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Archive for August, 2016

The Household Baptisms Of The New Testament

by David Cason

I. Preliminary Considerations

If the great debate over who should be baptized could be distilled into one question, it would be this:

Should only those who personally profess gospel faith be baptized, or should the children of those professing believers be baptized as well?1

When an argument is made for the latter, paedobaptist2 view, an appeal is inevitably made to those instances in the New Testament when a “household” is said to have been baptized. Since all agree that every other recorded instance of baptism is that of a professing believer, the interpretation of these texts is crucial. Only in these “household” passages can the paedobaptist allege that the Scriptures record the actual baptism of the non-confessing child of a believer (or, put more carefully, the baptism of one party on the basis of another’s faith). A close exegetical examination of those passages is therefore desirable.3

If they evidence a difference from the other recorded New Testament baptisms, or exegetically connect with the Old Testament concept of household circumcision4 , much legitimate ground is gained in the argument for infant baptism. But, if the texts in question fail to yield such evidence, the argument for the practice of infant baptism will have been dealt a substantial blow.

Understanding the pivotal importance of these verses, it is worthwhile to consider briefly some simple interpretive principles which apply to the exposition of the Word. Scripture is the interpreter of Scripture. The clear passages of Scripture must be allowed to interpret the dark, and the complete passages to interpret the elliptical. There exist in Scripture both detailed and abbreviated accounts of these “household” baptisms. It is neither sound nor admissible for the paedobaptist to use the shorter accounts in such a way as to bring them into conflict with the fuller narratives.6 This implies, naturally, that the passages must be exegeted. It is entirely inadmissible, though common enough in practice, to merely reference such passages as conclusive proof texts, or to dismiss anti-paedobaptist arguments with a casual wave of the word “house” or “household,” without looking at what the verses actually record.7 With these ground rules in mind, we turn to the Scriptural narratives.

Download the pdf here.


1 This is a modern way of putting the question. It ought to be stated, Should only those who profess gospel faith be baptized, or should those subject to that professed believer’s household authority be baptized as well? But because this more accurate phrasing seriously damages the paedobaptist argument in the modern world, the question is rarely framed in this more logically (and biblically) consistent fashion.

2 paedobaptist – one who advocates infant baptism

3 And yet, it is this close exegetical examination which is almost never present in paedobaptist apologetic. For example, James Bannerman, in his crucial and exhaustive work on the Presbyterian view of the church, spends 26 pages giving what amounts to a purely theological argument for infant membership in the covenant. He disposes of the household baptism passages in less than two pages, never undertaking an actual exegesis of any. Despite the lack of careful analysis, he does not hesitate to cite the verses as absolute and final testimony in favor of infant baptism, with overstatement that borders on the fantastic. He writes, “…nothing more is necessary, in regard to the practice of the Primitive Church in the matter of infant baptism, than to refer to the frequent and almost constant mention of the Baptism of ‘households’ and ‘families,’ in which it is morally certain that there must have been infant members….Such expressions as these, interpreted in the light of the previous undoubted practice of the Jewish Church, can admit of only one meaning….Under the circumstances of the Apostolic Church, the repeated mention of household or family Baptism is itself decisive evidence of the practice by which infants were baptized.” (Bannerman, James, The Church of Christ, 2:92-93).

Samuel Miller is carried away in similar fashion, but for Miller, two pages is two too many. After merely adducing three “household” passages, and admitting that there is no proof of actual infant baptism in any of them, he nonetheless offers them as a kind of impregnable defense. Miller writes “Now, though we are not certain that there were young children in any of these families, it is highly probable there were. At any rate, the great principle of family baptism of receiving all the younger members of households on the faith of their domestic head, seems to be plainly and decisively established. This furnishes ground on which the advocate of infant baptism may stand with unwavering confidence.” (Miller, Samuel, Infant Baptism Scriptural and Reasonable). Miller also exemplifies the characteristic misstatement of the question described in footnote 1 above.

John Calvin, after a discussion marked most by the number and diversity of its ad personam attacks on those who question the doctrine of infant baptism, dispenses with all the household passages in a single sentence. He writes, “For although this is not expressly narrated by the Evangelists, yet as they are not expressly excluded when mention is made of any baptized family, (Acts 16:15, 32), what man of sense will argue from this that they were not baptized?” (Calvin, John, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book IV, Chapter 16.8).

4 E.g. Genesis 17:23

5 This is not a controversial doctrine. It is standard Reformation interpretive practice. The principle is so widely recognized that it was made a matter of confessional bond by the Puritan authors of the Westminster documents. “The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is Scripture itself: and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of and Scripture (which is not manifold, but one) it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.” (Westminster Confession of Faith, 1:10).

6 Again, this is hardly an extreme notion. Every Calvinist regularly uses the “Scripture with Scripture” methodology when explaining the meaning of the word “world” in the various passages concerning the extent of the atonement. And no sound interpreter would say that the more limited narratives in the Gospel of Mark control the interpretation of the longer accounts given in Luke or Matthew.

7 This is the interpretive norm in paedobaptist treatments. See footnote 3 for some notable examples.


Disclaimer: I am not familiar with David Cason, therefore a link to this article does not mean that I endorse everything he believes or teaches concerning doctrine. However, linking to this article means that I believe he has rightly exegeted the “household baptism” texts over and against the paedobaptists interpretation of said text.

A Critical Evaluation of Paedobaptism

August 23, 2016 2 comments

I may have shared this article once before, but here it is again


Revision 1.3

By Greg Welty (M.Div, Westminster Theological Seminary; B.A., UCLA)

The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him–Proverbs 18:17 A printed version is available from:

Reformed Baptist Publications

2001 W. Oak Avenue

Fullerton, CA 92833-3624

(714) 447-3412 (Office & FAX)

Introduction

As a Baptist student at a Reformed seminary, I encountered many theological pressures — from students and teachers alike — to convert to a paedobaptistic view. After much study, I came out convinced that “Reformed Baptist” was not a contradiction of terms (as my paedobaptist peers admonished me), but a qualification of terms, a subjecting of the traditionally Reformed version of covenant theology to a more careful biblical scrutiny. And so while abundantly grateful for my training in Reformed theology at seminary, for both the piety and the scholarship of my professors, I have concluded that the doctrine of infant baptism is neither a good nor necessary consequence deduced from Scripture (to use the language of the Westminster Confession of Faith, I.vi).

In my readings on the subject of baptism, Paul K. Jewett’s Infant Baptism and the Covenant of Grace(2) was a revolutionary treatment of the subject. It was the first full-length book I had seen which actually critiqued the doctrine of infant baptism from the perspective of covenant theology itself. Some may debate as to how faithful Jewett actually is to the details of covenant theology, as those details are spelled out in the Reformed confessions. But his basic identification of the problem as one of biblical theology was quite insightful. Avoiding a blatantly dispensational approach, he applies the Reformed emphasis on unity and progress in redemptive history to the sacraments themselves, thus beating the paedobaptists at their own game of continuity and discontinuity. To those who are familiar with Jewett, it will be clear that I am indebted to him at several points.

This paper was originally written to fill a primary need among the seminary interns and other young men at my church. My own experience has taught me that nondispensational, Calvinistic baptists are perpetually tempted to look over the fence of their small and often divisive camp and covet the ministry opportunities available in conservative Presbyterian circles. Many have made this leap, and often do so because they simply don’t have a deep, Scripturally-based conviction that the baptist view is correct. Rather, they have absorbed their baptistic sentiments culturally and emotionally, and thus often lose them by the same means. Many have not been presented with an extended series of biblical arguments against infant baptism, a set of arguments which is at the same time consistent with their own nondispensational and Calvinistic perspective. So consider the following to be a resource for seminary and Bible students who want a quick, clear, and accessible summary of the leading reasons why Reformed Baptists (and all biblical Christians) ought not to embrace the doctrine of infant baptism.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

There are many expressions used in the Scriptures indefinitely rather than specifically, and which are not to be understood without qualification

Arthur PinkThere are many expressions used in the Scriptures indefinitely rather than specifically, and which are not to be understood without qualification. Some of them are more or less apparent, others can only be discovered by a comparison and study of other passages treating of the same subject. Thus, “the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it” (Acts 28:28, and cf. 11:18) did not signify that every one of them would do so. Similarly,

“The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together” (Isaiah 40:5)

and “I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh” (Acts 2:17) were simply announcements that the grace of God was to overflow the narrow bounds of Israel after the flesh. So too “the world” has a variety of meanings and is very rarely synonymous with all mankind. In such passages as John 7:4, and 12:19, only a very small part of its inhabitants were included. In Luke 2:1, the profane world is in view; in John 15:18, 19, the professing world, for it was the religious sections of Israel which hated Christ. In John 14:17, and 17:9, it is the non-elect who are referred to—compare “the world of the ungodly” (2 Peter 2:5), whereas in John 1:29, and 6:33, it is the world of God’s elect, who are all actually saved by Christ.

Another word which is used in the Bible with considerable latitude is “all,” and very rarely is it found without limitation.

“All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matthew 21:22)

obviously means whatsoever we ask that is according to God’s will (1 John 5:14). When the apostles said to Christ, “All seek for Thee” (Mark 1:37), that “all did marvel” at His miracles (Mark 5:20), and that “all the people came unto Him” in the temple (John 8:2), those expressions were far from signifying the sum total of the inhabitants of Palestine. When Luke tells his readers that he “had perfect understanding of all things from the very first” (1:3), and when we are informed that Christ foretold all things (Mark 13:23) unto His apostles, such language is not to be taken absolutely. In like manner such statements as “all glorified God for that which was done” (Acts 4:21), “this is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law” (Acts 21:28), “thou shalt be His witness unto all men” (Acts 22:15), are to be regarded relatively. Consequently, in the light of those examples, when he deals with “He died for all” (2 Corinthians 5:15) and “gave Himself a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:6), the expositor must ascertain from other Scriptures (such as Isaiah 53:8; Matthew 1:21; Ephesians 5:25) whether they mean all mankind or all who believe.

The same is true of the expression “every man” (see for instance, Mark 8:25; Luke 16:16; Romans 12:3; and compare 2 Thessalonians 3:2; 1 Corinthians 4:5). So too the words “all things.” Neither “all things are clean unto you” (Luke 11:41) nor “all things are lawful unto me” (1 Corinthians 6:12) can be taken at face value, or many Scriptures would be contradicted. “I am made all things to all men” (1 Corinthians 9:22), must be explained by what immediately precedes. The “all things” of Romans 8:28, has reference to “the sufferings of this present time,” and the “all things” of 8:32, means the “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). The “times of restitution of all things” (Acts 3:21) is at once modified by the words immediately following: “which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began,” and most certainly none of them predicted the restoration of the Devil, and his angels to their pristine glory. “To reconcile all things unto Himself” (Colossians 1:20) must not be understood to teach undiluted Universalism, or every passage affirming the eternal damnation of the Christless would be contradicted.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

3 Pieces of Marriage Advice from Spurgeon’s Mother-In-Law

Charles Spurgeon abandoned his fiancée on a Sunday afternoon. After lunch, a carriage took the betrothed couple from Susannah’s house in St. Ann’s Terrace to Kennington where Charles would preach. Susannah recounted the event:

I well remember trying to keep close by his side as we mingled with the mass of people thronging up the staircase. But, by the time we had reached the landing, he had forgotten my existence; the burden of the message he had to proclaim to that crowd of immortal souls was upon him, and he turned into the small side door where the officials were awaiting him, without for a moment realizing that I was left to struggle as best I could with the rough and eager throng around me. At first, I was utterly bewildered, and then, I am sorry to have to confess, I was angry.

Susannah left the service and fumed all the way home. Her mother gently “tried to soothe [her] ruffled spirit” and offered some motherly advice about marriage:

[My mother] wisely reasoned that my chosen husband was no ordinary man, that his whole life was absolutely dedicated to God and His service, and that I must never, never hinder him by trying to put myself first in his heart.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

John Gill

John Gill was born in 1697 and died in 1771. In 74 years he was able to acquire a scope of Biblical knowledge and enjoy a degree of usefulness seldom attained by any man. Gill was called to pastor the Strict Baptist Church in 1720, which he continued to pastor for 51 years. Eventually the Strict Baptist Church would evolve into the Metropolitan Tabernacle which would be pastored by Charles Spurgeon for ever 35 years.

“In some respects, he has no superior. For good, sound, massive, sober sense in commenting who can excel Gill?” – C.H. Spurgeon, Autobiography Vol. 1.

1697 — Born, 23 November, Kettering, Northamptonshire.

1709 — Conversion through preaching of William Wallis.

1716 — First public confession of Christ; baptism; becomes church member and occasional preacher.

1717 — Assists John Davis at Higham-Ferrers.

1718 — Marriage to Elizabeth Negus Nominated by John Noble for a grant from the Particular Baptist Fund.

1719 — Supplies at Goat Yard Chapel, Horselydown, Southwark. Called to pastor the Horselydown church. Received into membership 15 November.

1720 — Inducted as pastor on 22 March.

1721 — Reorganizes pastoral and evangelistic outreach of the church.

1724 — Begins preaching series on the Song of Solomon First publication.

1728 — Exposition of the Song of Solomon published with a translation of the Chaldee Targum.

1731 — Treatise on the Doctrine of the Trinity against Sabellianism in the Baptist churches.

1732 — Lime Street lectures published.

1735-38 — The Cause of God and Truth published in installments.

1737-39 — Various pamphlets on the baptism controversy published as a result of the anti-Baptist writings of Samuel Bourne, a Presbyterian minister.

1738 — Death of Elizabeth, John Gill’s daughter, aged 13, on 30 May Gill preaches her funeral sermon on 1 Thess 4:13-14.

1740 — A Vindication of the Cause of God and Truth against Heywood’s Arminian objections to the Cause of God and Truth.

1746-48 — Exposition of the whole New Testament in three folio volumes.

1748 — Receives the degree of Doctor of Divinity from Marischal College, Aberdeen University, for his knowledge of the Scriptures, oriental languages and Jewish antiquity.

1749 — The Divine Right of Infant-Baptism Examined and Disproved against the New England writer, Jonathan Dickinson.

1752 — Writes The Doctrine of the Saints’ Final Perseverance against John Wesley’s Serious Thoughts Upon the Perseverance of the Saints. This was followed by Wesley’s Predestination Calmly Considered which Gill refuted with The Doctrine of Predestination, Stated and Set in the Scripture Light.

1755 — Publishes Dr. Crisp’s Works in two volumes, adding a Memoir and explanatory notes.

1757 — Moves to new chapel in Carter Lane, St. Olave’s Street, Southwark.

1763-66 — Exposition of the Old Testament published in four volumes.

1764 — 10 October, Elizabeth Gill dies aged 67 being married to Gill 46 years.

1769 — Body of Doctrinal Divinity published in two volumes.

1770 — Body of Practical Divinity in two volumes published including a Dissertation concerning the Baptism of Jewish Proselytes.

1771 — Dies 14 October at his home in Camberwell, aged 73 years 10 months.

 

Source [Reformed Reader]

If any man be saved, it is not because he purposed to be saved, but because God purposed to save him

August 22, 2016 1 comment

Spurgeon 34. My text is even more explicit yet, for the eternal purpose is mentioned. The next thing the apostle says is this: “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose.” Mark that word- “according to his own purpose.” Oh how some people wriggle over that word, as if they were worms on a fisherman’s hook! but there it stands, and cannot be got rid of. God saves his people “according to his purpose,” nay, “according to his own purpose.” My brethren and sisters, do you not see how all the merit and the power of the creature are shut out here, when you are saved, not according to your purpose or merit, but “according to his own purpose”? I shall not dwell on this; it is not exactly the object of this morning’s discourse to bring out in full the great mystery of electing love, but I will not for a moment keep back the truth. If any man be saved, it is not because he purposed to be saved, but because God purposed to save him. Have ye never read the Holy Spirit’s testimony: “It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy”? The Savior said to his apostles what he in effect says also to us, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye might bring forth fruit.” Some hold one and some another view concerning the freedom of the will, but our Savior’s doctrine is, “Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life.” Ye will not come; your wills will never bring you; if ye do come, it is because grace inclined you. “No man can come unto me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” “Whosoever cometh to me I will in no wise cast out,” is a great and precious general text, but it is quite consistent with the rest of the same verse- “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.” Our text tells us that our salvation is “according to his own purpose.” It is a strange thing that men should be so angry against the purpose of God. We ourselves have a purpose; we permit our fellow creatures to have some will of their own, and especially in giving away their own goods; but my God is to be bound and fettered by men, and not permitted to do as he wills with his own. But be this known unto ye, O men that reply against God, that he giveth no account of his matters, but asks of you, “Can I not do as I will with mine own?” He ruleth in heaven, and in the armies of this lower world, and none can stay his hand or say unto him, “What doest thou?”

Charles H. Spurgeon- Salvation Altogether by Grace (2 Timothy 1:9)- Delivered on Sunday Morning July 29th, 1866

Free Ebook- History of the Baptists

Henry C. Vedder, (Henry Clay)- A short history of the Baptists (Pdf)

Henry C. Vedder- Baptists (Pdf)

The Glory of a True Church- Introduction

The

Glory

of a

True Church,

And its

Discipline display’d

Wherein a true Gospel-Church

is described.

Together with the Power of the Keys,

and who are to be let in, and who to be

shut out.

Benjamin Keach

Mat. 18.18. Whatsoever ye shall bind on Earth, shall

be bound in Heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose

on Earth, shall be loosed in Heaven.

John Robinson, Publisher

London

Printed in the Year 1697

To the Baptized Churches, particularly to that under my Care.

 

My Brethren,

Every House or Building consisteth both of Matter and Form: And so doth the Church of Christ, or House of the Living God.

The Matter or Materials with which it is built are Lively Stones, i.e. Converted Persons: Also the Matter and Form must be according to the Rule and Pattern shewed in the Mount, I mean Christ’s Institution, and the Apostolical Churches Constitution, and not after Men’s Inventions.

Now some Men, because the Typical Church of the Jews was National, and took in their Carnal Seed (as such) therefore the same Matter and Form they would have under the Gospel.

But tho a Church be rightly built in both these respects, i.e. of fit Matter and right Form, yet without a regular and orderly Discipline, it will soon lose its Beauty, and be polluted.

Many Reverend Divines of the Congregational way, have written most excellently (it is true) upon this Subject, I mean on Church-Discipline; but the Books are so voluminous that the Poorer Sort can’t purchase them, and many others have not Time or Learning enough to improve them to their Profit; and our Brethren the Baptists have not written (as I can gather) on this Subject by it self: Therefore I have been earnestly desired by our Members, and also by one of our Pastors, to write a small and plain Tract concerning the Rules of the Discipline of a Gospel-Church; that all Men may not only know our Faith, but see our Order in this case also. True, this (tho plain) is but short, but may be it may provoke some other Person to do it more fully. Certainly, ignorance of the rules of Discipline causes no small trouble and disorders in our Churches; and if this may be a Prevention, or prove profitable to any, let God have the Glory, and I have my End: Who am, Yours

Benj. Keach.

Benjamin Keach- The Glory of a True Church, And its Discipline Displayed (1697)

Studies in The Baptist Catechism: Section One – Authority, Revelation, and Scripture (Q.1)

by William F. Leonhart III

Q.1: Who is the first and chiefest being?

God is the first and chiefest being.1

1Isaiah 44:6; 48:12; Psalm 97:9

In January of 2012, I had the honor of taking a winter course on “The Theology of the Word of Faith Movement” with Justin Peters at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The class was memorable to me for several reasons. I had been following the career of Mr. Peters for a while with great interest. One night, my wife and I even had the honor of having him into our home and serving him chicken pot pie. I recall sitting in my living room laughing and singing Ray Stevens’ The Mississippi Squirrel Revival together while my wife rolled her eyes.

I also recall one of the first statements he made in front of the class. I recall it because I wrote it down. He said, “Your worship of God will only be as deep as your theology.” Then he said, “Let me rephrase that. Your worship of God will only be as deep as your knowledge of Him.” In making this statement, Mr. Peters was answering one of the most important questions a Christian should ask himself: “Why do I study theology?”

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Charles Spurgeon’s Letters-Letter 78

MENTONE, November 28, 1881.

MINE OWN DEAR SON, —

How your whole conduct delights me! You are quite able to judge for yourself, and yet you defer to your parents in all things. May your days, according to the promise, be long in the land.

I think the case is clear enough that you ought to settle, for a time at least, in Auckland, but still you see, we know but little of the facts and so I preferred to leave you to your own judgment. I know what that judgment will be. I believe the work before you will arouse all your energies — which is good; but I hope it will not tax them — which would be mischievous. It is a sphere worthy of you, and yet its excellence lies rather in what it may be than in what it is. All things considered, it is full of promise.

Do not come home. I should dearly love to see you, but how could we part with you again? Stay away till there is a call to come home. When the Lord wills it, it will be safer and will be better for us all. To come home in 1882 would be a journey for which there is no demand, at a time when you are needed elsewhere.

I have thought of you many times here, and especially while worshipping in the room at Les Grotres. How honored I am to have sons who preach the Gospel so fully. I would sooner this than be the progenitor of the twelve patriarchs.

Dear Son, may the Lord make you His workman wisely instructed in moulding upon the wheel a future empire, as yet plastic clay. Who knows what the Southern Colonies may become? Impress your Master’s image upon the molten wax, and seal New Zealand as the Lord’s for ever.

May your desires be fulfilled, and your expectations be exceeded.

Your loving father,

C. H. SPURGEON.