Saturday, November 28, 2009

Regeneration - Baptism - Circumcision

In a recent post responding to some comments from R. Scott Clark, Dr. White states:
In the same way, once we see that fulfillment of circumcision in the New Covenant is regeneration, not baptism, the consistency of the biblical revelation is seen.
(source)

I have heard Dr. White make this claim repeatedly, but it seems odd to me for two reasons:

1) The claim from his Presbyterian brethren is not that baptism is the fulfillment of circumcision, but that it is the replacement. The unbloody sign of baptism replaces the bloody sign of circumcision (just as the unbloody Lord's Supper replaces the bloody Passover).

2) Regeneration is the the thing symbolized by both Circumcision and Baptism. I guess one could call it the "fulfillment" of the sign, but it is properly speaking the antitype of which both circumcision and baptism are the type. Both the type and the antitype coexisted in the Old Testament, and there was an incomplete overlap then as now. For example, Abraham believed (demonstrating regeneration) before he was circumcised, whereas we can question whether Ishmael ever believed - yet he was circumcised.

So, I find Dr. White's claim puzzling. It doesn't make sense to me to say that "fulfillment of circumcision in the New Covenant is regeneration" because on the one hand it would be more appropriate to say "fulfillment of circumcision in the Old Covenant was regeneration" or on the other hand "fulfillment of baptism in the New Covenant is regeneration."

-TurretinFan

48 comments:

Coram Deo said...

TF - I've been keeping tabs on this unfolding discussion over at The Heidelblog this weekend.

In light of the exchanges there it would appear that Dr. White's comments neatly hit the mark.

Relative to old/new covenant signs of circumcision/baptism it seems that the inspired Apostle Paul had copious opportunities to explain to the Jews of his day that baptism was the New Covenant version circumcision, yet he never once took up this line of argumentation.

It also seems more than a bit strange to me that the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 would have failed to formulate infant baptism as the New Covenent "circumcision", were this the case; and it's hard to imagine a better venue for the Holy Spirit to have resolved the matter for the fledgling church.

When Paul does take up the subject of Old Covenant circumcision in light of the New Covenant it's always jutaposed with something that happens inwardly, not outwardly:

For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. (Phil. 3:3)

Does an infant "worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus"?

For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God. (Romans 2:28-29)

Inwardly.

Of the heart.

By the Spirit.

Is paedobaptism outward in the flesh; or is it inward, of the heart, and by the Spirit?

In Christ,
CD

Turretinfan said...

"Relative to old/new covenant signs of circumcision/baptism it seems that the inspired Apostle Paul had copious opportunities to explain to the Jews of his day that baptism was the New Covenant version circumcision, yet he never once took up this line of argumentation."

Silence is easier to eisegete than words.

"It also seems more than a bit strange to me that the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 would have failed to formulate infant baptism as the New Covenent "circumcision", were this the case; and it's hard to imagine a better venue for the Holy Spirit to have resolved the matter for the fledgling church."

Silence again - and historical evidence doesn't suggest it was a divisive issue for the church.

"When Paul does take up the subject of Old Covenant circumcision in light of the New Covenant it's always jutaposed with something that happens inwardly, not outwardly:

For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. (Phil. 3:3)"

Paul is reiterating an Old Testament theme there.

"Does an infant "worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus"?"

Scripture doesn't explicitly say. Yet more silence to eisegete, I suppose.

"For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God. (Romans 2:28-29)

Inwardly.

Of the heart.

By the Spirit.

Is paedobaptism outward in the flesh; or is it inward, of the heart, and by the Spirit?"

All baptisms are outward of the flesh.

-TurretinFan

Coram Deo said...

TF said: The unbloody sign of baptism replaces the bloody sign of circumcision (just as the unbloody Lord's Supper replaces the bloody Passover).

Where in the Bible do we learn that "baptism replaces circumcision"?

As indicated in my prior post, spiritual circumcision under the New Covenant consistently points towards obedience to the gospel, e.g. Col. 2:11-12.

Therefore how can an outward, in the flesh sign replace an inward, of the heart, by the Spirit reality?

Lastly, unless I misunderstood your reply to my inquiry about infants worshipping God in the Spirit and rejoicing in Christ, you seem to intimate that infants who are baptized at least potentially have knowledge of sin, and faith in the working of God.

Is this your belief?

In Christ,
CD

Turretinfan said...

CD:

You use quotation marks as though you want me to find a verse that has those exact words.

Of course, those exact words are not used.

"As indicated in my prior post, spiritual circumcision under the New Covenant consistently points towards obedience to the gospel, e.g. Col. 2:11-12."

Spiritual circumcision under the Old Covenant pointed to the same thing (more or less clearly). Compare:

Leviticus 26:41 And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity:

Deuteronomy 10:16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.

Acts 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

Deuteronomy 30:6 And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

Romans 2:29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

Jeremiah 4:4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.

Jeremiah 6:10 To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the LORD is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it.

Jeremiah 9:26 Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all that are in the utmost corners, that dwell in the wilderness: for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart.

Ezekiel 44:7 In that ye have brought into my sanctuary strangers, uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary, to pollute it, even my house, when ye offer my bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken my covenant because of all your abominations.

Ezekiel 44:9 Thus saith the Lord GOD; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel.

Baptism is similarly a cleansing of the flesh that pictures spiritual cleansing:

1 Peter 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

Acts 15:8-9 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

"Is this your belief?"

I believe all salvation is miraculous:

Luke 18:26-27
And they that heard it said, "Who then can be saved?"
And he said, "The things which are impossible with men are possible with God."

Whether God does give repentance and faith to infants, I do not know. It is possible with God, though it seems impossible for man.

-TurretinFan

natamllc said...

CD,

an interesting thread exchange today!

I am paedobaptist.

Here's why.

You asked: "....Does an infant "worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus"? ...".

I would comment this way about that question.

Do you not misunderstand spirituality and Godly worship then by that question?

Our baptism is a Work and Word of God. We are the passive recipients of both the Work and Word of God. Spiritual worship is "what" Jesus does that we cannot do and fail to do.

If I could do it, I would not need a Savior.

Infant baptism or any baptism is a True Baptism when it is done with the Word of God as a part of it.

It is the "giving" of spiritual Life that makes me alive.

It is no longer I who live. It is Christ in me, the Hope of Glory. And the life I now live I live by the same Faith once delivered to the Saints. Faith is the gift of God, not man.

Baptism is an act of Faith. The decision rests with God not man.

The argument that I must wait and make a decision to be baptized makes no sense to me.

I would ask you to angle it from this posed question's point of view.

What does a three day old infant have to do to be adopted?

Nothing.

Baptism is the act of God's Faith not man's.

Therefore I say that God, by His Own Will adopts and baptises Whom He wills.

Baptism is equally a sacrament according to the Will of God that we do.

natamllc said...

Oh yeah, TF, your words are so powerful, it seems to me, if one takes the time to enter into that Sabbath Rest by the power of them, your words I will cite following, as we are instructed to do as Royal Priests through baptism, [which, parenthetically, we can't do ourself to ourself,] one would come into the clearing the Light brings us into in understanding baptism, coming out of the darkness and into His Light:::>


"....Spiritual circumcision under the Old Covenant pointed to the same thing (more or less clearly)....".

This wisdom you point to goes all the way back to Heaven itself and before Adam's "life" with the Triune God before his transgression that spread the curse of death to all humanity; onto Cain's, Able's, Seth's and on and on and on to the last human born sometime historically in the future.

The transgression of Adam followed the encounter with an evil spirit being, who by that time was cast out and fallen from Heaven himself.

The obedience that followed the birth and physical Life of the Eternal, Holy Spirit Being, Christ, Who was sent, came after that time of His Sufferings, death and resurrection as He would be cast out of Heaven Himself too, so that He could become the only substitutionary curse in the present heavens and earth to free God's Elect from the curse of the Law of Righteousness put on us in this life by Adam's transgression.

Baptism follows as an outward event of an inner event predestined by God Himself before the foundation of the world, adoption, as prophesied.

Baptism joins us to Christ's death and Resurrection at infancy or anytime after that.

Rom 6:3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
Rom 6:4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Rom 6:5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

The obedience isn't our obedience, but His for us.

What is the obedience then?

Paul gives us some understanding of it here:::>

Col 2:13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,
Col 2:14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
Col 2:15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

I could go into much broader areas of this spirituality and Truth. Suffice it enough though now to say again, what I cited above that you wrote is powerful stuff, indeed because:

Pro 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

Coram Deo said...

TF - just getting back to this thread after an amazing Lord's Day, our God is so good!

You said: "You use quotation marks as though you want me to find a verse that has those exact words."

Actually the reason I used quotation marks was because I was quoting you. Granted it was a paraphrase, but I think it captured the essence of your statement in point #1 of your original post.

I was a bit surprised to see you anachronistically note that "historical evidence doesn't suggest it [circumcision] was a divisive issue for the church."

It seems obvious enough that this should be the case following the Council of Jerusalem which specifically addressed this heretofore divisive issue. But sadly, as we know from Paul's epistle to the Galatians, the Judaizer's desire to glory in the flesh (circumcision) of the Gentile converts merely went underground after the council's decision, as heresy is often wont to do.

Presumably you hold the book of Galatians to be a historical document, therefore I assume your allusion to the dearth of historical evidence for circumcision being a divisive issue for the church refers to the period following the Judaizer's final apostolic smack down.

But just as there are still Arians around today (JW's), there's little doubt there are still Judaizers around as well. Perhaps the modern day Judaizers are the Reformed Baptists who agree with the Judaizers that baptism doesn't replace circumcision?

In Christ,
CD

Turretinfan said...

CD:

You wrote: "I was a bit surprised to see you anachronistically note that 'historical evidence doesn't suggest it [circumcision] was a divisive issue for the church.'"

a) By "it" I was referring to infant baptism, not circumcision.

b) My reference isn't "anachronistic". You made a claim that "it's hard to imagine a better venue for the Holy Spirit to have resolved the matter for the fledgling church" and my point is that there is no historical evidence to suggest that infant baptism was a matter that needed to be resolved in the fledgling church.

The discontinuity of circumcision was an issue, and it was resolved.

-TurretinFan

Louis said...

Paul doesn't say "baptism replaces circumcision", because he is arguing against keeping any law or ceremony as a requirement to be justified. If he had said "baptism replaces circumcision", the Galatians would have made baptism legalistic, just as the jews had made circumcision legalistic.

Thus, Paul contrasts circumcision with faith; law with gospel. This doesn't mean that baptism no longer occupies the same place as circumcision, rightly understood. circumcision was supposed to be a sign and seal of faith (Romans 4:11), just as baptism is.

Andrew Suttles said...

CD -

You might well give up the fight, as TF said:

"Silence is easier to eisegete than words."

I agree with TF here. There are no scriptural passages in the NT commanding infant baptism, so there is nothing to exegete.

Andrew Suttles said...

natamllc -

"Our baptism is a Work and Word of God. We are the passive recipients of both the Work and Word of God...It is the "giving" of spiritual Life that makes me alive...Baptism is an act of Faith. The decision rests with God not man.Baptism is the act of God's Faith not man's...Therefore I say that God, by His Own Will adopts and baptises Whom He wills"

I'm not sure I'm tracking on all this. Baptism gives spiritual life? Baptism is an act of faith - God's faith? In what? Us? If you allow that God baptizes whom he will, why don't you leave to it Him to select the candidates for baptism?

Andrew Suttles said...

Circumcision was given to Abraham as a physical sign of the promise that was given to him and his physical seed, who were the type of the Spiritual seed. In a carnal sense, the promise to Abraham was passed on physically from one generation to the next until THE seed came to whom the promise was given.

Now that the wall of partition is destroyed there is no longer a carnal seed. The Spiritual seed of Abraham do not pass along the blessing of Abraham from one generation to another - never have in either covenant. This is the circumcision which the Holy Spirit performs. We do not have a covenant of promise, but fulfillment. We do not pass a promise along to our children, we embrace it by faith.

Turretinfan said...

Mr. Suttles:

1) Baptism is also a physical sign.

2) Why do you say, "sign of the promise that was given to him"? Romans 4:11 says it was "a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised."

3) It is fairly clear that before Christ the blessings of God were on believers and on their children. What makes you think this stopped when Christ came?

4) In view of your answer to (3), how to do you understand "else were your children unclean; but now are they holy" (1 Corinthians 7:14)?

5) "But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;" (Psalm 103:17) - is this speaking only to Jews?

Turretinfan said...

Andrew:

Also no verse commanding female communion.

If absence of a specific command is significant, consider what its significance may be.

-TurretinFan

Andrew Suttles said...

TF -

Perhaps you should change your "About Me" to include "Too 'dry' for James White's taste"

:>

Coram Deo said...

TF said: Andrew:

Also no verse commanding female communion.

If absence of a specific command is significant, consider what its significance may be.


According to the Scriptures communion is for believers, and believers come in male and female varieties.

In Christ,
CD

Turretinfan said...

CD:

Right. There are also Biblical arguments for why we should give the sign of the righteousness which is by faith to children.

-TurretinFan

Coram Deo said...

TF,

Right. And there are also Biblical arguments for why we should not baptize infants, but only those with credible professions of faith.

:)

Whether these "biblical arguments" are valid and hermeneutically consistent with Holy Scripture, the ground and pillar of our faith, is the point being contested.

In Him,
CD

Turretinfan said...

It's not a point contested well by mere absence of examples. That's the point of the rebuttal about female communion.

The absence of explicit references to baptism of infants doesn't kill infant baptism any more than the absence of explicit examples of female communion kills that practice.

I assume you follow that. I just wanted to make clear why I brought it up, in case anyone stopping by only reads the last couple comments.

Coram Deo said...

I did follow your line of reasoning, which is why I pointed out that female communion is made explicit by the fact that communion is for believers, and God created them male and female.

Like your assumption, I also assumed that you and your readers followed my logic, but I'm glad to be given the opportunity to point out the obvious; to wit, the alleged parallel between female communion and paedobaptism falls flat.

Sola Scriptura!

In Him,
CD

Turretinfan said...

And how does it fall flat?

Coram Deo said...

It falls flat because according to the testimony of Scripture believers are called to communion, and believers are created as male and female, therefore an assertion that Scripture is somehow "silent" or lacks an "explicit reference" about female communion falls flat in the face of the witness of Scripture.

Sorry, I thought I had made that point clear.

In Him,
CD

Turretinfan said...

"It falls flat because according to the testimony of Scripture believers are called to communion, and believers are created as male and female, therefore an assertion that Scripture is somehow "silent" or lacks an "explicit reference" about female communion falls flat in the face of the witness of Scripture. Sorry, I thought I had made that point clear."

Ah, I see. That's not what "explicit" means. Explicit doesn't mean you can derive it, it means it is directly stated.

-TurretinFan

Coram Deo said...

TF said: Ah, I see. That's not what "explicit" means. Explicit doesn't mean you can derive it, it means it is directly stated.

Courtesy of Dictionary.com:

ex·plic·it   /ɪkˈsplɪsɪt/
[ik-splis-it]

–adjective
1. fully and clearly expressed or demonstrated; leaving nothing merely implied; unequivocal: explicit instructions; an explicit act of violence; explicit language.
2. clearly developed or formulated: explicit knowledge; explicit belief.

According to the witness of sacred Scripture believers are called to communion, and God created them male and female.

This is the fully and clearly expressed and demonstrated, unequivocal, explicit witness of Scripture.

Sorry TF, but there's simply no Biblical ambiguity on this point.

In Him,
CD

Turretinfan said...

I didn't say there was ambiguity.

Coram Deo said...

TF said: I didn't say there was ambiguity.

Perhaps it was merely implied...

:)

CD

Turretinfan said...

No. I also did not imply (or - at any rate - did not mean to imply) that there is any ambiguity.

It's simply not something stated explicitly.

Coram Deo said...

TF,

As you know, the fact that believers are called to communion, and the fact that God created them male and female are facts *explicitly* taught in Scripture.

And based upon the defintion of the word "explicit" supplied by dictionary.com, it follows that female communion is explicit, as I've already demonstrated in my comment above.

Of course you're free to disagree.

However what isn't taught in Scripture either explicity or implicitly, is baby baptism.

On the contrary, one must start with a tradition, and then work one's way backward to arguments from silence in an effort to prop up said tradition.

Of all people you should be able to see this given your frequent dealings with Romanists.

Please understand that by this observation I'm not lumping you or likeminded "Truly Reformed" paedobaptists in with the Romanists.

As you earlier observed, "Silence is easier to eisegete than words." In my opinion truer words were never spoken in the context of the practice paedobaptism.

I don't expect to change your mind on the subject, especially when far more instructed men than I have taken up the topic, and yet up to now you've clearly found their arguments wanting. And I certainly don't expect you to put more weight on my arguments than those of your friend Dr. James White, whom you've publicly refuted in the subject post.

I appreciate your service to the Lord, even as I strenuously disagree with you on this point.

In conclusion this is your blog, and I've probably taken up more of your time and space than I should have.

In Christ,
CD

Turretinfan said...

Understood, CD. Infant baptism is similarly derivable from explicit statements in Scripture.

-TurretinFan

louis said...

"one must start with a tradition, and then work one's way backward to arguments from silence in an effort to prop up said tradition."

This is incorrect. One starts with theology. Scripture does not say "baptise infants", but it also does not say "don't baptise infants." Both credos and paedos fill in the silence with their own theological suppositions. The only difference is that paedos have the theology correct.

Coram Deo said...

LOL!

Okay louis, thanks for clearing that up!

I don't know why the paedos didn't just tell the credos that in the first place and settle the argument at the outset.

In Him,
CD

Coram Deo said...

Understood, CD. Infant baptism is similarly derivable from explicit statements in Scripture.

Really?

Then it should be easy to demonstrate from Scripture, as I have demonstrated with female communion.

So, since believers are called to communion, and God created them male and female, it follows that female communion is explict in the Scriptures.

Since paedobaptism is allegedly similarly demonstrable, then it should be a small thing show - for example - from Scripture that believers are called to be baptized, and God created infants as believers, thus it follows that infant baptism is explicit in the Scriptures.

Of course the preceding is simply a hypothetical example, but can you please demonstrate the Scriptural parallel of infant baptism to female communion?

In Him,
CD

louis said...

No problem, bro'. We've been trying to tell you that, but you keep throwing up nonsense like "tradition."

Turretinfan said...

"it should be easy to demonstrate from Scripture, as I have demonstrated with female communion"

Some things are easier to demonstrate than other things. I'm sure you're aware of that.

-TurretinFan

Coram Deo said...

louis said: No problem, bro'. We've been trying to tell you that, but you keep throwing up nonsense like "tradition."

I know, I know, louis, us credos can be silly like that. After all, everyone knows there are *no traditions* surrounding the practice of infant baptism, it's just the straight up, explicit, plain sense teaching of the New Testament.

For example:

"Go therefore and baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and then make them disciples.

"Go and baptize then preach the gospel."

"Be baptized and repent."

Oopsie! Did I get those passages exactly backwards? Or did somebody else? Hmmmm...

TF said: Some things are easier to demonstrate than other things. I'm sure you're aware of that.

Yessir, I am indeed. It's especially difficult, I think, to demonstrate something from Scripture, such as infant baptism for example, that isn't found anywhere in the Bible.

But that's where the argument "it's not forbidden in the Bible" seems to come into play.

It's okay because it's not explicitly forbidden?

Not only is it "okay" because it's not explicitly forbidden, but it should be an ordinance for the church because it's not explicitly forbidden?

We don't just have an argument from silence, we have a mandate from silence!

The Biblical pattern is very easy to demonstrate: repent, be baptized.

In Him,
CD

Turretinfan said...

CD:

It seems like you're mostly arguing against your own straw men, my friend.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

Specifically, CD, I didn't argue from the lack of prohibition.

louis said...

CD,

We practice paedobaptism because we believe it is the teaching of scripture. Raising the Bogeyman of "tradition" does not advance the discussion, and frankly it just makes it sound like you can't deal with the actual issues.

As far as your comment about the "plain sense teaching of the NT", I'm sure you know that before one can understand who are the proper recipients of baptism, one has to understand sacraments and covenants, and for that one has to look to the whole of scripture, not just a few choice quotes from the NT.

Respectfully,

Coram Deo said...

TF,

True, you didn't raise this line of argumentation; although given the fact that the "lack of prohibition" angle lies squarely amongst the traditional lines of argumentation in favor of paedobaptism, I hope you would concede that generally anticipating this arugment during a discussion isn't a straw man.

And I'd note that I did not assert that you or louis advanced this position, so it doesn't misrepresent your position, it simply reflects a well-known paedobaptist argument.

louis said: We practice paedobaptism because we believe it is the teaching of scripture.

I hope you don't practice sacraments that you don't believe are the teaching of scripture.

Whether or not your belief is Biblical or not is the point being argued.

Raising the Bogeyman of "tradition" does not advance the discussion, and frankly it just makes it sound like you can't deal with the actual issues.

Well, paedobaptism is rooted in traditions that trace back to the 3rd century, and are unknown prior. I'm willing to deal with the actual issues, are you?

As far as your comment about the "plain sense teaching of the NT", I'm sure you know that before one can understand who are the proper recipients of baptism, one has to understand sacraments and covenants, and for that one has to look to the whole of scripture, not just a few choice quotes from the NT.

Mmmm hmmm...

Where is water baptism for infants found in either testament? Let me save you some time, nowhere.

The OT is interpreted in the light of tne NT, not vice versa. And the NT expounds the meaning behind and proper recipients of the sacraments of water baptism and communion in the plainest of language.

And so the discussion moves into the view of the covenants...well worn ground.

In Him,
CD

louis said...

"the NT expounds the meaning behind and proper recipients of the sacraments of water baptism and communion in the plainest of language."

Where does it expound this? The best that I can tell, you have cited passages that relate baptism to faith. And from that you conclude that baptism is only for those old enough to profess faith.

But scripture clearly teaches that circumcision was also a sign and seal of faith (Rom.4:11). So it doesn't automatically follow that only those professing faith get the sign.

Or am I missing something in your argumentation? By all means clarify.

Turretinfan said...

CD:

We do see explicit (in my and the dictionary's sense of the term) references to infant baptism in Rome, North Africa, and Egypt in the 3rd century. We see things that have been taken as allusions to infant baptism even earlier, for example:

"And if any righteous man among them passes from the world, they rejoice and offer thanks to God; and they escort his body as if he were setting out from one place to another near. And when a child has been born to one of them, they give thanks to God; and if moreover it happen to die in childhood, they give thanks to God the more, as for one who has passed through the world without sins. And further if they see that any one of them dies in his ungodliness or in his sins, for him they grieve bitterly, and sorrow as for one who goes to meet his doom."

- Aristides, Apology, Chapter 15 (delivered about A.D. 125 - describing the Christians)

It has been argued that the reference to "give thanks" there is an allusion to infant baptism, particularly since it does not simply say "when a child dies" but rather when one of their children dies. Admittedly, the allusion could be mistaken.

Here's another similar situation:

Concerning chastity, He uttered such sentiments as these: "Whosoever looketh upon a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart before God." And, "If thy right eye offend thee, cut it out; for it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of heaven with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into everlasting fire." And, "Whosoever shall many her that is divorced from another husband, committeth adultery." And, "There are some who have been made eunuchs of men, and some who were born eunuchs, and some who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake; but all cannot receive this saying." So that all who, by human law, are twice married, are in the eye of our Master sinners, and those who look upon a woman to lust after her. For not only he who in act commits adultery is rejected by Him, but also he who desires to commit adultery: since not only our works, but also our thoughts, are open before God. And many, both men and women, who have been Christ's disciples from childhood, remain pure at the age of sixty or seventy years; and I boast that I could produce such from every race of men. For what shall I say, too, of the countless multitude of those who have reformed intemperate habits, and learned these things? For Christ called not the just nor the chaste to repentance, but the ungodly, and the licentious, and the unjust; His words being, "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." For the heavenly Father desires rather the repentance than the punishment of the sinner.

- Justin Martyr, First Apology, Chapter 15

Notice the contrast between those who were Christ's disciples from childhood and those who reformed their ways. This is similarly ambiguous - in the first case it could simply mean that they became believers before puberty, and in the second case it does not say whether they were baptized immediately upon becoming his disciples, or only after some delay.

And similarly there are references in the New Testament to the baptism of households, and households in those days (as now) typically included children.

- TurretinFan

Coram Deo said...

louis said: Where does it expound this? The best that I can tell, you have cited passages that relate baptism to faith. And from that you conclude that baptism is only for those old enough to profess faith.

What other conclusion can one reach given the consistent, plain, clear pattern of repentance, baptism?

Oh that's right! The other conclusion is that the New Covenant sign of water baptism replaced the Old Covenant sign of circumcision, as the NT plainly teaches; no wait, it doesn't. But the OT teaches that then future sign of water baptism will replace the covenant sign of circumcision; no wait, it doesn't.

But scripture clearly teaches that circumcision was also a sign and seal of faith (Rom.4:11). So it doesn't automatically follow that only those professing faith get the sign.

Maybe Romans 4:11 proves more than you'd like, louis. Go back and read that passage in context. Abraham received the sign of circumcision when? Before or after he came to saving faith in God?

Or am I missing something in your argumentation? By all means clarify.

Patience! :)

TF said: Notice the contrast between those who were Christ's disciples from childhood and those who reformed their ways. This is similarly ambiguous - in the first case it could simply mean that they became believers before puberty, and in the second case it does not say whether they were baptized immediately upon becoming his disciples, or only after some delay.

You're right TF, the meaning of the writers is rather ambiguous. In 2 Tim. 3:15 Paul says Timothy had been acquainted with the sacred writings since childhood. And John the Baptist leapt in Elizabeth's womb at the sound of Mary's voice, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Clearly God is free to elect and save certain souls from infancy, even, as was apparently the case with John the Baptist, from the womb - but even these facts don't lead to the conclusion that infant baptism is a sacrament.

And similarly there are references in the New Testament to the baptism of households, and households in those days (as now) typically included children.

That's certainly an inference, but the Bible doesn't say anything about infant baptism.

In fact there’s never an incident of a baby being baptized in any of the aforementioned households.

Paedobaptism must be inserted into the text because no babies are mentioned, thus no babies are mentioned being baptized.

But upon examination the Scriptures do have much to say *explicitly* about these "households":

Acts 10:44-48 Cornelius’ household
While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, "Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.

After Cornelius' household heard the gospel preached by Peter they believed it, and the Spirit fell on them, and they were speaking in tongues and extolling God, and they were baptized.

Cont.

Coram Deo said...

Cont.

Notice the pattern?

Heard, believed as evidenced by the pouring out of the Spirit , the speaking in tongues, and extolling God, they were baptized.

Incidentally, although this is merely anecdotal, I've never heard of an infant hearing the gospel, and believing as evidenced by speaking in tongues and extolling God.

And while if this were to occur I wouldn't object to baptizing the infant, I don't think we can find a pattern from this text to baptize infants [or anyone else] prior to the evidence of believing faith.

Acts 16:25-34 The Philippian jailer's household.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, "Do not harm yourself, for we are all here." And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.

*All heard the gospel, all were baptized; he and his family*

Crispus, Acts 18 - All believed...all were baptized.

Lydia - heard the gospel, God opened her heart to believe, baptism followed.

Stephanas 1 Cor. - heard, believed, baptized.

Heard, believed, were baptized.

Detecting a pattern yet?

This pattern necessarily excludes infants because infants are incapable of hearing and believing - and as previously mentioned even if they were, baptism would still follow belief according to the NT pattern.

Back to Stephanas’ household, the Scriptures say that "all who were baptized were devoted to the ministry of the saints."

This necessarily excludes infants because infants are incapable of being devoted to the ministry of the saints.

Cont.

Coram Deo said...

Cont.

Furthermore the passage says, "All who were baptized were helping in the spiritual work of the church." Again, this is an impossibility for infants.

In John 4:53 the Scriptures say about the nobleman whose son Jesus healed, "He himself believed and his whole household."

They believed.

Belief, then baptism.

No belief, no baptism.

Acts 2:38 - And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit!"

Repent, be baptized.

Then verse 39; For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.

Repent and be baptized, and the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself.

Where's the baptism? Why it's right there, just following along behind repentance, just like everywhere else in the NT.

No paedobaptism there at all.

So what is being said?

Peter's audience is Jews on the day of Pentecost.

What is Peter's message to them?

It's simple: Repent, come to faith in Christ, be baptized, for the forgiveness of your sins, receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and this promise is not only for you Jews, but it’s for your children/offspring/future progeny as well.

But Peter (thankfully) doesn't stop there. The promise isn't ONLY to the Jews, nor is it ONLY to their offspring, the promise is to EVERYONE who comes to Christ.

The extent of the promise expands beyond the boundary of Israel, and beyond the present time to the all the world, and to future generations.

Anyone and everyone who repents of sin, anyone and everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, anyone and everyone who receives the forgiveness of sin and the gift of the Holy Spirit, this promise is for anyone and everyone, Jew or Gentile, living or yet to live.

Nothing about covenant signs.
Nothing about circumcision.
Nothing about baptizing babies.

The children Peter references are the offspring of gathered crowd, and the yet future progeny who will come to faith in Him.

All then future generations are called to the same salvation promises and blessings.

In Christ,
CD

louis said...

"Detecting a pattern yet?"

i. we have no problem with the pattern of "repent and be baptised." We baptise people that way just like you do.

ii. You have not dealt with my point about Abraham and circumcision.

"This pattern necessarily excludes infants because infants are incapable of hearing and believing"

Then all infants who die in infancy are damned, because they are incapable of hearing and believing.

"clearly God is free to elect and save certain souls from infancy..."

i. Presumably by a means that departs from the "pattern" that a moment ago you found so convincing. So the pattern is not universal after all.

ii. Perhaps you can explain this separate pattern. What is this alternate track of salvation apart from hearing and believing that God has? Does it apply to Muslims and others who have never heard the gospel? If not, why not?

Coram Deo said...

louis said:

i. we have no problem with the pattern of "repent and be baptised." We baptise people that way just like you do.

Maybe I don't understand what tradition you hale from, louis. Your church only baptizes professing beleivers after a credible profession of faith? Doesn't this necessarily exclude infants?

ii. You have not dealt with my point about Abraham and circumcision.

Where did you make that point? I must have missed it.

Then all infants who die in infancy are damned, because they are incapable of hearing and believing.

What would make you think that? I'd like to see your exegesis on this assertion.

CD said: "clearly God is free to elect and save certain souls from infancy..."

In reply louis said: i. Presumably by a means that departs from the "pattern" that a moment ago you found so convincing. So the pattern is not universal after all.

So then because God from His good will may choose to elect some infants who die unto salvation in a miraculous and merciful way outside the normal and ordinary Biblical pattern, we therefore have a Biblical mandate to baptize babies? How does that follow? I smell a non sequitur...

ii. Perhaps you can explain this separate pattern. What is this alternate track of salvation apart from hearing and believing that God has? Does it apply to Muslims and others who have never heard the gospel? If not, why not?

Actually I can't explain what God may choose to do in his hidden counsel insofar as still-born and aborted babies for example, the things that are revealed to us are for us and our children, but the deep things of God are for Him.

However he has revealed that all men everywhere are commanded to repent and believe, and after that to receive the sacraments in obedience to His revealed will.

As far as Muslims, or any false religionist, or any pygmy in Africa who has never heard the Gospel, they will be judged by their works, by which no man can be saved.

Of course I think you already know this, but since you asked...

In Christ,
CD

louis said...

"Your church only baptizes professing beleivers after a credible profession of faith? Doesn't this necessarily exclude infants?"

No, I didn't say "only." We baptise professing believers, so the pattern of baptising professing believers that we see in scripture fits perfectly well with our theology. There is no point in repeating these instances as if they cause some sort of problem for us.

The question is not about what one does with those who have the gospel preached to them; on that point we all agree. The question is about what one does with the infant children of those who accept the gospel. On that point, I think we at least agree that there is no explicit command, either "baptise infants" or "don't baptise infants." Rather, we both draw our conclusions from broader theological considerations. It is your broader framework and assumptions that I am questioning.

"What would make you think that? I'd like to see your exegesis on this assertion."

It is not my assertion; I believe it is a logical result of your assertion.

"So then because God from His good will may choose to elect some infants who die unto salvation in a miraculous and merciful way outside the normal and ordinary Biblical pattern, we therefore have a Biblical mandate to baptize babies?"

No, but if you have to posit a separate, mysterious track of salvation for certain people, that should tell you that something is wrong with your theology. It's not consistent on this point.

CD, I can't keep up with the blog comments anymore. Email me if you want to continue discussing. (ljdibiase@gmail.com).

Coram Deo said...

Regarding louis stating: "Then all infants who die in infancy are damned, because they are incapable of hearing and believing."

CD responded: "What would make you think that? I'd like to see your exegesis on this assertion."

To which louis responded: "It is not my assertion; I believe it is a logical result of your assertion."

It may be logical for you to draw that inference, but it's only your personal eisegesis. The Bible is silent on the subject, and it's wisdom not to declare to be what God in His wisdom has not.

God would be just to condemn all humanity to hell forever, but He's gracious and merciful to have elected some unto eternal life and blessedness. How He chooses to dispose of any and all of His creatures is good and right.

louis said: "The question is not about what one does with those who have the gospel preached to them; on that point we all agree. The question is about what one does with the infant children of those who accept the gospel. On that point, I think we at least agree that there is no explicit command, either "baptise infants" or "don't baptise infants." Rather, we both draw our conclusions from broader theological considerations. It is your broader framework and assumptions that I am questioning.

Well, as I've repeatedly demonstrated there's nothing in the Bible about baptizing any infants at all, it's simply not there.

And baptism, like the Lord's table, is a form of honoring, glorifying, and worshipping Him, hence the regulative principle would state that if it isn't commanded in Scripture, it is forbidden. I realize the regulative principle itself isn't in scripture per se, which sort of makes it a self-defeating principle in one sense, however insofar as it articulates the sense of the Second Commandment, it's still a generally useful guide.

CD said: "So then because God from His good will may choose to elect some infants who die unto salvation in a miraculous and merciful way outside the normal and ordinary Biblical pattern, we therefore have a Biblical mandate to baptize babies?"

louis replied: No, but if you have to posit a separate, mysterious track of salvation for certain people, that should tell you that something is wrong with your theology. It's not consistent on this point.

I didn't posit any such track of salvation, I merely said it's possible that God may choose to regenerate some such as still-born or aborted infants in such a miraculous and merciful way, not that He does. It's possible that He may not do so.

Again, the Bible doesn't say one way or the other, and I'm more than content with leaving the matter up to Him.

louis said: "CD, I can't keep up with the blog comments anymore. Email me if you want to continue discussing. (ljdibiase@gmail.com)."

Thank you, but I'm of the view that such a conversation, once begun in the public arena, ought to continue there, but I don't mind leaving off the thread. TF has been more than gracious by allowing the discussion to proceed as long as he has.

In Christ,
CD