The Differences between Credo and Paedo Views and are they really that different?

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I'm sort of new to all of this, please help me out where I've gone wrong. From what I gather, reformed presbyterians will baptize an infant even though they realize there is go guarantee this child is elect (it's a good thing the reformed presbyterians and reformed baptists can agree on who the elect are). Getting back to the presbyterian position, there's no sweat over baptizing as sign of election if you equate it to the covenant of circumsion. Still it's just a sign. Now the baptists on the other hand will baptise anyone who makes a profession of faith. Of course, to them this is just a sign too, it was never meant to guarantee a person's salvation. I just don't see a difference.

Had I been born around Moses' time as a child of Gentiles but with a desire to worship and obey the God of Abraham, would Noahide law require I get circumsized?

Makes me wonder if anyone's done a comparison study on the "electionness" of Credo baptized baptist children versus Paedo baptized presbyterians. Of course this doesn't negate the requirement if it is a requirement.

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
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I thought "No! This thread yet lives!" I'm going to move these posts into a new thread so old statements that caused some heat don't get resurrected.

But I do appreciate that question because it is very thoughtful.

First, to say the circumcision or baptism is "just a sign" is to equate the thing with the sign and to say: "Ah well, it's just a Promise from God."

That is, to say, that God has determined what the sign signifies and it is the thing signified that is meaningful. If, from a purely physical standpoint, one looks at it that way then it is OK to say: "Well, it's just a sign."

In fact, if you read Galatians 3, the conclusion to the way the Judiazers viewed circumcision, circumcision was nothing. If, however, you viewed circumcision the way Abraham did then to him it meant everything because it signified to him and reminded him of the promise that God made to him.

Yes, it is true that by baptizing or circumcizing a child or an adult, there is no guarantee that the child or adult is elect. I labor regularly to show that discussing election with respect to baptism is an utter waste of time because election cannot be the basis for baptism. Neither credo-baptists nor paedo-baptists know the identity of the elect and so it is fair to say that when a credo-baptist baptizes that "...there is no guarantee that this adult is elect...."

Baptism has sacramental union with the thing signified. There is a personal promise in the sacrament itself. The child is marked out for Covenant inclusion and a ministerial declaration of the promise of God is made: if you believe upon Jesus Christ you will be saved.

Now, what Baptists will argue is that only the elect are joined to the New Covenant in baptism. I say: "OK then, so what you're saying is that you don't know who are joined to the New Covenant when you baptize." That is to say, that the identity of the New Covenant people are completely hidden in a Credo schema since nobody knows who the elect are. You may baptize but it is not necessarily into the New Covenant when you do so. Thus, every ordinance in a Baptist schema can only ideally to be said to relate to the New Covenant but practically speaking nobody knows when it is and isn't the case. It also makes it nigh impossible to talk the way Paul does about those he is in covenant with because Baptists can only speak, in an ideal sense, that some in the Church are likely in the Covenant but, after all, there may be false professors.

I spoke at some length with Rev. Winzer recently about this. We agreed that Baptists and Presbyterians are identical in some sense. If you focus merely on our Confessional language regarding those who have union with Christ then we agree with Baptists in some sense. We are very careful to underline that the benefits of Christ's death and resurrection are only applied to the Elect. The thing that most divides us, however, is the nature of the visible administration of the New Covenant.

If you follow the Federal Vision controversy, one of the problems those men have is to be able to discern between the external or visible administration of the New Covenant and those that participate fully and electively in the New Covenant. I will hear Baptist repeatedly ask: "Who mediates for the New Covenant?" Knowing the answer is Christ, they think they have put a nail in the coffin of a visible membership that includes the non-Elect. But the Reformed do not find Scriptural warrant to limit the idea of Covenant identification with only those whose Christ's blood mediates for. Our Confessions echo the Scriptural patterns that see the Church acting in a mixed fashion and, yet, still addressing the entire Church community as if the full benefits of Covenant apply. We acknowledge that there might be goats among the sheep but we treat all in the Church as if they're sheep and attempt to mature them in that direction. It's only when open and mature rebellion is in force that discipline occurs and visible membership is cut off.

Thus, in answer to your question, I have repeatedly reflected on the "electionness" of Credo baptised vs. Paedo baptised and concluded that, as a basis for baptism, it is a faulty basis. It also makes a poor basis for practical theology to remain consistent with the Biblical passages about how we are to treat and address one another we are in visible fellowship with. Ironically, Baptists identify their children as outside the Covenant but then regularly bring them into the most intimate meeting places of the Covenant people. As a type/anti-type paradigm that is very strange. The un-circumcised would never have been allowed into the sanctuary to worship God with His people. Yet, Baptists who think of their children in this way still bring them into the presence of the Holy.

I've alway said that I am thankful for this inconsistency.


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I won't answer Rich's post point-by-point if for no other reason than all of his objections to credo baptism have been discussed in other threads ad nauseum.. There is one statement that I would like to respond to:

We acknowledge that there might be goats among the sheep but we treat all in the Church as if they're sheep and attempt to mature them in that direction. It's only when open and mature rebellion is in force that discipline occurs and visible membership is cut off.

The "We" in Rich's statement might as well apply to paedos and credos. As a credo I trust that all members of the visible church are either A) saved -or- B) profess salvation. As Rich so correctly pointed out, this is a point of departure between paedos and credos. However we would be in agreement that, "there might be goats among the sheep" and "it's only when open and mature rebellion is in force that discipline occurs and visible membership is cut off." Of course membership is cut off as a final result of church discipline.

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
That's true Bill but you wouldn't say they were ever in the Covenant with you, in any sense. To me, that insistence is the main rub. It is, as I said, nigh impossible to reconcile the broad forms of address that Paul used to entire Churches where the mixed nature of the Church was understood. It also creates an un-Scriptural dichotomy between visible Church and the people of God. It creates a bit of schizophrenia and a need to be qualifying yourself in the use of words constantly where the Apostles don't have that problem. They freely talked about Christ's benefits only being sealed fully to the elect but could still address the entire Church as being of the body and covenant in both an external (imperfect) and elect (perfect) sense.
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