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A Treatise on Church Order: Baptism- Chapter I- Section III-V- Subjects of Baptism

CHAPTER I

SECTION III.–SUBJECTS OF BAPTISM

THOSE ONLY ARE PROPER SUBJECTS OF BAPTISM WHO REPENT OF SIN AND BELIEVE IN CHRIST.

Repentance and faith are associated graces in the hearts of the regenerate, each of them implying the existence of the other. Sometimes one of them is particularly mentioned as a qualification for baptism, and sometimes the other. They manifest themselves by confession of sin; by profession of dependence on Christ, and subjection to his authority; and by holy obedience.

John the Baptist required repentance, with its appropriate fruits, in those whom he admitted to baptism. It has been denied that the rite which he administered was identical with Christian baptism; but, for our present purpose, nothing more is necessary than to satisfy ourselves, that John did not require more spiritual qualifications for his baptism, than were required by Christ and his apostles. . If he proclaimed repentance to be necessary because the kingdom of heaven was at hand, it could not be less necessary after the kingdom was established. That John did require repentance, as a qualification for baptism, the following Scriptures testify: “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand . . . and were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.”[207] “Bring forth, therefore, fruits meet for repentance; and think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father.”[208]

During the personal ministry of Christ, he made and baptized disciples. “There he tarried and baptized.”[209] “The Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John.”[210] Those only were baptized by Christ, who were made disciples; and discipleship implies repentance and faith.

The commission which Christ gave to his apostles, connects faith and discipleship with baptism as qualifications for it: “Go, preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved.”[211] “Go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them.”[212]

In executing the commission of Christ, the apostles and their fellow-laborers required repentance and faith as qualifications for baptism. Several passages in the Acts of the Apostles clearly indicate this: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ. . . . Then they that gladly received the word were baptized.”[213] “When they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.”[214] “And the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.”[215] “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we.”[216] “Whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. And when she was baptized.”[217] “He was baptized, he and all his straightway . . . and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.”[218] . . . “ Many of the Corinthians hearing, believed and were baptized.”[219]

In the Epistles of the New Testament, baptism is mentioned in such connections as prove that all the baptized were believers in Christ: “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death.”[220] Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through faith.”[221] “Ye are all the children of God by faith; for as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”[222] “Baptism doth now save us, . . . the answer of a good conscience toward God.”[223]

All these quotations from Scripture harmonize perfectly with each other, and incontrovertibly establish the truth, that repentance and faith are necessary qualifications for baptism. This is universally admitted with respect to adult persons; but a special claim is urged in behalf of infants, and the practice of administering the rite to them has prevailed very extensively. The arguments in its defence will be examined in the Chapter on Infant Membership.

 

SECTION IV.–DESIGN OF BAPTISM

BAPTISM WAS DESIGNED TO BE THE CEREMONY OF CHRISTIAN PROFESSION.

The religion of Christ was intended for the whole world, and it is made the duty of his followers to propagate it. Men are required not only to receive, but also to hold forth the word of life. The lepers who found abundance of food in the Syrian camp, could not feast on it by themselves while their brethren in the city were famishing; and, if any one thinks that he can enjoy the blessings of religion, and shut up the secret in his own breast, he mistakes the nature of true Christianity. The light kindled within must shine, and the Spirit of love in the heart must put forth efforts to do good.

Profession is, in general, necessary to salvation. With the heart, man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation.[224] Divine goodness may pardon the weakness of some, who, like Joseph of Arimathea, are disciples secretly through fear; but it nevertheless remains a general truth, that profession is necessary. Christ has made the solemn declaration, “Whosoever shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”[225]

Profession is the appointed public outset in the way of salvation The apostles exhorted, “Save yourselves from this untoward generation.”[226] The world lies in wickedness, and under the curse of God. They who would be saved, should escape from it, as Lot escaped from Sodom. God calls: “Come out from among them, and be ye separate.”[227] This call is obeyed, when converted persons separate themselves from the ungodly, and publicly devote themselves to the service of Christ. They then set out in earnest to flee from the wrath to come. The resolution to flee must first be formed in the heart; but the public profession may be regarded, in an important sense, as the first manifest step in the way of escape.

The profession of renouncing the world, and devoting ourselves to Christ, might have been required to be made in mere words addressed to the ears of those who hear; but infinite wisdom has judged it better that it should be made in a formal and significant act, appointed for the specific purpose. That act is baptism. The immersion of the body, as Paul has explained, signifies our burial with Christ; and in emerging from the water, we enter, according to the import of the figure, on a new life. We put off the old man, and put on the new man: “As many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ.”[228]

The place which baptism holds in the commission, indicates its use. The apostles were sent to make disciples, and to teach them to observe all the Saviour’s commands; but an intermediate act is enjoined, the act of baptizing them. In order to make disciples, they were commanded, “Go, preach the gospel to every creature.” When the proclamation of the good news attracted the attention of men, and by the divine blessing so affected their hearts, that they became desirous to follow Christ, they were taught to observe his commandments, and first to be baptized. This ceremony was manifestly designed to be the initiation into the prescribed service; and every disciple of Christ who wishes to walk in the ways of the Lord, meets this duty at the entrance of his course.

The design of baptism is further indicated by the clause “baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” The rendering of our version, “in the name of,” makes the clause signify that the administrator acts by the authority of the Trinity; but the more literal rendering “into the name of,” makes it signify the new relation into which the act brings the subject of the rite. He is baptized into a state of professed subjection to the Trinity. It is the public act of initiation into the new service.

The design of baptism proves its importance. The whole tenor of the gospel forbids the supposition that there is any saving efficacy in the mere rite: but it is the appointed ceremony of profession; and profession, we have seen, is, in general, necessary to salvation. As the divine goodness may pardon disciples who fear to make public profession, so it may, and we rejoice to believe that it does pardon those, who do not understand the obligation to make ceremonial profession, or mistake the manner of doing it. But God ought to be obeyed; and his way is the right way, and the best way. Paul argues from the baptism of believers, their obligation to walk in newness of life. The ceremony implies a vow of obedience, a public and solemn consecration to the service of God. The believing subject can feel the force of the obligation acknowledged in the act, and Paul appeals to this sense of obligation: “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?”[229] Though it is an outward ceremony, it is important, not only as an act of obedience, but as expressing a believer’s separation from the world, and consecration to God, in a manner intelligible and significant, and well adapted to impress his own mind and the minds of beholders.

The faith which is professed in baptism, is faith in Christ. We confess with our mouths the Lord Jesus Christ, and believe in our hearts that God has raised him from the dead.[230] If the doctrine of the resurrection be taken from the Gospel, preaching is vain, and faith is vain. So, if the symbol of the resurrection be taken from baptism, its chief significancy is gone, and its adaptedness for the profession of faith in Christ, is lost. Hence appears the importance of adhering closely to the Saviour’s command, “immersing them.”

The obligation to make a baptismal profession of faith, binds every disciple of Christ. Some have converted the Eucharist into a ceremony of profession; but this is not the law of Christ. Baptism was designed, and ought to be used, for this purpose. If infant baptism be obligatory, the duty is parental; and if it be a ceremony in which children are dedicated by their parents to the Lord, it is a different institution from that in which faith is professed. He who has been baptized in infancy, is not thereby released from the obligation to make a baptismal profession of faith in Christ. If it be granted, that his parents did their duty in dedicating him to God, he has, nevertheless, a personal duty to perform. The parental act of which he has no consciousness, cannot be to him the answer of a good conscience toward God. Had it left an abiding mark in the flesh, an argument of some plausibility might be urged against the repetition of the ceremony. But the supposed seal of God’s covenant is neither in his flesh, nor in his memory, and his conscience has no Scriptural release from the personal obligation of a baptismal profession.

 

SECTION V.–CONNECTION OF BAPTISM WITH CHURCH ORDER

It will be shown hereafter, that in a Church, organized like the primitive churches, none but baptized persons can be admitted to membership. On this account, the present chapter on baptism has been introduced, as a necessary preliminary to the subsequent discussions on church order.

[207] Matt. iii. 2, 6.

[208] Matt. iii. 8, 9.

[209] John iii. 22.

[210] John iv. 1.

[211] Mark xvi. 15, 16.

[212] Matt. xxviii. 19.

[213] Acts ii. 38, 41.

[214] Acts viii. 12.

[215] Acts viii. 36, 37.

[216] Acts x. 47.

[217] Acts xvi. 14, 15.

[218] Acts xvi. 33, 34.

[219] Acts xviii. 8.

[220] Rom. vi. 3.

[221] Col. ii. 12.

[222] Gal. iii. 26, 27.

[223] 1 Peter iii. 21.

[224] Rom. x. 10.

[225] Mark viii. 38.

[226] Acts ii. 40.

[227] 2 Cor. vi. 17.

[228] Gal. iii. 27.

[229] Rom. vi. 3.

[230] Rom. x. 9.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology- Volume 2

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Free Ebook- Baptism The Heaven Drawn Picture by Peter M. Masters

November 30, 2015 1 comment

BaptismAvailable in: Epub, Mobi, Pdf.

Baptism—The Heaven-Drawn Picture is a concise summary for anyone who wants to understand the rich fullness of the Biblical meaning of baptism. It explains immersion as the Bible’s method to communicate the believer’s identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.

Dr. Peter M. Masters is Minister of the Metropolitan Tabernacle,London,England, the same church at the same location served by Charles Spurgeon over 100 years ago.

Pages: 16.

Item code: bthd.

Format: booklet.
Source [Chapel Library]

What is a Reformed Baptist Church?

Substance of a Sermon preached
by Pastor Wm. Payne
Burlington, Ontario, Canada

If I were to be asked, “What kind of a church are you?” I would not hesitate to reply, “We are a Baptist church.” We hold to those truths which have sometimes been referred to as “Baptist Distinctives.”

I would also reply that we are a “Reformed Church” inasmuch as we hold to the great doctrines of the Reformation in the areas concerning the salvation of men. In this sense, I am not at all averse to our church being referred to as a “Reformed Baptist Church,” and I want to speak on the subject “What is a Reformed Baptist Church?”

Download and read the entire article here-(PDF).

No Proof of Paedobaptism: An Evaluation of Jared Oliphint’s post “Not Your Average Paedobaptism”

by Tom Hicks

When I first came to believe the Bible’s teaching on unconditional election, I acquired some new theological heroes. But my new heroes also baptized their babies. I reasoned, “Men like Calvin, Owen, and Edwards were saturated with the Bible, and they were right about God’s gracious purpose of election. How could they be wrong about infant baptism?” So, I read as many Reformed books and articles on paedobaptism as I could find. In the past, when I studied the Reformed literature on election, I looked up the relevant passages, followed the exegesis easily, and it was clear that the Bible teaches unconditional election. But that was not my experience when I studied the Reformed doctrine of infant baptism. I was ready to believe. I wanted to believe. But the arguments for infant baptism seemed based on questionable exegesis and theological inference built on theological inference. My heart was broken. I couldn’t follow my new theological heroes into paedobaptism. I love my paedobaptist brothers. They are dear friends and co-laborers in the gospel. I am theologically closer to Reformed paedobaptists than to any other kind of believer. But on this point, I am convinced that they are wrong.

Jared Oliphint recently wrote an article for the Gospel Coalition in which he made a case for infant baptism on the basis of the distinction between the internal and external aspects of the covenant (Berkhof calls this the “dual aspect” of the covenant of grace). Oliphint argues that the new covenant is breakable, and that understanding the allegedly breakable nature of the new covenant helps make sense of infant baptism. I’m going to show you why Oliphint’s argument is unconvincing to this Reformed Baptist.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Source [Confessingbaptist.com]

Samuel & Micah Renihan On Reformed Baptist Covenant Theology & Biblical Theology [PDF]

This material was presented by the authors to students of Westminster Seminary California during a lunch hour on campus in response to their inquiries about how Reformed Baptists view covenant theology. Given the time constraints of a one-hour presentation, the focus of the material was on areas of positive argument for the credobaptist position where it differs from paedobaptism. Key points of covenant theology are absent from this presentation, not because they do not form a part of Reformed Baptist covenant theology, but because there is no disagreement between our position and that of the paedobaptists. For example, there is no discussion of the covenant of works, fully affirmed by the London Baptist and Westminster confessions, and there is no discussion of the definition of a covenant since we agree with the basic definition formulated by Meredith G. Kline: a commitment with divine sanctions between a lord and a servant. Other arguments and significant points were omitted for the sake of time, such as the relation between kingdom and covenant or exegetical discussions of specific key passages around which this dialogue normally revolves. What follows are foundational assertions arguing for a Reformed Baptist view of covenant theology and biblical theology, applied specifically to credobaptism.

Download the Pdf here.

 

Source [Confessingbaptist.com]

Baptism and Covenant Theology

Booklet: Baptism and Covenant Theology
By Walter J. Chantry

No Baptist begins to seek an answer to the question “Who should be baptized?” by studying the Bible’s doctrine of the covenants. Rather, he begins with New Testament texts which deal directly with the term “baptize.” In a later study of Covenant Theology, he finds confirmation and undergirding of his conclusions.

1. In the New Testament, we discover the nature of baptism defined. In the definition, something must be said about the person baptized. Its central significance is that the one baptized is said to be savingly joined to Christ. We agree that the definition in the Westminster Confession of Faith is essentially biblical: “Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible church, but also to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life . . .” (Chapter XXVIII)

2. In every clear New Testament example, the person baptized made a credible confession of faith in Jesus Christ prior to receiving the sacrament. This has been called the Baptist’s argument from silence. But that is an unfair charge. To refrain from a practice on which the Bible is silent is not wrong. But to build a positive practice on supposed but unwritten premises is to build on silence.

Every New Testament text cited to support infant baptism appears empty apart from a strong predisposition to find such texts and presuppositions to impose upon them.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

What’s the Difference? Michael Horton v Jeffrey Johnson (Covenant Theology)