Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Credo-Baptist’

Why I’m Still a Baptist

November 26, 2013 3 comments

DeanGonzales-2008-e1315504931248Why I’m Still a Baptist

by Dr. Bob Gonzales

“Some of my best friends and my most admired heroes of the Christian faith believe in the practice of baptizing infants and bringing them into the membership of the church apart from any profession of faith. My love and respect for these dear brothers and venerable men of God has on more than one occasion inclined me to reconsider whether they’ve got it right and I’ve got it wrong.

But after “revisiting” the issue several times, I’m still a Baptist. I could offer several reasons. But one reason involves the teaching of a text that’s often overlooked in the Infant Baptism (Paedobaptism) vs Believer Baptism (Credobaptism) debate. That text is John 1:12-13. I’d like to make three observations on this text and explain why I believe it doesn’t support the idea of baptizing non-professing children of believers and bringing them into the membership of a New Covenant church.

Conferral of covenant sonship status under the New Covenant is limited no longer to the Jewish nation and is predicated no longer on natural descent but on supernatural descent, the fruit and evidence of which is saving faith in Jesus the Messiah. This is the point made by the apostle John when he writes, “But to as many as received him, He granted the legal warrant to become children of God, even to the ones who believe in His name, who were born not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the decision of a husband, but of God (John 1:12-13; author’s translation). Consider the following three observations and their implication for infant baptism and church membership:”

 

Read the rest here.

Advertisements

Sprinkling Examined

broadusChapter 4. The Defense of Sprinkling.

In the face of such facts as have been stated, on what ground do any Christian people defend the practice of sprinkling for baptism? Well, some of them have really never known the facts, or never stopped to think about them. But others, with the facts before them, still defend sprinkling. Respect for my fellow Christians requires that this matter be as carefully considered as the time will allow. Yet I can but briefly mention and rapidly discuss.

There are several distinct grounds which are relied on by different classes of persons.

I grant that New Testament baptism was immersion, some hold that “the church has authorized a change.”

Yes; clinic baptism – baptism of a sick person in bed – began, as early as the third century, to be allowed by some ecclesiastics, e.g., Novatian. They poured water copiously around the dying or very sick man as he lay in bed. This practice arose from exaggerated notions of the importance of baptism. We should say, if the man was too ill to be baptized, it was not his duty; but they were afraid to let a man die without baptism, and as real baptism was impracticable they proposed a substitute which, by copious pouring, would come as near it as possible. There were many disputes as to the lawfulness of this, but it came by degrees to be generally recognized as lawful.

As the centuries went on there was gradual progress. The more convenient substitute was preferred in other cases than illness, was further reduced to mere sprinkling, and became increasingly common. It was long with-stood by Popes and Councils, but grew in popularity through the Dark Ages, until, in the thirteenth century, one thousand years after clinic pouring began, the Pope finally yielded, and authorized sprinkling in all cases.

So the Reformers found it. And, unfortunately for our modern Christianity, they did not insist on a change. Luther repeatedly said a change ought to be made, e.g., “Baptism is a Greek word, and may be translated immersion, as when we immerse something in water that it may be wholly covered. And, although it is almost wholly abolished (for they do not dip the whole children, but only pour a little water on them), they ought, nevertheless, to be wholly immersed, …. for that the etymology of the word seems to demand.” Again, he says that baptism does not simply represent washing for sins, but “is rather a sign both of death and resurrection. Being moved by this reason, I would have those that are to be baptized to be altogether dipt into the water, as the word means, and the mystery signifies.” So elsewhere (see Ingham’s “Handbook of Baptism”, p.89).

In like manner Calvin. In commenting on the baptism of the eunuch by Philip (Acts 8:38), he says: “‘They descended into the water.’ Here we perceive what was the rite of baptizing among the ancients, for they immersed the whole body into the water; now the custom has become established that the minister only sprinkles the body or the head. But so slight a difference of ceremony ought not to be esteemed by us so important that on account of it we should split the church or disturb it with quarrels. For the ceremony of baptism itself, indeed, inasmuch as it was handed down to us by Christ, we should a hundred times rather fight even to death than suffer it to be taken away from us. But when in the symbol of the water we have a testimony as well of our ablution as of our new life; when in water, as in a mirror, Christ represents to us his blood, that from it we may seek our purification; when he teaches that we are fashioned anew by his Spirit, that, being dead to sin, we may live to righteousness – it is certain that we lack nothing which pertains to the substance of baptism. Wherefore, from the beginning, the church has freely permitted herself, outside of this substance, to have rites a little dissimilar.” (“Calvin on Acts”, viii, 38). The ancients, in the time of Philip and the eunuch, practiced immersion; a different custom has now become established, the church allowing herself liberty.

The leaders of the Reformation in England attempted a return – not, indeed, to the full New Testament plan, but that of the Fathers in the third century. The rubric of the Church of England has always been, from the Reformation till now, “shall dip the child in the water, …. but if they certify that the child is weak, it shall suffice to pour water upon it.” This is essentially the principle of the old clinic baptism. And this the Greek Church also tolerates as an exceptional practice.

But among the Reformers, on the Continent and in England, the custom of several centuries, with convenience, etc., triumphed over those attempts, and pouring – nay, even sprinkling – became the common practice.

In this sense, then, the church ” has changed the act of baptism. On this ground the Roman Catholics stand – the church has changed it – so they always meet the complaints and censures of the Greek Church. And intelligent Romanists see exactly how the matter stands among us who are called Protestants. Thus the famous Dr. Döllinger says: “The fact that the Baptists are so numerous, or even the most numerous of all religious parties in North America, deserves all attention. They would, indeed, be yet more numerous were not Baptism, as well as the Lord’s Supper, as to their sacramental significance, regarded in the Calvinistic world as something so subordinate that the inquiry after the original form appears to many as something indifferent, about which one need not much trouble himself. The Baptists are, however, in fact, from the Protestant standpoint, unassailable, since, for their demand for baptism by submersion, they have the clear Bible text, and the authority of the church and of her testimony is regarded by neither party.” (“Kirche und Kirchen,” s. 337.)

I may remark here, that on this subject the Baptists belong to the majority. It is often objected to us that we are an insignificant minority of the Christian world, and it is a point about which we are not greatly solicitous. But if anybody cares greatly for majorities in such a matter, let him observe that, in contending for immersion as necessary to the baptism taught in the New Testament, we have on our side the whole Greek Church, and the whole Roman Catholic Church, and a very large proportion of the Protestant world, particularly of the Protestant scholars.

To return. This is an intelligible position. New Testament baptism was immersion, but the church has changed it. Accordingly, in the Church of England, few scholars ever, for a moment, question that baptizo means immerse or that the New Testament baptism was immersion.

The church has changed it. Very satisfactory for a Romanist, but how can a Protestant rest on this? Chillingworth, the Church of England scholar, left a dictum which has grown famous: “The Bible, I say – the Bible only – is the religion of Protestants.” Was this all a mistake?

John A. Broadus-Immersion Essential to Christian Baptism

Infants are not to be church members just because their parents are

March 22, 2013 2 comments

broadusIt may be well to state briefly what I understand to be the leading distinctive views of the Baptist churches. The fact that certain of these are more or less shared by others will be remarked upon afterward.

2. We hold that a Christian Church ought to consist of only persons making a credible profession of conversion, of faith in Christ. These may include children, even comparatively ye children, for God be thanked that these do often give credible evidence of faith in Christ! But in the very nature of the case they cannot include infants.

The notion that infants may be church members because their parents are seems to us utterly alien to the genius of Christianity not only unsupported by the New Testament, but in conflict with its essential principles; and we are not surprised to observe that our Christian brethren among whom that theory obtains are unable to carry it out consistently; unable to decide in what sense the so-called “children of the church” are really members of the church and subject to its discipline.

The other notion, that infants may be church members because so-called “sponsors” make professions and promises for them, seems to us a mere legal fiction, devised to give some basis for a practice which rose on quite other grounds. Maintaining that none should be received as church members unless they give credible evidence of conversion, we also hold in theory that none should be retained in membership who do not lead a godly life; that if a man fails to show his faith by works, he should cease to make profession of faith. Some of our own people appear at times to forget that strict church discipline is a necessary part of the Baptist view as to church membership.

John A. Broadus-The Duty of Baptists to Teach Their Distinctive Views

John Tombes’ Catechism on Baptism Pt 11

37. Have not all opposers of Infant-baptism, been wicked in the end?

Blessed be God, experience proves the contrary, though some here to fore proved seditious, and entertained great errors.

38. Is there any good by Baptizing Persons at Age, which might not be, though Infant-baptism were continued?

Yes, For thereby they would be solemnly engaged to adhere to Christ, which is a strong tye on the Consciences, when it is done by a Person understandingly, according to Christ’s mind, besides the assurance thereby of Union and Conformity to Christ, and Righteousness and life by him, Rom. 6.3,4. Gal. 3.26. 1 Pet. 3.21.

39. What are Christians to do when they are Baptized?

To associate together in Church-Communion, and to walk according to their engagement, in obedience to them, who are over them in the Lord.

40. Are Persons so joined to serarate from those they have joined to upon deficit in outward order and Ordinances, or variation from the Rule therein by Pastors or People?

No, Unless the evil be such in Faith, Worship, or Discipline, as is not consistent with Christianity, or the estate of a visible Church, or is intolerable oppression, maintained with obstinacy, after endeavours to cure them, to which end each member should keep and act in his station.

A Short Catechism about Baptism by John Tombes, B.D.

Heb 6.2. Of the Doctrine of Baptisms. Luke 7.35. But Wisdom is justified of all her Children. London: 1659

John Tombes’ Catechism on Baptism Pt 10

33. Is not the Infant-baptism sufficient if it be avouched at age?

It is not a sufficient discharge of their obedience to Christ’s command, which requires each Person to be Baptized after his own Repentance and believing in Christ, Mark 16.16. Mat. 28. 19. Acts 2.38. Ephes. 4.5.

34. What is the chief end of Baptism?

To testifie the Repentance, Faith, Hope, Love, and Resolution of the Baptized to follow Christ, Gal. 3.27. Rom. 6.3,4. 1 Cor. 15.29. calling upon the Name of the Lord, Acts 22.16.

35. How came Infant-baptism to be common in the ChristianChurches?

As Infant-communion came from mistake of John 6.53. So Infant-baptism began about the third Age of the Christian Church, from mistake of John 3.5. the opinion of its giving Grace, and the necessity of it to save the Infant dying from perishing, and after Augustin’s time became common, which before was not so frequent.

36. Is there any evil in it?

Infant-baptism tends much to harden People in presumption, as if they were Christians afore they know Christ, and hinders much the Reformation of Christian Churches, by filling them with ignorant and scandalous members, besides the great sin of profaning God’s Ordinance.

A Short Catechism about Baptism by John Tombes, B.D.

Heb 6.2. Of the Doctrine of Baptisms. Luke 7.35. But Wisdom is justified of all her Children. London: 1659

John Tombes’ Catechism on Baptism Pt 9

29. Are there not Infants of Believers Disciples, by their Parents Faith to be Baptized? Mat. 28.19. Acts. 15.10.

No: For the Disciples there are only such as are made by Preaching the Gospel to them, nor are any termed Disciples, but those who have heard and learned: and the putting the yoke, Acts 15.10. was by teaching Brethren, ver. 1 and therefore the Disciples, ver. 10. not Infants.

30. Are not the Infants of believers visible members of the Christian Church, by a Law and Ordinance, by God’s promise, to be God to them and their seed, and precept to dedicate them to God, unrepealed?

There is no such Ordinance or Law extant in Scripture, or deducible from the Law of Nature, nor are Infants any where reckoned as visible members of the Christian Church in the New Testament.

31. Hath God not promised, Gen. 22.16,17,18. to make every believer a blessing, so as to cast ordinarily Elect Children on Elect Parents, and thereby warrant Infant-Baptism?

The promise doth not pertain to any believers seed but Abrahams, who are, Heb. 6.12,13,14, Gal. 3.8,9. Acts 3.25. expounded to be Christ and true believers only, who are to be baptiszed, not their Infants, till they themselves believe in their own persons.

32. Did not Christ appoint, Mat. 28.19. the Disciples to Baptize Children with Parents, as the Jews did Proselytes?

If the Jewish Baptism had been the pattern for Christians, the Apostles would have so practised, but their not so doing, shews they understood not it to be Christ’s mind.

A Short Catechism about Baptism by John Tombes, B.D.

Heb 6.2. Of the Doctrine of Baptisms. Luke 7.35. But Wisdom is justified of all her Children. London: 1659

John Tombes’ Catechism on Baptism Pt 8

25. Are not the Sacraments of the Christian Church in their nature, Seals of the Covenant of Grace?

The Scripture doth nowhere so call them, nor doth it mention this as their end and use.

26. Doth not Peter, Acts 2.38.39. exhort the Jews to baptize themselves and their Children, because the promise of Grace is to Believers and their Children?

Those he then spake to were not then Believers; and therefore the words, Acts 2.39. Cannot be understood of a promise to Believers and their Children as such, but the promise is to all, Fathers and Children as called of God; nor are any exhorted to Baptism without fore-going repentance: nor is the promise alledged as conferring right to Baptism, but as a motive to encourage them and hope for pardon, though they wished Christs blood to be on them and their Children. Matth. 27.25. In like sort as Joseph did, Gen. 50.19,20,21.

27. Are not the Children of Believers holy with Covenant-holiness, and so to be baptized, 1 Cor. 7.14.

There is nothing there ascribed to the faith of the Believer, but to the Marriage-relation, which was the only reason of their lawful living together, and of which alone it is true that all the Children of those Parents, whereof one is sanctified to the other, are holy, the rest unclean, that is, illegitimate.

28. Are not the Gentile-believers Children to be ingraffed by Baptism with their Parents, as the Jews Children were by Circumcision? Rom. 11.16,17.

The ingraffing there is by giving Faith according to Election; and therefore not meant of Parents and Children by an outward Ordinance into the visible Church.

A Short Catechism about Baptism by John Tombes, B.D.

Heb 6.2. Of the Doctrine of Baptisms. Luke 7.35. But Wisdom is justified of all her Children. London: 1659