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Posts Tagged ‘Credobaptists’

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.

 

 

 

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A Critical Evaluation of Paedobaptism

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.

I. The Fundamental Hermeneutical Error Of Paedobaptists

Paedobaptists, while rightly affirming the fundamental and underlying unity of the covenant of grace in all ages, wrongly press that unity in a way that distorts and suppresses the diversity of the several administrations of that covenant in history. To put it another way, paedobaptists rightly emphasize the inner continuity of the various administrations of the covenant of grace, while wrongly neglecting the various external discontinuities which exist between those administrations. To put it in still a third way, paedobaptists rightly stress the unity of redemptive history, while wrongly ignoring the movement of that redemptive history. Thus their error is fundamentally one of biblical theology, of understanding the progressive unfolding of God’s redemptive purposes in history.

This hermeneutical error, thus stated, inevitably leads to a twofold distortion of the relationship between the two testaments of the Bible. Paedobaptists simultaneously “Christianize” the Old Testament (read the Old Testament as if it were the New(3)) and “Judaize” the New Testament (read the New Testament as if it were the Old). In thus “Christianizing” the Old Testament, paedobaptists restrict the significance of circumcision to purely spiritual promises and blessings, while neglecting its national, earthly, and generational aspect. In thus “Judaizing” the New Testament, paedobaptists import Old Testament concepts of “covenantal holiness,” “external holiness,” “external members of the covenant,” “external union to God,” “covenant children,” etc. into the New Testament, even though these distinctions are entirely abolished by the New Testament and completely foreign to its teaching.

 

 

 

 

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

A Difference Between Reformed Baptist And Paedobaptist Covenant Theology

From the pen of Pascal Denault:

What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise. (Gal. 3:17-18)

Paul clearly affirms that it is through the Abrahamic Covenant that God promised his grace and that the Mosaic Covenant which came about 430 years later did not bring the inheritance nor did it replace the Abrahamic Covenant . The paeodbaptists understood from this passage that the Abrahamic Covenant was the Covenant of Grace, the covenant through which God grants his grace to Abraham and his posterity, and that the Judaizers were mistaken in demanding obedience to the Law of Moses as a condition in order to obtain the inhereitance. The Presbyterian paradigm of the Covenant of Grace was confirmed by this interpretation: the Covenant of Grace that God concluded with Abraham included his physical posterity; the Covenant of Grace was, therefore, a Covenant of a mixed nature in which one entered at birth.

 

 

 

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Paedoism or Credoism?

A Reformed Baptist Argument for Believers’ Baptism Based on Covenant Theology

By Richard C. Barcellos, Pastor

 

INTRODUCTION

Christians within the Reformed tradition are painfully aware of doctrinal division over many issues. There are various positions on the law of God and its applicability to the Christian. The field of eschatology finds Reformed Christians in various camps. Church government is another area where those under the Reformed umbrella often differ with each other. One of the most heated issues of debate among those adhering to Reformed Theology, broadly speaking, concerns the subjects of baptism. Various arguments are marshaled to come to the defense of those on both sides. Some go as far as to say that if you do not believe in baptizing the children of believers you cannot be Reformed. Those who hold this position would say that it is impossible to hold to Covenant Theology and not adhere to infant baptism. In their understanding, the arguments for infant baptism follow necessarily from a biblical view of the covenants which automatically precludes any non-paedobaptist understanding of Covenant Theology. Brethren who hold to this view often categorize all non-paedobaptists as Dispensationalists or at least, incipient Dispensationalists. Is this characterization accurate, and is this view of Covenant Theology the only view on the theological market worth listening to? Sad to say, but many in our day and throughout history would say yes. It is time for this to end.

When I use the phrase Covenant Theology I mean that approach to the understanding of Scripture centering around the various major covenants which traces their unfolding within the History of Redemption. This approach to Scripture takes into consideration the historical covenants individually and seeks to bring them together into a systematic whole. Historically, Covenant Theology has been the parent of infant baptism. This essay assumes that a proper understanding of the progressive nature of the biblical covenants, and the replacement of the Old Covenant by the New Covenant, seriously challenges historic Covenant Theology, and yet does not demand Dispensationalism or Antinomianism.

This essay will seek to differ with the above assertion that it is impossible to hold to Covenant Theology and not adhere to infant baptism. On the contrary, it will be argued that a consistent adherence to Covenant Theology refutes infant baptism and upholds, even demands believers’ baptism within the covenantal structure of the Bible.

 

 

 

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1689 Federalism compared to Westminster Federalism