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Archive for June, 2010


Only one week left for the MDA fundraiser I am participating in.  After a good start, I’ve hit a slump.  I’m hoping you, my loyal readers, can help me finish strong.

My bail is $1,600 and I’m currently less than 1/4 of the way there.  Visit the MDA site and get more information.  Then I hope you’ll make a donation.

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It has been quite some time since I’ve read anything by Doug Wilson.  The constant controversy turned me off.  But I had been meaning to read To a Thousand Generations: Infant Baptism- Covenant Mercy for the People of God for a few years.  I lacked opportunity.  Teaching a class on baptism provided the opportunity.  So I took it.

Like many of Doug Wilson’s books it is not very think.  It can be a quick read that touches on the most important aspects of the issue.  He doesn’t go overboard, and this one clocks in at just over 100 pages.  I know, some of you are thinking that 100 is too many pages for something that “doesn’t exist” in Scripture.

I think Wilson does a good job proving you wrong on that regard.  He opens with the problem of nominalism in churches.  This topic is never far from the surface of this book.  He revisits it often.  Sadly, some lay nominalism at the feet of infant baptism.  This is utterly erroneous for many/most baptistic churches are also plagued by nominalism.  It is not something particular, or peculiar, to churches that practice infant baptism (from a covenantal view).

In this regard Wilson brings up the problem of an “over-realized ecclesiology” (my term, I think).  Many advocates of believer’s baptism strive for a “pure” church or a “regenerate” church membership.  This includes some the “new Calvinists”.  This is a good goal- not letting pagans into church membership.  But the Scriptures are honest in that under both covenants there would be a mixed assembly- both covenant keepers and covenant breakers would be there.  The only ‘pure’ church will be in the New Jerusalem.  The visible church is not comprised only of the elect- that would be the invisible church.

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Baptizing CavSon

Perhaps it is because I was preparing a SS class on the Sacraments and then Baptism that I noticed a few things regarding baptism.  One was encouraging, and the other was disappointing.

I used to read The Gospel-Driven Church all the time.  Then transition happened.  I’m trying to get back there more often.  Jared does some good work.  He recently relocated to Vermont of all places.  The congregation, the only evangelical congregation in town, has both paedobaptists and credobaptists in it.  By conviction Jared is credobaptist (believer’s baptism).  But he wanted to love those who had a covenantal view of infant baptism well.  He did not want them to be ostracized.  So they unveiled a new policy regarding baptism.  They will honor the infant baptism of people coming for membership (and already in membership) rather than require that they be baptized as adults.  One of the deacons, who is a paedobaptist, will baptize the infants of believers who desire it.

It is a good compromise instead of the common status as 2nd class citizens often experienced by those who have paedobaptist convictions.  I’ve seen it often, binding the conscience of others to get a seat at the table (voting rights, for instance).  Most conservative Reformed churches permit members to disagree with their position on baptism without any form of church discipline.  They will often limit them with regard to office, which makes sense.  This is just what John Piper has advocated at Bethlehem Baptist.

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