Archive for the ‘Baptism’ Category

This was my final article for Tabletalk Magazine, published after I left Ligonier Ministries.  It is a short review of Randy Booth’s book Children of the Promise.

I read many books on the subject of infant baptism, but their arguments never connected with my experience.  When I read that Robert Booth used to be a Baptist minister, I thought he could explain it in a way I could understand.  I was not disappointed this time.

He begins his argument with a thorough explanation of covenant theology.  The question of how to interpret the Bible in regards to covenant theology cannot be minimized.  We tend to read the Bible as post-enlightenment, 20th century, individualist Americans.  The original audience(s) understood covenants and the idea of headship.  Keeping this in mind makes the going easier.

Booth then argues for the continuity of the covenant community between New and Old Covenants.  He does this from a variety of New Testament passages.  This is an important part of the argument, and the biblical evidence must be reckoned with before reaching a conclusion.

The ideas which had presented a problem for me were those of signs and seals of the covenant.  Booth explained them in a way which made sense and made infant baptism nearly unavoidable.  His comparision of circumcision and baptism was most helpful.  They are not identical, but the continuity is important.  There is much misunderstanding concerning the meaning of circumcision today.  This chapter is useful in correcting this problem.  He also reminds us baptism represents what God has done, not what we do.  Here, too, there is much confusion to be removed from the conversationn.  Booth’s presentation is clear and powerful.

The last sections of the book deal with the concept of household baptism followed by a summary of the argument for infant baptism.  In these chapters, indeed the whole book, Booth interacts with the ideas of baptistic theologians like Jewett, Kingdon and Strong.  Booth answered all of the objections to infant baptism I had.  This book, published by P & R, can help those who struggle with this issue.

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Still working through the Westminster Confession of Faith.  Here are the sections on the Covenant and Christ our Mediator.

Chapter VII: Of God’s Covenant with Man

80. What is a covenant (in terms of God’s relationship with man)?  It is a bond sealed in blood by which God has redeemed His people, and outlines how we are to live as His people.

81. What is meant by the “covenant of works” (or, “of life”)? Does it have a present validity?  It was the covenant under which Adam lived in the Garden.  It is the covenant under which we all fell into sin with him.  All who are in Adam remain in the covenant of works and shall experience the just condemnation due them.

82. What is meant by the “covenant of grace”?  It is covenant in which Jesus is offered as our Redeemer who perfectly obeyed in our place  that we might receive covenant blessings, and died in our place suffering the penalty for our sins committed under the covenant of works.

83. Explain the statement that there is one unified covenant of grace with various administrations. Distinguish from dispensations. The revelation of that covenant was progressive and expansive.  Each successive covenant provided greater clarity and blessing rather than replace previous covenants.  In dispensationalism, each successive dispensation replaces the previous dispensation.

84. What are the signs and seals of the covenant? Circumcision and Passover in the OT; Baptism & the Lord’s Table in the NT

85. Are you personally committed to covenant theology? Yes.


Chapter VIII: Of Christ the Mediator

86. Why is the office of Christ as Mediator necessary for the salvation of God’s elect?  Apart from the work of a Mediator, we perish in our sins.  God is just and he can’t just wipe the slate clean.  Someone must be punished for our sins, and we need real obedience to receive covenant blessings.

87. Could God have pardoned sin without Christ’s sacrifice?  No, for no mere man is able to perfectly obey God but sin each day in thought, word and deed.  God is just and must punish sin.  No other substitute was available.


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Here are my answers to the study notes as I prepare for my oral exam next week.  I thought some people might be interested in the types of things I must know.  Since there are over 300 questions, I’ll go chapter by chapter through the Westminster Confession of Faith.  Please …. I’m not putting them up to debate issues.  I recognize that not all Christians will agree on these matters.  It may not represent your doctrinal standards, but it is mine.  If you think I misunderstood the Confession of Faith, I’m open to correction as long as you keep in mind that perhaps you have misunderstood the Westminster Confession of Faith.

Chapter I: Of The Holy Scriptures

1. Distinguish between “general” and “special” revelation.  “General” revelation is available to all men everywhere.  The creation declares God’s invisible attributes (Ps. 19, Rom. 1).  “Special” revelation is the Scriptures.

2. Is general revelation clear? Is it authoritative? Is it sufficient? To what end?  “General” revelation is clear, and it is authoritative.  It is sufficient only that we may know that God exists.  Our sinful nature distorts and twists “general” revelation such that people either deny there is a God or they worship a false god.  It is insufficient for us to know how we may be saved.  As a result, it is sufficient to condemn us.

3. According to the Confession, why are the Scriptures necessary? They are necessary that we might know what we are to believe concerning God and what duty He requires of us.  They are necessary due to the lies and attacks of the flesh, Satan and the world against God and truth.

4. What are the four attributes of Scripture and what is meant by them?  Authority, sufficiency, infallible, & clarity.  The Scriptures have authority on all matters to which they speak because they are God’s Word to us. They are sufficient in that they tell us all we need to know for our salvation and life of godliness.  They are infallible meaning they are fully reliable and not deceived or deceiving.  Clarity means that all that we need to know is clearly expressed.  Non-essential matters are less clear.

5. What is meant by the Scripture’s self attestation?   Scripture itself teaches that God is its author.

6. Describe for us your understanding of inerrancy?  The original manuscripts contain no errors or falsehoods, therefore Scripture is reliable.


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Many a tree has been killed over the topic of the proper mode of baptism.  I am not referring to the use of the trinitarian formula.  I am referring to whether or not one must be immersed or if sprinkling and pouring are also legitimate modes of baptism.  For some people this is pretty much a hill to die on.  For others, this is not an essential of the faith and they permit some flexibility in the matter.

As a credobaptist (believer’s baptism) I often heard that the Greek verb means “to immerse, to dip.”  The total argument was based on the “meaning of the word.”  Let’s briefly investigate this claim.

From The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (abridged):

The Meaning of

baŒptoµ and baptéŒzoµ. baŒptoµ, “to dip in or under,” “to dye,” “to immerse,” “to sink,” “to drown,” “to bathe,” “wash.”

I don’t know about you, but I do not often immerse myself when I wash.  I essentially pour water over my hands, or body when I shower.  Such an understanding would be within the semantic range of the verb.  Immersion is a legitimate mode of baptism, but possibly not the only legitimate mode of baptism.

So far, not very convincing.  Right?  What if I pointed out an instance in Scripture where baptism did not mean “immerse”?

There are 2 parallel passages that help us to see the fulness of the term found in Scripture.

4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”  (Acts 1, NIV)

Jesus is speaking about the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.  The disciples were going to be baptized by the Holy Spirit.  This event takes place in Acts 2, and Peter offers a biblical theological explanation for what the people just experienced, or witnessed (in the case of the crowd who did not yet believe).

16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.  (Acts 2, NIV)

Peter informs the people that God promised this would happen.  It was a fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy (Joel 2).  This “baptism with the Holy Spirit” is described as God “pour(ing) out (His) Spirit.”  The semantic range is more limited- “to pour out, to shed (as in blood).”  We are not immersed in the Spirit

Using this parallelism, in which one verse helps us to understand another (called the analogy of Scripture in the Westminster Confession of Faith & the London Baptist Confession).  This is also part of how we do theology in Scripture.  You include the range of meaning, look at synomyns, other grammatical concerns and historical context.  Here we see that baptism can also mean “to pour.”

If you want to immerse when you baptize- have at it.  But it would be biblically improper to limit the proper mode of baptism to immersion.  Those who have been sprinkled and poured by legitimate churches are just as baptized as you.  The issue is not how much water touches your body.

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My, he's a squirmy one!

My, he is a squirmy one!

It was long overdue.  This is what happens when you don’t have a call and you are a Presbyterian.  My membership is with my Presbytery, not a local church.  This complicated & delayed the process of baptizing CavSon.  [I have a few posts on the Reformed position on baptizing infants- not all views on infant baptism are the same.  I forgot to put a post up about mode of baptism.  This week, Lord willing.]

Amie has now joined the local PCA church in which we worship.  Yesterday morning we had him baptized.  Our friend Danny, who is the Associate Pastor, handled the explanation and vows.  I handled the squirming son, and the actual baptism.  It took quite some time as Danny kept losing his place due to the side show going on around him.  CavSon kept wanting to play with the ear piece from the wireless system I had on since I was preaching.

May blessings break upon his head.

May blessings break upon his head.

He did much better when I actually poured water on his head.  He seemed to like that.  Of course, he had been working up a sweat.  Afterward he wanted to play with the rest of the water, which was not a surprise to either of us.  It was great for CavDaughter to watch this.  She was up there with us initially, but she was quite antsy too, so we had her sit with friends.  She’s on the video.  We talked with her a little bit about it the previous day or two.  She knows she has been baptized, and we should show her that video.  She’s fascinated by pictures of herself when she was a baby.

We received word while we were in Jacksonville that his new birth certificates had arrived at the lawyer’s office.  I picked them up this morning.  Now we can work toward his U.S. citizenship.  But he is now part of the visible church, which is great news in my book.  May his adoption into our family eventually result in his being adopted into God’s family.

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Justin Taylor (Between Two Worlds) linked to a post by Ray Ortland  that is a good reminder for all of us who are Reformed in our theology (I spoke with a potential real estate agent about that this morning).  Here is some of what he says:

The Judaizers in Galatia did not see their distinctive – the rite of circumcision – as problematic. They could claim biblical authority for it in Genesis 17 and the Abrahamic covenant. But their distinctive functioned as an addition to the all-sufficiency of Jesus himself. Today the flash point is not circumcision. It can be Reformed theology. But no matter how well argued our position is biblically, if it functions in our hearts as an addition to Jesus, it ends up as a form of legalistic divisiveness.

Paul answered the theological aspects of the Galatian error with solid theology. But the “whiff test” that something was wrong in those Galatian churches was more subtle than theology alone. The problem was also sociological. “They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them” (Galatians 4:17). In other words, “The legalists want to ‘disciple’ you. But really, they’re manipulating you. By emphasizing their distinctive, they want you to feel excluded so that you will conform to them.” It’s like chapter two of Tom Sawyer. Remember how Tom got the other boys to whitewash the fence for him? Mark Twain explained: “In order to make a man or boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain.” Paul saw it happening in Galatia. But the gospel makes full inclusion in the church easy to attain. It re-sets everyone’s status in terms of God’s grace alone. God’s grace in Christ crucified, and nothing more. He alone makes us kosher. He himself.

So, while I agree with J.I. Packer and Roger Nicole that “Calvinism is the gospel” (meaning the most accurate understanding of the biblical gospel), I need to be wary of my little inner Pharisee which tends to make that a litmus test.  I have been fortunate to be friends with people from a variety of Christian ‘traditions’, and continue to be.  But sometimes my inner Pharisee appears and I try to convert them to Reformed theology instead of waiting for Jesus to sort all that out.  Oh, I should be willing to discuss it with them but I shouldn’t feel the need to argue them into it.  (Apologies to all those I’ve done this to … there are more of you than I probably know.)  One phrase I used in seminary was “you don’t have to understand gravity for it to still have an effect on you.”  It is the same way with grace- we don’t always have a good understanding of the “hows” but what matters is that it has effected someone savingly.  The understanding will come later (sometimes MUCH later).  And that goes for me too, for all of us have blind spots in our theology.  But if they grasp Jesus by faith- they are Christians, part of his church, body and bride.


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Phriday Phun Photo


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I don’t have a Google or Blogger account so I can’t leave comments on Between Two Worlds. Justin has been blogging on baptism lately. He recently posted Lig Duncan’s thoughts on Acts 2 arguing for infant baptism. He, obviously, disagrees with Lig. The comments are interesting, to say the least. I’ve got a few thoughts on the matter (shocker).

Credo baptists seem to be building a chain of events. Peter told those adults wanting to know how to be saved to “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off- for all whom the Lord our God will call.” Justin takes this to mean that repentance is necessary to baptism. In this is the case, would baptism be just as necessary to receive the Holy Spirit? Do you see the quagmire that begins. This is why some have ended up with baptism being necessary for salvation.

Peter tells those adults convicted to repent and be baptized. This is a missionary situation of sorts- he was addressing a large group of unbelievers. Those converting to Christianity from other religions need to be baptized. Both infant and believers baptism advocates agree there. Peter’s command is for people in a particular set of circumstances- which new converts to Christianity fit.  His words are appropriate for them.


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Justin Taylor has Wayne Grudem’s response to his friend John Piper.  Funny that Grudem’s wife thought Piper made some very good points.

Grudem’s points are good, to a point.  Essential, paedobaptists would be treated like legal aliens in the States.  Able to enjoy some of the privileges of being involved in the church (the Table, small groups), and taking some responsibilities (tithing), but having no viable say in what happens in the congregation (no voting rights) and therefore the denomination, if it belongs to one.

Most Reformed paedobaptist groups (we baptize for very different reasons than say Roman Catholics or Lutherans) allow credo baptists into membership.  They do not violate the conscience of those credo baptists, and I’ve not heard of church discipline ever being exercised against any members who didn’t baptize their children (though I’m sure there have been some pastors & churches rigid enough to do so).  The only stipulation put on them may have been, like at the congregation Piper pastors, that they not be made elders.  So in this instance, most Reformed paedobaptist groups are acting more like the church than most credo baptist groups.  I’ve shared elsewhere that if you are in a small community with few church options, you may be ‘forced’ to violate your conscience and be baptized again if you want to have full membership rights (my mother-in-law was in just such a position).  This seems far from the loving position to take on a disagreement on who should be baptized (not that baptism is important and all members should be baptized).


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Justin Taylor has the substance of Grudem’s revised Systematic Theology, where he changed his stance on compromising on baptism in the local church.  I addressed that hereJohn Piper has responded to his good friend, Wayne Grudem, and I agree that this should not divide the local church.  He makes some great points, even for a credo baptist.  🙂

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(I adapted this from our church’s website, removing some of the peculiarities of our congregation’s worship to focus on the normative rather than circumstantial.)

I believe that the elements of true and proper worship are found in Scripture.   They are: singing songs of praise, prayers, the reading and preaching of God’s Word, celebrating the Sacraments, giving of tithes and offerings, the confession of sin and dedication of ourselves to Christ.  How any particular congregation chooses to perform those elements is largely determined by the cultural context of that congregation.  Like Paul, I think we should seek to please God alone in our beliefs (Galatians 1), and seek to please men in cultural matters that we might win some to Christ (1 Corinthians 9).  In other words, it must be Scripturally sound and culturally relevant.  To worship as a church of another time and place is to disobey God’s command.

As a result, I believe that no style of music is necessarily better than any other.  The songs we sing should reflect the themes found in the Scripture texts used that day.  There should be agreement between words and music so they enhance the message found in the words.  Therefore, we should utilize songs from the whole history of the church.  Each tradition of music has its own strengths and weaknesses.  Used together, well, they work together for a more meaningful time of worship. 

Traditional Hymns (for the lack of a better term) originated in the time of the Reformation.  They stress God’s power, might and holiness.  They usually do not have choruses.  They are usually doctrinally oriented, or stress objective truth.  They are oriented toward loving God with our minds.

Revival Era Hymns (1850’s- 1950’s) arose from the Second Great Awakening.  They usually added a chorus, and were easier to sing than many of the traditional hymns.  They stressed the subjective, or the personal commitment and devotion to Christ found in the Second Great Awakening.  They are oriented toward loving God with our will.

Contemporary Songs (or Praise and Worship music) arose from the Jesus People movement in the 1970’s.  These songs were shorter and tended to be more subjective.  However, they were often taken directly from Scripture.  They highlighted the fact that God was at work in our lives and not just “out there” (or holy).  They are oriented toward loving God with our heart.

Modern Worship (or what I call Postmodern Worship Music).  This music tends to recapture the holiness and greatness of God, but maintains God’s involvement in our lives.  This awesome God is intimate with His people.  These songs tend to be both doctrinal, and experiential.  The best of them are oriented toward loving God with our heart, mind and will. (more…)

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I was (pleasantly) surprised to discover that in the new, proposed revision to their Statement of Faith, the EFCA is considering dropping references to the premillenial position.  Their commentary on the change was very interesting as well.

The Evangelical Free Church is trying to walk that tightrope between preserving essential Christian doctrine and allowing freedom on non-essentials.  They recognize the important doctrines that are clear in Scripture, yet allow differing viewpoints on the unclear.  For instance- they affirm water baptism as valid and important to the life of the church (unlike the hyper-dispensationalists who affirm only spirit baptism: that was a strange discussion), but recognize that godly people take differing views on who may be baptized.  So, they do not exclude those who practice infant baptism, as many/most baptistic groups do.


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Justin Taylor (Between Two Worlds) interviewed Dr. Tom Schreiner about baptism as his new book on the subject is about to be released.  As a former Reformed Credo-Baptist turned paedobaptist, I certainly disagree with Dr. Schreiner on a few of the finer details of this discussion (note- this is not a conversation 🙂 ).

But I take some exception with what he says here: 

You argue that Reformed evangelicals who baptize their babies are inconsistent–how so?

“We love fellow believers from Reformed churches with whom we share so many precious truths, especially in terms of the doctrines of grace. The Reformed are inconsistent, however, in that they require adults who are baptized to be believers, while they baptize infants who are unbelievers. Steve Wellum and Shawn Wright demonstrate that to do this they have to redefine what they previously said about the doctrine of baptism and use the theological (but, in the way they use it to support infant baptism, biblically unjustifiable) construct of the “covenant of grace” as proof of their position. “

If we are inconsistent in this matter, so is Genesis 17 & Romans 4.  Both texts refer to the application of circumcision.  In the case of Abraham is pointed to the faith he possessed.  In the case of his children it pointed to the faith they were to possess.  Converting male Gentiles prior to Jesus and the New Covenant were to be circucumcised, as were their infants in keeping with the covenant (as it is referred to in Genesis 17).

I suppose I would ask, what is the eternal covenant in Hebrews 13:20 referring to?  I don’t think we’ve invented anything.  Nor do I think we are any more ‘inconsistent’ than the Scriptures on this issue.  I’m disappointed in how Dr. Schreiner chose to express this.  No, I won’t be burning any of his books.  I just disagree with his assessment of me and my brothers on this matter. 

Where we disagree is on what we believe God has said about those who are to be baptized.  He ties it to faith.  We tie it to the covenant.  In the Old Covenant the sign was circumcision.  In the New Testament the sign is baptism.  We say the application of the sign is the same (though now woman are to be baptized now).  We are consistent with our understanding of the Scriptures.  I suppose he is consistent with his understanding of the Scriptures.  But it seems quite unfair to accuse us of inconsistency when the problem is we are inconsistent with HIS theology & practice, not in our theology & practice.  Does that make sense? 

 He’s comparing one theology to another with the assumption that his is correct and the standard by which others are measured (judging us by his theology, not Scripture).  The issue ought to be: whose theology & practice most closely resembles the Word.  He doesn’t seem to be doing this in his claims concerning those he loves.

In speaking of Colossians he says: “Further, the NT does not draw a connection between physical circumcision and baptism, but spiritual circumcision and baptism (Col. 2:11-12). There is not complete continuity between the Sinai covenant and the new covenant.”

Isn’t physical circumcision a picture of spiritual circumcision?  What the physical circumcision pointed to (the cutting of the heart) physical baptism now points to.  So this argument would appear to fall apart in my estimation.

Reformed people do not say there is complete continuity between the covenants.  We agree with him that there are areas of discontinuity.  But he establishes a strawman to win his argument, which frankly seems quite unfair.  You must argue against a position that is actually held, not a mythological position held by no one. 

This does not prove that Dr. Schreiner is wrong in his theology- only that he has not argued his position well or fairly.  I don’t want to be ‘guilty’ of the same lapse in logic/argumentation.

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I was disappointed to see that Wayne Grudem backtracked on his baptismal compromise.  At the time he discussed this in his Systematic Theology, he was in an Evangelical Free Church.  According to Grudem (since I didn’t know this and could be wrong) they accept people baptized as infants into membership without baptizing them again.  They are the only denomination that does this, and he now thinks this is a mistake although the EFC has maintained peace with this compromise.  I do believe that Bethlehem Baptist, where Piper is pastor, does this as well, though such people cannot be in leadership.  The Acts 29 Network also allows some freedom among its churches on this practice.

If you read my other posts on baptism, you can see that I believe the Bible teaches 1st generation Christians to be baptized at conversion (based on profession of faith), and to baptize their children (as Paul discusses Abraham in Romans 4).  Where some go wrong, I think, is in forgetting that Paul’s letters were written to 1st generation Christians who were baptized on profession.  So in 1 Corinthians they all had put on Christ.  But this would not rule out infant baptism for a man who believed the Old Testament Scriptures are useful to train us in righteousness.

In my denomination this is becoming a problem.  In our church plants many families choose not to baptize their children.  So the question becomes… do we put them on church rolls?  Are they considered a part of the visible Church?  Obviously credo-baptists have a difficult time calling them part of the visible church (consistently) if they have not been baptized- the sign of entrance into the community of Jesus.

In our congregation, we do not have unanimity on this issue.  Our standard for membership is that you have been baptized- not when you have been baptized.  We strongly encourage people to baptize their children.  Although I may think they are wrong to not do so, we do not exercise church discipline on them.  We see this as a matter of disagreement among brothers.

I have long wished more groups could see it this way.  My mother-in-law had to be baptized again to join a church in rural NY.  If you have been in upstate NY, you know that there are not many church options.  This church asked her to violate her conscience so she could join and participate fully in the life of the church- instead of remaining a second class citizen.  I think this is horrific.

I think it is horrific that we allow a sacrament meant to unite all Christians to divide Christians who simply disagree on when baptism should be administered.  We all agree it points to more than getting wet- that it is a picture of the gospel, that baptism itself does not save.  I don’t want to violate people’s conscience on a matter that is not essential to their salvation.  And I don’t want mine violated as well (I was baptized as an adult- but I want to be free to baptize my children believing this is what God commands me to do).

This is an issue that will not go away.  It will become all the more important with church plants in relatively unreached areas.  Whose baptism will you accept?  I’ll do my piece on mode of baptism later- which will make most of the debate on that a bunch of meaningless hot air.  Really, brothers & sisters, why are we fighting about this (and I love a good theological debate)?

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Oh Yeah, Infant Baptism

Some time ago I began to explain infant baptism from the New Testament.  I wrote about Romans 4 at that time.  Today I want to look at Matthew 28 briefly.  Here is what Jesus told them: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and made disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Jesus is giving them their marching orders.  They are His ambassadors.  The main verb is to “make disciples”.  Two participles explain that.  We make disciples by baptizing them and teaching them to observe all He has commanded us.

So… which comes first, the baptizing or the teaching?  Does it matter? In other words, are these words in this order for a reason or accidentally?  I have a hard time thinking that Jesus didn’t choose His words carefully (or that the Spirit was careless in the inspiration of Matthew).

Discipleship begins with baptism and continues with teaching them to obey all He commanded.  Baptism comes first.

Most credo-baptists would agree.  “Yes, baptize the adult and teach him to obey.”  But what of our children?  Do we reverse the order and teach them to obey even though they have not yet been baptized?  Or… do we not make disciples of them until such time as they make a profession of faith and THEN baptize and instruct them to obey?

Here are some of the fallacies perpetrated by many of the credo-baptist books I read when I was a credo-baptist.  They fail to distinguish between receiving the sign of the covenant and salvation.  So they often think that all who are baptized are saved.  They fail to see that God commanded Abraham to circumcise people He knew would not be saved.  So, by their reasoning I must believe that my child is saved because I have had her baptized.

No.  We recognize that the sign does not save us.  Nor does the sign mean we are saved (for there have been false professors baptized as adults).  We recognize this in the Old Testament (Genesis 17), and in the New Testament.  Not all disciples are saved.  Not all professing Christians are saved.  The sign of the covenant (as we saw from Romans 4) was not given to show they were saved, but to remind them how they were, or were to be, saved.

Baptism is the first step of disciplemaking.  My daughter was baptized, and we will be teaching her to obey everything Jesus has commanded- including to believe on Him.  Because I don’t believe the word order in this passage is accidental, I believe in infant baptism.

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In keeping with the latest issue of CT, these are in no particular order.  This goes beyond the good book moniker to those that shaped, and reshaped my mind and heart.  (Links will take you to the Westminster Theological Seminary Bookstore.)

Dan Allender (often with Tremper Longman): Bold Love, The Healing Path & Intimate Allies.

Jerry Bridges: Transforming Grace & The Joy of Fearing God.

J.I. Packer: Knowing God, Keep in Step with the Spirit, Rediscovering Holiness.

John Piper: Desiring God, God is the GospelThe Purifying Power of Faith in Future Grace, & Let the Nations Be Glad.

John Owen: The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, On Sin & Temptation.

Jonathan Edwards: The Works of Jonathan Edwards Vol. 1, Charity and Its Fruit.

Thomas Boston: Human Nature in its Four-Fold State.

Jeremiah Burroughs: A Treatise of Earthly-Mindedness, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment.

Mark Strom: The Symphony of Scripture

Randy Booth: Children of Promise (finally someone explained it so this credo baptist in reaction to his Roman upbringing could get infant baptism)

A.A. Hodge: The Atonement

Mark Driscoll: Radical Reformission (I’ve just started Confessions of a Reformission Rev.)


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Paul, unlike many modern Evangelicals, was not a Dispensationalist.  I know that is shocking to some of you, but 2 of his statements about the Old Testament are vital to correctly understanding the Bible, and this particular question.

First, 1 Corinthians 10:11 “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.”  Though we stand in a different place, a better place, in the history of redemption, we can learn from what we see in the OT.  They are not just a nice prologue, or history.  As Dr. Pratt would say, make the epochal adjustment, but there is application for us.

Second and more importantly, 2 Timothy 3:15-7. “…and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Messiah Jesus.  All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

The Scripture Timothy grew up with was the OT.  All Paul says here is true about the OT, to limit it to the NT is to insult the God of grace and truth.  The OT is useful for training us in righteousness.  That this is so is reflected in Paul numerous quotes of and allusions to the OT as he does theology.  One place he does that is Romans 4.

Paul goes back to father Abraham to see what he learned about matter- how sinners are made righteous.  There we find some things that help us to better understand baptism.  Beginning in verse 11:


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Baby Dedications

This past Sunday we attended a nice church up here in the middle of no-where.  There are few options- and this one is one of the better options.  It is a Bible Church.  Though it is not coming from the same stream of thought and faith that I am, there is nothing that makes me pound my head against the pew, or chair, and cry in anguish (trust me, I’ve been there before).  But they did have a baby dedication.

I was once a credo-baptist (for a decade), and a covenantal (reformed) credo-baptist for much of that time.  I believed all the arguments for believer’s baptism (and no longer agree with them).

So, my credo-baptist friends and brothers, I’m throwing down the gaunlet so to speak.  What is the biblical basis for dedicating infants?  I ask this since one of the “great arguments” against infant baptism is the lack of an explicit command to baptize infants.  Where did this 3rd sacrament- baby dedication- arise from in Scripture?  (btw, I’m looking for good dialogue, not inflammatory name-calling).

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