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On Infant Baptism and such…

May 15, 2009

 

   Baptism remains a consuming topic for me. It is probably the toughest article I have wrestled with since I was first converted and tackled understanding the Trinity. Like the Trinity, understanding baptism is grown through a collection of witnesses more so than a single verse here or there.

   Credo Baptists (as I was for 15 years) and Paedo Baptists have the same sources and yet are still in disagreement. We seem to have a collection of circumstantial evidences that supports the view of the one examining them, more than convincing either side who is authoritatively correct.

  We continue to talk past each other because of one single elemental issue. Both sides have a different view of the nature of the New Covenant. This is the crux of the issue at hand. I want to draw notice that I did not say we differ on Redemptive History as a whole. Reformed Baptists and rouge Presbyterians are Covenantal in theological framework, so it is not as easy as pitting Covenantal against Dispensational grids.

 

   Areas of circumstantial evidence that I have tossed to the wayside in hopes of saving time and confusion are:

Household Baptisms: No one can say that infants were present or not. A Credo Baptist view of the New Covenant is already set that infants are not included so without an explicit reference it is a mute point of discussion.

Church History: On a personal preference, I toss out Church History. Both sides have some valid points. If the Church was historically split on the issue, the Anabaptist movement would not have been such a deal breaker among Reformers. On the other hand, infant baptism is first encountered in the fathers around 180ish A.D. at best! I do not want to argue that I have to accept regenerational baptism, infant communion or any other host of issues the Church Fathers advocated. History is a witness but not authoritarian on orthodoxy.

I argued against these points and was not persuaded by them as a Credoist. The issue really goes deeper into our theological understanding. Debating the issue on the surface does little if anything.

                                        so……………

   We need to investigate two issues.

   1.) Can the New Covenant be broken?

   2.) What would the original assumptions be of the prophets and those that read their words have been?

 

The holdup for Credo’s is that the New Covenant is for Believers only.  Taking from Jeremiah 31:33, “I will put my law within them and write it on their hearts and minds” the New Covenant is seen as uniting a spiritual community of the regenerated only.  In other words, to the Credoist Jeremiah’s words are exclusive.

This is the single crux of the issue. While it is simple to demonstrate it takes some time to unravel.  Which we will do on the next post.

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