Home > Baptism > Form of church organization; pedobaptist theory

Form of church organization; pedobaptist theory

Form of church organization; pedobaptist theory; it proves too much; is in conflict with Christianity; violates true analogy; is at war with fundamental religion; is antiscriptural.

THERE are two theories, and two only consistent with themselves, of church organization. One of them models the church upon the spiritual plan developed in the New Testament; the other gives it the form of the old Jewish Theocracy. The former is Baptist. The latter is Roman Catholic. Between these two, and partaking more or less of both, stand all the various protestant denominations. Their evangelical spirituality is Baptist.

Their other characteristics, and especially their infant baptism, is Roman Catholic; or rather Judaism, of which Popery is confessedly, a continuation. To obtain a basis for this ordinance, they have been obliged, with the papists, to assume the unity of the Jewish church and the Christian church. Thus they engraft Judaism upon the gospel of Christ. I shall state their argument in their own language, as elaborately set forth, in terms acknowledged by all, to be correct, and perspicuous. “Abraham and his seed, were divinely constituted a true visible church of God.” “The Jewish society before Christ, and the Christian society after Christ, are one and the same church in different dispensations.” “Jewish circumcision before Christ, and Christian baptism after Christ, are one and the same seal, though in different forms.” “The administration of this seal to infants was once enjoined by divine authority.” “The administration of this seal to infants was never prohibited by divine authority.” You will then perceive that we have “a divine command for baptizing infants.”[38] To this statement may be added that of Revelation Dr. Peters. He says: “When [circumcision] the ancient sign of the covenant which God made with his people for an everlasting covenant, was abolished, another [baptism] was instituted in the same church, under the same covenant, of precisely the same import, and for the same purpose.” Such is the platform erected for the support of infant baptism. It abandons the New Testament wholly, and assumes the old Jewish Theocracy as the true form of the gospel church!

1. In the consideration of this argument, so specious to many minds, generally so successful, and therefore advanced with so much confidence, I shall, in the first place, show that it proves immeasurably too much.

Let us, for the sake of the discussion, admit for a moment that it is true, and what are the results? By all. Protestants at least, as soon as its bearings and results are understood, it must be instantly renounced. It is really available for Papists, and for Papists only. But to the demonstration. “Abraham and his seed were divinely constituted a true visible church of God.” “The Jewish society before Christ, and the Christian society after Christ, are one and the same church in different dispensations.” “Jewish circumcision before Christ, and Christian baptism after Christ, are one and the same seal, though in different forms.” “They were instituted in the same church, and under the same covenant.” “The administration of this seal to infants was once enjoined by divine authority.” “The administration of this seal to infants was never prohibited by divine authority.” “You will therefore perceive that we have a divine command for baptizing infants.” Very well. Now you have infant baptism, and you have it by “divine command!” Presbyterians, Methodists, Congregationalists, and others are delighted. The argument is satisfactory. They embrace it with eagerness. It is true, every word true. The thought has not occurred that it is dangerous. But we shall see.

An Episcopalian perceives that it will serve his design. The other sects may protest against his use of it, but they cannot hinder it. All have an equal right to its benefits. He assumes as true, and admitted, all the propositions now before you, and then proceeds thus: In the Jewish church there were three orders in the ministry, each a grade above the other in dignity and authority; the chief priests, the common priests, and the Levites. There are therefore, three orders in the ministry in the Christian church. It is the same church, and under the same covenant. These orders in the ministry of the church were once enjoined by divine authority. They were never prohibited by divine authority. You will therefore perceive that we have a divine command for three orders in the ministry of the Christian church. They are bishops, priests, and deacons, and we have them by divine right and by regular succession from the apostles. Episcopalians are now fully gratified. Their episcopacy can be questioned no longer by any class of Pedobaptists, since the argument for infant baptism and for episcopacy is the same, and you cannot overthrow one without at the same time destroying the other. Here, however, Episcopalians insist that the “analogy” shall cease. But no. The ball has been set in motion, and you must be content to see it roll on. The propositions are admitted, and they carry you resistlessly forward to other results.

A Roman Catholic reminds you that in the Jewish church there was one great high priest, who was the Pastor or Bishop of the whole visible church of God upon earth. In the Christian church therefore, there is one great high priest, who is pastor or bishop of the whole visible church of God upon earth. Although in different dispensations, it is the same church, and under the same covenant. The appointment of this universal Pastor or Bishop was once enjoined by divine authority. It was never prohibited by divine authority. You will therefore perceive that we have a divine command for one great high priest, who is the Pastor or Bishop of the whole visible church of God upon earth. This universal Pastor or Bishop we have, by “regular succession from St. Peter.” He is the Pope. His residence is Rome, the See of the Fisherman of Galilee, and the capital of the world, whence “by divine right” he rules the whole visible church of God upon earth. His name at present is PIO NONO.

You have obtained, from the argument before you, infant baptism; but the process by which this has been secured has also forced upon you, first episcopacy, and then Popery! If you take the first you must also take the other two. And what else will you have? You must go still further. You must unite your church with the state, and have a national religion! This would be very convenient. It would give you dignity, and wealth, and power. The Jewish church was a national church, and the Christian church is the same church. Therefore the Christian church must be a national church. The union of church and state was once enjoined by divine authority. It was never prohibited by divine authority. You will therefore perceive that we have a divine command for the union of church and state! The sacrifice of the mass would probably be agreeable, if it only possessed divine authority. It is a very imposing rite. You have the wished-for sanction in the Jewish sacrifices. You want seventy cardinals? The seventy elders who composed the Jewish council will supply you. You are perchance fond of pageantry, and would willingly ornament the persons of your ministry with pontificals. The splendid robes and miters of the Jewish priests, and especially the jeweled breast-plate of the high priest, will satisfy your vanity to the utmost. The Jewish church and the Christian church are the same church. All these were once enjoined by divine authority. None of them were ever prohibited by divine authority. You will therefore perceive that we have a divine command for the union of church and state, for the sacrifice of the mass, for the college of cardinals, and for priestly robes and ornaments.

The argument for the whole paraphernalia of Popery is precisely the same with that for infant baptism. It has the same force and conclusiveness. Infant baptism, episcopacy, Popery, the union of church and state, the mass, cardinals, robes, all, rest upon the same foundation and must stand or fall together. They are predicated not upon the gospel, but upon what our brethren call the analogy of the church, and really upon Judaism. Indeed such is, and has been the influence of Moses upon Christianity, that Pedobaptist churches of all classes, receive their members, and most of them are modeled, and governed, by his law rather than according to the gospel of Christ. Are you a Pedobaptist? To be consistent you must also be a Papist. The same law that requires infant baptism requires a pope, an established religion, and their adjuncts. Do you repudiate these? For the same reason you must also repudiate infant baptism. But renouncing them all, you are forced back upon Baptist ground. You adopt the New Testament as giving the true form of the church of Christ.

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 3- Infant baptism is an evil because it engrafts Judaism upon the Gospel of Christ

 

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