Father Abraham Had Many Sons…

In last weekend’s paedo-/credobaptist debate, Gene Cook pressed a distinction between Abraham’s natural and spiritual children. Abe’s natural children get circumcised physically, but his spiritual children (those with saving, perseverant, God-given faith) get circumcised inwardly, and signify that outwardly with baptism. But the natural children of the spiritual children of Abraham don’t get anything, because they are not (yet) spiritual children of Abraham themselves, and they are not (ever) natural children of Abraham (unless they happen to be ethnically Jewish, which is irrelevant anyways, because the Jewish covenant is obsolete).

If it is only appropriate to initiate into God’s covenant people those infants who are the natural children of Abraham, what does Gene think happened in the Old Testament when Gentiles were converted into Judaism? Would their children have to grow up and have a bar mitzvah before they got circumcised? No! A convert who came to Judaism by faith in the displayed power of God, and who wanted to express his faith in God’s promises by partaking in the Passover meal, needed to have “all his males circumcised“. (In exactly the same way, Christians must be baptized before partaking in the Lord’s Supper).

Gene also said in his closing (or was it rebuttal? I paraphrase (but very closely)):

It doesn’t matter if you are a child of Isaac, for God tells us “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated”; you need to be a child of Abraham!

I wonder what Ishmael would have thought of that argument?

We see from the above that, as a sign of covenant initiation, circumcision is not just appropriate for all and only biological sons of Abraham. But it is a sign of faith — the faith (heart circumcision) of the parents in God for their own salvation, and their faith that God will also circumcise the child’s heart, giving him the faith to receive his own salvation.

Just like baptism.

Members of the New Covenant baptize babies because they are in exactly the same state before God as babies in the Old Covenant: they are in the visible church. And we hope (and are by default to assume) that they will be in the invisible church. So let’s all sing along:

Father Abraham had many sons

Many sons had Father Abraham

I am one of them, and so are YOU

So let’s just praise the Lord!

Has a baptist ever sung that song to their baby? We all certainly have the right to, because our covenant children are just like natural sons of Abraham.

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93 Responses

  1. Another point Gene pressed is the order of the Great Commission: (1) Make disciples, (2) Baptize them. A counter that I think Paul started to make in cross, but said he would save it for his closing (and then forgot?) is, don’t forget about (3) Teach them! If Gene requires a chronological ordering in the GC, then he better not be teaching any kids about Jesus before they get baptized!

    Besides, I am doing things in the right order. I made three disciples (well, T helped), then we baptized them, and now we’re teaching them.

  2. Some further thoughts about Exodus 12:48: it would seem that, whether or not you believe that circumcised babies of converts would be eating the Passover, the convert himself would not be allowed to eat, if he had circumcised only himself, and not “all his males”. It seems that this would further imply that a consistent paedo church would require all of a family’s children to be baptized before admitting professing parents to the Lord’s Supper, no?

  3. Hi Rube,

    When I said I’d get back to that later I meant back to his claim that Matt 28 consituted a command to “baptize disciples alone.” That was the only verse he said he had to prove that “believers alone” should be baptized. I responded to that in my rebutal and showed that the Gene couldn’t exegetically demonstrate that Matt 28 said what he wanted it to. Gene had no response to that argument. And thus it remained an unanswered point.

  4. Ah — since the chronology argument leaped into my head, I assumed that’s where you must have been going. So now you have another argument to add to the pile!

    Good job all around, Wacky (I guess your “secret” identity on my blog is finally unmasked!)

  5. “Good job all around, Wacky (I guess your “secret” identity on my blog is finally unmasked!)”

    Curses!

  6. “Right arm, Left arm!”

    Children have always been included in God’s covenantal dealings. Only Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord yet eight persons rode safely above the judgement waters.

    I have a strange feeling there’s some parallel between the flood waters and the waters of baptism. If only there were a passage of scripture connecting the two…

  7. Wow, it would be cool if there were such a scripture! Or if there were some passage connecting the waters of the red sea with the waters of baptism!

  8. Yeah, how many kids were left on one side of the Red Sea while their parents crossed?

  9. Or if there were some passage connecting the waters of the red sea with the waters of baptism!

    Wait a minute!! Are you trying to say that since Moses is a type of Christ, that all those infants that were baptized into Moses in the crossing of the Red Sea were typologically baptized into Christ – as infants? IOW, are you saying that here we have numerous scriptural examples of Christian infant baptism?

  10. It seems that this would further imply that a consistent paedo church would require all of a family’s children to be baptized before admitting professing parents to the Lord’s Supper, no?

    I asked my pastor this question (in a slightly different context and in a slightly different way) and got “we require all of a family’s children to be baptized in conjunction with admitting professing parents to church membership and consequently to the Lord’s Supper”. He did not however get into the scriptural reasons for this position, since the question was made in casual conversation.

  11. “Has a baptist ever sung that song to their baby? We certainly have the right to, because our covenant children are just like natural sons of Abraham.”

    Rube, when you say “we have a right to” are you contrasting yourself with baptist saying that they have no right to claim their children as sons or daughters of Abraham because they have not baptized them? Are you saying that a child who has been baptized is more a part of the “covenant community” than the one whose parents don’t believe in infant baptism but yet bring their child to church and train them in the scriptures and pray for them/with them etc.?

    just curious.

  12. In “we have a right to”, I meant “all of us Christians, paedo- and credo-“. Baptists have just as much a right to sing this song to their babies (and baptize their babies!) as I do, they just don’t realize it.

    But Gene’s entire argument for credobaptism rested on the assumption that babies of Christians are NOT members of the New Covenant, and if he’s right, there is no sense in which one can correctly address that sentiment (you are one of Abraham’s sons) to a baby.

  13. thanks for the clarification

  14. Re: #3

    I responded to that in my rebuttal and showed that the Gene couldn’t exegetically demonstrate that Matt 28 said what he wanted it to.

    I haven’t heard the debate yet, so I don’t know how Mr. Manata handled Mt 28:19-20 but the standard treatment of this is that the Greek reveals that “baptizing” is an adverbial participle of means. In other words what we have here is an explanation that making disciples is accomplished by means of two things, baptizing and teaching. Further, the teaching as well as the baptizing are adverbial participles of means. They can’t be grammatically differentiated.

    See Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics by Daniel Wallace pg. 628-630.

    I doubt many would argue against the idea that teaching is how you make a disciple. Likewise, one shouldn’t argue against the clear scriptural statement that one also makes a disciple by means of baptizing.

    The tricky part is sorting out the difference between a believer and a disciple, if any. And I do think there is a difference. In any case, it is doubtful that this verse can be used to support the credo-baptist position.

  15. Bruce,

    That is the second point I made in my (I think) 5 or 6 point rebuttal.

    Actually, I had written out a whole bunch of responses before hand. I currently have a list of A – N.

    Here is the lengthy version of my response (Sorry Rube):

    D. The Bible Explicitly Commands us to Baptize Disciples Alone:

    Actually, it doesn’t. If it did, there would be no debate. Just as there would be no debate if the Bible said to baptize the infants of believer’s, there would be no debate if the Bible said “Baptize only mature, self-conscious, and professing disciples.” Thus the practice of “baptism of disciples alone” is an inference from other texts.

    This is particularly embarrassing considering the claims made by many Baptists. Reformed Baptist Fred Malone complains that paedobaptist have set inference over against the explicit statements of Scripture. Malone says that the paedobaptist position “negates the only instituted baptism expressly set down in Scripture, that of disciples alone, by an illegitimately applied good an necessary inference from the Old Testament” (35). Malone thus claims that since there is no “express command” to baptize infants, then “Because no such revelation exists, infant baptism is a violation of the regulative principle” (xvi). Malone even goes so far as to say that he is “certain” about the theology that “disciples alone” should be baptized, while paedobaptist cannot be since they have a “possibly erroneous inference.” Unfortunately for Malone, there is no “express” or “explicit” or “positive command” which tells us that mature and professing disciples, and these disciples alone, should be baptized.

    Consider Matthew 28:18-20 briefly:

    (1) The word “alone” is not in the passage.

    (2) Them does not refer to “disciples” since “make disciples,” in Greek, is a verb. It refers to the nations.

    (3) Those in the times of the New Testament would have understood “nations” a bit differently than we do. For example in Amos 3:2 Jehovah tells Israel that He has chosen them over all the “families” of the earth. But the passages which speak about Jehovah choosing Israel takes place in the context of choosing Israel over against all the nations of the earth (Ex. 19:6; Deut. 4:32-37). Thus the passage could have read: “Therefore go and make disciples of all the families of the earth, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

    (4) The same root word for the verb that is translated “make disciples” has been used in the LXX to refer to teaching and training children. Manthano is the root word from where we get the noun “disciple.” Without attaching the specialized rabbinic usage of the word “disciple” (which would have excluded women from the command), the root word simply means “train” or “learn.” The Israelites knew that they were to “disciple” their children. We read in Deuteronomy 31:12: “Assemble the people, the men and the women and children and the alien who is in your town, in order that they may hear and learn (manthano) and fear the LORD your God, and be careful to observe all the words of this law.” Likewise Every father was to disciple his child, as the book of Proverbs tells us: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn” (Prov. 22:6). We find this idea of discipling children confirmed in the New Testament as well: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). In his commentary on Ephesians, Baptist scholar Peter O’ Brien says, that the word “children” used in the text “has in view children who are in the process of learning and growing up” (440-441). And, “Although children’s duty to obey their parents was taken for granted in the ancient world, disobedience to parents, according to the apostle, was indicative of Gentile depravity (Rom. 1:30), or a sign of evil in the last days (2 Tim. 3:2)” (441). But, “The obedience of Christian children to their parents is all of a piece with their submission to Christ: the additional motivating phrase, ‘in the Lord,’ is virtually synonymous with ‘as to the Lord’ or ‘as to Christ’ and indicates that their obedience is part of their discipleship. It is not rendered simply because of their parents’ greater authority status” (441).

    The idea of discipling our children goes all the way back to Abraham. Abraham was chosen “so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just…” (Gen. 18:19). It was common knowledge that parents had the job of making their children disciples. As Mathew says, we make disciples by “baptizing and teaching” people.

    (5) Mathean scholar (and Baptist) Craig Keener writes in his acclaimed commentary on Matthew that “what is important to remember is that the Gentile mission extends the Jewish mission – not replaces it; Jesus nowhere revokes the mission to Israel (10:6), but merely adds a new mission revoking a previous prohibition (10:5)” (p.719). I had argued in (B) that the “minor commission” is dripping with Federalist assumptions. Entire families and towns were considered disciples of Jesus, or rejecters of Jesus, on the basis of the decision of the representative head of those families or towns. Thus this would have naturally been carried over into the “Great Commission.”

    (6) Notice that Malone says that paedobaptist make inferences from the Old Testament and that this is “illegitimately applied” to the question of the proper subjects of baptism. This objection is in spite of his citing the hermeneutical method of the analogy of faith (p. 30). The analogy of faith says that the final interpreter of Scripture is “the rest of Scripture, i.e., the whole council of God” (p. 30). This seeming inconsistency aside, Malone makes an argument for “credo-baptism alone” from the “Disjunctions of John’s and Jesus’ baptism with Christian baptism (157). He makes an inference from the subjects of these baptisms to the subjects of New Covenant Christian baptism. The problem is that John is the last prophet of the Old Covenant! And, Jesus hasn’t inaugurated the New Covenant, yet. This means that Malone is making and “inference” from the “Old Covenant;” but this is precisely what he criticizes the paedobaptist for doing!

    (7) The disciples interpreted this command by baptizing “entire families” in the household baptisms. In fact, virtually every baptism of a Gentile was a baptism of the Gentile’s household. The baptisms of people without households seem to indicate they had no household present, or none at all. Paul and the Ethiopian eunuch obviously had no family. The Israelite men in Acts 2 were just that, about 3,00 men. The 12 male disciples of John were just that, 12 men. The Samaritans are an exception , including both men and women. Thus it looks like anytime a convert had a household, it was baptized also.

    Thus (1) – (7) constitute enough evidence to show that Baptists are making an inference from texts like Matthew 28 to the conclusion that baptism is for “disciples alone.” There is no “explicit command” to “baptize disciples alone.”

  16. Whew! Quite a lot of academic discussion going on here. I might try my hand at putting a few things together if I may.

    Mat 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
    Mat 28:20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

    Now, what Bruce said may not have made a whole lot of sense to some. Perhaps another way to say what he said is that there is no “order” of events here in this passage. It does not say “go and make disciples, then and only then baptize them and teach them.” For those who interpret this passage in this way, I must confess that their interpretation is neither supported by the English rendering OR by the Greek, and thus I can only conclude that they are making up their own mind about what it SHOULD say before they actually let the Scriptures speak for themselves.

    For you see, if you are only to baptize “disciples alone”, then it follows that you should only teach “disciples alone”. Look at the English grammar here and see if I am not correct. But of course, this is all quite silly, because even in English it is clear that it doesn’t say to baptize or to teach disciples alone. In fact, far from limiting who this should be done to, it says to do this to “all nations”. Make EVERYONE disciples (not just Jews), baptize them and teach them.

    But let’s be really, really, really silly. Let’s pretend that we are stupid and say that we think it says that you should baptize disciples alone. This is really silly, so I hope you don’t feel too foolish, but let’s pretend anyway, just for fun. We’ll pretend we’ve gone through CS Lewis’ wardrobe, and we’ve entered into an alternate universe, and we’re pretending and fantasizing about great dreams and great lands where animals can talk and golden coins can fall to the ground and grow trees that bear golden fruit. In this alternate universe it says to baptize disciples alone. Of course, it would then also say to teach disciples alone.

    But even in this strange and wonderful land of fantasy, we must now realize that the definition of the word “disciple” is very important. (Nevermind that this word never appears in the Greek as a noun, “disciple”, but only as a verb “make disciples”, which means something like “teach” or maybe “instruct” or “discipline”.) So how are we to define a “disciple”? This is of crucial importance, because it is only those who meet the criteria of “disciple” may be baptized and taught.

    Whatever your definition of “disciple” might be, I would challenge you to explain to me how someone who is not initiated (baptized) and isn’t taught can in any way be called a disciple. At the very least, a disciple is one who is learning. Oh, look at that! To be a disciple is an ongoing process, “is learning” I said.

    So when do you arrive? When do you receive the title of “disciple”? Perhaps when you begin learning? Or is it when you are done learning? No one in this life will ever be DONE learning about the Scriptures. If you disagree with this simple statement, there is little hope for you. I think we all know that the more you learn, the more you realize you know less than you thought. There is no arrival in this life at PERFECT and COMPLETE understanding of the Scriptures.

    If there’s no such thing as being DONE learning about the Scriptures, the things of God, then we cannot say that someone can only be called a disciple when they were DONE learning, because then there would be no disciples, and then no one should be baptized (remember, we are in Narnia, where the verse says that only disciples alone can be baptized – and consequently taught). So since we know that you cannot come to the end of your learning, and we know that SOMEONE should properly be baptized, then we must say that the definition of a disciple, who alone should be baptized is one who has BEGUN learning, just begun.

    Truly, you are a student from the very first day of Kindergarten, aren’t you? Though you know nothing, yet you have been registered and have begun attending school. Even before you are told where to sit, you are still a student, who has thus far learned nothing. So it is with a disciple. Student is a good word to use as a synonym for disciple. He is a disciple who has BEGUN to learn.

    So even in Narnia, we can see that those who have begun to learn are properly called disciples, and those who have begun to learn should be then taught – and baptized.

    Now, what child in what church doesn’t get taught the things of God? In even the most staunch Baptist churches, they still teach their children about the Bible, about Jesus, about Daniel and the lion’s den, Joshua and the battle of Jericho, Abraham and his many sons, etc. These children, since they have begun to be taught the things of God, are properly called disciples. I don’t really care what your definition of the word “disciple” might be, with just a little taste of logic, a dash of common sense, and a few moments of relatively clear thinking, you too can only be forced to conclude that anyone who has BEGUN to learn the things of God is properly called a disciple, because they are students, being taught the things written in the Scriptures.

    So thus even in Narnia, where they don’t know how grammar works, yet still they understand a few things, and even there they can see that children ought to properly be baptized, because they too are disciples.

    But now you might object and say, “AHA! But we are not in Narnia! You yourself have said that it doesn’t SAY baptize disciples alone, so your entire argument thus falls apart!”

    To that I would say, quite right, quite right. You’ve got me. Perhaps now you’d like to join me in my ivory tower, where I see little of the deeds of men, and care even less about them. Come and join me in my academic tower. I’ve got something to show you.

    Recall that Bruce said that “baptizing” and “teaching” where adverbial participles of means. Up here in my ivory tower, I know exactly what this means, but since you are a visitor here, I will explain it to you. This means, quite simply, that the best way in English to render the Greek is roughly this: “Make disciples…BY baptizing and teaching.” Yes, it means that baptizing and teaching is how disciples are made.

    That means, if you are to turn someone from being a heathen into a disciple, you must do two things. You must baptize them, and you must teach them.

    Once again, we find that our definition of disciple is quite important. By disciple, do we mean that someone is an heir of eternal salvation…necessarily? Remember, a disciple is one who has BEGUN to learn about the things of God.

    Listen closely. You aren’t saved when you have only just begun to learn. You and I both know that in order for someone to be saved, many seeds need to be planted, watered, bathed in sunlight, etc. The seeds must be planted and nourished, and time must be allowed for. Most of the time, children begin hearing the stories as children, begin learning the truths of Scripture, but only later do they make a public profession of faith. In Evangelical circles, you might say that only later do they make their decision for Christ, their committment to follow Jesus, if you will. I am generally uncomfortable with that language, but for our purposes here it is of no difference. So I would ask you, isn’t it obvious that the child was a disciple who had begun to learn about the things of God BEFORE they were actually converted?

    A disciple is not yet a convert. That’s why there are two different words with different definitions. A disciple is not one who follows, a disciple is a student. Take a survey of children in grammar school, and ask them how many of them want to be there. They are students whether they want to be or not, because someone has taken authority over them and begun to teach them. Becoming a student doesn’t require your consent. What you do with what you are taught is another matter, and whether you believe it in your heart is another matter. But children are taught whether they like it or not.

    What did your parents teach you as a child? If you’re like me, they probably taught you many things, not the least of which was not to wet your pants. Now, growing up, I can tell you that at no time did I ever decide to enter into training at some school where my parents were the teachers. Nonetheless, I was born to them, and they had authority over me, and they disciplined me if I didn’t do what they wanted me to do. They wanted me not to wet my pants. So if I peed myself, they would discipline me. I was their disciple. Now I am a man and on my own, and I can pee my pants all I want, and my parents can say nothing about it. I am no longer their disciple. But when I was a child, I was.

    In the same way, children born to BELIEVERS have no choice. They go to church with their parents. They learn what they are taught. They have no choice. They grow up learning about Moses, Elijah, and Jesus. They are disciples, like it or not, of the Scriptures. They are being taught the Word of God. They are being taught this from the time they are born.

    From the time they are born, their parents pray for them in their hearing – yes I know they don’t understand it, but still they hear it – they sit in a car seat in church – yes, I know they don’t know where they are – and their parents speak to them and train them to obey them. All of this has some effect, whether it be great or small. The newborn baby, even, has begun to learn the things of God. Even being loved by their parents and learning to love them for providing things for you, learning that you have to be dependent on them – even this is a lesson in the things of God for the children of believers, because they will later learn that God provides our needs and loves us and that we need to obey him. So you see, the very day they come out of the womb they begin learning about the things of God.

    As Rube said, like it or not, the children of Baptists are also disciples. But that’s exactly why they SHOULD be baptized. Quite simply because they are being taught.

    So perhaps you might ask, what if a child who is being taught, and therefore is properly called a disciple, is NOT baptized? What happens? Is the child condemned? Are the parents condemned?

    In some OPC’s, these parents will not be allowed to take communion. But I think in most OPC’s, they would be allowed to take communion, but that’s not the end of the story. Parents would be urged and strongly encouraged to baptize their children. It is a sin not to baptize your children if you are a believer. The Lord takes this very seriously. He nearly put Moses to death for not circumcizing his son. Serious business. But then again, any and all sin carries the death penalty. So the fact that it’s sinful doesn’t mean you can’t be a Christian despite that. We believe of course that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins.

    But here’s something to remember. Whatever is not done in faith is sin. For someone who is NOT convinced that baptizing their children is a good thing, because they aren’t convinced that that’s what the Scriptures would teach them to do, if they baptize their children, they are actually SINNING when they do it, because they aren’t acting in faith. They don’t hear this as a command from God, but as a command from man that contradicts the command from God. Thus to obey it is to rebel against God in their hearts.

    So I think it would be foolish to force someone to baptize their children if they don’t think Scripture supports it. It would be foolish to withhold the Lord’s Supper from them until they come around and baptize their children. Now, if they DO recognize that this is a command in Scripture, and they ARE convinced of this, and yet still refuse to baptize their children – that’s different. But if you have a converted baptist or something who comes to a reformed church and has some misgivings about infant baptism, but loves the preaching (who wouldn’t?) and wants to be a member anyway, then you let them join, and let their children remain unbaptized for the moment, until such time as the parents can be convinced that it is the right thing to do, being a command of God in Scripture, indeed being found even right here in the Great Commission. Because their children are still being taught, still hearing the gospel, and their parents are not sinning, because they are acting in faith the best they can. What more can you ask for? But you don’t just let the problem lie. No, you meet with those parents and give them a book to read, and you discuss their objections, and you teach them to interpret the Scriptures properly, and then they will be convinced, and then they will baptize their children with all the more joy and gladness, because they will know deep in their hearts why they are doing it, and they will know that it is a command from God, and it will then have all the more meaning and significance in their lives, and they will be all the more glad of it. And then no one has any regrets in this matter.

    But perhaps you might have one more objection to infant baptism, despite all the good logic involved, and the common sense employed in understanding the Great Commission heretofore mentioned. Maybe you would like to say that baptism and circumcision are not alike at all.

    But they are alike. Both are a sign of righteousness by faith alone. See Romans 4, where Paul explains this about circumcision.

    Now let’s talk about baptism, and we’ll see how it too is a sign of the righteousness by faith alone. When we are baptized, we are baptized INTO Christ as our federal, covenant head. Now it is a SIGN that Christ is our federal head. It does not mean that Christ necessarily really and truly becomes our federal head. It is a sign. It is like a visible sermon that says, if you believe, Christ will be your federal head.

    Now, that might not have made much sense to you. That’s ok. You can go back and read it again after you’ve read the explanation. Let’s talk about water ordeals. Once upon a time, people believed that if you were accused of some crime, say murder, that there was only one real way to tell if you were guilty or innocent. They would throw you into a body of water, either a river or a lake or a pond or whatever. If you drowned, it was because you were guilty and the gods had judged you. If you survived, if you floated, you were innocent, the gods had saved you. This is called the water ordeal, and throughout history, people have been judged this way. It sure seems barbaric and very remote, but consider two things. First consider that even in the Salem witch trials in our own country this was a test to see whether or not a woman was a witch. I may be confusing that with the Inquisition in Europe, but whatever. This was still taking place less than 500 years ago. Consider also where this probably came from: the flood. Noah was spared by God, while the guilty drowned in the flood. So people probably eventually came to consider water to be the main tool of judgment in the hand or hands of the God or gods or whatever.

    But however people might have perverted this, nonetheless, the symbolism is something God, the one true God, has continued to make use of. Noah was spared from the flood waters as has been said, and the Israelites passed through the Sea on dry ground, while the Egyptians were drowned. Joshua and the Israelites crossed the Jordan and entered the Promised Land. Passing through on dry ground or surviving the flood is a declaration on God’s part of innocence.

    When Noah survived, it was because he was not wicked, not guilty. Those who died in the flood died because they were guilty, and the flood was the judgment. In the same way, Moses and the Israelites passed through the Red Sea on dry ground; they were innocent. But Pharoah was drowned; he was guilty, he was wicked. This is God making these judgments.

    Joshua passed through again, because God had declared all Israel guilty in the wilderness, saying that “they shall not enter my rest”. So by forcing them to wander, he had declared them all guilty. So when they were about to finally inherit the land, God said of them that they were innocent, and they were allowed to enter the land.

    But of course, we know something that at least the Pharisees seemed not to understand. The Israelites were NOT innocent. They were guilty! They too were sinners. So how can it be that God would declare them innocent?

    I might turn that around on you. You are a sinner, yet you suppose that you are going to go to heaven somehow. Sinners can’t go to heaven. The Scriptures make that clear. So why do you think you’re going to heaven? Ah yes, Christ! He paid the price for your sins. But not just yours. Often you hear, “Jesus died for me.” He didn’t die for you. He died for ALL his people. Abraham is in heaven because of what Christ did long after Abraham was dead. Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. How? He had faith in the promises of God, that a Seed would come, through whom all the nations would be blessed, that Seed of the woman who would crush the serpent’s head, namely Christ. That’s why Jesus said that Abraham had seen his day and was glad. Abraham never saw Jesus. But he had faith in him, though he had no idea who he was. He had faith that the Messiah would come. And sure enough he did, and he paid for Abraham’s sins too.

    Now, a bit about covenants. Adam was our first federal or representative head. When he sinned, all mankind became guilty. When he broke the covenant between him and God and ate of the tree, he broke it on our behalf. Thus we inherit a sinful nature, but we are guilty even before we are born or commit any sin. We inherit Adam’s guilt by natural birth. It is his seed that is polluted. Thus the sign of circumcision. The male sexual organ is cut off. It is a cutting off of the guilt of Adam that comes through natural birth – well, that’s what it symbolizes anyway. It symbolizes that your offspring are now holy. And you must circumcize them too, because their offspring will be holy. So the male organ must be symbolically cut off, to signify that Adam’s guilt is no longer transferred through the seed. Notice that Jesus was born of a virgin. He did not inherit Adam’s guilt, because he was not produced with that seed. There was no sperm meeting egg. Rather in his human nature he was created, even as Adam was created, but rather than being formed of the dust of the earth, he was formed in Mary’s womb. (Only his human nature, his human body was formed this way. Remember he also has a divine eternal nature that is obviously not created.) Adam was called the son of God. Jesus too was thus called THE Son of God. He succeeded where Adam failed. And we are of the line of CHRIST by faith. We are HIS children, his descendants by faith alone. Thus he is called the second Adam. You can say that in some ways Abraham is the son of Christ as well, as Jesus said, “Before Abraham was born, I AM.” And also Jesus says to John in Revelation about believers that “I will be his God, and he will be my son.” (21:7)

    So now by faith, we obtain Christ, rather than Adam, as our spiritual Father. So when we pray we address God as Father, perhaps even as Adam might have. (Luke 3:38) Now Paul deals with this in Romans, saying that we need to become the TRUE sons of Abraham. What he means is that Abraham was by faith a son of Christ, and thus had Christ as his covenant or federal head or representative, and as such received the promise. Now faith in the promise meant that you believed that from Abraham would come a Son, a child of promise, who would save us all from our sins. That means the sons of Abraham are holy, children of promise. See, there are layers of things going on here.

    So for instance, Tamar in Gen 38 sought to produce children of the line of Judah, though she was not of the line of Abraham herself. She wanted to be grafted into that family, and so she was, and became part of the geneology of Christ. And she was given a double portion, twin sons. You see, it was through children that the promise would come. That is why it was wicked for Onan (Gen 38:9) to refuse to give his brother offspring. Genesis is not here making a statement about birth control. Rather, what is wicked is to refuse to have children in the OT, because it is through children that the promise would come, namely Christ. Scorn for children at that time meant scorn for the promises which would be fulfilled in Christ. But you see, the children were holy, because it is through offspring, namely Abraham’s offspring, that the world would be blessed, that the Messiah would come. That’s all they knew, so they had better be fruitful and multiply and make lots of babies, that they might grow and produce this heir and not be cut off. Nations tend to be diluted and disappear over time. But the Israelites were charged with deliberately working against that trend, marrying only other Hebrews and having lots of Hebrew children.

    So circumcision then is a sign that the children are holy. They are part of the line of Abraham, and heirs to the promises. But that meant that they were heirs to the promises of salvation through Christ by faith alone. Just as Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness, because the faith united him to Christ as his federal head, his representative in the covenant who would not violate the law but would rather fulfill it perfectly, being perfectly righteous and taking on the penalty for our sin in our place. So he is the representative for us in the covenant. But so he is for Abraham, and all his offspring.

    But wait! 8 day old infant boys were supposed to be circumcized! They didn’t have faith in Christ, because they could not yet understand – though they had already begun to learn, and as such were disciples. True enough, they did not yet have a profession of faith. They had not yet been taught that much. But nonetheless, they were circumcized.

    Circumcision, you see, is a declaration of the righteousness by faith in Christ. Because if you have faith in Christ, he is your federal head, and thus his righteousness becomes yours, and he took only your sins in payment. So when we stand before God, we are shown to be as righteous as Christ, despite our sin. Circumcision is a declaration of this. But like baptism, it is a sign only, a symbol that points to this greater truth. Not everyone who was circumcized was saved, just ask Ishmael or Esau or all those many Israelites who went into exile or who perished in the wandering in the wilderness. Circumcision didn’t bring about salvation by faith in Christ, it pointed to it.

    In the same way, baptism is a water ordeal. If you pass through the waters unscathed, it is a declaration of innocence. Circumcision in its time and in its way was a declaration of innocence, because it said that you are an heir of the promise made to Abraham, and thus your offspring are holy.

    NO ONE WAS SAVED IN THE OT BECAUSE THEY WERE BORN OF THE LINE OF ABRAHAM. They were saved if and only if they had faith. Again, ask those who perished in the wilderness. God swore that they would never enter his rest and put them to death. But they were circumcised, and had even passed through the Red Sea and thus declared to be innocent. But it was a SIGN. Baptism too is a sign. It doesn’t mean you ARE saved, but it points to salvation and the innocence that comes through faith in Christ. It points to a God-redenered judgment of “not guilty”, but it is still contingent upon having faith in Christ.

    And as we have seen, as Bruce said, this is how disciples are made. The SIGN is applied to them to teach them, to show them that God will declare them innocent if they have faith in Christ. It is a sign that this is what we are teaching them as we are making them into disciples. As they sit there in the pew listening to sermon after sermon, week in and week out, and they are taught how they too can be saved by faith in Christ, they themselves come to realize what the significance of their baptism is. They one day discover that they can be declared innocent by God through faith in Christ, and thus can enjoy the bliss of heaven one day and eternal joy, because they are NOT GUILTY. They will learn how they have passed through the judgment waters unscathed, and how God himself has declared them innocent. And they will come to believe it, and they will trust in Christ and hope in Christ because the Spirit will have used all of this to work faith in Christ deep in their hearts. This is why we baptize them, because they are disciples already, because they are learning. We are teaching them, and consequently we baptize them.

    Even in Narnia this should make sense.

    And by the way, John’s baptism was not the Christian baptism. Read Acts 19:1-5. Paul rebaptized into Christ those who had been baptized into John the baptist. It’s not the same baptism. John’s baptism was an OT baptism. It recaptiulated the crossing of the Jordan. His message was repent and return to the Lord. Come out to the wilderness to the Jordan. LEAVE THE PROMISED LAND AND RE-ENTER IT after you’ve repented. But anyway, their baptism was a confession of sins. It was a confession that they didn’t deserve to reside in the land because of their sin, so they left the land, crossing the Jordan, and were baptized in the Jordan, like a recrossing under Joshua, and were once again made pure to enter the land. But while the only way to be made pure was to have faith in Christ, yet still, this baptism was of the old covenant under Moses. It had to do with the LAND, not eternal salvation. It made them worthy to be in the land, which is only a metaphor for us being heirs of eternal salvation. Nonetheless, God used that not just to teach us but to teach them, and through it many were saved. But remember, the Messiah had not yet been revealed. This is why John only prepared the way for Christ. And this is why Jesus was baptized. It signified by symbols, a self imposed exile and readmittance to the land. So why did Jesus participate? He wasn’t sinful. Of course he wasn’t. But this was something for the whole country. It wasn’t about individual salvation, but about the nation as a whole needing to repent. Jesus didn’t need to repent, but the nation did, and he was part of the nation.

    Circumcision you see, is now obsolete. The Seed, the offspring who was to come has already come. No longer is there some special blood line through which the promised Messiah would come. So circumcision is gone. He has come. Now we are his children, not the other way around.

    So why then do you want to baptize children, you ask, since children are no longer holy, since the offspring has come and the blood line has fulfilled its purpose?

    1Co 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

    Whoops! They are holy! Our children, believer, are holy! Now the question is why. It’s obviously not for the same reason that children were holy in the OT. In the OT, the children of Abraham were holy because eventually one of them would be Christ. And the cutting off of the foreskin pointed to the cutting off of Adam’s headship. It is through the male seed that we are polluted, thus Jesus was born of a virgin and not born into sin. So why now are our children still holy if the promised Seed has come?

    Because they are disciples. Because they are being taught. Because when other kids are sitting at home in their pajamas on Sunday morning, our kids are in church being taught by God through the mouths of his servants. Because our kids get the preaching of the Word, they are indoctrinated into the truths of Scripture, because they are taught the gospel, that you can’t earn your salvation, that Christ earned it for you, only believe. Other children are not. Children of believers are thus holy because they are trained in the ways of Christ and of God’s Word from birth. They hear the preaching of the Word, and they are raised to be believers by believing parents.

    In a word, they are different. They are raised to BE Christians, and thus are raised AS Christians. Therefore they should have the sign applied to them. It was the same in the OT. They were raised to BE Jews. But:

    Rom 2:28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical.
    Rom 2:29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

    So you see, being a true Jew meant more than being just Jewish in pedigree. It meant believing it in your heart. It meant having faith in the Messiah to come, even though that was faith in a shadow you don’t really understand (sort of like how we don’t understand much about the resurrection or what it will be like, nevertheless we hope in it). Nonetheless, having Jewish parents was enough to warrant the sign of the covenant, the sign that signified righteousness by faith alone.

    Rom 4:11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well,
    Rom 4:12 and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
    Rom 4:13 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.

    Circumcision was a sign of the righteousness that comes through faith in Christ. So is baptism. But even then, it was appropriately applied to those who might not ever have faith. So it is now. Not all infants who are baptized will grow up to be believers. I know that. We all know that. But the sign shall be applied to them nonetheless, because they are initiates, because they are disciples, because they are being taught these things. Thus the sign applies to them, even as it did to little Jewish children, who, whether they believed it or not, were being taught the things of God, the Word of God.

    Though I may have preferred to pee my pants as a child, nonetheless, the ways of my parents were taught to me. They weren’t yet my ways, because my way was to pee my pants. That was what came naturally to me. But my parents wanted me to learn THEIR way. And look, now I don’t pee my pants. Their ways became my ways. And isn’t that why we teach our children to be Christians, in hope that our ways will become their ways?

    And that’s what baptizing infants is. It is a sign of hope.

    Before you reply that shoots down what I said, I would beg you to read it again. I know it was long (so you don’t need to tell me), and I know it was probably not well organized, and as such somewhat difficult to follow. Nonetheless, I think if you read it one more time you will have a better chance of figuring out what my clouded and unorganized mind was trying to say. So be sure you know and understand what I’m trying to say first, and then tell me what’s wrong with it. That’s just common courtesy, but there isn’t much common courtesy on blogs these days.

    Mike.

  17. Echo’s back, with a vengeance! Not sure if I’ll have time to read all that this week! (Dude, you should let it out a little more often…)

  18. […] *Ahem* *Cough* Now read this. […]

  19. I think Echo again as hit the nail right on the head. The message of the New Testament is definitely for all infants everywhere to turn from their sins, repent, confess with their mouths and Jesus is Lord and believe in their hearts that God raised Him from the dead, and be saved. Then those same infants should, of course, be immediately baptized…or sprinkled with a few ounces of water…or…whatever. Ugh. Good stuff!

    Or how about we throw off the Roman Catholic, man made tradition of men, that Gene correctly pointed out APPEARS NO WHERE IN THE BIBLE, and keep reforming!

    Amazing that you cowboys forbid tongues, which is explicitly encouraged in the Bible, and practice baby sprinkling, which APPEARS IN EXACTLY ZERO TEXTS!

    Welcome back, Echo.

  20. I’m gonna start charging Echo and Mike credit hours for the evangelical perspective they are learning on these blogs.

  21. So I assume Albono expects his women at church to wear covers? Amazing that the Bible explicitly says to do this, yet he ignores the explicit teaching! Oh, I know, I bet he has some “theological” answer for why this isn’t normative for today. Amazing, that cowboy doesn’t let us use our theology to interpret commands and examples, but when he does it it’s all good!

    And, his post trades on the ambiguity of “command.”

    How should we understand scriptural “commands?” Malone seems to suggest that Scripture can only “command” something if it is “explicitly stated” in Scripture. Thus he argues, “Infants are included only by ‘good and necessary consequence,’ a normative addition which is never commanded in the Bible. The practice of baptizing babies violates the regulative principle.” Now, it is important to remember that Malone says Presbyterians have an internal inconsistency with what theor confession states and what they practice by way of infant baptism. Unfortunately for his argument, the confession nowhere uses the words “explicit” or “express” when talking about the regulative principle in XXI. I. Also we should balk at the idea that a “command” cannot be something gained by inference. Does Fred Malone believe that Scripture commands him to repent? His name is nowhere stated in Scripture, and so he makes an inference from “God commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30), by adding the extra-biblical premise, “Fred Malone is a man,” and thus concluding that “Scripture commands Fred Malone to repent.” Therefore a “command” need not be “explicitly” or “expressly” stated to function as a biblical command. Reformed paedobaptist believe that they have been commanded to baptize their children, and thus are not in any obvious violation of the regulative principle. Of course if this inference is wrong, then the paedobaptist has introduced non-biblical elements into worship. But isn’t this the very debate? Thus the argument from the regulative principle must first prove that infant baptism cannot be found (implicitly or explicitly) in Scripture. But if this argument is accomplished, the added argument from the regulative principle seems a bit superfluous.

  22. Albino,

    I would be interested in knowing if your church worships on Sundays and what texts you might use to back up this practice.

  23. Or how about we throw off the Roman Catholic, man made tradition of men

    Albino, do you have any evidence showing that infant baptism was a man-made tradition that arose at a certain point in church history? Or was the apostolic church baptizing infants, and the apostles (the Holy Spirit!) just forget to condemn this activity in scripture?

  24. “Or how about we throw off the Roman Catholic, man made tradition of men”

    Or since Rome declared paedocommunion to be in error in the 1200’s, should we “throw off” believers-only communion so as to not follow in the footsteps of the RCC? Perhaps you’ll now start to only dunk big kids but serve communion to teethless babies? Or is it okay to hold the same “man-made” doctrine as Rome only when you do it?

  25. Oops…touched a nerve, eh? Or maybe touched off some Holy Spirit conviction.

    Wacky…Let’s be honest, here, and use the word “infant” instead of “children”. I think you stay away from the word “infant” because even you must realize how silly that looks on paper when talking about sprinkling water on the heads of little babies — and, again, no explicit Scripture for the practice — that, in my opinion, is where Gene won the debate before it began, when he pointed out your lack of Scriptural support.

    Head coverings = hair

    Rick. Every day belongs to God, so we have worship services on Sunday, Wednesday, Friday, ladies’ Bible studies on Saturday, home group meetings on Tuesday, and sometimes I share Scripture with friends on the golf course on Monday. We may, eventually start offering a worship service on Saturday night as well, if we outgrow our current building.

    Reuben,

    Sorry, bro, but the burden of proof is on the infant sprinklers, because the practice IS NOT FOUND IN THE BIBLE. What we do find is, “Repent and be baptized every one of you…” If you want to carry on Roman Catholic traditions, you must tie yourself up into pretzels making inferences from the Bible, because you won’t find infant sprinkling there.

    Wacky, Gene was right…you guys didn’t reform enough…you should have kept reforming. And your red herring aobut believers-only communion won’t work either because that is a clearly taught NEW TESTAMENT doctrine. Do you see the difference here?

    BTW, on a completely different topic, did you guys see the Mother Theresa diaries, where she basically doubted her entire belief system as a sham? I wonder if the RRC will address that before making her a saint.

  26. “Every day belongs to God, so we have worship services on Sunday, Wednesday, Friday, ladies’ Bible studies on Saturday, home group meetings on Tuesday…”

    Sure, but what is “The Lord’s Day” of the first chapter of Revelation? or the Sabbath that the church of the book of Acts made a point of corporately worshipping on? Is there no day set apart for rest and gathering together with the saints in corporate worship? Israel of Old also would have said that every day belonged to God – but the Sabbath (then Saturday) was still a day set apart.

    My point in asking was to induce you into saying that scripture warrants Sunday worship, that Sunday is the Christian sabbath and “the Lord’s Day.” But that didn’t work.

    Furthermore my point was to demonstrate that while infant baptism is not found explicity in any texts (although implied in “household” baptisms) it is something we do not withhold from Children of believers because of our Redemptive-Historical, Covenantal hermeneutic. The same Promise and Fulfillment hermeneutic dictates our Sunday rest and worship practices. There is no text that explicitly tells us that Sunday is “The Lord’s Day” but it most certainly is so.

  27. Rick, here’s a passage in Colossians 2 that actually deals with both issues:

    9For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. 11In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.

    13When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

    16Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

    Ok, look at this passage carefully.– You were DEAD in your sins (uncircumcised), but God made you ALIVE with Christ, forgiving your sins. Paul calls baptism a sign of “burying the sinful nature” and ” being raised with him THROUGH YOUR FAITH in the power of God.” How in the wide world of sports do you shoehorn sprinkling INFANTS here? Has that infant become alive in Christ? Has that infant’s sins been forgiven? Has that infant had his sinful nature buried with Christ and raised THROUGH HIS FAITH in the power of God? Ludicrous! Bonus point: Interesting how Paul uses the words “buried” and “raised” when describing baptism. Hmmmmm…is emmersion or sprinkling more a symbol of burial and being raised up? Hmmmmmm…let me think here.

    Tell the Roman Catholics to go fly a kite and stick with the CLEAR TEACHING of the New Testament!

    This passage also deals with the Sabbath. What does it say, Rick? “Don’t let anyone judge you with regard to a Sabbath day.” Why? It’s a SHADOW. Worship Jesus every day of the week. Don’t limit it to Sunday!

  28. One man’s obvious may not qualify as every man’s explicit, but I thought that in post #9 and those immediately preceding it baptisms of infants into Christ was sufficiently established.

    And I really would appreciate it if certain correspondents on this thread would refrain from referring to infant baptism as baby sprinkling. It is extremely offensive to those who do practice infant baptism in obedience to the Lord’s command to have this sacrament denigrated in this way. Incidentally, this denigration is yet another example of question begging. We are working through the hermeneutical issues involved and to assume the truth or falsehood of the issue as an argumentative tactic during the discussion is question begging. If infants are the proper subjects of Christian baptism, then this denigration is sin. And you need to repent of it.

    Finally it is getting tedious to keep reading the tired out old

    APPEARS IN EXACTLY ZERO TEXTS!

    and

    APPEARS NO WHERE IN THE BIBLE

    as if that settles everything. Aside from the fact that those statements themselves are debatable (see post #9 again), I for one have never seen a single explicit scripture offered as proof that in all cases a single explicit scripture is necessary to arrive at the truth. Since you keep SHOUTING this hermeneutical principle, it must be vital to your position – so please defend your hermeneutic. Until you do, I can’t take you seriously.

    And did I mention the post #9 has gone unanswered?

  29. Albino,
    For the record I do think immersion (or dipping in) portrays the Gospel more powerfully than sprinkling but the water is the important part, not the mode. So sprinkle them kids! And this passage does not exclude infants from receiving the sign and seal of the new covenant.

    Baptism is a also a sign of judgement and malediction – (burial, as the Israelites who passed under the cloud and the Sea – All of them, not just the adults) just like circumsision was a sign of malediction, of being cut of. The whole covenant community received this sign. Membership in the covenant did not mean salvation (their bodies were scattered in the wilderness). Paul is saying that we (the redeemed) received the sign of burial in baptism and were raised with Christ through faith.

    Baptism symbolizes passing from death to life – it does not mean you have passed from death to life when the sign is administered. Signs point to the reality – and in this passage Paul is showing us that the reality is that Christ underwent a baptism on the cross, was buried, and was raised for us.

    Why withhold this sign from covenant children? Children have always been a part of the covenant community. And even more beautiful is that while the Old sign of the covenant was limited to males, the new is given to boys and girls – the Old was a bloody ritual, the New a bloodless.

    As far as the Sabbath – In Colossians, Paul is refuting Gnosticism and Judaism. Here he is referring both Gnostic ritual and Jewish (old) sabbath restrictions – not Christian (new) Sabbath liberty.

    I ask again what is “The Lord’s Day” John is speaking of in Revelation 1?

    And I do worship every day of the week. But I worship with the saints of God corporately for covenant renewal on the first day of the week morning and evening because this is the pattern set for us in God’s word. It is on that day, in the corporate setting that God has promised to be active in the means of grace, the Word and Sacraments – of which baptism is one.

  30. I just replied to Albino and it disappeared. I hate when that happens. It took me 15 minutes that I should have been working. You don’t see it anywhere do you Rube?

    Perhaps I’ll try to reformulate my thoughts later and put them here.

  31. Freed from the purgatory of the spam filter, now living at #29 above! I know how frustrating that can be, as it even happens to me on my own blog once in a while! Just drop a comment like you did, and trapped comments should get released before too long!

  32. Rick….again, let’s keep the word, “infants”, since children who profess faith in Christ are also baptized by those who don’t buy the Roman Catholic “infant baptism” tradition.

    And…WOW!…You went waaaaaay out on a limb (but maybe for your group it doesn’t sound wacky (no offense to “Wacky”) to say that God chooses Sunday to be “active” in the means of grace in the Word and sacraments. I’ll quote Homer here: DOH! Don’t mean to rain on a denominational parade here, but can’t Christians be baptized on Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday, too? Can’t the preaching of the Word of God go forth in power on Wednesday or Friday? And what if I listen to an mp3 of a sermon from Sunday and the Word of God convicts me as I listen ON TUESDAY? My brother, I’m afraid Almighty God is “active” every day of the week. You really need to get out more.

    No, every day belongs to the Lord. The sabbath is a day of rest (mine, by the way, is every Tuesday), and I do follow that principle.

    Bruce,

    The term, “baby sprinkling” bothers you that much? What is offensive about that? Isn’t that exactly what happens? A handful of water is sprinkled on an infant. And no, you still have not offered up any Scripture or any example of infant baptism ANYWHERE in the Bible. If this was such an important part of church life, Paul surely would have included it in his instructions.

    In the end, it is simply a weak and beggarly tradition of men that didn’t get clipped in the reformation.

  33. So, you’re not going to address post #9 and neither are you going to defend your hermeneutic?

    By the way, do you guys in your organization in Texas follow that weak and beggarly Roman Catholic tradition of allowing women to partake of communion?

  34. Bruce, if you’ll allow I’ll comment on your red sea argument as a basis for infant baptism.

    the problem is that premise doesn’t translate completely into baptism. The analogy experiences a shift into a fuller and better understanding. For instance you could use the same logical premise to argue that believers should participate in the Lords Supper daily. Why? Because the Israelites daily ate Manna in the wilderness. Well as far as I know there isn’t any church that daily gathers their congregation together to partake of the Lord’s Supper. Why not? because they let the analogy carry itself over into a logic and biblical practice.

    But back to baptism, or rather back to circumcision. Circumcision, as Rube’s post rightly identifies, wasn’t done on the basis of faith but rather obedience to the command. Consequently anyone who was to live amongst the Israelites, like a foreign slave for instance, had to be circumcised.

    We see a clear break being made in the NT from the commandment keeping of circumcision (Jerusalem Council, Galatians). It has been rendered irrelevant, why? Because the new Covenant is one of faith.

    Faith, we all understand is the name of the game and all IBers agree,
    “yes, yes, It’s about faith!”

    But whose faith?

    The faith of the parents?

    How does this save a child?

    “It doesn’t, it just demonstrates his or her entrance into the covenant community.”

    This is the part where I scratch my head, I thought we were in the NT, why are we still talking about the covenant community? Can’t we call it the Church?
    OK it’s the church, cool, then what is the sign of entrance into the church, is it natural or spiritual birth?

    is it circumcision or baptism?

    What is the point of baptism? It either causes regeneration (Catholics) or it symbolizes regeneration (Credos). Your position is baisically that it is a sign of faith that regeneration will occur. The only way this can be connected with the OT analogy of the infants crossing the red sea and Ishmael being circumcised while destined for destruction (according to Rube’s post) is for them to circumcise and say “this is a sign of faith that you will one day be saved.” but that’s not what they did. They circumcised as an act of obedience in an effort of law keeping.

    so basically OT analogy’s continue to be just “shadows” (Colossians 2:17; Hebrews 8:5; 10:1) and not something that we can call “numerous scriptural examples of Christian infant Baptism.”

    BTW- I apologize that this comment is a bit jumbled but I am pressed for time.

  35. Bruce,

    I fail to see how Moses and his people crossing the Red Sea leads to you standing in front of your church with an infant in your arms as your pastor dips his hand into a font and sprinkles water on the infant’s head. That’s a huuuuuuuuge jump. You wouldn’t have to strain so much here if the reformers had just kept reforming.

  36. Jumbled or not, DBalc, that’s a nice meaty comment:

    Circumcision, as Rube’s post rightly identifies, wasn’t done on the basis of faith but rather obedience to the command.

    No, no, no! Properly done, circumcision was a sign of the faith of the parents, and their faith/hope in the eventual faith of the child. I’m sure there were many who circumcised their children out of obedience but not faith (faithless faithfulness?), and that’s why the OT is full of admonitions to have a “heart circumcision”. What I SAID was that Abraham didn’t need to take it on faith that Ishmael would grow up to his own faith. In this particular case, the elect/not elect question is declared by God. But still, Abraham was required to signify his faith in God’s covenant, by applying the sign of the covenant to all the males in his household.

    This is the part where I scratch my head, I thought we were in the NT, why are we still talking about the covenant community? Can’t we call it the Church?

    I only use the term as a common label for the N.T. church and the O.T. nation of Israel, but since Israel was a “church under age”, we could use the term church to refer to all visible members of the covenant of grace (OT and NT), as long as you understand. But this is the point: paedos stress the covenantal truth that the OT Jew with faith, and the NT Christian with faith, are part of the same covenant community. And that super-testamental church has a visible membership, and an invisible membership. And that church has a sign for visible membership (circumcision->baptism), and that sign signifies a spiritual reality only for the invisible members (heart-circumcision=regeneration)

    The only way this can be connected with the OT analogy of the infants crossing the red sea and Ishmael being circumcised while destined for destruction (according to Rube’s post) is for them to circumcise and say “this is a sign of faith that you will one day be saved.”

    Now you understand! Welcome to the fellowship of paedobaptists!

    They circumcised as an act of obedience in an effort of law keeping.

    Just because N.T. Judaizing Christians did this wrong thing, doesn’t mean that’s how God set it up, or how Abraham, the father of FAITH did it.

  37. Albino,
    with respect, I wrote: “promised to be active”

    God can and does impart Grace every day of the week – and we receive it every day of the week but he has “promised” to be active on the Lord’s Day in corporate worship, in the covenant renewal ceremony. We can without a doubt expect him to be active in the means of Grace.

    This is not going out on a limb, it is confessional.

  38. BTW, when I say “children” I am including infants. My infant is my child.

    And if you will, can you tell me your interpretation of “The Lord’s Day” Rev. 1:10

  39. Rick,

    Can’t you tell that I am avoiding your question?

    The Lord’s Day is Sunday. But every day still belongs to God, and we have church services almost every day of the week.

  40. Wacky…Let’s be honest, here, and use the word “infant” instead of “children”. I think you stay away from the word “infant” because even you must realize how silly that looks on paper when talking about sprinkling water on the heads of little babies — and, again, no explicit Scripture for the practice — that, in my opinion, is where Gene won the debate before it began, when he pointed out your lack of Scriptural support.

    Okay, and since infancy ends at 18 moths, are you going to start baptizing 18 month olds???

    And, since when has honesty required that my infants are not my children? Whose children are they?

    And, it should be noted that when a paedo speak of children, he usually means that his young children enter the covenant by being his children, not by profession.

    Anyway, define “command.” I gave a valid argument for infant baptism, based each premise on a plethora of Scripture, and so my conclusion followed. How is this not a “command?” Do all our practices need to have “explicit” commands? Are YOU “commanded” to repent? Where does the Bible say so? Oh, when it says “all men?” Well, where does the Bible say that Albino Hayford is a “man?” Maybe you’re a robot?

    And, notice that you have no “explicit” command to serve women the Lord’s supper. Where is your *explicit* command to do so?

    Furthermore, where are regular ole pastors explicitly commanded to baptize people??? When you baptize someone are you unbiblical because there is no “explicit” command to do so.

    “Head coverings = hair”

    So you say. And, should you be bald? “For a man indeed ought not to cover his head” (11:7)

    And, “But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven” (11:5) means: “But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth witout hair dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.” So, if they have no hair when they pray then it’s as if they had no hair!!!

    So, we see that Albino Hayford does not follow “explicit” commands in the Bible.”

    And, if Gene won because he noted that there is no command to baptize infants, then would I win a subjects of communion debate if I noted that there was no command for women to take the Lord’s supper?

    Would I win a debate whether Gene is biblically authorized to baptize because there is no “explicit” command for him, or regular ole pastors in general, to do so?

    I hope you are consistent here, toherwise your ability to “objectively” judge the debate has been severely undermined.

  41. Albino,

    Re: 27

    You are saying that since an infant couldn’t possibly have faith in Christ, the symbol of the righteousness that comes by faith in Christ should not be applied to him.

    Clearly you didn’t read my lengthy post, or if you did read it, you read it only to get through it. I suspect you didn’t read it carefully, but only read it looking for something you could poke fun at or exercise your arrogance at.

    Well, enough of that kind of talk. Your post 27 falls right into my arguement (should there be an “e” after that “u”?). I have argued that circumcision represents the righteousness by faith in Christ. Paul, the apostle, whom we should surely allow to BE precisely who he is, says:

    Rom 4:11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well,

    For Abraham at least, circumcision was a sign of the righteousness that he had by faith.

    You have fallen into a trap. If it is ludicrous for a sign of righteousness by faith in Christ, namely baptism, to be applied to infants today, simply because of the nature of the thing signified, then it was ludicrous in the OT.

    We are saved by faith in Christ, THEY were saved by faith in Christ. Let Paul be Paul. HE, NOT ME, says, circumcision – SOMETHING APPLIED TO 8 DAY OLD INFANTS – means righteousness by faith.

    And of course, for those little Jewish boys who grew up to be God hating Ba’al worshipers, the sign of circumcision did them no good. But it was still appropriately applied to them, because they were Jewish, the children of Jews.

    Little babies, for THOUSANDS of years have been having a God ordained sign applied to them that signifies the righteousness that comes by faith in Christ. You’re a rebellious knucklehead for saying that it’s outrageous.

    Let Paul be Paul.

  42. Echo, Echo, Echo,

    Not ONE TIME, does Paul mention baptizing infants. NOT ONCE. You have to go on this long, drawn out merry-go-round in order to keep this Roman Catholic tradition going, and what you have to support this from Paul’s instructions and example is BUPKUS. Can’t you see that this is just a holdover from dead traditions of men?

    Baptism is an outward sign of being “buried and raised” with Christ in newness of life. The Bible says, “Repent and be baptized”. How you guys can sprinkle little infants with a handful of water and call that Biblical baptism is beyond me. This is a MAJOR blind spot in your movement. This is really maddening to those outside who look in and see this huge blunder.

    John MacArthur, in his critique of infant baptism, says it like this:

    Among the Calvinists—among the Reformed people—there is a very important principle which many of them like to use. It’s called the “regulative principle” and it says this, “If Scripture doesn’t command it, it is forbidden.” Now, if they would just stick with that, they would be all right. If Scripture doesn’t command it, it cannot be introduced into the church as normative. The theme of the Reformation, of course, “sola fide,” “sola gratia,” “sola Christus”—that is faith alone, grace alone, Christ alone—also, “sola scriptura,” Scripture alone. The theme, the great byword of the Reformation was “Scripture only, Scripture only, Scripture, Scripture, Scripture.” And yet, if you go to Scripture, you cannot find one single solitary word about infant baptism—it’s not in the Bible.

    It still is defended, however, amazingly, and still practiced as if it was Biblical. It’s really amazing. I can understand how people within the Protestant church can disagree about an interpretation of Scripture…I really find it very hard for myself to understand how they can argue about something that isn’t in the Bible, as over-against what is. It’s one thing to say, “Well, I understand that passage this way and you understand it that way…I understand that doctrine this way and you understand it that way,”—it’s another thing to say, “I believe what’s in the Bible,” and, “I don’t. I believe what’s outside the Bible.” That’s a completely different issue, but that, in fact, is what we have.

    Amen.

    Wacky, you may be right about the head coverings. Let me come back and take another bite at that apple later.

  43. Re: #35

    I fail to see how Moses and his people crossing the Red Sea leads to you standing in front of your church with an infant in your arms as your pastor dips his hand into a font and sprinkles water on the infant’s head.

    It doesn’t (lead me etc…). You keep saying there are exactly zero examples of Christian baptism of infants in the Bible. I am merely pointing out to you that there are not exactly zero examples of Christian baptism of infants in the Bible.

    I don’t know about any huge leap involved in these passages however. I didn’t write any of it. There is no question that Moses is a type of Christ. There is no question that the crossing of the Red Sea is loaded with redemptive, spiritual significance. You can exegetically debate that if you want to but it’s all right there – obvious and plain to see. The Israelites were baptized into Christ at the Red Sea. Significantly it turns out it was the youngsters and infants who made it into the promised land and not the ones who were capable of a credible confession of faith.

    What leads me to standing in front etc… is the clear command to give my children the sign of the covenant of grace – circumcision. Circumcision depicts the centrality of the covenant of grace, namely the cutting off of Jesus Christ at the cross. Of course, the fact that Jesus’ crucifixion is referred to as both his circumcision and his baptism is further what leads me to standing in front etc…. with the clear idea that baptism has replaced circumcision as the sign of the covenant of grace.

    In other words it’s based on theology not mere narrative example.

    There is no polemic in Paul (or the NT) against the sign of the covenant of grace as such. The polemic is against how the sign got misused so badly and was continuing to be misused so badly by the legalists. The command to apply the sign of the covenant of grace to your infants has never been revoked. Nor would you expect it to be revoked. The sign of the covenant grace and the covenant of grace itself are so closely connected that in Gen 17:10,13 God considers the sign virtually synonymous with the covenant of grace.

    Appealing to MacArthur as if he is somehow authoritative on this subject is a non-starter. It does however bring to the surface what is really going on here. This whole debate really isn’t about who the proper subjects of Christian baptism are. It is about hermeneutics. So, when you mock those who apply the sign of the covenant of grace to their children (or any in their household) you are really mocking the way they read Scripture. MacArthur as a dispensationalist would be the last guy a covenant theologian would appeal to when faced with the job of sorting out of the continuities and the discontinuities between Israel and the Church.

  44. Re #36

    “Now you understand! Welcome to the fellowship of paedocommunionists!”

    (did you mean “paedobaptisits”? If not I don’t understand what this sarcastic refrain means) [RJS: Whoops! typo, I fixed it now, carry on…]

    If so, and you’re saying “yes we baptize saying we have faith that this baby will one day have saving faith” then I say…

    that’s NOT what Abe did when he circumcised Ishmael. You said so yourself…

    “What I SAID was that Abraham didn’t need to take it on faith that Ishmael would grow up to his own faith. In this particular case, the elect/not elect question is declared by God. But still, Abraham was required to signify his faith in God’s covenant, by applying the sign of the covenant to all the males in his household.”

    So MY big question is; what is signified in water baptism?

    A) spiritual circumcision

    B) faith that the baptized will one day experience spiritual circumcision

    C) entrance into a community that will teach spiritual circumcision

    You probably can’t answer this question by getting your information from the analogous foundation of physical circumcision, but rather from the New Testament explanation of said analogy. But yet all the arguments for IB are based on trying to as much as possible do it like circumcision was done. This (in my opinion) completely misses the point. It focuses on the shadow and not the object being shadowed.

  45. Daniel: C.

    See what I said about the Great Commission above. I have heard nothing but crickets regarding that arguement, which was undoubtedly too long for anyone to bother reading. And after all, these questions aren’t important enough for anyone to read anything more than three lines.

  46. Echo, I know your answer is C. I did read your post. That is why I concluded with the statement I did which basically explains that Infant Baptism misses the point of what I see baptism symbolizing.

    I see Colossians 2:11-12 as being much more significant than “entrance into a community that teaches about regeneration.”

  47. Albino,

    Your skull is made of iron. Not ONE TIME is there ANYWHERE in Scripture where there is a RULE set down that says that a profession of faith must precede baptism. In fact, in the book of Acts, you find an example where someone believes, and then her whole household is baptized. Notice it’s a WOMAN, not even the head of the household. Fascinating.

    Acts 16:14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. 15 And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay. And she prevailed upon us.

    It doesn’t say here that her household believed. It says SHE believed, and then her whole household was baptized. That included her slaves, her children, and anyone else in her household. Probably people that weren’t even there to hear Paul speak. So what does that mean? It means she was already a worshiper of God, probably a converted Jew. When she heard the Word of Christ, spoken by Paul, she believed, and was baptized into Christ. I’m sure she repented too, as you would remind us.

    But now what? Was her whole household present at this sermon? It doesn’t say. Perhaps her slaves were back at the house making dinner. Perhaps her children were at home working the fields. She was a seller of purple, so undoubtedly she was wealthy. That’s probably why it speaks of her household. A Greek household in those days, especially for the wealthy, consisted of lots of servants and an extended family. She probably was somewhat older. She might have even been a grandma. The reason why I say this is because it doesn’t mention her husband, so he’s probably dead. No surprise there, because men married at about 30, but the girls were about 15 typically. So she was probably younger than her husband by about 15 years, and so probably outlived him. Common, common, common in those days. And perhaps she had only daughters, so perhaps it was truly HER household. Maybe she was the head of that family. Who knows? Or maybe one of her sons was the head of the family, so she had time to go and sit and listen to sermons all day. Though the context tells us that this was a Sabbath, and that some women had gathered to pray.

    But whatever the case may be, the text NOWHERE says that you have to believe BEFORE you can be baptized. It doesn’t say that ANYWHERE. What it says is that Lydia believed, and based on THAT, and THAT ALONE, according to the text, her household was baptized. I don’t care if you think there were infants there or not, but there were certainly other people, whom we are never told believed. So far as the text says, these other people were baptized ONLY because they were part of Lydia’s household. It doesn’t say that her whole household worshiped God, but only Lydia. Maybe she was a converted Jew, but her husband didn’t believe any of that. Who knows? But according to the text, her whole household was baptized based on HER belief alone.

    So according to this passage, even by the regulative principle, which is not properly applied here anyway, believers AND THEIR HOUSEHOLDS ought to be baptized.

    But the regulative principle, which John MacArthur doesn’t understand, is not properly applied here to baptism. The regulative principle is a principle of WORSHIP. It is not a hermeneutical principle. MacArthur is sorely confused here. If it were a hermeneutic, then we would say that nowhere in Scripture are we commanded to drive cars, so it must be a sin to drive a car. Furthermore, NOWHERE in Scripture is it said that communion should be given to women. Whoops! But we do that, even though there’s no specific command to do it.

    Albino, your argument was far better an attempt at rational thought than I’ve seen out of you in a long, long time, but it still falls apart. I’m not just saying that of you, but of MacArthur. (So if anyone thinks I’m being disrespectful of Albino, he is at least in John MacArthur’s company, because I’m being just as disrespectful to him, I suppose, since he is simply wrong.) And anyway, Albino, since you don’t believe in the regulative principle, I don’t think you ought to make use of it to prove your point. It’s a bit dishonest in my opinion.

    However, since baptism usually takes place in a worship service, and since Christ has commanded the church to conduct baptism, it would be well for us to understand the precise nature of the command.

    Jesus said to make disciples BY baptizing them and teaching them. Baptizing and teaching are the methods by which someone becomes a disciple. So as soon as teaching starts, baptism should be present. That’s simply sound exegesis of that passage. To say that a credible profession of faith is required for someone to be a disciple is absurd. To say that a child must first agree to learn from his parents before he begins learning is moronic. Therefore, children are brought up being taught what their parents decide is good for them to be taught. Believers teach their children about God. Thus they are disciples, whether they like it or not. One of the ways disciples are made is through teaching, the other is through baptizing.

    But get this. Someone becomes a disciple through baptism. Once the baptism has taken place, they become a disciple, since the passage says that baptizing and teaching are means of making disciples. Bruce has already made that abundantly clear and has offered references to that effect.

    But if someone can become a disciple through baptism, then that means that baptism has the power to bring about some change in them, namely to change them from someone who is not a disciple into someone who is a disciple.

    Look at that! They don’t even have to be a disciple first, since baptism is a way of making them INTO a disciple.

    This is simply what the passage says. I’m sorry, but this is just good clear thinking, common sense and logic applied to the Word of God.

    So far from the regulative principle discouraging the baptism of INFANTS (I quite like to speak of baptizing infants), it actually ENCOURAGES it, even commands it. Christ himself spoke these words. They are his command. And since there was an obvious continuity between circumcision and baptism, the baby talk explanation that yes, baptism should be applied to infants is not given because it was not needed, because after all, in those days, they didn’t have knucklehead Anabaptists running around. Nonetheless, that infants should be baptized is abundantly clear. It is even commanded.

    And speaking of the regulative principle, where IS the command to dunk rather than sprinkle? The important thing is the water. The Israelites were baptized in the sea, but they didn’t even touch the water. They passed through on dry ground! Your dunking claims are simply silly. We don’t dunk little babies because they don’t need to be dunked, and frankly it’s not a very wise thing to do, dunking a poor little baby. And adults need not be dunked either. The dunking is not part of the critical symbolism. The water is and the words spoken (in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). If the dunking were so critical to the grasping of the symbolism, then why doesn’t the Bible say that we have to dunk? And again, how could the Israelites pass through on DRY GROUND without ever touching the water at all and still be said to have been baptized?

    Stop reacting in unbelief and use your mind and think.

  48. Echo, Here is an “argument” from your book, I mean post. you said,

    “1Co 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

    Whoops! They are holy! Our children, believer, are holy! Now the question is why. It’s obviously not for the same reason that children were holy in the OT. In the OT, the children of Abraham were holy because eventually one of them would be Christ. And the cutting off of the foreskin pointed to the cutting off of Adam’s headship. It is through the male seed that we are polluted, thus Jesus was born of a virgin and not born into sin. So why now are our children still holy if the promised Seed has come?

    Because they are disciples. Because they are being taught. Because when other kids are sitting at home in their pajamas on Sunday morning, our kids are in church being taught by God through the mouths of his servants. Because our kids get the preaching of the Word, they are indoctrinated into the truths of Scripture, because they are taught the gospel, that you can’t earn your salvation, that Christ earned it for you, only believe. Other children are not. Children of believers are thus holy because they are trained in the ways of Christ and of God’s Word from birth. They hear the preaching of the Word, and they are raised to be believers by believing parents.”

    you perfectly stated how and why children need NOT be baptized as infants. They are automatically born into the covenant community and therefore need no further “sign” of this participation. Their baptism upon a proclamation of individual faith now holds significance because it marks their recognition of what has been taught them as well as their conviction of it.

  49. So MY big question is; what is signified in water baptism?

    A) spiritual circumcision

    B) faith that the baptized will one day experience spiritual circumcision

    C) entrance into a community that will teach spiritual circumcision

    A and B are signified (but not effected), and C is actually effected, by water baptism (and physical circumcision). Why do you think that a sign may only occur after the signified?

    Everything that you think “baby dedication” is for, is what water baptism is for: the baby is set apart as God’s property, joined to a congregation, the parents and congregation are charged to raise the child in the faith, the gospel truths of original sin and need for salvation by faith are presented, etc. Adult baptisms are unnatural occurrences — they do the same things, only for people who had the misfortune not to grow up Christian.

    Do you think there is such a thing as a “Christian baby”? If you are a consistent Baptist, you will have to say no, there are only Pagan or Heathen babies. Or you’re going to have to invent some unscriptural third category. But the bible already has the categories you need: Non-Christian, Member of the Visible Christian Church, and Member of the Invisible Christian Church.

  50. you perfectly stated how and why children need NOT be baptized as infants. They are automatically born into the covenant community and therefore need no further “sign” of this participation.

    Tell that to God, who can go back in time and eliminate circumcision, because it is enough to just be born into a covenant community.

    Their baptism upon a proclamation of individual faith now holds significance because it marks their recognition of what has been taught them as well as their conviction of it.

    Tell that to God, who can go back in time and change the date of circumcision to align with the Bar Mitzvah (ouch! is that becoming a man, or becoming less of a man?), because as God specified circumcision, it holds no significance.

  51. Rube, you’re just agreeing with my point. A baby dedication is a very insignificant thing when compared with a person being baptized. It holds SOME significance (as you and Echo have mentioned) and is an effective charge and challenge to parents to raise their child in the church, but what you call an “unnatural thing” (confession and baptism)to me seems far more special and indeed far more biblical.

    The “Christian Baby” question was answered by Echo in I Corinthians 7:14 and if you’ll recall we discussed this more than a year ago I think.

  52. Tell that to God, who can go back in time and eliminate circumcision, because it is enough to just be born into a covenant community.

    HE DID!

    Gal 5:6, 11-12 “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”
    “Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!”

  53. 1Co 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

    NO mention of baptism. NONE.

  54. So your answer to “can babies be Christian” is 1 Cor 7:14, which says that children of a believing parent are not unclean, but holy. Does that mean when a parent believes, the sins of the children are forgiven? That’s beyond baptismal regeneration, and on to paterfidelic regeneration! (you like that new term I just made up?)

    If you can answer the question of how a child can be designated “not unclean, but holy” before they express their own faith, before they are regenerate, before they are forgiven, then you will understand what infant baptism means.

    Note that you can not just say “holy just means set-apart”, because the intended meaning of holy here can be inferred from its contrast with “unclean”, i.e. the children are “not unclean, but clean”.

  55. Dude, that’s the point, I understand what infant baptism means. I understand it completely. And I still see it as wrong. To me it’s irrelevant, unnecessary, unbiblical and a mere tradition of men that gives false hope.

    Raise your kids in the church!

    Impress the Word upon them. talk about it when you sit at home, when you walk along the road, when you lie down, when you get up.

    Don’t give them this false assumption that they are saved by virtue of YOUR faith. Teach them to have faith in Christ! Show them that they can demonstrate that faith in baptism.

    It’s strange to me that we evangelicals are the ones accused of offering “greasy grace” and “easy-belivism”.

  56. He can’t see it Daniel. That’s what a blind spot is. It doesn’t make me mad, it simply makes me sad.

  57. Dude, that’s the point, I understand what infant baptism means.

    I don’t think so. If you think it means something different than echoing with 1 Cor 7:14 that “God said my child is not unclean, but holy”, then you don’t understand what it means. If you do understand that it is the same, and you still think it’s wrong, then you’ve got a problem with 1 Cor 7:14.

    a mere tradition of men that gives false hope

    You’ve obviously never been to my church, where baptismal regeneration is verbally, explicitly excluded during every single baptism.

    Don’t teach your kids that they are pagan until they make a choice for God; teach them that they were baptised as a reminder that it is God who chooses, not us, and that they are commanded and expected to have faith.

    It’s a question of treating your kids with an attitude of “When you have faith…” vs. “If you have faith” Show a little faith yourself, man, and there’s a better chance your kids will take you up on it.

    Otherwise, while you’re at it, you might as well take your kid to the synagogue, the Mormon temple, the Kingdom Hall, the Christian Science reading room, the atheist lunch hour, etc., because when (if?) they choose for Christ, it will be more significant.

    Credobaptism celebrates choice. Paedobaptism celebrates chosenness.

  58. So Albino’s objections have been rufuted, and shown to be arbitrary and inconsistent, let’s now do surgery on Daniel :-)

    “Don’t give them this false assumption that they are saved by virtue of YOUR faith. Teach them to have faith in Christ! Show them that they can demonstrate that faith in baptism.”

    Don’t give professors the false assumption that they are saved by virtue of THEIR profession. Teach them that they need to have faith in Christ! Show them that they can have what baptism signifies when they join it with faith.

    See, Daniel, you’re somehow viewing “profession” as some kind of indicator of having true faith. If baptism signifies previosuly dying with Christ, why do you think that this means that it should only be given to those who make a profession of faith?

  59. “Repent and be baptized every one of you…”

  60. “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.”

  61. “the sons of Parosh, 2,172.”

  62. Daniel,

    Re:48

    I have never said that an infant NEEDS to be baptized in order to be made a part of the covenant community. Indeed, the child will be part of the church whether he is baptized or not. But the church should do this self consciously, deliberately, and the sign ought to be baptism. Jesus commanded it to be done. Baptism is not a symbol of a person’s faith. Baptism is not a symbol of your committment to follow Christ. It is moralistic thinking to suppose that this is what baptism signifies. It doesn’t signify your committment to Christ but Christ’s committment to you, namely: if you have faith, you will be saved. That is his committment. That’s what is preached in the sermon, that’s what is shown in baptism.

    If you want to have some special ceremonial depiction that the covenant child has made what they have been taught their own, well, then enter the public profession of faith and the child’s first communion. For it is communion that Paul says requires some measure of understanding lest we eat and drink damnation. So we have children profess their faith before the elders privately – and the elders examine them – and then they profess their faith publicly before the congregation. From then on, the child can partake of communion, but not before this takes place.

  63. THE PROMISE IS FOR YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN.

    Rebels.

  64. Aaaah….now echo introduces yet another extra-Biblical practice…confirmation. Ugh. Good luck finding that one in the Bible. I urge you once and for all to throw off these leftover Roman Catholic rags!

    Peter did not say, “Repent and be baptized…then be confirmed later…” — He said, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children…” — WHAT PROMISE? The promise of forgiveness and the Holy Spirit — following REPENTANCE. He didn’t say anything about sprinkling infants or CONFIRMING children after sprinkling. No Bible…none…zero… And you accuse us of adding to the canon?

  65. So, assuming that you don’t support paedocommunion, when can children start taking communion? Who decides? What criteria are used for deciding? Whatever that decision process is, why not call it confirmation?

    Do you believe that elders of a church have the right to bar anyone from communion?

  66. Rube, you should know better than ask Albino to apply his own arguments to his own practices. Haven’t you noticed that he wants his individualistic personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut, and wants to eat it too?

  67. We practice open communion, but make clear that it is only for those who are born again believers in Jesus Christ. Children don’t partake of communion until they are born again.

    Since communion is open to all believers, even visitors, we exclude no one, but always read Paul’s warnings about taking it unworthily and bringing judgement on oneself.

    Wacky, Wacky, Wacky…you cute little fella, you.

  68. If people don’t partake until they are “born again,” how do you allow any one to partake? Do you have special insight into man’s heart?

  69. Those who confess with their mouths that Jesus is Lord, and believe in their hearts that God has reaised Him from the dead are saved. Period.

    Are there people who just go through the motions and don’t mean it? Sure. That’s why we always read Paul’s warnings. Each person either stands or falls before their Master. But can we sort through the people and say, “You’re a real Christian and you’re not,” before offering communion? No.

    But I’m sure many could “fake their way” through confirmation as well. We can’t see into people’s hearts.

  70. Again, the distinction here is that confirmation is not in the Bible.

  71. “Those who confess with their mouths that Jesus is Lord, and believe in their hearts that God has reaised Him from the dead are saved. Period.”

    So infants and mute people can’t be saved?

  72. Albino,

    Iron-head,

    If someone wants to be baptized in your church, don’t you talk to them privately before you agree to baptize them, and when you have that talk with them, don’t you ask them questions about what they believe? And then when they are baptized, don’t they make some kind of statement demonstrating their faith before the congregation before they are dunked like a chicken McNugget in BBQ sauce?

    Well, rather than speaking of confirmation, a word you chose to add to it, just understand that your church and my church have the same ideas, but about differing sacraments. You examine the candidate privately, we do it privately before the elders. They make a public profession, we have a public profession. In your case, then the person is dunked. In our case, the person is allowed to take communion – though often it isn’t served in that service, if it is a church that serves it only monthly, and that profession of faith isn’t on one of those Sundays.

    In the Roman church, I believe, the candidate makes a public profession of faith (of sorts), and then is served communion while kneeling. They are kneeling because the body and blood of Christ are physically present (moronic idolatry), so they are on their knees before God in the flesh. They are served, I think, a special communion, all dressed in white in places of honor of sorts. In our church, it is not so. They make their profession and sit down. The next time communion is served, they go up like everyone else. Communion is always CORPORATE in our church. We take it together or not at all. That’s important.

    And for someone who hates Rome so much, you might want to look in the mirror once in a while.

  73. Albino,

    When it says that the “PROMISE” is for you and your children, what does that mean? Does that mean that the Holy Spirit is for you and your children, or that the CONDITIONAL promise is being made to you and your children?

    But, I don’t even know why I’m asking, because there’s no way that you can distinguish between hearing a promise made to you and receiving the thing which is promised. You can’t tell a difference between telling someone, “I’ll give you a present if you’re good,” and “here’s your present”. I don’t know why I bother. You couldn’t POSSIBLY understand this distinction, which is clear from your outright refusal to make it. This is why seminary would be good for you, to teach you how to make distinctions like this.

    But that’s ok, you won’t understand even this. No difference between a promise and the thing promised. You probably don’t understand the difference between a thing and the result of that thing. So it would be hard for you to understand that though faith without works is dead, yet we can be justified by faith alone. This is hard for you to understand, because distinguishing between faith and the fruit of faith is tough to sink in through that iron skull of yours.

    You can, of course, defend yourself from such an attack in only one way, namely by demonstrating that you understand the distinction. But you won’t do that, because if you do that, then what you said will be shown to be wrong. And yet this must be quite frustrating to you, because here I am being all provocative and stuff, and you can’t prove me wrong by showing that you understand the distinction. The fact is, you want to turn a blind, anti-intellectual eye toward these kinds of distinctions. You’d rather be sloppy in your theological thinking so that you can go on thinking the silly things you do, and making the silly and fallacious mushy arguments you make. If you made careful distinctions and were careful with your words, you’d find that much of what you believe is silly and doesn’t hold up under such pressure. So instead of giving up what you believe, you’d rather give up clear thinking instead.

    Don’t you think it’s sad that you’ve embraced muddy thinking and theological sloppiness just so that you can hold to erroneous ideas, just because you grew up believing them, and how could that possibly be wrong? Don’t you think that’s sad? I do. Paul said something about it in Rom 1, something about suppressing the truth in unrighteousness and exchanging truth for a lie. Sad.

  74. Albino,

    Re: 67

    You said: We practice open communion, but make clear that it is only for those who are born again believers in Jesus Christ. Children don’t partake of communion until they are born again.

    And who, pray tell, has the high and lofty duty of making the decision about when children are ready to take communion? Do you leave this up to parents? I bet you do. I bet all you do is read the warnings and think you have done your duty. Do you not realize that as a minister of word and sacrament that you are charged to serve communion only to those that you judge to have a credible profession of faith, so that you don’t serve them damnation on a silver platter!!!???

    Do you honestly think that a parent, who might be as ignorant as say, ME, is capable of judging when their child is able to take communion? I’ve known clever, well read people who think their 4 year old can make a credible profession of faith! Some parents are VERY foolish. But in the end, YOU are the minister, YOU are the one serving the communion, YOU are responsible for people eating and drinking unworthily, if it happens.

    You might want to think about that. You might want to do a little more to “fence” the table than read the warnings. All you are doing is trying to shirk off your responsibility on the people. “Hey folks, if you shouldn’t be taking this communion, it’s on your hands, not mine, I wash my hands of it.” Nope, it’s still on your hands, because you are the one serving it to them and not stopping them when it’s within your power to do so. You have the authority.

    Will a parent who served their child communion prematurely be answerable for it before God? Yes, but they don’t bear that responsibility alone. You bear it with them. You are serving it. I don’t care if you respond to nothing else I say, but at least consider this and save yourself from further guilt.

  75. Albino,

    No, of course you cannot judge the heart. When I say you must judge, I say you must judge their profession, not their heart. Credible profession, that’s all you can ask for. That’s when you’ve done your duty. You need to require a credible profession before you and your elders before someone can be allowed to take communion. Maybe it would be easiest for you in your situation if you just mandated that people be baptized first before they took communion, because that’s when you evaluate their profession of faith anyway, and it’s made public knowledge.

    But if you think about it, you’ll see that serving up damnation to someone on a silver platter is a bad thing to do, so as far as it is within your power to avoid it, you should. You can’t avoid it altogether, true, but there’s more that you can do than you’re doing, to be sure.

  76. Wacky, re: 71

    Great, now you’re mocking the Apostle Paul. Good work.

    Echo,

    If your effort was to show me a Biblical basis for your man-made tradition of “confirmation”, you failed. No Bible at all for that. Nice effort…wait, that wasn’t an effort.

    Echo,

    You got it right. Everyone who is born again may participate in communion, whether they are members of our church or not. That’s what open communion is. Since we don’t find a Biblical basis for “confirmation”, we leave it up to each individual before God as to whether they participate or not. Children who are born again may also participate.

    “Serving up damnation on a silver platter?” — You were so proud of that line, you used it twice. It’s a good line, but a non-starter. Communion is blessing to believers and damnation to those who take it unworthily, but it is not us who determine that. Just as we are the aroma of life to those who receive our message and the smell of death to those who are perishing.

    Nice to see your name-calling is getting more creative. Now “ironhead” and “fool” added to the mix.

  77. we leave it up to each individual before God as to whether they participate or not

    So if a 2-year old decides they are worthy in your church, they can just help themselves?

    Is it OK to start taking communion if you haven’t been baptized yet? It comes down to this: you have a standard set before you will administer baptism. But you appear to have a lesser standard for communion. It should be the other way around. The bible says that communion partakers should examine themselves, and should be worthy — that is an indication of required faith. And there are requirements that unresolved sin should cause you to refrain from communion for a while. No such requirement of being worthy is presented for baptism.

    Whatever you think the requirements for baptism are, you need to affirm that the requirements for communion are at least those, and possibly more. Thus nobody who is unbaptized should take communion.

  78. Conversely, anyone who is “born again” enough to be worthy to receive communion, needs to be baptized.

  79. I don’t find any Bible listing a mysterious “confirmation” as a requirement for communion, or even baptism as a requirement for communion. The text you pointed out makes my point: “…a man ought to examine HIMSELF…”

    If a child is born again, they may participate. Do you think a 2-year-old has repented and believed?

  80. Wacky, re: 71

    Great, now you’re mocking the Apostle Paul. Good work.

    No, that’s not what I’m doing. I’m trying to get you to explain things. You seem to think that you can just quote a verse, and that settles it. In fact, the verse may not *say* what you *think* it says. Verses are interpreted in a broader framework. I think I have proven over and over again (and note that you have failed to respond to almost every single one of my posts other than to mock them or pick on rfabbit trails) that you can’t exegetically demonstrate what you want your passages to say.

    Paul is telling a truth. But you totally begged the question. There is a difference between *believing* on the one hand and *professing* on the other. Surely you don’t think that just because someone *says* nthat they believe in Jesus, they are saved, do you? Is that kind of like verbal regeneration?!

    So, again, if only those “born again” should be baptized, then how do you know who to baptize?

  81. Ironhead thickskull,

    Quit using the word “confirmation”. We don’t use it. That’s not what we do. If you insist on having this moronic discussion, please describe what exactly is wrong with requiring a public profession of faith prior to being served communion.

    You have a public profession of faith when someone gets baptized. And I’m sure SOMETHING is said when people become members at your church.

    And Rube has shown you to be inconsistent. You have different rules for baptism and communion, and it makes no sense.

    We say that the church must judge someone to have a credible profession before they can partake of the Supper. That’s why when someone comes under discipline, they aren’t allowed to have the Supper; their profession of faith is in question, because they are living in unrepentant sin. The church then judges their profession in question, so they can no longer be served the Supper, since they no longer have a credible profession.

    If someone in your church is cheating on his wife and everyone knows it, do you allow him to take the Lord’s Supper if he wants to?

  82. And I’m sure SOMETHING is said when people become members at your church.

    I’m guessing there is no such thing as “become members” at Albino’s church (there certainly wasn’t when I grew up with Albino as youth pastor and Dbalc as pastor’s kid). There’s long-time regular attenders, but there’s no official membership, no vows of submission to church authority, no possibility of “coming under discipline”…

  83. You are partially right. Although we do not have formal membership, we do have some minimal requirements for voting in annual church meetings.

    I do see a need to make our membership more formal — I think that criticism is valid.

    We have exercised church discipline over the years, and, in my experience, either people take the rebuke and submit to discipline or they leave the church. Those that have stayed have been restored, praise the Lord.

    So, yes, if someone is cheating on his wife and everyone knows it, he would be confronted through the steps Jesus outlined, and he would face discipline. But communion is up to each individual and God…we do not instruct the ushers to withhold communion from people.

  84. Albino,

    I’m fabulously happy that you think your membership should become more formal. That’s awesome. That’s a great step. I would think that it would be very natural for you to do that in conjunction with baptism. If someone has a credible profession of faith, if they can tell you how they’re going to get to heaven, then they should be baptized, allowed to take the Supper, and should be members. I think if you think about it, all that will make sense to you. For my part, they should be baptized, and their children, but I recognize you won’t agree to that. Nonetheless, I would encourage you to seek a credible profession of faith before adults are baptized, before members are made, and before communion is served.

    Here are two things to consider regarding the need to hear a credible profession of faith prior to communion and church membership. First is, who is qualified to administer the Lord’s Supper? Who is the one who stands up front and talks about what you’re about to do? You do, right? You are the one who is serving the Lord’s Supper. In our church, it is considered very important that only the ordained do this. And not ordained elders or deacons, but only ordained ministers. That’s what it means to be the minister. It means you do the preaching and you do the serving of the Supper. No one else is qualified to do that. Now maybe you don’t agree with that completely, but ask yourself why. I won’t bother giving you our reasons, because I’m sure if you think about it, you can come up with some yourself, and that will serve you better.

    The second thing is this: who is qualified to judge whether or not a person has a credible profession of faith? Think of your children. I think that they are very young, yes? You would not hand them a knife and allow them to judge for themselves how to avoid cutting themselves. If you let a small child play with a knife, doubtless the child will hurt himself. But a knife can only kill the body. The Lord’s Supper has the power to kill eternally. It is an eternally dangerous thing. Paul said that if it is done unworthily (meaning unable to properly discern the meaning, I think, unable to discern the Lord’s body and blood), then that person eats and drinks damnation to themselves. To be sure, if you give a kid a knife and they cut themselves and die, the child is to blame, right? it is the child who cut themself. But you gave them the knife. Don’t give a kid a knife until you’re sure they know how to use it properly. Don’t give them the Supper unless they know how to understand it properly, otherwise it will be death to them. What that exactly means, no one really knows for sure. But there is this: people who go to hell who have been in church and participated in communion and baptism and the preaching of the Word will have it worse than those who were pagans their whole lives and didn’t hear anything about it. This only makes sense, but the Bible speaks of it. Jesus talked about being beaten with few blows and many blows, didn’t he? And Hebrews 6 & 10 have nothing good to say about apostasy. And whatever you think apostasy is, it certainly has something to do with professing to be a believer when it’s not true.

    Even if you don’t have a rule about who can give communion, when you’re in church it’s always the pastor who does it. Why? Why does it have to be you? Is there some charge, some measure of responsibility? Aren’t you at least responsible to teach them proper use? And why give something far more deadly than a knife to someone who is far more stupid than a child in some ways, or at least could be?

    Please consider these things.

  85. Echo,

    I’m pretty sure you would be comfortable with the way we administrate communion (although we do serve grape juice).

    We do have discipleship classes for new believers, and a track to leadership for those who want to be leaders. It is there that we discuss our beliefs on various doctrines.

    I don’t agree that only the pastor can preach or serve communion, but I almost always do anyway. I am also extremely careful about who preaches — I am very protective of the flock.

    Again, we probably will begin instituting more of a formal membership — this is a valid criticism.

  86. My point in saying that it should be only the ordained who serve the Supper was simply to say this: there is some measure of responsibility. Perhaps this will help.

    Let’s say little Johnny is 10 years old and has just been baptized. Let’s say that he’s all fired up about his faith, and he tells you that he’d like to be a pastor some day. Then he asks you if he can serve communion next time. He said he’d really like to try it out, to stand up and tell everyone what the bread and the wine mean, and give it to them. He thinks this would really be neat. Of course, this is a bit ridiculous, but it’s meant to be. Of course you wouldn’t let him do it, right?

    But why? Why can’t a 10 year old do it? What does your theology say, what does the Bible say? What do you think?

    My point is that whatever you think the qualifications are, there must be, nonetheless, SOME kind of qualifications required for someone to serve the Lord’s Supper. And that means that there MUST be some measure of responsibility, dare I say authority, that goes along with doing that.

    Why isn’t a 10 year old qualified? What would make him qualified? Why does that stuff matter? What is the point of those requirements?

  87. The Bible says:

    Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.
    Isaiah 34:16

    Everything we say about religious things must be based from the Bible because Apostle Paul said:

    And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.
    I Corinthians 4:6

    Apostle John also said:
    Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
    I John 4:1

    Before we listen to all so-called man of God, let’s try them first, before believing in what they say.

  88. Thanks for joining in, but I don’t get your point.

  89. I think he’s saying that even though some people might still have the authority to speak for God, nonetheless, we are not to submit to that authority, but sit in judgment of it, and then decide whether or not to confer that authority upon them. God doesn’t give officers authority, we, the laymen, do.

    And to that I would strongly disagree, saying that the authority of the office bearer comes from God. It is perhaps recognized by the church, but only by other office bearers, not laymen.

  90. […] subjects of baptism: all of Father Abraham’s many sons — every member of the visible […]

  91. […] in the debate between Gene Cook and Paul Manata (discussed here and here), Paul gave a very simple and yet very strong argument in favor of baptising the children of […]

  92. Wait a minute!! Are you trying to say that since Moses is a type of Christ, that all those infants that were baptized into Moses in the crossing of the Red Sea were typologically baptized into Christ – as infants? IOW, are you saying that here we have numerous scriptural examples of Christian infant baptism?

    Zwingli made the same point:

    …There were infants also under the cloud, yet no individual mention is made of them. All crossed the sea. Yet the infants could not have crossed. Therefore they crossed who did not, but were borne (carried) by those who did. …All were baptized unto Moses…therefore, not only adults, but infants also, were baptized unto Moses. For if they who were infants at the crossing of the Red Sea were not baptized, the apostle did not speak correctly in saying: All were baptized unto Moses, for they were, as I have just said, the fathers of their posterity.

    The Hebrew children were all baptized in the cloud and in the sea, just as are ours. Paul, in the passage cited, tends in no other direction than to prove that they are as much initiated by our sacraments as we ourselves. It follows therefore, first, that in Paul’s time it was the custom of the apostles to baptize infants; second, if anyone contradicts it he vitiates the opinion of Paul.

  93. Oh no. That’s arguing from silence. We can’t assume that there were infants with that group of people.

    ;)

    Kaz

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