Hoagies & Stogies: Baptiterians

It was a great event, well-attended and well-enjoyed, despite intermittent rain.  Thanks especially to the speakers (Brian Tallman and Mike Brown), for putting up with damp heads and soggy papers.

Anyways, the .mp3 are available, hosted by The Onomist:

  • Part 1: Three opening statements
  • Part 2: Rebuttals, closing statements, a “pious statement” by Dr. Tom, and a (rain-shortened) Q&A.

All H&S recordings can be found here.

For any who have listened, what did you think?

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33 Responses

  1. You might also be interested in listening to a two-part podcast from Ordinary Means on this same topic: “Baptists and Presbyterians Together”: Part I, Part II.

  2. And for some interesting related reading on the subject, Reformed Baptists John Piper and Wayne Grudem have recently wrestled with the flipside of this topic (what should they do with paedobaptists in their midst?) You can read their exchange at the following links: Grudem revises his position on baptism in his Systematic Theology, Piper responds, Grudem responds.

  3. I’ll have to give this a listen. Thanks for posting it.

    I think Piper is a Southern Baptist (SBC), right? Not officially a Reformed Baptist (a label I’m not fond of anyway, instead preferring ‘Calvinistic Baptist’ per Richard Muller’s ‘How Many Points.’)

    I could be wrong on that.

  4. Hey Rick — you know another highlight for me was getting to meet an OHS in person. First thing he asked me, “So is this Zrim guy real?”

    As for Piper, I’m not sure. And wouldn’t “Reformed Baptist” be a better fit that “Calvinistic Baptist”, since Calvin was explicitly not a Baptist? I guess your point is, Muller argued against diminishing “Reformed” to be merely a synonym for TULIP, and perhaps “Calvinist” may be better appropriated as a synonym for TULIP?

  5. “The Reformed Baptist Church” is a denomination. They are *ahem* confessional. Piper is not a confessional baptist (neither was Spurgeon). 5-point only Calvinists (Piper, Spurgeon…) can hardly be called Calvinists, but to say that they are ‘Calvinistic’ is accurate enough for me.

  6. If I ever meet Rev. Brown (say on his required GR pilgrimage) I might ask him if you’re real.

  7. perhaps “Calvinist” may be better appropriated as a synonym for TULIP?

    That pretty much sums up the problem of hyper-calvinism. Many of those who fancy themselves as calvinists are mostly unaware of Calvin’s covenant drenched soteriology, and thus they take the five points to be the end all of their soteriology. In actuality, the premise of the five points, namely, God’s sovereignty over all things, is the basic starting point of all “ologies”.

    Look at the confession. They start with the presupposition that God foreordains whatsoever comes to pass for His own glory. Then they address how that truth interacts with human freedom and responsibility.

    This is why I can cite Calvin himself, to support a statement like, oh I don’t know, “Grace is offered to the wicked in baptism, only they reject it,” and I get called an arminian. And I really love it when I quote Calvin on baptismal regeneration and get called an RC. Fun stuff…

  8. That’s because you enjoy ripping phrases out of Calvin’s context in order to get a rise out of people. But let’s not turn this mild threadjack into a major troll.

  9. And you enjoy making unsubstantiated assertions, Rube. Feel free to demonstrate that the quotes I provided are in any way “ripped out of context.” And if it is thread jacking you are against, why not just make a whole post about how Calvin said believers are regenerated in baptism, but didn’t really mean that believers are regenerated in baptism.

    Most folks simply do not know very much about what Calvin actually taught. They just think the five doctrines of grace sum up what they call “Calvinism” but if all you have is the five points, and you have no Calvinistic doctrine of covenant, you are a hyper-calvinist. But to get to Calvin, you gotta read Calvin.

    Have you read Calvin’s Geneva Catechism? How have I “ripped” this Q/A “out of context”?:

    331. How is this grace applied to us in Baptism?
    In it we are clothed with Jesus Christ, and receive His Spirit, provided that we do not make ourselves unworthy of the promises given to us in it.

    Or check out Calvin’s Instruction in Christian Doctrine for Young Children. It is super sweet! I think I am going to move on to this one after my kids finish the Children’s Catechism.

    Teacher: My child, are you a Christian in fact as well as in name?
    Child: Yes, my father.
    Teacher: How is this known to you?
    Child: Because I am baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

    Cheers :)

  10. why not just make a whole post about how Calvin said believers are regenerated in baptism, but didn’t really mean that believers are regenerated in baptism.

    Because I am trying to get out of the business of blogging for the purpose of refuting Ron Smith. You’ve got your own blog, why don’t you write posts about how Calvin advocated baptismal regeneration, and see if you can bait me into researching Calvin’s fuller context for you and the rest of your readers.

    Meanwhile, I waggle my Dr. Evil finger at you and say “ZIP IT”. Unless you have something on-topic to say.

  11. I’ll even feed you an on-topic question: if you hate credobaptism so much that you would “rather be an RC or an EO than a baptist or a bapterian“, how can you tolerate our Baptiterian church?

  12. Because I believe the apostle Paul when he said a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. In giving this rebuke to Peter in Galatians 2, the apostle taught us that our doctrinal boundaries need not be our boundaries of fellowship.

    With Peter it was circumcision (“following Jewish customs” vs. 14), and with us it is the proper mode and recipients of baptism. While I believe that the latter obviously holds more theological weight than the former, the principle is the same. Those who are in fellowship with Christ by faith ought not let doctrinal differences keep them from fellowship with one another.

    And the reason I would choose an EO or RC church rather than a Baptist church (if I had to choose) is because I believe it would be sinful to take my children to a church where they would be excommunicated. But I admit it would be the lesser of two evils since I would be effectively excommunicating my whole family from those with whom they currently commune. I don’t want to do that either. I thank God I don’t have to make that decision.

  13. Paul’s even stronger rebuke in Gal 1 tells us that some doctrinal boundaries do need to bound our fellowship. Of course, since you and I disagree on the definition of the gospel, we cannot agree on the proper bounds of our fellowship.

  14. Threadjack over: back to business.

    My big takeaway from the debate was this: Mike Brown is right at least about one thing: I don’t sufficiently consider neglect of baptism to be a great sin. I don’t know that I’m convinced that Baptists should be automatically barred from membership, but I do need to take captive my unbiblical intuition that credobaptism is not really a big deal.

    This is similar to other H&S’s: my rejection of exclusive psalmody involved increased appreciation for psalmody, and my rejection of theonomy involved increased appreciation for the third use of the Law.

  15. But if neglect of Baptism is not so great a sin to bar Baptists from the Church universal, why should it be so great a sin to bar them from a church local? BTall’s quote from the great baptist Johnny Mac comes to mind. We should not make local church membership harder than universal Church membership.

  16. Keep forgetting to log in… oooh, there’s my cool avitar :)

  17. Now, I haven’t listened to the debate yet, so I’m not quite sure what the precise definitions of the positions are (other things in my life are a bit more pressing right now, as I’m sure you’ll agree).

    I’m not going to have to leave NLPC because I was credobaptized, am I? My family was Baptist at the time.

    I’ve always considered “baby dedication” and “baptism” in credobaptist churches to be roughly parallel to “baptism” and “confession of faith” (respectively) in paedobaptist congregations.

  18. I’m not going to have to leave NLPC because I was credobaptized, am I? My family was Baptist at the time.

    I think you will have to leave, unless you submit to being re-baptized as an infant.

    And there may be rough parallels, but a baby dedication doesn’t count as an acceptable substitute, even in our church (we wouldn’t allow anybody to profess their way into communicant status if they only had a dedication!)

  19. Well, of course one needs to be baptized at some point. If you were only dedicated as a child but had confession of faith at NLPC, I would assume that such a confession would be accompanied by a baptism.

    When I was at NLPC Escondido, I remember a guy coming to faith as an adult who was sprinkle-baptized along with the infants. A woman who came to faith as an adult said she would like to be be baptized with full-body immersion, and Pastor Hamilton did that as well. The latter was not performed not at the church, obviously… it was at a congregant’s home immediately following the Sunday morning fellowship, and I considered it an extension of the same service (though not everyone from the church attended).

  20. Interesting. Kazooless was not granted immersion for his kids by our church when he switched credo=>paedo.

    Also, Ron recently noted to me that including the sacrament of baptism in a worship service is a historical novelty, with no real biblical basis. And Dr. Tom has also noted the same for “public reception of new members” in general.

  21. BTW:

    I think you will have to leave, unless you submit to being re-baptized as an infant.

    This kind of seemed to be a joke, unless what you really mean is that I must submit to the doctrine of paedobaptism even though I myself wasn’t baptised as an infant (which I do).

  22. Also, re: baptism in the service, I think it’s possibly a convenience thin as much as anything else. For a baptism outside the service, one would have to get the pastor, the baptisee and family, and probably some elders all together at the same time (like what you mentioned in the Big Fat Greek Baptism post).

    In earlier times, when the pastor traditionally lived in a rectory next to the church and the congregants all lived in or near the same neighborhood, that was much more feasible. These days, when people are a little more geographically disparate, it’s easiest just to perform the sacrament on Sunday morning when everybody’s already there anyway.

    I’m just guessing here, but it seems like it might be at least part of the reason.

  23. This kind of seemed to be a joke, unless what you really mean is that I must submit to the doctrine of paedobaptism even though I myself wasn’t baptised as an infant

    Well, I was just joking, but one of the Q&A was, essentially, if you’re going to be strict about it, do you make a difference between those who have kids that need baptizing, and those for whom it’s a moot point (the index card literally read “GERIATRIC BAPTISTS?”)

  24. Off the top of my head, if you weren’t baptised as an infant, I’d say that you should only be baptised upon profession of faith. If kids were to get baptised just because their parents convert from credo- to paedo-, I think the children would just get confused about what baptism means.

    In other words, I think that baptism should be either at birth or at profession, but never at any other time, lest it lose its significance to the baptisee.

  25. BTall’s quote from the great baptist Johnny Mac comes to mind. We should not make local church membership harder than universal Church membership.

    But this just begs the question. Would MacArthur allow an adult into membership who had not been baptized? Of course not. No Baptist would. Why not? Because baptism and church membership are intertwined.

    When confessional Reformed and Presbyterian churches withhold the covenant sign from those who belong to the church (i.e. the children of believers), they deny the covenant theology and system of doctrine they confess.

  26. Rev. Brown,

    You asked and answered,

    Would MacArthur allow an adult into membership who had not been baptized? Of course not. No Baptist would.

    Certainly not, and neither should he. Neither would a Presbyterian. I don’t see how this refutes the view that all those in Christ by faith belong at the same table.

    An adult “convert” refusing baptism is not a convert at all and therefore is not in Christ by faith. But an adult Baptist who has the conviction that his children ought not be baptized until they confess Christ, while in error, is still in Christ by faith, are they not? (I believe at the debate, you conceded this point.) If they are in Christ by faith, and if we are in Christ by faith, then we are untied *with them* together in Christ. We have inward communion *with them* in Christ and this inward, universal union is to be expressed outwardly via table fellowship. We have no right to ban them from our membership roles or our Lord’s Table on the sole basis of their said conviction. Thank God the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus still takes away the sins committed in ignorance.

    You also said,

    When confessional Reformed and Presbyterian churches withhold the covenant sign from those who belong to the church (i.e. the children of believers), they deny the covenant theology and system of doctrine they confess.

    Or, they confess with their confession that, “grace and salvation are not so inseparably annexed unto [baptism], as that no person can be regenerated, or saved, without it.” I confess with the WCF that it is a great sin to neglect baptism, including that of children. That is not the question. The question is whether or not this sin done in ignorance is grounds for excommunication. If you believe Baptist churches are in the one holy catholic and apostolic Church *with us*, then you admit that this sin is not grounds for excommunication. Enter the quote of John MacArthur mentioned above. Why should we excommunicate a brother from a local church for holding a certain conviction if said conviction is insufficient grounds for excommunication from the one holy catholic and apostolic Church?

  27. An adult “convert” refusing baptism is not a convert at all and therefore is not in Christ by faith.

    But why would you assume that he is not a convert? Because he refuses to submit to the Word of God that the elders confess? If so, then why do make a distinction between an adult baptism and the baptism of a covenant child? Why is not permissible to refuse baptism as an adult, but it is permissible to refuse baptism for the child of a believer? Why is not permissible for a session to permit an unbaptized adult into membership, but it is permissible for a session to gainsay their confession and permit an unbaptized covenant child into membership? You are essentially making a distinction between an adult batpism and an infant baptism, when Scripture teaches that there is only one baptism (Eph 4.5) just as there was only one circumcision.

    Why should we excommunicate a brother from a local church for holding a certain conviction if said conviction is insufficient grounds for excommunication from the one holy catholic and apostolic Church?

    We shouldn’t communicate him in the first place. That is what the Presbyterian churches represented at the Westminster Assembly used to do. I think you need to ammend the WCF in order to remain consistent with your view.

    The problem is that we WOULD excommunicate someone for refusing to submit to the elders (Heb 13.17). What you are arguing is that it is OK to refuse to submit on this issue, for it is not – in your view – a disciplinary issue.

  28. But why would you assume that he is not a convert?

    Because baptism and church membership are intertwined, as you yourself said. The refusal on the part of an adult to take on baptism upon his alleged confession is a high handed rebellious act. This is a different thing altogether from a Baptist who has the conviction that his children should confess Christ before baptism.

    Paul’s admonition concerning the weaker brother comes to mind. The one who says, “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!” is wrong. Making laws where God gives liberty is sin just as rejecting God’s command to baptize your children is sin. But what did Paul say we are to do with these weaker brothers? Purge the evil from among us? Or did he exhort us to be careful lest the weaker brother be destroyed by our knowledge (1 Cor 8)?

    Why do make a distinction between an adult baptism and the baptism of a covenant child?… when Scripture teaches that there is only one baptism.

    I think we both make the distinction, don’t we? The case of the Baptist parent is not sufficient grounds to bar him from the Church Universal, while the case of the adult “convert” refusing baptism is sufficient grounds. I think we agree on this. There isn’t a local church in the world who would receive an unbaptized “christian”. If they would, I would say their lamp stand is long gone.

    We both believe there is only one baptism. Where we differ is that I don’t believe the Baptist who makes a distinction between adult baptism and the baptism of a covenant child thereby disqualifies himself from fellowship with those of us who believe there is only one baptism.

    Further, I don’t see how infant baptism is in mind when Paul exhorts the Church on the basis of her one baptism. It seems to me that you are doing exactly what the apostle Paul forbade when he exhorted the Church toward Christian unity on the basis of their one baptism. Is the baptism of a brother by a Baptist minister not sufficient to grant him access to his Lord’s Table when he visits his local URC? Would you admit Spurgeon or Piper or MacArthur to their Lord’s Table were they to visit you one Lord’s Day morning? How is this not making a distinction between baptisms contra Ephesians 4:5?

    We shouldn’t communicate him in the first place.

    But if they are members of the Church Universal, and you have agreed that they are, then they are already in communion with all the members of the Church Universal. If you do not let them commune with you, you are effectively excommunicating them.

    That is what the Presbyterian churches represented at the Westminster Assembly used to do. I think you need to ammend the WCF in order to remain consistent with your view.

    The Reformers rejected that Baptists are in the Church, so their practice of not communicating Baptists doesn’t correlate to us if we believe Baptists are in the Church. Ecclesia Reformata, Semper Reformanda! :)

    The problem is that we WOULD excommunicate someone for refusing to submit to the elders (Heb 13.17). What you are arguing is that it is OK to refuse to submit on this issue, for it is not – in your view – a disciplinary issue.

    What I am arguing for is that the overseers of the Church ought not to make it an issue of discipline, but rather they ought to pursue the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. They should suffer long with their weaker brethren in the case of all sin that is not grounds for dismissal from the Church Universal. If one is in the one holy catholic and apostolic Church, he is to be extended the right hand of fellowship.

    Love covers a multitude of sins. This doesn’t mean that anything goes, of course. But it does mean that we can tolerate one another’s *certain* sins, and I would argue those certain sins to at least consist of sins done in ignorance. Does not our Great High Priest do the same for us? It would seem again that your standard is higher than our Lord’s.

  29. You need a new confession of faith.

  30. I like more your earlier suggestion that we amend the WCF. I confess the WCF and in my opinion, I take little exception to it. I just don’t make all by Christian brothers confess the WCF before I extend to them the right hand of fellowship.

    Since it is clear this conversation is at an end, let me change the subject. (sorry , Rube) Rev. Brown, I thank God that He has granted your congregation much fruit and I pray He continues to do so. I enjoyed last Lord’s Day eve and I regret I did not get to participate in the conversation more at that time. I pray we will be able to fellowship more in the future. Perhaps I will see you at the upcoming Reformation conference at New Life.

    Grace and peace in Christ.

  31. […] Reformed pastor Mike Brown experienced a bit of a switch-up.  Last time, he was able to claim the “literal” high-ground, camping out on “it is a great […]

  32. […] against essentially Baptistic elements within Presbyterianism. For another, it explains why the Baptiterian view (or maybe it’s Undercover Presbyterian) is so prevalent (or at least […]

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