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#10323 - Friday, January 23, 2004 2:33 PM Covenantal Succession
E_F_Grant Offline
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Registered: Friday, August 31, 2001
Posts: 656
Loc: Go Purdue! So guess at it alre...
I'm just learning about the doctrine of covenantal succession, an overview of which can be found here: http://www.faithtacoma.org/covenant2.htm

Would love to hear agreements and criticisms of this subject! <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/chatter.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
Stand Fast, Craigellachie!

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#10324 - Sunday, January 25, 2004 3:02 AM Re: Covenantal Succession [Re: E_F_Grant]
E_F_Grant Offline
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Registered: Friday, August 31, 2001
Posts: 656
Loc: Go Purdue! So guess at it alre...
Here is a synopsis if you have not got quite the time needed to read a 17-page article.

http://www.acidink.org/ (for January 14)

This subject is of extreme interest to me right now. It involves a change of perspective concerning our children. Instead of waiting for them to show the fruit of being Christians, covenantal succession assumes that becuase they are children of believers, that they are Christians. It's sort of like a royal family, if you will: children of royals are born royal. They are acknowledged publicly (baptism) in order to be able to receive an inheritance. Then they are trained up in what it means to be royal. Baptism promises regeneration, and they step into their roles of service. Covenantal succession recognises that the promise is to us and to our holy seed.

There is, to me, both great hope and fear in this. Fear, because I wonder if I havedone right by my children. Hope, because I may boldly ask God for the holy seed He has promised to be made manifest in my children. I have one child who has shown fruit, and another who has not. I rejoice in the one and fear for the other.

Comments?
_________________________
Stand Fast, Craigellachie!

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#10325 - Sunday, January 25, 2004 6:52 AM Re: Covenantal Succession [Re: E_F_Grant]
J_Edwards Offline
Needs to get a Life

Registered: Sunday, December 9, 2001
Posts: 4843
Loc: USA
Quote:
This subject is of extreme interest to me right now. It involves a change of perspective concerning our children. Instead of waiting for them to show the fruit of being Christians, covenantal succession assumes that becuase they are children of believers, that they are Christians. It's sort of like a royal family, if you will: children of royals are born royal. They are acknowledged publicly (baptism) in order to be able to receive an inheritance. Then they are trained up in what it means to be royal. Baptism promises regeneration, and they step into their roles of service. Covenantal succession recognises that the promise is to us and to our holy seed.
But, even the children of believers do not become a king until they have been officially inaugurated (actual salvation itself) by grace alone. Children of believers, while having royal privileges (the Word, baptism, being raised in/by a royal family, etc.), if they are to be saved in the fulness of time are saved only by Him that sheweth mercy and not by belonging to a particular family. Case and point: Esau. Circumcision for Esau did not save him or give him “the” inheritance. Salvation is not by works—baptismal regeneration. Please do a search for the Malone/McMahon thread that was locked—it covered the subject (part of it at least) in detail.
_________________________
Reformed and Always Reforming,

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#10326 - Sunday, January 25, 2004 7:43 AM Re: Covenantal Succession [Re: E_F_Grant]
Pilgrim Offline

Head Honcho

Registered: Tuesday, April 3, 2001
Posts: 13341
Loc: NH, USA
Quote:
E_F_Grant said:
I'm just learning about the doctrine of covenantal succession, an overview of which can be found here: http://www.faithtacoma.org/covenant2.htm

Would love to hear agreements and criticisms of this subject! <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/chatter.gif" alt="" />

Eleanor,

This is nothing more than a defense of presumptive regeneration, which Drs. McMahon and his crowd are teaching and trying to defend over on the "Puritan Board". The error has been around for quite a number of years and popularized by Abraham Kuyper among the Dutch Reformed churches. It has now spread into Presbyterian churches and even other denominations.

As Joe pointed out, there is a thread here where the subject was debated, albeit without much actual response from McMahon except his futile attempt to base everything he believes upon the WCF and hardly a mention off the Scriptures.

The doctrine denies most of the 5 Points of Calvinism, despite the loud and adamant protest against this charge by those who embrace this error of presumptive regeneration. Be that as it may, the facts speak for themselves. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> John 1:12, 13, all on its own, is enough to disprove the view. It's adherence build a very speculative case for their view through a maze of presuppositions and consecutive deductions which ends up as a "hyper-covenantalism", that is then used as the beginning presupposition. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/drop.gif" alt="" />

RonD and Jason1646 are the most vocal defenders of this view here. You might ask them to give you a defense for it.

My prayer is that you <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/flee.gif" alt="" /> from this stuff as fast as you can. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/evilgrin.gif" alt="" /> Perhaps Susan will share with you the long and arduous road she has traveled in dealing with this serious error?

In His Grace,
_________________________


simul iustus et peccator


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#10327 - Sunday, January 25, 2004 10:33 AM Re: Covenantal Succession [Re: Pilgrim]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Quote:
RonD and Jason1646 are the most vocal defenders of this view here. You might ask them to give you a defense for it.


Jeff,

I have gone to great pains (even with you) to show that I do not believe that the offspring of believers are necessarily regnerate, have faith, or converted ipso facto. I have even said that we are to encourage our children unto conversion. What you must take issue with is my position that we are to treat our children prior to a making a credible profession of faith as ones for whom Christ died. Again, I do believe that believers should exhort their offspring unto saving faith.

In His Grace,

Ron

p.s. Joe understands me, why don't you? <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> http://www.the-highway.com/forum/showthr...amp;o=&vc=1

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#10328 - Sunday, January 25, 2004 11:18 AM Re: Covenantal Succession
Pilgrim Offline

Head Honcho

Registered: Tuesday, April 3, 2001
Posts: 13341
Loc: NH, USA
Quote:
Ron lamented:
What you must take issue with is my position that we are to treat our children prior to a making a credible profession of faith as ones for whom Christ died.

Sorry Ron, if I've misrepresented your position regarding presumptive regeneration. Yes, I do take issue with how we are to "treat" covenant children prior to their making a credible profession of faith. To "treat" them as having been atoned for before they actually profess faith, is to me no different than pronouncing them saved. Of course, you adamantly deny this and even say you urge them to conversion. I am of course, very happy to see that you do this. But there still remains that illogical inconsistency in this particular matter; i.e., how one can "treat" a child as being atoned for before there is any evidence to justify this treatment. Yes, yes... I know you want to base your view on the alleged "promise of God". And this is where we part company, for I cannot see any universal promise of salvation given to believing parents for their children. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> The "promise" is: all who believe upon Christ will be saved infallibly.

Again, my apologies for misrepresenting your view. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/sorry.gif" alt="" />

In His Grace,
_________________________


simul iustus et peccator


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#10329 - Sunday, January 25, 2004 12:16 PM Re: Covenantal Succession [Re: J_Edwards]
E_F_Grant Offline
Addict

Registered: Friday, August 31, 2001
Posts: 656
Loc: Go Purdue! So guess at it alre...
Let me first say that I have not settled on this view--yet. Those with whom I have been discussing this on another board would say, though, that God exercises free grace at conception: He chooses the child, just as He chose the believing parents.

Conversely the problem I have with it is that if it is a promise, how is it that some are not saved? Some apparently don't get saved, like Eli's children who were unrighteous priests.. Those who hold this position say, 1. We cannot determine truly who is saved and who is not. 2. There is a lifetime during which the child may come to Christ, and it may happen after we, the parents, are dead.

I do not believe in baptismal regeneration, but I could believe that regeneration and salvation is promised to the baptised first--at some point in their lives--, just as Christ came first for the Jews, then for the Gentiles.

I'm not looking for a free ride here, either. I'm fully--painfully, even-- aware that the training of our children has not been what it should have or could have been. I repent! The guilt I feel over this is nearly overwhelming. I have little left but God's mercy in this matter, and alot of agonised prayers.

I'll try to find that thread.
_________________________
Stand Fast, Craigellachie!

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#10330 - Sunday, January 25, 2004 12:57 PM Re: Covenantal Succession [Re: E_F_Grant]
J_Edwards Offline
Needs to get a Life

Registered: Sunday, December 9, 2001
Posts: 4843
Loc: USA
Quote:
Let me first say that I have not settled on this view--yet. Those with whom I have been discussing this on another board would say, though, that God exercises free grace at conception: He chooses the child, just as He chose the believing parents.
I am happy you have not settled on it—Good News, as IMHO, and a host of others, it is false theology and has far reaching implications of how one should raise their children if they really believed in presumptive regeneration. To their, "God exercises free grace at conception," I would say that God predestined ALL before the foundation of the world—Eph 1, and not at conception. All children are born with a fallen nature and must be born again. Grace is always given in the fullness of time (but, this is not necessarily at birth), if it is to be given at all. I find no Scripture telling me ALL children of believers are regenerated at birth, but I do have Scriptures stating they are dead in trespasses and sin (Rom 5).

I mentioned baptismal regeneration (BR), because of the statement, “Baptism promises regeneration.” This in effect borders on BR and does fully embrace PR (presumptive regeneration). I loved your illustration of Eli’s children—one I had not thought about. If one carries that illustration out to its logical end it fully discredits PR and BR.

I will be speaking to Sinclair Ferguson this week concerning these two issues, especially the PR view in light of the discussions we have had on it here. As Sinclair says, “You don’t get the benefits of the sacraments without belief….they operate in covenantal context.”
_________________________
Reformed and Always Reforming,

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#10331 - Sunday, January 25, 2004 1:50 PM Re: Covenantal Succession [Re: E_F_Grant]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Eleanor,
Sorry not to have replied sooner. I believe that it is dangerous to assume the salvation of all believers' children. I believe that we must be faithful in training our children up in the faith. That is our responsibility. Also we must leave the heart work to God, if they will be saved. My disagreement with those who believe in PR or BR is the idea of "treating children as Christians" before any evidence exists, and before any profession of faith, presuming them regenerate even before baptism without Scriptural warrant.
The ideas of Baptismal Regeneration and Presumptive Regeneration are very similar and have the same dangers.

Here's the Malone Thread.
http://www.the-highway.com/forum/showfla...;o=&fpart=1
Also another one that you may be interested in.

http://www.the-highway.com/forum/showfla...;o=&fpart=1

You might want to go over to the Puritan Board and read some threads from their Covenant theology forum. They are totally against Baptismal Regeneration, but are for Presumptive Regeneration. It doesn't exactly make sense to me! They have been discussing this issue constantly.
http://www.puritanboard.com/forum/index.php

Consider also this quote by Hoeksema.

Quote:

By reason of the fact that the Lord establishes His covenant in the line of successive generations, believers will confess in gratitude before the Lord that He counts them worthy to bring forth the true seed of the covenant. This seed of the covenant, however, does not consist of all children who are born of them, but only of the children of the promise. Certain it is that believers also bring forth another seed. Now, on this side of death and the grave fleshly ties may draw us, so that we say that we wish to see all our children saved, and do not wish that our own flesh and blood goes lost. But, in the final analysis, also in this respect the righteous must live out of their faith, not from their flesh... (Herman Hoeksema: Believers and Their seed, Reformed Free Publishing Association, Grand Rapids, 1971, pp. 157-158.)


And this by J. C. Ryle:
Quote:

Men sometimes say that it makes no difference whether we think all baptized persons are regenerate or not. They tell us it all comes to the same thing in the long run. I cannot say so. To my humble apprehension it seems to make an immense difference. If I tell a man that he has grace in his heart, and only needs to "stir up a gift" already within him, it is one thing. If I tell him that he is dead in sins, and must be "born again", it is quite another. The moral effect of the two messages must, on the very face of it, be widely different. The one, I contend, is calculated by God's blessing to awaken the sinner. The other, I contend, is calculated to lull him to sleep. The one, I contend, is likely to feed sloth, check self examination, and encourage an easy self-satisfied state of soul: he has got some grace within him whenever he likes to use it, --why should he be in a hurry, why be afraid? --The other, I maintain, is likely to rouse convictions, drive him to self-inquiry, and frighten him out of his dangerous security: he has nothing to rest upon, --he must find a refuge and remedy, he is lost and perishing, --what must he do to be saved?...J. C. Ryle from Knots Untied


Also Eleanor, we all have failed as parents in some ways. God was the perfect parent and Adam fell. The Lord doesn't save anyone because their parents were "good enough" to deserve it. We all deserve hell and only because of God's grace is anyone saved. The Lord is merciful and since he has shown us mercy, we can hope that he will be pleased to show our children mercy as well. We must be faithful to pray and after we have done all we can, we must leave it in the Lord's hands. He will do what is right.

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#10332 - Sunday, January 25, 2004 2:06 PM Re: Covenantal Succession [Re: Pilgrim]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Quote:
Yes, I do take issue with how we are to "treat" covenant children prior to their making a credible profession of faith. To "treat" them as having been atoned for before they actually profess faith, is to me no different than pronouncing them saved.


Pilgrim,

First of all, no problem mixing me up with others.

“Saved” is not the happiest of terms. As I have pointed out on this site, “saved” has three tenses. In the past, believers are saved from guilt and condemnation -- (according to his mercy he saved us). In biblical language this occurs upon conversion and not upon the atonement. In the present Christians are being saved from the power of sin -- (to us who are being saved the cross is the power of God). Whereas in the future the Christian will be fully saved not only from the penalty and power of sin (in justification and sanctification respectively), but from the very presence of sin through glorification. We are now being "Kept by the power of God through faith for the salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."

Accordingly, an infant who is treated as one for whom Christ died falls into none of the three categories listed above so I think we should stay away from an unbiblical use of the word “saved.” It is true that all who have received the application of the atonement do indeed live in the first two orbits of salvation. Nonetheless, it has yet to be shown that to treat an infant born of faithful parents as being one of Christ’s sheep for whom he died is to treat someone as “saved" (i.e. already converted and being progressively sanctified, or glorified for that matter). If we employ one of the three biblical uses of the word “saved,” we avoid this confusion. At best, it may only be said that I believe that we should treat infants of believing parents as those for whom Christ died. It is confusing if not misleading to speak of salvation apart from conversion. Redemption must be applied, which you and I believe.

The Heart of the Matter:

In a word, I would treat such little children as ones for whom the atonement has been accomplished but possibly not applied. The evidence for this is the fact that such are born to faithful parents. When there becomes evidence to the contrary then I’ll act upon that evidence. Moreover, I do not base my theology on the “promise of God." I base my theological-treatment of the child solely upon the precedence of God’s word. For example, if an infant of a believing parent was not circumcised – God said the infant would have broken covenant. Consequently, the infant was to be considered in covenant with God, otherwise it could not have been considered a covenant breaker upon the parent’s disobedience or neglect. The covenant in view was none other than the unconditional Abrahamic-covenant, which was made with the Seed and all who would be in union with Christ. As with Scripture, I affirm (with you) that all Israel was not Israel and all the church is not the church. Nonetheless, if an infant was not circumcised he was to be considered a covenant breaker. Accordingly, if he were circumcised was he not then to have been considered a covenant keeper? And if a covenant keeper, one for whom Christ died yet still needed to be converted… If nothing else, please appreciate that my treatment of a believer's offspring is not based upon the promise of God but upon the precedence I find in Scripture.

In His Grace,

Ron

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#10333 - Sunday, January 25, 2004 9:02 PM Re: Covenantal Succession [Re: E_F_Grant]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Quote:
E_F_Grant said:
Here is a synopsis if you have not got quite the time needed to read a 17-page article.

http://www.acidink.org/ (for January 14)

This subject is of extreme interest to me right now. It involves a change of perspective concerning our children. Instead of waiting for them to show the fruit of being Christians, covenantal succession assumes that becuase they are children of believers, that they are Christians. It's sort of like a royal family, if you will: children of royals are born royal. They are acknowledged publicly (baptism) in order to be able to receive an inheritance. Then they are trained up in what it means to be royal. Baptism promises regeneration, and they step into their roles of service. Covenantal succession recognises that the promise is to us and to our holy seed.

There is, to me, both great hope and fear in this. Fear, because I wonder if I havedone right by my children. Hope, because I may boldly ask God for the holy seed He has promised to be made manifest in my children. I have one child who has shown fruit, and another who has not. I rejoice in the one and fear for the other.

Comments?


EFG,

If I may suggest, I would avoid vague terms such as "Christian," "saved" and analogies as well, like "royal families..." Please take a look at my posts and chime in if you like. Try to keep things as theologially precise as possible. As far as "baptism promises salvation," to whom you should answer. Also, is that promise with a condition or not? It's time to roll up the shirtsleeves and quit with the cliches. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/joy.gif" alt="" />

Blessings,

Ron

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#10334 - Monday, January 26, 2004 7:54 AM Re: Covenantal Succession
Anonymous
Unregistered


Quote:
If I may suggest, I would avoid vague terms such as "Christian," "saved" and analogies as well, like "royal families..."

Ron, I don't disagree with your advice, you gave to Eleanor, but I have to disagree that words like Christian and saved are vague terms! They are only vague because they have been used wrongly by so many people. Their true meaning is plain enough.

I think the biggest trouble with this presumptive teaching is that we do honestly fear for our unsaved children and cannot bear to face the fact that if they are not saved, they are lost, and are in the Kingdom of darkness, and children of the devil!
Until I realized that about myself, I could not cry out to God for salvation.
I read a book before becoming a Christian called Being Human by Jerram Barrs and Ranald Macaulay (from L'Abri) that made me realize where I was spiritually.
Quote:
Rescued From Darkness
Paul also views the work of Christ in its effect on the principalities and powers of darkness. "He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins" (Col 1:13-14). We think of Satanists and occult practicers and those involved in explicitly demonic activities as belonging to Satan's Kingdom, but we tend to see the rest of mankind, including ourselves before we were Christians, in a neutral position--hovering between two kingdoms. However, the New Testament teaches that there are only two possibilities: either we have fellowship with God and through faith in Christ are in his kingdom or we belong to Satan. There is no neutral ground. Jesus called Satan the prince of this world, the world to which we belong. So every individual who is not a believer is a member of his kingdom. Satan is even called the god of this world by Paul. Humanity lives in enemy occupied territory, and we are all subjects of its king.

Satan can claim all human beings as his subjects because of our sinfulness and because, being made in God's image, we have a moral nature. We all do wrong, and we know it is wrong...


Those words stirred me up to cry out to God for mercy and to bring me into His Kingdom! The danger is real and until we are saved, we are lost and without hope!

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#10335 - Monday, January 26, 2004 8:45 AM Re: Covenantal Succession
Anonymous
Unregistered


Quote:
Ron, I don't disagree with your advice, you gave to Eleanor, but I have to disagree that words like Christian and saved are vague terms!


Susan

As I pointed out, "saved" has three technical tenses associated with it. Moreover, people often add to these definitions by saying things like we are saved now (prior to the application of redemption) if Christ atoned for our sins. Therefore, I think we need to be careful when employing the term.... The term Christian has limited place in the discussion for it simply does not get to the pertinent questions concerning how we are treat covenant children. I think we would all agree that there is no reason to check sound systematic theology at the door with all its specific terms and definitions.

Blessings,

Ron

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#10336 - Monday, January 26, 2004 10:17 AM Re: Covenantal Succession
Pilgrim Offline

Head Honcho

Registered: Tuesday, April 3, 2001
Posts: 13341
Loc: NH, USA
Quote:
The term Christian has limited place in the discussion for it simply does not get to the pertinent questions concerning how we are treat covenant children.

Well, as you might have expected, I flatly disagree with your dismissal of such terms as "saved" and "Christian" as being "vague", for they are without question part and parcel of sound Systematic Theology. Perhaps if we can agree upon the use of these terms that might help the discussion progress rather than being sidetracked with these personal concerns of yours?

Christian: One who professes to be a follower of Christ; having been convicted of sin, repented and turned to Christ in faith. The matter of the verity of that faith is not in question for our purposes.

saved: One who has been joined to Christ by faith and therefore justified, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, is being sanctified and who will be infallibly glorified; aka: one of Christ's sheep, one of the elect to whom the benefits of Christ's atoning work has been applied.

Now... do we treat covenant children as: "Christian", "saved" or "non-Christian" or "unsaved"?

With Susan, I only know of two distinct categories of people who stand before God. There are those who are dead in trespasses in sins, having been born with a corruption of nature and have Adam's guilt imputed to them. And, there are those who have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, united to Christ by faith and have been justified by the imputed righteousness of Christ.

Take it from here. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

In His Grace,
_________________________


simul iustus et peccator


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#10337 - Monday, January 26, 2004 11:18 AM Re: Covenantal Succession [Re: Pilgrim]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Quote:
Pilgrim said:
Quote:
The term Christian has limited place in the discussion for it simply does not get to the pertinent questions concerning how we are treat covenant children.

Well, as you might have expected, I flatly disagree with your dismissal of such terms as "saved" and "Christian" as being "vague", for they are without question part and parcel of sound Systematic Theology. Perhaps if we can agree upon the use of these terms that might help the discussion progress rather than being sidetracked with these personal concerns of yours?

Christian: One who professes to be a follower of Christ; having been convicted of sin, repented and turned to Christ in faith. The matter of the verity of that faith is not in question for our purposes.

saved: One who has been joined to Christ by faith and therefore justified, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, is being sanctified and who will be infallibly glorified; aka: one of Christ's sheep, one of the elect to whom the benefits of Christ's atoning work has been applied.

Now... do we treat covenant children as: "Christian", "saved" or "non-Christian" or "unsaved"?

With Susan, I only know of two distinct categories of people who stand before God. There are those who are dead in trespasses in sins, having been born with a corruption of nature and have Adam's guilt imputed to them. And, there are those who have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, united to Christ by faith and have been justified by the imputed righteousness of Christ.

Take it from here. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

In His Grace,


Again, "saved" is vague until unpacked and "Christian" has no bearing on the matter. You yourself have employed "saved" in this thread as meaning one for whom Christ died, prior to being converted. Hence the confusion.

The issue is, the Bible treats unconverted children as being in covenant (as I've pointed out). Accordingly, you must decide what this means. Just don't contradict the nature of the unconditional covenant. The only solution is that Scripture teaches us to treat children of believers as children of the promise, yet they still should be called to conversion.

In His Grace,

Ron

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