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 Re: Infant Baptism


From a Quaker perspective, no one can baptise anyone else. Only the Holy Spirit can baptise you. "sprinklings" are nothing but religious feel-good pagentry.

BubbaGuy

 2005/1/21 16:58
Nasher
Member



Joined: 2003/7/28
Posts: 404
Watford, UK

 Re:

Bubbaguy, have you ever heard of John the "Baptist"?


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Mark Nash

 2005/1/21 18:07Profile
KeithLaMothe
Member



Joined: 2004/3/28
Posts: 354


 Re:

Quote:

philologos wrote:
Wow Keith, these are some questions! Are we still on the same topic?

Yes :-) The question (unless I'm mistaken) is whether it is appropriate to baptize the infant children of Christians. My understanding is that all of us in this thread (minus the liberal Quaker) agree that members of the New Covenant should be baptized. Further, I think we have similar agreement that someone who is clearly not a member of the New Covenant should not be baptized.

Therefore, as I said earlier, the question is more specifically "Are the infant children of Christians members of the New Covenant?"

Your quite understandable response was to ask whether one can enter the New Covenant by any means other than regeneration. Am I correct in assuming that your answer to that, and thus to my earlier question (and thus to the original question), is "no"?

So I'm now trying to test your definition of New Covenant membership, first with a question about marriage covenant membership and whether there's such a thing as being an unfaithful member of a marriage covenant (as opposed to not being a member of a marriage covenant at all), and then with an application by analogy as to whether there's such a thing as an unfaithful member of the New Covenant (as opposed to not being a member of the New Covenant at all).

The reasoning goes that, if a man who has publicly confessed Christ and is baptized but is not regenerate is [i]not[/i] a member of the New Covenant, then he is not obligated to keep that Covenant, and thus he is none the worse off (judicially) for his baptism. It's analogous to saying that an unfaithful husband is no husband at all (which sounds interesting but neglects the facts). It may well be, however, that it is an improper analogy.

I'm essentially restating arguments from Douglas Wilson, a Presbyterian who believes in paedobaptism (and paedocommunion for that matter), on the "objectivity of the Covenant." One of his main points there is that public confession of Christ and trinitarian baptism make one a member (in a not-necessarily-salvific sense) of the New Covenant. Therefore such a person is obligated to keep the New Covenant. He also argues that the baptized infants of Christians are members of the New Covenant, but it would be pointless to go into that if you don't buy the idea that it's possible to be an unregenerate (and not-going-to-heaven) Covenant member.

Wilson found himself in a fair amount of hot water (no pun intended) for teaching this, but it seems to me that he's got some pretty good arguments. Perhaps more interestingly (to me) it seems that if he's wrong then paedobaptism has to be wrong, which is interesting because most of the people going after him for his take on the Covenant are fellow Presbyterians (fellow paedobaptists).

I'm not yet decided on the issue, but where I go on it will probably determine where I go on paedobaptism and paedocommunion.

edit- also, I think much of the rancor against Wilson is due to misunderstanding, which is not surprising considering he's advocating that the word "Christian" has more than one meaning: first: "regenerate and going to heaven", second: something along the lines of "person who has publicly confessed Christ and been baptized, and is thus a member of the New Covenant whether or not he's actually regenerate".

 2005/1/21 18:09Profile
philologos
Member



Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Quote:
Your quite understandable response was to ask whether one can enter the New Covenant by any means other than regeneration. Am I correct in assuming that your answer to that, and thus to my earlier question (and thus to the original question), is "no"?

Yes, I mean no, I mean 'yes, you are right in thinking my answer would be that the only way in to the New Covenant would be by regeneration.

Quote:
So I'm now trying to test your definition of New Covenant membership, first with a question about marriage covenant membership and whether there's such a thing as being an unfaithful member of a marriage covenant (as opposed to not being a member of a marriage covenant at all), and then with an application by analogy as to whether there's such a thing as an unfaithful member of the New Covenant (as opposed to not being a member of the New Covenant at all).

So the question is can someone leave the New Covenant or behave improperly while being a member of the New Covenant? They are good questions but it does imply that all covenants are the same whereas a covenant can really only be described by its conditions.


Quote:
I'm essentially restating arguments from Douglas Wilson, a Presbyterian who believes in paedobaptism (and paedocommunion for that matter), on the "objectivity of the Covenant." One of his main points there is that public confession of Christ and trinitarian baptism make one a member (in a not-necessarily-salvific sense) of the New Covenant. Therefore such a person is obligated to keep the New Covenant. He also argues that the baptized infants of Christians are members of the New Covenant, but it would be pointless to go into that if you don't buy the idea that it's possible to be an unregenerate (and not-going-to-heaven) Covenant member.

The concept of being a member of the New Covenant but not a recipient of salvation strains my credulity. Surely the covenant parties are God and another. How does someone enter the Covenant other than by response to invitation/command?


Quote:
One of his main points there is that public confession of Christ and trinitarian baptism make one a member (in a not-necessarily-salvific sense) of the New Covenant.

Would that mean both or either/or. A public confession would surely exclude all but the most precocious infants!


Quote:
edit- also, I think much of the rancor against Wilson is due to misunderstanding, which is not surprising considering he's advocating that the word "Christian" has more than one meaning: first: "regenerate and going to heaven", second: something along the lines of "person who has publicly confessed Christ and been baptized, and is thus a member of the New Covenant whether or not he's actually regenerate".

You do mix with some interesting people! I have a lot of sympathy with this particular paragraph but very little with his 'all the responsibilities but none of the benefits' membership of the New Covenant. I think the word Christian is so vague that it is almost impossible to know what anyone means by it. The only biblical synonym would have to be 'disciples' (ie the disciples were called Christians) and that would necessarily mean conscious followers which would exclude infants.

I am familiar with the Covenant Theology which is behind his position but do not share it. I think it misunderstands the nature of faith among other things.


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Ron Bailey

 2005/1/21 18:54Profile
philologos
Member



Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Quote:
From a Quaker perspective, no one can baptise anyone else. Only the Holy Spirit can baptise you. "sprinklings" are nothing but religious feel-good pagentry.


Hi Jake
I think I can see why Fox and William Booth rejected the outward as being unnecessary if the inward was effective. But the biblical account of Cornelius presents us with someone who had received the Spirit but who was 'commanded' to be baptised. That is the only 'compulsory' baptism in the scripture.

With this in mind and the clear commission to 'baptise' from the Risen Christ, I think both Fox, and Booth were mistaken. It is true that only Christ can baptise in the Spirit, but baptism in water has always been a legitimate expression of submission to the claims of Christ.


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Ron Bailey

 2005/1/21 19:03Profile
dohzman
Member



Joined: 2004/10/13
Posts: 2132


 Re:

Brother Ron--- your question was to me very very revealing, almost as if it searched out my inward parts. I gave it alot of prayer and thought and find no satisfactory explaination to that verse , and the commentaries don't seem to much real help. I thought this way and that and I find that to answer one single question really reveals where a person stands theologically. As a matter of fact its so gripped me that I don't seem to be able to get away from it , and will pursue it until I have an answer that at least satisfies my soul and lines up with scripture. I guess my short answer was Noah and the saving of his family, however having thought it through to its finial conclusions that's not sound enough doctrine for me. So you've placed me in a position where I need to spend alot of time and prayer and study on a subject I can't really answer at this time.Thank you for the challenge.


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D.Miller

 2005/1/24 10:17Profile
dohzman
Member



Joined: 2004/10/13
Posts: 2132


 Re: Brother Keith

Brother Kieth, I keep this in the same thread line that you and Ron have run. So let me see if I understand what you're saying. In this scripture we'er dealing with One man(just for sake of arguement we'll say he's unsaved---i.e. not born of the spirit) unsaved, married to One woman(a true christian believer born of the spirit of God) and lets just say they have 3 children.So we don't muddy up the waters lets just say both the man and woman are being faithful to each other (because I think Paul quite possibilly could have had someone in mind). Now , as a reault of the womans committment are you saying that the children are under the New Covenant without any of its benefits or provisions? And what about the husband. Ron's question to me was so penetrating because what I heard was this----- What difference is there between children with 2 unsaved parents (non-christian, not born of the spirit of God) and children with at least one saved parent. It's clear, santified. However it has been very very unsettling to me in doctrine because you must allow it to run to its finial conclusions.And I can't seem to bring my mind to a place where I have an adequate understanding of this passage.


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D.Miller

 2005/1/24 10:46Profile









 Re: infant baptism

Nasher,

Yes, of course I have heard of John the Baptist; the forerunner of Christ. John the baptist stated clearly that his work was a symbolic precursor for the saving grace that Jesus brought. John states he is an unworthy messenger and that Jesus will come and baptize us in the Holy Spirit. Once the crucifiction and resurrection had been accomplished, there was no more need of water baptisms. The work was accomplished and thus water baptism became superfluous.

Don't get me wrong, being Baptised is important (being submerged in the Holy Spirit) ; you just can't accomplish it with water, and it would be wrong to tell people they are in any way saved because of their (infant) water baptism; or that water baptism is required for salvation.

Bubbaguy

 2005/1/24 11:39
Nasher
Member



Joined: 2003/7/28
Posts: 404
Watford, UK

 Re:

Hi Bubbaguy,

Quote:
From a Quaker perspective, no one can baptise anyone else. Only the Holy Spirit can baptise you. "sprinklings" are nothing but religious feel-good pagentry.



Quote:
Once the crucifiction and resurrection had been accomplished, there was no more need of water baptisms. The work was accomplished and thus water baptism became superfluous.



Why does Christ say this then?:

Matthew 28
16Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.
17And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
18And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.


_________________
Mark Nash

 2005/1/26 7:14Profile
KeithLaMothe
Member



Joined: 2004/3/28
Posts: 354


 Re:

Bro. Ron:

I think I muddied the waters a bit with the "public confession" part, I think Wilson (and presumably others in the "Federal Vision" or "Auburn Avenue" theological camp, the latter name due to the name of the church where they held a conference that first attracted serious fire upon their position) would say that trinitarian baptism makes one a member of the New Covenant (though not regenerated/saved if one wasn't already), and perhaps he would add that such a baptism is a public confession for a baptizee who knows what he's doing.

Quote:
I have a lot of sympathy with this particular paragraph but very little with his 'all the responsibilities but none of the benefits' membership of the New Covenant.

I'm not sure I'd say "none" of the benefits, although the one we primarily think of is missing. I think anyone would have to be thankful to God if they were raised in the teaching and admonition of the Lord, surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, and regularly participating (in some sense) in the communion of the saints. All that light increases their condemnation if they still rebel against God, but it is a blessing all the same even if misappropriated.

I may be able to track down a more thorough summary from Douglas Wilson's own work, but here's the summary from a book on the subject (his main book on it, I believe), "'Reformed' is not enough: Recovering the Objectivity of the Covenant":

"Membership in the Christian faith is objective—it can be photographed and fingerprinted. In baptism, God names us and imposes gracious obligations upon us. Multitudes of faithless, corrupt Christians show that they do not believe what God said at their baptism. They live like adulterous husbands. But the tragedy is that many conscientious conservative Christians also do not believe what God said at their baptism."

Also, while this is obviously built upon Covenant theology, Wilson's stuff has stirred up a lot of opposition even amongst that group. I think much of that is more from misunderstanding than real disagreement, however.

Perhaps this will help clarify: If an unregenerate man is baptized, but persists in his rebellion against God, has he incurred any more guilt than before his baptism? If so, what is the nature of that guilt?

 2005/1/26 9:58Profile





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