Saturday, November 10, 2007

Questions for Micah

Dear Micah,

It seems we may be talking past each other. Let's see if we can agree (or not) on a few basic things.

1. It seems you try to distinguish between the Old and New Covenants on the basis that everyone in the New Covenant is saved. Is that a fair statement or not?

(If the answer is "no," please explain.)

2. In Hebrews 8-9 are any of the advantages of the new covenant over the old covenant related to the blessings extending (or not) to the children of believers, or the recipients of the sign of the covenant?

(If the answer is "yes," please identify.)

3. Do you agree that baptism is the sign of membership in the new covenant, just as circumcision was the sign of membership in the old covenant?

(If the answer is "no," please explain.)

4. Was circumcision a picture of regeneration by the Holy Spirit?

(If the answer is "no," please explain.)

5. Was circumcision given to Abraham on account of his faith?

(If the answer is "no," please explain.)

6. Does Peter say that Baptism is the like figure unto circumcision?

(If the answer is "no," please explain.)

7. Do you agree that not everyone who receives Baptism is regenerate, just as not everyone who received circumcision was regenerate.

(If the answer is "no," please explain.)


1 comment:

Micah said...

1) Firstly, the Old Covenant saved NO ONE. Secondly the New Covenant saves all that are in it, for it is written, "FOR I WILL BE MERCIFUL TO THEIR INIQUITIES, AND I WILL REMEMBER THEIR SINS NO MORE..." and "Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them". This is the New Covenant, one in which Christ mediates and intercedes on behalf of its members.

Are you saying that there are people who are in the New Covenant who will not be saved?

2. The New Covenant is specifically made between believers and Christ, as it is written, "FOR ALL WILL KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST OF THEM..." The New Covenant SAVES those who are in it.

Saying that unregenerate or unbelieving people who attend the church receive blessings by virtue of being related to the church is not the same as saying that those individuals are "in the New Covenant". Do you agree?

3. Baptism is a sign of the New Covenant, Circumcision was a sign of the Old Covenant, however they're not identical.

4. The Bible declares that circumcision was the "sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he [Abraham] had while uncircumcised". Paul is very specific in this, he does not apply any other symbolism to the sign. Circumcision pointed back to Abraham's promise.

Paul does say, however, in Colossians 2:11-12 (and I assume this is where you're going) "and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead."

Here we see a clear connection between circumcision and baptism, however there's also a great deal of contrast within these very words. The circumcision spoken of here is "a circumcision made without hands" and prior to these verses it states that those "in Him you have been made complete". This is quite different language and concepts than what circumcision pointed to and meant. The person who is baptized is one who is a disciple of Christ, one who has been "made complete" by faith in Him begun with "a circumcision made without hands". The language of the rest of the passage in Colossians is similar to that of Eph 2, "When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions"...

Now no matter how one wants to look at it, paedobaptism simply does not apply their circumcision-baptism connection consistently in viewing these passages. Paul is again speaking of those who have faith in Christ, who have been "made complete" who have been "forgiven.. all our transgressions", are you willing to say that this is the case with all the children of believers? Have they been "made complete" in Christ and "been forgiven" all their transgressions??? Have they "a circumcision made without hands"?

5. I'm not sure what you mean "on account of", it was applied to him AFTER he believed, as it is written, "and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised". Circumcision then, as applied to Abraham, was a "sign" and "seal of the faith" Abraham had while uncircumcised.

6. What specific passage do you have in mind?

7. Of course I agree that not everyone who receives baptism is regenerate, however, the difference is that Baptism is applied, according to the pattern of the New Testament, only to those who professed faith.

Paedobaptists seem deaf to this point, the issue is NOT whether we can determine if someone is regenerate or not, but whether someone has professed faith in Christ.

Finally, if you agree that baptism is NOT essential for salvation, (that is a person can be saved apart from the application of the sign), why the emphasis on baptizing infants? If baptism doesn't place one actually in the Covenant (the position of the Federal Vision), if baptism doesn't actually regenerate (the position of Rome), then what exactly do you believe baptism "does"?