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1 Corinthians 7:1-17

Having thus disposed of “the chief scripture ground upon which it is placed,” and found that no allusion whatever is made in it to infant baptism, we now turn to the other passage, which is, “one of its best supports.” This “is St. Paul’s statement that the children of a believing parent are in a certain sense holy.” In what sense are they holy? To comprehend the whole matter perfectly, let us turn to the sacred record, and together with its context, read carefully the entire passage, “Now concerning the things where of ye wrote unto me,” says Paul, and proceeding, he gave various instructions to the Corinthians regarding marriage, and domestic duties. Among other things he says:

Let not the wife depart from her husband; but if she depart let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband; and let not the husband put away his wife.” “If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath a husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; else were your children unclean, but now are they holy. But if the unbelieving depart let him depart. A brother, or a sister, is not in bondage in such cases; but God hath called us to peace. For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? Or what knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife? But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all the churches.” (1 Corinthians 7:1-17.)

We will here pause if you please, until we have ascertained definitely, the true sense of this interesting portion of divine truth. Paul is without doubt, instructing the Corinthians regarding their conjugal, domestic, and social relations. This fact no one can rationally question. On these topics they needed to be enlightened, since they were evidently disposed to go astray. By some means, probably the instructions of Judaizing teachers among them, the church had, it seems, become agitated with the question whether the old Jewish law which required Israel to regard all gentiles as unclean, and their touch polluting, which in a word prohibited all familiar intercourse with them, ought not to govern Christians in their relations with unbelievers. Should not the church regard all who are not members as unclean to them in the same sense that gentiles were formerly looked upon as unclean to Jews? To this opinion the brethren of Corinth appear to have strongly inclined. They soon saw, however, that such a rule of intercourse if adopted among them, must be attended with the gravest consequences. It would not only sever their social and domestic relations, but would actually break up and destroy their families, since some of them were married to unbelievers, from whom of course, they must instantly separate. That this was the true state of the case, and the actual question submitted by them to the apostle, is so plain, from his answer alone, that it is confessed by some of the Pedobaptist commentators and divines themselves. Even Henry, for instance, could not avoid seeing it. He says:

They thought that (the unconverted members of their families) would be common, or unclean, in the same sense as heathens in general were styled in the apostle vision.”[27]

Dr. Miller, notwithstanding his prejudices, is still more full. He says:

It appears that among the Corinthians to whom the apostle wrote, there were many cases of professing Christians being united by the marriage tie with pagans; the former being perhaps converted after marriage, or being so unwise as after conversion deliberately to form this unequal and unhappy connection. What was to be deemed of such marriages seems to have been the grave question submitted to this inspired teacher.”[28]

Upon this point therefore, we are certainly right.

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 2- Infant Baptism is an evil because its defense leads to most injurious perversions of the Word of God


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