paedo church would warmly welcome the credo who would want to join/visit.

Of course they would welcome someone to visit ... there are no vows being taken. Of course it could become difficult if the person of the "opposite" belief tries to vocally maintain their belief (we recently had that problem at our church with a credo that wanted to always challenge that position in our Sunday School program, at Sunday evening Bible study, and the women's study). It is one thing to attend and be charitable with the difference and not try to continually bring up that difference at every opportunity, and to continually be argumentative on the subject.

But I also presume that the last part of my statement is being missed. No credo church I know would allow a paedo to become a member without being re-baptized (from the paedo perspective) as a believer. All of the credo churches I've seen require believer's baptism in order to become a member ... please correct me if I'm wrong on that. The paedo would certainly be welcome to visit, but I'm sure the same would be true there ... it would not be "okay" for a paedo to visit and try to "win converts" to paedo beliefs.

I believe the OP was about "membership" not just visiting.

Brian, you're right, the same goes for a paedo at a Baptist church. And while the OP was about membership, I was taking it to the next step, "What do you do if you won't be accepted as a member?" If providence places you in such a situation you attend with a charitable attitude.
 

Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
Brian, you're right, the same goes for a paedo at a Baptist church. And while the OP was about membership, I was taking it to the next step, "What do you do if you won't be accepted as a member?" If providence places you in such a situation you attend with a charitable attitude.

It is my hope, that if a credo attends at my church with a charitable attitude (does not try to subvert our teaching on those areas where our confession differs from 1689er's) that they would be welcomed with open arms (and I don't mean firearms, unless that is "open and show clear"! :) ). I love my baptist brethren, even if I do feel they are in error on this point. I even love my FB brethren, though I have a lot more bones to pick with them. (My 16-year-old son attends an indy baptist church's Christian school now, mostly so the wife can spend more time with the second son (six-year-old), who is on the high functioning side of the autism spectrum. I don't know of much more to show trust in someone than to trust one's son to their care!)

I know that we are to love one another ... and that unity of the body of Christ is not just for those that agree on every point of doctrine.

I would hope that we would be able to maintain a membership in a church from where I left until I could find a like minded church in where I was going ... though I would hope that my session would attempt to stop me from moving, unless it was necessary for life itself, into an area without a reformed presbyterian witness. About the only reason I could see me doing something like that would be to minister to my parents if something changed in their condition or situation.
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
We had a Baptist family who attended who with us and were not made to convert to paedo-baptism.....my pastor of course would have never changed his preaching on paedo-baptism!
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
How relevant is the passage about what happened to Moses when he didn't circumcise his son, to this? Or is it not relevant at all?

Is it too sensitive an issue to be throwing texts like that around at our baptist brethren?
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
How relevant is the passage about what happened to Moses when he didn't circumcise his son, to this? Or is it not relevant at all?

Is it too sensitive an issue to be throwing texts like that around at our baptist brethren?

We could throw it both ways. I don't think it would be beneficial though. So let's not head there.

I do recommend that you read the sticky post of guidelines for this forum if you haven't already.

http://www.puritanboard.com/f57/new-guidelines-baptism-forum-24468/

Here are just a few comments in it.

2. Treat your friend's position on the Scriptures with the same kind of care and concern that you want your own convictions treated.

3. We allow the Confession of both Credo- and Paedo- Confessions of Faith. There will be no calls for repentance on this board for people who are confessing with their Church what the Scriptures teach.

Be Encouraged brother.
 

mvdm

Puritan Board Junior
I think the URC only allows members in good standing of Reformed churches. This is from the bulletin at Oceanside URC where Danny Hyde serves.

For this reason, our elders have the responsibility to oversee those who partake; therefore we welcome...

Those who are not members of one of the above, but who:
1. Believe in Jesus Christ alone for their salvation.
2. Have been baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
3. Are communicant members, not presently under church discipline, of a confessional Reformed or
Presbyterian congregation.

Maybe Rev Hyde could weigh in on how they handle this. (BTW, I visited once but during an evening service. It was a wonderful service and you wouldn't believe the view! Location, location, location!)

Requiring a visitor to be a member of a Reformed/Presbyterian church in order to be welcomed to the table is not the uniform practice in the URC.
 

beej6

Puritan Board Sophomore
The OP was a hypothetical question but it is a real one. I know of several cases where a non-paedobaptist* is allowed to join a good Presbyterian church, but may not teach their 'opposing' view of baptism among the flock, nor hold office. Some stricter Reformed churches who not only require submission to the elders but also to hold to a catechism/confession as a membership requirement would tend to deny membership to non-paedobaptists.
In these cases there were available Baptist, even Reformed Baptist churches, but the folks involved decided to stay at the good Presbyterian churches since the preaching and discipleship were superior.

*Paedobaptists are credobaptists too! (smile)
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
How relevant is the passage about what happened to Moses when he didn't circumcise his son, to this? Or is it not relevant at all?

Is it too sensitive an issue to be throwing texts like that around at our baptist brethren?

We could throw it both ways. I don't think it would be beneficial though. So let's not head there.

I do recommend that you read the sticky post of guidelines for this forum if you haven't already.

http://www.puritanboard.com/f57/new-guidelines-baptism-forum-24468/

Here are just a few comments in it.

2. Treat your friend's position on the Scriptures with the same kind of care and concern that you want your own convictions treated.

3. We allow the Confession of both Credo- and Paedo- Confessions of Faith. There will be no calls for repentance on this board for people who are confessing with their Church what the Scriptures teach.

Be Encouraged brother.

Thanks for the reminder, brother.

Quote from beej6
*Paedobaptists are credobaptists too! (smile)

We're credo-paedobaptists.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
I don't have any problem whatsoever with allowing credo people to join my church. When they vow to submit to the governance and discipline of the church, that vow should not be interpreted as saying that if they refuse to become paedo, they will be expelled from the church. On this thread, I have seen a too-narrow definition of church discipline. Church discipline is not only negative. Bruce was getting at this a bit in terms of willingness to be taught. That is the key. The discipline involved with a credo brother or sister in Christ would involve long, careful, biblical exposition and teaching that could take place over years. To a paedo-baptist, the position of credo baptism should not be nearly the same thing as living in sin. Discipline is teaching. If after several years of patient instruction (and if often takes that long!), the credo is still unconvinced, then I would encourage them to seek another church, but I would never expel them. That is exercising church discipline, but it doesn't have to be on the road to excommunication. We need to broaden our definition of discipline. Of course, as has been mentioned, there are several Reformed churches that require confessional adherence in order to be a member. The PCA only requires that of office-bearers, and not of its members.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Lane,

There's only one fly in the ointment. You said:

If after several years of patient instruction (and if often takes that long!), the credo is still unconvinced, then I would encourage them to seek another church, but I would never expel them.
A most reasonable pastoral position. But what if, after those several years, the couple is no longer in a position to baptize their child, or the children are already professed believers? At that point paedobaptism has passed them by so to speak. If they are still unconvinced, and no longer have children eligible for baptism, would the issue become moot?
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
Lane,

There's only one fly in the ointment. You said:

If after several years of patient instruction (and if often takes that long!), the credo is still unconvinced, then I would encourage them to seek another church, but I would never expel them.
A most reasonable pastoral position. But what if, after those several years, the couple is no longer in a position to baptize their child, or the children are already professed believers? At that point paedobaptism has passed them by so to speak. If they are still unconvinced, and no longer have children eligible for baptism, would the issue become moot?

In my opinion, it would become moot, and they wouldn't have to leave. Of course, I would not allow them to teach the credo position in the church.
 

Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
I don't have any problem whatsoever with allowing credo people to join my church. When they vow to submit to the governance and discipline of the church, that vow should not be interpreted as saying that if they refuse to become paedo, they will be expelled from the church. On this thread, I have seen a too-narrow definition of church discipline. Church discipline is not only negative. Bruce was getting at this a bit in terms of willingness to be taught. That is the key. The discipline involved with a credo brother or sister in Christ would involve long, careful, biblical exposition and teaching that could take place over years. To a paedo-baptist, the position of credo baptism should not be nearly the same thing as living in sin. Discipline is teaching. If after several years of patient instruction (and if often takes that long!), the credo is still unconvinced, then I would encourage them to seek another church, but I would never expel them. That is exercising church discipline, but it doesn't have to be on the road to excommunication. We need to broaden our definition of discipline. Of course, as has been mentioned, there are several Reformed churches that require confessional adherence in order to be a member. The PCA only requires that of office-bearers, and not of its members.

For the most part I would agree, but the confession calls neglecting baptism is a great sin. Would you withhold membership from an adult professing believer if they did not submit to baptism? If so, what is so different between that and withholding baptism from their children? Would you allow membership and then go through a long process of instruction in order to bring them to the point of understanding baptism is required?

What I am not saying is that those that are credo cannot be admitted to membership, and that the process of instruction should not be gentle, persistent, and long in duration. But it would seem to me that not eventually going to more and more severe as it becomes evident that the parents are not just not convinced, but are unwilling to submit to authority over them in their indecision.

Ultimately, the position of the WCF is that those who neglect baptism are in great sin. For a believer, this negligence would be their own baptism, and it is unlikely the person so neglecting baptism would be allowed to become a member. For parents of children, the neglecting of baptism would be for their children's baptism (as the parents would already be baptized if they were members) and it would still be, in the words of the confession, great sin.

Should any member of the church be living in a state of great sin and be allowed to the Lord's Supper? This is continuous, and in a paedo church, I think ought to be dealt with as any member in any flagrant public sin. Certainly it requires gentle, correction, teaching and guidance, but when does the church exercise the marks of the true church and exercise Biblical discipline in order to bring the erring sheep into the fold?

If great sin is not worthy of correction, then what do we call sins that are worthy of correction.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
This thread is a perfect example of why different denominations are a good thing, and why we should not seek to blur the lines of distinction between us. There is a reason why a credo is a credo and a paedo is a paedo. We should be charitable to all, even those who believe differently (so long as they are in the faith), but we should not seek accommodation on our convictions. The PB is a different animal. We are able to co-exist here, namely because we do not require each other to acquiesce to our different positions.
 
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