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#35078 - Mon Jan 29, 2007 5:46 AM Infant Baptism and Family Differences  
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john Offline
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For various reasons, I would like to ask if any one here has experience with the subject of infant baptism in the context of marriage where the husband and wife disagree on this subject. By that I mean, the husband believes infant baptism is Biblical but the wife does not (or vice-versa). How would/did you go about resolving the issue? Is it something the husband (as spiritual head of the family) should make the final decision on. It doesn't seem so simple to resolve to me.

Thanks,
John

#35079 - Mon Jan 29, 2007 7:50 AM Re: Infant Baptism and Family Differences [Re: john]  
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Robin Offline
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It would be far better for the husband to persuade his wife from the Scriptures than to choose over her objections.

My wife and I both came from credobaptist churches when we married, and our children had not yet made a profession of faith in Christ when we left for a Reformed church that was paedobaptist. Both of us had, up until then, thought of "infant baptism" as a leftover relic of Roman Catholicism that the Reformers had failed to purge. To our minds, infant baptism meant nothing and the kids would have to be re-baptized later on when they made a profession of faith in Christ. For them to be baptized prior to that was superstitious to our way of thinking.

I was persuaded before my wife was. And not because I wanted to be persuaded either. Confronted for the first time with the Scriptures, covenant theology, and the testimony of history, I had no choice but to confess, "this is what the bible teaches. But I would not "superstitious infant baptism" on our children until my wife was persuaded also. I know only too well what an offense that would have been to her. Enough, perhaps, even to take the children back to our former church and pray that God would keep her prodigal husband from becoming a Roman Catholic.

As head of his family, the husband should teach rather than "bully" his family into doing anything that they feel is against God's will. If she believes that she would be sinning by having her children baptized as infants, then forcing it upon her and binding her conscience will make matters much worse.

Let the head of the family teach, and pray, and lead by example. Let them be persuaded from the scriptures that it is God's command to do it, rather than relying on God's command to wives to "submit." She may submit outwardly, but inwardly she may resent it.

Oh - just to finish my story - my wife was eventually persuaded from the scriptures, so that we were in full agreement when the children were both baptized about two months after we started at the new church.

-Robin

#35080 - Mon Jan 29, 2007 12:13 PM Re: Infant Baptism and Family Differences [Re: john]  
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Wes Offline
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John,

I know a few families that are uncertain what to do about baptizing their children because each spouse comes from a different background on this doctrine. Unfortunately they are simply ignoring this issue rather than confronting it. I agree with Robin, both the husband and wife should confront the teachings and be convinced why the children of believers should be baptized. I’d like to recommend a few good books that help one understand the Biblical case for Infant Baptism

Christian Baptism by John Murray

The Meaning and Mode of Baptism by Jay Edward Adams

Children of the Promise: The Biblical Case for Infant Baptism by Robert R. Booth
This book is an excellent study focusing on the covenant community of believers and their children.

The Case for Covenantal Infant Baptism by Gregg Strawbridge

The place of children in the church is something of an enigma among Christians. Should the children of believers be regarded as part of the covenant community, with the privileges and responsibilities that accompany that status? Or are they simply unbelievers, like children in the non-Christian world? What promise does God give believing parents and their children? What was the place of children in the Old Testament, and how does that compare with their position in the New?

These are some of the issues surrounding the question of whether to baptize infant children of believers. The sixteen contributors to this volume make a thorough biblical and theological case for covenant infant baptism. Contributors include: Gregg Strawbridge, Mark E. Ross, Cornelis P. Venema, Bryan Chapell, Joseph Pipa, Lyle D. Bierma, Dan Doriani, Jeffrey D. Niell, Peter J. Leithart, Joel R. Beeke, Richard L. Pratt, Douglas Wilson, Ray B. Lanning, Randy Booth, R. C. Sproul Jr., and Jonathan M. Watt.


Wes

#35081 - Mon Jan 29, 2007 1:22 PM Re: Infant Baptism and Family Differences [Re: Wes]  
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Wes,

Aside from the biblical/theological problems a Baptist might have with paedobaptism, in my experience the one thing that is the major "turn off" for them is this one question which you quoted:

Quote
Should the children of believers be regarded as part of the covenant community, with the privileges and responsibilities that accompany that status? Or are they simply unbelievers, like children in the non-Christian world?

Again, in my experience, most Baptists are of the view that paedobaptists believe that baptized children are saved. As the current discussion with Ehud shows, there are some "hyper-covenantalists" who actually believe this. Until NPP/FV came along it was and still is the official position of most Dutch Reformed denominations. Being one who rejects this error, I can quite easily understand a Baptist's aversion to paedobaptism. However, when given the opportunity to show that this view is not necessarily that which all paedobaptists adhere to, many have been far less antagonistic against it and a few even open to considering it. The most positive encounters were, of course, with calvinistic Baptists. Arminian Baptists are plagued with far more serious issues than that of infant baptism. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/rolleyes2.gif" alt="" />

In His grace,


[Linked Image]

simul iustus et peccator

[Linked Image]
#35082 - Mon Jan 29, 2007 2:08 PM Re: Infant Baptism and Family Differences [Re: Pilgrim]  
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Wes Offline
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I know this can be a very hot button issue. That's why I recommended several books that do a better job of explaining this topic than I can.

I believe it is an error to trust that our children our saved based upon our act of having them baptized. However, there is a positive side. Namely this does mark them as a member of the covenant community. They grow up in a Christian family, are exposed to the Gospel, and the testimony of their parents as well as other believers. We train our children in the fear of the Lord and pray for their ability to understand the Gospel.

Unfortunately baptists and Reformed folks have differing views on "covenant community" I think it's important to remember that we Reformed folks don't baptize infants. We baptize the children of believers. I hope those who read this can understand the difference in those terms.

We don't believe in baptismal regeneration like the Lutherans teach. We nurture and admonish our children and look for evidence that God is working in their lives. As they grow older they too will need to make choices and decisions about their beliefs. They will need to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for their salvation which only those regenerated by the Holy Spirit can do sincerely. By the grace of God they will make a public profession of their faith. Then their participation in the covenant community will no longer be under the tutelage of their parents but under the guidance and direction of the indwelling Holy Spirit.


Wes


When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride. - Isaac Watts
#35083 - Tue Jan 30, 2007 1:16 AM Re: Infant Baptism and Family Differences [Re: john]  
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Tom Offline
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John

Coming from a credo-Baptist, who has the utmost respect for most paedo-Baptists such as most on this forum, I believe that this matter should be discussed between you and your wife, from both perspectives.
You have been given a list of good paedo-Baptist books, so I thought (I hope this is ok Pilgrim?) I would give you just one book from the credo-Baptist side.
'The Baptism of Disciples Alone' by Fred Malone
I recommend this particular book because I am a person that will not read books that are not respectful of my Reformed paedo-Baptist brothers and sisters.
This may be an important issue, but in my opinion it is not one of the essentials.

Tom

#35084 - Tue Jan 30, 2007 7:10 AM Re: Infant Baptism and Family Differences [Re: Tom]  
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Quote
Tom said:
John

Coming from a credo-Baptist, who has the utmost respect for most paedo-Baptists such as most on this forum, I believe that this matter should be discussed between you and your wife, from both perspectives.
You have been given a list of good paedo-Baptist books, so I thought (I hope this is ok Pilgrim?) I would give you just one book from the credo-Baptist side.
'The Baptism of Disciples Alone' by Fred Malone
I recommend this particular book because I am a person that will not read books that are not respectful of my Reformed paedo-Baptist brothers and sisters.
This may be an important issue, but in my opinion it is not one of the essentials.

Tom

When you get done reading Fred's book read the critique to it as well: A Brief Critique of Fred Malone’s, The Baptism of Disciples Alone. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />


Reformed and Always Reforming,
#35085 - Tue Jan 30, 2007 10:24 AM Re: Infant Baptism and Family Differences [Re: Robin]  
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john Offline
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Quote
Robin said:
It would be far better for the husband to persuade his wife from the Scriptures than to choose over her objections.


I agree this is definitely the best way. On the other hand, as we have seen on this board many times, sometimes no amount of discussion/persuasion will change some people's minds concerning this issue. I'm thankful that both you and your wife came to have similar views on this topic. That is a great blessing.

Quote
As head of his family, the husband should teach rather than "bully" his family into doing anything that they feel is against God's will. If she believes that she would be sinning by having her children baptized as infants, then forcing it upon her and binding her conscience will make matters much worse.

Let the head of the family teach, and pray, and lead by example. Let them be persuaded from the scriptures that it is God's command to do it, rather than relying on God's command to wives to "submit." She may submit outwardly, but inwardly she may resent it.


I agree with this also, but I also think that it may be a sin to neglect the baptism of your children. That being the case, it really does put one in an uncomfortable situation.

John

#35086 - Tue Jan 30, 2007 5:25 PM Re: Infant Baptism and Family Differences [Re: J_Edwards]  
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Tom Offline
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Not that this necessarily means that the critique of Malone's book is wrong. But I think it is only fair to mention that Matthew McMahon is among the paedo-baptists that Pilgrim gave the following warning about.

Quote
Again, in my experience, most Baptists are of the view that paedobaptists believe that baptized children are saved. As the current discussion with Ehud shows, there are some "hyper-covenantalists" who actually believe this. Until NPP/FV came along it was and still is the official position of most Dutch Reformed denominations. Being one who rejects this error, I can quite easily understand a Baptist's aversion to paedobaptism. However, when given the opportunity to show that this view is not necessarily that which all paedobaptists adhere to, many have been far less antagonistic against it and a few even open to considering it. The most positive encounters were, of course, with calvinistic Baptists. Arminian Baptists are plagued with far more serious issues than that of infant baptism.


McMahon believes in what many refer to as 'presumptive regeneration' and is hostile towards credobaptists.
Not that there are not credobaptists that are hostile towards paedobaptists.

My whole point in participating in this thread is not to argue for credobaptism, but to add another perspective (though I think Pilgrim did provide some) on this matter. Perhaps in this way, you might better understand where your wife is coming from.

Tom

#35087 - Tue Jan 30, 2007 5:45 PM Re: Infant Baptism and Family Differences [Re: Tom]  
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Pilgrim Offline
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Quote
Tom said:
Not that this necessarily means that the critique of Malone's book is wrong. But I think it is only fair to mention that Matthew McMahon is among the paedo-baptists that Pilgrim gave the following warning about.

Tom,

I have this "gut feeling" that you didn't even click the link that J_Edwards provided to see who wrote that critique never mind read it. And if by some outside chance you did, you should know that the author is no "fan" of McMahon and has even debated against him when he posted here on several issues including McMahon's presumptive regeneration. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

In His grace,


[Linked Image]

simul iustus et peccator

[Linked Image]
#35088 - Tue Jan 30, 2007 6:13 PM Re: Infant Baptism and Family Differences [Re: Pilgrim]  
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William Offline
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Quote
Pilgrim said:

. . . and has even debated against him when he posted here on several issues including McMahon's presumptive regeneration.


Could you provide the links?

Thanks, William




#35089 - Wed Jan 31, 2007 3:28 AM Re: Infant Baptism and Family Differences [Re: Pilgrim]  
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Tom Offline
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Oops my mistake Pilgrim. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />
I did read the article, but if you look near the end where it says notes. I saw McMahon's name mentioned as a referrence and at the time I thought it was more than just a referrence.
Anyway thanks for pointing my mistake out. I am not one to purposely mislead someone.

Tom

#35090 - Wed Jan 31, 2007 6:16 AM Re: Infant Baptism and Family Differences [Re: Wes]  
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john Offline
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Quote
Wes said:
John,

I know a few families that are uncertain what to do about baptizing their children because each spouse comes from a different background on this doctrine. Unfortunately they are simply ignoring this issue rather than confronting it. I agree with Robin, both the husband and wife should confront the teachings and be convinced why the children of believers should be baptized. I’d like to recommend a few good books that help one understand the Biblical case for Infant Baptism

Christian Baptism by John Murray

The Meaning and Mode of Baptism by Jay Edward Adams

Children of the Promise: The Biblical Case for Infant Baptism by Robert R. Booth
This book is an excellent study focusing on the covenant community of believers and their children.

The Case for Covenantal Infant Baptism by Gregg Strawbridge

Wes


Wes,

Thanks for the book recommendations. Would you mind suggesting which one you like the most? I most likely won't have time to read all four and it's not always easy to get books where I live anyway. I certainly agree that the issue should be confronted and not ignored, but how one goes about it and what to do in the case no agreement is reached isn't so clear to me.

John

#35091 - Wed Jan 31, 2007 7:35 AM Re: Infant Baptism and Family Differences [Re: William]  
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You may look at this link Fred Malone a dispensationalist? but I think the original series entitled “Antipaedobaptist Fred Malone-A Critique” has long since disappeared – too old, …

You may find these links a great deal of assistance as well:

Covenantal Infant Baptism

Infant Baptism: Does the Bible Teach It?


Reformed and Always Reforming,
#35092 - Wed Jan 31, 2007 8:00 AM Let's Play Connect the Dots [Re: Tom]  
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Quote
Tom said:
Not that this necessarily means that the critique of Malone's book is wrong. But I think it is only fair to mention that Matthew McMahon is among the paedo-baptists that Pilgrim gave the following warning about.

Quote
Again, in my experience, most Baptists are of the view that paedobaptists believe that baptized children are saved. As the current discussion with Ehud shows, there are some "hyper-covenantalists" who actually believe this. Until NPP/FV came along it was and still is the official position of most Dutch Reformed denominations. Being one who rejects this error, I can quite easily understand a Baptist's aversion to paedobaptism. However, when given the opportunity to show that this view is not necessarily that which all paedobaptists adhere to, many have been far less antagonistic against it and a few even open to considering it. The most positive encounters were, of course, with calvinistic Baptists. Arminian Baptists are plagued with far more serious issues than that of infant baptism.


McMahon believes in what many refer to as 'presumptive regeneration' and is hostile towards credobaptists.
Not that there are not credobaptists that are hostile towards paedobaptists.

My whole point in participating in this thread is not to argue for credobaptism, but to add another perspective (though I think Pilgrim did provide some) on this matter. Perhaps in this way, you might better understand where your wife is coming from.

Tom

Tom,

Look at the author's name who wrote the article and where he works. Since you already know my name look below at my signature and where I work. Since you read the notes you should have seen both Jeff's name and The Highway. Do I believe in presumptive regeneration? [Linked Image]


Reformed and Always Reforming,
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