…and one of them was Ishmael

The Heidelblog recently considered the question of infant baptism. Clark asks the same dealbreaker question that converted me from credo- to paedo- (“Why was Ishmael circumcised?“), but with a new twist. Well not new, but unbelievably, I had never noticed it in Gen 17. Before, I had always focused on the establishment of the sign of the covenant (9-14), and the fact that Abraham therefore circumcised Ishmael (22-27). But I had never looked closely at the middle part. Take a look for yourselves:

And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him. As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.”

So, to the question of whether growing up to faith is a requirement for the sign of the covenant, the answer is no. God doesn’t even make Abraham go on faith here, hoping that Ishmael will grow to inherit the promise. Abraham prays for just this, and God explicitly tells Abraham that Ishmael is not in the covenant! And yet, God commands that Ishmael be circumcised.

Back to the Heidelblog, Clark asks another excellent question: Is Abraham in the Old Covenant, or the New Covenant? And the answer is pretty obvious: Abraham’s is the covenant which was established 430 years before the Old Covenant; the promise of a coming Priest given to Adam; the promise of a coming Prophet given to Moses; the promise of a coming King given to David.

In the paedo-/credobaptist debate, Gene argued that babies, not having confessed any faith, are not in the New Covenant, and should thus not be baptized. The bible shows us, however, that Abraham was in the Covenant of Grace by his faith, and that Ishmael would never join that covenant — yet God commanded that Ishmael receive the sign of the covenant.

If the Baptists are correct, then baptism is reserved only for the elect, and we can only approximate that rule by depending on the best evidence: a credible confession of faith. So if people had Elect/Not Elect neon signs flashing on their heads (like a bunch of walking motels) it would be pretty easy to decide which babies to baptize, and which not.

But God establishes a different rule. Even babies like Ishmael, with the “Not” half of the sign lit in glowing red neon, are commanded to receive the sign of initiation into the covenant.

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56 Responses

  1. Boy, how they do strive to “fence” baptism, but don’t “fence” the table at all. One might laugh at this and call this “bass ackwards”.

    Ah, but we’ll all have a mug of beer with the old fundamentalist Baptists in heaven, and we’ll laugh at their stories about how they always wondered what beer had tasted like, and how they always thought it was evil. Yes, we’ll laugh at what fools they were, and they will laugh at themselves. But even that will make heaven all the sweeter for them. And we will laugh at how silly they were to think that infants, little itty bitty babies shouldn’t be baptized. They’ll laugh about it, and feel very foolish for fencing the wrong sacrament. But all the elect will be there, just the same, and we’ll all laugh at one another’s follies. I’ll have plenty to tell of my own. Oh yes, I’ll have many stories to tell.

    I’ll be interested to hear what Albino has to say for himself in that Day, when tomorrow comes. Oh, just imagine! But it won’t matter anymore then, will it? And yet, as long as it is called Today, and Tomorrow remains still to come – it does matter. For here there are tears and sorrow, though there there will be none. Today is for weeping and mourning and enduring fools; Tomorrow is for joy, and for laughter, rich wine and strong meat. As for me, I am grateful of Today’s little tastes of Tomorrow. Good wine, good beer, a good cigar, and baptizing my children in the hope and comfort of knowing that it doesn’t depend on them – thank God – but on our merciful Father in heaven, to whom my children will really belong.

    For my part, I am glad that I have been shown that I don’t need to treat my babies like they were pagans, but can welcome them into the household of God, teaching them to believe what we confess to be what God has said.

  2. I’m sure there will be some amount of us laughing at ourselves as well (although of course not nearly as much!) — if only we could figure out now what we’ll be laughing at then!

  3. You both jest a little right? I sure wouldn’t want to know what things I got wrong when I get to heaven. I’m also pretty sure I won’t be concerned with pointing out where others were wrong.

    I really don’t think any Credo will get to heaven and say: “Dogs! I was way off about baptism!”

    But I do hope that in this life many-a-credo will utter those very words.

  4. Heaven will be awesome. I just want to finally dunk a basketball.

    A word of clarification. If, by fencing communion, you mean limiting communion to those who have professed faith in Christ and have been born again, yeah, it’s fenced too. To be baptized or participate in the Lord’s Supper at our church, you must be born again.

  5. Albino,

    Glad to hear, though of course that’s not the Evangelical norm. In MOST evangelical churches, you have to profess your faith publicly to be baptized, but little children who can barely spell Jesus are allowed to take communion. This is backwards. Paul warns about taking communion improperly. But there’s no such warning about baptism. Hmmm…

  6. Rick,

    Wrong doctrines are sin. For example, it is sinful to believe that emotional frenzy driven babbling is tongue speaking and to claim that it is the work of the Holy Spirit. It is sinful to demand a profession of faith prior to baptism and thus deny baptism to the children of believers. It is sinful to mock people that have got it right.

    When we get to heaven, and look the glorified Christ right in the face, ALL of our sin will become instantly revealed to us. (See Isaiah 6, for example.) Beholding Christ in all his glory, being perfectly united to him, this will reveal our sins to us, because his holiness will have become revealed to us in all its splendor. So our unbelief will become obvious, our sin will become obvious, because we will compare ourselves to him and see that we fall short. (So you see that the law reveals God’s character.)

    So when you get to heaven, all your sins will be obvious to you right away. And that’s when Christ will dry your tears permanently – for I imagine that a revelation like that will lead at least to tears. Once your tears have been wiped away, don’t suppose that the memory will be. No, I suppose you will remember your prior foolishness, but since it will no longer bring you despair, you will laugh at it, making fun of yourself for being so foolish, secure in your place in heaven and your union with Christ.

    Oh yes, Albino and I will have many laughs together. And I’ll probably still be saying what a knucklehead he was. But then he’ll agree with me and laugh and take another puff on his cigar; whereas now he will be offended and insulted and angry because he doesn’t want to believe it’s true. But then he’ll know it’s true. Or rather was true, if you get my meaning.

  7. “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

  8. OK Echo, I don’t think I can argue against your first 3 paragraphs – but I don’t think I’ll be sitting there with Marty Luther(or whatever name he will go by in heaven) saying, “you really wanted the book of James out of the Bible? Were you nuts?” In the perfection of heaven how can one saint shame another? I don’t want my Grandpa to remind me of the time he caught me stealing candy from his cupboard.

  9. Echo…Are you laboring under the impression that cigar smoking somehow offends me? Do you even know what I believe about that?

    For what it’s worth, I do not agree that emotional, frenzy driven babbling is tongues speaking. I don’t think I’ve ever asserted that. You must have come out of one whopper of a nutty, charismania church to paint us all with that brush….brrrrr…I guess you watch TBN and say, “Yup, that’s all of them!”

    And it was that sinner Peter that said, “Repent and be baptized every one of you…”, so I guess he’ll have some repenting to do too for telling us to repent before we are baptized.

    Ah, it is good to have you back in the blog fold, Echo. Never boring…

  10. “And it was that sinner Peter that said, “Repent and be baptized every one of you…”, so I guess he’ll have some repenting to do too for telling us to repent before we are baptized.”

    i) There were only men at pentecost.

    ii) He said, every one of *YOU.* That is, the people he was speaking to. Likewise, “Whoever will not work will not eat.” Do you apply that to *infants,* Albino?

    iii) You consistently reason fallaciously. Let’s just say that I grant that *every* example in the Bible of a baptism, all those baptized repented; this is false, but let’s say that I grant it, what does that prove? Does your conclusion follow? Your conclusion that only those who repent may be baptized? I don’t think so, let’s see why:

    P1) Ever example in the Bible of someone who was baptized, s/he repented and believed.

    C1) Therefore, only thise who repent and believe should be baptized.

    Is that a logical argument, Albino? Well, it’s what you’ve been pushing in this thread and the other one. So, let’s test it for validity.

    One way to test an argument for validity is to use the same form, the same number of true premises, while drawing an obviously false conclusion. This proves the argument fallacious since it is impossible to have a valid argument, with true premises, but a false conclusion….impossible. So, here’s my counter:

    P1*) Every example of someone who has held the office of US presidency has been of a Caucasian male.

    C1*) Therefore, only Caucasian males should be president of the US.

    Therefore, Albino, I have proven that you reason fallaciously. You are trying to draw a normative conclusion from descriptive premises.

    So, got any other arguments for “credobaptism” that aren’t fallacious?

  11. Wacky, the burden of proof is on you to provide what is not there. In every case in the Bible, baptism follows repentance. If you want to practice something else, the burden of proof is therefore on you to provide the proof. Anything else is arguing from silence (“Well, it’s not forbidden, so let’s do it”).

    Is there a specific verse in the New Testament that prevents me from baptizing a Martian?

    See what I mean?

  12. Albino,

    So, you’re saying that it’s okay to argue fallaciously. Hard headed, I see. That’s fine, let’s play your game:

    On what biblical grounds do you think you are warranted to perform baptisms? “In every case, baptism” is performed by either a prophet, and apostle, or a miracle worker. Are you any of those? If not, then the burden of proof is on you to prove that it is okay for you, or your pastor, or mine for that matter, to baptize individuals.

    Now, furthermore, your comment about martians isn’t analous to my claim. Perhaps you should read my argument again.

    And, finally, I know you don’t care about arguing fallaciously, but from my perspective you have the burden. I don’t think I’m allowed to go and “change things around for God.” He has put the children (or, infants if you insist!) of believers into the church, as such they are entitled to the sign of belonging to the people of God. He has not removed them. I assume they’re still members.

    So, from the covenental paedo perspective, the burden of proof is on you to show that our infant children have been removed from the covenant, of which baptism is the sign of. Thus you’re begging the question against us. I say burden is on you, so I see your challenge, and raise you.

    Anyway, I simply pointed out your fallacious reasoning. You have therefore given me no reason to believe that the Bible teaches the baptism of professing people alone. In fact, I took your line of reasoning and subjected it to a serious reductio ad absurdem (and, let’s note that I have shown that you deny *explicit* commands, i.e., haed covers for women). You use an a prior theological position whereby you can say that the *express command* is not normative. But, you inconsistenly acts as if the mere *examples* (not even commands) of repenting before baptism implies that it is only for those who first repent. You have a burden to. You’re claiming it is only for those who repent. I’ve seen no good argument on this from your end.

  13. In every case in the Bible, baptism follows repentance.

    With the notable exceptions of Noah, the Israelites crossing the Red Sea and the various household baptisms.

    Based on the narrative=normative formula, how can a credo-baptist escape the dilemma that occurs when a guy “gets saved” and asks “Hey, what do I do about my whole household now that I am a believer? What says the Bible? What guidance does the Bible give? Are there any examples?”

    Answer: You get baptized and so does your whole household.

    This is what you get with the narrative=normative formula.

  14. And, btw, Acts 16 only tells us that the *Jailer* believed. It’s in the third-person singular in the Greek.

    But, it says *all* his household (he “kai” his household) was baptized.

    This is proof positive that not “every” single case where we read of a baptism is it preceeded by repentence.

    So, not only is Albino’s argument illogical, has been reduced to absurdity (i.e., no one other than prophets, apostles, and miracle workers may administer baptism), it’s flat out false.

  15. Rick,

    Re: 8

    Sure, we can poke fun of Martin Luther for not wanting the book of James in the canon in heaven. This won’t be something that makes him ashamed anymore. In heaven, we will have no fear whatsoever of our sins condemning us. HERE, in this life, apart from glory, our sins make us ashamed, because there’s still a part of us that thinks that our sin condemns us, because our faith is weak at best. But there’s something more. Here, sin still has a hold on us. There, it won’t.

    Haven’t you ever teased someone good naturedly in your family about some blunder they made? I have two brothers, and we have teased each other about old girlfriends: “What were you thinking?” “I don’t know. I liked her for some reason, and was then under her spell.” “Yeah, you couldn’t see how horrible she was.” “No, I couldn’t, I was stupid, but here’s to her being gone!”

    Sin is like the ugly, nasty girlfriend that we like for some reason. But when we finally dump her once and for all, we’ll be able to see how truly foolish we were, and be glad that we are no longer so foolish. Remember, when we die and pass into glory, sin is taken away from us utterly. It’s gone. Sin will be only a memory. It will no longer taint us. So if I giggle with Martin Luther about the book of James, we are giggling about who he USED to be, not who he still will be. Being able to laugh about past foolishness is the result of confidence in your present estate. And oh, how self secure we will be in heaven, resting in Christ completely. Nothing will make us feel ashamed.

  16. I have a question for some of you infant baptizers out there.

    If it is so important that you baptize your infants, how is it you sleep at night knowing that your own children were not baptized as infants but rather after they professed faith in Christ?

    Also, with the definition of baptize being, (baptizo from bapto = cover wholly with a fluid; stain or dip as with dye) means to dip or immerse as in water

    How is it that you allow yourselves to just sprinkle a few drops of water on the head and call it baptize? Baptizing infants is a logistical problem if you actually baptize them as the word is defined. It seems you have changed what the word means to fit your theological stance, no?

    Just wondering.

    -Matt

  17. Echo, Re: #15

    Thanks, I do believe I will take a few jabs at Marty someday.

    Matt, I’m not sure I understand your first question (Maybe it’s just me). I sure wouldn’t sleep well at night if I let my child grow up without being baptized.

    Jesus said: “I have a baptism to undergo” (This was after the baptism of John). He was referring to his death and burial.
    How could Jesus call this a baptism? He wasn’t “wholly covered with a fluid” at the cross was he?

    But speaking of things we never explicitly find in scripture, we never actually read of anyone being totally immersed in baptism. Well, other that the unrepentant world in the flood – and Pharaoh in the Red Sea…

    I would suggest reading the previous post “Father Abraham…” and the thread that follows it.

  18. Wacky,

    Descriptions of worship in the Scriptures might be taken to be normative for our practice.

    But anyway, no one in Lydia’s household is said to have repented or believed prior to their baptism. It’s very clear that the Lord opened Lydia’s heart. It’s very clear that her heart specifically was opened and hers alone is all that is mentioned. Yet the baptism of her whole household is mentioned.

    So if descriptions are normative, Albino is still in trouble here.

  19. How could Jesus call this a baptism? He wasn’t “wholly covered with a fluid” at the cross was he?

    This is not about what is used in baptism (water, milk, wine, whatever) but about the principle of total immersion as the word is defined and what that total immersion signifies.

    Yes Jesus was totally immersed in death and burial before he was resurrected so the principle applies.

    Once again, it seems you are bending the definition to fit your theological stance.

  20. To everyone:

    If baptism is the sign of inclusion in the covenant, then baptists would say, ok, fine, but you aren’t included in the covenant until you have faith. Having faith is what brings you into the covenant, therefore, no faith, no baptism, because no faith, no covenant membership.

    This is the best argument for credobaptism there is from a covenantal perspective. However, this would misunderstand the nature of the covenant.

    Covenants are conditional. The covenant of grace says IF you have faith, you will be saved. That means that if you are a member of the covenant, you must have faith in order to inherit the promises of that covenant.

    In the same way, consider the covenant with the Israelites under Moses. It was basically, “If you obey as a nation, then you can remain in the land.” They were IN the covenant, but they still had to obey in order to remain in the land. But they didn’t obey, so they got kicked out. But consider the people who got kicked out: where they IN the covenant? Yes they were. They were in the covenant, which is why when they violated the terms of the covenant they got kicked out. They didn’t inherit the blessings promised in the covenant, but rather the curses.

    Covenants are conditional. Those of us who are in the covenant of grace, in the covenant community if you will, who have faith go to heaven. But those who are in this covenant, in the covenant community who don’t have true faith, saving faith, go to hell. But they are worse off than the pagan, because the pagan was never in the covenant of grace, was never in church.

    So you don’t have to have faith before you become a member of the covenant community, before the covenant applies to you.

    So what has to take place for you to be in the covenant? Well, consider the Aztecs who lived around 1000 AD. No one from Europe had yet come to them and taught them the name of Christ. Christ had already come and brought the gospel to the world. But those poor Aztecs never heard the word. They couldn’t have come to faith in anyway. It was impossible. Is it true of them that if they had faith they would have been saved? No, because they never entered the covenant community to whom that promise is made. That promise: if you believe you will be saved, is only made to the church. Now, anyone can hear that message and be brought INTO the church (you can go and start a church or you can bring the gospel to a friend outside of church and thus they can be brought into the church), but as long as someone is outside of the church, that means that they haven’t heard the message of the gospel. Faith comes through hearing the word of Christ. If they haven’t heard the word, they can’t have faith, so it’s impossible for them to be saved.

    You are brought into the covenant, once again, when you begin to hear, when you begin to be taught, when you are born into a household of believers, church goers. This doesn’t mean you WILL be saved, it means if you have faith you will be saved through Christ. That promise of salvation by faith alone is made only to the church, and not all of them receive salvation, because not all of them have faith. But everyone to whom that promise is made on God’s behalf will be saved.

  21. But speaking of things we never explicitly find in scripture, we never actually read of anyone being totally immersed in baptism.

    That is because that would be redundant. By using the word Baptism you are saying “immersion” or “covered” by definition.

  22. Matt,

    I think a baptist wrote the definition of baptizo that you’re looking at.

    Anyway, the Israelites passed through on dry ground without ever touching water, and the BIBLE (whose authors had a better understanding of what baptizo meant than you or I do) says that this constituted baptism. How can someone be said to have been dipped or emersed if they never even got wet?

  23. Matt, I see Echo stole my thunder but I’ll post it anyway.

    1. You’re the one who appealed to fluid with the definition.

    2. As far as the “baptism and immersion are redundant” argument. How do you handle I Cor 10:1-2? It tells us that the fathers were baptized in the cloud and the sea. But the cloud and the sea didn’t touch them. They crossed on dry ground.
    Then we have the flood, which Peter tells us corresponds to baptism. Again, Noah (the only one who found favor with the Lord) and his family didn’t get wet.

    Now, if you are so inclined and have a half-hour, read Echo’s comment #16 on the previous thread.

    Sorry – this was redundant.

  24. I Corinthians

    10: 1 I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6 Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.

    Ex. 14:22 (ESV) And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

    And how on EARTH were they baptized in a cloud? Were they dipped in a cloud? I don’t remember reading anything like that in the book of Exodus. The only cloud I remember is the pillar of cloud that led them. Hmmm…

    Are you sure that the Greek verb “baptizo” can ONLY mean fully immerse, dip? Are you quite sure?

  25. Rick,

    Great minds think alike.

  26. Echo,

    Descriptions are not normative, that’s just fallacious. Afterall, Jesus KNEW that Judas was an unregenerate God-hater, yet he served him the Lord’s supper anyway. Therefore, *ought we* to serve the Lord’s Supper to unregenerate God-haters? But, I do agree that even descriptions get him in trouble since we have descriptions of households getting baptized on the faith and belief of the federal head.

  27. By using the word Baptism you are saying “immersion” or “covered” by definition.

    And “supper” is a meal served in the evening. So, why do you eat a little waffer (or little piece of bread) and drink out of a little juice cup for your observance of the Lord’s supper?

  28. yes in the Greek baptizo only means to immerse. see here

    Your argument is not with me.

    As you know the red sea example is a type of the redemption that comes through Christ. We are baptized or immersed or covered by Christ just as the Israelites were through Moses.

    It is a figure of speech, don’t get hung up on the substance or lack there of. The act of total immersion and or covering that is important. So when someone is WATER baptized, the use of water is involved, but the act of total immersion is important, not sprinkling.

  29. Don’t forget the baptized tables and the baptism in the blood of the bird (references are available upon request).

    There is no logistical problem. My niece attends a church where the babies are dunked routinely. Babies wail quite a lot she says.

    This debate is not about the mode and never has been.

  30. You’re right in saying it’s not about the mode. With that I agree. (although virtually every instance where we see the mode the connotation is immersion).

    It’s about what is signified. IB signifies entrance into the church family. CB signifies an individuals faith in Christ as his or her savior. Their acknowledgment that they have died to sin, been buried with Christ and are raised with him to live a new life. It signifies the belief one has that they will be united with Christ in his resurrection.

    It’s about what you think baptism signifies.

    It signifies a lot to me.

  31. Which of these more clearly illustrates being “buried” and “raised up” with Christ. Submerged completely under water and pulled out, or sprinkled on the head with a handful of water droplets. Hmmmmmm? Sherlock?

  32. I would also agree that the mode is less important than what is being signified through baptism.

    However, This act of immersing is significant because it mirrors what happened to Christ on the cross and it is an outward expression of your conscious decision to bury your old life and rise into a new life with Christ.

    Infants and small children cannot make this decision.

    This is what baptism means to me and this is why my kids will be baptized when they are able to understand.

  33. Maybe you guys need to just call it what it is, a baby dedication.

    Then let your kids get baptized once they are able to understand what Jesus has done for them.

  34. No response to what the *word* for supper *means,* huh?

    Anyway, to all those who talk about what baptism “means,” what does that have to do with a “profession” of faith?

    For some reason you seem to think that a profession of faith is a good probablistic indicator that someone is a proper subject for baptism when the proper subjects, according to you, are only those who we know actually *have* what the sign signifies.

    So, again, what does a profession of faith have to do with anything?

    Oh and btw, Albino, in Paul’s days people weren’t burried under ground. So, stop imposing your modern notions of “burials” on to the biblical writers.

  35. “In Paul’s days, people weren’t buried undergound.”

    Wacky….WEAK! That’s rich. Sounds like the Clinton, “depends on the meaning of the word ‘is'” defense. Anything to sprinkle, eh?

    “buried” – down “raised” – up Buried under the water — raised up out of the water

    Um….preacher’s hand is “buried” (kind of) in the “font”, then “raised up” above the infant and water is dribbled onto infant’s head.

    Which one fits better? And you definitely ain’t no Sherlock.

  36. Anything to preserve those Roman Catholic, extra-Biblical practices, eh? Unbelievable!

  37. In the midst of the heat of this discussion, let’s not forget that forced baptism sucks

  38. Got anything other than mere rhetoric and unargued bias and arguments from incredulity? That, if anything, is “WEAK.”

    And, why don’t you knock off the statements about believing extra-biblical practices until you can answer the defeaters and refutations I’ve given your position. You appear to wallow in being inconsistent and hypocritical in your argumentation.

    Lastly, since the Roman Catholic Church practices believer’s-only communion, then are you “preserve[ing] those Roman Catholic, extra-Biblical practices?” Or, is it only okay when you do it? (And, let’s note that it is an undeniable fact that people were baptizing infants way before the RC church formed. Go study some history, you’re just making credos look like unedumacted, Appalachian Mountain fundamentalists. In fact, doesn’t the Bible say that “you’re gonna pick up poisonous snakes? Wouldn’t want you to not obey explicit commands/examples…” :-)

    So, until then, I’ll just view you as a 5 yr. old who yells and screams at the older kids for telling him that there is no Santa Clause. Seems very similar to your method above:

    “Oh yeah, how’d the presents get here over night, hu, huh?”

    “Oh yeah, how do you explain the missing milk and cookies, huh?”

    Bye now, let us know when you actually got something.

  39. Your answer about burial was weak as kool-aid and you know it. Take your lumps…you dish it out, now take it.

  40. I can just see Paul up in heaven saying to the Holy Spirit,

    “Why didn’t you tell me these people would so badly misconstrue my words on baptism to mean they should start baptizing their infants! If I had known they would draw such strange conclusions, I would of spelled it out much more clearly in my writings!”

    Let the Bible speak for itself.

  41. Now, it wasn’t weak. You tried to argue for *immersion* based on MODERN WESTERN notions or burials. So, you made the weak argument. I mean, you probably think the Bible is talking about a car when it says the “disciples were in one accord.” :-) Anyway, YOU made the argument from analogy. I showed a major disanalogy. Thus, if you knew anything about argument from analogy, you’d know that it was your argument that was weak.

    So, I can dish and take. The problem is that there’s nothing for me to “take” from your end. You seem to think that offering assertions is a substitute for actual arguments.

    Anyhow, I’ve addressed all your points, shown your arguments to be mere vapor, and asked specific questions. You’ve not bothered to respond to any of my advances. So I guess I’ll just let you continue to be content in your beating and burning of straw men.

  42. Wacky, come on, dude! “Burial” clearly connotes the idea of going down below, because Paul contrasts it with Jesus being “raised up”. Whether people were buried in caves or in the ground does not change the picture here. Dead and “buried” in sins…”raised up” and made alive in Jesus.

    This ain’t vapor, bro. The problem is, in your mind, none of your arguments are weaker than others. Believe me, this one is weak with a capital “W”.

    Keep blissfully doing two things that extra-biblical…baptizing infants and “confirming” previously baptized infants when they get old enough to be confused as to why they were baptized without their consent.

    From the outside looking in….that’s wack.

  43. Okay Albino, so what we have is more mere assertions. Let’s see, is this the “strength” of your rebuttals: Your arguments are weak, I mean it says ‘buried’ and ‘raised,’ therefore that means that baptism is done by immersion.”

    Okay, but isn’t this the original claim you began with??? All you’ve done is simply *re-state* your original assertion.

    So, it’s not that my argument is “weak,” it’s that you don’t know how to make an argument. You get all happy and over confident, asserting the snide little quips you learned in some Bible College, and when someone attacks your *assumptions,* you can do nothing else that just find new ways to re-assert your original assertion.

    Anyway, Paul isn’t saying that “baptism is burial.” The language does not relate baptism to burial. Paul is refering to burial to show the absolute character of Christ’s death, and thus ours. The *immediate* context of this passage is not a didactic discourse on “the mode of baptism.” So, you’re not even in the same ballpark as Paul. You’re *importing* your own assumptins on to the text. This is not good exegesis.

    Paul also puts *crucified* in there. Thus you’re leaving out something. I eman, why don’t you dunk someone with their arms wide out, as if they were on a cross??? You’re so inconsistent with yourself in these posts its not even funny. You’re projecting your failures on to us. It is you who is the one trying to desparately justify his man made traditions. Thus John Murray writes,

    “It is very easy to point to the expression “buried with him” in verse 4 and to insist that only immersion provides any analogy to burial. But such procedure fails to take account of all that Paul says here. It should be noted that Paul not only says “buried together” (sunetaphamen) but also “planted together” (sumphutoi) and “crucified together” (sunestaurothe). These latter expressions indicate the union with Christ which is symbolised and sealed by baptism just as surely as does “buried together.” But it is only too apparent that they do not bear any analogy to immersion. . . . When all of Paul’s expressions are taken into account we see that burial with Christ can be appealed to as providing an index to the mode of baptism no more than can crucifixion with him. And since the latter does not indicate the mode of baptism there is no validity to the argument that burial does.”

    Furthermore, since “raised to life” is not literal physical resurrection but, rather, regeneration, and since our “death” spoken of is not a literal physical death but a dying to sin, why then do you take “buried” alone as referring to a literal physical process??

    Lastly, the image you conjur up in your mind is far, far away from the image someone in the Ancient Near East had. Burial was very ritualistic. Before the body was buried, according to Jewish custom, it was prepared by

    “washing, anointing with oil, wraping in shrouds. Candels were lit at the head and the feet of the corpse.

    […]

    The normal practice in the Roman world from 400 B.C. through the first century A.D., was cremation. The Greek world practiced creation and inhumation side by side.

    […]

    The Jews had two burials. After the flesh decayed, they would gather the bones and re-burry the deceased.

    […]

    The most wealthy built expensive mausolea above ground.”

    Ferguson, Backgrounds of Early Christianity, pp. 243-248

    Thus there is just too much ambiguity involved to make your modern and western notions of burials be the standard by how the text shjould be read. Indeed, why are the other images not practiced. Burials involved much, much mroe than the laying to rest the body on a slab in a cave (above ground, in Jesus case, most probably!)? Why don’t you annoint with oil before baptism? What justifies taking just one aspect of the ANE baptisms while leaving out all the others. Covenient, huh, that the one aspect you take, out of many aspects the burals had, just so happens to be the one thing that (you think) supports immersion!

    Naw, this is all a bit much for me; but what do I know, my arguments are “WEAK.” So, I’ll wait for Albino to show us again that the “STRONGEST” of arguments consist in re-asserting your original assertion.

    Cheers!

    ~WF

  44. I can’t believe we are still arguing the mode of baptism, but I think the John Murray quote brought up some interesting points…

    It is indeed interesting to note that Paul says,

    “burried together”
    “planted together”
    “crucified together”

    And all these things clearly tell the person bing baptised that he or she now has the sign of… (drum roll please)…
    entering into the covenant community!

    uh huh.

    I’m sorry but over and over again the verses that discuss baptism, or being crucified with Christ, or being rooted (planted) in Christ, or being buried with him all of them include faith in their immediate context. Faith. Individual faith. Not “entrance into the covenant community” but “entrance into new life”.

    Gal 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

    New life.

    Born again.

    Praise God.

  45. Daniel,

    We’re still discussing mode because Albino is forcing the issue with his bad arguments, and then calling my rejoinders “weak.”

    Anyway, Daniel, no one has ever argued that the sacraments are efficacious apart from faith.

    And, I’ve already refuted the argument from descriptive example numerous times.

    And, what do your arguments have to do with infant/believer baptism? For soem reason you seem to think that some guy *telling* you that he has faith is *the same as* his really having faith. For some reason, you think profession is a grounds to know that someone has whatn you say are the necessary requirements for baptism.

    But, where’s the argument for this? In fact, I’d argue that you have a probability of around .3 that a professor is a true believer.

    So, even granting all your arguments, what does that have to do with “professors only” baptism?

  46. RE-POST:

    iii) You consistently reason fallaciously. Let’s just say that I grant that *every* example in the Bible of a baptism, all those baptized repented; this is false, but let’s say that I grant it, what does that prove? Does your conclusion follow? Your conclusion that only those who repent may be baptized? I don’t think so, let’s see why:

    P1) Every example in the Bible of someone who was baptized, s/he repented and believed.

    C1) Therefore, only thise who repent and believe should be baptized.

    Is that a logical argument, Daniel? Well, it’s what you’ve been pushing in this thread and the other one. So, let’s test it for validity.

    One way to test an argument for validity is to use the same form, the same number of true premises, while drawing an obviously false conclusion. This proves the argument fallacious since it is impossible to have a valid argument, with true premises, but a false conclusion….impossible. So, here’s my counter:

    P1*) Every example of someone who has held the office of US presidency has been of a Caucasian male.

    C1*) Therefore, only Caucasian males should be president of the US.

    Therefore, Daniel, I have proven that you reason fallaciously. You are trying to draw a normative conclusion from descriptive premises.

    So, got any other arguments for “credobaptism” that aren’t fallacious?

  47. How else does one come to the assumption of infant baptism if not via “descriptive example”?

    Oh that’s right by considering the purpose of circumcision in the old covenant.

    shadow watching. (that is watching the descriptive example of the shadows)

    That’s why infant baptism signifies very little in comparison to what credobaptism signifies.

    That’s what I’m saying, and I guess you’re agreeing with me.

    But, where’s the argument for this? In fact, I’d argue that you have a probability of around .3 that a professor is a true believer.

    Are these (made up, and excruciatingly pessimistic) numbers somehow worse then the probability of a baptized infant?

  48. “How else does one come to the assumption of infant baptism if not via “descriptive example”?

    Oh that’s right by considering the purpose of circumcision in the old covenant.

    shadow watching. (that is watching the descriptive example of the shadows)”

    Um, Daniel, if you listen to my debate, in my opening argument, which was my positive case for infant baptism, I only mentioned circumcision once, and that was in passing. So, my question would be, does it make you feel all buff to beat up on your strawy straw men?

    Anyway, let’s say that your objection rings true, how is this not an example of the tu quoque fallacy?

    And, we should remember that the command to give your children the sign of the covenant was normative. Thus your objection isn’t even analogous.

    That’s why infant baptism signifies very little in comparison to what credobaptism signifies.

    Huh? It signifies that the benefits are yours if you take them by faith.

    You must think credobaptism more significant because the person can jump through all these hoops. baptism signifies grace. That we need washing. That we are dirty. That we bring nothing to the table. In fact, what better picture is there of God’s grace than applying this to infants. You must think you’re so much more holy that the little ones because you can stand up and do a dog and pony show in front of the congregation.

    Are these (made up, and excruciatingly pessimistic) numbers somehow worse then the probability of a baptized infant?

    i) If the numbers were the same, then we see my point. You have no warrant to withold baptism from infants because they don’t “profess.”

    ii) Thew numbers are not made up. If you don’t like my analysis below, then at best you can say the probability is inscrutable. Here’s the argument:

    Now, just because we do not hold to a infallibilist constraint, that doesn’t mean that we can say that we know any ole proposition. This gets into a whole host of epistemological questions and problems, though.

    Suffice it to say, here’s an example:

    Say you walked into a factory and saw a bunch of widgets coming down the assembly line and they were all colored red. So, you form the belief you are being appeared to redly. At this point, given this info, I’d say that you knew they were red. Now, say that a floor supervisor told you that there was a red light illuminating the widgets so as to detect otherwise unnoticeable hair line fractures. Actually, only about 15% are red. Thus you’d now have a defeater for your belief that the widgets were red. So, it wouldn’t be wise to say, “Oh there’s a red widget. I know it, and just because I could be wrong doesn’t mean that I know it!”

    See, there’s other things to take into account. And this is the same kind of argument I’d make about your argument for “knowing” that so and so is elect/regenerate.

    So, the information about the red light and the probability of a particular widget being a red widget served as a defeater for your belief that any one particular widget was a red widget.

    Do we have these kinds of defeaters in the Bible? I think so:

    Matt 13: 24 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.'”

    So, say there was a field that had dogs to protect the sheep, but there were wolves too that looked almost exactly like the dogs from a distance of 100 meters (and this was as close as you could get to the field). So, when you met the owner of the field you tell him you saw one of his dogs. He informs you that there are almost just as many wolves as dogs, and they look almost similar. You now have a defeater for your belief that you actually saw a dog. At this point you say, “Let me shoot the wolves so that your sheep will be safe.” The owner of the field responds, “No, don’t shoot them because you may just as easily hit a wolf instead.” This should be an undisputed case of epistemic defeat, this applies to the claim that we “know who is regenerate.”

    The second analogy really bears on the Baptism issue since the “example” in Scripture is of immediate baptisms (and we know that Baptists take exampoles as normative).

    Matt. 13: 18 “Hear then the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

    Note that only one of the seeds “immediately” reject the word. These people are immediately unfit subjects for baptism.

    Now, out of the other 3, only one of them “truly believes.” And, the text does not say how long they act as if they accept the word, but we know it is not “immediate.”

    Therefore the probability that Daniel (or anyone who agrees with him) is baptizing an “elect person” (or a saved person) on the basis of the profession they see is low, roughly .3!

    Now, if the probability that belief B is the case is low, then you have a defeater for B. This can be seen in another paradigm case of defeat. Say that you ingest a hallucinogenic drug called XX. Say that only .3% of those who ingest XX are immune to his hallucinogenic causing properties. Thus if you formed the belief that you took XX, and if you also came to believe that the probability that you are hallucinating is .7, then you have a defeater for most of your beliefs!

    Lastly, when Peter wanted to prove that his profession was genuine he didn’t appeal to the mere fact that he professed! He said to Jesus, “Lord, you know I love you, you know all things.” Thus to show that his profession was genuine he appeals to divine omniscience. None of us have that.

    So I have established the argument that “only elect are in the covenant” has no bearing on “how we know who to baptize.” If my above work is right, and it appears that it is, I have established that.

    cheers!

    ~WF

  49. Matt, et al,

    Matt said: This act of immersing is significant because it mirrors what happened to Christ on the cross and it is an outward expression of your conscious decision to bury your old life and rise into a new life with Christ. Infants and small children cannot make this decision.

    THIS is where we disagree. Paul speaks of us saying, “having been buried with him in baptism…” We do not bury ourselves. This is passive. It is something that happens to us. We are not the subject, we are the object. We do not baptize ourselves to show Christ how much we love him and how we are willing to be obedient to him. It is not a symbol of your committment to Christ. It is a symbol of Christ’s committment to US.

    We are Calvinists. We don’t believe that we make a decision to believe and that saves us, as if our salvation depends on us in some way. We believe that if we have faith, it is because God first granted it to us. Salvation is something we receive, not something we do. We in no way bring it about by making a decision to follow Christ. That’s not to say that we don’t believe people make such decisions, but we believe that those decisions can only come after regeneration has taken place, because faith requires regeneration, and a decision requires faith. There is no decision without faith already being present. Faith cannot be present unless the Spirit has already been at work in your heart producing faith, using the preached word. And the Spirit will not work in your heart unless the Father has chosen you to be saved from the foundation of the world.

    29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

    You must first be predestined, then you will be called. Only if you have been called can you be justified (by faith alone), and only if you have been justified will you be glorified.

    Q. 31. What is effectual calling?
    A. Effectual calling is the work of God’s Spirit, whereby, convincing
    us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, he doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the gospel.

    Q. 32. What benefits do they that are effectually called partake of in this
    life?
    A. They that are effectually called do in this life partake of justification, adoption, and sanctification, and the several benefits which in this life do either accompany or flow from them.

    This is what we believe. We believe that GOD saves us, not we ourselves. Therefore, baptism is a symbol of what HE is and will do, not of our committment to him. Indeed, we may BE committed to him, but that’s only because he first saved us. His salvation brings about our committment. Baptism symbolizes how HE has made us alive in Christ, how HE has declared us to be saved, and how HE has declared us to be his children. This does not depend on us in anyway. If it is true of us, if we are elect, then God will be faithful and will give us faith, and by that faith he will justify us. If we have faith, it is because he has had mercy on us.

    So we baptize the children of promise, in hope that one day the Lord will work faith in their hearts and save them. They are part of the covenant.

  50. Wacky,

    Do you work for NASA? Do you send rockets into space in your spare time?

    Geez! Spare all scientific mumbo jumbo for your scientific friends, in the meantime I will just take the Bible at face value.

  51. The mere fact that you think you can mathematically determine the percentage of confessors who are actually “elect” by using parables as your foundation says a WHOLE lot.

    I’m going to work on the assumption that you were making a joke to try and prove a point.

    nevertheless I do want you to know that I have NOT listened to your debate (I mentioned that early on) but I’m really interested to do so now that I hear you only referenced circumcision “in passing” and only once.

    You argued for infant baptism without using circumcision as your foundation? Really? That’s unbelievable to me since over the past year all I have heard from the IB crowd is circumcision.

    I didn’t know it was a “straw man” until you said so, but thank you for the acknowledgment that I have in fact beat up on it. That indeed has long been my goal.

    Yes, I do feel buff now.

  52. BTW the “straw man” that you accuse me of beating up also is the topic of this post.

  53. We do not bury ourselves. This is passive. It is something that happens to us. We are not the subject, we are the object. We do not baptize ourselves to show Christ how much we love him and how we are willing to be obedient to him.

    As I sometimes do, I wanted to rescue this gem of Echo’s from obscurity-by-volume.

    We don’t baptize ourselves at all. We have to be baptized by somebody else. You can’t just go cannonball into a river and call yourself baptized. The whole notion of adult baptism stems from misconception that I have faith, and thus I join the church by causing myself to get baptized.

    The opposite is true. The church marks its own by baptizing them.

  54. Daniel,

    The argument from circumcision is different. There’s still an argument there. And what you beat on isn’t the way most IB guys have even used the argument. So, you may have beat down a position, but it isn’t a position any one proposes.

    And, lastly, I actually don’t think the elect can be determined. In fact, you only have part of my argument. I wait for you to interact with the above. Kind of like: “welcome to my parlor said the spider to the fly.” My bottom line is that the probability is inscrutable. This gets me to my conclusion, but we’re not there yet. For now I’m satisfied having my arguments un-rebutted.

    Pokerforprofit,

    Do you work for NASA? Do you send rockets into space in your spare time? Geez! Spare all scientific mumbo jumbo for your scientific friends, in the meantime I will just take the Bible at face value.

    i) No, I don’t work for NASA. I work for the Government as a top secret agent, mainly spying on the Russian Eastern Orthodox church. Who, as all in the agency know, are really a front for the Illuminati and are trying to change the world’s economy so as to force a one world government. We think this will usher in the anti-Christ (all in the government hold Tim LaHaye’s eschatological beliefs as second only to Scripture). So, I am defending your freedom, and the right for Jerusalem to stand as a country so that they can re-build the temple so that Jesus can have a place to rule from for the thousand years. Rube, Echo and I also double as a garbage men by day, vigilante by night. Wherever there is injustice, you will find us. Wherever there is suffering, we’ll be there.

    ii) I don’t think that mocking me counts as a serious rebuttal, but perhaps I could be wrong. I try to honor God in my thinking, and to draw a distinction between a theological argument and a logical one is to make a line that is not there. Flip open your Bible and note all the a fortiori arguments, the hypothetical syllogisms, the constructive dilemmas, the reductio ad absurdems, etc. In the meantime, I’ve tried to show that it is precisely that you are *not* taking the Bible at face value that is getting you into trouble. That you cannot defend your views, or back them up with the Bible, shows that you’re following your human tradition of Modern Western Evangelicalism.

  55. Daniel,

    51

    In truth, you have not heard nothing but circumcision from the orthodox, you have heard nothing at all. That is because you aren’t listening.

  56. Wacky,

    Re: 54

    In the Marines I learned that humiliation can sometimes be a powerful motivator. Prov says that on the one hand, you shouldn’t answer a fool according to his folly, but on the other, it’s sometimes necessary to do just that, to answer a fool according to his folly.

    Yes, you other gentlemen who believe in strange imagined doctrines, that means I take you to be fools. It means I have wrestled with whether or not to answer you in kind or to just be silent and let you go on your foolish way (and then make fun of you in heaven, all in good fun of course). For a long time I chose silence. For a little while I have chosen according to your folly. Soon I’ll go back to silence. It is tiresome to speak to the air.

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