The Call to Repentance Over Baptism

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Barnpreacher

Puritan Board Junior
Let's say a paedo calls a credo to repent over his erroneous view of baptism or vice-versa, and they refuse to repent. Now what? Let's say the two brethren went to church together and the one refused to repent and the matter was brought before the church. The church found brother #1 in error and declared that he should repent over his view of baptism. Brother #1 refuses to do so and he is excommunicated over a lack of repentance.

Don't tell me that this is not the way that it is because I have plainly read in earlier threads that brother #1 is sinning because he doesn't take the same stand on baptism that brother #2 and that local church does.

So, in the eyes of brother #2 and the church, brother #1 is living in unrepentant sin.

I want to know how Presbyterians can fellowship with Baptists or Baptists can fellowship with Presbyterians when both claim the other is living in unrepentant sin? If they would be excommunicated in the church for refusing to repent over sin then how can brother #1 and brother #2 fellowship together just because they don't go to the same church?

I trust this thread isn't taken in the wrong spirit because it is not intended in that way at all. May God give us all some prayerful answers concerning this matter.
 

ReformedWretch

Puritan Board Doctor
I assume that they can fellowship for exactly that reason, yes. (that they don't go to the same church). But your example is why I feel that the PB needs to be 100% paedobaptist or needs to eliminate the baptism forum.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Ryan - you're missing one very important fact in your hypothetical. What does the church believe? If it's a Baptist church it is going to be credo (or else it isn't Baptist). If it's a Presbyterian church it is probably paedo. If a paedo brother is in a credo church and calls on his credo brother to repent, well the call isn't going very far. It would be dead in its Matthew 18 tracks. The same if it were the other way around.

Now lets say it was a credo in a paedo church and the paedo brother called on the credo to repent over his sin. Would this be a brother who just became convinced of credo baptism, or has this brother been a credo all along? If he applied for membership to a Presbyterian church and was accepted, with the church knowing of his credo beliefs, then there is no church discipline to be had. If the individual adopts a credo position out of the blue, well my Presbyterian brethren will have to answer that hypothetical.
 

Barnpreacher

Puritan Board Junior
Ryan - you're missing one very important fact in your hypothetical. What does the church believe? If it's a Baptist church it is going to be credo (or else it isn't Baptist). If it's a Presbyterian church it is probably paedo. If a paedo brother is in a credo church and calls on his credo brother to repent, well the call isn't going very far. It would be dead in its Matthew 18 tracks. The same if it were the other way around.

Now lets say it was a credo in a paedo church and the paedo brother called on the credo to repent over his sin. Would this be a brother who just became convinced of credo baptism, or has this brother been a credo all along? If he applied for membership to a Presbyterian church and was accepted, with the church knowing of his credo beliefs, then there is no church discipline to be had. If the individual adopts a credo position out of the blue, well my Presbyterian brethren will have to answer that hypothetical.

Bill, thanks for your response.

I'm not missing the fact that you brought up. I understand that, but I simply used the hypothetical to build the foundation for my question. Is brother #1 really living in unrepentant sin if he doesn't hold the same baptism position as brother #2?

My point was if a baptist would be excommunicated from a presbyterian church for not repenting over their erroneous view of baptism or vice-versa, then how can a presbyterian and baptist truly fellowship with one another?

We are commanded to not fellowship with those that are living in unrepentant sin, and if that's the case then how is it possible?

Again, I only used the hypothetical church situation to lay the foundation of the fact that churches really do believe that those that hold to the opposing view of baptism are living in unrepentant sin. Just because brother #1 and brother #2 do not go to the same church doesn't change that fact.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
But your example is why I feel that the PB needs to be 100% paedobaptist or needs to eliminate the baptism forum.

Brother Adam, I don't believe either one of those suggestions is appropriate. I believe you've taken some shrapnel for the other baptism threads. I can appreciate how you must feel. But I don't believe an "either/or" solution is in the best interest of the board or its members.

No one needs to participate in baptism threads. I pick and choose which threads I will participate in. My main concern with baptism threads is not how they start (usually), it's what they become. The tendency of baptism threads to stray off topic, or to become vitriolic is the responsibility of all and should be held in check by the mods. 'nuff said on that.

Ryan, back to the OP. Let's consider that most of our churches have individuals who hold to differing theological views. I'm not EP but another brother is. Is one of us in sin? You may be Amil and I'm Premil, is one of us in sin? Wine or grape juice? Dichotomist or Trichotomist? If we believe a contrary baptismal view is worthy of church discipline, why not the rest?

:think:
 

Barnpreacher

Puritan Board Junior
Ryan, back to the OP. Let's consider that most of our churches have individuals who hold to differing theological views. I'm not EP but another brother is. Is one of us in sin? You may be Amil and I'm Premil, is one of us in sin? Wine or grape juice? Dichotomist or Trichotomist? If we believe a contrary baptismal view is worthy of church discipline, why not the rest?

:think:

Great question, Bill!

That's my point. In an earlier thread a brother was told to repent of his erroneous baptism view. If he really is in sin over his baptism view then how can a paedo and credo fellowship? They couldn't fellowship in the same church, so how can they fellowship outside of the church?

How far can this be taken?
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Ryan - I believe there is a difference between theological error and a sinful thought, action or behavior. Orthodoxy covers a very broad spectrum. Some may argue, but I believe credo and paedo views of baptism are within the sphere of orthodoxy. Baptismal regeneration is not within the sphere of orthodoxy.

Who gets to set up the rules as to what is orthodox and what is not? To some degree orthodoxy is in the mind of the beholder. But for those of us who are PB members, we attend churches that would share a common view of orthodoxy. I have no problem saying that I disagree with the paedo position but would not say it falls out of the sphere of orthodoxy. Maybe the orthodoxy discussion deserves its own thread, but for our purposes I am trying to make the point that there is a difference between holding to a differing theological position and committing an act of sin.
 

larryjf

Puritan Board Senior
I guess it wouldn't be an issue if they both were in the Free Presbyterian Church.

From their articles of faith...
6a. Baptism -- The Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, under Christ the Great King and Head of the Church, Realizing that bitter controversy raging around the mode and proper subjects of the ordinance of Christian baptism has divided the Body of Christ when that Body should have been united in Christian love and Holy Ghost power to stem the onslaughts and hell-inspired assaults of modernism, hereby affirms that each member of the Free Presbyterian Church shall have liberty to decide for himself which course to adopt on these controverted issues, each member giving due honor in love to the views held by differing brethren, but none espousing the error of baptismal regeneration.

As for my church, really only the officers have to ascribe to the Westminster Standards. If a member of our church believes in credo-baptism that would not be a disciplinary issue unless they were causing division by it.
 

Barnpreacher

Puritan Board Junior
Ryan - I believe there is a difference between theological error and a sinful thought, action or behavior. Orthodoxy covers a very broad spectrum. Some may argue, but I believe credo and paedo views of baptism are within the sphere of orthodoxy. Baptismal regeneration is not within the sphere of orthodoxy.

Bill, I agree with this, but there are others on the Puritan Board who do not. As I stated earlier a brother was commanded to repent of his erroneous baptism view and this was backed up by others.

A call to repentance is only made when one thinks that another is SINNING. This is my whole point to this thread. If that is taken to its logical conclusion then a paedo and credo cannot truly fellowship with one another because in the mind of each the other is in unrepentant sin. I'm not saying I believe that, but I want to know how those that do believe that can defend their decision to fellowship with the one they are calling to repent.

A call to repentance is not just theological error, it's one brother thinking the other is in sin. Bill, I think what you and I consider theological error is considered unrepentant sin by others.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
If he really is in sin over his baptism view then how can a paedo and credo fellowship?

Ryan - forget just limiting the fellowship issue to paedo's and credo's. How about all the other theological differences brothers have? I enumerated some of them in my previous post. If a church is pre-mil are we going to begin the Matthew 18 principle if a brother is post-mil? Where is the line drawn? One answer (again, in my previous post) is extend liberty in certain areas that are within the sphere of orthodoxy. Also, if a church has published specific doctrinal positions, believing outside of those positions would be problematic. For example, I have read the doctrinal statements of more than a few churches that state (in no uncertain terms) that they are KJV only, pre-tribulation and pre-millennial. Knowing that in advance I would never attend a church that believes those things. If I were a member and became convinced those beliefs were in error, I would leave.
 

Barnpreacher

Puritan Board Junior
As for my church, really only the officers have to ascribe to the Westminster Standards. If a member of our church believes in credo-baptism that would not be a disciplinary issue unless they were causing division by it.

Larry, thanks for the response. Is not unrepentant sin ground for church discipline? If a paedo or a credo believes the other is really sinning in their view of baptism then they are in unrepentant sin in that brothers eyes. How can they fellowship?

I'm asking this because some brothers believe that another brothers view of baptism is sin that needs to be repented of. If that brother doesn't repent then in the other brother's eyes he is living in unrepentant sin. How can there be fellowship if this is the case?
 

Barnpreacher

Puritan Board Junior
Ryan - forget just limiting the fellowship issue to paedo's and credo's. How about all the other theological differences brothers have? I enumerated some of them in my previous post. If a church is pre-mil are we going to begin the Matthew 18 principle of a brother is post-mil? Where is the line drawn? One answer (again, in my previous post) is extend liberty in certain areas that are within the sphere of orthodoxy. Also, if a church has published specific doctrinal positions, believing outside of those positions would be problematic. For example, I have read the doctrinal statements of more than a few churches that state (in no uncertain terms) that they are KJV only, pre-tribulation and pre-millennial. Knowing that in advance I would never attend a church that believes those things. If I were a member and became convinced those beliefs were in error, I would leave.

Bill - Do you believe that a paedo view is sin?
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Bill - Do you believe that a paedo view is sin?

Ryan - honestly? I'm not sure. I remember answering this question in a baptism thread last year. If it is sin I would still place it within the spehre of orthodoxy. But that is just me.
 

reformedman

Puritan Board Freshman
I see you use the word, "repent" a lot. But there is nothing to repent for in the first place. Sin has not been committed, so there is no need for repentance.

Sin is not the doing of something that is abiblical.
sin is when you do something that is antibiblical.

This means, doing something that God commands not to do, or not doing something that God commands to do.

Both paedo and credo, are doing things that are abiblical and biblical.
They are not doing anything antibiblical.

the paedo abiblically, baptizes unbelieving infants.
Even if they baptized unbelieving adults, I don't see a command against it.
There is only a command to baptize people who repent and believe.

the credo doesn't baptize infants, nothing abiblical or antibiblical there either.

So neither one is doing anything antibiblical, and are both doing what is biblical.
therefore no sin is committed.

:2cents:
 

Barnpreacher

Puritan Board Junior
I see you use the word, "repent" a lot. But there is nothing to repent for in the first place. Sin has not been committed, so there is no need for repentance.

:2cents:

I agree. I ONLY started this thread because in another thread a brother was called to repent over his erroneous view of baptism.

I want to hear from those that believe the opposite view of baptism is sinful. How do you fellowship with the brother that holds that view?


Ryan - honestly? I'm not sure. I remember answering this question in a baptism thread last year. If it is sin I would still place it within the spehre of orthodoxy. But that is just me.

Interesting. But regardless of whether we feel it falls within the sphere of orthodoxy, sin is still sin. If a brother is calling another brother to repent it is because of sin. If sin is left unrepentant then it doesn't matter whether it falls within the sphere of orthodoxy or not. Does it?
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Ryan - I'll sit in the wings a bit and let those who do believe it is a sin worthy of repentance to answer.
 

ReformedWretch

Puritan Board Doctor
You have to believe it's a sin because if you don't then you don't believe your confession and if you don't believe your confession it's possible that you don't believe in anything including the doctrines of grace.

...at least that's how I suspect most would see this issue here based on all that I've read regarding this recently.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Ryan,

I think you need to be clearer in your categories because you're making all sin equivalent.

CH never said: "Repent of this sin..."

He actually told them they needed to repent of an un-Biblical belief.

Is an un-Biblical belief as sin? Yes, but not in the sense that a sin between two brothers is. There is no sense in which a man can leave his sacrifice at the altar and go and be reconciled to his brother for the particular offense that has been committed.

The issue of whether or not a theological error judicially requires censure is for a Church and its Officers to judge.
 

Barnpreacher

Puritan Board Junior
Ryan,

I think you need to be clearer in your categories because you're making all sin equivalent.

CH never said: "Repent of this sin..."

He actually told them they needed to repent of an un-Biblical belief.

Is an un-Biblical belief as sin? Yes, but not in the sense that a sin between two brothers is. There is no sense in which a man can leave his sacrifice at the altar and go and be reconciled to his brother for the particular offense that has been committed.

The issue of whether or not a theological error judicially requires censure is for a Church and its Officers to judge.


So, unrepentance in this case is no grounds for disfellowship? Can one be in continuous fellowship with a brother that is in unrepentant sin whether that sin is slander or a view of baptism?

On what grounds can the fellowship occur when these verses are clear and plain?

II Thessalonians 3:14-15, "And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.
Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother
."

If credobaptism is truly against the teaching of the Apostle Paul then the credobaptist is not obeying his word. If that's the case then the command is to have no company with him.

Is it only Paul's words in II Thessalonians that he is commanding men to obey, or is it his teachings as a whole?

I Timothy 6:3-5, "If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself
."

If one is not consenting to the baptism that are taught in the words of our Lord Jesus Christ then is the command not to withdraw ourselves from that individual?
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Ryan,

I answered your question. It is a judicial matter. Fellowship and Excommunication are matters of Church discipline. Men in the pews don't make the personal decision of who they will and will not fellowship with. There could be no Church unity if each man made that decision.

What do you do in your Church? Why don't you answer the question since you're in a position to bind and loose within your own body?

If God ever calls me to Office, I will be among a plurality who would have to judicially decide that issue and each case would be different regarding the nature of the doctrine being denied.
 

Barnpreacher

Puritan Board Junior
I wasn't asking the question to myself. I want to know what other individuals do.

Not necessarily from an ecclesiastical point of view, but more from a personal perspective.

Obviously, being a Presbyterian attending a Baptist Church, you can fellowship with those you think are in error on the view of baptism.

In light of the previous verses from the Apostle Paul are you being obedient to them?

What if God does call you to office and your plurality of elders decides that credobaptists are in sin and must repent. Have you been inconsistent and wrong for attending a Baptist Church at the present time if that becomes the case?
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Yes, Ryan, I'm being obedient by being in fellowship with people that I'm a member of a Church with. Implicit in verses that talk about dis-fellowship is Church discipline. Those verses cannot be pressed to imply that every brother is to decide for himself, within a Church, who is to be fellowshipped with or who is not.

Regarding the latter hypothetical, the answer is No. It ought to be clear from the fact that I don't hold Office and that I have no right to determine who I will/will not fellowship with.

Why won't you answer the question for yourself? Do you deny this is primarily a matter of Church discipline regarding fellowship? If not, then what is you stance as an office holder? You are comfortable asking me to answer a hypothetical about the future so how about the present:
Is the baptism of the infant children of believers Biblical?
If a man wants to join your Church, is he permitted to do so if he was not immersed as an adult? (forgive me if you already answered this)
If a man says he believes in Christ but has never been baptized and refuses to be baptized, will you admit him to membership?

The last question is an interesting one that I'd like to see answered. The issue, after all, is just about baptism and a man's beliefs concerning it.
 

Barnpreacher

Puritan Board Junior
Yes, Ryan, I'm being obedient by being in fellowship with people that I'm a member of a Church with. Implicit in verses that talk about dis-fellowship is Church discipline. Those verses cannot be pressed to imply that every brother is to decide for himself, within a Church, who is to be fellowshipped with or who is not.

Regarding the latter hypothetical, the answer is No. It ought to be clear from the fact that I don't hold Office and that I have no right to determine who I will/will not fellowship with.

Why won't you answer the question for yourself? Do you deny this is primarily a matter of Church discipline regarding fellowship? If not, then what is you stance as an office holder? You are comfortable asking me to answer a hypothetical about the future so how about the present:
Is the baptism of the infant children of believers Biblical?
If a man wants to join your Church, is he permitted to do so if he was not immersed as an adult? (forgive me if you already answered this)
If a man says he believes in Christ but has never been baptized and refuses to be baptized, will you admit him to membership?

The last question is an interesting one that I'd like to see answered. The issue, after all, is just about baptism and a man's beliefs concerning it.


Thanks for your honesty, Rich.

Yes, I believe the baptism of the infant children of believers is Biblical.

Yes, if a person wants to join my church I would allow him/her to if they were not immersed as an adult.

No, I will not admit anyone to membership that refuses baptism.

I know that the first two answers are not the norm for a baptist, but that's just it. I don't believe that either side is in sin.

I know my baptist brethren are probably wondering why I don't jump ship and become a Presbyterian. Perhaps in time I will. But right now God has me where He has planted me.

I'm simply trying to understand the credo position in the mind of a full-blown paedo. This is why I'm asking these questions. I'm not full-blown yet. I have a leg in both camps. :D
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Ryan,

I answered your question. It is a judicial matter. Fellowship and Excommunication are matters of Church discipline. Men in the pews don't make the personal decision of who they will and will not fellowship with. There could be no Church unity if each man made that decision.

What do you do in your Church? Why don't you answer the question since you're in a position to bind and loose within your own body?

If God ever calls me to Office, I will be among a plurality who would have to judicially decide that issue and each case would be different regarding the nature of the doctrine being denied.

Rich, BINGO! The πρεσβυτέρον (presbuteron = elders) are charged with shepherding the flock of God. This includes maintaining doctrinal purity within the church. Part of establishing and maintaining doctrinal purity is understanding the issues at hand. If a brother or sister is having a struggle with the some aspect of the doctrines of grace, understanding and love may be the prescription as opposed to church discipline. On the other hand, if that person is seeking to teach against what the church believes it may be counted as an offense that needs to be dealt with formally.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
I'm simply trying to understand the credo position in the mind of a full-blown paedo. This is why I'm asking these questions. I'm not full-blown yet. I have a leg in both camps.

So this is what your OP was all about? You're a baptist struggling with your stance on baptism? Perish the thought! Seriously, you're not the first nor will you be the last.

While I personally would not prohibit someone who was baptized as an infant from joining the church, I don't believe that puts me with a leg in both camps. My belief in credobaptism is solid. I just don't believe it should prohibit a brother or sister in Christ from becoming part of our local body. Yes, I would restrict them from teaching paedo doctrine or otherwise become contentious on the issue of baptism, but I would welcome them into our church family.
 

Barnpreacher

Puritan Board Junior
So this is what your OP was all about? You're a baptist struggling with your stance on baptism? Perish the thought! Seriously, you're not the first nor will you be the last.

While I personally would not prohibit someone who was baptized as an infant from joining the church, I don't believe that puts me with a leg in both camps. My belief in credobaptism is solid. I just don't believe it should prohibit a brother or sister in Christ from becoming part of our local body. Yes, I would restrict them from teaching paedo doctrine or otherwise become contentious on the issue of baptism, but I would welcome them into our church family.

Oops, did I give myself away? :lol:
 

Barnpreacher

Puritan Board Junior
Seriously though, it's not that what I say here matters anyway. I never post enough here to get a foot in the door, so no one cares if I'm a closet baptipresby. I just enjoy reading and learning the Presbyterian side of things from my Presbyterian brothers. From time to time I like to "pick" their brains a little.
 
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