Covenant Holiness and Infant Baptism
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Berkouwer gives the most important reason. Those who oppose infant baptism are therefore accusing the Church of exceeding its qualifications by speaking of what God does in the midst of the community. This borders on or actually is blasphemy. They are in essence, putting words and especially promises in the mouth of God.
Therefore, if we are going to hold to infant baptism, then it must be with great conviction and solely upon the foundation that this is what the Scriptures teach, God commands, and therefore we are to embrace. We should only baptize our children if convicted that it is the unadulterated teaching of the Scriptures.
On the other side, it is also important to know why we would oppose infant baptism. This is a grave offense against the church and a serious error in the parenting of our children. If our children are His people and we are not baptizing them, then we are robbing them of this sign and seal. It is important.
It is important enough to spend time studying, knowing, and having a conviction about this doctrine and practice of the church. Reformed theology maintains a bi-covenantal system. God entered into a covenant with Adam, which is called the Covenant of Works.
Upon the Fall, God entered into a second covenant called the Covenant of Grace. The Covenant of Grace, as an overarching covenant that threads itself throughout the Scriptures, underscores the continuity of the Covenant in the Scriptures and likewise the continuity of the people of God from one testament to another. This has great implications for the sacrament of baptism. As shown in the graphic below, if one covenant overarches both testaments, the primary result is continuity. Children were included and counted among the people of God in the Old Testament dispensation.
This inclusion is never repealed in the New Testament dispensation. Old Testament children received the sign of this inclusion, circumcision, therefore children are to receive the sign of this inclusion in the New Testament dispensation, baptism. Circumcision and baptism are the rights of initiation for their respective dispensations.
They each symbolize the need for cleansing, being cut-off from the first Adam, covering in blood, and identification with the people of God. Circumcision was bloody, because it pointed to Christ to be crucified. Baptism is unbloody, because it points back to Christ already crucified. In view of the fact that the new covenant is based upon and is the unfolding of the Abrahamic covenant, in view of the basic identity of meaning attaching to circumcision and baptism, in view of the unity and continuity of the covenant of grace administered in both dispensations, we can affirm with confidence that evidence of revocation or repeal is mandatory if the practice or principle has been discontinued under the New Testament.
The New Testament provides additional evidence.
Baptism and Infant Baptism – by Dr. A. A. Hodge | Reformed Theology at A Puritan's Mind
Nowhere does it repeal the inclusion of children in the covenant. On the contrary, there is enough corollary evidence in the New Testament to believe that children are to be baptized as members of the visible community of Christ. Finally, there is evidence outside the Scriptures. Though this is less important, it bears mentioning. We want to be clear what baptism is and is not. In a Reformed view of baptism, it is a sign and seal Romans 4 , not a means of regeneration or faith.
It is a testimony of God, not a proclamation of faith on behalf of the infant. It signifies their inclusion in the visible church, but makes no commentary on their entrance into the invisible church. Baptism serves to strengthen faith, it is not a means of importing faith. We all benefit from studying, knowing, and having a conviction about the doctrine of baptism and its practice in the church. Our goal is not to win an argument, to rally support to our cause, or to shame those who possess a differing opinion.
Therefore, we seek truth, desire to know truth, and put that truth into practice.
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- 15 Arguments in Favor of Covenant Child Baptism.
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Consider the above with regards to baptism. Study, pray, and then be led by your conscience. The Lord is lord of the conscience. Our view of baptism matters, so we want to know why we believe what we believe. Donald K. Eerdmans Publishing Company, , He is the author of four books and is a council member of the Gospel Reformation Network. Church Family Ministry Worship. The Covenant of Grace Reformed theology maintains a bi-covenantal system.
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Bromiley stated, In view of the fact that the new covenant is based upon and is the unfolding of the Abrahamic covenant, in view of the basic identity of meaning attaching to circumcision and baptism, in view of the unity and continuity of the covenant of grace administered in both dispensations, we can affirm with confidence that evidence of revocation or repeal is mandatory if the practice or principle has been discontinued under the New Testament.
For the promise is for you and your children. Children are still considered part of the covenant community.
Covenant Children and Infant Baptism
Pentecost is rightly considered the inauguration of the new covenant era, with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. On this occasion, Peter does not repeal the covenant family aspect of the covenant of grace, but rather emphasizes it! Second, Reformed Paedobaptists disagree with one another, while Reformed Baptists hold to NT priority in other categories of promise and fulfillment. Third, Reformed Paedobaptists reject NT priority in certain categories of promise and fulfillment, while Reformed Baptists consistently affirm it.
Therefore, the Reformed Paedobaptist model inconsistently applies its own Reformed hermeneutic. In some cases, it allows the NT to determine the progressive unfolding of redemptive history. In other cases, it allows the OT to take priority over the NT. This model displays no governing hermeneutical basis for its divergent choices. The confessions of both Reformed Paedobaptists and Reformed Baptists affirm the Regulative Principle of Worship, which teaches that public Christian worship should only include commanded elements under the new covenant.
Any elements of new covenant worship not instituted by the new covenant revelation are forbidden. Baptists note that there is neither a command nor clear example of an infant baptism in the Bible. Paedobaptists agree. Some paedobaptists appeal to household baptisms as an example, but they admit that the Bible is silent about whether these households included any infants. Therefore, Baptists conclude that infant baptism is forbidden as an element of public worship on the basis of the regulative principle of worship.
BAPTISM AND COVENANT THEOLOGY
How do the paedobaptists attempt to reconcile the regulative principle with infant baptism? They take two approaches. One approach is to argue from the command of OT circumcision, but this violates the regulative principle, which teaches that only NC revelation can institute NC worship practices. Another approach is to argue that while baptism is an element of worship, the baptism of infants is a circumstance of worship, rather than an element.
But these are two very different kinds of arguments from silence. It is one thing to argue against believing a doctrine on the basis of silence. It is quite another thing to argue in favor of believing a doctrine on the basis of silence. Reformed Baptists, however, do not have this problem. They note that Scripture only requires the baptism of disciples Matt ; Acts ; etc.
Therefore, Baptists baptize disciples alone. Reformed Paedobaptism has a number of serious internal inconsistencies. One of the tests of the truthfulness of any system is to examine it for its internal consistency. Consistency is a mark of truth, while inconsistency is a mark of error.
The serious problem with this, however, is that they do not follow their principles, which undermines their argument from those principles. Reformed infant baptism does not resemble the inclusion of physical seed or circumcision in the OT. Consider the following examples. All of this undermines the very basis on which Reformed Paedobaptists argue for the baptism of infants. Paedobaptists argue that infants should be incorporated into the covenant of grace on the basis of old covenant membership. Yet, if the old covenant had members that paedobaptists exclude from the covenant of grace, then their own argument is undermined.
Paedobaptists generally refuse membership to all of these. Therefore, the foundation of their argument is undermined.
What are we doing, and why, in infant baptism?
Recent Journal view all Spring Baptism , Church Membership , consistency , Covenant Theology , credobaptism , hermeneutics , paedobaptism , Reformation , regulative principle. Tweet Share. Related Resources Bible Study. Truth is Eternal and Will Prevail 1 Timothy Tom Nettles.