What was the seed that started your change of mind?

Discussion in 'Paedo-Baptism Answers' started by anotherpilgrim, Jan 9, 2012.

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  1. anotherpilgrim

    anotherpilgrim Puritan Board Freshman

    I was surprised to find in one of the polls on this board that so many people had gone from being credobaptists to paedobaptists. So my question is specifically to those who have had such a change of mind.

    What is it that sowed the seed of doubt about credobaptism for you? What was that hook that got you thinking and wanting to get to the bottom of the baptism issue? Scripturally speaking. I know there are personal reasons that people begin delving into the topic for, but I'm looking for scriptures of passages that really got your attention or got you questioning.

    I ask because I was raised in a paedobaptist church, never gave the theology of baptism much thought till ten years ago I moved and started attending a Pentecostal/credobaptist church. I started studying the subject and came close to being convinced at first glance that paedobaptism was completely invalid. But on continued study, I see more and more clearly how it fits with scripture. However, the lingering doubt I have comes from not being able to get any of my fellow church members to even consider the possibility that there might be a flaw in the credobaptist doctrine.

    So what did it for you?

    On a related note, why should a credobaptist even consider paedobaptism seeing as no one argues about believers needing to be baptized and therefore the 'safe' thing to do is wait till you have professed faith?

  2. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    Hi, anotherpilgrim, please fix your signature per PB rules. Click on the link in my signature below.

    A book that I read early on that I found helpful was William the Baptist, available here. But this was in the context of attending a PCA church, inquiring into membership, being able to ask questions of the pastor, etc. Also, WtB only deals with paedobaptism at the end; most of the book deals with issues of immersion-only baptism.
  3. Unoriginalname

    Unoriginalname Puritan Board Junior

    I grew up in a church (baptist) where nothing was really explained and everything was done the way it was always done. So once I began to see different problems with it I started to challenge everything and really read a lot. I really felt safe in my antipaedobaptism until I started studying church history and the reformers. By this time I had started to hang with some calvinistic baptist types. So when I would just ask about paedobaptism the answer I would get was the reformers left it as a tradition which seemed to run contrary to what I would read in them. So I set out and decided to read both paedobaptist and antipaedobaptist books to see which one was more proper. Humorously enough, Nathanael Coxe's Discourse on the covenants actually convinced me that paedobaptism was correct. His attempt to baptize covenant theology for the baptists convinced me that he was the one who had to do gymnastics to make his idea work. It is hard to explain unless you have read the work. After that I really just went through the reformed confessions to see what they teach about baptism and how they get to there conclusions. I was met with a good bet of hostility from my associates which actually fueled me to do it more. So I am not sure what the straw that broke the camel's back is, other than a healthy grounding in covenant theology.
  4. Zach

    Zach Puritan Board Junior

    Mine was due to attending a Presbyterian Church, which led to reading the Confession of Faith and beginnings of a seed in my mind.
  5. J. Dean

    J. Dean Puritan Board Junior

    I listened to a lecture by R.C. Sproul about padeobaptism, although it's best to remember that, whether you're a credo or a padeo, if you don't have saving faith, in the end all you did was get wet. :)
  6. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    Really, if you read accounts and histories of what took place during the time of the Reformation with regard to infant baptism, you can see there was a sharp break between the Roman Catholic view of it and the Protestant view (I am thinking primarily of Calvin here). For instance, there is an account in the Genevan records of a resident who was disciplined because he snuck out of the city with his infant to have it baptized in another city by a RC priest. Obviously then, the two rites were viewed differently. There was fundamentally a different theology (e.g., the need to purify the waters and "exorcise" the child) that went along with the RC practice. Yes, both involve a child and water, but there is a huge parting of the ways after that.
  7. anotherpilgrim

    anotherpilgrim Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks for the replies everyone! Did any of you encounter a specific passage of scripture that started you thinking?

    ---------- Post added at 11:08 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:05 AM ----------

    Also, I found William the Baptist to be helpful when reading from this side of the fence. However, when trying to get my credo-baptist associates to read it, none of them found the argument compelling enough to consider moving from their 'safe' position.
  8. louis_jp

    louis_jp Puritan Board Freshman

    For me the seed was contemplating the salvation of infants dying in infancy, and how a credobaptist would account for it. As far as scripture, Romans 4:11 kept standing out.
  9. Weston Stoler

    Weston Stoler Puritan Board Sophomore

    I really find the fact that history almost always agrees with us to be helpful. I couldn't get around that Edwards, Calvin, Luther, and the rest were good biblical men except for in this one point. I just couldn't logically do that and I couldn't just say "Oh that is left over from the Catholics" because most of them believed the pope to be the anti-Christ.
  10. Unoriginalname

    Unoriginalname Puritan Board Junior

    Our views on particular passages fall victim to our traditions many times. So one passage that looks convincing to me may be ignored by someone else. Before I accepted paedobaptism, I had already accepted that the promises of the old testament were the same in substance to that in the new. So when I looked at acts or Colossians or Corinthians I saw that paedobaptism read much more naturally into those passages.
    Since I grew up in a baptist church my initial theology of baptism is probably different then your pentecostal friends. It may be prudent to ask your friends what they think baptism is all about and then challenge that with scripture, instead of jumping right to who are the proper recipients of it.
  11. anotherpilgrim

    anotherpilgrim Puritan Board Freshman

    History is what really got me thinking about paedobaptism to be honest. I was almost convinced it was unscriptural but could never shake off the question why all almost all the great reformers clung to paedobaptism despite facing heat for it when it would have been most helpful for their cause to distance themselves from it as much as possible seeing how people claimed it was a remnant of Catholic traditions. That's what really got me thinking twice about it and look more closely.

    However, when talking to my credobaptist friends, the fact that history is on our side seems to count against us. Meaning, historically, there were many other things that have been the norm in the understanding of the church which were wrong, and they therefore lump this into that category.

    ---------- Post added at 11:31 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:24 AM ----------

    The most common response I get from my friends is, baptism is a sign of submission to the call of the gospel. It should be a response to the proclamation of the gospel, and therefore requires the ability to comprehend the proclamation. This is the pattern in the accounts of baptism recorded in Acts.

    Where can I point someone to think outside this view? On the surface it seems airtight.
  12. Afterthought

    Afterthought Puritan Board Junior

    The formation of beliefs is complicated and my memory isn't the best, but I would say that the realization of Genesis 17 being in the Bible is what started a serious investigation of the issue. However, I should note that I had always been taught the unity of the Church and of the way of salvation, so I did have some background knowledge.

    I would answer: we are to only worship God as He commands, so the only "safe thing to do" is the one that has Divine warrant. However, what I would say to those who would equally not hold to or desire to learn about the regulative principle, I do not know (except perhaps, as a start, to mention that they cannot condemn the practice of paedobaptism without it?), so I'll be watching this thread to see what more knowledgeable and experienced people might say (or have said in the thread already). =)
  13. nwink

    nwink Puritan Board Sophomore

    Maybe one helpful way to address this argument would be to first present the case from the New Testament about the parallels between circumcision and baptism...how they point to the same realities of the need for cleansing, etc (and show that circumcision had spiritual significance, not that it was merely national identification). Then ask, "So why was Isaac circumcised as an infant?" Then they might say, "Well, why was Ishmael circumcised?" And then you can point out that the Baptist is wrong when they see circumcision/baptism as being a subjective act because circumcision/baptism is an objective act (it is the sign and seal of the righteousness of faith, not of MY personal faith). As a sign, it points away from me to the promises of the Gospel rather than to my subjective experience. As a seal, it is God's guarantee of the promises of the Gospel. What we all pray for is that the baptized infant improves upon their baptism...that they do walk in the faith of Abraham and possess the realities that baptism signs and seals. Hope that helps. (It is also confusing for the Baptist because Presbyterians do also practice baptism of ADULTS upon confession of faith.)
  14. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    I think that this is not a question to be raising in a church where infant-baptism is not practiced, or where it is rejected.

    All that will happen will be to create trouble for yourself, or for others who are "shaken" from their past conviction, but lack the deep sort of changes of which baptismal practice is (rightly) but a symptom or indicator.

    The matter of a change like this coming into a church is a matter for its leadership. People can (and have) been terribly confused by unwise and radical shifts in the religious atmosphere around them.

    There is no "silver-bullet" thing that moves all folks over. And many people move over for reasons that are not sound (and they will often move back, or they will not move back where they ought because of fear and pride).

    There are very deep questions of how-to-read-the-Bible that are involved in this matter. People who are "prepared" by a certain kind of preaching (in their childhood, or in a good church later on) are by that repeated ploughing the soil, able to see Paedo-baptism without much "effort" or "persuasion." For some, the unrealized "key" was their dissatisfaction and switch from dispensationalism (for instance)--because, this is a major shift (more or less) in "how-to-read-the-Bible." That shift can then translate into seeing infant-baptism (or Reformed baptism generally) as consistent within its own system of covenant-theology.

    But even that doesn't happen always. When someone's theological foundations are basically "blown-up," the settlement time is extremely dangerous. The person may well end up without a foundation at all. This is why these people need good pastors and shepherds in such a time. They need to listen, and get settled again, and well. Or their latter state will be worse (or no better) than the first.

    This is why I would definitely recommend against trying to mess with people's convictions about baptism. You do not know what sort of fuse you will light before hand. The damage you may cause will be something you will have to give an account for.
  15. CharlieJ

    CharlieJ Puritan Board Junior

    I had a number of motivating factors:

    1. The Church as a single organism, rooted in Christ and the Apostles, that is prior to any particular individuals coming together to form a church.

    2. The fact that the OT had 2 distinct ways of being a member of Israel: by birth or by conversion.

    3. The fact that OT saints don't "get saved" in the narratives, that is, they don't seem to have particular conversion experiences that make them really Israelites.

    4. I could no longer see circumcision as merely an accidental, physical ceremony. It symbolized the righteousness that comes from faith (Rom. 4:11). Since God commanded it to be given to infants, even though they do not believe consciously in the manner of Abraham, then there can be no objection in principle to giving a sign and seal to an infant based on their actual spiritual state.

    5. Several passages in the New Testament seem to indicate that there is still an outward administration of the covenant that has temporal ramifications (household baptisms, Luke 18:16, 1 Cor. 7:14, etc.)

    6. Zwingli's personal journey toward a theology of infant baptism. He really undergoes quite a change. It was the inability of the Anabaptists in Zurich to follow his mature theology that led to the split.
  16. Weston Stoler

    Weston Stoler Puritan Board Sophomore

    I agree 100% When I left the IFB church I had no clue what I believed. My mind had been blown by the doctrine of Calvinism and the bible that seemed to no longer fit that nice Dispensational frame I had always been comfortable in. 3 years later I finally settled into covenant theology thanks in part to the PB and the church I joyfully joined a few weeks ago. I was really reading the bible with no clue how anything fit or what anything meant. So be careful whose tree you shake lol
  17. anotherpilgrim

    anotherpilgrim Puritan Board Freshman

    Right there is essentially the problem I face. They can make a very strong case for a positive divine warrant for credobaptism by example. But I can't seem to make a positive divine warrant likewise for paedobaptism

    ---------- Post added at 02:35 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:31 PM ----------

    I think other credobaptists have raised this point before and forgive me if I haven't caught the proper response to this previously in the board; but this makes baptism nothing different from the offer of the gospel in the first place. Why then should the sign of that offer not be offered to all indiscriminately? Forgive me for playing the devils advocate here.

    There is something bigger with regard to importance of signs and seals that I'm not able to articulate to my credobaptist associates that I could use advice on.

    ---------- Post added at 02:37 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:35 PM ----------

    Unfortunately, I am not the one raising the question =) I am convinced I am called to serve in the church where I am at, but this question comes up when elders of the church are considering different ministerial responsibilities and there is a bit of a sticky situation where they would like me to be more involved and serve more, but can't see their way to authorizing me to do so when I disagree with them on this subject. Hence, the question comes up annually =)

    ---------- Post added at 02:38 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:37 PM ----------

    Can you direct me to any literature about Zwingli's change of mind in this?

    ---------- Post added at 02:46 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:38 PM ----------

    Perhaps one final bullet I especially have to contend with in my church and that i have no response to is this: When comparing the fruit of the labor (in ministry, in prayer, in service etc) of me (a paedobaptist) to those of a credobaptist (my fellow church members), I seem to have little point to. And the point my friends raise, with absolutely loving intentions, and that I have no response to is, if the only difference between us and you in terms of beliefs is this point of baptism, perhaps it's God's way of trying to get your attention that this needs to be fixed in your life.

    Yes, perhaps it is an ad hominem argument and should hold no force when objectively considering theological doctrine. However, it is also true that God does withhold blessing and fruit of labor from those who are at odds with his commands and will.

    From the years I've been following this debate, and perhaps this is only because I am exposed to the partial scenario here, it does seem that with the church at large, those that are laboring more for the kingdom, bearing more fruit, in almost every aspect of ministry are those with credobaptist leanings.

    Anyone else struggle with this?
  18. Unoriginalname

    Unoriginalname Puritan Board Junior

    Without getting significantly sidetracked, if you do subscribe to the Westminster standards like your page says, then you differ significantly in many points of doctrine from your pentecostal friends. Anyone's view of baptism is much bigger than just who is should be given to. Doctrines do not just float in air unconnected from each other. How you view the structure of the entire bible and how you view what the church is directly influences your view on baptism. Looking for a knock down verse is simplistic. Many things you believe do not have a single knock down verse, this should be more apparent the more you think about theology in general. I believe Contra_Mundum's post on baptism is on the front page of the puritanboard. You should look it over since it explores the meaning of baptism. I think it is probably best not to discuss these things with friends for now because as others said you may unknowingly shake there faith and subvert your elders.
    Finally that is subjective. What is the standard for evaluating that? Not to harp but again if you subscribe to the westminster standards then the tools that you view of what it means to grow in the knowledge of the Lord should be very different then a Pentecostal's view.
  19. anotherpilgrim

    anotherpilgrim Puritan Board Freshman

    Yes, there is a significant difference in my view many doctrines, and yes, having begun to study baptism, I think perhaps more than any other topic, baptism interconnects with so many other doctrines. Anyone who has converted from a credobaptist viewpoint to a paedobaptist view point does I think have to undergo a radical shift in how they read the bible as Contra_Mundum correctly pointed out.

    So coming back to the original topic, I was curious to know what scriptures it is that got people started on this radical shift journey; where it began for them; the trigger that started the thinking in a different direction.

    The last point was off topic and probably more of a personal question I struggle with;
  20. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Someone mentioned earlier the issue of infant salvation as a turning point for them. I think this is one point where even the most convinced Calvinistic antipaedobaptist feels uncomfortable. He has no "sign" of salvation for infants. As the sacraments are visible words, this effectively means they have no word of salvation for those who cannot consciously respond in the socially acceptable way they have come to expect. It does not matter what they regard baptism as "signifying," infants have no part of it in a visible way.
  21. CharlieJ

    CharlieJ Puritan Board Junior

    The Theology of Huldrych Zwingli by W. P. Stephens has an entire chapter on the development of Zwingli's baptismal views. It will also direct you to all the relevant primary literature. Now, you don't have to buy the book; just inter-library loan it from your local public or academic library.
  22. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Part of this might be geographical and how you define fruit. I have seen solid growth in Christian Character from both paedo and credo only Churches. I have seen credo only types that get the numbers but years later have a totally different congregation due to church hopping or apostacy. I have seen paedo Churches that reflect the same. I have been around the Church solidly for 30 years. There are doctrinal differences between credo only churches. The same goes for paedo Churches. The most fruitful Church I know of with lasting fruit is a paedo Church. There are credo only Churches that also bear this fruit. Discipleship plays a big part of this. Accountability and biblical discipline is very important no matter what Church a person lands in. A correct view of Christ's Kingship and Covenant is of vital importance.

    The Church I have experienced the most retention of children and solid discipleship has been a Presbyterian Church that I am a member of. And I was away from it for over a decade. They take their discipleship seriously. So does the Calvinistic Baptist Church I was a member at for 12 or so years. The word of Christ dwelling and being rooted in a Christians life is what causes growth and fruit by the Holy Spirit. Does Baptism play a part of this? You better believe it. After all baptism is linked heavily with discipleship. Remember Matthew 28:19,20? And the baptism of Children and discipleship is important here also.

    As for the Original Post's question. The thing that changed my view was how the Covenant of Grace is understood. I began to see how the administrations of the Covenant of Grace are all of the same substance and were not differing but building in progressive revelation. As a Reformed Baptist I didn't understand that the Abrahamic, Mosaic, and New Covenant were all of the same substance. The New was different in that it was totally new and totally unconditional. The past few years I have seen that this is not so. I believe the Old Testament and New Testament look very much the same substance wise and that the Church in the Old Testament is very much the same as the New Testament Church. The role of law and how it relates in both testaments was something that started opening my eyes to this. I tried to explain this a bit over in this thread. http://www.puritanboard.com/f31/kline-works-merit-pardigm-70896/#post908561
  23. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    This is very interesting. I am wondering now if this is why certain Baptists (generally non-Reformed) perform "baby dedications"? Is it so that they have a "visible sign"?
  24. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    The Calvinistic Baptist Church I attended gave out a baton. It was a cylinder plated with chrome. You know, a baton like you hand off in a track meet. It had a letter written in it for the child to read when they turned 18. It was symbolic of handing over their responsibility to receive and take up the faith their parents held.
  25. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    No offense, Randy, but that's just odd. While I appreciate the sentiment and all, it seems quite the departure. I'm guessing this was not an LBC church.
  26. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    I know. I was thinking the same thing as I was recounting the dedications. What is the precedent? I know that Hanna dedicated Samuel to the Lord. But I don't remember anything in scripture that illustrates Union with Christ and faith like this besides baptism and the Covenant of Grace.
  27. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Moderator notice here. This is a paedo forum. The purpose for this forum is stated in a sticky post.

    There is also one for the credo only baptist.
  28. wraezor

    wraezor Puritan Board Freshman

    Not me personally (raised reformed presbyterian, by God's grace), but I know of a couple different people who were challenged mightily and eventually convinced of paedobaptism after they were persuaded to listen to Pastor Edward Donnelly's series on Baptism. I think it's an excellently complete yet concise treatment.

    Baptism Series - SermonAudio.com
  29. anotherpilgrim

    anotherpilgrim Puritan Board Freshman

    That was a good sermon series. Thank you!!
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