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Two Views on Infant Baptism

February 14, 2017 Leave a comment

Thabiti Anyabwile and Ligon Duncan Wade Into the Debate

Download here

Event: TGC Council Colloquium

Date: May 25, 2012

Thabiti Anyabwile is a pastor of Anacostia River Church in southeast Washington, D.C., and a Council member of The Gospel Coalition. He is the author of several books, including Reviving the Black Church. Ligon Duncan is chancellor and CEO of Reformed Theological Seminary and a TGC Council member. He has co-authored, edited, or contributed to more than 35 books.

You can listen to this episode of The Gospel Coalition podcast here or watch it on video.

Editors’ note: Come hear from Anyabwile on “Gospel Freedom, Gospel Fruit” and Duncan on “The Reformed Tradition Beyond Calvin” at TGC’s upcoming 2017 National Conference, April 3 to 5 in Indianapolis. Register soon!

 

Source (Gospel Coaltion)

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Does a rejection of infant baptism require a rejection of the Lord’s Day Sabbath as well? John Tombes answers

James Renihan:

The popular 17th century Presbyterian preacher Stephen Marshall stated that rejecting infant baptism necessitated a rejection of the Lord’s Day Sabbath as well. Here is the reply from John Tombes.

John Tombes: An examen of the sermon of Mr. Stephen Marshal about infant-baptisme in a letter sent to him. 1645

“You say, . . . I see that all that reject the baptizing of Infants, do & must upon the same grounds reject the religious observation of the Lord’s day, or the Christian Sabbath, viz., because there is not (say they) an expressed institution or command in the New Testament.

Give me leave to take up the words of him in the Poet . . . What a word hath gotten out of the hedge of your teeth! They doe, They must. Though I doubt not of your will, yet I see you want some skill in pleading for the Lord’s day, that others have the truth in that it is neither so, nor so, They neither doe, nor must reject upon the same ground the Lords Day. That they doe not I can speake for one; and your owne words delivered after with more caution, Verily I have hardly either knowne, or read, or heard, intimate that though few, yet you cannot say, but you have heard, or read, or knowne of some, that have not with baptizing of Infants rejected the Lord’s Day; but you have, I presume heard or read of whole, and those reformed Churches, that have upon such a ground rejected the Lords day as not of divine institution, who yet are zealous for paedobaptisme. Nor must they, And to make that good, let us consider their ground as you mention it. Their ground you say is, because there is not an expresse institution or command in the New Testament: this then is their principle, that what hath not an expresse institution or command in the New Testament is to be rejected. But give me leave to tell you, that you leave out two explications that are needful to be taken in; First, that when they say so, they meane it of positive instituted worship, consisting in outward rites, such as Circumcision, Baptisme and the Lord’s Supper are, which have nothing morall or naturall in them, but are in whole and in part Ceremoniall. For that which is naturall or morall in worship, they allow an institution or command in the old Testament as obligatory to Christians, and such doe they conceive a Sabbath to be, as being of the Law of nature, that outward worship being due to God, days are due to God to that end, and therefore even in Paradise, appointed from the creation; and in all nations, in all ages observed: enough to prove so much to be of the Law of nature, and therefore the fourth Commandment justly put amongst the Morals; and if a seventh day indefinitely be commanded there, as some of your Assembly have endeavoured to make good, I shall not gainsay; though in that point of the quota pars temporis which is moral, I do yet [epekein — (original is Greek)] suspend my judgement. Now Circumcision hath nothing moral in it, it is meerely positive, neither from the beginning, nor observed by all nations in all ages, nor in the Decalogue, and therefore a Sabbath may stand, though it fall. 2. The other explication is, that when they require expresse institution or command in the New testament, they doe not meane that in positive worship there must be a command totidem verbis, in so many words, in forme of a precept, but they conceive that Apostolicall example, which hath not a meere temporary reason, is enough to prove an institution from God, to which that practice doth relate. And in this, after some evidences in the Scripture of the New Testament, they ascribe much to the constant practice of the Church in all ages. Now then if it be considered, that when Paul preached upon the first day of the weeke, and Paul was at Troas, Acts 20.7 [Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)] the Disciples came together to breake bread, and Paul, 1 Cor. 16.1 [Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)] ,2 [Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)] as he had appointed in the Churches of Galatia, so he appoints at Corinth collections for the poore the first day of the week, & Revel. 1.10 it hath the Elogium or title of the Lord’s day; and it was so Sacred among Christians, that it was made the question of inquisitors of Christianity, ‘Dominicum servatis?’ hast thou kept the Lords Day? To which was answered , Christianos sum, intermittere non possum, I am a Christian, I may not omit it. It is clear evidence to me, that either Christ or the Apostles, having abrogated the old Sabbath, Col. 2.16 [Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)] subrogated the first day of the week instead of it. Now if a moity of this could be brought for Paedobaptisme, in the stead of Circumcision of infants, I should subscribe to it with you. But Paedobaptisme not consisting with the order of Christ in the institution, being contrary to the usage of it by John the Baptist, & the Apostles, there being no foote-steps of it, til the erroneous conceit grew of giving God’s grace by it, and the necessity of it to save an infant from perishing, some hundreds of yeares after Christ’s incarnation; I dare not assent to the practice of it upon a supposed analogy, equity or reason of the rule of Circumcision, and imaginary confederation with the believing parent in the Covenant of Grace. For to me it is a dangerous principle upon which they that so argue: to wit, that in meere positive things (such as Circumcision and Baptism are) we may frame an addition to God’s worship from analogy or resemblance conceived by us between two ordinances, whereof one is quite taken away, without any institution gathered by precept or apostolical example. For if we may doe it in one thing, why not in another? Where shall we stay? They that read the Popish expositors of their Rituals, doe know that this very principle hath brought in Surplice, Purification of women, &c. that I mention not greater matters. I desire any learned man to set me downe a rule from Gods Word, how far I may go in my conceived parity of reason, equity or analogy, and where I must stay; when it will be superstition and will worship, when not; when my conscience may be satisfied, when not? That which Christ and his Apostles have taken from the Jewes, and appointed to us, we receive as they have appointed; but if any other man, if a Pope, or Oecumenical Councel take upon them to appoint to mens Consciences any rite in whole or in part, upon his owne conceived reason from supposed analogy with the Jewish ceremonies, it is an high presumption in such against Christ, and against the Apostles command to yeeld to it Col. 2.20 [Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)] though it hath a show of wisdome, v. 23. And the Apostles example, Gal. 2.3 [Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)] ,4 [Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)] ,5 [Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)] binds us to oppose it, when it is likely to bring us into bondage.”

 

Source [Confessing Baptist]

The Case for Credobaptism

by Sam Renihan

The practice of baptizing professing believers is grounded upon two complementary foundations. The first is an argument from the covenants of Scripture. The second is an argument from the commands of Scripture related to those covenants. Credobaptists and paedobaptists often assume, or argue, that the people of a given covenant receive the covenant sign. Thus, in the case of the subjects of baptism one must simply identify the covenant people. This is insufficient. The administration of covenantal ordinances is governed by specific laws, which must be obeyed strictly. For example, women were members of Abraham’s covenant but they were not recipients of its sign, circumcision. Likewise, infant males were circumcised, but only on the eighth day. As a result, to determine the subjects of baptism one must first identify and distinguish the covenants involved and then examine the accompanying laws.

1. A positive credobaptist argument asserts that the relevant covenant involved is the new covenant, and that this covenant is distinct from the biblical covenants that preceded it in history, particularly the Abrahamic covenant. Simply put, the Abrahamic covenant promised earthly blessings to an earthly people (Abraham and his offspring) in an earthly land. This covenantal relationship was expanded and developed in the Mosaic covenant….

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

A Critique of R. Scott Clark’s Covenant Theology

By Brandon Adams

Recently R. Scott Clark spoke on the Calvinist Batman podcast about covenant theology and baptism. He also has A Curriculum For Those Wrestling Through Covenant Theology And Infant Baptism, a 5-part series called Some of the Differences Between Baptists and Reformed Theology on the New Covenant, as well as a printed booklet called Baptism, Election, and the Covenant of Grace.

I greatly appreciate Dr. Clark’s work in defense of justification by faith alone. He sees quite clearly how much of the professed reformed church has been infiltrated by a false gospel. He sees it for the threat that it is and he speaks loudly against it. I stand beside him in that and I am thankful for his work in that respect. The critique I offer below should not take anything away from that. I offer it in an effort to sharpen iron and edify the church.

The critique is long, but I think you will find it worth your time. I appreciate your patience.

Summary of Clark’s View

Clark has offered this concise summary:

The Abrahamic covenant is still in force. The administration of the Abrahamic covenant involved believers and their children (Gen 17). That’s why Peter said, “For the promise to you and to your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:39). That’s a New Testament re-statement of the Abrahamic promise of Genesis 17 and in the minor prophets (e.g., Joel 2). Only believers have ever actually inherited, by grace alone, through faith alone, the substance of the promise (Christ and salvation) but the signs and seals of the promise have always been administered to believers and their children. It’s both/and not either/or.

 

 

 
Read the entire article here.

Infant Baptism: New Wine in Old Wineskins?

I am a Baptist, (namely, a Reformed Baptist),[1] not because I was raised to be so, nor because I’ve neglected to study the theological issues that divide Baptists and those of other denominations. No, I am a Reformed Baptist by conviction. That means, I’ve studied the issues and can confidently say that I am convinced of what I have believed as being thoroughly biblical. And while I have the highest respect for my Paedobaptist brethren, especially those of the Presbyterian denomination, I cannot bring myself to accept the practice of infant baptism as an apostolic, biblical teaching/practice. It is, to paraphrase the words of Christ, pouring new wine into old wineskins (Mtt. 9:17). Alan Conner, in his book, Covenant Children Today: Physical or Spiritual?, notes this as a crucial point in the debate over infant baptism and covenant membership.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

A Response to the Arguments for “Covenant Child Baptism”

by Tom Chantry

Last week the Aquila Report published an article by Pastor Jason Van Bemmel of the Presbyterian Church in America entitled “15 Arguments in Favor of Covenant Child Baptism.” The article was structured as ten arguments regarding subject (but with an eleventh “bonus” argument), and five more regarding mode.

This helpful list sumarizes every major Presbyterian and Reformed argument on baptism in one place, which is surprisingly rare. Various arguments have been advanced over the years, and not all paedobaptists agree with every argument. A list of arguments is therefore helpful for a number of reasons.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

 

“Things are bad where there is need of so many remedies”

September 9, 2015 Leave a comment

Christopher Blackwood, a Particular Baptist minister, said the following regarding infant baptism:

“It fills the conscience with scruples. Some question whether they were ever baptized. Some question how could I make a covenant by myself, much less by others, being an infant. Some think there is no word at all for what is herein done, but it’s only a laudable Apostolic tradition. Some think it a sign of faith in present, others in infants. But that which causeth most scruple is, about the formalis ratio, the formal cause that [entitles] a man to this infant baptism. Some think the faith of the parents, or of those that offer them, doth [entitle] them hereto. Others think that the faith of their Grand-father, great-grandfather to many generations if none be neerer, that were godly of the race, the faith of Noah shall serve. Others think the faith of the whole Church. Others think that Children’s seminal faith makes them capable hereof, the nature whereof who can understand, seeing all faith requires an act of the understanding which infants have not. Some think Abraham’s faith doth it. Some think there is an inward covenant which was made to Abraham, whereby whatsoever God is to a godly man, he is the same to all the seed. Nay say others; seeing many of the godly’s seed are wicked, this is impossible but there is a certain outward covenant, formerly in circumcision, now in baptism whereby infants do partake. Talk with ten men, and you shall see them divided into five parts about the formal cause that entitles an infant to baptism. It’s a speech of Erasmus, ‘Things are bad where there is need of so many remedies.’”

Blackwood was educated at Cambridge and ordained in the Church of England. He renounced infant baptism in 1644. This is from his book, The Storming of Antichrist, published the same year.

 

 

Source [Particular Voices]