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Thread: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

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    A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism



    I thought some might find this article interesting: http://www.prca.org/standard_bearer/volume80/2004feb15.html#Review%20Article:

    It's written by someone who holds to infant baptism but is a critique of various positions presented in a book by Presbyterian theologians as to why we should baptize infants.
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    I don’t get it. Is the author saying that all infants who are baptized are regenerate? Do you believe this?

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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    Is the author saying that all infants who are baptized are regenerate?
    By no means. The author is stating that we must lay hold of the promise given to Abraham. It is God's promise to save His people out of the line of generations. This does not mean that all are elect. The carnal seed of the serpent is always mingled within the covenant line. However, parents ought to lay hold of the promise given to them and raise their children as covenant children unless the children show otherwise. Isaac did not try to get Jacob and Esau to prove that they were members of the covenant. They both received the sign and were instructed as if both were true members of the covenant. However, the covenant blessing was only bestowed upon Isaac.

    The author of the review was refuting various errors of our day in which people teach that the covenant blessing is promised to every child who is baptized and that it is conditioned upon the exercise of faith of that child among other errors.

    Sola Gratia,
    WildBoar
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    Wild Boar says:
    However, parents ought to lay hold of the promise given to them and raise their children as covenant children unless the children show otherwise.
    How could a young Child show you that he was not part of the Covenant?


    What are the ways that a parent would treat a Child that is assumed to be a member of the covenant differently than one who might not be, except maybe allowing them to partake of communion?

    If we should treat them the same how would this differ from my position as a Baptist? I believe that our children are in a privileged position because they are sanctified by us their believing parents (1cor: 14). I just don’t assume that because they have us as parents they are regenerate. (Luke 3:8)
    I know you have probably answered these questions before. I have just never seen exactly this take before. I was under the impression that Covenant Theology supposed that baptized infants were sort of junior members of the Covenant and could later fall away.

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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    What are the ways that a parent would treat a Child that is assumed to be a member of the covenant differently than one who might not be, except maybe allowing them to partake of communion?
    I don't believe the child should be allowed to partake of communion until he has demonstrated that he is capable of discerning the Lord's body. Under the Old Covenant children did not partake of the Passover meal but it served as a time to catechize them.

    How could a young Child show you that he was not part of the Covenant?
    He would not necessarily be able to. However, the point is not to go looking for tares. They will make themselves known eventually.

    If we should treat them the same how would this differ from my position as a Baptist?
    I would have to know how you raise them I suppose. However, it would differ from the way most Baptists raise their children in that children would not be viewed as a place for evangelism. The children would be instructed in God's Word and called to daily repentance but would not be addressed in the same way the heathen are adressed. They would be adressed as believers just as all reformed catechisms do.

    Jonathon Edwards referred to children of belivers as being little vipers and assumed them all to be unregenerate and this Puritan strand of thinking has polluted many reformed churches.

    I've come across quite a few Baptists who are so zealous to defend believers-only baptism that they are even unwilling to acknowledge that John the Baptist was regenerated in the womb. This leads to a much greater error and has an even more greivous result in that they end up denying that salvation is all of grace because they end up making it necessary for someone to cognitively understand the gospel in order to be saved.

    I believe it is the normal practice of God to regenerate children of believers in infancy. This is my own experience and I have discovered that this has also been the experience of many others I have come to know since attending reformed churches.

    I was under the impression that Covenant Theology supposed that baptized infants were sort of junior members of the Covenant and could later fall away.
    Certainly many today hold to this type of covenant theology. However, I believe that to embrace any kind of conditional covenant as many today do is probably one of the best arguments against infant baptism.

    Sola Gratia,
    WildBoar
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Exclamation Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    Wildboar: I believe it is the normal practice of God to regenerate children of believers in infancy. This is my own experience and I have discovered that this has also been the experience of many others I have come to know since attending reformed churhes.

    Wildboar, I believe John the Baptist was regenerated in the womb and I am a baptist. But where in Scripture do you base your quote above? All you say is that it is the "experience" of people. That is certainly no argument based on sola scriptura . John the Baptist leaping in the womb at the presence of Mary and Christ certainly seems to show that he was cognitive of the Saviour's proximity. Jesus says that in the old covenant there was no one greater than John the Baptist, so his case is certainly not the norm. We are to believe like little children which once again shows cognitive faith. Every unbeliever I know bases their belief on their experience, how are you any different.

    Wildboar:This leads to a much greater error and has an even more greivous result in that they end up denying that salvation is all of grace because they end up making it necessary for someone to cognitively understand the gospel in order to be saved.
    Again you/your "experience" are the authority that tells us this is the greater error, not scripture. Salvation is by grace through faith. Ephesians 2:8-10. The family of the Phillipian jailor all believed and were filled with joy. Acts 16:34 "Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household." You have a tradition here that is not in line with scripture and needs to be "reformed".

    Finally, We should all care less if all "reformed catechisms" address children of believers as believers. By stating that as your basis for this "truth" you have once again believed a human tradition rather than resting your beliefs on the scriptures alone. Faith is totally the work of God just as grace is and NO ONE is saved by grace apart from faith. The burden of proof is on you to show this from the scriptures, Wildboar, and not from traditions you have started or believed.




    "God Himself, in His divine person, is the sole moving cause of every good motion and good work in us. He is the only stimulator, inspirer, animator, instigator, influencer, and director of real worship."



    William Huntington S.S.


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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    But where in Scripture do you base your quote above?
    Luke 18:15-16 And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them:: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

    Luke specifies that they were infants which were brought to Jesus. These were children of believing parents. It is clear that their parents were believers because they are bringing their infants to Jesus for Him to bless them (contrary to many pictures depicting this event where 5 and 6 year olds are brought to Jesus). Jesus says of these infants that of such is the kingdom of God.

    Again you/your "experience" are the authority that tells us this is the greater error, not scripture. Salvation is by grace through faith. Ephesians 2:8-10. The family of the Phillipian jailor all believed and were filled with joy. Acts 16:34 "Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household." You have a tradition here that is not in line with scripture and needs to be "reformed".
    I am not denying that God gives faith also to these infants. Faith is a gift of God and not something we do ourselves. It is something God works in us. In the case of John the Baptist it is clear that he had faith because he leapt in the womb. This does not mean that John the Baptist had cognitive knowledge of who Jesus was. His mind had not developed for this to be possible and we do not read of John the Baptist being some baby genius. Just as a newborn baby knows his mother and knows the voice of his mother without having cognitive conscious knowledge of all that that means, so a newborn baby can be given faith and know the voice of His heavenly Father without understanding all of the implications. If God has given faith to this infant, he will of course live a life of faith as he grows up and will grow in the knowledge of God's Word. However, what you are pointing to in Acts 16:34 is the result of salvation and not the cause and may not be visibly present in all those who hear the gospel and believe including infants and the mentally handicapped.

    Just as was the case in the Old Testament where all children born to a believing parent were given the sign of the covenant(circumcision), we find no inconsistency with the practice in the New Testament with how baptism is administered. The baptist objects that no infants are explicitly mentioned. I believe the argument over whether or not there were infants in these households is irrelevant. What we do read of is cases like Lydia where, Lydia believed and her entire family was baptized. It does not say Lydia believed and then each one of her family members believed and then each one of them was baptized.

    Sola Gratia,
    WildBoar
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    Wild Boar: I don't believe the child should be allowed to partake of communion until he has demonstrated that he is capable of discerning the Lord's body.
    I also don’t wish to debate I am afraid you would wipe the floor up with me. But I would like to point out just one thing
    Jer 31:34and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,

    It sounds to me like all people in the New Covenant already have the ability to “discern the body of Christ”. And don’t need to be taught how to do it

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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    Just as was the case in the Old Testament where all children born to a believing parent were given the sign of the covenant(circumcision), we find no inconsistency with the practice in the New Testament with how baptism is administered. The baptist objects that no infants are explicitly mentioned. I believe the argument over whether or not there were infants in these households is irrelevant. What we do read of is cases like Lydia where, Lydia believed and her entire family was baptized. It does not say Lydia believed and then each one of her family members believed and then each one of them was baptized.
    wildboar, i know we've discussed all of this before and i'm not really interested in getting into again but i do want to bring one thing up. this whole issue is an argument from silence either way...your presuppositions require you to assume infants were present and likewise baptized and our presuppositions require us to assume that there were no infants present and baptized unless it explicitly says so (so in a sense, the baptist assumes nothing but reads the texts as they stand without commenting on the ages/genders of the baptized unless it specifically says so). plus you have to assume that lydia was married (and if the husband were still alive it would blow male covenant headship out of the water, no pun intended) or widowed and would have to assume beyond that if she was married (or widowed) that she also had children and not only would you have to assume that she had children but infant children (or infants in the household) and not only would you have to assume all of this but you'd have to assume that these assumed infants were baptized. plus it is important here that the text says house(hold), not family, and we must be careful not to commit the anachronistic fallacy of reading our contemporary understanding of family (or even household; understanding it as all of those children born of our flesh or adopted) back into this koine greek word (OIKOS) and context (acts 16:4ff). perhaps ockham's razor applies here somehow, somewhere...

    we gain no information on whether or not infants were baptized (or believed) unless the text specifically says it (so unequivocal proof for a baptist would be if the text said, "and all of the household was baptized/believed, except the infants" while unequivocal proof for a paedobaptist would be if the text said, "and all of the household was baptized/believed, including the infants"). there is great danger in reading stuff into the text that isn't explicit. and that goes for both sides. the difference is in the presuppositions, not in the text itself. so we will all be stuck and an impasse until presuppositions can first be discussed and sorted out. and those presuppositions involve how one views the new covenant, the ekklesia, baptism, salvation, regeneration, faith, Christianity, etc.

    furthermore, i wonder what you think of the halfway covenant. in other words, whether you think the grandchildren of believers should be baptized, if the parents are not believers (e.g., you have children and your children aren't believers...should you have their children, or your grandchildren baptized since you are a believer). or does a skipped generation necessitate a breaking of the covenant line/succession? and to what level does carnal relation play in God's spiritual kingdom? under what circumstances would God circumvent His normal practice of saving (i.e., through the physical seed)? why would God not save the children of believers and why would He want to depart from His normal practice (e.g., why would He want to deviate and what are the implications of this deviation/anomaly)?
    When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    tomas:

    Jer 31:34and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,

    It sounds to me like all people in the New Covenant already have the ability to “discern the body of Christ”. And don’t need to be taught how to do it
    God has certainly written His law upon the hearts of all those in the covenant. However, it does not follow from that that each person has a complete understanding of every doctrine within the covenant or there would be no need for pastors or teachers. The passage does not state that each person in the covenant will have a full understanding of the elements in communion. If this were the case we would have to conclude that all who hold to a different position on communion from ourselves are outside of the covenant which would mean that I would have to say that all Lutherans and Baptists are outside of the covenant which I would never say.

    Sola Gratia,
    WildBoar
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    God has certainly written His law upon the hearts of all those in the covenant. However, it does not follow from that that each person has a complete understanding of every doctrine within the covenant or there would be no need for pastors or teachers. The passage does not state that each person in the covenant will have a full understanding of the elements in communion.
    i don't know if anyone has taken from this verse that each covenant member has a complete understanding of every doctrine or that there is no need for pastors and teachers in the new covenant. the point of the passage is clearly that all covenant members will know Him (not know about Him), and this specific issue is what is in contrast to the old covenant (where there are some in it that don't know Him, who break the covenant) and is one important dissimilarity that the writer is hilighting. in fact, the NT writer capitalizes on this very verse to speak of the dissimilarity of the new (second) covenant with the old (first). to gloss over this as if it were not a dissimilarity and assume that the covenants are identical in this respect is to miss the point of the passage.
    When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
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    A room without books is a body without soul.
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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    Well, WB, you have caused me to repent of my sins of omission! I will get right to the task this weekend of finishing my series on New Covenant baptism. It is different than any other position that exists in the totality of evangelicalism. The whole debate of migrating to one of two poles (paedobaptistism or submersionism) is entirely foreign to the New Testament (theological OR historical).
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    disciple:

    It is unnecessary to prove whether or not there were children present in any of the households you mentioned. It is completely irrelevant. It is also irrelevant as to whether or not Lydia had a husband. But there must have been others there besides Lydia or it would not speak of Lydia's household being baptized. Remember, I don't believe in specifically infant baptism, I believe in household baptism. Whoever happend to be included in that household, the text does not say that they believed. It says Lydia believed and that her and her household was baptized. The baptist must assume that each member of the household expressed belief prior to baptism. Regardless of whether they did or didn't it does not defeat household baptism either way and there is no text which negates the practice of applying the sign of the covenant upon households.

    furthermore, i wonder what you think of the halfway covenant. in other words, whether you think the grandchildren of believers should be baptized, if the parents are not believers (e.g., you have children and your children aren't believers...should you have their children, or your grandchildren baptized since you are a believer).
    If the grandchildren live within the household and come under the rule of the grandparents then yes they should be baptized just as an adopted child or slave should be.

    or does a skipped generation necessitate a breaking of the covenant line/succession?
    There are exceptions, but throughout Scripture and throughout history it is normally the case that in a family there is generally spritual decline until one generation apostizes and very rarely are any of their descendants brought into the kingdom. There seems to be an exception made for the descendants of the Israelites who apostacized during the time of Christ as described in Romans 11 where it is said that some of their line would be grafted back in.

    why would God not save the children of believers and why would He want to depart from His normal practice (e.g., why would He want to deviate and what are the implications of this deviation/anomaly)?
    The short answer is that God is God. But we can see this play out in a rather large scale way throughout history. Present-day Turkey for instance was one of the first areas to receive the Gospel. The church flourished there but gradually apostacized until now when it can hardly be recognized that they were anything but Muslim. Also, I'm not saying that God normally saves all the children of believers. I'm saying it is God's normal practice to save His people out of the line of generations, meaning that those whom He normally saves are of the children of believers, not even necessarily that most of the children of believers are saved.

    Sola Gratia,
    WildBoar
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    It is unnecessary to prove whether or not there were children present in any of the households you mentioned. It is completely irrelevant. It is also irrelevant as to whether or not Lydia had a husband. But there must have been others there besides Lydia or it would not speak of Lydia's household being baptized. Remember, I don't believe in specifically infant baptism, I believe in household baptism. Whoever happend to be included in that household, the text does not say that they believed. It says Lydia believed and that her and her household was baptized. The baptist must assume that each member of the household expressed belief prior to baptism. Regardless of whether they did or didn't it does not defeat household baptism either way and there is no text which negates the practice of applying the sign of the covenant upon households.
    thanks for your response charles. just one last comment/question:

    so we are to assume that if the text fails to mention the faith of anyone else in the household (which is only the case in the lydia situation in Acts 16; in the other household baptisms in Acts, the hearing and faith of the entire household is explicitly stated) then we should/must assume that they are (or at least could be) unbelievers? why is this? what necessitates this particular assumption? and as i said before, do we need to assume anything at all? this is an argument from silence either way. each one must read their particular presuppositions into the text to use it to prove either one. what is there that proves that these household baptisms necessarily included unbelievers (who admitted that they were unbelievers) or infants?

    again i think this goes back to the voluntary nature of the Christian faith. in my understanding, the faith cannot be forced or foisted upon individuals. and confessedly, this is my presupposition that i bring to all of the texts and the presuppositions are the issues that i think are what need to be discussed and not specific texts (since they are always read with different lenses and therefore say different things depending on each reader's presupposition).
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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    so we are to assume that if the text fails to mention the faith of anyone else in the household (which is only the case in the lydia situation in Acts 16; in the other household baptisms in Acts, the hearing and faith of the entire household is explicitly stated) then we should/must assume that they are (or at least could be) unbelievers?
    Not at all. We need not assume anything. Paul also mentions other households without stating that all were believers. We do not need to assume that they were or there weren't in any one of these instances. The Bible gives us a model for the application of the sign of the covenant. If it is intended that who is to receive the sign of the covenant changes, it would be expected that the Bible would state such. Where no change is stated we ought not expect it to have.

    i don't know if anyone has taken from this verse that each covenant member has a complete understanding of every doctrine or that there is no need for pastors and teachers in the new covenant. the point of the passage is clearly that all covenant members will know Him (not know about Him), and this specific issue is what is in contrast to the old covenant (where there are some in it that don't know Him, who break the covenant) and is one important dissimilarity that the writer is hilighting.
    The issue which was being discussed in this instance was whether or not every member within the covenant should partake of the Lord's Supper. I was saying that the requirement mentioned in Scripture was that they be able to discern the Lord's body. There were those in the OT who were members of the covenant who were not allowed to partake of the Passover just as there are members of the covenant today who are unable to partake or should not partake of the Lord's Supper because they do not understand what communion is.

    Sola Gratia,
    WildBoar
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    Since I was the one to originally reference Jer 31:24. Let me tell you the point I was trying to make. To me “discerning the body” is equivalent to “knowing the Lord” its not only being able to recite my domination’s stale talking point as to what the implements represent. If the error that Paul was addressing were only this then all Christians not in my click (Lutherans etc.) would by ignorance be guilty of the Body and blood of the Lord I know you don’t believe this. Paul was calling us not to forget the one who said this is my body.

    On a related matter could you tell me in what ways if any the New Covenant differs from the Old? Is it only a matter of exchanging baptism for Circumcision and Passover for Communion?

    Also since you say your Children aren’t necessarily a part of the Covenant are there any benefits your children get from their infant baptism besides the fact that their parents wont feel a need to share the Gospel with them?

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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    Also since you say your Children aren’t necessarily a part of the Covenant are there any benefits your children get from their infant baptism besides the fact that their parents wont feel a need to share the Gospel with them?
    First of all you are addressing this the same way that an Arminian often responds to Calvinism. He looks at the theological choices before him and determines which one is best for evangelism in his eyes and then accepts that theological system. Regardless of whether or not the baby receives any benefit, it is enough that God commands it.

    Secondly, the Gospel is not only to be preached to the unregenerate. Every Christian must hear the Gospel in its enitirety as it is preached each Lord's Day and every parent must bring their children up in the truths of the Gospel. I merely said that the parent should not treat their children as heathen.

    However, that being said, the benefit which the child receives is immeasurable. When the child of God sees his sin and his own damnworthiness he can look to his baptism and know that just as surely as water washes away dirt from the flesh Christ has washed away his sins.

    On a related matter could you tell me in what ways if any the New Covenant differs from the Old? Is it only a matter of exchanging baptism for Circumcision and Passover for Communion?
    There are numerous ways in which the New Covenant differs from the Old and the Bible tells us these differences. The Holy Spirit is active and present in the life of the believer in a way He was not prior to the ascension of Christ. Christ has come and offered the perfect sacrifice so that we no longer need to perform the ceremonial law to be comforted in knowing that the sacrifice will come some time in the future. But we ought not read change where the Bible does not speak of change.

    Sola Gratia,
    WildBoar
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    Tomas states:
    On a related matter could you tell me in what ways if any the New Covenant differs from the Old? Is it only a matter of exchanging baptism for Circumcision and Passover for Communion?

    A correction: I assume that you mean replacing 'circumcision' with 'WATER baptism' and Passover with the Lord's Supper. If your intention is different, please let me know.

    This is the heart of the issue! CT most definitely teaches that water baptism is an exact replacement of circumcision in maintaining the Covenant of past ages. It also teaches that the Lord's Supper is an exact replacement of Passover in the same reasoning.

    The New Covenant is not a mere RENEWAL of the covenant with Israel. Perhaps this is the issue we should be discussing, since assumptions are being made on both sides (that it is and that it isn't a renewal of Sinai). Covenant theology teaches that the Sinai covenant was an administration of Grace. That is the basis for its teaching of extreme continuity. But NEW means NEW. The New Covenant, though continuing and 'filling full' the Grace aspects of former promissory covenants (Post-fall Adamic, Noahic, Abrahamic, and Davidic), ABOLISHES the Sinaitic covenant entirely and replaces it with an ENTIRELY New and Everlasting Covenant of Grace. New ONLY with respect to its extreme and discontinuitous contrast with Sinai (Exodus 19), not with respect to the eternal purposes of God. Salvific grace is not new.

    In the New Covenant, there are only two uses of Law: those espoused by Luther and other teachers who tried to honor scripture. The 'third use' (the Law as a RULE of life) is condemned by the New Testament.

    WB States:

    Secondly, the Gospel is not only to be preached to the unregenerate. Every Christian must hear the Gospel in its enitirety as it is preached each Lord's Day and every parent must bring their children up in the truths of the Gospel.

    I wholeheartedly agree with one exception: the truth of the Gospel must be preached on EVERY day. Not only on the post-apostolic 'Lord's Day'. If we have the idea that the preaching of the gospel is tied primarily to Sunday, we are sacerdotal and post-apostolic in our theology. The first believers had Easter every day of the week! Not annual, not merely weekly.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    To focus upon the covenant at Sinai is to miss the point. There are various views within the realm of covenant theology as to what took place. The heart of the matter is the covenant of grace and even more particular to this discussion, the covenant given to Abraham which ocurred well before the giving of the law on Sinai.



    Genesis 17:7-19
    And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. 8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. 9 And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. 10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. 11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. 12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. 13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant. 15 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. 16 And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. 17 Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? 18 And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! 19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
    God specifically says that the covenant is an everlasting one.

    Sola Gratia,
    WildBoar
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    I agree with billtwisse this all boils down our stand on Covenant Theology if it is true then Infant Baptism is nothing short of a sacred command. If it is false then at best it is an unnecessary tradition and could be a perversion of the gospel. I know that others here could say this much better than me but let me try and explain.


    Gal 4:22For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the handmaid, and one by the free woman. 4:23However, the son by the handmaid was born according to the flesh, but the son by the free woman was born through promise. 4:24These things contain an allegory, for these are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children to bondage, which is Hagar. 4:25For this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answers to the Jerusalem that exists now, for she is in bondage with her children. 4:26But the Jerusalem that is above is free, which is the mother of us all. 4:27For it is written,
    "Rejoice, you barren who don't bear.
    Break forth and shout, you that don't travail.
    For more are the children of the desolate than of her who has a husband."
    4:28Now we, brothers, as Isaac was, are children of promise. 4:29But as then, he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. 4:30However what does the Scripture say? "Throw out the handmaid and her son, for the son of the handmaid will not inherit with the son of the free woman." 4:31So then, brothers, we are not children of a handmaid, but of the free woman.


    Genesis 17: 7-14 is the covenant of the flesh not of the promise. This was a conditional land grant with the physical children of Abraham (in your flesh). The details of which are still being worked out in the Middle East between the Physical sons of Isaac and those of Ishmael. Ishmael was also circumcised but he never was part of the covenant of promise (Gen 17:15-19). Only Isaac was a spiritual son of Abraham only he was heir to the promise. To equate this covenant of the flesh (circumcision) with the New Covenant is the sin of the judaizers! Notice Jews are told to continue to circumcise their Children. But not as a sign of the new covenant

    Acts 21:20They, when they heard it, glorified God. They said to him, "You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law. 21:21They have been informed about you, that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children neither to walk after the customs. 21:22What then? The assembly must certainly meet, for they will hear that you have come. 21:23Therefore do what we tell you. We have four men who have taken a vow. 21:24Take them, and purify yourself with them, and pay their expenses for them, that they may shave their heads. Then all will know that there is no truth in the things that they have been informed about you, but that you yourself also walk keeping the law. 21:25But concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written our decision that they should observe no such thing, except that they should keep themselves from food offered to idols, from blood, from strangled things, and from sexual immorality."



    There is no such requirement (circumcision or its counterpart infant baptism) for members of the New Covenant.
    What we have is the difference between the Law and the Promise it’s as simple and as important as that.

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