The Sign of Circumcision: Symbolizing Justification, Regeneration, or Both?

Discussion in 'Covenant Theology' started by TheThirdandReformedAdam, Aug 7, 2016.

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  1. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    This is your statement from post 25. Lets just say that you are correct on your understanding. Didn't Paul get this? You are stuck with two options:
    1) There will come a day when everyone will know the Lord and hence we will not need teachers.
    2) Not everyone knows the Lord, hence this is why we still need teachers.

    What does this do to your understanding of Jer 31 since even Paul understood we will still need teachers? This validates my premise that the passage is a now and not yet-it will be perfectly fulfilled in glory-everyone will know the Lord and we will no longer need teachers.
     
  2. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Jeremiah is concerned with prophets and priests. These were established as official administrators of the covenant. These were the ones who would no longer "teach their neighbour." Hebrews 8-10 directly applies this prophecy to the cessation of the Aaronic priesthood. It is not a now/not-yet state of affairs. The new administration of the covenant has come in Christ, and the old administration under prophets and priests is finished.

    Hebrews gives specific warnings against apostacy in covenantal terms. It does not consider all who are under the administration of the covenant to be elect.

    God has His elect among infants; so reconstructing the "new covenant" to include only the elect does not lead to the exclusion of infants.
     
  3. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Why does that change anything? Didn't Moses receive the tablets of the law? If we follow your premise, we are not responsible to the law as it was given to Moses!

    As mentioned, covenants are perpetual.
     
  4. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    You have to understand that all those in the C of G externally were in the Covenant of Works, internally. But in the same way that we place the sign, the forefathers of our faith were obedient to the same command, never mind there understanding, i.e. Abraham knew well that ishmael was not the chosen one, yet he was still obedient to fulfill the command.
     
  5. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    I don't think you are understanding me. Of course not everyone knows the Lord; not everyone is in the New Covenant. My argument is that it seems that Jer. 31 is saying that everyone in the New Covenant knows the Lord in the salvific sense (i.e., they have there sins forgiven). People outside of the New Covenant are irrelevant; my contention is the nature of those within the Covenant. You seem to think that I am saying that we don't need teachers at all, which I never said. I ask that you read precisely what I was arguing in post #25.


    You are not listening to me. I am not arguing that since the command was verbally given only to Abraham explicitly and historically that therefore it does not apply to us. Please follow my argumentation. I am asking what the relationship of the covenant made with Abraham is with the New Covenant. If the covenant made with Abraham was not the New Covenant, then the application of the sign to all those physically born within the community (what you call the "external" covenant) of the New Covenant does not carry over.

    I still contend that the internal/external distinction for the New Covenant is begging the question. I haven't seen any evidence where that is the case, which is especially necessary since Jer. 31 seems to exclude such a construct.
     
  6. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    Anyway, I have sermon preparation to work on. What an invigorating conversation! I wish I could forgo sleep to stay involved. Ha!

    Until tomorrow, gentlemen...
     
  7. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    So, you are saying that the people in the internal side of the NC don't need teachers any longer? Why does Paul et. al. describe the need for teachers in the NT then?

    For example:

    The above is speaking of believers...


    The Abrahamic covenant is an administration of the C of G/NC. What relationship does it have? The same as any of the other administrations that fall under the C of G. The sign is commanded in Abrahams day and the sign is commanded in our day.


    All the reformed agree that the Abrahamic is an admin of the C of G. You yourself said:


    and finally:

    Anyone reading the NT can easily see the implications; we have warning passages. We have the gsoepl message continually preached. We have Judas, Demas etc. If everyone in the local church, i.e. those who have had the sign placed, are regenerate, why do we have all the warnings and exhortations to: continue, run the race, fight the good fight, etc. then?

    There are many doctrines gotten to by good and necessary consequence; why are u struggling so with this one?
     
  8. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    Again, you're not listening to me, because you keep saying things that I am not saying at all. What role do the teachers of Jer. 31 have? It does not say that no one will need a teacher because everyone will know everything about God, but because they will know God (which he explains means that their sins are forgiven; this is a salvific knowing). In this sense, then no, nobody within the New Covenant needs a teacher.

    This, you understand, is absolutely begging the question. You are trying to prove your point by asserting its veracity.

    The Baptists, as far as I am aware, do not understand the covenant made with Abraham to be the New Covenant or the Covenant of Grace. I am unsure where you read that in my statements.

    That's clearly an overstatement. The Baptists didn't see it, and I don't see it. As for the warning passages, I have already demonstrated a Baptist understanding of these which, again, make more sense to me, considering the descriptors of the apostate in Heb. 6.

    Where does it say these were in the New Covenant?

    Because only those who persevere will be saved. I don't understand how this seems troublesome within the Baptist scheme.

    Because, try as I might to get satisfactory answers, I have yet to receive one. I am sorry, I am at this point unconvinced. I agree that there are many doctrines arrived at by good and necessary consequence (such as the Trinity), but with this I am just not seeing it. Jer. 31 seems to plainly teach that all those within the New Covenant know the Lord. No one, including you, has yet to demonstrate this internal/external distinction from Scripture. One is either in the New Covenant (and know the Lord) or they are not (and they do not know the Lord). It seems very simple to me.
     
  9. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    I was a credo for 1/2 of my walk. That would be 12 years. Anyone who I know who are credo-baptist would admit that the sign had been placed on unregenerate members erroneously who at one time confessed Christ only to apostatize ultimately. If the church is made up of only elect and regenerate individuals, how does this occur? The elect will not fall away...If you say to me 'It is because only those who persevere, are the true church', this shows that the local church has internal, i.e. the elect, and the external, unregenerate members in the fold.

    When Paul mentions 'that they went out from us because they never were actually part of us', he is doing the same thing. 'They were part of us while they remained, though externally'.

    You make a dispensational distinction with the C of G; The Abrahamic covenant is an administration of the C of G; All men in that age were saved in the same fashion as us; under the same gospel appeal. By justification by faith alone. In the same way we appreciate, the other administrations and submit to them, you shrink away form the sign that was commanded of Abraham-even though, you appeal to it in the NT w/ water baptism. The only difference, is that you exclude the covenant child-which goes directly against the words of Christ when He says that 'the Kingdom belong's to such as these'.
     
  10. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    Because people can make false professions, can they not?

    No, I would be saying that there are those who appear to be part of the Church, but are not. It appears to me that there is no way in which we can say they benefit from the New Covenant at all, because they do not know the Lord and their sins are not forgiven.

    I would argue that you are making an imposition upon the text. Where does it say these people were in some sort of external covenant? Where even in Scripture is the New Covenant described as having an internal/external division? You keep referring to this, but have yet to prove it. You keep mentioning apostates, but it is easy to see that they were never under the New Covenant at all, because they did not know the Lord and their sins were never forgiven. That is what John* is saying. He nowhere speaks of an internal/external division of the New Covenant. Again, Jer. 31 (for which I have yet to see an explanation) appears to exclude that possibility.

    Not if the Covenant of Grace is the New Covenant (and vice-versa). Thus, the issue here.

    Of course, I absolutely agree. However, the Baptists would argue that anyone saved before Christ were saved by looking to the promise of the New Covenant, not from being under the New Covenant itself, seeing as it had not been formally ratified until the shedding of Christ's blood.

    Of course, because I have yet to see biblically how this covenant made with Abraham with the accompanying sign of circumcision is the New Covenant. As soon as that is proven, I am on board completely.

    Well, before we start throwing the accusation of disobedience to Christ around (I hope this conversation does not devolve into that as so many others have), I think the purpose of this pericope is clear. Christ does not say, "The kingdom belongs to children," but, "The kingdom belongs to such as (quite literally: "to those who are like") these [children]," i.e., those who "receive the kingdom of God as a little child." I have always found the citation of this passage and its parallels to support infant baptism to be strange.
     
  11. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    You are aware that there are only two covenants between God and man; that being, the C of W;s and the C of G. All the reformed understood this. No one held to the idea that that the Abrahamic stood alone. Hence, if the Abrahamic is an administration of the C of G, you are left with either obedience to it or dispensationalism.

    I Said earlier that the Divines used the terms 'new covenant' and 'C of G' interchangeably and provided a citation, to which you said in response:

    I suggest you do some reading of some good reformed materials as all I am citing is what history holds, from a reformed perspective. You may do with it as you will.
     
  12. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    All I know is that Reformed Baptists understood the Covenant of Grace to be the New Covenant, which was "revealed in the gospel; first of all to Adam in the promise of salvation by the seed of the woman, and afterwards by farther steps, until the full discovery thereof was completed in the New Testament."

    Most all of my contentions come from my reading of the survey of the London Baptists given by Pascal Denault. In his book he shows how the Baptists did not understand the Abrahamic Covenant as dispensing grace, but that grace was given through the promise of the New Covenant, which was concluded at Christ's blood. I quote Denault:

    "The paedobaptists, by applying the distinction between the substance and the administration of the Covenant of Grace, conceived that all the members of the Abrahamic Covenant did not benefit from the grace of God even if they were under the same Covenant of Grace. The Baptists, by applying the distinction between the revelation and the conclusion of the Covenant of Grace, conceiveed that all the members of the Abrahamic Covenant did not benefit from the grace of God, because the Covenant of Grace was not concluded with the members of this covenant. The Covenant of Grace was revealed and only those who, like Abraham, believe, participated in the Covenant of Grace manifested in the Abrahamic Covenant. Consequently, the Baptists had a fundamentally different understanding of the Abrahamic Covenant than that of the Presbyterians."

    He then goes on to discuss the duality of the Abrahamic Covenant as seen by the Baptists. I would suggest reading this section of his book.
     
  13. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Taylor,
    You're talking in circles....Is the Abrahamic Covenant an administration of the C of G or not?
    *If men are saved by faith alone, in Christ alone, it must fall under the C of G!

    I believe you have misunderstood. As I mentioned earlier, yes, it is not that the Abrahamic administers grace but the C of G itself-however, the Abrahamic, just like the other covenants in the C of G are administrations. The C of G over arches the administrations; this is exactly why I said that the reformed hold to two covenants between God and manking, i.e. the C of W's and the C of G.


    I s that quote accurate as it is a bit wonkey...can you double check and if so, I will respond.

    Duality? Can you enlighten me to what he thinks?
     
  14. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    I am literally quoting literature, just as you were. According to the Baptist understanding as I understand it, anyone saved before Christ was saved by looking to the promise of the New Covenant, which was different from the covenant made with Abraham and his physical posterity.

    Yes, the quote is accurate.

    The best thing to do would be to buy a copy for yourself and read it. It is a worthwhile book. Kindle does not allow me to copy and paste, and I am already in the middle of writing a paper that is due Friday. I simply haven't the time to quote extensively. Again, Denault's book is a worthwhile book to read. It is the book to which I wish a paedobaptist would respond.
     
  15. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Again, I am asking, since you have previously acknowledged a number of times that the NC and C of G are synonymous, what covenant is the Abrahamic,Davidic, Noahic and Mosaic under? Since there are only two main covenants, which is it that they are under?
     
  16. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    Again, the best thing for you to do would be to pick up a copy of Denault's book. But, since you insist, I quote him:

    "The Abrahamic Covenant, the Sinaitic Covenant and the Davidic Covenant were not the Covenant of Grace, nor administrations of it; however, the Covenant of Grace was revealed under these various covenants."
     
  17. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Thank you.

    Preposterous; how is it that men were saved in these epochs if it wasn't for grace. Dumb.
     
  18. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Jacob is loved and Esau is hated. Election and covenant are not identical, but special election is manifest within the covenant, as explained by the apostle in Romans 9. The special election of Jacob continues to operate in connection with Jacob's children. They are not all Israel who are of Israel. The word of God has its effect in the election. Reformed paedobaptists are credobaptists in terms of the efficacy of the outward administration of the covenant. The problem for the antipaedobaptist is that he still has to reckon with "elect infants" who are saved by the covenant of grace. Even with his reconstruction of the covenant he has failed to exclude infants. At that point it becomes clear that the issue has nothing to do with the members of the covenant of grace. The issue is with the relation of baptism to the covenant. The antipaedobaptist has no place for baptism as a proper, visible sign of the covenant of grace.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2016
  19. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    Why the condescending, offensive tone and remarks? There is no need for that, Christian brother.

    If you want answers, pick up a copy of Pascal Denault's book rather than making uncharitable (as well as false) statements. He addresses how people were saved in those epochs at length, and so have I briefly in this thread, i.e., by looking to the promise.

    If you want answers, make the effort and search them out yourself. Starting with the 1689 Confession would be a good start, which claims that "it is alone by the grace of this covenant that all the posterity of fallen Adam that ever were saved did obtain life and blessed immortality." But do not act as you currently are choosing to in your speech. It grossly misrepresents and dishonors the One whom you and I both worship.
     
  20. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    No one worth any theological salt believes that in the history of the Christian church. It doesn't get any more dispensational than that.
     
  21. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor


    Tyler,
    Please don't take this personally. It was not directed at you. The statement is preposterous and in light of historic Christianity, dumb. Sorry, but thats how I feel. Again, not directed at you. If I offended you, forgive me.
     
  22. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    That's a remarkable overstatement, one that Denault's book seeks to dispel.

    I am simply quoting Denault who is in turn giving a survey of covenantal Baptist understanding in the 16th and 17th centuries. I know Paedobaptists like to throw the Dispensationalist accusation around. I wish we would dispense with that temptation. It does nothing to further the argument, much less make an argument; it brings heat without light. It should not matter whether a theology is deemed Dispensational or Covenantal, but whether it is faithful to the teaching of Scripture, no?
     
  23. Tyrese

    Tyrese Puritan Board Sophomore

    As much as you all like throwing around 'dispensational', it really doesn't make one a dispensationalist. Is that why some of you are paedobaptist because you don't want to be called a dispensationalist? Just askin
     
  24. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    Understood, I apologize for my offense and my subsequent remarks.

    In all seriousness, I would love it if you could read Denault's book (it is short) and write up a series of articles rebutting it. It would me immensely helpful to me. Even if you don't do that, Denault's book is something everyone, regardless of theological conviction, needs to read. Honestly, if I found an argument that effectively dismantled the arguments put forward by the Baptists as presented in Denault's book, I would without hesitation recant my beliefs. But, so far, I have been presented with none.
     
  25. Tyrese

    Tyrese Puritan Board Sophomore

    Absolutely! with that said I'll delete my last comment. I really appreciate the time and labor that you put into this discussion. I for one found it helpful and edifying. Thanks brother!
     
  26. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    To be perfectly honest, most all of us come out of a dispensational theology, to which we now have a disdain for the error.
     
  27. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    This all comes down to one's understanding of covenant and how God works in time. This is a gospel issue; to which, Denaults statement thrashes the gospel.
     
  28. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    What I was saying, based on my personal extensive reading of historic primary sources, is that Dennault's statement is dispensational.
     
  29. Tyrese

    Tyrese Puritan Board Sophomore

    Understood. But do you understand that a confessional Baptist is not a dispensationalist? This begs the question: did you leave dispensational theology or confessional Baptist theology? There's a difference. Btw, I too left a dispesational Church and I'm telling you it's not the same thing.
     
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