View Full Version : Accepting pedo-baptists to the Lord's table

01-14-19, 05:11 PM
A few years ago, I was of the standard strict baptist opinion that those who have not been baptised "by immersion" upon profession of faith, should not be received to the Lord's table. I have now repented of that viewpoint. I'm still a strict baptist. I still believe in baptism "by immersion" as they say, and I still believe that baptism should occur upon profession of faith. I still believe in a closed table. But, I do not believe anymore in excluding my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, who have a different viewpoint from me on baptism, from the Lord's table.

Why not, you may be wondering? Well, I probably can't make the full case for the change of heart. However, I know that certain things affected it. For one thing, I came to accept the moral-ceremonial distinction. Certain commandments have intrinsic moral value. Other commandments—those concerning symbolism—derive their moral value from what the symbolism depicts. So for example, human beings are made in the image of God, so it is intrinsically wrong to kill them. But it was never intrinsically wrong to eat pork. Noah and the Israelites abstained from this because of what Pork represented. So, for me, accepting that the symbol of baptism was just that, a symbol, reconfigured my view somewhat. I mean, true Christians have all been baptized by one Spirit into the same body, so regardless of whether they've properly symbolized that Spiritual baptism or not, in water baptism, surely they should all partake of the symbol of the bread and wine.

Another thing that affected my change of heart was the realization that there has to be some forbearance among brethren, concerning sins. I still believe that pedo-baptism is a sin, but I now believe we must allow for people to be in error, in the church. There are things we all have wrong, and if we don't show some toleration of others, why should anyone ever tolerate us? This seems especially true over symbolical matters, rather than matters of intrinsic moral value. Now, to completely disregard a symbol does seem to be an intrinsically immoral thing to do, coming from a spirit of debauchery. Paul spoke of those getting drunk at the so-called Lord's Supper, in 1 Corinthians. However, he also made reference to sincere differences of opinion over symbolism in Romans 14, and, although he wasn't talking about present, active symbols, but rather defunct, Old Testament ones, I still regard the passage as having application to this issue. He began Romans 14 by saying, "receive the weaker brother, but not to questions of reasoning." That seems like a pretty universal rule, and whether or not sprinkling babies counts as baptism certainly seems like a question of reasoning to me. Ergo, the commandment is to receive them, and that means, to fully receive them, including to the Lord's table.

Since my change of heart, I changed my church to a Congregationalist church, rather than a strict baptist one, as the strict baptists always insist on baptism by immersion before being admitted to the Lord's table.

What do people think? Have I gone wrong? Was I better off before, with the standard strict-baptist view?

01-14-19, 05:28 PM
I don't believe in guarding the table... As for baptism, I don't make that a condition for fellowship - unless of course the person bases salvation upon it. I believe baptism is a celebration for believers (not something to divide over), and that infants should not be baptized. I personally cannot attend a church that baptizes babies. For me, that is just wrong and usually symbolic of a lot of other things wrong with that particular congregation.

Regarding the mode, I believe the person should be soaking wet. But it's not necessary for fellowship in the Gospel.

Do I think you've gone wrong? I can't answer that! But I do agree with you that way too much of an issue is made about baptism. We embrace believers on their testimony in the Gospel, and to base it on the mode of baptism is just anti-gospel in my opinion. There is great joy to see a fellow believer baptized in water after being brought to belief in the Gospel, and to turn that event into a hostile issue to divide over is just very sad. :(

01-14-19, 06:04 PM
We embrace believers on their testimony in the Gospel, and to base it on the mode of baptism is just anti-gospel in my opinion.

Amen. I actually forgot to mention, there was one verse that kept coming back to me at the time I left the strict-baptists, and it so powerful to me, that I knew I had to leave. It was this:

"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them" (Romans 16:17)

I felt this included those who would divide the real and actual body of Christ, the people of God, over a bit of water.

Bob Higby
01-15-19, 07:27 AM
Thanks for this insightful post!

It is for this very reason that I identify more with 'Congregationalist' polity than Baptist, though every church label involves almost endless variations of doctrine. In the region where I currently reside Congregational doctrine has been the most prominent for hundreds of years, though most churches now have gone down the slippery slope of Liberal Skepticism and denial of scriptural authority.

I might (?) be Ok with a Presbyterian form of government if it had the right confessional basis but I see none out there that meet the scriptural standards of what an Ekklesia is locally.

Pre-1640's Baptists were not submersionists (there was no difference between Baptist and Mennonite views of how to apply the water), however, since then the sectarian name Baptist has definitely been associated with calling all former Baptists and Mennonites as 'non baptized' as paedobaptists and tolerating only submersionists to church membership and in many cases the Lord's Supper.

I have outlined my position in past studies on water baptism.

1. I am 'big tent' on water baptism after profession of faith versus infant baptism of the children of believers. I personally would not baptize anyone but a professor of the gospel, however, I can't reasonably exclude those from gospel fellowship in the ekklesia who believe their children ought to be baptized. Congregationalists for many centuries have been able to resolve this issue by allowing both convictions to co-exist, with water baptisms from both persuasions performed by elders who hold to them, or if there is no one in a local assembly to perform the form of baptism embraced, going to a different assembly to obtain that and then returning to the gospel-centered assembly for the ongoing life of the ekklesia. Divisions on this puny issue make no sense in light of history--we just HAVE TO ADMIT THAT. If God wanted to clearly settle this issue through undisputed scriptural evidence, He certainly would have done it before now!

2. I generally do not accept re-baptism unless a former person baptized as an infant states a definite conviction that he/she should now be baptized as a believer.

3. Because scripture teaches that Holy Spirit regeneration is 'without means', I do not accept most notions of re-baptism of those formerly baptized as professors. If the baptism was submitted to in honest desire to follow the Lord, in spite of all personal gross sin occurring later, I cannot possibly state the timing of the regeneration of that person since it was by God's action alone. Coming to faith is when assurance is given, however, we simply do no know the point in time prior to the giving of faith by the Holy Spirit when our regeneration occured.

So that's about it!

Bro. Bob

03-16-19, 08:37 AM
I don't disagree with your desire to welcome all who profess the true gospel, but be careful how you justify your 'big tent'. God has absolutely answered in the scriptures what the mode of baptism is. It is a picture of his burial and resurrection, the arguments for pedo and sprinkling are very weak and ofen show a serious misunderstanding of the covenants. We can welcome those who trust in Christ alone, but we also ought to correct this as much as we can.

Bob Higby
03-17-19, 12:12 AM
God has absolutely answered in the scriptures what the mode of baptism is. It is a picture of his burial and resurrection.

Well, I still deny any hermeneutic of reasoning from analogy to prove truth as valid--whether it is Colossians 2:11, 12 fundamentalism ('proved' from analogy in paedobaptist teaching) or Romans 6:1-11 fundamentalism ('proved' from analogy in baptist teaching). Both of these refer to the greater and more perfect baptism of Holy Spirit union with Christ, not to water application (and I realize that most are quick to run to the water first when reading these verses--Patristic (post-apostolic) teachers engraved that reasoning upon consciences for millennia to come).

Bro. Bob

03-17-19, 09:07 AM
I don't disagree with your desire to welcome all who profess the true gospel, but be careful how you justify your 'big tent'. God has absolutely answered in the scriptures what the mode of baptism is. It is a picture of his burial and resurrection, the arguments for pedo and sprinkling are very weak and ofen show a serious misunderstanding of the covenants. We can welcome those who trust in Christ alone, but we also ought to correct this as much as we can.

Right - infant baptism is nonsense, and so is a some of what those who affirm it say about the covenants. But a lot of the stuff you and I believe is equally nonsense, and we just don't know it. Neither of us are theologically perfect. Should we exclude ourselves from the church, because we're theologically flawed on some issues? Surely not. As far as theology and symbolism are concerned, I'd say that the only people who should be excluded are those who deny the foundational truths of Christianity, like the Sovereignty of God over all things, or God's Absolute Predestination of all things, or God's Relational Nature, as Trinity, or the Efficatiousness of the Atonement, or the Total Depravity of Mankind, or the doctrine of the New Birth, that ye must be born again, or the coming of Christ in the Flesh and also his Divine nature, or something central and crucial like these doctrines. Anyone denying these, scripture puts into the category of "heretic." The only people we find excluded from the church, in the New Testament, on theological grounds, were those who denied the foundations of Christianity.

Just because Calvin and Luther and Augustine sprinkled babies doesn't make them heretics. They just had a wrong view. We're to forebear with these people. Scripture says:

"Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye." (Colossians 3:12-13)

Which sins are you forbearing with, in your church?

I agree with Bob's view: congregationalism is the scriptural way. Jesus said that if you have a quarrel with your brother, you are to GO and take it to him ALONE, and then, if he will not hear you, take along someone else, and if he still will not hear you, take it to the CHURCH. He didn't say, "take it to the ELDERS for them to decide." - Its not a matter for the elders. Elders aren't ordained for such a purpose.

And they aren't ordained to be miniature dictators in their own churches either. They are there to guide the sheep by the preaching of the word, and give counselling (as Paul did to Timothy, in his letters) also by the ministry of the Word, and to help and guide younger ministers who would preach. That is their scriptural calling. When they start to think of themselves as the church, they err. They do this in many churches. They say things like "WE believe, in this church...." - uhhh....who believes, exactly? Never the whole congregation, I've found, in my experience, or even all the members. So who are they speaking for? They think that they are the church. It is an abomination. The desire to have the pre-eminance is not limited to the wicked. All the wicked sins of the wicked are also in the flesh of every true believer, so we must be on guard against them.

There is a verse in the KJV which says, "let the elders who RULE well...." but its not in the Greek. It says, more literally, "let the elders who TAKE THE LEAD....." yes...take the lead. They are leaders. They are to lead the flock, by the preaching, by admonishing, by reproving, rebuking, exhorting....encouraging....yes...leaders, but not RULERS. Only Christ is the ruler of his church. He said, "be ye not called father, for all ye are brethren" and the same he said for Rabbi. Why? Because rabbis, in those days, ruled the lives of the people who followed them. They still do this in Ultra Orthodox Jewish circles. The Jews consider it a sin to disobey the Rabbi. We are not to think like that.

So we're to obey our leaders, because they preach the commandments of God faithfully. The writer says, "obey your leaders, as those that shall give an account" - meaning, an account for what they've preached. They are to be preaching God's word. The Bible obviously does not condone obedience to false interpretations of scripture. Neither does it condone the kind of wimpish attitude of all these suck-ups who would change their mind in a flash if the pastor said anything to the contrary.

It concerned the leaders of the churches that Paul exhorted, saying, "Them that sin reprove before all: that the rest also may have fear."

And if that all sounded like a rather long rant, then yes, it was...I feel these things need to be said.

03-17-19, 09:39 AM
Amen and amen. But I'm glad that all of us are prepared to give leniency to our weaker brothers.
All false doctrine is sin. All of us sin. We ought to be gracious to our brothers in their doctrinal sins as they are to us.
I agree we ought to judge by the gospel and remove those who are in heresy, but not all false doctrine is a sign of unbelief.

May God be the Judge