Archive for November, 2022

Are you puzzled by that title? I am. Or rather that this is really a question or controversy.

This question and the answers given seem to be cause for disruption in congregations and denominations. It is part of the larger question of “who may lead worship?”.

This is a bit of a vague term: lead. In the PCA, for instance, the Session (elders) oversee the worship. As pastor, I put together the liturgy and pick the Scripture readings. Our music director chooses the songs we sing (with my approval, particularly with new songs). I generally lead us through the liturgy, and introduce songs. The ruling elders read the Old and New Testament readings, while I read the sermon text. When I am gone, the elders generally lead much of the liturgy. Since I’ve come back from Sabbatical, the elder who reads the OT & NT readings will lead the liturgy as well. There is one who doesn’t, and when it is his turn, I lead the liturgy. This allows the congregation to hear different voices and tones in our worship. Our pastoral prayers are very different, and that is good. The congregation is spared our personal ruts. I am able to play some guitar when not leading the liturgy.

Do we have to do it this way or are lay people allowed to introduce songs, lead prayer and read Scripture (including the call to worship)?

There are 3 answers to this larger question, which then answer the question of who may read Scripture in worship.

  1. Ordained officers (usually understood as elders)
  2. Believing men
  3. Believers

In an online discussion of this question and why people who don’t answer 1. we told they should leave the PCA, I was offered the following article to justify the position: Who Is Permitted to Read the Word Publicly to the Congregation in the PCA?

I will summarize and evaluate the argument presented in this article. It is an article, so he may use “shorthand” at points, and I may miss something that makes perfect sense to him, and much of his audience. At least I hope this is the case because at points there seem to be large, and I think unwarranted, leaps.

The causes for such diverse practices and opinions are not difficult to understand. The indirect answer in WLC #156 (“all are not permitted to read the Word publicly to the congregation”), and the non-binding, unclear statement of BCO 50-2 (“The reading of the Holy Scriptures in the congregation…should be done by the minister or some other person”), have opened the door to wide divergences in the PCA.[2] It is a mistake, however, to act as though Larger Catechism #156 and BCO 50-2 are the only relevant sections for giving our congregations direction about who may read the Word publicly.

In terms of BCO 50-2, in a footnote he says the “other person” refers to visiting ministers or licentiates under care of presbytery. In his Commentary on the Book of Church Order, Morton Smith notes that 50-2 seems to conflict with 50-1 which says “the public reading of the Holy Scripture is performed by the minister as God’s servants” (Smith, pp. 407). So if we think only ministers are to read the Scriptures in public worship (this is in the Directory of Worship but this chapter is not binding), the footnote is consistent. However, the PCA is not bound by 50-1 or 2. It can provide guidance to us, but we need not follow that guidance.

Relating to WLC #156, I’ve understood this to mean unbelievers were not permitted. I did a bit of an adjustment to allow for different circumstances. According to Wikipedia, the literacy rate among English men was about 30% in the 17th century. The higher classes were largely fully literate, while the lower classes had a much lower literacy rate. Protestant, and particularly Reformed, clergy were among the most educated people in the congregation. You don’t want a poor reader stumbling up there. Today, more people are able to read. The author may be more in line with the thinking of the Divines than me, but I think their statement has to be taken in light of the historical context.

I’m admittedly interpreting this in a pragmatic sense, since they did not say “only the clergy”. Perhaps that would understood by the original audience. One could do that, but it seems too much like the Roman Church’s clergy/laity divide, and not much like the Reformational priesthood of all believers.

Reading as an Exercise of Authority?

Therefore, the author of the article wants us to believe “that the public reading of Scripture is an exercise of church authority.” The authority here is not the Scripture itself, alone. But, as we are about to see, it is seen as a ministerial act which necessarily should be done by an ordained elder.

He further clarifies:

Thankfully, the disagreement in the PCA about reading the Word publicly is not about whether women may exercise authority in the church (1 Tim. 2:12). Instead, the disagreement is about whether we should understand the reading of Scripture as an exercise of church authority. So, the Sessions who authorize women to read the Scriptures publicly may justify their actions by stating that simply to read the Bible publicly is not authoritative in the way that preaching is.

In the PCA we are not fighting about whether women should be elders (contrary to what some people seem to think). We are in agreement on this point. The question here is whether or not a lay person is exercising authority merely by reading the Scriptures in a worship service. Does the authority lie in them, or the Scriptures? Is a layperson usurping authority by reading the Scriptures picked by the pastor or other elder? Can they represent the Session? Can this be delegated to them within boundaries?

I ask these questions in this way because in our churches things are generally done “decently and in order”. I say “generally” because I have not been to every single PCA church. Perhaps there is some worship leader quoting from Scripture when introducing a song. But by and large, the Scripture chosen is by one of the pastors, not the person doing the reading. We don’t have random people standing up and reading random passages of Scripture.

To make his point, however, he brings us to the Preliminary Principles of the BCO of the PCA. Of this he says, “Preliminary Principle #7 is especially clarifying: “All church power…is only ministerial and declarative.” That is, within the church, there are only two lawful ways to exercise authority: (1) by ministering God’s word, or (2) by declaring God’s word.”

He argues that all reading of God’s word in worship is a declaration of God’s word and therefore an exercise of church power by the person reading it. All ministrations of God’s word are an exercise of church authority on the part of the person doing it. Therefore only ordained elders may read Scripture publicly.

First, note that he removed some words in that quote from PP #7. It reads this way:

All Church power, whether exercised by the body in general, or by representation, is only ministerial and declarative since the Holy Scriptures are the only rule of faith and practice.

Power can be exercised by the body in general (courts?) or by representation (officers). It is not reserved for only the officers of the church. Some exercises of power are reserved for elders (the keys of the church are given to the Apostles, and by extension the elders: they admit and remove members). The authority of the church is exercised in ministry and is declarative.

In his commentary on PP #3, Morton Smith clarifies in this way:

Observe here that all three duties of the officers in the Church are declarative in nature. That is, they are to preach the Word, to administer the sacraments in accord with the Word, and to exercise discipline in accord with the Word. This is consistent with the principle that the power of the Church is declarative and not legislative, ministerial and not magisterial.” (Smith, pp. 21)

The three duties of officers are laid out here: preaching, administering the sacraments and exercising discipline. To me, this indicates the three things only officers do. You will note that it is preaching, not merely reading the Word, that is in view here.

Declarative is contrasted with legislative. We do not make new laws, but declare God’s gospel and laws to the people. We don’t have authority to go beyond the Word to make new commands. Ministerial is contrasted with magisterial. Our authority is exercised in the Church, not in the society. We don’t discipline our neighbors, only church members. As we see in PP #8 discipline is moral or spiritual and is not enforced with the power of the sword (corporal punishment), or the purse (fines).

He makes similar statements in his commentary on PP #7.

Because the Bible is the only rule of faith and practice, and the only law book in Zion, the power of the Church is limited to being only ministerial and declarative. It is not magisterial or legislative. Thus, “no church judiciary may make laws to bind the conscience.” It is acknowledged that church courts may err, and yet it is affirmed that it is the duty of fallible men in the Church to uphold the laws of Scripture.” (Smith, pp. 23)

We are to limit our laws to the commands of Scripture. We don’t make or enforce new commands of our own design. It would be necessary, therefore for one to show that Scripture commands that only (key word) elders may read the Word publicly. Reading the Word is not one of the three duties exclusive of officers outlined by Morton Smith in commenting on the Preliminary Principles.

The author agrees that we are not to legislate any new laws in the Church. However, he argues that any time we read God’s Word it is authoritative (because it is God’s Word, not ours).

Any time someone reads the Word of God publicly, that person is declaring, “Thus saith the Lord.” Indeed, we should notice the often overlooked (and, to my knowledge, uncontroversial) explanation of the nature of the public reading of Scripture in BCO 50-1: “Through [the public reading of the Holy Scriptures] God speaks most directly to the congregation, even more directly than through the sermon.” To read the Scriptures is to stand as God’s authoritative herald, declaring the word of God—even more directly than during the sermon.

God’s Word does have authority. But I would disagree with his logic that one must therefore be an officer of the Church to read it publicly. Notice he says “Any time” which may move this beyond just the worship service. To apply his principle to Church life, the Scriptures may only be read by an elder in SS, a community group or Bible study or any ministry of the Church.

So, Paul exhorts Timothy to devote himself to exhortation and teaching, and also “to the public reading of Scripture” (1 Tim. 4:13). Then, Paul explains that these things (including the public reading of Scripture) were entrusted to him as a gift at his ordination, “when the council of elders laid their hands on you” (1 Tim. 4:14). Ordination is therefore a conferring of authority for a man to read the Scriptures publicly, among his other duties.

Remember when I said there must be a command that indicates only officers can read it publicly. He finds a command for Timothy to read them publicly. This command does not, however, limit the reading to Timothy. Paul wants Timothy to exercise his gifts and calling. He was timid and young. It would appear from other things Paul writes to him, particularly in chapter 4, that others were looking down on him, discouraging him and perhaps even hindering him. Timothy, as an elder, needed to exert his proper authority. Being literate, he was one of the few people capable of reading the Scripture publicly. Paul here does not limit such reading to Timothy, however. His commitment to doing so does not prohibit others from also doing so. I’m not trying to resort to sophistry, but trying to rightly divide the Word: affirming what it says, but not making it say more than it does.

The author cites BCO 8-5 to limit the public reading to elders. This is not simply in the context of worship.

We also see this point constitutionally upheld in BCO 8-5, when the BCO singles out “reading…the Word of God” as a particular function of the teaching elder, right alongside preaching and administering the Sacraments.

So, why didn’t he lead with this if it belongs to the particular function of teaching elders alone? These functions are “in addition to those functions he shares with all other elders“. “In addition to” indicates to me that only teaching elders “feed the flock by reading, expounding and preaching the Word of God and to administer the Sacraments.” Here it would appear that only TEs can do these 4 things. Morton Smith appears to affirm this interpretation (pp. 69) in terms of “additional duties that a teaching elder assumes, when he is ordained to his office.” It seems odd to me that public reading of the Scriptures would be the exclusive purview of the TE.

So, if he stopped writing here, the conclusion of his argument would be ONLY TEs may read the Scriptures publicly. But he does continue.

Can Teaching Elders Read the Scripture?

On the other hand, our BCO affirms that “ruling elders possess the same authority…as teaching elders,” and it encourages ruling elders to “cultivate their own aptness to teach the Bible and [to] improve every opportunity of doing so” (BCO 8-9). Ruling elders, then, have been entrusted the authority necessary to read the Word publicly to the congregation.

This is one of the issues that frustrate me about our BCO, apparent contradictions. 8-5 can be understood as granting TE additional responsibilities which includes reading the Scripture (the author argues by good and necessary consequence). REs possess the same authority, but that isn’t the same at the identical duties or functions. For instance, unless there is a TE present there is no administration of the sacraments (much to the consternation of many remote churches without a pastor), and REs are to exhort rather than preach (though I am not sure of the distinction).

However, is this what the BCO means? Again to Morton Smith’s commentary.

All elders, whether teaching or ruling are equal in the courts of the Church. We call this the parity of the elders. Both the teaching and the ruling elders are members of the courts because they are elders. They are both equally eligible to serve in the courts as rulers.” (Smith, pp. 72)

Morton makes no mention of the additional tasks of reading, preaching and administering the sacraments. He speaks of their place in church courts. Of course, Assistant Pastors are not on the Session (one of the courts) despite being elders (another of these constitutional conflicts). Yet, the author indicates that REs can read the Scriptures publicly because they are entrusted with teaching the Bible. To teach one must be free to read the Scriptures.

This gets to my actual point. If you are able to publicly teach in the Church you are able to read the Scriptures publicly. If you can read them in SS or a Bible Study, then you should be able to read them in worship. It is not more or less authoritative based on when you read it publicly (we agree on this, but not on how to apply it).

He appears to take the BCO to a place it doesn’t intend to go. In fact, it would be contrary to Scripture to follow his position.

For instance:

11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, … Ephesians 4 (ESV)

The officers equip the saints for the work of ministry. That ministry should include reading the Scriptures and teaching one another.

I say this because of passages like this:

16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3 (ESV)

How many people have to be present for this “one another” ministry to become “public”? To sing the Psalms is to sing the Word, which should have the same authority as reading the Word. To teach should include reading the Scriptures (or quoting from memory).

If we want to talk about worship, then we should look here:

26 What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. 1 Corinthians 14 (ESV)

Each person is meant to contribute to public worship, not just read words written by others. The Corinthian Christians were to contribute lessons or interpretations of tongues. “Brothers” could include women in terms of range of meaning. And it could mean women contextually as well if we consider 1 Corinthians 11 to affirm women speaking in terms of praying and prophesying (obviously not simply preaching). Some argue Paul is being ironic. I don’t see evidence for irony in this passage. When women are to be silent it could best be understood as when others weigh the prophecies given. The elders should weigh them since this would be exerting authority in the church by determining what is from God. Such a view would harmonize 1 Cor. 11 with 1 Tim. 2 and 1 Cor. 14:34 which is immediately after the instructions of prophecies and weighing them.

I am not arguing for the continuation of tongues and prophecy. I am arguing for the participation of lay people in the worship service. They contribute rather than only saying what they are told to say.

Contrary to the fears of the author, this does not mean that people should think they don’t need to obey God’s Word because it wasn’t read by an elder. It retains its authority because it is God’s Word. We should tremble at His Word no matter who reads it.

His cause is noble. He, in my opinion goes beyond Scripture and unnecessarily binds the consciences of God’s people. He is legislating, and to read the BCO in this way would mean it is legislating. In my opinion this is not a proper exercise of ecclesiastical authority.

Christopher Hutchinson has also written a paper, and summary, on this issue that covers other issues than I do. I recommend it. He covers some different territory than I do and I view it as complementary to what I’ve said.

Views on the BCO

I have found there are two ways of looking at the BCO; two assumptions that determine how we interpret the BCO. The author and I have different assumptions.

The first is like the RPW: you can only do what the BCO says. The BCO says the TE reads the Scripture (though the author adds REs as well). There is no freedom to do that which is not forbidden by the BCO.

The second is like the Lutheran principle of worship: unless God prohibits it, you can do it. While God enjoins the pastor to read the Scriptures publicly there is no prohibition on others. The pastor should regularly read the Scriptures (I read the sermon text every week). But he isn’t the only one permitted to read them.

Let’s give another example. In the ARP Form of Government (before the revision after I left) it noted that Sessions could choose to have terms of office for elders and deacons. You could serve more than one term, but needed to take at least a year off. But Sessions could also choose not to do that but keep men on the Session indefinitely. This was helpful for smaller churches.

When I entered the PCA, the BCO has no such provision. You are an elder for life (unless you are a TE). You only cease to be an RE by death, retirement or resignation of office. Imagine my surprise when some presbyters encouraged another congregation to have a rotating session. That isn’t in there! But neither was it prohibited.

The author is taking a view like the RPW allowing for “good and necessary consequence.” I am taking a view like the Lutheran principle. It lays out what must happen, but not only you might be able to do. It isn’t exhaustive, nor is it meant to be understood as exhaustive. There is a place for the “light of wisdom”.

Those with a strict view of the BCO are often total subscriptionists. They are consistent in their approach. Those with a less strict view of the BCO are system subscriptionists. They are consistent in allowing freedom on what they deem non-essentials or things not addressed in the BCO. The reading of Scripture is essential as an element of worship. It is good, but not necessary, for the pastor to do it.

Can we live together in one denomination, or should those with the less strict view leave? Can we live together in one congregation, or should one group leave?

I would argue for the mark of love, the bearing with one another over these kinds of differences. There is no denomination formed over this question. To force people to leave and enter denominations that actually are more progressive seems a bit much to me. To disagree on who can read the Scriptures publicly should not mean I should join an egalitarian denomination with whom I do not agree on a much more serious matter (women elders).

In our “grass roots” denomination, the Session should have the authority to determine who reads Scripture publicly, just as like they determine who may teach publicly. It is the responsibility of those who hear to recognize it as God’s Word, rather than focus on who is reading it.

Unfortunately we are spending time on this. It is difficult to not think we are straining at gnats here. We should not divide over this issue, but permit each congregation to determine who will read the Scriptures in worship. They should do it well, in the fear of the Lord.

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A friend had some questions about the subject of the newness of the New Covenant. He is struggling with the issue of baptism in light of this. So, I put this together. It isn’t meant to be exhaustive.

A Miniscule History

The issue of the newness of the New Covenant is one that has divided Christians for thousands of years. It became more of an issue after the Reformation as churches split and denominations were formed over this issue. It “began” over the issue of baptism as Lutheran and Reformed continued to practice infant baptism (for different reasons) while seeing more continuity between the application of the sign and seal of righteousness by faith in the Old and New. The Reformed began to articulate Covenant Theology. Anabaptists and then Baptists (they are not the same) stressed the discontinuity of Old and New not only in the sign but to whom the sign may be given. The Particular or Calvinistic Baptists put forth a form of Covenant Theology expressed in The London Baptist Confession that stress the discontinuity more than The Westminster Confession of Faith did.

Dispensationalism upped the ante in the 19th century as the Old Covenant pertained to Israel and the New to the Church. They viewed them as creating two peoples of God with two different futures, and in some sense two different ways of salvation.

Beginning in the 1980’s we saw Progressive Dispensationalism emerge as some began to see that there might be something to that continuity thing. They were looking for a “third way” instead of maintaining all the differences that divided Dispensationalism from Covenant Theology.

New Covenant Theology is the new kid on the block. It views Scripture through the lens of covenants instead of dispensations, but draws sharp discontinuity with regards to the sacraments, and therefore ecclesiology. It stresses a “regenerate church” over the Reformed distinctions between the visible and invisible church.

Administrations of the One Covenant

Covenants, not dispensations, structure our relationship with God. While there is some debate about the covenant of works (I uphold this because we all fell in Adam our covenant or federal head, and are only saved in Christ as our covenant or federal head, see Romans 5:12-21), it is clear that God made the covenant of preservation with Noah (Gen. 9), a covenant with Abraham (Gen. 12; 15; 17), one with Israel through Moses (Ex. 20), one with David regarding the Davidic king (2 Sam. 7) and promised a new covenant which all agree is fulfilled in Christ even if they reject either Covenant Theology or New Covenant Theology.

What our dispensationalist brothers gloss over is that in Jeremiah 31:31 it is said to be made with “the house of Israel and the house of Judah” reuniting the northern and southern kingdoms. In Ezekiel 36:22-32, what is understood to be the New Covenant is spoken to “the house of Israel”. In Ezekiel 37:15-28) we see similar promises to unite the two kingdoms under the one Davidic king and the familiar covenant promise stretching back to Abraham “I will be their God and they will be my people” and that “My dwelling place shall be with them” (vs. 26 as part of this everlasting covenant.

The New Covenant is made with Israel as an administration of the Covenant of Grace. Jesus’ blood is the blood of the New Covenant that he “cuts” in His substitutionary death. But we also see in the Old Covenant that Gentiles are saved when they join the covenant community. There is also the promise of salvation to Gentiles. In the Abrahamic promise the Seed would be a blessing to the nations. In Galatians 3 Paul tells Gentile believers who are not circumcised (not made “Jews”) that they are sons of Abraham. He connects our salvation with the Abrahamic covenant and promises.

We also should note that the Abrahamic Covenant was with “you and your offspring”. God deals with multiple generations. In the Mosaic Covenant, particularly the Ten Commandments we see that God promises to “show steadfast love to thousands” of generations (contrasted with visiting iniquity upon the third and fourth generations) (Ex. 20:5-6). The New Covenant, or Covenant of Peace (Is.54:10) is also that “all your children will be taught by the Lord” (Is. 54:13) and for “their children and their children’s children” (Ez. 37:25). In Acts 2, Peter speaking to the house of Israel says “For this promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off” (vs. 39). The covenant is “expanded” to include the Gentiles. People are saved only in and through Christ. But the covenant promises of forgiveness of sin and the Holy Spirit are for us and our children whether we are Jewish or Gentile believers God has called to Himself.

And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.” Genesis 17

The words used in both the Hebrew and the Greek can mean “new”, but they can also mean “renewed”. Israel broke it, and God was going to renew it with some alterations.

Areas of Continuity in the New or Renewed Covenant

  • Same promise: “I will be your God and you will be my people.” (Jer. 31:33; Ez. 36:28; 37:23, 27)
  • Same people: you and your seed/children
  • Same instrument: righteousness is by faith (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:3-5)
  • Same meaning of the covenant sign: sign and seal that salvation is by faith and regeneration (Rom. 4:11-12; Col. 2:9-12)

The Newness of the New or Renewed Covenant

  • A new promise: the Holy Spirit to indwell (Ez. 36:27; Acts 2:38)
  • New gifts of the Spirit: before it was for prophets, priests and kings. Now all God’s people have them. (Eph. 4)
  • New Priesthood: no longer the Aaronic priesthood, now Jesus is our Great High Priest forever (Heb. 14-8:13 which quotes from Jeremiah 31)
  • New Sacrifice: no longer bulls and other animals but the death of Christ, once for all time (Heb. 9-10)
  • New Humanity: Jews and Gentiles are united in Christ by faith (Eph. 2)
  • New Promised Land: Canaan  the (new or renewed) earth (Mt. 5; Rev. 21-22)
  • New Sign: the bloody sign of circumcision  the unbloody sign of baptism which is connected to circumcision of the heart in Col. 2:9-12.

So, we should not see the signs of covenant membership as completely new, as though the covenant were completely new. They sign and seal the same things (though obviously we have more revelation regarding Christ and the salvation He won). They point to the circumcision of the heart (Dt. 10:16; 30:6; Jer. 4:4; Col. 2:10) which is regeneration or the washing of regeneration (Titus 3:5). The difference reflects the finished work of Christ, not a different covenant. Since the promises of the covenant are the same, and the sign means the same thing, I believe that we should apply the sign as Abraham did (Gen. 17; Rom. 4:9-12). Abraham believed and was circumcised. He then circumcised his children with the sign of the promise so they would believe and be saved. A new convert believes and is baptized, and then their children are baptized with the sign of promise so they may believe and be saved. The calls to baptism we see in the New Testament were to new converts like Abraham.

A Regenerate Church?

New Covenant Theology stress that if you are in the covenant you are regenerate. There is a rejection of the idea that the covenant community on earth is comprised by regenerate and unregenerate people.

One of my friends points to Romans 11.

11 So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. 12 Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean! … 17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root[c] of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. 19 Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. 22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. 23 And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again.

There is one vine (Jn. 15) which is Jesus. Here Paul uses an olive tree. Christ is the tree from which all the branches are fed and grow. The “natural” branches were broken off due to unbelief. These represent unbelieving Jews. If they believe they can easily be grafted in.

Believing Gentiles are the wild branches that have been grafted in. Paul warns them to not be arrogant because if they don’t believe they too can be removed.

If the olive tree is a picture of the covenant community, we see that there are members of the visible church who are not saved due to their unbelief and apostasy. If this is a picture of the regenerate, we see that the regenerate can become unregenerate and lose their salvation. This metaphor only works with the Covenant Theology understanding of the visible church or covenant community. It doesn’t work if to be grafted in is to be in the New Covenant and therefore regenerate. One cannot say that only the regenerate are in the visible church, or that only the regenerate can be baptized. We don’t know who is truly regenerate. Just as there are apostates who were baptized as infants, there are apostates who were baptized on the basis of faith.

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