Understanding the "Abrahamic Covenant" is key!

Status
Not open for further replies.

Mocha

Puritan Board Freshman
Scott,

You said:

The NC is not new like you want to believe. It is fulfilled or consumated. The old testament saint had full advantage of Christ; looking to Him. The present day saint as well; looking back. man have always been saved in the same way all throughout scripture. So how is the NC better? It is better because the OC (the covenant of works) brought death! The NC brings life. When was the NC initiated? In Gen 3. When was it fulfilled, at calvary. Think of it as a glass being filled with water. Empty during the C.o.W and beginning to be filled up over time, fully filled at Christs crucifixion.

If I'm understanding you correctly, you are saying that the OC is the C.o.W, and the NC is the C.o.G.

I'm not sure I would agree. I would see the C.o.G beginning in Gen 3 and continuing until the return of Christ, at the consummation, but I would see the OC and the NC as being administrations of the C.o.G. What makes the New Covenant new? James White says:

...the newness of the New Covenant is seen in the extensiveness of the expression of God's grace to all in it. It is an exhaustive demonstration of grace, for all in the New Covenant experience all that is inherent in the covenant in the blood of the Son of God. It is not merely a remnant that experiences these things, but all, so that the saying, "They did not keep my covenant" cannot be said of them, for unlike the Old Covenant where there were many who did not have the law in their hearts and minds, did not know the Lord, and did not know the forgiveness of their sins, this is not the case in the New Covenant...The newness of the New Covenant in the blood of Christ is found in the reality that the better mediator, better hope, better sacrifices, mean that all, from the least to the greatest of them, know the Lord savingly. (James White, "The Newness of the New Covenant [Part II]", Reformed Baptist Theological Review [vol II No. 1], pgs. 88-89)

Obviously the question "What makes the New Covenant new?" is very important to this whole issue. If it's true that everyone in the New Covenant is saved, then you cannot say that the New Covenant was fulfilled or consummated before Christ died.

Scott, the quotes from Pratt that you use, they do not support your position. Pratt makes it clear that the New Covenant is soteriological in nature. I don't see how you can use him to support you argument.

What did Christ mean here:

Joh 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

Did he really mean new? Was it really a new commandment? If so, He broke his own rules.........

1Jo 2:8 Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.

Another one?

2Jo 1:5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.

Yet another.

So we now have 13 commandments???

In this context, I believe he is talking about something new in "degree", whereas the New Covenant is new in "kind". Apples and oranges!

Jer 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Are you prepared to tell me Abraham, Issac and Jacob did not have this benefit?

Abraham, Issac and Jacob absolutely had the law written on their hearts. There is no doubt. What makes the New Covenant new (according to the Credo's) is that all within the New Covenant will have the law written on their hearts as Abraham, Issac and Jacob had.

Jer 31:34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Since when do we not need teachers or the gospel?

I wonder if we could interpret it like this:

"And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Circumcise your heart: for they shall all have their hearts circumcized, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."

In other words, the emphasis is on something God will do to all covenant members.

Scott, I'll admit I've got a lot more studying to do on this. I hope thing will begin falling into place soon.

Mike
 

Steve Owen

Puritan Board Sophomore
Scott asked:-
Joh 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

Did he really mean new? Was it really a new commandment? If so, He broke his own rules.........
Well, it is not merely an old commandment renewed, it is a specific commandment to Christians. We are to love one another, not 'merely' as ourselves, but as Christ has loved us. It should be read in the light our Our Lord washing the disciples feet at the beginning of the chapter, and it is surely significant that it was uttered immediately after Judas had left.

So we now have 13 commandments???

Well, it is certainly not of the same order as those of the second table. It is more than not lying to each other or not stealing from each other. It is to love as Christ has loved us. To put our brethren before ourselves (Acts 4:32, 34 ). Easy to write; hard to practise.

Scott asked Mike:-
Jer 31:34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Since when do we not need teachers or the gospel?

We have covered this so many times before. Of course we need teachers and the Gospel. However, Christians (ie. those in the New Covenant) do not need to be told to know the Lord because, by definition, they already do. They will certainly need to learn more about him. Do we ever stop learning about Him?

Martin

[Edited on 12-23-2005 by Martin Marprelate]

[Edited on 12-23-2005 by Martin Marprelate]
 

Steve Owen

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by SemperFideles
Originally posted by Martin Marprelate
Rich, what is your interpretation of Gal 3:7?

Grace & Peace,
Martin
That those who believe are the children of Abraham.

Again, I want to reiterate the problem I have with connecting election to baptism. While connected they are distinct. One belongs solely to the hidden counsel of God while the other has an administration in time and space by men.

I understand what you're saying here, but in fact it is you that keeps bringing up election. I connect faith to baptism, because that is what the Bible dies. It is those who believe who are baptized Mark 16:16; Acts 2:41; 8:12 etc).
The fascinating aspect of the verse you quoted is that I would use it as a verse to show a person who wrongly disconnects the Covenant of Grace to show him: "Look here, Paul is saying we are children of Abraham. See the Covenantal language here..."

I would say the same.
As you well noted, Gen 3:7 was true independent of administration. You keep focusing on the hidden things that were revealed. You have the benefit of hindsight to know that Esau was a Covenant breaker as were others. It is fine to speak of the Elect as being those who will truly see God but to make a hidden status the basis for something that must be administered by men is to engage in pure speculation. As I've repeatedly demonstrated, you are promised to know only your own election and none other. You know of absolutely nobody you are in Covenant with based on the bar you set.

I assume you mean Gal 3:7? You must be careful in describing Esau as a covenant breaker. Which covenant are you referring to? The Abrahamic Covenant as described in Gen 17 could only be broken by someone not being circumcised. Esau showed himself to be outside the Covenant of Grace by despising his birthright and by disobeying his parents' wishes. The rest of this is just nonsense. I have no assurance that anyone I meet is not an axe-murderer or a suicide bomber, but I don't work out my life on that basis. Likewise, I accept every professing Christian as a true believer unless and until I have cause to suspect otherwise.
I asked about proselytes because the subject is germane to the whole issue of command. It is not precisely true to state that circumcision only marked joining the nation of Israel. While a person could be a "God fearer", they were not in proper covenant until they obeyed the command. The answer to "Would they have to demonstrate adult faith" is a "No duh" answer.
You have not answered my point about Lot and Naaman. The whole question of admission to the Synagogue is extra-biblical. I intend to write on the subject of proselyte baptism in due course, but I prefer to keep my powder dry at present.
If you're talking to Covenant heads, then, what kind of commands would you proffer? Exactly the kind of "Believe and be baptized..." that you see to those who are, in essence, "proselytes" to the Covenant. This is why I don't find the argument convincing that, because the commands in biblical narratives (as opposed to didactic teaching) are "...believe and be baptized..." compel the idea that baptism requires adult faith. It is precisely parallel to the proselyte formula in Scripture. The adults believe - the household is brought in by solidarity and it is expected that children will be raised in the faith of the father.
That is the Old Covenant picture, but not the New Covenant (Jer 31, Heb 8 ). If you want to argue all through the 'family' conversions in Acts, I'm your man, but you will find it's been flogged to death here already.
Unbelieving children is fundamentally blamed on parents throughout Scripture.
I think that if you look through the OT, you will find more examples of the children of OT saints falling away than believing. Samuel, David, Jehosaphat, Hezehiah, Josiah, for example, while the children of wicked men often come to faith (Jeraboam, Ahaz, Amon). I would also suggest that Ezek 18 (the whole chapter, but especially vs 1-3 ) tends to refute you. This is not at all to deny the need to bring up one's children in the fear of the Lord, but even so, I would say that the most important thing one can do for one's children is to pray for them.
Seeing your children's children call on the name of the Lord is called an inheritance and a blessing.

A blessing it certainly is. Whether it ever was an inheritance is questionable.

Martin

[Edited on 12-24-2005 by Martin Marprelate]
 

Mocha

Puritan Board Freshman
Rich,

You said:

You quoted James White in his statement that because the Covenant from Adam to Abraham had no covenant sign that it was a "support" for the notion of discontinuity you claim in the New Covenant.

I responded by demonstrating that the Covenant sign might have been different within the same Covenant of Grace but that family solidarity was preserved from Adam to Christ.

Do you concede that Dr. White's argument has no bearing on the issue of family solidarity or no?

I don't think the importance of family changes within the C.o.G, because family is always important to God. But there may be a different way in which God gathers His people. If God is gathering His people another way, who are we to say it's not fair?

Secondly, I asked how the contraction of the Covenant to remove children and destroy family solidarity in Covenant with God was an improvement. I do not believe you have addressed that question. Since the essential nature of the Covenant of Grace has always been salvation by Christ's righteousness from Adam to the present, how does God declaring "I am no longer God to your children" mark the New Covenant as "better"?

John Piper says:

Turn with me to Romans 9:6-8:

But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; (7) nor are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants, but: "through Isaac [not Ishmael] your descendants will be named." (8) That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.

What's relevant in this text for our purpose is that there were two "Israels": a physical Israel and a spiritual Israel. Verse 6b: "They are not all Israel [i.e., true spiritual Israel] who are descended from Israel [i.e., physical, religious Israel]." Yet God ordained that the whole, larger, physical, religious, national people of Israel be known as his covenant people and receive the sign of the covenant and the outward blessings of the covenant - such as the promised land (Genesis 17:8).

The covenant people in the Old Testament were mixed. They were all physical Israelites who were circumcised, but within that national-ethnic group there was a remnant of the true Israel, the true children of God (verse 8). This is the way God designed it to be: he bound himself by covenant to an ethnic people and their descendants; he gave them all the sign of the covenant, circumcision, but he worked within that ethnic group to call out a true people for himself. Piper's Article

According to Piper, family solidarity in the covenant was with respect to physical Israel, to an ethnic people and their descendants. In the New Covenant, God does not deal with a physical/ethnic people in the same way.

Piper goes on to say:

For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman [Ishmael, born to Hagar] and one by the free woman [Isaac, born to Sarah]. (23) But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise. . . . (28) And you brethren [the Church], like Isaac, are children of promise."

Now who is "you brethren"? They are the Church. The Church is not to be a mixed heritage like Abraham's seed. The Church is not to be like Israel - a physical multitude and in it a small remnant of true saints. The Church is the saints, by definition. The Church continues the remnant. As verse 28 says, the Church is "like Isaac, children of promise."

The people of the covenant in the Old Testament were made up of Israel according to the flesh - an ethnic, national, religious people containing "children of the flesh" and "children of God." Therefore it was fitting that circumcision was given to all the children of the flesh.

But the people of the new covenant, called the Church of Jesus Christ, is being built in a fundamentally different way. The church is not based on any ethnic, national distinctives but on the reality of faith alone, by grace alone in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Church is not a continuation of Israel as a whole; it is an continuation of the true Israel, the remnant -not the children of the flesh, but the children of promise.[/b]


If Piper is right, then family solidarity within the covenant is discontinued. Then how is the covenant better? The covenant is better because children of the flesh are no longer in it, and therefore all within it are truely chldren of promise.

Yes, I know this is the Credo view, but I would like to see a Paedo response. I would like to see a convincing argument that Piper and the Credo's are wrong!

This is a return to the credo-Baptist argument that "We baptize the elect". How do any of those conclusions inform you, or any elder, who is the proper subject of a single act of baptism? Unless you have the mind of God you can baptize NOBODY by those criteria - adult or child.

Credo's don't baptize the elect. Credo's only baptize those who profess faith in Christ. There's a major difference there!

Mike
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Originally posted by Mocha
Rich,

You said:

You quoted James White in his statement that because the Covenant from Adam to Abraham had no covenant sign that it was a "support" for the notion of discontinuity you claim in the New Covenant.

I responded by demonstrating that the Covenant sign might have been different within the same Covenant of Grace but that family solidarity was preserved from Adam to Christ.

Do you concede that Dr. White's argument has no bearing on the issue of family solidarity or no?

I don't think the importance of family changes within the C.o.G, because family is always important to God. But there may be a different way in which God gathers His people. If God is gathering His people another way, who are we to say it's not fair?
I was not concerned with what was fair. I really could care less about fairness. I know we all deserve eternal hellfire. Here was the strain of Dr. White's argument:

1. Between Adam and Abraham the COG existed with no sign of Covenant inclusion.
2. A discontinuity exists in going from "No Sign" to "Sign" with Abraham.

Ergo, the fact that the COG in the New Covenant does not include children is just another discontinuity and you silly paedobaptists just don't get that discontinuities exist.

The argument does not follow. The issue is that, from Adam to Christ, family solidarity is preserved in the Covenant. It is the nature of the way in which God deals with His chosen people and from whom He elects and into whom He elects. Then, without an explicit statement, the solidarity is sharply broken. No longer is God the God of a man and His children but a man only.

That is a SHARP discontinuity of a completely different kind and not merely the change of a sign. Dr. White's argument is not only weak but really has no bearing, in my humble opinion, on the issue at hand.

Secondly, I asked how the contraction of the Covenant to remove children and destroy family solidarity in Covenant with God was an improvement. I do not believe you have addressed that question. Since the essential nature of the Covenant of Grace has always been salvation by Christ's righteousness from Adam to the present, how does God declaring "I am no longer God to your children" mark the New Covenant as "better"?

John Piper says:

Turn with me to Romans 9:6-8:

But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; (7) nor are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants, but: "through Isaac [not Ishmael] your descendants will be named." (8) That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.

What's relevant in this text for our purpose is that there were two "Israels": a physical Israel and a spiritual Israel. Verse 6b: "They are not all Israel [i.e., true spiritual Israel] who are descended from Israel [i.e., physical, religious Israel]." Yet God ordained that the whole, larger, physical, religious, national people of Israel be known as his covenant people and receive the sign of the covenant and the outward blessings of the covenant - such as the promised land (Genesis 17:8).

The covenant people in the Old Testament were mixed. They were all physical Israelites who were circumcised, but within that national-ethnic group there was a remnant of the true Israel, the true children of God (verse 8). This is the way God designed it to be: he bound himself by covenant to an ethnic people and their descendants; he gave them all the sign of the covenant, circumcision, but he worked within that ethnic group to call out a true people for himself. Piper's Article

According to Piper, family solidarity in the covenant was with respect to physical Israel, to an ethnic people and their descendants. In the New Covenant, God does not deal with a physical/ethnic people in the same way.

Piper goes on to say:

For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman [Ishmael, born to Hagar] and one by the free woman [Isaac, born to Sarah]. (23) But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise. . . . (28) And you brethren [the Church], like Isaac, are children of promise."

Now who is "you brethren"? They are the Church. The Church is not to be a mixed heritage like Abraham's seed. The Church is not to be like Israel - a physical multitude and in it a small remnant of true saints. The Church is the saints, by definition. The Church continues the remnant. As verse 28 says, the Church is "like Isaac, children of promise."

The people of the covenant in the Old Testament were made up of Israel according to the flesh - an ethnic, national, religious people containing "children of the flesh" and "children of God." Therefore it was fitting that circumcision was given to all the children of the flesh.

But the people of the new covenant, called the Church of Jesus Christ, is being built in a fundamentally different way. The church is not based on any ethnic, national distinctives but on the reality of faith alone, by grace alone in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Church is not a continuation of Israel as a whole; it is an continuation of the true Israel, the remnant -not the children of the flesh, but the children of promise.[/b]


If Piper is right, then family solidarity within the covenant is discontinued. Then how is the covenant better? The covenant is better because children of the flesh are no longer in it, and therefore all within it are truely chldren of promise.

Yes, I know this is the Credo view, but I would like to see a Paedo response. I would like to see a convincing argument that Piper and the Credo's are wrong!

I'm almost at a loss at where to begin with this because it is so problematic on so many levels.

1. Do you believe that when God is showing affection to a man's children that they be saved that He is faking it? When God calls it a curse that a man's children should turn from the faith is that a mere fleshly thing? When God calls children an inheritance from the Lord and that a man is blessed whose quiver is full of them, is this a fleshly blessing only? When is blessedness ever just physical? When is apostasy ever crassly referred to as just abandoning some tribal affiliation?

2. Again, there is a fundamental issue where Piper and others repeatedly refer to the New Covenant as only including the Elect (we baptize the Elect right?). It's interesting that Piper quotes these verses as if all Reformed folk don't understand that there are some that appeared to run in the faith that failed ultimately because of the purposes of God.

a. Do Baptists think they are adding to the idea of soteriology the idea that only the Elect will truly be saved?
b. Were the non-elect saved under the Old Covenant with Abraham?
c. Were the non-elect saved under the Covenant of Grace at all?

If only the Elect were ever really saved then how, fundamentally have things changed in the New Covenant? It seems that Baptists are arguing that God set up a fake system to confuse those in Israel (and before) that their children were blessed and that blessing only including some sort of national thing that had no soteriological signficance to their family as a whole? That He commanded them to educate and train their children in the faith, else they apostasize, seems to be with His fingers crossed behind His back. None of those commands is at all meaningful in the ultimate sense because they were never part of an everlasting Covenant but merely a purely physical covenant.

I'm certain some will find my summation thus far to be crass but I have trouble finding better words. Forgive me if you're offended. Nevertheless, the sub-covenantal stuff people are reading into the Abramic Covenant is completely extra-Biblical and done to preserve a system of doctrine they're foisting upon the Scriptures. I used the analogy of planetary orbits before and I'll return to it again. It takes so much energy to explain away so much of the talk of Covenantal blessing that it becomes an exercise in absurdity to go to every passage that deals with a man and his children and recast it in credo-Baptist light. Go to every verse and say to yourself: "This is purely physical here..." and discover how torturous it is.

I never understand the credo-Baptist line of argumentation because, FOR THE SAME REASONS, God should have told Abraham only to circumcise adults who showed true faith. Indeed, by this line of argumentation, credo-Baptists ought to be credo-Circumcisers. Paul is speaking of the Covenant with Abraham and, ultimately Israel who were circusmcised, when He states that "Not all Israel was Israel". He is speaking of men in the past, under the OC, and that only the Elect were truly saved. To me, Credo-Baptism only makes sense if you're a true Dispensationalist. When Reformed Baptists come to this issue of Election and true inclusion in the COG, it makes no sense for God to command the circumcision of children since only the elect would be saved under that administration as well and since the true Covenant only included the Elect.

I therefore still fail to see the "better" aspect of the Covenant because:
1. In the COG from Adam to Abraham only the Elect were saved but God was God of a man and His children.
2. In the COG from Abraham to Christ only the Elect were saved but God was God of a man and His children.
3. In the New Covenant within the COG, only the Elect are saved but God is the God of just the man.

You, and Piper, state 3. as saying "The New Covenant is perfect and includes just the true believers" but it is just the same as saying Number 3.

So how is this better?

This is like a beach ball that one is trying to hold down under the water and as it pops to the surface a bunch of splashing occurs to distract attention - lots of talk about how the New Covenant is with only the Elect - just long enough to get the beach ball submerged again. I'm left scratching my head thinking "But Abraham also had the blessing of a perfect Covenant with God but He also got to consider His kids, from the womb, as part of this loving relationship with God."

This is a return to the credo-Baptist argument that "We baptize the elect". How do any of those conclusions inform you, or any elder, who is the proper subject of a single act of baptism? Unless you have the mind of God you can baptize NOBODY by those criteria - adult or child.

Credo's don't baptize the elect. Credo's only baptize those who profess faith in Christ. There's a major difference there!

Mike
Mike,

I know that's what they say is the difference but look at Piper's argument! The New Covenant includes only the Elect...

{Crickets chirping}

There were reprobate in the Old Covenant but the New Covenant is better...

In other words, there are no reprobate in the New Covenant because Credos wait to baptize until professed faith so that no reprobate are baptized? Is that what I'm supposed to conclude?

But they DO baptize the reprobate?

They also state that the only commands to baptize are to those who believe. BUT THAT IS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THAN THE ISSUE OF THE PERFECTION OF THE COVENANT AS INCLUDING ONLY THE ELECT UNLESS CREDO-BAPTISTS CLAIM THE ABILITY TO KNOW THE ELECT FROM THE REPROBATE. :banghead::banghead:

I'm just so frustrated. Again, credos use so much paper (or internet storage) affirming the idea that only the Elect are saved in their polemics as if that issue is not established in Reformed Theology. IT BEARS NOT ONE MINUTE UPON WHETHER A MAN WHO PROFESSES IS BAPTIZED! Why? Because the men who agree to baptize him have no infallible knowledge of his heart!

If you believe that Baptists are not saying "Baptize the Elect" then why bring Piper's quotes in that are all about the New Covenant including only the Elect? It's about the only argument they have, that's why. It has no foundation because they can't even live by that standard.

Oh, they'll say that no commands in Scripture say anything about Baptism except to "...believe and be baptized...." It is weak for at least two reasons:

1. Biblical narratives are a weak place to develop a theology. It is the reason why neo-Pentacostalism has such a faulty view of the "second baptism of the Spirit" in their theology. They base their Theology on narratives is Acts that don't develop or flesh out the ideas of the Holy Spirit in the same way didactic teaching elsewhere does.

2. If you're talking to adults then you're going to tell them to believe and be baptized. If you're dealing with adults, both credo and paedo baptists are going to interview and test the sincerity of the confession. Children are thereafter assumed to be in Covenant with God as an unbroken quality of God's Covenant. Proselyte believers had the same requirements to believe. Unfortunately I believe Martin to be very well read on the issue of Proselyte believers but he pours in his credo Baptist views to not be able to see the parallels more strikingly. Read Alfred Edersheim's work (he was a Presbyterian and knew much of the subject).

In the end, you end up with an argument, based on weak inference, that we are to baptize only adults. There is nothing that even approaches a command clear enough to overthrow the established Covenantal pattern of family solidarity. In fact, I believe Acts 2:39 clearly restates family solidarity and that only those whose theology requires them to recast it cannot see it.

Thanks for the continued dialogue Brother. Don't mistake my passion for anger. These discussions are very edifying.

[Edited on 12-26-2005 by SemperFideles]
 

Mocha

Puritan Board Freshman
Rich,

You said:

Here was the strain of Dr. White's argument:

1. Between Adam and Abraham the COG existed with no sign of Covenant inclusion.
2. A discontinuity exists in going from "No Sign" to "Sign" with Abraham.

Let me review his statement. James White was responding to a quote by Jeff Neil, so let me give you the quote to help set the context of James White's respnse. Jeff Neil said:

But the question remains, How is the new covenant different? Does the newness pertain to its essential nature, making it qualitatively different from the previous covenant, or does the newness pertain to membership - or both? Those who would utilize the Hebrews passage to argue against paedobaptism would say that the new covenant is new in both respects.

James White begins his responsse to Niell by saying:

..."covenant theology" must, as a necessary element, include the assertion that the essential nature and membership of all administrations of the Covenant of Grace are identical...

I think James White is trying to show (by quoting Niell) that paedobaptists do not believe that the New Covenant is different (or new) in its "nature" or "membership". White wants to show that paedobaptists must hold that all administrations of the COG are identical. Paedobaptists cannot admit that there is a difference in any administrations of the COG (with regard to its nature or membership) or else their hermeneutics fail. In order to point out that there is a difference among the administrations of the COG, White says:

...if one believes the Covenant of Grace began with Adam, was the essential nature and membership of the covenant the same from Adam to Abraham?...What covenant sign was given to covenant members from Adam to Abraham?...differences in administrations...would be contrary to the needed foundation that underlies the insistence that the covenant sign should be given to all offspring of covenant members.

In other words, if there is a covenant administration that does not have or does not require a covenant sign to represent being in the covenant, then obviously all the administrations can't be identical in nature and membership.

You said:

The argument does not follow. The issue is that, from Adam to Christ, family solidarity is preserved in the Covenant. It is the nature of the way in which God deals with His chosen people and from whom He elects and into whom He elects.

The point is that God can work differently among the covenant administrations. The lack of a covenant sign from Adam to Abraham is proof of this.

That is a SHARP discontinuity of a completely different kind and not merely the change of a sign.

What kind of discontinuity is it?

Do you believe that when God is showing affection to a man's children that they be saved that He is faking it?

God has a sincere desire that ALL children be saved (not just the children of believers), but ultimately only the elect will be saved.

When God calls it a curse that a man's children should turn from the faith is that a mere fleshly thing? When God calls children an inheritance from the Lord and that a man is blessed whose quiver is full of them, is this a fleshly blessing only? When is blessedness ever just physical? When is apostasy ever crassly referred to as just abandoning some tribal affiliation?

I must confess I find Piper's view attractive. If circumcision was a sign and seal of the infants inclusion in the covenant, it makes more sense (to me) that that administration was completely different from the New Covenant, which is soteriological in nature. I'm not saying the Abrahamic Covenant was not spiritual at all. It's just that you didn't need to be spiritual at all to enter that covenant.

Again, there is a fundamental issue where Piper and others repeatedly refer to the New Covenant as only including the Elect (we baptize the Elect right?). It's interesting that Piper quotes these verses as if all Reformed folk don't understand that there are some that appeared to run in the faith that failed ultimately because of the purposes of God.

Baptists baptize believers (not elect) . Anyone who was baptized but had a false profession were never actually in the New Covenant.

If only the Elect were ever really saved then how, fundamentally have things changed in the New Covenant?

I think you're missing the point. We all know that only the elect (from whatever administration of the COG) will be saved. In previous adminisrations of the COG unbelievers could enter. In the New Covenant administration of the COG, only believers can enter. That's the fundamental change (from a credo perspective).

It seems that Baptists are arguing that God set up a fake system to confuse those in Israel (and before) that their children were blessed and that blessing only including some sort of national thing that had no soteriological signficance to their family as a whole? That He commanded them to educate and train their children in the faith, else they apostasize, seems to be with His fingers crossed behind His back. None of those commands is at all meaningful in the ultimate sense because they were never part of an everlasting Covenant but merely a purely physical covenant.

It seems to me that you don't really understand the credo view. I know paedo's who can clearly articulate the credo view and yet disagree with it. I think paedo's and credo's have excellent points on both sides. That why this issue is such a difficult one. If someone is not struggling with it, I wonder if he/she has really tried to understand both sides?

I never understand the credo-Baptist line of argumentation because, FOR THE SAME REASONS, God should have told Abraham only to circumcise adults who showed true faith.

You are trying to apply the nature and membership of the New Covenant to the Abrahamic Covenant. Once you understand that the nature and membership of those two covenant administrations are different by "kind" and not "degree". you will beginm to understand the credo position.

I therefore still fail to see the "better" aspect of the Covenant because:
1. In the COG from Adam to Abraham only the Elect were saved but God was God of a man and His children.
2. In the COG from Abraham to Christ only the Elect were saved but God was God of a man and His children.
3. In the New Covenant within the COG, only the Elect are saved but God is the God of just the man.

You, and Piper, state 3. as saying "The New Covenant is perfect and includes just the true believers" but it is just the same as saying Number 3.

So how is this better?

I'm not exactly sure what you're saying here, but the credo position is that the New Covenant is not like the Old Covenant. In what way? Well, for one thing, it's unbreakable!

I'm left scratching my head thinking "But Abraham also had the blessing of a perfect Covenant with God but He also got to consider His kids, from the womb, as part of this loving relationship with God."

If Abraham had a perfect covenant administration, then why was there the promise of a different one, different in "kind"? Where will most of these kids under the Abrahamic Covenant end up? Separated from the love of God!

I said:

Credo's don't baptize the elect. Credo's only baptize those who profess faith in Christ. There's a major difference there!

You responded:

Mike,

I know that's what they say is the difference but look at Piper's argument! The New Covenant includes only the Elect...

i) Credo's baptize only professing believers
ii) Credo's believe the elect will be in the NC when there is saving faith
iii) Credo's believe that if there is not actual saving faith, then that person is not, and never has been, in the New Covenant

There were reprobate in the Old Covenant but the New Covenant is better...

In other words, there are no reprobate in the New Covenant because Credos wait to baptize until professed faith so that no reprobate are baptized? Is that what I'm supposed to conclude?

Credo's wait because it is a sign and a seal to the believer of their union with Christ. If someone professes faith, they are professing union with Christ, and therefore, they can put on their wedding ring (so to speak), sealing the truth that the baptism represents, to him/her. If the faith of the professer is not real, then the sign and seal is not true for him/her.

But they DO baptize the reprobate?

Credo's baptize professing believers. There is no doubt that some of these professions are not real, so yes, credo's can unknowingly baptize the reprobate. But still, the church has been commissioned to baptized those professing faith in Christ.

I think it was Martin who asked on another thread: How do you know that at least one of the parents are of the elect when you are baptizing an infant. It seems the paedo's are in a similar situation.

They also state that the only commands to baptize are to those who believe. BUT THAT IS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THAN THE ISSUE OF THE PERFECTION OF THE COVENANT AS INCLUDING ONLY THE ELECT UNLESS CREDO-BAPTISTS CLAIM THE ABILITY TO KNOW THE ELECT FROM THE REPROBATE.

The church baptizes those who proffess faith, and God brings the elect into the covenant. The church simply preaches and obeys what God says.

...the men who agree to baptize him have no infallible knowledge of his heart!

Where does the Bible say there needs to be infallible knowledge of the heart of the one being baptized?

If you believe that Baptists are not saying "Baptize the Elect" then why bring Piper's quotes in that are all about the New Covenant including only the Elect? It's about the only argument they have, that's why. It has no foundation because they can't even live by that standard.

Again, you are mixing two ideas that need to be kept separate:

- Credo's baptize those who proffess faith
- The New Covenant includes only the elect

You are making it seem that credo's baptize the elect, or, credo's baptize only those who will be in the NC. Neither is true!

Oh, they'll say that no commands in Scripture say anything about Baptism except to "...believe and be baptized..

Hey, that's enough to prove that believers should be baptized. No doubt. But I would agree with you that's it's not enough to prove that infants should not be baptized.

In the end, you end up with an argument, based on weak inference, that we are to baptize only adults.

I wish there was a verse, one way or the other, that would make it clear whether the paedo or credo view is Scriptural. :candle:

There is nothing that even approaches a command clear enough to overthrow the established Covenantal pattern of family solidarity.

Well I don't know about that! Jer., Ezek. and Heb. need to be considered. If the New Covenant is different in "kind", the covenantal pattern of family solidarity stands on shaky ground.

In fact, I believe Acts 2:39 clearly restates family solidarity and that only those whose theology requires them to recast it cannot see it.

Everyone is a candidate for this promise if they believe. I don't see how this verse supports family solidarity, especially if you read the whole verse.

Thanks for the continued dialogue Brother. Don't mistake my passion for anger. These discussions are very edifying.

Don't worry, I know that theological discussions can become passionate at times. I'm challenged by your questions and points and I find it helpful in thinking through many points.

By the way, if you're interested in hearing some teaching on the covenant administrations from a credo point of view, listen to this 13 part series. I found it helpful. You may not agree with it, but at least you will understsnd why the credo's believe what they do.

Mike
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Mike,

I'm going to avoid responding line by line because I think you missed my point. I admit I am but a man and can err in understanding the position of the credo-Baptists. Nevertheless, I believe you are fundamentally missing the point I am trying to make regarding credo-Baptists.

Yet again I will state that the issue of the identity of the Elect must be treated separately than those who are candidates for Baptism. As you seem to understand, credo-Baptists base their baptism upon confession.

BUT THEY ARGUE FOR CREDO-BAPTISM BASED ON ELECTION.

Do you see what I'm saying?

Don't get me wrong, the discussion of who truly belongs within the New Covenant is a worthy subject. I don't agree that the New Covenant consists only of the Elect but, EVEN IF IT DID, it still would not inform the issue of who is the subject of Baptism.

You state I am misrepresenting the issue by saying "We Baptize the Elect". I keep doing that so that credo-Baptists will abandon the line of argumentation regarding the perfection of the New Covenant in establishing who the proper subjects of Baptism are.

I'm not really confusing the two issues - I'm really trying to show that the argument is a baseless one in terms of trying to establish that adult professors should be baptized.

Assume, for instance, that I join the credo-Baptists in the one argument: only the Elect are within the New Covenant. I might still be a firm paedo-Baptist in spite of that conviction. One issue does not inform the other.

You state that I'm misrepresenting credo-Baptists but it is they who keep returning to the "New Covenant is a perfect Covenant" line of argumentation to establish SOMETHING. That SOMETHING is that only professing believers ought to be baptized. The two are unrelated.

I say, therefore, they ought to abandon that line of argumentation with regard to the subject of who ought to be baptized.

I'll respond to the other stuff when I have the time. In the meantime, I really need you to understand the problem here.

If, as you say, credo-Baptists base the subject of who ought to be baptized upon profession then why do they (and you) keep using, as their primary argument, the notion that the New Covenant consists only of the Elect?
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Originally posted by Mocha
I think James White is trying to show (by quoting Niell) that paedobaptists do not believe that the New Covenant is different (or new) in its "nature" or "membership". White wants to show that paedobaptists must hold that all administrations of the COG are identical. Paedobaptists cannot admit that there is a difference in any administrations of the COG (with regard to its nature or membership) or else their hermeneutics fail. In order to point out that there is a difference among the administrations of the COG, White says:

...if one believes the Covenant of Grace began with Adam, was the essential nature and membership of the covenant the same from Adam to Abraham?...What covenant sign was given to covenant members from Adam to Abraham?...differences in administrations...would be contrary to the needed foundation that underlies the insistence that the covenant sign should be given to all offspring of covenant members.

In other words, if there is a covenant administration that does not have or does not require a covenant sign to represent being in the covenant, then obviously all the administrations can't be identical in nature and membership.

You said:

The argument does not follow. The issue is that, from Adam to Christ, family solidarity is preserved in the Covenant. It is the nature of the way in which God deals with His chosen people and from whom He elects and into whom He elects.

The point is that God can work differently among the covenant administrations. The lack of a covenant sign from Adam to Abraham is proof of this.

That is a SHARP discontinuity of a completely different kind and not merely the change of a sign.

What kind of discontinuity is it?
Can somebody help me discover if my writing is unclear at this point? I must confess I thought I labored pretty hard to answer this question.

1. NO. Paedobaptists do NOT insist that the administration must be identical. That is what I was so emphatic about. It is apparently obvious to the casual observer that there is no circumcision in the COG until Abraham and that circumcision is replaced with baptism in the New Covenant according to paedobaptists. Do you really believe Calvin is so obtuse as to miss this obvious point?

2. To state it again, the SHARP discontinuity is that from Adam to Noah, God is the God of a man and his children. From Noah to Abraham, God is the God of a man and his children. From Abraham to Christ, God is the God of a man and his children. Credo-Baptists state that God, in the New Covenant, is NO LONGER THE GOD OF A MAN AND HIS CHILDREN. The bolded part is the sharp discontinuity. All of those periods are within the same Covenant of Grace - saved by faith in Christ Jesus.

Thus, Dr. White's argument does not follow. We do not insist that all administrations of the Covenant of Grace are identical in terms of administration. We recognize that neither Adam nor Seth nor Enoch nor Noah were circumcised and yet they are in the geneology of Christ. What IS important, is that God covenants with them and their children in the COG. When He covenants with Abraham within the same COG in an administration that adds a sign He still covenants with the man and his children.

God's established covenantal pattern is to Covenant with a man and His children. Nothing is proven by showing that a sign change occurs and I don't know why it is viewed as a substantive argument.

[Edited on 12-28-2005 by SemperFideles]
 

Mocha

Puritan Board Freshman
Rich,

You said:

If, as you say, credo-Baptists base the subject of who ought to be baptized upon profession then why do they (and you) keep using, as their primary argument, the notion that the New Covenant consists only of the Elect?

Can these 6 promises apply to anyone else but the elect?

1) Regeneration

- "And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them" Ez 11:19

2) Sanctification

- "I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them." Ez 11:19-20

3) Adoption

- "And they shall be my people, and I will be their God." Ez 11:20

4) Personal Communion

- "And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each brother, saying, 'Know the LORD', for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD." Jer. 31:34

5) Justification

- "I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleanness, and from all your idols.

6) Glorification

- "Behold, I will gather them from all the countries to which I drove them in my anger and my wrath and in great indignation. I will bring them back to this place, and I will make them dwell in safety. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul." Jer. 32:37-41

These passages seem to indicate that only the elect will be in the covenant.

As for who should be baptized, well, we at least know that it should include those who profess faith, because the Bible tells us that much. Are all who are baptized in the covenant? No! Only those who have saving faith are in the covenant (according to the prophets and the book of Hebrews).

I'm not sure if that's the answer you're looking for...but it was worth a try.
:)

Mike
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Mike,

I'm not trying to be obnoxious. No, it does not answer my question. All of those are only efficient for the Elect. We agree violently on the point that only the Elect will be or ever were saved within the COG.

Notice, however, how you have to SHIFT to begin talking about profession because you recognize that the decision on who to baptize within the Church has absolutely no bearing on knowledge of who is elect. Certainly the elect are baptized (usually) but that is not the reason why they are baptized. The profession is (for adults that is).

[Edited on 12-28-2005 by SemperFideles]
 

Mocha

Puritan Board Freshman
Rich,

You said:

Paedobaptists do NOT insist that the administration must be identical.

If the "nature" and "membership" of the New Covenant administration is different in "kind", then on what grounds would a paedo use for insisting on infant baptism?

Credo-Baptists state that God, in the New Covenant, is NO LONGER THE GOD OF A MAN AND HIS CHILDREN.

The New Covenant is "not like the covenant that I made with their fathers..." (Jer. 31:32). It is different in "kind", not "degree". If this is true, how can you look to the Abrahamic Covenant administration to prove something about the New Covenant administration?

God always has and alway will work through families, but does this necessarily mean that God must always gather His elect the same way? It seems that he doesn't.

Mike
 

Mocha

Puritan Board Freshman
Rich,

You said:

...you recognize that the decision on who to baptize within the Church has absolutely no bearing on knowledge of who is elect.

That's right. Credo's baptize upon confession of faith, not upon a knowledge of who is elect. However, Scripture does suggest that believers are the elect (although only God knows if the profession is real or not).

Take a look at the following verse:

"...who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe." (1 Tim. 4:10).

What is the "especially" referring to? I believe it's referring to the elect. Jesus is the Savior of those who believe, and that can only mean the "elect".

Certainly the elect are baptized (usually) but that is not the reason why they are baptized.

Why are they baptized? I'm not sure what you're getting at here.

Mike
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Originally posted by Mocha
Rich,

You said:

Paedobaptists do NOT insist that the administration must be identical.

If the "nature" and "membership" of the New Covenant administration is different in "kind", then on what grounds would a paedo use for insisting on infant baptism?
That the sign is different does not change the fact that the way in which God covenants is with a man and his children just as in other administrations of the COG. I believe we have a stronger argument in saying that God includes a man and his children in every administration of the COG (in which in every administration a man is saved by faith in Christ) so the New Covenant is no different unless explicitly abrogated by God in His Word.

Credo-Baptists state that God, in the New Covenant, is NO LONGER THE GOD OF A MAN AND HIS CHILDREN.

The New Covenant is "not like the covenant that I made with their fathers..." (Jer. 31:32). It is different in "kind", not "degree". If this is true, how can you look to the Abrahamic Covenant administration to prove something about the New Covenant administration?

God always has and alway will work through families, but does this necessarily mean that God must always gather His elect the same way? It seems that he doesn't.

Mike
If God reveals His established Covenant nature to be with a man and his children then you cannot merely jump to that conclusion. It's a nice theory but the burden is on the credo-Baptist to DEMONSTRATE that God's Covenantal nature has changed. It's rather like you demanding that I demonstrate that God still finds a sin reprehensible unless it is restated in the NT Scriptures.

As stated before, we must assume continuity unless the NT demands discontinuity. There is nothing that approaches anything but weak inference to support the idea that God's Covenantal nature has changed in the NC administration.
 

Mocha

Puritan Board Freshman
Rich,

You said:

That the sign is different does not change the fact that the way in which God covenants is with a man and his children just as in other administrations of the COG. I believe we have a stronger argument in saying that God includes a man and his children in every administration of the COG (in which in every administration a man is saved by faith in Christ) so the New Covenant is no different unless explicitly abrogated by God in His Word.

God has not always had a covenant sign, so you can't say He continues it because He always has.

If God reveals His established Covenant nature to be with a man and his children then you cannot merely jump to that conclusion. It's a nice theory but the burden is on the credo-Baptist to DEMONSTRATE that God's Covenantal nature has changed. It's rather like you demanding that I demonstrate that God still finds a sin reprehensible unless it is restated in the NT Scriptures.

"...not like the covenant I made with their fathers..." (Jer. 31:32)

...we must assume continuity unless the NT demands discontinuity.

"But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better (in kind), since it is enacted on better promises." (Heb. 8:6)

The New Covenant is of a different "kind".

"For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second." (Heb. 8:7)

What fault did the first covenant have that the New Covenant made better?

"...not like the covenant that I made with their fathers...for they did not continue in my covenant." (Heb. 8:9)

Those in the New Covenant will continue in it. In other words, only believers will be in it.

Doesn't it seem like the NT is demanding discontinuity?

Mike
 

Mocha

Puritan Board Freshman
Rich,

Here's a quick diary of my baptism journey so far (if I can remeber correctly).

1) Hebrew 10:29 was the very first verse that made me doubt my credo convictions.

2) The second thing that challenged my credo convictions was "The Great Commision". It was pointed out that believers are to be baptized, but you cannot use that verse to say that infants should not. It made sense.

3) The third thing that challenged my credo convictions was that there was an external and internal part of the covenant.

4) The fouth thing that challenged my credo convictions was the possibility of there being non-elect in the covenant.

5) Once I got to the point where all these things were possible, I began to see how many of the paedo verses made sense.

6) A problem for me is that circumcision and baptism are a 'seal'. This creates a major problems for me. If circumcision is a guarantee or promise of having what it represents, and if it represents something spiritual, then if that spiritual whatever is lost, it never was a "seal". It makes a mockery of God's promise.

7) I then thought maybe circumcision was a sign and seal of Abraham's covenant with God, and that only Abraham was actually in the covenant. But I now see that these infants were actually in the covenant.

8) At this point and time, I see the Abrahamic Covenant as being "different" than the New Covenant. This allows the 'seal' to have a physical reality. It resolves the tension I was struggling with. It also allows the New Covenant 'seal' to have a spiritual reality and fits nicely with passages in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Hebrews.

I'm not saying that I have rejected the paedo view, but at this point and time, the credo view makes the most sense to me. Discontinuity deals with the 'seal' problem.

This is just to give you a brief idea of where I've been and where I'm at.

Mike
 

Steve Owen

Puritan Board Sophomore
Hello Rich,
You wrote:-
Yet again I will state that the issue of the identity of the Elect must be treated separately than those who are candidates for Baptism. As you seem to understand, credo-Baptists base their baptism upon confession.

BUT THEY ARGUE FOR CREDO-BAPTISM BASED ON ELECTION.

Do you see what I'm saying?

Rich, I think you are either missing the point or you are trying to fog the issue with dialectic. Credo-baptism is based upon the word of God. In Jer 31 and Heb 8, we are told in the clearest language possible that everyone in the New Covenant knows the Lord. Therefore these are the suitable subjects for baptism. The problem is that we don't know infallibly who these people are. But we do know that true knowledge of the Lord is not hereditary (John 1:10-13 etc), and therefore we do not baptize the infants of believers (and how would we know infallibly if they are believers?), but follow the command of the Lord in Matt 28 and the example and practice of the Apostles as found in Acts.
Don't get me wrong, the discussion of who truly belongs within the New Covenant is a worthy subject. I don't agree that the New Covenant consists only of the Elect but, EVEN IF IT DID, it still would not inform the issue of who is the subject of Baptism.

With respect, it does. Only the elect are in the New Covenant, only they receive the seal of the New Covenant (the Holy Spirit) and therefore only they should ideally receive the outward sign of the New Covenant. The trouble is, we don't know who they are. As Spurgeon said, if the Lord had painted a yellow stripe down the backs of the elect, then we would only preach to the elect, only give Gospel invitations to the elect and only baptize the elect. It would save a whole lot of trouble. But the Lord, in His wisdom, has not made things that easy for us. Therefore we follow the command of the Lord and the example and practice of the Apostles and baptize on a profession of faith. When mistakes are made, as they were even by the first Christians (Acts 8:13 ) we don't necessarily blame ourselves any more than they did; but we follow their example and expel the reprobate from the church (Acts 8:21 ).
You state I am misrepresenting the issue by saying "We Baptize the Elect". I keep doing that so that credo-Baptists will abandon the line of argumentation regarding the perfection of the New Covenant in establishing who the proper subjects of Baptism are.

With respect, you are misrepresenting Baptists. We would never say that we baptize only the elect; but the elect are nonetheless the only proper subjects for baptism. To place the sign of the New Covenant upon someone whom you have no reason to suppose is in the New Covenant is, to say the least, wrong practice.

Grace & Peace,

Martin
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Originally posted by Mocha
Rich,

Here's a quick diary of my baptism journey so far (if I can remeber correctly).

1) Hebrew 10:29 was the very first verse that made me doubt my credo convictions.

2) The second thing that challenged my credo convictions was "The Great Commision". It was pointed out that believers are to be baptized, but you cannot use that verse to say that infants should not. It made sense.

3) The third thing that challenged my credo convictions was that there was an external and internal part of the covenant.

4) The fouth thing that challenged my credo convictions was the possibility of there being non-elect in the covenant.

5) Once I got to the point where all these things were possible, I began to see how many of the paedo verses made sense.

6) A problem for me is that circumcision and baptism are a 'seal'. This creates a major problems for me. If circumcision is a guarantee or promise of having what it represents, and if it represents something spiritual, then if that spiritual whatever is lost, it never was a "seal". It makes a mockery of God's promise.

7) I then thought maybe circumcision was a sign and seal of Abraham's covenant with God, and that only Abraham was actually in the covenant. But I now see that these infants were actually in the covenant.

8) At this point and time, I see the Abrahamic Covenant as being "different" than the New Covenant. This allows the 'seal' to have a physical reality. It resolves the tension I was struggling with. It also allows the New Covenant 'seal' to have a spiritual reality and fits nicely with passages in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Hebrews.

I'm not saying that I have rejected the paedo view, but at this point and time, the credo view makes the most sense to me. Discontinuity deals with the 'seal' problem.

This is just to give you a brief idea of where I've been and where I'm at.

Mike

Problem 6 should be handled easily by statement 3. The seal is covenantal; it effects both the visible and invisible body of believers.

Mike,
Are you honestly telling me that what is described in the Jer and Ezek passages was not present in the OT? And why the warning passages in the NT/Hebrews if the NC cannot be broken?

And just for the record, your rationale is what is causing the discontinuity/dispensationalism.

[Edited on 12-28-2005 by Scott Bushey]
 

Steve Owen

Puritan Board Sophomore
Hello Mike,
You wrote:-
1) Hebrew 10:29 was the very first verse that made me doubt my credo convictions.
'Of how much worse punishment , do you suppose, will he be thought worthy of who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the lood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing and insulted the Spirit of Grace?'
You may already realize this, but if you assume that the 'he' in 'By which he was sanctified' should really be 'He' and refer to 'the Son of God', which is in fact the nearest antecedent, then your problem disappears.

Grace & Peace,

Martin
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Originally posted by Martin Marprelate
With respect, you are misrepresenting Baptists. We would never say that we baptize only the elect; but the elect are nonetheless the only proper subjects for baptism. To place the sign of the New Covenant upon someone whom you have no reason to suppose is in the New Covenant is, to say the least, wrong practice.

Grace & Peace,

Martin
Martin,

I confuse nothing. You confirm precisely what I'm saying. It is why you go through so much trouble establishing that the New Covenant includes only the Elect.

YOU fog the issue by focusing on election and then you accuse me of misrepresenting your position after spending all your time in your dialogue establishing that only the Elect should be baptized. I don't know if you can step back and see how fundamentally silly it is that you defend yourself against the charge by engaging in more of the same.

If baptism of sincere professors is what you believe the preceptive will of God is then fine. That is a reasonable line of argumentation. When you spend 90% of your argument dealing with the Elect then you establish NOTHING other than the nature of the New Covenant but certainly NOT whether those recipients ought to be old or young. After all, election does not depend on he who runs or wills but Him who elects.

[Edited on 12-28-2005 by SemperFideles]
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Originally posted by Mocha
Rich,

You said:

That the sign is different does not change the fact that the way in which God covenants is with a man and his children just as in other administrations of the COG. I believe we have a stronger argument in saying that God includes a man and his children in every administration of the COG (in which in every administration a man is saved by faith in Christ) so the New Covenant is no different unless explicitly abrogated by God in His Word.

God has not always had a covenant sign, so you can't say He continues it because He always has.

If God reveals His established Covenant nature to be with a man and his children then you cannot merely jump to that conclusion. It's a nice theory but the burden is on the credo-Baptist to DEMONSTRATE that God's Covenantal nature has changed. It's rather like you demanding that I demonstrate that God still finds a sin reprehensible unless it is restated in the NT Scriptures.

"...not like the covenant I made with their fathers..." (Jer. 31:32)

...we must assume continuity unless the NT demands discontinuity.

"But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better (in kind), since it is enacted on better promises." (Heb. 8:6)

The New Covenant is of a different "kind".

"For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second." (Heb. 8:7)

What fault did the first covenant have that the New Covenant made better?

"...not like the covenant that I made with their fathers...for they did not continue in my covenant." (Heb. 8:9)

Those in the New Covenant will continue in it. In other words, only believers will be in it.

Doesn't it seem like the NT is demanding discontinuity?

Mike
No, because it would overthrow the passages that show that we are really part of the perfect Covenant made with Abraham and that we are wild shoots grafted into the ever-existent Olive tree.

Consider this passage as confirmation that the Covenant will be established more strongly between a man and his children:
Mal 4:5-6
See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse."
A better promise indeed. Much more excellent both in terms of spreading beyond Judea and into the world but in the children.
 

Steve Owen

Puritan Board Sophomore
No, because it would overthrow the passages that show that we are really part of the perfect Covenant made with Abraham and that we are wild shoots grafted into the ever-existent Olive tree.

We are part of the perfect Covenant made between the Persons of the Trinity before time began; of which the Abrahamic covenant was an adumbration, and which is realized in the New Covenant in our Lord's blood.
Consider this passage as confirmation that the Covenant will be established more strongly between a man and his children:
Quote:
Mal 4:5-6
See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse."

A better promise indeed. Much more excellent both in terms of spreading beyond Judea and into the world but in the children.

Better indeed, because it speaks of the love that comes with the New Birth. 'For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love' (Gal 5:6 ).

Martin
 

C. Matthew McMahon

Christian Preacher
Better indeed, because it speaks of the love that comes with the New Birth.

The New Brith is not in the OT? What does "better" in this regard mean? Your statement is confusing because I am sure you don't mean that OT beleivers were not "birthed anew" by the Spirit (cf. John 3:1-10) which is an OT idea.

From your sentence it seems to me you are saying the NC is "better" because in it there is love and the new birth. Was that not "in" the OT?
 

Steve Owen

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by SemperFideles
If baptism of sincere professors is what you believe the preceptive will of God is then fine. That is a reasonable line of argumentation. When you spend 90% of your argument dealing with the Elect then you establish NOTHING other than the nature of the New Covenant but certainly NOT whether those recipients ought to be old or young. After all, election does not depend on he who runs or wills but Him who elects.
Well, I'll try once more, but I really don't think you're listening.

The New Covenant is made with the elect only.
Baptism is the outward sign of the New Covenant.
THEREFORE
Ideally we would baptize only the elect.
BUT
We don't know who the elect are.
THEREFORE
We follow the instructions of our Lord and the practice of the Apostles and baptize those who give a credible profession of faith.

What you find so difficult to understand about that I cannot imagine. :banghead:

Martin
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Martin,

I'm listening. I understand your arguments which is why I find the line of argumentation to be lame.

You are quite right that you DON'T know who the elect are which is why it has no bearing upon who you baptize. The discussions about the New Covenant become matters that have no practical significance in the visible life of the Church because membership in the New Covenant is completely hidden from you as you ascribe membership to election.

Since you act completely independently of knowing who is in the New Covenant within your Church, and presumption only, it does not inform who you baptize. The PROFESSION does, NOT the election. You have baptized not a single soul because you KNEW he was elect. You baptized because he professed. Others might presume election in the infants they baptize. Can they just use your formula and get to the end point by adding "and children of believers" to the last conclusion?

You spend a lot of time arguing for the perfection of the New Covenant as relates to confessor baptism that you PRESUME that your argument informs the issue. You are banging your head because you think it ought to be more persuasive. It is not. Perhaps you ought to really evaluate whether you can move from the Perfection of the Covenant to your conclusion. You cannot.

Imagine if, in every issue of a Church member's behavior in the Church, we spent 90% of our time saying that "...the Covenant is perfect and contains only the Elect...." It would seriously cloud the believer's understanding of what he is supposed to do.

We obey based on PRECEPT and not upon the DECRETIVE Will of God. You repeatedly cloud the issue because, I believe, you have very little to work with in the precepts and have only the hidden counsel left to work with.

[Edited on 12-29-2005 by SemperFideles]
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Originally posted by Martin Marprelate
No, because it would overthrow the passages that show that we are really part of the perfect Covenant made with Abraham and that we are wild shoots grafted into the ever-existent Olive tree.

We are part of the perfect Covenant made between the Persons of the Trinity before time began; of which the Abrahamic covenant was an adumbration, and which is realized in the New Covenant in our Lord's blood.
Consider this passage as confirmation that the Covenant will be established more strongly between a man and his children:
Quote:
Mal 4:5-6
See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse."

A better promise indeed. Much more excellent both in terms of spreading beyond Judea and into the world but in the children.

Better indeed, because it speaks of the love that comes with the New Birth. 'For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love' (Gal 5:6 ).

Martin
Martin,

I don't know if you realize how your interpretations reinforce to me how cold Calvinism is without Covenant theology.

What does the prophet mean when he states that the hearts of the fathers will be turned to their children and children to fathers as a promise in the Day of the Lord?

You seem to delight in any idea that would mean our children are no different than the children of pagans. It seems you have to remain coldly rational to be consistent and avoid any delight that God gives us in the promises He made to the OT saints regarding their children.

It is just so dissonant with the testimony of the OT saints. I know you see things differently but it is really sad to me.
 

Mocha

Puritan Board Freshman
Originally posted by Scott Bushey
Originally posted by Mocha
Rich,

Here's a quick diary of my baptism journey so far (if I can remeber correctly).

1) Hebrew 10:29 was the very first verse that made me doubt my credo convictions.

2) The second thing that challenged my credo convictions was "The Great Commision". It was pointed out that believers are to be baptized, but you cannot use that verse to say that infants should not. It made sense.

3) The third thing that challenged my credo convictions was that there was an external and internal part of the covenant.

4) The fouth thing that challenged my credo convictions was the possibility of there being non-elect in the covenant.

5) Once I got to the point where all these things were possible, I began to see how many of the paedo verses made sense.

6) A problem for me is that circumcision and baptism are a 'seal'. This creates a major problems for me. If circumcision is a guarantee or promise of having what it represents, and if it represents something spiritual, then if that spiritual whatever is lost, it never was a "seal". It makes a mockery of God's promise.

7) I then thought maybe circumcision was a sign and seal of Abraham's covenant with God, and that only Abraham was actually in the covenant. But I now see that these infants were actually in the covenant.

8) At this point and time, I see the Abrahamic Covenant as being "different" than the New Covenant. This allows the 'seal' to have a physical reality. It resolves the tension I was struggling with. It also allows the New Covenant 'seal' to have a spiritual reality and fits nicely with passages in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Hebrews.

I'm not saying that I have rejected the paedo view, but at this point and time, the credo view makes the most sense to me. Discontinuity deals with the 'seal' problem.

This is just to give you a brief idea of where I've been and where I'm at.

Mike

Problem 6 should be handled easily by statement 3. The seal is covenantal; it effects both the visible and invisible body of believers.

Scott, do you know why I got turned off by this visible/invisible aspect of the covenant? It was because of the following quote:

These three notions - union and communion with God, the removal of defilement, and the righteousness of faith - are, obviously, not antithetical. They are mutually complementary, and, taken together, they indicate the deep soteric richness of the blessing that circumcision signifies and seals.(John Murray, "Christian Baptism", pg. 48)

If I'm understanding John Murray correctly, he's saying that circumcision "seals" these three things. Did an infant have these three things "sealed" to him when he was circumcised? Were these three things real for him at that point and time?

In my opinion (at this point and time), I believe infants were circumcised but did not 'seal' what John Murray claims. I believe it 'sealed' something else. Probably some physical association with Abraham. So, I agree that circumcision is a 'sign' and a 'seal', but what does it 'sign' and 'seal'? That's the question. I feel that John Murray (and others that hold that position) are wrong.


Mike,
Are you honestly telling me that what is described in the Jer and Ezek passages was not present in the OT? And why the warning passages in the NT/Hebrews if the NC cannot be broken?

Before the New Covenant administration, God's covenant was with physical Israel (including a remnant that is spiritual Israel). But in the New Covenant administration, God's Covenant is with spiritual Israel (including a remnant that is also physical Israel). The OT did have a remnant that were already receiving the blessings that are found in Jer. and Ezek., but what makes the New Covenant "better" or "different" is that it could not be broken (as well as other reasons). So, yes, I'm honestly telling you that what is described in the Jer and Ezek passages was not present in the OT, because in the OT the covenant could be broken. That's one of the key items of the New Covenant!

And just for the record, your rationale is what is causing the discontinuity/dispensationalism.

If my rationale is wrong, point it out to me. I don't mind working through it. In fact, that's the whole purpose of my involvement here.

Mike



[Edited on 12-29-2005 by Mocha]
 

Mocha

Puritan Board Freshman
Originally posted by Martin Marprelate
Hello Mike,
You wrote:-
1) Hebrew 10:29 was the very first verse that made me doubt my credo convictions.
'Of how much worse punishment , do you suppose, will he be thought worthy of who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the lood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing and insulted the Spirit of Grace?'
You may already realize this, but if you assume that the 'he' in 'By which he was sanctified' should really be 'He' and refer to 'the Son of God', which is in fact the nearest antecedent, then your problem disappears.

Grace & Peace,

Martin

Martin,

Here is a post from another forum that seemed pretty convincing that the "he" in Hebrews 10:29 could not be Christ. BTW, this post was from a Credo.

it is important that the main subject of the sentence is this individual who is deserving (AXIWQHSEQAI) punishment. the three participles are semantically subordinate to this verb and the prepositional phrase EN Wi hHGIASQH is semantically subordinate to TO hAIMA (this is what the diagram clearly shows). i see no reason from the grammar that any greek speaker would ever take TON hUION as the antecedent of hHGIASQH. i think this may be a case of trying to smooth out a difficult text because it is not in accordance with ones theology. unless someone can point out a semantic or pragmatic reason from the text itself (not other Scriptures and theologizing) why the proposed reading is warranted. if not, i strongly suggest that these current assertions that Christ is sanctified by His own blood be abandoned. thanks. (Quote by Doug Hoxworth)

See his diagram below.

How much severer punishment | do you think | he will
deserve
----------------------------------------------who---has
trampled under foot -> the Son of God,
----------------------------------------------and---has
regarded -> the blood of the covenant = as unclean

by which he was sanctified,
----------------------------------------------and---has
insulted -> the Spirit of grace?

It seems pretty convincing to me. Do you have any sources that can refute this?

Mike
 

Mocha

Puritan Board Freshman
Originally posted by SemperFideles
Originally posted by Mocha
Rich,

You said:

That the sign is different does not change the fact that the way in which God covenants is with a man and his children just as in other administrations of the COG. I believe we have a stronger argument in saying that God includes a man and his children in every administration of the COG (in which in every administration a man is saved by faith in Christ) so the New Covenant is no different unless explicitly abrogated by God in His Word.

God has not always had a covenant sign, so you can't say He continues it because He always has.

If God reveals His established Covenant nature to be with a man and his children then you cannot merely jump to that conclusion. It's a nice theory but the burden is on the credo-Baptist to DEMONSTRATE that God's Covenantal nature has changed. It's rather like you demanding that I demonstrate that God still finds a sin reprehensible unless it is restated in the NT Scriptures.

"...not like the covenant I made with their fathers..." (Jer. 31:32)

...we must assume continuity unless the NT demands discontinuity.

"But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better (in kind), since it is enacted on better promises." (Heb. 8:6)

The New Covenant is of a different "kind".

"For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second." (Heb. 8:7)

What fault did the first covenant have that the New Covenant made better?

"...not like the covenant that I made with their fathers...for they did not continue in my covenant." (Heb. 8:9)

Those in the New Covenant will continue in it. In other words, only believers will be in it.

Doesn't it seem like the NT is demanding discontinuity?

Mike
No, because it would overthrow the passages that show that we are really part of the perfect Covenant made with Abraham and that we are wild shoots grafted into the ever-existent Olive tree.

Consider this passage as confirmation that the Covenant will be established more strongly between a man and his children:
Mal 4:5-6
See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse."
A better promise indeed. Much more excellent both in terms of spreading beyond Judea and into the world but in the children.

I don't think you can use Mal. 4:5-6 to prove that the Covenant will be established more strongly between a man and his children. This passage is looking forward to the ministry of John the Baptist, where he will call people to repentance. We see this in the following verses:

...your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John...and he will go before him (the Lord) in the spirit of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children... (Luke 1:13,17)

One commentary on Luke (by Joel Green) says the following about Luke 1:17:

One aspect of John's ministry will be "to turn the hearts of fathers to their children." This clause is a little surprising given subsequent teaching in Luke subordinating family ties to the demands of discipleship (12:53; cf. 9:59; 14:26). At the same time, this clause is borrowed from Mal 4:6, and is one of the ways in which Luke fills out his portrait of John's mission by drawing on material related to eschatological Elijah (cf. Sir 48:10). By this means Luke also stresses the orientation of John's ministry around calling people to repentance in their daily lives. (Joel B. Green, "The Gospel of Luke", The New International Commentary on the New Testament, pg. 76)

Again, I don't think you can use Mal. 4:5-6 to prove your point.

Mike
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top