The Highway

Continuity in Old and NT

Posted By: Anonymous

Continuity in Old and NT - Fri Apr 23, 2004 6:09 PM

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Wes said: Is it generally true that Baptists don't see much continuity with the old covenant and the new? How do Baptists view the promise God made with Abraham?


I see lots of continuity, though I can't speak for other Baptists.
The promise to Abraham is the promise to those who have the faith of Abraham, whether they are physically related to him or not. We are his children if we have faith. These promises apply to God's children for all times. Many of these outward things pointed to the greater spiritual realities realized in Christ.


God gives his people an inheritance. Ezekiel 36: 24 I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land.

God forgives His people's sins.
25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.

God regenerates them making them new creatures.
26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

He gives His people His Holy Spirit.
27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. 28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.

He sanctifies His people
29 And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses.

God provides for His people's physical needs.
And I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you. 30 I will make the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field abundant, that you may never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations.

God shows us how we are debtors to His mercy.
31 Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations.

God reminds us that we are wretched undeserving sinners.
32 It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord God; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel.

God blesses his people and makes them fruitful.
37 “Thus says the Lord God: This also I will let the house of Israel ask me to do for them: to increase their people like a flock. 38 Like the flock for sacrifices, like the flock at Jerusalem during her appointed feasts, so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

God makes the spiritually dead live. He will raise the dead.
Ezekiel 37: 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

He unites His people.
22 And I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. And one king shall be king over them all, and they shall be no longer two nations, and no longer divided into two kingdoms. 23 They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols and their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions. But I will save them from all the backslidings in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.

His Son rules over His people and shepherds them.
24 “My servant David shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall walk in my rules and be careful to obey my statutes. 25 They shall dwell in the land that I gave to my servant Jacob, where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children's children shall dwell there forever, and David my servant shall be their prince forever.

He gives his people peace and an everlasting covenant.
26 I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them.

He will dwell in the midst of His people
And I will set them in their land and multiply them and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore. 27 My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 28 Then the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when my sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.”

Our inheritance further described in the NT!

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Ephesians 1: 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
Posted By: MarieP

Re: Continuity in Old and NT - Fri Apr 23, 2004 9:22 PM

Thanks Susan! Great list!

Back to the wuestion Wes had, I think it depends on what sort of Baptist you are talking about. Reformed Baptists and those Founders churches who don't subscribe to NCT would see more continuity than discontinuity. Sadly, NCT seems to be thriving in many places.

As for the non-Calvinist Baptist churches, many of those are Dispensationalist.
Posted By: Wes

Re: Continuity in Old and NT - Sat Apr 24, 2004 1:10 PM

Susan,

Thanks for picking up on my question in the other thread. I appreciate the impressive list you have posted in your reply. However I'm honestly trying to understand how Baptists view the Covenant of Grace God made with Abraham.

Our different views on the Covenant of Grace God made with Abraham seems to stem from how we view our children. In Genesis 17:6-11 we read, "I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God."

And God said to Abraham: "As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you."

I was communicating with Steve via PM and he told me that he doesn't believe that God promises to save anyone's children. He believes that the children of believers should not be recognized in the promise. This prompted my question regarding how Baptists view the continuity of the old and new covenants. It seems we have not only different perspectives but don't understand each other's positions. This is not an all inclusive statement because I'm sure some here understand both sides quite well but I'm convinced not all do.

In the other thread Joe is explaining the view I hold and I'm reading Steve's replies to try to understand his Baptist view.


Wes
Posted By: Tom

Re: Continuity in Old and NT - Sun Apr 25, 2004 1:39 AM


In light of what Wes said:
“Is it generally true that Baptists don't see much continuity with the old covenant and the new? How do Baptists view the promise God made with Abraham?”

I believe that this is a misunderstanding of Baptist CT, though I would agree that that it is generally true among Baptists who hold to a Dispensational hermeneutic.
I thought however, that rather than trying to explain this in my own words (I would probably butcher it), instead I would give anyone who is interested a link to understand Baptist CT.

I must also add that I am not giving this link to stir up anything other than to help people understand Baptist CT.

"The Key to Understanding Scripture" by Dr. Fred Malone
http://www.gracesermons.com/hisbygrace/Page7.html#malone

Tom
Posted By: BrimstonePreacha

Re: Continuity in Old and NT - Mon Apr 26, 2004 2:30 PM

Dear Susan,

ranton I would say that I'm most definitely not stereotypical of Baptist, and what experience I do have would lead me to believe that most Baptist do not think about or learn about the relationship of the Church to God or how Israel and the Church compare. They are quite given the most child like of answers which they will then recite in order to answer any questions that may come up. Most of the Baptist I've met who are not reformed are dispensationalist b/c they don't know that there's any other way of seeing it. Personally I can say for certain that I am most definitely not dispensationalist and I think that anyone who can say that they are either does not know what that means or has not read their Bible any lenght at all. rantoff

As for your list here, I think it's a good list that applies both to the Israel and to the church and shows that just as God blessed His chosen people in the OT so too does He bless His chosen people in the NT. The sad fact is that most people just don't have the desire or the encouragement to study these things out and come to an opinion, rather they let their pastors do it for them just as those pastors have let their pastors tell them. It's the blind leading the blind!

-Brother Luke
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Continuity in Old and NT - Mon Apr 26, 2004 4:51 PM

I see continuity in administration.......all those who profess and their OIKOS.......and then a continuity of the same practice throughout church history.

OIKOS

Who Departed


God bless,

william
Posted By: fredman

Re: Continuity in Old and NT - Mon Apr 26, 2004 5:53 PM

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Sadly, NCT seems to be thriving in many places


(Fred) Really? Where exactly? Could you give specifics? This would be extremely welcomed in my mind.

Fred
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Continuity in Old and NT - Tue Apr 27, 2004 12:49 AM

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I would say that I'm most definitely not stereotypical of Baptist, and what experience I do have would lead me to believe that most Baptist do not think about or learn about the relationship of the Church to God or how Israel and the Church compare.

There is much difference in Reformed and arminian Baptists. Most of the Baptists where I live have gone to church all their lives, yet few really read their Bibles. Many Christians never read the OT at all.
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The sad fact is that most people just don't have the desire or the encouragement to study these things out and come to an opinion, rather they let their pastors do it for them just as those pastors have let their pastors tell them. It's the blind leading the blind!

OK, Luke so now you have your job cut out for you! Go and tell them. Preach it brother! BigThumbUp
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Continuity in Old and NT - Tue Apr 27, 2004 3:42 AM

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averagefellar said:
I see continuity in administration.......all those who profess and their OIKOS.......and then a continuity of the same practice throughout church history.

OIKOS

Who Departed


God bless,

william


William I suggest reading this:
To Thee and Thy Seed?: A Critical Review of Paedobaptism

A critical evaluation of paedobaptism by Greg Welty Please pay careful attention to Greg's comment on the differences between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.

String of Pearls unstrung Fred Malone Please see Fred's comment concerning the continuity of the covenants .

A Reformed Baptist View of I Cor. 7:14 And last but not least this look at OIKOS

All of this explains fully our view of the continuity of the covenants. Of course you will probably disagree with this view but I believe it explains where we are coming from.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Continuity in Old and NT - Tue Apr 27, 2004 3:43 AM

rofl
Posted By: MarieP

Infants and Particular Redemption - Tue Apr 27, 2004 3:53 AM

I'd like to hear a pedobaptist response to this section of Fred Malone's pamphlet:

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The New Covenant Sacrifice


To say that all physical infants of believers are "in" the New Covenant as the infants of Abraham were "in" the Abrahamic and Sinaitic Covenants violates the doctrine of particular redemption. Hebrews 9 reminds us that God's covenant requires mediation through blood. The Passover Lamb brought physical deliverance for all Israel because all ate it. The Annual Atonement (Lev. 16) was offered on behalf of the whole assembly, all Israel. Of course, these sacrifices could not cleanse the conscience, but their design was for the covenant people of God in the Old Testament. If Christ's sacrifice is offered up only for His elect people as the "New Covenant in My blood" (Lk. 22:20; Mk. 14:24), how can the unregenerate children of believers be said to be "in" the New Covenant, church, and kingdom without an effectual Mediator? They cannot. Indeed, Heb. 9:15 defines Christ as an effectual Mediator of the New Covenant to insure that "those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance." Can one be said to be "in" the New Covenant or church without a Mediator? Not on the basis of the concept of the church in the New Testament. Though all would agree that false professors were addressed as members of the church for which Christ's effectual blood was shed, yet they were so addressed on the basis of their profession, not on the basis of their parents' faith. Even then, they were to be put out of the church if their profession proved spurious by their life. Yet there was some outward evidence to designate them "in" the church. But there is no clear basis for saying infants of believers are "in" the church unless we are also willing to say that they are "in" the "church of God which He purchased with His own blood" (Acts 20:28). No, if an infant is said to be "in" the New Covenant administration of the one covenant of grace and "in" the church without effectual mediation, severe violence is done to the biblical truth that "Christ loved the church and give Himself up for her." Can an unregenerate infant be called "in" the church by Christ's effectual mediation and never receive salvation? Absolutely not. Therefore, violence is done to the doctrine of particular redemption.


The covenant of grace requires the blood of an effectual Mediator. Christ is the Circumcision and Isaac of the Abrahamic Covenant. Christ is the Paschal Lamb and Annual Atonement for its continuation through Sinai. And Christ is the sole Mediator of the New Covenant fulfillment as the effectual sacrifice for all those considered "in" the New Covenant, Christ's redeemed church. These redeemed ones–and only these–are the New Covenant participants.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Continuity in Old and NT - Tue Apr 27, 2004 10:43 AM

Thanks for those links Prestor:

The second one, Welty's, doesn't work for some reason. As I would like to read it, could you check it out and correct it?

In Him,

Gerry
Posted By: Henry

Re: Infants and Particular Redemption - Tue Apr 27, 2004 12:49 PM

I, too, would really like to see a paedobaptist response to that quote.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Infants and Particular Redemption - Tue Apr 27, 2004 1:08 PM

As I understand it, nobody upheld baptismal regeneration on this matter, which is what Fred seems to be addressing. I make no claim that the children are part of the elect, only part of the visible Church, as are many empty baptists.

Are we claiming every reformed baptists is part of the true covenant? If you answer 'no', this dilemma is the same for both sides.

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If Christ's sacrifice is offered up only for His elect people as the "New Covenant in My blood" (Lk. 22:20; Mk. 14:24), how can the unregenerate children of believers be said to be "in" the New Covenant, church, and kingdom without an effectual Mediator?


And there is what I see as the dilemma......a strawman. If I misunderstand this, please let me know. If not, please quit equivocating the visible church with the trully elect, for they are not the same, not at any visible assembly I know of.


God bless,

william
Posted By: Wes

Re: Infants and Particular Redemption - Tue Apr 27, 2004 2:14 PM

Marie,

Paedobaptists don't say their children are believers. Neither does being the offspring of Abraham make you a believer. It's apparent that Credo's don't understand the Paedo position and I'm sure I don't understand your view as well as I should.

The Covenant of Grace can be viewed from two different perspectives: individually and corporately. If I understand the credobaptist view correctly it can or should be looked at only individually. However if you want to better understand the paedobaptist view you have to understand how it can be viewed corporately. In the Old Testament the children of Israel were the covenant people of God and in the New Testament the Church of Jesus Christ has that distinction.

In one sense the Covenant of Grace is a purely legal arrangement for the realization of a spiritual end, and in another sense it's an end in itself.


Wes
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Continuity in Old and NT - Tue Apr 27, 2004 3:54 PM

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acts2027 said:
Thanks for those links Prestor:

The second one, Welty's, doesn't work for some reason. As I would like to read it, could you check it out and correct it?

In Him,

Gerry


Well Gerry unfortunately I couldn't go back and edit it something about a time limit. 3stooges And I believe the url was a frame or some asp style page so I found another link that seems to work.

A critical evaluation of paedobaptism by Greg Welty
Posted By: J_Edwards

Baby Dedications & Continuity - Tue Apr 27, 2004 4:33 PM

Mark 10: 13-16 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, [color:"0000FF"]put his hands upon them, and blessed them[/color].

Wes, I read your post and wondered what you thought of these verses above. Briefly analyzing the verses, Jesus does not merely touch the children, which in v 13 was the stated purpose of those bringing them to him; He embraces them. Remember in Mark 9:36 Jesus had taken a child into his arms. This embrace IMHO is a public demonstration of children’s acceptance and value in the Kingdom. The passage gets more interesting though as “He blessed [lit. historic present, ‘blesses’] them.” Mark uses the intensive form, “to bless,” which occurs nowhere else in the NT. In the LXX it is found only in Tob 11:1, where Tobias blesses Raguel, and in Tob 11:17, where Tobit blesses his new daughter-in-law Sarah. Then Jesus is seen “laying his hands on them.” Elsewhere Jesus lays hands on persons as well (Mark 5:23, 6:5, 8:23–25), thus, there is precedent for His actions. In Gen 48:15–15 the patriarch Jacob (Israel) lays his hands upon the heads of Ephraim and Manasseh and then blesses their father Joseph.

Though we “really” do not know what blessing Christ gave some have certainly speculated on it. One such speculation was that this was the Aaronic blessing of Numbers 6:24-26:

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Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel: ye shall say unto them, Jehovah bless thee, and keep thee: Jehovah make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: Jehovah lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. [color:"0000FF"]So shall they put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them[/color].
Though I do not believe there is substantial evidence that this is what Christ said in Mark 10, the Aaronic blessing does shed some light on another aspect of your question. God placed His name upon the “whole” of Israel and this would have included children (and yes, some were lost, thus we know this is not in reference to salvation, et. al.) . A similar placing of a name appears in the NT as well—Matt 28: 19… “baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

Thus, IMHO the Aaronic blessing sheds new light on the Credo position:

Credo churches have baby dedications—blessings. These dedications are praying down God’s blessings upon the child, its parent(s), etc. They normally even charge the Church with its responsibly. Thus, there appears to be some continuity for Credos with the Aaronic blessing. But, the Aaronic blessing was ONLY given to those who were part of the visible church—we still use it today (continuity). Thus, Credos either have to admit that (a) infants are indeed part of the visible church (I am not saying infants are saved), and thus part of their argument against the paedo view disappears (for non-believers may be blessed), or (b) they must hold that no blessings are being received from God in their dedication (though they normally pray), and thus the dedication is but mere words of encouragement for the family and church. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/scratch1.gif" alt="" />

While I do think Credos mean the "blessing" to be more than a mere encouragement, how do you get there Scripturally? Exactly which Scriptures do Credos now use for evidence of Baby Dedications?

I found J.C. Ryle’s comments on Mark 10 somewhat intriguing here also,

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Let us learn from this passage how much encouragement there is to bring young children to be baptized. Of course it is not claimed that there is any mention of baptism, or even any reference to it, in the verses before us. All we mean to say is that the expressions and gestures of our Lord in this passage are a strong indirect argument in favor of infant baptism. It is on this account that the passage occupies a prominent place in the baptismal service of the Church of England.

The subject of infant baptism is undoubtedly a delicate and difficult one. Holy and praying people are unable to see alike on it. Although they read the same Bible, and claim to be led by the same Spirit, they arrive at different conclusions about this sacrament. The great majority of Christians hold that infant baptism is scriptural and right. A comparatively small section of the Protestant church, but one containing many eminent saints among its members, regards infant baptism as unscriptural and wrong. The difference is a sad proof of the blindness and weakness which remain even in the saints of God.

But the difference now referred to must not make members of the Church of England shrink from holding decided opinions on the subject. That church has declared plainly in its Articles that “the baptism of young children is in any wise to be retained, as most agreeable with the institution of Christ.” To this opinion we need not be afraid to adhere.

It is agreed on all sides that infants may be elect and chosen by God for salvation—may be washed in Christ’s blood, born again of the Spirit, have grace, be justified, sanctified and enter heaven. If these things are so, it is hard to see why they may not receive the outward sign of baptism.

It is agreed furthermore than infants are members of Christ’s visible church by virtue of their parents’ Christianity. What else can we make of St. Paul’s words, “as it is, they are holy” (1 Corinthians 7:14)? If this is so, it is difficult to understand why an infant may not receive the outward sign of admission into the church, just as the Jewish child received the outward sign of circumcision.

The objection that baptism ought only to be given to those who are old enough to repent and believe does not appear a convincing one. We read in the New Testament that the “families” of Lydia and Stephanas were baptized (Acts 16:15 and 1 Corinthians 1:16), and that the jailer of Philippi and “all his family” were baptized (Acts 16:33). It is very difficult to suppose that in no one of these three cases were there any children.

The objection that our Lord Jesus Christ himself never directly commanded infants to be baptized is not a weighty one. The church of the Jews, to which he came, had always been accustomed to admit children into the church by the sign of circumcision. The very fact that Jesus says nothing about the age for baptizing goes far to prove that he intended no change to be made.

[In considering the arguments in favor of infant baptism, there are two facts which ought to be duly pondered. They are extra-scriptural facts, and I have therefore purposely omitted them from the thoughts above, but they are weighty facts and may help some minds in coming to a conclusion.

1. One fact is the testimony of history to the almost universal practice of infant baptism in the early church. The proof of this is to be found in Wall’s History of Infant Baptism. If infant baptism is so entirely opposed to the mind of Christ, as some say that it is, it is at least a curious circumstance that the early church should have been so ignorant on the subject.

2. The other fact is the well-known practice of baptizing the infant children of proselytes in the Jewish church. The proof of this is to be found in Lightfoot’s Horae Hebraicae on St. Matthew 3:6. He says, for instance (Works, Pitman ed., Vol. xi, p. 59):

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The Anabaptists object, “It is not commanded to baptize infants, therefore they are not to be baptized.” To whom I answer, “It is not forbidden to baptize infants, therefore they are to be baptized.” And the reason is plain. For when paedobaptism in the Jewish church was so known, usual and frequent in the admission of proselytes, there was no need to strengthen it with any precept, when baptism passed into an evangelical sacrament. For Christ took baptism into his own hands, and into evangelical use as he found it; this only added that he might promote it to a worthier end, and larger use. The whole nation knew well enough that little children used to be baptized: there was no need of a precept for that which had ever, by common use, prevailed.
On the other hand, there was need of a plain and open prohibition, that infants and little children should not be baptized, if our Saviour would not have had them baptized. For since it was most common, in all ages foregoing, that little children should be baptized, if Christ had minded to abolish the custom he would have openly forbidden it. Therefore his silence and the silence of Scripture confirms paedobaptism, and continues it unto all ages.]
Any way Wes, what do you think?
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Continuity in Old and NT - Tue Apr 27, 2004 4:52 PM

Hi Prestor;

Thank you so much, it worked fine and I am looking forward to reading it.

For the record, my comments on this subject in the prior posts, such as the Colossians passage, are from my own reading and understanding of scripture as I have never read anything on this subject such as what Welty and others have written. All I know is that when I was presented the WCF postion and the scripture references to support it, the scriptures seemed to be wholely inadequate to the position, and indeed ignored some of the most important ones that contradicted it, thus, in my view, the Analogy of the Faith was violated, not willingly or maliciously of course, for this group of men was in my view one of the most godly and wonderful group of "divines" ever brought together by the hand of God.

It will be good to hear what Mr. Welty and the others have to say, but I believe it is important to be "thoroughly convinced in one's own mind", first.
Posted By: J_Edwards

Re: Infants and Particular Redemption - Tue Apr 27, 2004 5:16 PM

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To say that all physical infants of believers are "in" the New Covenant as the infants of Abraham were "in" the Abrahamic and Sinaitic Covenants violates the doctrine of particular redemption.
I could not disagree more. IMHO this reveals a misunderstanding of what Paedos mean (at least this one and others—please note: there are “some” that stretch the issue of covenant too far) when we say a child is “in the covenant.” We say the phrase “in Covenant” with the understanding of a visible/invisible church distinction. Does everyone here understand visible and invisible distinction? Additionally, there is both a corporate and individual side to covenants both in the Old and New Testaments. The children lived in the camp, they ate the passover meal with their parents, and so forth. This does not mean they were necessarily saved (invisible church), but they did partake of the blessings (and many times the cursings) of the visible church. Even Fred says, “The Passover Lamb brought physical deliverance for all Israel because all ate it. The Annual Atonement (Lev. 16) was offered on behalf of the whole assembly, all Israel.” Clearly, children were included in the covenant just in a different way then “believers.” In EVERY covenant in the OT there were believers/unbelievers. In EVERY Church there are believers/unbelievers. In both the OC/NC there is a corporate and individual side of the covenant.
Posted By: Wes

Re: Baby Dedications & Continuity - Tue Apr 27, 2004 5:34 PM

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Joe writes:

Mark 10: 13-16 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.

Wes, I read your post and wondered what you thought of these verses above.


Joe, it's clear by Jesus' encounter with these little children that they are precious in His sight.

I was recently with a young family that had just lost their two month old baby. At the funeral the grandfather mentioned to me that when he read Mark 10 where Jesus said let the little children come unto me, it takes on new meaning for them now. This little girl was baptized Sunday morning and died in her crib on Monday morning. We trust Jesus has called her to Himself and has her in His arms now.

This family is taking great comfort in this Mark passage believeing the Lord loved children, blessed them, and took their child to be with Him.


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Joe writes:

Thus, IMHO the Aaronic blessing sheds new light on the Credo position:

Credo churches have baby dedications—blessings. These dedications are praying down God’s blessings upon the child, its parent(s), etc. They normally even charge the Church with its responsibly. Thus, there appears to be some continuity for Credos with the Aaronic blessing. But, the Aaronic blessing was ONLY given to those who were part of the visible church—we still use it today (continuity). Thus, Credos either have to admit that (a) infants are indeed part of the visible church (I am not saying infants are saved), and thus part of their argument against the paedo view disappears (for non-believers may be blessed), or (b) they must hold that no blessings are being received from God in their dedication (though they normally pray), and thus the dedication is but mere words of encouragement for the family and church. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/scratch1.gif" alt="" />


Yes, it’s that phrase “viewing our children as in the church” that brings confusion in how believer’s view either baptism or dedication. There’s a lot of similarity in these practices. It would be interesting to hear from a credobaptist how they view this blessing on the child, its parents, and what the commitment of the church really is. Surely it’s not just words of encouragement.


Wes
Posted By: J_Edwards

A Covenant Diagram - Tue Apr 27, 2004 7:03 PM

Here is a Diagram that I hope will help somewhat on the visible/invisible Church distinction.

Attached File
38891-Covenant Diagram.doc  (1275 downloads)
Posted By: MarieP

Re: Infants and Particular Redemption - Wed Apr 28, 2004 3:19 AM

Joe, I realize that there is a distinction between the church invisible and the church visible. I also realize that the majority of paedobaptists do NOT believe that all children of believers are saved, nor that baptizing children saves them.

What exactly is meant by children being in the Covenant? I have been taught that not everyone in the church visible are actually in the Covenant.
Posted By: MarieP

Re: Infants and Particular Redemption - Wed Apr 28, 2004 4:07 AM

Romans 6:4 and Colossians 2:12 talk about being buried in Christ through baptism. How would the paedobaptist ionterpret these verses?
Posted By: J_Edwards

Re: Infants and Particular Redemption - Wed Apr 28, 2004 11:13 AM

Quote
SemperReformanda said:
What exactly is meant by children being in the Covenant? I have been taught that not everyone in the church visible are actually in the Covenant.

First, I will simply add to the material in the post above that in Covenant Theology there is a meta theology of Kingdom that we see that is a foundation for understanding the Scriptures. Jesus said :the Kingdom of God......" Jesus is the King and Kings rule over Kingdoms, etc.

Second, very briefly: Covenants were established by kings to others in the ANE (Ancient Near East). Kings of one kingdom established covenants with kings or vassals of other kingdoms. There were basically two types of covenants in the ANE: (1) Parity, where both sides speak about the conditions—bilateral (2) Suzeran-vassal, where the relationship is between the Greater and the lesser. God chose to basically relate to man in the later form of covenant. Covenants were carried out for the eternity of the king’s kingdom, unless otherwise stipulated. God took an oath to honor his covenant with Abraham and others. That covenant still continues as fulfilled in Christ. Christ has a Kingdom. He is the King of that Kingdom. Christ the eternal King relates to His Kingdom in eternal covenants. Covenants not only relate to individuals but whole communities (i.e. Israel) and families. Thus, since Kingdoms relate to families if one person has Christ as their King then the family "in a way" also has Christ as their King (not necessarily savingly, but conditionally--either to blessing or cursing).

Please read: Covenants, Christ of the Covenants by O. Palmer Robertson and He Gave Us Stories by Richard Pratt, for a fuller explanation.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Infants and Particular Redemption - Wed Apr 28, 2004 5:01 PM

Marie,
As you know, I go to a presbyterian church. Many Christians, including my pastor, avoid using the term "in the covenant" when speaking of a newly baptized baby or an unconverted child because it only contributes to the misunderstandings that feed presumptive regeneration. My pastor would say instead that our unsaved children are "in the covenant externally" or "members of the visible church" to avoid this confusion. There can be no unbelievers in the covenant of Grace.
We discussed this previously HERE if you are interested.
Posted By: grace2U

The New Covenant - Wed Apr 28, 2004 8:55 PM

Jer 31:31-34 (cf. Heb 8:8-12). '"Behold, the days are coming", says the LORD, "When I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah- not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days," says the LORD: "Iwill put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord', for they shall all know Me from the least of them to the greatest of them," says the LORD. "For I will forgive their iniquity and their sin I will remember no more"'.

This text says that the New Covenant will not be like the Old Covenant. The specific differences which are mentioned are:-
1. In the New Covenant, God's laws are written on the heart rather than on tablets of stone.
2. Everyone in the New Covenant knows the Lord
3. They all have their sins forgiven.

Blessings,
Steve
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Wed Apr 28, 2004 9:37 PM

Quote
2. Everyone in the New Covenant knows the Lord


Do you know who is trully elect? This is actually a strawman. Paedobaptists agree that all the elect are in the covenant. We also believe there are others in the visible church, which is how the sign is administered. Your requirement, belief, is indefensible. It is profession, which may not necessarily mean belief. So #2 is not a possible argument, unless you want to claim infallibility in knowing the elect. The LBC agrees with me...

The London Confession of Baptist Faith, Chapter XXIX
Of Baptism
II. Those who do actually profess repentance towards God, faith in, and obedience to, our Lord Jesus Christ, are the only proper subjects of this ordinance.

We cannot know mens hearts. So we do not baptise on belief, but on profession. Profession doesn't necessitate salvation. So equating all those baptised with the elect is a false assumption.


God bless,

william
Posted By: J_Edwards

Re: The New Covenant - Wed Apr 28, 2004 9:45 PM

Quote
Steve said,

Jer 31:31-34 (cf. Heb 8:8-12). '"Behold, the days are coming", says the LORD, "When I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah- not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days," says the LORD: "Iwill put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord', for they shall all know Me from the least of them to the greatest of them," says the LORD. "For I will forgive their iniquity and their sin I will remember no more"'.

This text says that the New Covenant will not be like the Old Covenant. The specific differences which are mentioned are:-
1. In the New Covenant, God's laws are written on the heart rather than on tablets of stone.
2. Everyone in the New Covenant knows the Lord
3. They all have their sins forgiven.
Steve,

In Jer 31 we see Jeremiah, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, picking up themes first expounded by Moses (Deut 30:1-10). Jeremiah prophesied that God would make a New Covenant with His people. As the institution of the Old Covenant (Exod 19-24) had followed the redemption from Egypt (Exod 12-15), so the formulation of the New Covenant would follow the redemption from exile (vs. 34). New Testament passages (1 Cor 11:15; 2 Cor 3:6; Heb 9:15, 12:24) reveal that the new covenant is fulfilled in Christ, who brought to fruitrition the Lord's desire for a renewed covenant relationship with His people. Even so, Christ in His first coming only inaugurated the new covenant. He continues to establish it during the time between His first and second coming and will establish it fully only at His return in glory. Please look at the text you selected, No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord', for they shall all know Me from the least of them to the greatest of them. This promise will not be completely fulfilled until Christ returns. Only then will the Church be composed entirely of believers! Until then Christ says we see wheat and tares in His Church (Matt 13:24-30).

To apply your interpretation of these verses to the Church of today would entail believing everyone in the visible Church, without exception (2. Everyone in the New Covenant knows the Lord, 3. They all have their sins forgiven) is saved, a case which we both know is incorrect. cheers2
Posted By: grace2U

Re: The New Covenant - Wed Apr 28, 2004 11:07 PM

Joe,
I did not say, and nor does the text, that everyone in the 'visible church' (thinks: where is this phrase in the Bible?) knows the Lord. The text very clearly says that everyone in the New Covenant knows Him. Clearly, the New Covenant and the 'visible church' are not the same thing.

Nor will it do to put off this knowing of God until after the return of our Lord.

'But the anointing which you have received from Him [ie. Baptism of the Spirit] abides in you and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him (1John 2:27. cf. also 2:20-21; 1Cor 2:10-16).

These verses clearly parallel Jer 31:31ff, yet are placed firmly in the present.

Only those who know the Lord are in the New Covenant, and therefore it is fitting that only they should receive baptism. However baptism brings no one into the Covenant. If an unbeliever is baptized, his baptism is quite irrelevant (Acts 8:21).

Every blessing,
Steve
Posted By: grace2U

Re: The New Covenant - Wed Apr 28, 2004 11:13 PM

William,
Where did I equate baptism with election? Jer 31:31ff does not mention baptism at all.

I am in full agreement with the Baptist Confession on this subject.

Blessings,
Steve
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Wed Apr 28, 2004 11:34 PM

Quote
I did not say, and nor does the text, that everyone in the 'visible church' (thinks: where is this phrase in the Bible?)


Are we going to sink to that hermeneutic?

Quote
The text very clearly says that everyone in the New Covenant knows Him.


List them by name. Indeed, and since you cannot list them, equating baptism to election(true covenant)is indefensible.

Quote
Clearly, the New Covenant and the 'visible church' are not the same thing.


Absolutely. And where did the administration change? All those in the visible covenant (profesors included) are not part of the true covenant. The dilemma of baptising those outside the covenant is as real to baptists as the orthodox.


God bless,

william
Posted By: J_Edwards

Re: The New Covenant - Thu Apr 29, 2004 1:42 AM

Quote
Steve Said,

I did not say, and nor does the text, that everyone in the 'visible church' (thinks: where is this phrase in the Bible?) knows the Lord.[/b]
Steve, where is the word Calvinism in the Bible? Do you believe in Calvinism? averagefellar, asks a very good question!!!

Quote
Steve Said,

The text very clearly says that everyone in the New Covenant knows Him.
Steve, I agree the text says everyone in the New Covenant knows Him, but presently many do not. The text is clearly speaking about the future: (1) not everyone is saved that will be saved, and thus the fullness of the covenant is not here yet—for not everyone knows Him yet, for some of them have not even been born, (2) everyone who is in the visible Church (both saved and lost) still need to be separated, wheat and tares in His Church—(Matt 13:24-30). Thus, you need to understand the fullness of the New Covenant is still not here YET.

Quote
Steve Said,

Nor will it do to put off this knowing of God until after the return of our Lord.
Christ in His first coming only inaugurated the New Covenant. He continues to establish it during the time between His first and second coming and will establish it fully only at His return in glory.

Quote
Steve Said,

'But the anointing which you have received from Him [ie. Baptism of the Spirit] abides in you and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him (1John 2:27. cf. also 2:20-21; 1Cor 2:10-16).
So, you do not have a pastor that teaches you? Why did the Apostle Paul every preach a single sermon? The Kingdom is not yet here in its fullness. The theological phrase for this is—“the now, but not yet.”

Quote
Steve Said,

Only those who know the Lord are in the New Covenant, and therefore it is fitting that only they should receive baptism.
Steve, you still do not know who is in the New Covenant and thus you are stuck with no baptisms at all. Was Isaac ever a member of the O.C.? Was Jacob ever a member of the O.C.? Was Esau ever a member of the O.C.? (Heb 11:20; 12:15-17).

Quote
Heb 8:9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.

Hebrews 10:29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
While the individuals referred to here were never saved, were they ever in the covenant (visible/invisible Church distinction)?
Posted By: Wes

Re: The New Covenant - Thu Apr 29, 2004 2:20 AM

Steve,

I have a few questions:

  • 1. Since you propose that only professing believers are in the New Covenant, how does that relate to visible church membership in your church?

    2. Do you view your children as children of the church or are they children of the world?

    3. If they are children of the church what does that mean?

    4. What advantage does a child have growing up in a Christian household?

    5. How do you view infant dedications?

    6. During a typical infant dedication do you pray for God's blessings on the child?

    7. Does the church assume some responsibility for this child?



Please help me understand what the credobaptist belief and practice is regarding these questions.


Wes
Posted By: Tom

Re: The New Covenant - Thu Apr 29, 2004 7:59 AM

Wes

I know I am not Steve, but I can say that you may get different answers on these questions by different Baptists.

"1. Since you propose that only professing believers are in the New Covenant, how does that relate to visible church membership in your church?"

As you probably are aware Baptists who hold to the LBCF, believe that we can not fully know who is saved and who isn't. We baptize not because we know the person's heart, but because they profess to be believers and some fruit is showing.
I particularly believe (not all Baptists agree) that membership to a Baptist Church should not be on whether or not someone has been baptized as an adult professor. But on the basis of whether or not after the elders are relatively certain that they are Christians and are willing to commit themselves to the well being of the rest of the Church body.
This would include Christians of Paedo-Baptist persuasion. However, since they disagree with Credo-Baptism, they would not be able to serve in the offices of elders or deacons.

"2. Do you view your children as children of the church or are they children of the world?"

Before a child has made a profession of faith, they should not be presumed to be Christians. But that does not mean there are not advantages to a child with Christian parents in the Church.

4. What advantage does a child have growing up in a Christian household?

Besides the obvious benefits of the parents and the Church doing everything in their power to make sure that child knows the ways of the Lord.
In 1Cor. 7:14 we read " 14For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy."

This of course does not mean that children are holy in themselves. It means that they are set apart, because of the believing parent. They are privilaged because at least one parent is a Christian.

"5. How do you view infant dedications?"

I am not sure there is an official stand on infant dedications in the Baptist Church (I am going to look for one).
But my understanding is that when a baby is dedicated, it has more to do with the parent/s and the rest of the body dedicating themselves to bringing that child up in the ways of the Lord.

6. During a typical infant dedication do you pray for God's blessings on the child?

It has been a while since I have seen a baby dedication, but from memory the praying had more to do with asking God to help everyone to bring the child up in the ways of God.

7. Does the church assume some responsibility for this child?

Hopefully I have adequately answered that already, the answer is yes.

I will add one question.
8. Are baby dedications mandated in Scripture?

Not sure, but I think it is safe to say that it takes a whole Church body to bring up a child in the ways of the Lord.

Tom
Posted By: Wes

Re: The New Covenant - Thu Apr 29, 2004 1:54 PM


Hi Tom,

Thanks for answering my questions from a Baptist's perspective. It appears to me that we're not so far apart as you think.

We both agree that we cannot know with certainty whether another person is truly saved. It may appear to us that their profession of faith is genuine but only God knows for sure. We trust that there will be evidences in the life of each believer but again only the Lord knows the heart. Your practice of baptizing professing believers parallels our public profession of faith which brings the believer into the privileges of full communion with the people of God.

In regards to permitting someone who holds to a different view on baptism to be an office bearer in your church I certainly understand. You don't want to have leaders who are opposed to what you believe. So you would choose leaders who support what you believe.

You answered my second question, "Before a child has made a profession of faith, they should not be presumed to be Christians. But that does not mean there are not advantages to a child with Christian parents in the Church." Again we find that we're not so different. As has been repeated here on the-highway many times we do not presume baptismal regeneration. I think our difference comes from our view of the covenant and the meaning of baptism.

If I'm understanding Steve correctly he concludes that there is not continuity between the Covenant of Grace in the Old Testament and the New Testament. Is this the common understanding of most Baptists? If this is true I can certainly see why you don't practice infant baptism and I can understand why your meaning of baptism is different than ours. This is not to say that I agree with this interpretation but at least I understand your view better.


Wes
Posted By: MarieP

Re: The New Covenant - Thu Apr 29, 2004 4:16 PM

Quote
Your practice of baptizing professing believers parallels our public profession of faith which brings the believer into the privileges of full communion with the people of God.


In the same way, wouldn't the Baptist practice of bady dedications be similar to the way paedobaptists have the parents vow before God and the congregation (and their child!) to raise them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?

I've learned a lot about the paedo position since being on this board. I used to think all paedos believed in baptismal regeneration, but I know that is absolutely false now. I got that idea because, in the PCUSA church I grew up in, the pastor made it sound that way because he said the baby was now part of the body of Christ.
Posted By: Tom

Re: The New Covenant - Thu Apr 29, 2004 6:34 PM

Wes

If you would like to further understand the issue from a Baptist CT position. I would recommend getting a small book (about 50 pages) called: 'A String of Pearls Unstrung' by Fred Malone. Because of its size it does not go into great detail, for that I would recommend Fred Malone's book 'The Baptism of Disciples Alone'.
You can find them at the following URL:
www.founders.org

Tom
Posted By: Wes

Re: The New Covenant - Thu Apr 29, 2004 8:00 PM

Quote
Marie replies:

In the same way, wouldn't the Baptist practice of baby dedications be similar to the way paedobaptists have the parents vow before God and the congregation (and their child!) to raise them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?


I'm sure there are many similarities here too. However the paedobaptist views their child in the Covenant of Grace and the credobaptist does not. It's this broader sense of inclusion that marks the differences we hold. That's also why I'm asking how Baptist's view their children.


Wes
Posted By: Wes

Re: The New Covenant - Thu Apr 29, 2004 8:01 PM

Thanks Tom. I may resort to that if others are unable to make this clear.


Wes
Posted By: Tom

Re: The New Covenant - Thu Apr 29, 2004 9:40 PM

Wes

In case you want to know a little bit about Dr. Fred Malone.
He was brought up Baptist, but during seminary largely do to the work of John Murray, he became convinced of Paedo-Baptism. After seminary he served for a few years in a Presbyterian Church, where he baptised many babies including two of his own children.

Through a series of events he was forced to look into the matter of Paedo vrs. Credo again, only this time he became convinced that he had been too hasty at excepting the Paedobaptist view.
It is because of this that he understands both sides of the view, something which can not be said about many in the debate.

He is not hostile towards Paedobaptists, in fact here is a quote from the foreword of Malone's book 'The Baptism Of Desciples Alone'.

"I pray that the reading and studying of this book will produce a conciliatory spirit among Baptists and our dear and respected paedobaptist friends. I also pray our differences on baptism will not hinder our mutual efforts to obey our Lord's clearest command, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel." Earnest C. Reisinger

Tom
Posted By: Wes

Re: The New Covenant - Fri Apr 30, 2004 3:28 AM

Quote
Steve writes:

I agree mostly with Tom's answers to the questions about dedications. However.

1. My views on 1Cor 7:14 differs from his. See the thread on the subject for details.

2. There is no biblical (NT) example or precept concerning infant dedications that I can think of. I guess if we were really Reformed we wouldn't do them. However we do bring the new-born of the church before the congregation and the Lord.

We thank God for the precious gift of children.

We thank Him that the child has the blessing of a Christian home.

We pray that the child may come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.

The members of the church promise that as far as they have opportunity, they will support the parents in raising the child in the fear of the Lord, and that they will teach the child the things of the Lord and encourage him/her to confess Christ and to be baptized.

I hope that's helpful and of interest.


Yes it is helpful Steve. Your reply demonstrates similarities and differences in our views. The dedication and committment on the part of the parents and the church are similar but we don't view the covenant and baptism the same. Since Baptists only recognize believers baptism, I was wondering how they view their children? When I raised the question about how Baptists view the Covenant of Grace which God made with Abraham I was thinking about two things. In the Covenant of Grace that God made with Abraham His promise included his decendants, and it's an everlasting covenant. From the replies I received it appears we don't agree on these points. It's becoming clearer to me that the Baptist view simply doesn't see any continuity between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant in regards to including infants, in the church, in covenant with the people of God, or in covenant households unless each individual is a believer. Simply put, they are not included in any covenant until they believe so it's every man for himself.

We might ask then, “who’s in the Covenant of Grace?” Who are the elect of God? Can we know? We know that God revealed this promise to Abraham and his seed. In one sense it included all his’ offspring. All the male descendants were marked with the sign of the covenant which was circumcision. In another sense it only included those who were true believers. Paul tells us that only those with a circumcised heart are real believers. However we don’t know which one of our offspring will be true believers if any. So we must make a distinction between the Covenant of Grace and the Covenant of Redemption in the sense that one cannot be broken and the other can. It seems clear from history that there have been those who were included in the Covenant of Grace who turned out to be unbelievers. The same is true today. There are those who outwardly appear to belong to the church either by infant baptism or believer’s baptism but remain unbelievers and will not inherit the kingdom of God.

The Hebrews 8 passage (which also quotes the Jeremiah passage) tells that the big difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant is our High Priest. Unlike the repeated sacrifices of the law, which were an annual reminder of sins, Jesus’ offering of Himself has brought forgiveness, holiness, and perfection once for all. The Old Testament promises were mainly earthly, the New Testament promises of heavenly blessings. The New Covenant refers to the restoration of God’s people whereby God forgives absolutely His people’s sins, and writes His law by His Spirit on the hearts of true believers.

It comes down to this… God promises to save those He has elected from the foundation of the world through the Covenant of Redemption He has established with His Son. We want to be able to recognize those He has chosen so we set up standards to determine who should have acceptance into the church. Whether we do this with a narrow focus on individual believers or a broad focus that includes covenant households we will make mistakes. Thankfully our mistakes will not be the final judgment. In the final judgment the sheep will be seperated from the goats.


Wes
Posted By: Tom

Re: The New Covenant - Fri Apr 30, 2004 6:25 AM

Wes

I found something that you might be interested in listening to on this matter by Dr. Fred Malone.
http://www.gracesermons.com/hisbygrace/Page7.html#malone

Tom
Posted By: Wes

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 01, 2004 2:32 AM

Tom,

I want to thank you again for providing information about how Baptists view the covenants. The link you’ve provided with the sermons by Fred Malone really helped me to better understand the Baptist view. It's taken me a while to listen to these messages.

As I’ve mentioned before I see a lot of similarities is what we believe to be true. Actually I see enough for me to believe that we’re both on the path that leads to life eternal. However there are significant differences in our view of the Covenant of Grace. Malone himself points this out when he says, “As Baptists we disagree with just about everybody else.” That statement says a lot in itself. He admits that this view is not classic covenant theology.

He says that Louis Berkhof, William Hendrickson, and L.T. Robertson agree that the covenant is between God and His elect but also includes the children of believers. I think this is because they look at the Covenant of Grace differently than he does. Malone calls their views hermeneutical errors. It could be pointed out that his view is an error but I'd rather say they're different hermeneutical methods. Malone sights that many Baptists are asking these questions today. He says we lose good faithful Baptist pastors and churchmen on the basis of this doctrine. They’re reading books about the grace of God and the Reformation and suddenly become convinced that they need to become Presbyterians.

In one of his messages he rightly points out that there aren't many covenants but different administrations of the one. The administration of Adam, Abraham, Moses, David, etc. However later on he say's that we must be careful in assuming that any biblical covenant automatically carries the elements of one covenant into the other covenant. Rather than denying his previous statement I think he's referring to carrying elements of the Old to the New. However the New is the fulfillment of the Old. The New has accomplished what the Old could not. The Old failed because it required perfect obedience which no man could accomplish. It was a Covenant of Works. God sent His Son to fulfill the requirements of the law and provide a New Covenant. This covenant replaces the Old Covenant because it has a better High Priest.

Malone emphasis that in the New Covenant each person will have the law written upon their heart, the personal knowledge of God, and the forgiveness of sins. Only those who are assumed to have the actual fruit and realities of the New Covenant are to be baptized. Some say that you can never determine what is in the heart of another person. He says that the New Testament consistently accepts the outward repentance and faith of those who were made disciples as evidence of the inward work of the Holy Spirit in their hearts. And it is on the basis of the outward confession of faith in Jesus Christ that they were baptized.

Malone says, “It is only natural that God saves from among the children of believers and that He promises to bless our efforts. We can teach, sow, instruct, pray, and discipline in hope for the salvation of our children souls. But there’s quite a little difference in saying that our children must be in the covenant so that God may save from among them."

I agree with Malone that there may be some Presbyterian parents who believe their children are saved by infant baptism but it’s not what Scripture teaches nor what faithful men of God preach. Although I believe there is great advantage for children of believers who grow up in a covenant home and church. After all the promise is to believers, their children, and many that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. It’s not the genes of the parents that saves their children it’s the power of God’s word and the Gospel.

When I think about continuity between the Old and New Covenants I think about going all the way back to the beginning. After all God is the initiator of His covenants and I believe there is a progressive fulfillment in these promises with man being carried out through history. From before the foundation of this world God the Father (representing the Trinity) established the Covenant of Redemption with the Son (who represents the elect). This covenant is the foundation for everything that God will do in time in redeeming His bride for Himself. The Covenant of Grace depends of the Covenant of Redemption for its existence.

The first thing, then, is manifest, that there was a voluntary concurrence and distinct consent of the Father and Son for the accomplishment of the work of peace, and for bringing us to God. So the Covenant of Grace is the Covenant of Redemption as it expresses itself in time. If there were no parties assuming responsibility for establishing the Covenant of Redemption in eternity there would be no basis for the Covenant of Grace working itself out in time. The Covenant of Redemption cannot be broken. The Father and the Son have immutably fulfilled it. The Covenant of Grace, for the elect, cannot be broken because it logically flows from the Covenant of Redemption. So for the elect of God nothing can break the promise of their redemption because it relies entirely on His grace and is appropriated through faith.


Wes
Posted By: Tom

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 01, 2004 6:07 AM

Wes

I am glad you found the link helpful in understanding the Baptist view of the covenants.
I enjoy communicating with you, because regardless of whether or not you agree or not, you are cordial. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/BigThumbUp.gif" alt="" />

I certainly can not say that about another person I gave that link to who is a Lutheran.

He accused Reformed Baptists of believing in a synergistic form of salvation. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" />

Tom
Posted By: Wes

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 01, 2004 4:14 PM

Tom,

My intent was not to accuse but to understand our differences especially as it relates to children of believers which are included in the Covenant of Grace according to Gen. 17:7; Acts 2:39 etc. It should be noted that Reformed paedobaptist churches don't baptize infants per se, we baptize the children of believers.


Thanks again.


Wes
Posted By: Tom

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 01, 2004 6:54 PM

Wes

I understood what you meant and I think I am getting a better grasp on our differences.

Tom
Posted By: gotribe

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 01, 2004 8:37 PM

Wes, I really appreciate your posts and, at least for me, it is helping me to get a better grasp on the things we have in common. I believe we have far more in common.
Posted By: grace2U

Re: The New Covenant - Tue May 04, 2004 9:07 AM

I'm sorry to have been so long in coming back on this topic, but I've been having trouble with my eyes and too much computer work does them no good. However, being now recovered, there are a few points I'd like to make.

Joe said:-

'Steve, I agree the text [Jer 31:34]says everyone in the New Covenant knows Him, but presently many do not.'

This, I think, is the difference between our hermeneutics; as far as I'm concerned, if someone doesn't know the Lord, he's not in the New Covenant. I take Joe's point about the 'fulness' of the Covenant not yet having arrived, but the text does not say, 'They will all know Me perfectly'. It says that everyone in the New Covenant knows the Lord. Can there be such a thing as a Christian who doesn't know the Lord? Surely not! What is the New Birth or Baptism in The Holy Spirit but the Lord giving us new, spiritual life through which we come to know Him? That we come to know Him better as time goes on, through Bible study and church ministry, I fully agree, but every Christian knows the Lord.

In the Old (Mosaic) Covenant, Jewish male babies were brought in by circumcision, but most of them did not know the Lord. God's laws were something external to them, written on stones rather than on their hearts (cf. Jer 31:34). That is why, '"They broke [My Covenant] though I was a Father to them," says the Lord' (v32). The great difference between the two Covenants is that everyone in the NC knows the Lord, not at some point in the future, but right here and now! They have the law written on their hearts and their sins forgiven (v34). Otherwise the New Birth is just an abstract theory (cf. 1John 2:27b).

Joe went on to say,

'Everyone in the visible church (both saved and lost) still need to be separated, wheat and tares in His Church- (Matt 13:24-30).'

This seems to me to be an error. Matt 13:24-30 is the Parable of the tares. Matt 13:36-7. '...And His disciples came to Him saying, "Explain to us the parable of the tares in the field." He answered and said to them: "....The field is the world"'. The field is not the Church. The Church is the bride of Christ and Paul wrote, 'For I am jealous for you (the Corinthian church) with a godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ' (2Cor 11:2).

The 'visible/invisible' concept of the New Covenant Church is not biblical. To be sure, despite our best efforts, unsaved people will come into the Church (Jude 4); 'Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal, "The Lord knows those who are His"' (2Tim 2:19). The Lord's reference to unsaved people trying to enter His Church is found in the Parable of the Wedding Feast in Matt 22:11-13. Note that the King did not find half the guests without wedding garments, but only one. The Church is to use every means to keep the Lord's Church as pure as possible. We are to baptize only those who make a credible profession of faith, and we are to expel those whose conduct clearly belies their profession (1Cor 5:13; 1Tim 1:20). This is done in the hope that those who have fallen away will be restored (2Cor 2:6), but this is not always the case (2Tim 4:14).

With reference to 1John 2:27, Joe wrote,

'So you do not have a Pastor that teaches you. Why did the Apostle Paul ever preach a single sermon? .....The Theological phrase for this is ,'the now, but not yet'.

This is just silly! 1John 2:27 is both linguistically and contextually placed firmly in the present tense. Even Presbyterian commentators admit this. Kistemaker wrote:-

"You do not need anyone to teach you" These words a reminiscent of Jeremiah's prophecy [Jer 31:34]. Is John intimating that the annointing with the Holy Spirit makes instruction in biblical knowledge superfluous? Of course not!..... Effective preaching.....Sunday School....and daily reading of the Scriptures- all this is necessary for the spiritual growth of the Christian. Then what is John saying? The believers have no need of deceivers who try to teach false doctrine They have the gift of the Holy Spirit who leads them into all truth (John 16:13).
"His annointing teaches you about all things" That is the Spirit of Christ will teach the believer everything (John 14:26) and will guide him in distinguishing truth from error. All believers receive the Holy Spirit and all of them are equally equipped to oppose those teachers who proclaim the lie instead of the truth.
This text teachers the fundamental equality of all believers. That is, believers do not have to consult learned professors of theology before they can accept God's truth; in the sight of God, clergy and laity are the same; the Holy Spirit is the teacher of every believer, without distinction. Within the church, believers are able to learn from each other as each is a partaker of the annointing of the Spirit.' (S. Kistemaker: NTC Commentary on 1John)

Joe went on to say:-

'Steve, you still do not know who is in the New Covenant, so you are stuck with no baptisms at all.'

Not at all! As the Lord instructed us, we baptize disciples (Matt 28:19). Not all of these will prove to be 'disciples indeed' (John 8:31), but 'the Lord knows those that are His'. The seal of the New Covenant is Spirit Baptism (Eph 1:13-14) not water baptism, and Spirit baptism is dispensed by the Lord alone. I repeat, the fact that we cannot guarantee a pure Church does not mean that we should not strive for one.

Blessings to all,
Steve
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Tue May 04, 2004 11:13 AM

So we should only baptise the trully elect?


God bless,

william
Posted By: grace2U

Re: The New Covenant - Tue May 04, 2004 12:35 PM

[Linked Image] [Linked Image] [Linked Image] [Linked Image]
I really thought I had answered this question several times!

How can we baptize only the elect? We don't know for sure who they are! But that doesn't mean that we don't make every effort to do so by baptizing only those who make a credible profession of faith.

We should be jealous for our little part of God's Church with a godly jealousy, that AS FAR AS IN US LIES we may present her as a chaste virgin to Christ.

Every blessing,
Steve
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Tue May 04, 2004 1:22 PM

So then not everybody in "church" is part of the elect? But they would be part of the visible "church", meaning, the "church" we identify with, containing both the elect and empty professors?


God bless,

william
Posted By: grace2U

Re: The New Covenant - Tue May 04, 2004 2:04 PM

Just so;
I don't know how it is with your church but anyone at all is welcome to come to our services. However, the fact that they come into the church, say the prayers, sing the hymns and listen to the sermon does not make them part of the New Covenant. Only those who know the Lord are part of the New Covenant (Jer 31:34; Heb 8:11). We may not know who they are, but the Lord does (2Tim 2:19).

All this has been laid out in my posts time and time again. If you keep asking the same questions, I hope you won't be surprised if you get the same answers.

Every blessing,
Steve
Posted By: J_Edwards

Re: The New Covenant - Tue May 04, 2004 6:57 PM

Steve you assert that a person should not be baptized unless he knows the Lord and thus infants should not be baptized. This assertion you claim is based upon,

Quote
Jeremiah 31:31-34 "Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them," declares the LORD. "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. "They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."
IMHO there are many difficult things you have to overcome to force this text to concur with your assertion,

  • 1. You must assume that this text is speaking ONLY of present tense Christians and that it has none of its fulfillment at the Second Coming of Christ. But, I must ask how you arrive at such an interpretation? All my neighbors do not know the Lord, do yours? The text says they will—for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. Is EACH MAN your brother? Do you still evangelize? Of course you do, because each man does not know Him, from the least of them to the greatest of them. Clearly, while the Holy Spirit does teach us now (a fact none of us denies), many others do as well (i.e. this forum). Clearly, this portion of the text is speaking of what will happen at the Consummation of the KOG. While we do see a partial fulfillment of these Scriptures now (as I am sure you know from your study of Biblical Theology (covenants) this is known as the “continuation phase” of the I.C.C. (Inauguration, Continuation (the now, but not yet), and Consummation of the KOG)), they still are in the process of being fulfilled. Their completion will not be till the consummation of the Kingdom when EVERYMAN will know the Lord, because everyone else is in Hell.
  • 2. Even if what you assert was in unity with a correct hermeneutic of interpreting the Scriptures, you still have another dilemma. You claim to be baptizing now upon whether or not someone knows the Lord. But, indeed this is not true, for (1) you only baptize upon one’s profession that they know the Lord, and (2) you do not really know if they really know the Lord at all. Thus, you violate your own hermeneutic of the passages above?
The visible/invisible Church distinction is crucial to one's understanding of how covenants work in Scripture,

Quote
Deut 29:9-15 "So keep the words of this covenant to do them, that you may prosper in all that you do. "You stand today, all of you, before the LORD your God: your chiefs, your tribes, your elders and your officers, even all the men of Israel, your little ones, your wives, and the alien who is within your camps, from the one who chops your wood to the one who draws your water, that you may enter into the covenant with the LORD your God, and into His oath which the LORD your God is making with you today, in order that He may establish you today as His people and that He may be your God, just as He spoke to you and as He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. "Now not with you alone am I making this covenant and this oath, but both with those who stand here with us today in the presence of the LORD our God and with those who are not with us here today
Enjoy. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/cheers2.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Tue May 04, 2004 7:28 PM

Because I do not understand why you keep equivocating baptism with the elect only.

Quote
don't know how it is with your church but anyone at all is welcome to come to our services. However, the fact that they come into the church, say the prayers, sing the hymns and listen to the sermon does not make them part of the New Covenant.


Precisely. So your church has a visible connection, of which, the elect are a part. Just as it was in the OT, just as it has been throughout history.


God bless,

william
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Tue May 04, 2004 11:25 PM

Hi Steve:

I really appreciated your post that Joe was most recently responding to. It was right on in my opinion and I don't recall your ever asserting that we must know with certainty who is born again and who is not, but rather that you, like Phillip in the following scripture, assert that we ask for a credible profession of faith:

Quote
8:35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
8:36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
8:38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptizedhim.


It is really very simple isn't it? You have presented the situation correctly, patiently, kindly and clearly, Steve, and I for one appreciate it, that's about all you can do.

In Him,

Gerry
Posted By: grace2U

Re: The New Covenant - Tue May 04, 2004 11:29 PM

William, if you can show me one place where I have 'equivocated' (sic) baptism with the elect, then I will continue this part of our conversation, but not otherwise.

And you, show me where this visible/invisible church divide is in the NT. Listen to the Apostle John: 'But you (ie. everyone to whom he's writing) have an anointing from the Holy One.....'(1John 2:20). Everywhere, the NT letter writers assumed that they were dealing with a regenerate church. If they weren't born again, then they weren't in any church- visible or otherwise, whether they attended one or not (1John 2:19).

If you want to know the practice of the early Reformers, the consider Art. XIX of the Church of England. 'The visible (mark that!) Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men...etc.' Cranmer and Co. knew nothing of an invisible Church. Their intention was to weed out unbelievers by the Confirmation service. They (wrongly) baptized infants but did not count them as church members until Confirmation.

That there was a remnant in Israel saved by grace is very true; but that was the Old Covenant not the New. In the New Covenant, 'They shall all know Me from the least of them to the greatest of them.'

Blessings,
Steve
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Tue May 04, 2004 11:32 PM

William,
Quote
Because I do not understand why you keep equivocating baptism with the elect only.


Clearly, the difference is in how we view the meaning of baptism. We understand baptism as the sign given to a new believer that identifies them with Christ's death and resurrection. It symbolizes our dying to self and living a new life in Christ. This is why we always come to this point in these discussions! <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/Banghead.gif" alt="" />
We do not see baptism replacing the sign of circumcision as the paedobaptists do. There are some parallels, but there are differences as well. We don't deny that both baptism and circumcision are both signs of the covenant, an identification given by God to the church and to Israel .

Quote
Romans 6:1What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 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.

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. 6 We know that our old self [1] was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free [2] from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.


Quote
Colossians 2: 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 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, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities [2] and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. [3]


We, just like you, draw lines between believers and unbelievers. You examine candidates before admitting them to the Lord's Table as communicant members. Unlike you, we draw that line at baptism.
John Dagg on Church Membership
"The churches are not infallible judges, being unable to search the heart but they owe it to the candidate [for membership] himself, to exercise the best judgment of which they are capable. To receive any one on a mere profession of words, without any effort to ascertain whether he understands and feels what he professes, is unfaithfulness to his interests, and the interests of religion."
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Wed May 05, 2004 1:35 AM

Quote
William, if you can show me one place where I have 'equivocated' (sic) baptism with the elect, then I will continue this part of our conversation, but not otherwise.


You have continously put forth the argument that there is only one church, a regenerate one. Your argument is right here below.

Quote
And you, show me where this visible/invisible church divide is in the NT.


Sure......right next to the word trinity. We went down that road oncebefore, and the logic isn't working. Herein is the truthful dilemma.....I am a Whole Bible Christian.

Quote
Listen to the Apostle John: 'But you (ie. everyone to whom he's writing) have an anointing from the Holy One.....'(1John 2:20). Everywhere, the NT letter writers assumed that they were dealing with a regenerate church. If they weren't born again, then they weren't in any church- visible or otherwise, whether they attended one or not (1John 2:19).


So, a non-regenerate person at your church is part of what? Your visible assembly?

Quote
If you want to know the practice of the early Reformers, the consider Art. XIX of the Church of England. 'The visible (mark that!) Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men...etc.' Cranmer and Co. knew nothing of an invisible Church. Their intention was to weed out unbelievers by the Confirmation service. They (wrongly) baptized infants but did not count them as church members until Confirmation.


You haven't convinced me we are wrong. Or that christianity was wrong for 1600 years prior.

Quote
That there was a remnant in Israel saved by grace is very true; but that was the Old Covenant not the New. In the New Covenant, 'They shall all know Me from the least of them to the greatest of them.'


And there it is again.....only those that know Him.......how does that relate to baptism, since you cannot judge a mans heart? It is by profession, not election and yet you keep making this argument for only baptising those in the true church, which you also admit you cannot know. I am at a loss. Your argument for baptising non-elect people is simply impossible to defend.


God bless,

william
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Wed May 05, 2004 1:39 AM

Quote
John Dagg on Church Membership
"The churches are not infallible judges, being unable to search the heart but they owe it to the candidate [for membership] himself, to exercise the best judgment of which they are capable. To receive any one on a mere profession of words, without any effort to ascertain whether he understands and feels what he professes, is unfaithfulness to his interests, and the interests of religion."


As an orthodox christian, I agree that catechism is a great idea. Unfortunately, I can't find a Biblical example of it in relation to baptism.


God bless,

william
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Wed May 05, 2004 1:50 AM

Quote
If you want to know the practice of the early Reformers, ...


Yes, as I believe many were paedo-oriented. Here is a nice site

John Calvins Visible-Invisible Church

Looks like that reformer agrees.


God bless,

william
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Wed May 05, 2004 3:36 PM

Quote
As an orthodox christian, I agree that catechism is a great idea. Unfortunately, I can't find a Biblical example of it in relation to baptism.

William,
I don't really understand the point you are trying to make about the catechism. I think that he means that the church leaders have to try to discern mere head knowledge from actual faith. God gives the church leaders and gifts them for His work. That doesn't mean they never err, but it does mean that churches are to draw a line between believers and unbelievers and warn those who are outside of Christ to repent and to believe. When the church blurs that line, it only gives false hope to those who are perishing.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Thu May 06, 2004 7:00 PM

Quote
We might ask then, “who’s in the Covenant of Grace?” Who are the elect of God? Can we know? We know that God revealed this promise to Abraham and his seed. In one sense it included all his’ offspring. All the male descendants were marked with the sign of the covenant which was circumcision. In another sense it only included those who were true believers. Paul tells us that only those with a circumcised heart are real believers. However we don’t know which one of our offspring will be true believers if any. So we must make a distinction between the Covenant of Grace and the Covenant of Redemption in the sense that one cannot be broken and the other can. It seems clear from history that there have been those who were included in the Covenant of Grace who turned out to be unbelievers. The same is true today. There are those who outwardly appear to belong to the church either by infant baptism or believer’s baptism but remain unbelievers and will not inherit the kingdom of God.


I think it is problematic to equate the Covenant of Grace with the outward visible church. It would be less confusing to say that the children of believers are members of "the visible church" and leave it at that. As they demonstrate a saving faith, we could then say then that they are in the Covenant of Grace (as far as we are able to discern). Since only the elect are in the Covenant of Grace, we know it cannot be broken any more than the Covenant of Redemption can.

Quote
From the Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 7. With whom was the covenant of grace made?
A. As the covenant of works was made with the first Adam, and all his posterity, so the covenant of grace was made with Christ, the second Adam, and in him with all the elect, as his seed, which are the Israel of God. "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made," (that is, not the promises of making all nations blessed.) "He saith not, Unto seeds; as of many but as of one, To thy seed, which is Christ."— Gal. 3:16. "This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel."— Heb. 8:10.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Covenant of Grace vs Covenant of Redemtion ? - Thu May 06, 2004 7:23 PM

Hi Susan:

You wrote:

Quote
I think it is problematic to equate the Covenant of Grace with the outward visible church. It would be less confusing to say that the children of believers are members of "the visible church" and leave it at that.


You make an excellant point and it would seem the the WSC would agree with you and more importantly, the scripture, which the WSC references. This is the same scripture, if I recall correctly, that Steve has referenced several times with respect to this issue.

In Him,

Gerry
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: The New Covenant - Thu May 06, 2004 7:43 PM

Quote
Susan suggests:
I think it is problematic to equate the Covenant of Grace with the outward visible church. It would be less confusing to say that the children of believers are members of "the visible church" and leave it at that.

At the risk of bringing down wrath from my paedobaptist brethren, I would go even further and state that to say that children of believers are members of the visible church is equally confusing and most often leads to false assurance on the part of both parents and the children themselves. A "member" of the church, in my view, is one who has met the requirements of entrance into the visible church, i.e., repentance and faith (profession thereof). This is why I have personally chosen to refer to the children of believers as being members of the "covenant community" and then spelling out the nature of that relationship; e.g., the benefits of the means of grace given to them.

In His Grace,
Posted By: Wes

Re: The New Covenant - Fri May 07, 2004 12:57 AM

Quote
I think it is problematic to equate the Covenant of Grace with the outward visible church. It would be less confusing to say that the children of believers are members of "the visible church" and leave it at that. As they demonstrate a saving faith, we could then say then that they are in the Covenant of Grace (as far as we are able to discern). Since only the elect are in the Covenant of Grace, we know it cannot be broken any more than the Covenant of Redemption can.


Susan,

Let me simply say that our differences stem from our view of the covenant and baptism. First of all the Covenant of Grace is founded upon the Covenant of Redemption but they have differences. The Covenant of Redemption is between God the Father representing the Trinity, and God the Son representing elect sinners. This covenant was agreed on between the Trinity before the foundation of the world. The Covenant of Grace was established because of this agreement and is manifest to mankind as God gathers a people for Himself. The goal of God's covenantal dealings is, as it has always been, the gathering and sanctifying of the covenant people "of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues" (Rev. 7:9), who will one day inhabit the New Jerusalem in a renewed world order (Rev. 21:1,2).

The covenant framework embraces the entire economy of God sovereign grace. A proper understanding of the Covenant of Grace will guide us through, and helps us to appreciate, all the wonders of God's redeeming love. The main promise of the covenant, which includes all others, is contained in the oft repeated words, "I will be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee," Jer. 31:33; 32:38-40; Ezek. 34:23-25, 30, 31; 36:25-28; Heb. 8:10; II Cor. 6:16-18. This promise includes all others, such as the promise of temporal blessings, of justification, of the Spirit of God, and of final glorification in a life that never ends. Job 19:25-27; Ps. 16:11; 73:24-26; Isa. 43:25; Jer. 31:33, 34; Ezek. 36:27; Dan. 12:2, 3; Gal. 4:4, 5, 6; Tit, 3:7; Heb. 11:7; Jas. 2:5.

The Covenant of Grace is a gracious covenant, because it is a fruit and manifestation of the grace of God to sinners. It is grace from start to finish. It is also an eternal and inviolable covenant, to which God will always be true, though men may break it. Even in its widest extent it includes only a part of mankind, and is therefore particular. If its New Testament dispensation is called universal, this is done only in view of the fact that it is not limited to the Jews, as the Old Testament dispensation was. This covenant is also characterized by unity. It is essentially the same in all dispensations, though the form of its administration changes. The essential promise is the same, Gen. 17:7; Heb. 8:10, the gospel is the same, Gal. 3:8, the requirement of faith is the same, Gal. 3:6, 7, and the Mediator is the same, Heb. 13:8. The covenant is both conditional and unconditional. It is conditional because it is dependent on the merits of Christ and because the enjoyment of the life it offers depends on the exercise of faith. But it is unconditional in the sense that it does not depend on any merits of man. And, finally, it is testamentary as a free and sovereign disposition on the part of God. It is called a 'testament' in Heb. 9:16, 17. This name stresses the facts,

(1) that it is a free arrangement of God;

(2) that its New Testament dispensation was ushered in by the death of Christ; and

(3) that in it God gives what He demands. The covenant of grace differs from the covenant of works in that it has a mediator. Christ is represented as the Mediator of the new covenant, I Tim. 2:5; Heb. 8:6; 9:15; 12:24. He is Mediator, not only merely in the sense that He intervenes between God and man to sue for peace and to persuade to it, but in the sense that He is armed with full power to do all that is necessary for the actual establishment of peace. As our Surety, Heb. 7:22, He assumes our guilt, pays the penalty of sin, fulfills the law, and thus restores peace.

The different dispensations of the covenant.:

(1) The first revelation of the covenant is found in Gen. 3:15, which is usually called the protevangel or the maternal promise. This does not yet refer to the formal establishment of the covenant.

(2) The covenant with Noah is of a very general nature as a covenant with all flesh. It conveys only natural blessings, and is therefore often called the covenant of nature or of common grace. It is closeconnected, however, with the covenant of grace. It is also a fruit of the grace of God and guarantees those natural and temporal blessings which are absolutely necessary for the realization of the covenant of grace.

(3) The covenant with Abraham marks its formal establishment. It is the beginning of the Old Testament particularistic administration of the covenant, which is now limited to Abraham and his descendants, Faith stands out prominently as its necessary requirement, and circumcision becomes its seal.

(4) The covenant at Sinai is essentially the same as that established with Abraham, but now takes in the whole nation of Israel, and thus became a national covenant. Though it strongly stresses the keeping of the law, it should not be regarded as a renewed covenant of works. The law increased the consciousness of sin, Rom. 3:20, and became a tutor unto Christ, Gal. 3:24. Passover was added as a second sacrament.

(5) The new covenant, as revealed in the New Testament, Jer. 31:31; Heb. 8:8, 13, is essentially the same as that of the Old Testament, Rom. 4; Gal. 3. It now breaks through the barriers of particularism and becomes universal in the sense that its blessings are extended to people of all nations. Its blessings become fuller and more spiritual, and baptism and the Lord's Supper are substituted for the Old Testament sacraments.

Scripture texts which focus on the parties of the covenant:

Gen. 3:15. "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."

Gen. 17:7 "I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your decendents after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendents after you."

Ex. 19:5, 6a. "Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then shall ye be mine own possession from among all peoples: for all the earth is mine: and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation."

Jer. 31:31-33, "Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith Jehovah. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith Jehovah: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people."

Acts 2:39. "For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto Him."


Wes
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Fri May 07, 2004 1:16 AM

Hi Wes:

When I read these posts I see statements like the following which appear to me to be contradictory on their face:

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So we must make a distinction between the Covenant of Grace and the Covenant of Redemption in the sense that one cannot be broken and the other can.


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The Covenant of Grace is a gracious covenant, because it is a fruit and manifestation of the grace of God to sinners. It is grace from start to finish. It is also an eternal and inviolable covenant, to which God will always be true, though men may break it. Even in its widest extent it includes only a part of mankind, and is therefore particular.


Can you tell me how a covenant can be both "inviolable", and yet "can be broken"?

I just don't see the consistency here.

In Him,

Gerry
Posted By: Wes

Re: The New Covenant - Fri May 07, 2004 2:10 AM

Dear Gerry,

Are you having difficulty understanding the difference between the Covenant of Redemption and the Covenant of Grace? I know we come from different backgrounds and are using different hermaneutics but if we really try to understand each other I think we will benefit from the effort.

I'd like to quote Louis Berkhof's Summary of Christian Doctrine Chapter 13 which talks about Man in the Covenant of Grace

For the sake of clearness we distinguish between the covenant of redemption and the covenant of grace. The two are so closely related that they can be and sometimes are, considered as one. The former is the eternal foundation of the latter.

1. The Covenant of Redemption. This is also called "the counsel of peace," a name derived from Zech. 6:13. It is a covenant between the Father, representing the Trinity, and the Son as the representative of the elect.

  • a. The scriptural basis for it. It is clear that the plan of redemption was included in God's eternal decree, Eph. 1:4 ff.; 3:11; II Tim. 1:9. Christ speaks of promises made to Him before He came into the world, and repeatedly refers to a commission which He received from the Father, John 5:30, 43; 6:38-40; 17:4-12. He is evidently a covenant head, Rom. 5:12-21; I Cor. 15: -- 22. In Ps. 2:7-9 the parties of the covenant are mentioned and a promise is indicated, and in Ps. 40:7, 8 the Messiah expresses His readiness to do the Father's will in becoming a sacrifice for sin.

    b. The Son in the covenant of redemption. Christ is not only the Head but also the Surety of the covenant of redemption, Heb. 7:22, A surety is one who takes upon himself the legal obligations of another. Christ took the place of the sinner, to bear the penalty of sin and to meet the demands of the law for His people. By so doing He became the last Adam, a life-giving spirit, I Cor. 15:45. For Christ this covenant was a covenant of works, in which He met the requirements of the original covenant, but for us it is the eternal foundation of the covenant of grace. Its benefits are limited to the elect. They only obtain the redemption and inherit the glory which Christ merited for sinners.

    c. Requirements and promises in the covenant of redemption.


(1) The Father required of the Son that He should assume human nature with its present infirmities, though without sin, Gal. 4:4, 5; Heb. 2:10, 11, 14, 15; 4:15; that He should place Himself under the law to pay the penalty and to merit eternal life for the elect, Ps. 40:8; John 10:11; Gal. 1:4; 4:4, 5; and that He should apply His merits to His people by the renewing operation of the Holy Spirit, thus securing the consecration of their lives to God, John 10:28; 17:19-22; Heb. 5:7-9. (2) And the Father promised the Son that He would prepare for Him a body, Heb. 10:5, would anoint Him with the Holy Spirit, Isa. 42:1; 61:1; John 3:34, would support Him in His work, Isa. 42:6, 7; Luke 22:43 would deliver Him from the power of death and place Him at His own right hand, Ps. 16:8-11; Phil. 2:9-11, would enable Him to send the Spirit for the formation of the Church, John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13, 14, would draw and preserve the elect, John 6:37, 39, 40, 44, 45, and would grant Him a numerous seed, Ps. 22:27; 72:17



2. The Covenant of Grace. On the basis of the covenant of redemption God established the covenant of grace. Several particulars call for consideration here.

  • a. The contracting parties. God is the first party in the covenant. He establishes the covenant and determines the relation in which the second party will stand to Him. It is not so easy to determine who the second party is. The prevailing opinion in Reformed circles is that it is the elect sinner in Christ. We should bear in mind, however, that the covenant may be viewed in two different ways:


(1) As an end in itself, a covenant of mutual friendship or communion of life, which is realized in the course of history through the operation of the Holy Spirit. It represents a condition in which privileges are improved for spiritual ends, the promises of God are embraced by a living faith, and the promised blessings are fully realized. So conceived, it may be defined as that gracious agreement between God and the elect sinner in Christ, in which God gives Himself with all the blessings of salvation to the elect sinner, and the latter embraces God and all His gracious gifts by faith. Deut. 7:9; II Cron. 6:14; Ps. 25:10, 14; 103:17, 18.

(2) As a means to an end, a purely legal arrangement for the realization of a spiritual end. It is evident that the Bible sometimes speaks of the covenant as including some in whom the promises are never realized, such as Ishmael, Esau, the wicked sons of Eli, and the rebellious Israelites who died in their sins. The covenant may be regarded as a purely legal agreement, in which God guarantees the blessings of salvation to all who believe. If we think of the covenant in this broader sense, we can say that God established it with believers and their children, Gen. 17:7; Acts 2:39; Rom. 9:1-4.


Wes
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Fri May 07, 2004 11:17 AM

Dear Wes:

You asked, circuitously:

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Are you having difficulty understanding the difference between the Covenant of Redemption and the Covenant of Grace?


I answer, directly, no.

I am not having trouble understanding the two covenants you mention at all. I am well aware of the Covenenant of Redemption btwn the Father, Son and Spirit, as I have mentioned in prior posts, for, because of it, like David, the covenant of grace the Lord has established with me is "all my salvation and all my desire".

What I am having trouble understanding is exactly what I stated in my question to you about the contradictory nature of the two statements you made.

Quoting Berkhoff back to you with respect to the SUBJECT OF the Covenant of Grace:

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The prevailing opinion in Reformed circles is that it is the elect sinner in Christ.


Berkoff then tells us that because we don't know who is in the Covenant of Grace, that is, who are the elect, that therefore it is both an unequivocal covenant of grace with the elect and one that "includes some in whom the promises are never realized".

Therein lies the rub. This reasoning is faulty. It is either a covenant of grace to the elect or it is a covenant of works or wrath. It is not both. Because I don't know with absolute certainty who are other subjects of this covenant, it doesn't follow that therefore there are both elect and non elect in the Covenant of Grace. (I say other subjects because I believe the bible, and a multitude of Christian experience clearly teaches that we can know with absolute certainty with respect to ourselves, See Steven Nichols, "An Absolute Sort of Certainty", wherein he discusses Edwards and others on this subject.). As others have pointed out to you this is clarified in the NT which interprets the Old in the following statement, for example;

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From the Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 7. With whom was the covenant of grace made?
A. As the covenant of works was made with the first Adam, and all his posterity, so the covenant of grace was made with Christ, the second Adam, and in him with all the elect, as his seed, which are the Israel of God. "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made," (that is, not the promises of making all nations blessed.) "He saith not, Unto seeds; as of many but as of one, To thy seed, which is Christ."— Gal. 3:16. "This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel."— Heb. 8:10.


Words, as you know, have meaning. If they do not, then we are of all men most to be pitied. It is either a covenenant of works or a covenant of grace, it is not both.

Could you please answer the question from my prior post to you about the contradictory nature of the two statements. Simply quoting Berkhoff's contradictory statements doesn't make them any less contradictory. Nor does assuming "I am having difficulty understanding the issue".

What I am saying is this. I disagree with Berkhoffs interpretation. Yes, it appears from the OT statements that there is a covenant of grace established btwn Abraham and all who are circumcised outwardly. But we are told in the NT that the outward sign is not what is ultimately important, but rather the circumcision of the heart, the inward. This is a work of God, ultimately.

All men have the duty to obey the Lord's commandments, be they elect or not, thus the duty to outward circumcision applies to all, both in the visible church, Israel, Jewish by blood, and those not in by blood, just as in the OT all the members of the household were told to be circumcised as were converts not members of households. The Lord, then, (not "then" in time, but in eternity past, before the foundation of the world) decides who will benefit eternally from that outward circumcision, or that "profession" of which it is a sign.

As to our hermeneutic being different, mine is one that is based on the analogy of the faith, that is, it attempts to reconcile all the applicable scripture that applies to the subject, which is exactly what Berkhoff is attempting to do, albeit in a faulty way in my opinion. Thus I see no difference in our hermeneutic, but rather in our conclusions drawn from the same hermeneutic. There is a big difference.

In Him,

Gerry
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Fri May 07, 2004 11:50 AM

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Wes said:
Let me simply say that our differences stem from our view of the covenant and baptism.

I can assure you that this teaching that God's Covenant can be broken is what is at issue here, not our paedo/credo differences.You said that the Covenant of Grace can be broken and that unbelievers can actually be in this Covenant. Ishmael is a clear example that this is not so.

Was Abraham's son Ishmael in the Abrahamic Covenant? No, but he was given an outward sign along with every other male in his household, yet these verses clearly show he was not "in the covenant"! If a person was not circumcised in their heart, even if they were circumcised outwardly, they were not considered "in God's covenant" even though they lived among God's people, because they did not have faith.

The Jews were told to circumcise all their children though. All who are baptized are not Christians, but only those who have regenerated hearts. The unbelievers can have no part in or a relationship to Christ because they are spiritually dead. Ishmael was only given temporal blessings, not eternal ones.

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Genesis 17:17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, "Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?" 18 And Abraham said to God, "Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!" 19 Then God said: "No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year." 22 Then He finished talking with him, and God went up from Abraham...23 So Abraham took Ishmael his son, all who were born in his house and all who were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very same day, as God had said to him. 24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 26 That very same day Abraham was circumcised, and his son Ishmael; 27 and all the men of his house, born in the house or bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.



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Galatians 4:22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, 24 which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar-- 25 for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children-- 26 but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all. 27 For it is written: "Rejoice, O barren, You who do not bear! Break forth and shout, You who are not in labor! For the desolate has many more children Than she who has a husband." 28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. 29 But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now. 30 Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? "Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman." 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.


Also this quote from Hoeksema shows about the two kinds of children believers have.

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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.)
Posted By: grace2U

Re: The New Covenant - Fri May 07, 2004 12:56 PM

Wes,
First of all, thank you for laying out the Paedo-baptist covental system so comprehensively and clearly. I'm sure that will be of great help to many of us on the 'other side' of the debate.

Secondly, may I apologize to you in advance that I'm not able to reply at equal length. My eyes are still playing me up again, and I need not to over-tax them until I get a new pair of specs. Apologies also to Joe and to AF for the same reason. To them, in the words of Arnie, 'I'll be back!'<img src="/forum/images/graemlins/takethat.gif" alt="" />

Thirdly, I think that Gerry's points are very well made and I'll be interested to see how you reply to them.

You are right in saying that a key text in this question is the Lord's words, 'I will be a God to thee and to thy seed (Seed?) after thee.' Let us be quite clear; if you or I believe that God's promises to Abraham are also made to us, we deceive ourselves. God has not promised to make me a great nation, nor to give me the land of Canaan, nor that all nations will be blessed in me. The only promise that I may take to myself is the one in this text, and that only if I am Abraham's seed

To the best of my knowledge, I have no Jewish blood in me. Did one of my ancestors change his name from Cohen to Owen? Not that I'm aware. How then can I become the seed of Abraham, or be in some way united with that Seed?
'Not of blood'. Not by my physical birth.
'Nor of the will of the flesh.' My own fallen nature can't help me
'Nor of the will of [a] man.' No one can make me the seed of Abraham by praying over me, 'slaying' me in the spirit or pouring water over me.'
'But of God.' ''For by grace you have been saved through faith.'

'Therefore know that [only] those who are of faith are sons of Abraham' (Gal 3:7). 'And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise.'

Therefore the seed of Abraham are those who are of faith and no one else. Therefore it is fitting that only such should be baptized. That mistakes are often made is freely admitted, but thast is no reason to seek to bring into the Covenant, those who by their very nature are unable to profess faith.

You go on to say:-
'The covenant with Abraham marks its formal establishment.'

Perhaps, but it's important to note that Abel (Gen 4:4; Heb 11:4) and Noah (Gen 8:20) were experimentally acquainted with the Covenant of Redemption; without circumcision or baptism, they both looked forward by faith to the coming of the Lamb of God, knowing that 'without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin.'

Finally (my eyes are stinging again), I do not believe that physical circumcision is the 'seal of the covenant.' Nowhere does the Bible say that. Circumcision of the heart, like baptism of the Spirit (ie. New Birth) is the seal of the covenant. Rom 4:10. 'And [Abraham] received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised.'

Oh yes, you really cannot say that the Old Covenant is essentially the same as the New Covenant. Surely to say so is to call Jeremaiah and the writer to the Hebrews false witnesses?

Every blessing,
Steve
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Fri May 07, 2004 4:31 PM

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Therefore the seed of Abraham are those who are of faith and no one else. Therefore it is fitting that only such should be baptized.


That this is impossible is admitted by yourself

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That mistakes are often made is freely admitted, but that is no reason to seek to bring into the Covenant, those who by their very nature are unable to profess faith.


And, again, since baptism of the true-covenant alone is indefensible, baptism of all those within the visible covenant is the way it has been administered. And scripture is totally clear that this includes the believer and his OIKOS. If the administration for the sign is different, I'd need to be shown by definition

OIKOS

or historical argument

Who Departed

Yes, all those within the new covenant are true believers. It is impossible and indefensible to limit baptism to this alone. So how has God worked throughout the entire Bible?


God bless,

william
Posted By: J_Edwards

Re: The New Covenant - Fri May 07, 2004 5:19 PM

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Susan Speculates

Was Abraham's son Ishmael in the Abrahamic Covenant? No, but he was given an outward sign along with every other male in his household, yet these verses clearly show he was not "in the covenant"! If a person was not circumcised in their heart, even if they were circumcised outwardly, they were not considered "in God's covenant" even though they lived among God's people, because they did not have faith.

The outward sign of what? <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/scratch1.gif" alt="" /> Perhaps the Abrahamic Covenant!!! <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/shrug.gif" alt="" /> Abraham’s covenant did not just include circumcised saved ones, did it??? It had circumcised lost ones, which were not heirs of the promise (Gal 4:30).

The Scripture states,

Gen 17:10f This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee (Ishmael is Abraham’s seed): every male among you (Ishmael is a male) shall be circumcised (Ishmael was circumcised). And ye shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of a covenant betwixt me and you (Abrahamic Covenant). The fact that Ishmael was circumcised revealed that he was a member of the Abrahamic Covenant. Though NOT all Abraham’s seed were saved (Ishmael and others, for Abraham was the father of “many nations,” Gen 17:4) they still had the sign of the Covenant. The Scripture, not mere speculation, affirms that both lost and saved were circumcised. The Scripture, not mere speculation, affirms that both lost and saved babies were circumcised. The Scripture, not mere speculation, affirms that both lost and saved are baptized. The problem for many is that they continue to equate belonging to the Abrahamic Covenant with “only” being born again. But, though everyone who is saved is a member of the Abrahaimc Covenant (Gal 3:29), not everyone who was a member of the Abrahmic Covenant was/is saved (Gal 5:2-4)!

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Susan states,

All who are baptized are not Christians, but only those who have regenerated hearts. The unbelievers can have no part in or a relationship to Christ because they are spiritually dead.

For the most part here I agree with you as long as you mean a saving relationship. But, if you mean any relationship at all then I would have to submit that you are in error, as the lost are partakers of common grace, some are affected “somewhat” (though not effectually) by the Gospel and its preaching, many are baptized, in reference to the Lord's Supper they eat and drink damnation to themselves, and some are changed “somewhat” (though not effectually) by their relations to other Christians, etc. All these represent some sort of relationship with Christ. Ishmael was affected by his relationship with Abraham, et. al.
Posted By: grace2U

Re: The New Covenant - Fri May 07, 2004 5:20 PM

Hi William,
You said, since baptism of the true covenant is indefensible....'. It certainly is not indefensible; indeed, it is mandated (Matt 28:19). What it is, is unattainable. Yet that is no reason not to seek it. Consider the following:-

1John 2:1. 'My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin.'

Now John himself has just said that sinlessness is impossible (1:8). Yet he still exhorts us not to sin. so since what he says is unattainable, do we give up on it and 'continue in sin so that grace may abound'? 'God forbid!' Says Paul. In just the same way, although a totally pure congregation may be beyond our reach, that is no reason at all not to seek such a thing by baptizing only those who make a credible confession of faith, and by imposing discipline upon those who give reason to think that their conversion was false.

More later.
Every blessing,
Steve
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Fri May 07, 2004 7:11 PM

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Romans 4 v.11 He [Abraham] received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, 12 and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.


Clearly, Ishmael's circumcision did not carry the significance of Abraham's circumcision. What counted was the circumcision of the heart. Ishmael's heart was uncircumcised and he had no faith. All it showed was that he was physically (not spiritually) related to Abraham and a part of that community. Abraham's servants also were circumcised and we cannot assume they all had faith. The promise in the Abrahamic Covenant that God would be a God to them was true only for Abraham's children who had true faith. We cannot honestly say that God was a God to Ishmael as he was to Abraham. He is called the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob not the God of Abraham, Ishmael and Esau.

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Joe said:
Gen 17:10f This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee (Ishmael is Abraham’s seed)every male among you (Ishmael is a male) shall be circumcised (Ishmael was circumcised). And ye shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of a covenant betwixt me and you (Abrahamic Covenant). The fact that Ishmael was circumcised revealed that he was a member of the Abrahamic Covenant.


You have chosen to ignore those verses that clearly demonstrate that God had not established his covenant with Ishmael, even though Abraham was commanded to circumcise him.

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Genesis 17:17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, "Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?" 18 And Abraham said to God, "Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!" 19 Then God said: "No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him [not Ishmael] for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, [not Ishmael] whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year."


Abraham had begged God that Ishmael would live before Him and was told that God would NOT establish his covenant with him. He did however establish "an everlasting Covenant" with Isaac, or more accurately Christ who was to come from that line. These Galatian verses also show that Ishmael is in a different covenant than Isaac.

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Galatians 4:22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, 24 which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar--


Do you believe that Ishmael was in the Covenant of Grace? God shows grace only to His elect, so how could an unbeliever even be in that Covenant? And even more importantly, when you baptize an infant, do you say he or she is "in the New Covenant" or is "in Christ"?
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Fri May 07, 2004 7:22 PM

Because I don't see scripture holding back this sign from the believers OIKOS , could you give that argument, from scripture, in relation to baptism? Basically, where did the administration change?


God bless,

william
Posted By: grace2U

Re: The New Covenant - Fri May 07, 2004 10:56 PM

William,
I don't really know what you want me to say. Obviously, I don't see 'oikos' the way you do. If you have the book, read Chapter Six of Malone's 'The baptism of Disciples Alone.' Basically, I see no indication that infants are being brought into the New Covenant; indeed, this would go against Jer 31:31ff which very clearly says that everybody in the NC knows the Lord. Therefore it is simply not appropriate to baptize infants.

I think I have said elsewhere that my wife and I were baptized together. She was certainly not baptized on the basis of my faith. God forbid! Had my children been older and had they also confessed faith in Christ at that time, we could have had a family (oikos) baptism. If we'd had a cleaning lady, a gardener and a chauffeur, and they'd heard the Gospel and come to faith at the same time (Acts 16:32), it would have been even better. But what does this prove?

Blessings,
Steve
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Fri May 07, 2004 11:45 PM

The problem is that you haven't given any reason to see OIKOS as anything other than the definition given. Here it is, with a small section from it

OIKOS Formula

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"The phrase 'he and his (whole) house' denotes the complete family; normally husband, wife and children. In no single case is the term 'house' restricted to the adult members of the house, though on the other hand children alone may be mentioned when the whole house is meant. Whilst slaves are very often not reckoned as part of the 'house,' the inclusion of the children is taken for granted. Indeed, the Old Testament repeatedly lays special emphasis on the very smallest being reckoned in. Since the primitive Church takes the phrase over as a firmly established biblical expression, the statement 'it includes small children as well as others' applies to its employment in the New Testament as well" (Jeremias, p. 24).

(emphasis mine)

Act 16:30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
Act 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
Act 16:32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.
Act 16:33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.
Act 16:34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

The passage does not give ages, and your example has only adults. Although I am not a language expert, I am unsure that believed must apply to everybody.


God bless,

william
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Fri May 07, 2004 11:48 PM

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Basically, I see no indication that infants are being brought into the New Covenant;


So, no infants are saved?

and

Who is in the New Covenant, specifically?


God bless,

william
Posted By: J_Edwards

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 08, 2004 12:48 AM

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Gerry Stated to Wes,

Quoting Berkhoff back to you with respect to the SUBJECT OF the Covenant of Grace:

The prevailing opinion in Reformed circles is that it is the elect sinner in Christ.

Gerry do you think you may have not given us the complete context of this quote in Part 2, The Doctrine of Man in Relation to God, section 3 of Man in the Covenant, page 273? Berkhof’s complete statement is more expressly stated as,

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Berkhof States,

….Consequently, the question arises as to the extent of the limits of the covenant. Reformed theologians are not unanimous in answering this question. Some simply say that God made the covenant with the sinner, but this suggests no limitation whatsoever, and therefore does not satisfy. Others assert that He established it with Abraham and his seed, that is, his natural seed, but especially his spiritual descendants; or, put in more in a more general form, with believers and their seed. The great majority of them, however, maintain that He entered into covenant relationship with the elect or the elect sinner in Christ….But, now the question arises, What induced these theologians to speak of the covenant as made with the elect in spite of all the practical difficulties involved? ....While they understood that others have a place in the covenant in some sense of the word, they nevertheless felt that that it a was subordinate place, and that their relation to it was calculated to be subservient to the full realization of it in a life of friendship with God…..

Now we could go further with the quotes here, but IMHO enough has been shown that the context of your quote is lacking at best. I am sure this was probably a simple oversight on your part, but therein lies the rub. Your quotes are only partial ones and thus your reasoning is faulty. If you would have read a little further into, The Dual Nature of the Covenant (section 4) your assertions would have been disproved. Berkhof after making a defense of adult and infant covenantal relationships, states,

Quote
Berkhof States,

From the proceeding it follows that even unregenerate and unconverted person may be in the covenant. Ishmael and Esau were originally in the covenant, the wicked sons of Eli were covenant children, and the great majority of the Jews in the days of Jesus and the apostles belonged to the covenant people and shared in the covenant promises, though they did not follow the faith of their father Abraham. Hence the question arises, in what sense such persons may be regarded as being in the covenant. Dr. Kuyper says that they are not essential participants of the covenant, though they are really in it; and Dr Bavinck says that they are in foedere (in the covenant), but not de foedere (of the covenant). The following may be said regarding their position in the covenant:

  • a. They are in the covenant as far as their responsibility is concerned. Because they stand in the legal covenant relationship to God, they are duty bound to repent and believe….
  • b. They are in the covenant in the sense that they may lay claim to the promises which God gave when He established His covenant with believers and their seed. Paul even says of his wicked kinsmen, whose is the adoption, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises, Rom 9:4…
  • c. They are in the covenant in the sense that they are subject to the administration of the covenant. They are constantly admonished and exhorted to live according to the requirements of the covenant….
  • d. They are in the covenant also as far as the common covenant blessings are concerned. Though they do not experience the regenerating influence of the Holy Spirit, yet they are subject to certain special operations and influences of the Holy Spirit....
Please read Berkhof for the complete text.

Gerry, the Scripture severely severs your argument—Rom 9:1-5, etc.
Posted By: J_Edwards

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 08, 2004 12:55 AM

Quote
Susan States,

Clearly, Ishmael's circumcision did not carry the significance of Abraham's circumcision. What counted was the circumcision of the heart.

So how did Abraham know the condition of a child’s heart at 8 days old? It is ludicrous to think that every child born to Abraham was in no way a member of the Abrahmaic covenant, prior to faith. If this is what we were to believe then God very simply would have told Abraham to circumcise only the ones that came to faith (latter in life), so they could be in the Abrahamic covenant! Indeed, that was not the command of Scripture (Gen 17). Indeed, the teaching of God’s Word directly contradicts what you would have us to believe. Paul says of his wicked kinsmen:

Quote
The Scripture States,

Rom 9:1-5 I AM telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh (lost Israelites), who are Israelite <span style="background-color:#FFFF00">to whom belongs </span>the adoption as sons and the glory and <span style="background-color:#FFFF00">the covenants</span> and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

See below for what the plural--<span style="background-color:#FFFF00">the covenants</span> means.

Quote
Susan States,

…. These Galatian verses also show that Ishmael is in a different covenant than Isaac. God shows grace only to His elect, so how could an unbeliever even be in that Covenant? Do you believe that Ishmael was in the Covenant of Grace?...

Paul explains Gen 17 to us. Though others use other brands of hermeneutics that embrace TWO or more covenants, there is only one covenant of grace, in essence identical in both dispensations, but revealed more and more fully in course of time (Gal 3:17-18). These two women, says Paul, are (that is, represent) two covenants (that is two distinct affirmations of God’s one and only covenant of grace, as revealed below). These two, but one were: the covenant with Abraham (Gal 3:8, 16-18) and the covenant of Sinai (Gal. 3:19, 24).

Quote
The Scripture States,

Gal 3:8, 17-18 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham (one Gospel), saying, “ALL THE NATIONS SHALL BE BLESSED IN YOU.” …What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, <span style="background-color:#FFFF00">does not invalidate</span> a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise.

<span style="background-color:#FFFF00">The Sinai Covenant did not invalidate Abrahamic Covenant</span>. See my answer to Gerry for more.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 08, 2004 2:50 AM

Hi Joe:

As usual, you have ignored the direct question and are engaging in verbal gymnastics to get around a simple answer.

To do so, you asked:

Quote
Gerry do you think you may have not given us the complete context of this quote in Part 2,


No, Joe, I don't, because, once again, your own quote from Berkhoff proves the point I am making, which is that he, Berkhoff, can't reconcile a covenant of grace for the elect, and include the non-elect. It simply can't be done because it is either/or as I previously stated and you have chosen to ignore. Read your own quote again, part of which I supply;

Quote
While they understood that others have a place in the covenant in some sense of the word, they nevertheless felt that that it a was subordinate place, and that their relation to it was calculated to be subservient to the full realization of it in a life of friendship with God…..


Berkhoff must use terms like "some sense of the word" and "subservient to the full realization of it" to qualify his understanding of the covenant of Grace. Sorry, but this is the same as saying that such are not the elect, for there is no such thing as the elect who have less than "a full realization of it in a life of friendship with God".

To compound the error Berkhoff goes on to state:

Quote
From the proceeding it follows that even unregenerate and unconverted person may be in the covenant. Ishmael and Esau were originally in the covenant,


To which I reply, unregenerate and unconverted persons may be in A covenant, but not THE covenat of Grace, which flows from the covenant of redemption, the everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure. Ishamel and Esau may have been in some covenant but not the covenant of grace, or at least no covenant of grace I want any part of.

As I said before, this is a weak attempt to reconcile apparently divergent scriptures.

Why don't you just admit your error and get on with it instead of making statements like the following;

Quote
Gerry, the Scripture severely severs your argument


On the contrary, sir, scripture fully supports it for the postion I have taken requires no mental and verbal gymnastics, no double speak about the covenenant of grace "in some sense of the word". No, my postion, in keeping with the analogy of faith, reconciles all the scripture such that such qualifications and contradictions, which both you and Wes have refused to address directly, are eliminated.

Now, would you care to answer my question directly instead of providing more equivocation and qualification from Berkhoff? Or will you let the deafening silence be the answer?

In Him,

Gerry
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 08, 2004 3:01 AM

Quote
So how did Abraham know the condition of a child’s heart at 8 days old? It is ludicrous to think that every child born to Abraham was in no way a member of the Abrahmaic covenant, prior to faith.


Abraham did not have to know the condition of his child's heart in order to circumcise him. God told him to do it, so he did it. Circumcision told nothing necessarily regarding the person's faith. Only those with faith are in the Covenant of Grace, so not all those circumcised were in the Covenant of Grace. They were not true members of the covenant but only apparent members or members of the Covenant Community. The true sons who had faith were the heirs of the covenant promises. In contrast to his brother, Jacob inherited the promises and blessings of Abraham. The other physical children of Abraham are under the law and are lost.

Quote
Genesis 28:1Then Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and directed him, “You must not take a wife from the Canaanite women. 2 Arise, go to Paddan-aram to the house of Bethuel your mother's father, and take as your wife from there one of the daughters of Laban your mother's brother. 3 God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. 4 May he give the blessing of Abraham to you and to your offspring with you, that you may take possession of the land of your sojournings that God gave to Abraham!”


I was interested in your comments on this passage:

Quote
Genesis 17 v.19 Then God said: "No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him [not Ishmael] for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, [not Ishmael] whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year."


God establishes an everlasting covenant with Isaac, Not with Ishmael, how can you explain this if they are both in the same position covenantally?

And I will repeat these questions since you didn't answer them the first time.
[*]Do you believe that Ishmael was in the Covenant of Grace?

[*]God shows grace only to His elect, so how could an unbeliever even be in that Covenant?

[*] And even more importantly, when you baptize an infant, do you say he or she is "in the New Covenant" and "in Christ"?
Posted By: J_Edwards

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 08, 2004 3:24 AM

Quote
Gerry States,

Now, would you care to answer my question directly instead of providing more equivocation and qualification from Berkhoff? Or will you let the deafening silence be the answer?


Gerry, the Scripture is not silent. It has answered your questions already as I, and others, presented in several posts here. Thus, my direct answer will be that I will pray that, "the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints," (Eph 1:18).
Posted By: J_Edwards

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 08, 2004 4:01 AM

Regarding Gen 17:19-22, I see a continuity in the covenants as Paul explained in Galatians 3:17-18 and that I explained earlier to you here!

Quote
Susan Says,

God establishes an everlasting covenant with Isaac, Not with Ishmael, how can you explain this if they are both in the same position covenantally?

Susan I NEVER said they were in the SAME POSITION in the SAME COVENANT, but ONLY in the SAME COVENANT. Please look at my post again!


Quote
Susan Says,

Do you believe that Ishmael was in the Covenant of Grace?

Yes, to a limited degree as already explained. Look at my post to Gerry.

Quote
Susan Says,

God shows grace only to His elect, so how could an unbeliever even be in that Covenant?

This is your faulty presupposition that God only shows grace to His elect. The Bible speaks on God revealing His grace to even the non-elect (not effectually of course, but none-the less His grace), as already demonstrated in several posts, including this one.

Quote
Susan Says,

And even more importantly, when you baptize an infant, do you say he or she is "in the New Covenant" and "in Christ"?

Look at the PCA Book of Church Order and you will find the language "similar" to what I now use.
Posted By: MarieP

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 08, 2004 12:13 PM

Quote
This is your faulty presupposition that God only shows grace to His elect.


No, that's hyper-Calvinism. Susan (and the rest of us credobaptists) are not hyper-Calvinists.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 08, 2004 1:34 PM

Joe erroneously says:

Quote
Thus, my direct answer will be that I will pray that, "the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints," (Eph 1:18).


That is another INDIRECT answer, for you have failed to reconcile or even address the statements you have both made and quoted that say the covenant of grace is both "inviolable" and violable, thus it is a clear falsehood.

And, for your information, "the eyes of my understanding have been enlightened" and I do "know what is the hope of His Calling" and most wonderfully, something of "the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints".

I just finished reading several of T. Goodwin's sermons on this very verse and find myself in complete agreement with his interpretation, both doctrinally and experientially, and thus, your evaluation, like others I have been a witness too, is lacking sorely in this important matter. Perhaps you would benefit from a reading of him?

In the meantime I leave you to your Covenant of Grace, "in some sense of the word", and hope your eternal salvation, on which it depends, is real, "in some sense of the word".

In Him,

Gerry
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 08, 2004 1:43 PM

Quote
No, that's hyper-Calvinism. Susan (and the rest of us credobaptists) are not hyper-Calvinists.


Precisely!!!


Thank you, Marie, for pointing that out, it was my thought exactly when I read the statement. God extends grace to all mankind, but saving grace, only to the elect. Phil Johnson has an article on this subject that has appeared on this site several times which lays out this postion quite clearly.

In Him,

Gerry
Posted By: Wes

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 08, 2004 2:28 PM

Dear Gerry,

Wow!! A lot of discussion has transpired since I was online. I regret that I've not been available to reply to your message earlier. Yesterday was a very busy day for me which included a doctor's visit and a funeral. So now let me try to carry our discussion forward.

Quote
Gerry writes:

Could you please answer the question from my prior post to you about the contradictory nature of the two statements. Simply quoting Berkhof's contradictory statements doesn't make them any less contradictory. Nor does assuming "I am having difficulty understanding the issue". What I am saying is this. I disagree with Berkhof’s interpretation.


Let me see if I understand why you think my position and Berkhof's are contradictory. Is it because in your view the covenant doesn't include any unbelievers? If this is true then I understand why it sounds contradictory to you because you view the covenant differently than I do. I see a broader view of covenant being taught in the Scriptures. Your description addresses only those who are the elect of God and denies any covenant which includes others even though it may be temporarily. Have I understood your view correctly and is that what you want me to address?


Wes
Posted By: grace2U

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 08, 2004 3:01 PM

Hi William,
You seem to be very taken with Joachim Jeremias' book, but to put it mildly, I am not.

Fred Malone wrote:-
'...The real problem with the oikos formula is that itappeals to a cultural and socialogical concept not clearly specified in Scripture in order to justify infant baptism, while ignoring the immediate NT context that clearly rejects infant baptism,' These include:-

1. Joel's prophecy of the New Covenant repeated by Peter (Acts 2:21) that 'Whoever calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved.'
2. The testimony of Jeremiah and Hebrews that only those who know the Lord are in the New Covenant.

3. John the Baptist's practice of baptizing only the penitent.

3. Our Lord's Great Commission: 'Go therefore, and make disciples of all the nations baptizing them in the Name of the Father etc.' How easy it would have been for our Lord to have added 'and their children' at the appropriate spot. It would have ended all the controversy at a stroke. But He didn't say it, and it's not for us to write it in.

With regard to Acts 16 and the Philippian jailor, it is clear that the Gospel was preached to the whole household (v32). It was the middle of the night. How likely is it that he would have woken up his infant children so that they could listen to something they couldn't understand? It is clear therefore that there were no infants in the house and that all those who heard were converted. That is the natural reading of the text. But let's suppose that only the jailor was converted, and the rest of his oikos were not. Things might have gone something like this:-

Because the Jailor was an old soldier, he and his wife were worshippers of the god, Mithras. The wife was very attatched to Mithraism and didn't want to leave it, but after the jailor had slapped her about for a while and blackened both her eyes, she submitted to be baptized. Their 5 year-old son and 7 year-old daughter were quite happy to join Daddy's new religion, though they really couldn't make out the difference between Jesus and Mithras, and they didn't really care. The 15 year-old son had recently become a follower of Epicureanism, and despised all supernatural religion. He flatly refused to be baptized, but after a considerable struggle, Silas and the Jailor managed to hold him down while Paul poured the water over him. The two house-slaves, an elderly married couple, were devotees of the goddess, Cybele. However, when it was put to them that their choice was being baptized or being sold to work down the salt mines, they consented to baptism without argument, secretly determining to carry on with their Cybele-worship in private.

The Jailor's eldest child was their 18 year-old son. He was an ardent Stoic. He was horrified at the idea of being a 'bond servant of Jesus Christ.' He regarded baptism as a badge of servitude. Faced with his father's inflexible demand, he recalled the famous Stoic dictum, 'Quis mori dedicit, servire non dedicit' ('He who had learned to die has learned not to be a slave'). He went out of the house and stabbed himself to death.

This may not be wholly accurate, but if oikos baptisms really went on, then something similar must have taken place. Is it the sort of thing you would recommend today?

Every blessing,
Steve
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 08, 2004 3:10 PM

Quote
I see a broader view of covenant being taught in the Scriptures. Your description addresses only those who are the elect of God and denies any covenant which includes others even though it may be temporarily.

So if I am understanding you correctly, you are saying that unbelievers can actually be in the eternal covenant temporarily? <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 08, 2004 4:06 PM

Quote
acts2027 said:
Quote
SemperReformanda replied to Joe,
No, that's hyper-Calvinism. Susan (and the rest of us credobaptists) are not hyper-Calvinists.


Precisely!!!


Thank you, Marie, for pointing that out, it was my thought exactly when I read the statement. God extends grace to all mankind, but saving grace, only to the elect. Phil Johnson has an article on this subject that has appeared on this site several times which lays out this position quite clearly.

In Him,

Gerry

I'm just a little confused here as to how this part of the discussion is going. Joe was responding to what Susan wrote, where she said,

God shows grace only to His elect, so how could an unbeliever even be in that Covenant?


And Joe's reply was,

This is your faulty presupposition that God only shows grace to His elect. The Bible speaks on God revealing His grace to even the non-elect (not effectually of course, but none-the less His grace), as already demonstrated in several posts, including this one.


So, if I still have the ability to comprehend English, it would appear that it was Susan who was espousing what you and Marie have chosen to call "Hyper-Calvinism" and not Joe.

What is even more confusing to me is how anyone can misunderstand what the Scripture says concerning Abraham, the covenant established with him by God, the sign of that covenant given (circumcision), and to whom that sign was to be administered. The facts seem all too clear, IMHO. 1) God established the covenant with Abraham. (Gen 17:1-6), 2) and to his "seed" (Gen 17:7-9), 3) the sign of that covenant was circumcision (Gen 17:10, 11), and 4) the sign of the covenant, circumcision was to be administered to all the male children and those adults living within the broader "household" of Abraham. (Gen 17:12-14)

The proper understanding of this "covenant" is where the divide first appears between the two groups. This covenant has a dual aspect to it, IMHO. There is a "narrow" aspect, where it is salvific in nature (Abraham and his "seed", i.e., first re: Christ Who is the Federal Head of all the elect and secondly all the elect who will believe on Him. And there is a "broad" aspect, where those living amongst those who believe are included and given temporal blessings, shared among the elect and non-elect, e.g., land, providential protection, sustenance, etc.

Now the further issue is whether this dual-fold nature of the covenant established with Abraham was carried over into the church; continuity of the covenant of grace. And this is the second place where the divide appears. If this second (broad) aspect is continuitous, then the paedobaptists are correct in baptizing their children. If it is discontinuitous, then the credobaptists are correct in restricting baptism to adults.

Lastly, and doubtless I could include tomes more, there has been no sufficient answer that has come from the credobaptists re: their adamancy in not baptizing the infants of believers because of their "definition" (significance) of baptism where they maintain that it is "an outward sign of an inward reality". By that definition, EVERYONE who is baptized IS (of necessity MUST BE) saved. Otherwise the definition is senseless. The problem is further compounded as Baptists rightly admit that not everyone who is baptized is saved. Thus baptism CANNOT BE "an outward sign of an inward reality", for there are acknowledged instances where the recipient does not have the "reality" which the "sign" signifies. As "averagefellar" has repeated challenged the Baptists here, if ALL who are in the covenant of grace ARE saved (in the "narrow" sense of the CoG, this is a truism), and if baptism is a sign of membership in that covenant, then everyone who is baptized must be saved. IMHO, it is an indefensible and insurmountable problem.

Suggestion: Baptists should change their definition of baptism. Rather than making it subjective dependent, which is illogical and thus inconsistent and variable, it should be objective dependent and thus consistent and invariable.

In His Grace,
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 08, 2004 4:13 PM

Quote
Susan said:
Quote
Wes wrote:
I see a broader view of covenant being taught in the Scriptures. Your description addresses only those who are the elect of God and denies any covenant which includes others even though it may be temporarily.

So if I am understanding you correctly, you are saying that unbelievers can actually be in the eternal covenant temporarily? confused

No.. that is clearly NOT what Wes is saying! hairout He, Joe, averagefellar and myself have consistently said that the "Covenant of Grace" encompasses more than salvation of the elect. See my reply to Gerry below for a further explanation, particularly with the structure and nature of the covenant established with Abraham. With the exception of the "hyper-covenantalists", paedobaptists hold that only believers (elect) are included in the SALVIFIC aspect of the Covenant of Grace, for that relationship is only established on the basis of faith. grin

In His Grace,
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 08, 2004 4:19 PM

Quote
Gerry wrote with malice:
In the meantime I leave you [Joe] to your Covenant of Grace, "in some sense of the word", and hope your eternal salvation, on which it depends, is real, "in some sense of the word".

This is really disheartening! To address a fellow brother in this manner, implying that his view of the Covenant of Grace is intimately tied to his salvation and unless he should recant his position and become a Baptist, that salvation is jeopardized. rolleyes2

There is absolutely no warrant nor need for this type of rhetoric here. How about taking a cold [Linked Image] and regain some semblance of graciousness. grin

In His Grace,
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 08, 2004 4:21 PM

Again, your example is of an adult (18 years). And I still see no reason to accept your forced definition. I am also not taken with Fred Malone.

Quote
1. Joel's prophecy of the New Covenant repeated by Peter (Acts 2:21) that 'Whoever calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved.'


Yes, soteriology.......I understand this. However, we are dealing with baptism.

Quote
2. The testimony of Jeremiah and Hebrews that only those who know the Lord are in the New Covenant.


So, please list who is in this covenant.


God bless,

william
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 08, 2004 4:42 PM

Quote
Pilgrim said:
I'm just a little confused here as to how this part of the discussion is going. Joe was responding to what Susan wrote, where she said,

Quote
God shows grace only to His elect, so how could an unbeliever even be in that Covenant?


OK, let me clarify what I meant by this. Perhaps I added to this confusion. I was thinking of the strict definition of grace here, not thinking of the unprecise term "common grace" which is really a misnomer according to Arthur Pink. I am not denying God shows goodness and mercy to unbelievers. I was asking the question to show that to have unbelievers in the Covenant of Grace would be inconsistent with the true meaning of grace, since God only exercises it toward the elect.

Quote
Grace is a perfection of the Divine character which is exercised only toward the elect. Neither in the Old Testament nor in the New is the grace of God ever mentioned in connection with mankind generally, still less with the lower orders of His creatures. In this it is distinguished from mercy, for the mercy of God is "over all His works" (Ps. 145-9). Grace is the alone source from which flows the goodwill, love, and salvation of God unto His chosen people. This attribute of the Divine character was defined by Abraham Booth in his helpful book, The Reign of Grace thus, "It is the eternal and absolute free favour of God, manifested in the vouchsafement of spiritual and eternal blessings to the guilty and the unworthy."

Divine grace is the sovereign and saving favour of God exercised in the bestowment of blessings upon those who have no merit in them and for which no compensation is demanded from them. Nay, more; it is the favour of God shown to those who not only have no positive deserts of their own, but who are thoroughly ill-deserving and hell-deserving. It is completely unmerited and unsought, and is altogether unattracted by anything in or from or by the objects upon which it is bestowed. Grace can neither be bought, earned, nor won by the creature. If it could be, it would cease to be grace. When a thing is said to be of grace we mean that the recipient has no claim upon it, that it was in nowise due him. It comes to him as pure charity, and, at first, unasked and undesired...

The third Person in the Godhead is the Communicator of grace, therefore is He denominated "the Spirit of grace" (Zech. 12:10). God the Father is the Fountain of all grace, for He purposed in Himself the everlasting covenant of redemption. God the Son is the only Channel of grace. The Gospel is the Publisher of grace. The Spirit is the Bestower. He is the One who applies the Gospel in saving power to the soul: quickening the elect while spiritually dead, conquering their rebellious wills, melting their hard hearts, opening their blind eyes, cleansing them from the leprosy of sin.
--Arthur Pink


More on Grace here

So could you please help me understand this, are you in agreement then with Joe and Wes that unbelievers can actually be IN the Covenant of Grace and that a person can actually be in this eternal covenant temporarily?
Posted By: grace2U

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 08, 2004 5:05 PM

Hi William,
Are you quite sure that 18 year-olds were not under the jurisdiction of their parents in the 1st Century Roman Empire? But if it makes things easier, change his age to 17. And what about the rest of the family?

I'm not quite sure what you're asking in the second part of your post.
I wrote: '...Only those who know the Lord are in the New Covenant.'

You then wrote: 'So please list who is in this Covenant?'

Er.....Only those who know the Lord. He may well have some special arrangements for those dying as infants, or imbeciles; indeed, I'm sure He has ('Will not the Judge of all the Earth do right?'). But for the rest of us, 'unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God' (John 3:5).

Blessings,
Steve
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 08, 2004 5:07 PM

Quote
Susan asked:
So could you please help me understand this, are you in agreement then with Joe and Wes that unbelievers can actually be IN the Covenant of Grace and that a person can actually be in this eternal covenant temporarily?

There are actually 2 questions here:

1) [can] unbelievers can actually be IN the Covenant of Grace?
Again, one's understanding of the "Covenant of Grace" will determine how one answers. IF, as baptists are want to do, define the CofG in strict terms, i.e., it is only salvific, then the answer would have to be, "No!". Only the elect are included in the eternal CofG and will be brought into a living covenantal relationship in time. IF, as paedobaptists are want to do, define the CofG as having a duel nature, i.e., salvific and general, then the answer would be "Yes!" And if you haven't grasped it by now, this issue is one of the reality of the "visible/invisible" church distinction, which many Baptists here deny exists, although they contradict their denial by admitting that not all who are given the sign of the CofG are in the covenant, i.e., there are unbelievers who are members of the church.

2) [can] a person can actually be in this eternal covenant temporarily?
Again, if by "eternal covenant" you mean the "Covenant of Salvation", then obviously the answer must be, "No!" This is what the "hyper-covenantalists", protagonists for the NPP, Shepherdites, Auburnites, and all the myriad other expressions of that heresy hold. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

In His Grace,
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 08, 2004 5:33 PM

Quote
Are you quite sure that 18 year-olds were not under the jurisdiction of their parents in the 1st Century Roman Empire?


No, but I'm not the one forcing the definition. For the baptist definition of OIKOS to be true, every single usage in the NT must mean only believing adults, something that requires the definition be taken solely from the NT alone, is indefensible by Biblical definition, as shown here

OIKOS

The change you prescribe to it is not found in scripture, nor historical understanding. Surely this change in administration would have been mentioned? Especially to the Jewish audience?

Quote
You then wrote: 'So please list who is in this Covenant?'

Er.....Only those who know the Lord.


But this isn't the criteria for baptism, because you cannot judge who is trully elect. We have covered this, and Pilgrim has even seen fit to address it here

Pilgrim's suggestion

Quote
He may well have some special arrangements for those dying as infants, or imbeciles; indeed, I'm sure He has ('Will not the Judge of all the Earth do right?').


Hmmm.......not sure what special arrangements means, but that would seem odd since you keep putting forth that those within the true covenant are the proper subjects. Are there children within this covenant?


Quote
But for the rest of us, 'unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God' (John 3:5).


And again, we see baptism tied to election.


God bless,

william
Posted By: grace2U

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 08, 2004 5:39 PM

Hello Pilgrim,
I only want to address the last part of your post where you say
'Thus Baptism CANNOT be an outward sign of an inward reality.'

I feel as if I've answered this point about a million times, so I must be doing it very badly <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/Banghead.gif" alt="" />. Baptism is indeed a sign of something that has already happened viz. Baptism of the Spirit. If that something has not happened, then the baptism is null and void. It's as simple as that. Let me try to give a parallel.

When someone wins the marathon at the Olympic Games, he receives a gold medal. This medal is the outward sign of an inward reality, which is that he won the race. But let us suppose that he cheated in some way- perhaps he took drugs- then his medal is null and void. The inward 'reality' is found not to be a reality and therefore the outward sign (the medal)is meaningless. It will be taken away from him by the IOC and the record will show that someone else won the race.

Does that make it clearer? Only those who know the Lord are in the New Covenant and they alone are the proper subjects of baptism. The fact that we don't know exactly who they are is neither here nor there. We make every effort to comply with the Lord's will clearly expressed in Matt 28:19, and where we get it wrong, the celestial IOC (The Lord) will put it right.

AF and yourself seem to have a problem with this, but I really can't see what it is.

Every blessing,
Steve
Posted By: Wes

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 08, 2004 6:59 PM

Susan,

I've not had much time available to respond to your important question so I'm thankful Pilgrim has stepped in on my behalf and explained the broader view of the Covenant of Grace which paedobaptist's embrace.

There's an excellent article by Prof. John Murray here on the-highway which sheds more light on the The Covenant of Grace. In this article he addresses the importance of God's covenant with Noah, Moses, Abraham and David. Specifically the Covenant of Grace made with Abraham. He also discusses keeping covenant, breaking covenant, and how the old is fulfilled in the new. This study may answer many questions you may have.

Quote
Murray writes:

When we come to those passages in the New Testament which deal specifically with the new covenant in contrast with the old it is highly significant that the contrast between the new economy and the old is not expressed in terms of difference between covenant and something else not a covenant. The contrast is within the ambit of covenant. This would lead us to expect that the basic idea of covenant which we find in the Old Testament is carried over into the New. We are confirmed in this expectation when we take account of the fact that the new covenant is the fulfilment of the covenant made with Abraham (Lk. i. 72; Gal. iii. 15ff.). The new economy as covenant attaches itself to the Old Testament covenant promise and cannot be contrasted with Old Testament covenant in respect of that which constitutes the essence of covenant grace and promise. We can express the fact that the new covenant is the expansion and fulfilment of the Abrahamic by saying that it was just because the promise to Abraham had the bonded and oath-bound character of a covenant that its realization in the fulness of the time was inviolably certain. The new covenant in respect of its being a covenant does not differ from the Abrahamic as a sovereign administration of grace, divine in its inception, establishment, confirmation, and fulfilment. The most conclusive evidence, however, is derived from a study of the New Testament respecting the nature of the new covenant. We shall find that the features of the covenant are the same as those we found in connection with covenant in the Old Testament.

When our Lord said that His blood was the blood of the covenant that was shed for many for the remission of sins and that the cup of the last supper was the new covenant in His blood (Mt. xxvi. 28; Mk. xiv. 24; Lk. xxii. 20; 1 Cor. xi. 25), we cannot but regard the covenant as a designation of the sum-total of grace, blessing, truth, and relationship comprised in that redemption which His blood has secured. Covenant must refer to the bestowment and the relationship secured by the sacrificial blood which He shed. It is the fulness of grace purchased by His blood and conveyed by it. By way of comparison there is an allusion, no doubt, to the blood by which the old covenant, the Mosaic, had been sealed (Ex. xxiv. 6-8; cf. Heb. ix. 18). And since the new is contrasted with the old it cannot be that the contrast inheres in any retraction or dilution of the grace which we have found to be the essence of covenant under the Old Testament.



Wes
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 08, 2004 8:09 PM

Quote
Lastly, and doubtless I could include tomes more, there has been no sufficient answer that has come from the credobaptists re: their adamancy in not baptizing the infants of believers because of their "definition" (significance) of baptism where they maintain that it is "an outward sign of an inward reality". By that definition, EVERYONE who is baptized IS (of necessity MUST BE) saved. Otherwise the definition is senseless. The problem is further compounded as Baptists rightly admit that not everyone who is baptized is saved.

Pilgrim,
My definition would be that Baptism is symbolic of Christ's sacrificial death for us, and the believer who is baptized is identified with Christ in His burial and resurrection and has resolved to die to self and to live a life as a new Creature in Christ by faith and by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Something always puzzles me about these kinds of discussions. Some might think that the Baptists when they baptize professing believers are doing something strange, but the fact is both the paedos and the credos are baptizing professing believers! So what is your definition for baptism that would allow for the baptizing of adult professing believers as well as infants who may or may not be children of the promise?
Posted By: MarieP

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 08, 2004 8:29 PM

Quote
Lastly, and doubtless I could include tomes more, there has been no sufficient answer that has come from the credobaptists re: their adamancy in not baptizing the infants of believers because of their "definition" (significance) of baptism where they maintain that it is "an outward sign of an inward reality". By that definition, EVERYONE who is baptized IS (of necessity MUST BE) saved. Otherwise the definition is senseless. The problem is further compounded as Baptists rightly admit that not everyone who is baptized is saved. Thus baptism CANNOT BE "an outward sign of an inward reality", for there are acknowledged instances where the recipient does not have the "reality" which the "sign" signifies.


Well, can we take a look at the same problem we encounter with Communion? Communion is for believers only, but, no matter how high we fence the table, there will be non-believers partaking of it somewhere. Why is baptism different? Should we open the table to all because a few unregenerate "slip in"? Of course not!

I do believe, by the way, that there is a major problem in the credobaptist church of today. Far too many non-Christians are being baptized and added to the church rolls. So I am not denying that at all.
Posted By: J_Edwards

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 08, 2004 9:08 PM

Quote
acts2027 said:
Quote
No, that's hyper-Calvinism. Susan (and the rest of us credobaptists) are not hyper-Calvinists.


Precisely!!!


Thank you, Marie, for pointing that out, it was my thought exactly when I read the statement. God extends grace to all mankind, but saving grace, only to the elect. Phil Johnson has an article on this subject that has appeared on this site several times which lays out this position quite clearly.

In Him,

Gerry


Gerry and Marie you really need to read the posts more carefully. I was responding to Susan's post. Please re-read it. If what you aspire is true than Susan, not I, is revealing your Hyper-Calvinistic views. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/heavy.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 08, 2004 9:26 PM

Quote
If what you aspire is true than Susan, not I, is revealing your Hyper-Calvinistic views.


Don't worry Joe. I have already dealt with this. It was a simple misunderstanding which I explained already to Pilgrim. No one thinks you are a hyper-Calvinist and, hopefully, no one thinks we are either.

My post to Pilgrim
Posted By: J_Edwards

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 08, 2004 9:30 PM

Quote
acts2027 said:
Joe erroneously says:

Quote
Thus, my direct answer will be that I will pray that, "the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints," (Eph 1:18).


That is another INDIRECT answer, for you have failed to reconcile or even address the statements you have both made and quoted that say the covenant of grace is both "inviolable" and violable, thus it is a clear falsehood.

And, for your information, "the eyes of my understanding have been enlightened" and I do "know what is the hope of His Calling" and most wonderfully, something of "the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints".

I just finished reading several of T. Goodwin's sermons on this very verse and find myself in complete agreement with his interpretation, both doctrinally and experientially, and thus, your evaluation, like others I have been a witness too, is lacking sorely in this important matter. Perhaps you would benefit from a reading of him?

In the meantime I leave you to your Covenant of Grace, "in some sense of the word", and hope your eternal salvation, on which it depends, is real, "in some sense of the word".

In Him,

Gerry

Gerry re-read all my posts on Baptism, your questions have already been answered. I do not see any gain at this time in repeating them to you again. Please know we are still praying for you. May God grant you victory over your anger and hostility, which also are a part of the eyes of you understanding being enlightened," "the hope of His Calling," and "the riches of the glory of His inheritance." May God strengthen you.
Posted By: grace2U

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 08, 2004 10:53 PM

Joe,
If you've answered Gerry's points then I certainly haven't seen it. I assumed that your quotation of Eph 1:18 was your tacit, and rather ungracious, admission of defeat.

Steve
Posted By: J_Edwards

Re: The New Covenant - Sat May 08, 2004 11:47 PM

Quote
grace2U said:
Joe,
If you've answered Gerry's points then I certainly haven't seen it. I assumed that your quotation of Eph 1:18 was your tacit, and rather ungracious, admission of defeat.

Steve


Eph 1:18 is my sincere prayer for Gerry and for many others regarding this issue. Though the truth may be, and has been declared, without prayer they will never see the truth of the matter, though they may read the Scriptures themselves. IMHO this is an important side of any issue in Scripture. Thus, this is not a tactic, but a position of earnestness that Gerry and others may understand the Truth of God. Thus, Steve I do not see prayer as an admission of defeat, but an admission that God is sovereign and can change even your and Gerry's hearts.

Now, to your other question I truly am surprised. We have discussed Berkhof (Wes even re-addressed this), we have discussed the visible and invisible Church, we have discussed the 2, but 1, covenant concept of Galatians/Genesis, we have discussed the Continuity in Old and NT, we have discussed Baby Dedications & Continuity, we have discussed 1 Cor 7:12ff, and we have discussed the dual-fold nature of the covenant and the continuity of the covenant of grace, etc. If one understands these then Berkhof’s quotes are understood in light of them. If there is a very specific question we have not answered then please phrase “exactly” what you would like answered.

IMHO though this discussion has gone its limit once again.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Sun May 09, 2004 2:55 AM

Hi Pilgrim:

Joe, and now you, have accused me of anger and malice. But it hasn't apparently occured to you that you have read this into my words and you are incorrect, which you are.

I harbor no malice toward Joe and I have never even slightly hinted that he must recant his postion and become a baptist in order to be saved. Those are your words not mine, and frankly I find them rather silly, and can't help but wonder who is really guilty of malice here. But I do believe, and will state again, that the CoG is an eternal covenant and I believe it to be so because I interpret the scripture to say so, as I and others have presented here clearly, and I believe it is unequivocal and is so not in "some sense of the word" but in every sense of the word.

As to your comments about not understanding the Credo postion and seeing inconsistency in it, I will just say that your postion is far more inconsistent, and indefensible in my view, and does not do justice to the analogy of the faith, and I have repeatedly pointed out the attempts of Berkhoff to try, albeit weakly, to reconcile that inconsistency. Also, I am just as responsible before the Lord for, and perhaps as capable, as the Lord gives me light, of interpreting the pertinant scriptures as you are, and just because you can't see my postion doesn't automatically make yours correct.

I have in the past admitted my error on this site when I have been convicted by the Lord that that was necessary, something I believe is part of being a true Christian, also laid out clearly in the scriptures, but, curiously, little discussed on the Highway in the year and a half I have been here. In this case I can assure you I have nothing to admit, and would suggest that it is you who have missread my words and falsely accused me of malice and anger.

And finally, by the way, what is it, do you suppose, that makes you feel you have the ability to make such infallible judgements and to, as it were, "pronounce them" before the world without even seriously considering that you might, Joe might, and Wes might, be in error, for I can assure you you are.

As for a cold shower, I can assure you that I had a most wonderful and pleasant day and this whole matter was the last thing on my mind until I visited the site tonight to see all the furor and excitement. Sounds to me like it is others that need that cold shower.

May you have a most pleasant evening and Lords day.


In Him,

Gerry
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: The New Covenant - Sun May 09, 2004 3:00 AM

Quote
Susan asks:
So what is your definition for baptism that would allow for the baptizing of adult professing believers as well as infants who may or may not be children of the promise?

Funny you should ask! <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> Baptism is the visible sign (display) of the OBJECTIVE proclamation of the Gospel, i.e., that as the water cleanses the body of filth, so does Christ's blood cleanse the believer's soul from sin. It is a declaration of God's promise to save all who believe.

Thus... it matters not, i.e., the meaning of baptism is not dependent upon the recipient as it is grounded in the immutable promise of God to save all who believe. Just as the Gospel doesn't vary according to the one who hears, the meaning of baptism is always the same regardless of who is baptized.

Now, we are back full circle, for the disagreement is over WHO is warranted to receive the sign? Paedobaptists obviously hold that believers and their children are to receive the sign. Credobaptists hold that only "believers" are to receive the sign. But as has been thoroughly pointed out, no one can know who is a true believer. Thus, it would behoove Baptists to cease from launching their silly charge that Paedo's are baptizing unbelievers when they baptize infants. Averagefellar has repeatedly brought this inconsistency to the floor and he has not to this date received a reasonable answer that resolves this Baptist dilemma.

Again, if you are convinced that that the injunction to administer the sign of the Covenant to believers and their seed has been abandoned, i.e., a major discontinuity between the two administrations of the Covenant, then so be it. But I have never read anyone who has been able to show this is true from the Scripture, no, not even Mr. Malone, the current "White Knight" of the Credobaptist army. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/rofl.gif" alt="" />

Quote
Some might think that the Baptists when they baptize professing believers are doing something strange, but the fact is both the paedos and the credos are baptizing professing believers!

Indeed....!! It is the Babdists who think it is strange that Paedobaptists baptize their children as was the practice for millennia in both the Old and New Covenant administrations. Paedobaptists do NOT think it is strange that Credobaptists baptize professing adults, for they do the same thing as it is what the Scriptures teach. What Paedobaptists DO think as strange is the illogical MODE which Baptists are willing to die for, i.e., immersion, which is even more difficult, if not impossible to defend than the baptism of infants. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/rofl.gif" alt="" />

In His Grace,
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: The New Covenant - Sun May 09, 2004 3:21 AM

Quote
Steve replied:
I only want to address the last part of your post where you say
'Thus Baptism CANNOT be an outward sign of an inward reality.' [and then your illustration . . .]

Sorry brother, but as is typical, your attempt to justify your "definition" falls flat on its face as it fails to address the issue at all.

Let ME try and give you an illustration to show how inadequate yours is. When we define something, we give a description of that which we want to define. For example, a Mercedes is by definition. . . .
[Linked Image] . . . in other words, the definition of that automobile will allow anyone to recognize it and know what it is in distinction from another automobile. However, if I were to use your method of defining what baptize is, we would end up with a very unserviceable term. On the one hand we have an objective definition of what a Mercedes IS. But on the other, we have a plethora of owner-drivers. It would seem that if I were to plug in your method of defining something and apply it to a Mercedes, we could say, if on the one hand, the person driving a Mercedes is the bona fide owner of it, then it is a Mercedes. However, if the person driving it is a thief and not the genuine owner of the car, then it is no longer a Mercedes and the car is "meaningless". [Linked Image]

So, as I have so often said, Baptists define baptism on the basis of that which is SUBJECTIVE, i.e., the spiritual state of the recipient. Paedobaptists define baptism on the basis of that which is OBJECTIVE, i.e., the immutable promise of God to save all who believe in Christ, aka: the elect. Thus baptism ALWAYS and FOREVER means the same thing regardless of who is baptized. What is means to the recipient is something totally different and is dependent upon that person's spiritual state.

In His Grace,
Posted By: grace2U

Re: The New Covenant - Sun May 09, 2004 8:44 AM

Pilgrim,
It would have been nice to see you interact with the comparison I did use rather than erecting a straw man by inventing a very weak comparison that I did not use and criticizing that. That is no way to carry on a discussion.

I am trying very hard to see what your problem is with the Baptist position, but I'm quite unable to do so, and your post hasn't made it any easier.

Let me lay out the Baptist position again.

1. It is fitting only to baptize true believers.
2. False adherents have no part whatsoever in the Church (Acts 8:21).
3. We cannot know with absolute certainty who the true believers are.

Therefore

4. We do our best to achieve Point 1 above by baptizing only those who make a credible profession of faith.
5. We use church discipline where a person's actions clearly belie their profession of faith.

Where is the problem with that?

Let me try yet another analogy, and perhaps you will reply to this one rather than inventing one of your own.

It is the purpose of the State only to appoint honest policemen. However, this has never been achieved completely, for the good reason that it is impossible to weed out dishonest applicants with 100% accuracy. However, this is no good reason to abandon all checks on new recruits, nor to allow in the children of honest recruits without checks(!) but rather the authorities will make the best checks they can, and if a policeman shows himself to be dishonest at any time, he is fired double-quick.

Every blessing,
Steve
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Sun May 09, 2004 11:39 AM

Quote
1. It is fitting only to baptize true believers


Scripture please?

Quote
4. We do our best to achieve Point 1 above by baptizing only those who make a credible profession of faith.


And this teaching from scripture, please?


God bless,

william
Posted By: grace2U

Re: The New Covenant - Sun May 09, 2004 11:51 AM

Mark 1:4-5, Matt 28:19, Acts 2:38 and 8:37.

Steve
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Sun May 09, 2004 11:58 AM

Mar 1:4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
Mar 1:5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.

Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Act 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.
Act 2:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

Act 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Well, I didn't see your statements, or anything like them in any of those passages. Maybe you could offer something more.


God bless,

william
Posted By: grace2U

Re: The New Covenant - Sun May 09, 2004 3:36 PM

Hi William,
I wrote:-
'It is fitting only to baptize true disciples......We do our best to achieve [this] by baptizing only those who make a credible profession of faith.'

You asked for scriptural proof.

I offered Mark 1:4-5; Matt 28:19; Acts 2:38-9 & 8:37.

If I understand you correctly, you are now asking for exposition on these texts.

In Mark 1, we read that John's baptism was one of repentance; and those who were baptized by him made a confession of their sins. Indeed, in Luke 3:8, John demands not only repentance, but evidence thereof, in other words, 'a credible profession'. Now Christian baptism is not identical to that of John, but their ministry at this early stage was the same- that of repentance (Matt 3:2; 4:17). Therefore we learn that repentance of sin is a pre-requisite for baptism.

In Matt 28:19, our Lord told His apostles to make disciples* and baptize them. Therefore it is disciples whom we are to baptize. Put the two texts together and we have repentant disciples. These and these alone are the proper subjects for baptism.
*[ The KJV translation of 'matheteusate' as 'teach' is poor. The NIV, NKJV, ESV and NASB all give the correct rendering, 'Make disciples'. Mathetes = Disciple]

So how does this work out in practice? In Acts 2, Peter preaches the Gospel on the Day of Pentecost. Many of his listeners are brought to a state of conviction (v37). Peter tells them to repent and be baptized (v38). In v41, we are told that 'those who gladly received his word were baptized.' We may suppose from this that there were those who rejected his word; they were not baptized. The apostles did not baptize willy-nilly; they distinguished between those who 'gladly received' the Gospel, and those who didn't. We are not told that the believers brought their children with them. If there were children present, then they were old enough to believe Peter's Gospel and to repent.

Finally, Acts 8:36-7. '...And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart you may," And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."' [I'm aware that the majority of Greek texts do not have Acts 8:37, but even if it is an interpolation, surely some similar conversation must have taken place?]

The eunuch, having heard the Gospel from Philip, asked to be baptized. Philip asked for, and received, a clear confession of faith from him. Surely it is a good and reasonable inference that if Philip had regarded the eunuch's confession as not credible, he would not have baptized him.

So there you are! The Bible clearly requires repentance and faith as pre-requisites for baptism. We see that John asked for 'fruits worthy of repentance', that the apostles only baptized those who 'gladly received' Peter's word, and that Philip required a clear and credible statement of faith from the eunuch.

Case made?

Every blessing,
Steve
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: The New Covenant - Sun May 09, 2004 4:00 PM

Quote
Steve asks averagefellar (and all paedobaptists [implied]):
So there you are! The Bible clearly requires repentance and faith as pre-requisites for baptism. We see that John asked for 'fruits worthy of repentance', that the apostles only baptized those who 'gladly received' Peter's word, and that Philip required a clear and credible statement of faith from the eunuch.

Case made?

The case is made for what is required for the baptism of ADULTS, which we all agree upon and which has never been questioned. But the case has hardly been made for the discontinuity of excluding believers and their "seed" from receiving the sign of the new covenant. The reason is, IMHO, that you simply can't. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> Nowhere can it be found that a radical change in covenant policy was mandated whereby children of believers are to be ostracized from the covenant community and refused the sign which was done for thousands of years. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

In His Grace,
Posted By: grace2U

Re: The New Covenant - Sun May 09, 2004 4:22 PM

Hi again William,
I note that you find it easier to keep asking questions than to reply to my posts. Does your oikos baptism involve baptizing the unbelieving wife and teenage children of a believing husband? If not, why not?

With reference to oikos in the OT, it is, of course only found in the Septuagint translation. However, by pressing the OT practice on the NT you are taking a Hebrew word, written (under inspiration) by a Hebrew to Hebrews in around 1500-600 BC and forcing its meaning on a Greek author (Luke) writing in Greek to Greeks (Acts 1:1) in the 1st Century AD. I'm not sure that this is too clever.

The change in Covenant administration is very clearly found in Scripture. It was prophesied by Jeremiah, so when our Lord declared, 'This cup is the New Covenant in My blood' (Luke 22:20), the Apostles minds would have gone straight to Jer 31:31ff and also to the Lord's words to Nicodemus; 'Unless one is born again, one cannot see the Kingdom of God.' That they fully understood the import of the change of covenant is made clear by Peter on the day of Pentecost. 'Repent and be baptized!' His hearers had already been circumcised, but that was of no consequence in the new covenant. Baptism had replaced circumcision and that baptism was to be given only to those who repented and trusted in Christ.

You're aware that I have answered Pilgrim's post re. baptism and the Elect. I won't add to it here.

I absolutely do not equate our Lord's expression, 'Born of water and the Spirit' with water baptism. In this, at least, I am in agreement with John Murray. I believe the New Birth to be a fulfillment of Ezekiel's prophecy in Ezek 36:25-27 (cf. also Psalm 51:7, 10-11; Titus 3:5). It is a birth of washing and renewal; the washing away of sins and renewal by the Holy Spirit. Ryle's Expository Thoughts on John Vol 1 has a very helpful treatment on this.

BTW, I'm aware that I owe you a reply on the 'visible/invisible' church. Now my eyes are better, I hope to post on this tomorrow (DV).

Every blessing,
Steve
Posted By: grace2U

Re: The New Covenant - Sun May 09, 2004 4:42 PM

Pilgrim,
Well, if that's your best shot, then there's no more to be said. 'Let each be convinced in his own mind.'
The fact is that the 'radical change in covenant policy' was clearly forcasted in Jer 31:31ff (and also IMHO Joel 2:28-29). The 'sign which was done for thousands of years', is clearly done away with. Or do you still circumcise your male children? <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" /> Remember also that half the OT covenant people received no covenant sign at all.

'For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been found for a second (Heb 8:7).

Every blessing,
Steve
Posted By: J_Edwards

Re: The New Covenant - Sun May 09, 2004 5:19 PM

Quote
It is the purpose of the State only to appoint honest policemen. However, this has never been achieved completely, for the good reason that it is impossible to weed out dishonest applicants with 100% accuracy. However, this is no good reason to abandon all checks on new recruits, nor to allow in the children of honest recruits without checks(!) but rather the authorities will make the best checks they can, and if a policeman shows himself to be dishonest at any time, he is fired double-quick.

First, once again, as with your marathon runner, you have fallen into a faulty illustration of Baptism. You are making the meaning of Baptism depend upon the recipient (the policeman), rather than the sovereign declaration of God to save all those that believe.

Second, your illustration proves the opposite of what your formerly were asserting, “Baptism is an outward sign of an <span style="background-color:#FFFF00">inward reality</span>,” for there was NEVER any <span style="background-color:#FFFF00">inward reality</span>! Thus, you have disproven your own definition of Baptism.

P.S. The illustration of the marathon runner is very poor IMHO as it shows someone running (Rom 9:16) to obtain salvation and winning the Gold Medal of Baptism. This is an Arminian gospel, which is no Gospel at all.
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: The New Covenant - Sun May 09, 2004 5:23 PM

Steve,

I'll overlook the "cheap shot" about that being my "best shot" and simply say that again, there is no disagreement that the new covenant administration does involve changes from the old. However, there is nothing in that new administration that speaks of the barring of the children of believers from receiving the sign. In fact, the new covenant administration is MORE universal, in that women are no longer prohibited from receiving the sign, which I am assuming you were referring to with your comment about 1/2 of the old covenant didn't receive the sign, i.e., circumcision.

Yes, let each be convinced in his own mind.... which I am. I left the credobaptist camp after having studied this issue over a period of years having found it wanting in so many ways. And, if you haven't discerned so yet, I stand between the "popular" paedobaptist view and the credobaptist view. I'm no stranger to these types of debates, which for the most part are nothing more than an exercise in futility. They always leave a bad taste in my mouth. Perhaps one of the very few times which hasn't done so is when I publicly debated John Reisinger on this topic. He was very gracious throughout the debate and we parted friends; agreeing on more than we disagreed as to what we both considered to be the essentials of baptism. One of the major essentials was how we as believers are to consider our children and how they are to be raised. On this there was no disagreement (I reject any and all forms of presumption re: covenant children). He also agreed that his definition of baptism, the same one which you now hold, was faulty and should be changed to better reflect that which he REALLY believed. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

In His Grace,
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Sun May 09, 2004 6:20 PM

The baptism of the true covenant is indefensible. Plrease stop claiming this. That passage does not say children are excluded. Try again, maybe?


God bless,

william
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Sun May 09, 2004 6:31 PM

AF said:

Quote

And this teaching from scripture, please?


And the Scripture replies clearly, again:

Quote
8:35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
8:36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
8:38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.


Note please the following:

Phillip, under the guidance of the HS doesn't say if you believe that Baptism is a sign of the objective reality of God's promise, etc or what ever. No, his response was that what would hinder him from being baptised, mark it, was if he didn't believe with his whole heart. The Ethopian Eunich then made a profession of faith in Christ as the Son of God, Whereupon the chariot was stopped and he was baptized. Now I submit that this teaching is rather clear.

Complicate it, obfuscate it or deny it in order to cling to your view of baptism, but the teaching of scripture remains clear and simple, so that a child may understand it.

In Him,

Gerry
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Sun May 09, 2004 6:47 PM

Quote
Complicate it, obfuscate it or deny it in order to cling to your view of baptism, but the teaching of scripture remains clear and simple, so that a child may understand it.


I totally understand that passage is referring to an adult. Did I miss something referring to paedobaptism?


God bless,

william
Posted By: grace2U

Re: Eunuchs and Infants??? - Sun May 09, 2004 8:42 PM

Well Joe,
It has to be the story of an adult getting baptized, doesn't it. There are no stories of infants being baptized in the Bible, are there? <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/rofl.gif" alt="" />

Blessings,
Steve
Posted By: grace2U

Re: The New Covenant - Sun May 09, 2004 8:55 PM

William,
What sort of reply is this? I have done you the courtesy of taking your posts seriously and doing my best to reply in some depth to each of your points.

If you want to continue the discussion, please do the same for me.

Blessings,
Steve
Posted By: J_Edwards

Re: The New Covenant - Sun May 09, 2004 9:17 PM

Quote
Gerry Said,

Phillip, under the guidance of the HS doesn't say if you believe that Baptism is a sign of the objective reality of God's promise, etc or what ever. No, his response was that what would hinder him from being baptized, mark it, was if he didn't believe with his whole heart. The Ethiopian Eunuch then made a profession of faith in Christ as the Son of God, Whereupon the chariot was stopped and he was baptized. Now I submit that this teaching is rather clear.

Well this is a very unusual set of verses (Acts 8) to be attempting to prove that God believes only in “baptizing true believers,” to the exclusion of ALL infants that are a part of the covenant. After all this is the conversion of an ADULT. And if that is not enough he was an EUNUCH (which is normally an emasculated official in a royal court), i.e. no children. In Scripture though not only are "single adults" baptized, but complete households are as well.

Gerry, if one begins with a wrong definition of “baptism” then he will inevitably end up with the wrong view of it. I struggled with this for years before God's grace intervened and changed my heart. I had preached the credo view with conviction for many years and from several pulpits and even here on this forum. I have baptized several (credo style) and dedicated many an infant. Truly, I could not understand the paedo view—nor did I try to for many years. I was so convinced I was right. Then I decided to retrace the circumcision/baptism debate back in history and through the Scripture as best I could. Now I was studying to know the truth and not simply to defend my view(s). In the process, I discovered that my hermeneutic was in error.

Praise God that I now understand that God’s covenant promises are far more reaching that I ever thought them to be. Jesus himself said, “suffer the little children to come to me.” Remember His words after that? “For of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 19:14; Mk 10:14; Lk 18:16). Luke 18:15 informs us that these “little children” were actually “infants” (Luke 1:44 (an unborn babe). They—or at least some of them—must have been carried to Jesus in the arms of their parents. Remember what Jesus did? Taking them in his arms he tenderly blessed them one by one, laying his hands upon them. There was no confession by these infants of Christ, but yet there was the very blessing of Christ upon them.

As the Baker NT Commentary says, Not only did Jesus rebuke the disciples for their attempt to prevent the little ones from being brought to him, but he has also actually called to himself these infants together with those who wanted to bring them to him (Luke 18:16). And now each mother or father, etc., carries his little child into the very presence of Jesus; that is, each does this in turn. The Master takes the first child in his arm and places the hand of his other arm upon its head. Then he tenderly—or fervently—blesses it, by means of uttering a brief but earnest prayer to the Father, that his blessing may be bestowed on it (probably implied in Matt. 19:13). While he does this, his heart, filled with love and compassion, goes out to this little one. Finished, he returns the child to the one who had brought it. He then treats the next little one in the same manner, and the next, until all have been blessed. It must have been a most impressive, comforting, and memorable scene.

Now we know (1) Jesus blessed "children" (which He did not do to the Pharisees, et. al.) (2) He prayed for them, and (3) that He knew the Scriptures containing the Covenant promises. Look at the glory of these verses:

Quote
Genesis 17:7 “And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you.

Psalm 105:6-10 O seed of Abraham, His servant, O sons of Jacob, His chosen ones! He is the Lord our God; His judgments are in all the earth. He has remembered His covenant forever, The word which He commanded to a thousand generations, The covenant which He made with Abraham, And His oath to Isaac. Then He confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, To Israel as an everlasting covenant,

Isaiah 59:21 “And as for Me, this is My covenant with them,” says the Lord: “My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring’s offspring,” says the Lord, “from now and forever.”

Acts 2:38-39 And Peter said to them, “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. “For 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.”

Acts 16:15 And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.

Acts 16:33 And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household.

1 Corinthians 1:16 Now I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any other.

Colossians 2:11-12 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

The belief that since the little children of believers belong to God’s visible Church and to his covenant, baptism, the sign and seal of such belonging, should not be withheld from them, is well-founded.
Posted By: grace2U

Re: The New Covenant - Sun May 09, 2004 10:09 PM

Hi Joe,
Doubtless all analogies fail if they are pressed too hard. I am quite happy for both of mine to stand in answer to Pilgrim's and William's arguments.

Just to be quite clear for the umpteenth time; baptism is indeed the outward sign of an inward reality. If there is no inward reality, then the baptism is effectively void (Acts 8:21).

Blessings,
Steve
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Sun May 09, 2004 10:47 PM

Quote
grace2U said:
Mark 1:4-5, Matt 28:19, Acts 2:38 and 8:37.

Steve


Quote
John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching the baptism of repentance for forgiveness of sins. All the country of Judea and all those of Jerusalem went out to him. They were baptized by him in the Jordan river, confessing their sins. (Mark 1:4-5)


Steve got to disagree with you concerning the first verse there. It is clear that John's baptism was of the older economy and not of the New Covenant. If it had been then Paul wouldn't have baptized those disciples in Ephesus. For in the New Covenant we get the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Quote
It happened that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul, having passed through the upper country, came to Ephesus, and found certain disciples. He said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" They said to him, "No, we haven't even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." He said, "Into what then were you baptized?" They said, "Into John's baptism." Paul said, "John indeed baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe in the one who would come after him, that is, in Jesus." When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke with other languages and prophesied. They were about twelve men in all. (Acts 19:1-7)


Again I believe the stronger arguement (although it has yet to convince William or the others <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/Banghead.gif" alt="" />) is from Matthew 28:19 where we make disiciples and then baptize them. As the rest of those verses demonstrate.

Just my <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/my2cents.gif" alt="" /> you all go on now with your discussion its mighty interesting.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Sun May 09, 2004 10:57 PM

Quote
Just to be quite clear for the umpteenth time; baptism is indeed the outward sign of an inward reality. If there is no inward reality, then the baptism is effectively void (Acts 8:21).


Then said baptism was actually not due to an inward change, and your first premise fails. The two statements are contradictory.

Does that passage refer to baptism specifically?


God bless,

william
Posted By: J_Edwards

Re: The New Covenant - Sun May 09, 2004 11:01 PM

Quote
grace2U said:

Just to be quite clear for the umpteenth time; baptism <span style="background-color:#FFFF00">is indeed </span>the outward sign of an inward reality. If there is no inward reality, then the baptism is<span style="background-color:#FFFF00"> effectively void</span> (Acts 8:21).

How can something be is indeed and then effectively void, if the initial cause was that which you claim already is (an inward reality)? If it already is then in Calvinism it can never be effectively void, and if it isn't then you should not baptize. The definition is lacking?

Your definition is based upon man's word that he is not lying and not on the Covenant promise of God, who cannot lie. Baptism is a declaration of God's promise to save all who believe. As Pilgrim said, "the meaning of baptism is not dependent upon the recipient as it is grounded in the immutable promise of God to save all who believe. Just as the Gospel doesn't vary according to the one who hears, the meaning of baptism is always the same regardless of who is baptized." Baptism is an outward sign of God's covenant promise.
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: The New Covenant - Sun May 09, 2004 11:10 PM

Quote
grace2U said:
Hi Joe,
Doubtless all analogies fail if they are pressed too hard. I am quite happy for both of mine to stand in answer to Pilgrim's and William's arguments.

Just to be quite clear for the umpteenth time; baptism is indeed the outward sign of an inward reality. If there is no inward reality, then the baptism is effectively void (Acts 8:21).

Blessings,
Steve

I really have to chuckle here, not AT you, but because your definition: "baptism is indeed the outward sign of an inward reality." immediately brought to mind how illogical it is when applied to virtually any other circumstance in life. For example, one of the situations I am thinking of is one of the "signs" posted down at the hydro plant; KEEP OUT - High voltage. Now, the placard seen is the "outward sign" (no pun intended) of an "inward reality" (the high voltage). But again, using but not pressing in any way whatsosever, your "logic", to the one who believes that there is serious danger involved with that equipment, the sign truly signifies the reality of that high voltage. But if one refuses to believe there is danger, then the sign is "effectively void", i.e., what the sign says is untrue. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/dizzy.gif" alt="" />

Or we could look at it in another way and see the same illogic of it. If the sign says there is High Voltage and there is indeed high voltage there, then the sign is true; i.e., it is an "outward sign" of the "inward reality". But if there is no high voltage, then the "outward sign" is no sign at all for there is no "inward reality". [Linked Image]

The problem isn't with the sign and its inability to communicate a truth; a reality, but with your understanding of how a sign functions. Baptism IS a sign of a reality. But that reality is not to be found in the SUBJECT(IVE) realm, e.g., the recipient of the sign but in the OBJECTIVE truth; i.e., God saves believing sinners by the washing away of their sins in Christ's blood. The sign is ALWAYS and FOREVER true, regardless of who receives the sign, for the reality is the promise of God which can never change. The application of what the sign signifies does vary dependent upon whether or not the person being baptized has faith. But again, the "sign of the covenant" does not change since it does not find its meaning and/or significance in the subjectivity of the recipient, but rather in the immutable promise of God and the reality of Christ's accomplished substitutionary atonement in behalf of the elect. In short, Baptism IS "an outward sign" but of an "outward reality", which may demonstrate what belongs to the person being baptized should they have faith. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/BigThumbUp.gif" alt="" />

In His Grace,
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Sun May 09, 2004 11:16 PM

Why I do believe you are correct sir that horse is dead. However, there is the small matter of removing the sticks from the hands of the beaters. Of which I for one am more than interested in how it will be done. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/bigglasses.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: J_Edwards

Re: The New Covenant - Sun May 09, 2004 11:38 PM

Quote
PrestorJohn said:
Why I do believe you are correct sir that horse is dead. However, there is the small matter of removing the sticks from the hands of the beaters. Of which I for one am more than interested in how it will be done. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/bigglasses.gif" alt="" />

Everyone has sticks. Some beat with more melody than others do to the Scriptures. As Saul kicked against the pricks of his day so do all of us today kick against our denominational, historical, and biased understandings of certain things. Even after salvation only the Damascus road will change any of us (i.e. Jesus and the Scriptures). As usual, these discussions get somewhat emotional, but I think fruit still comes from them. Changes come: Iron sharpens iron. We all wrestle at Jabbok and hang on to all we think we know saying, "I will not let thee go, except thou bless me." Then when Truth is more fully revealed we limp out in victory with a fuller understanding (Eph 1:18).
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Mon May 10, 2004 1:18 AM

Hi Steve:

Having grown weary of this "discussion", I was reading Goodwin on Hebrews 6 and false profession and found it to be the most penetrating and insightful I have read on this controversial passage. Stunning really, but in the process of analysis of the verse he states the following in passing, for this is not his primary emphasis here:

Quote
... 'Know ye not that as amany of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ,' it having been into Him, and therefore 'were baptized into his death' (which here in vs. 5 is explained by a being 'planted together into the likeness of His death',etc), baptism being the sacrament signifying our ingraftature into Christ, ver. 8, and our being planted together with Christ into the same conformity


I note that Goodwin says that baptism signifies our ingraftature into Christ, which agrees with our postion that Baptism is an outward sign of an inward reality, not an "objective sign of a promise of God".

Back to reading Goodwin now, rather than "laying again a foundation of repentance... and doctrines of baptisms" per Paul's instruction at the beginning of Heb 6.

In Him,

Gerry
Posted By: grace2U

Re: The New Covenant - Mon May 10, 2004 7:31 AM

Hi Pilgrim,
I actually quite like your analogy of the high voltage cables; I think it fits quite well <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/coffee2.gif" alt="" />

One needs to remember than baptism, though ordained by Christ, is operated (if that's the word) by man, and like anything we do, is fallible. We must not therefore confuse the sign with the seal, which, being affixed by God Himself is not fallible. The seal is, of course, the Holy Spirit (Eph 1:13. cf. 2Cor 1:22).

Just in case there is any confusion, my position is articulated in Art 29.1 of the 1689 Confession.

Blessings,
Steve
Posted By: grace2U

Re: The New Covenant - Mon May 10, 2004 12:28 PM

Hi Joe,
Sorry for not replying sooner; I missed your post.
What I would like to see are answers to Gerry's posts of May 6th, 8-16; May 7th 6-17 and May 7th 9-50. It may be that you feel that these have already been answered (and the thread has grown so large and unwieldy that I may have missed it), but I'd be obliged if you'd humour me by dealing with Gerry's points. It does seem to me that he has put his finger on the weakness of the PB covenant structure.

Every blessing,
Steve
Posted By: Henry

Re: The New Covenant - Mon May 10, 2004 1:17 PM

Hate to jump in here, but I couldn't ignore the logic in this post.

Quote
Pilgrim said:
For example, one of the situations I am thinking of is one of the "signs" posted down at the hydro plant; KEEP OUT - High voltage. Now, the placard seen is the "outward sign" (no pun intended) of an "inward reality" (the high voltage). But again, using but not pressing in any way whatsosever, your "logic", to the one who believes that there is serious danger involved with that equipment, the sign truly signifies the reality of that high voltage. But if one refuses to believe there is danger, then the sign is "effectively void", i.e., what the sign says is untrue.


No it isn't. If I see a sign that says "High Voltage," I'm going to assume that there's high voltage back there. If I randomly refuse to accept that there is high voltage back there, does that in any way affect the real facts? If, however, I have good reason to doubt that there was high voltage back there (i.e. lets say my friend worked for the power co. and told me it had been shut down), I might start to doubt the sign, but only because I doubted the "inward reality" first. This is fair.

Quote
Or we could look at it in another way and see the same illogic of it. If the sign says there is High Voltage and there is indeed high voltage there, then the sign is true; i.e., it is an "outward sign" of the "inward reality". But if there is no high voltage, then the "outward sign" is no sign at all for there is no "inward reality".


Yes, it's still a sign, just a lying sign. If I were to baptize Howard Stern in his present state, all the phycicalities of the sign would be there- the water, etc.- but it wouldn't mean anything. It would be a sign that said "High Voltage" when none was there. In this case, I would call up the guy who hung the sign, and complain, because it isn't telling the truth and is misleading.

Quote
The problem isn't with the sign and its inability to communicate a truth; a reality, but with your understanding of how a sign functions. Baptism IS a sign of a reality. But that reality is not to be found in the SUBJECT(IVE) realm, e.g., the recipient of the sign but in the OBJECTIVE truth; i.e., God saves believing sinners by the washing away of their sins in Christ's blood. The sign is ALWAYS and FOREVER true, regardless of who receives the sign, for the reality is the promise of God which can never change. The application of what the sign signifies does vary dependent upon whether or not the person being baptized has faith. But again, the "sign of the covenant" does not change since it does not find its meaning and/or significance in the subjectivity of the recipient, but rather in the immutable promise of God and the reality of Christ's accomplished substitutionary atonement in behalf of the elect. In short, Baptism IS "an outward sign" but of an "outward reality", which may demonstrate what belongs to the person being baptized should they have faith.


Now you're taking a huge leap, by saying that "High Voltage" signs aren't a sign of the subjective reality of that one particular station having high voltage, but of the objective reality that all real power stations everywhere have high voltage. If this were the case, I could hang a "High Voltage" sign over my bedroom door, or the neighbour's doghouse, and it wouldn't be a problem. Hey, we could hang 'em everywhere- at every street corner! In every restaraunt! It would be awesome, because it would continue to proclaim to everyone the objective reality that all real power stations have high voltage. What would be more wonderful?

And what it does, is makes the signs in front of real power stations mean absolutely nothing anymore.
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: The New Covenant - Mon May 10, 2004 1:51 PM

Quote
Henry quips:
Hate to jump in here, but I couldn't ignore the logic in this post. . . .

I see another one can't seem to grasp what is so simple: Baptists define baptism in such a way that it is no definition at all because the definition changes depending upon the recipient of baptism. Thus, in plain English, Baptists have no definition that is valid to describe what baptism MEANS. You all adamantly say baptism IS, "an outward sign of an inward reality". Okay fine... so by DEFINITION when I see the sign there MUST BE that "inward reality" existing in the person being baptized. If there is no reality, then baptism is NOT "an outward sign of an inward reality". Thus the definition is false.

It's a universal maxim: "Something cannot be and not be at the same time!" grin

I think I have gone through this simple little lesson far too many times at this point. If you or any other Baptist doesn't "get it" now, then I fear nothing I could say further on this particular point will be worth the effort. This is mostly due to another maxim: "Don't confuse me with the facts. I already have my mind made up!" rofl

In His Grace,
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Mon May 10, 2004 3:32 PM

Hi Henry:

Thanks for pointing out the glaring errors in the reasoning of Pilgrims post.

It is comforting to know that someone else sees them and has the courage of their convictions to say so.

In Him,

Gerry
Posted By: J_Edwards

Re: The New Covenant - Mon May 10, 2004 9:24 PM

[/quote]
Quote
grace2U said:
Hi Joe,
Sorry for not replying sooner; I missed your post.
What I would like to see are answers to Gerry's posts of May 6th, 8-16; May 7th 6-17 and May 7th 9-50. It may be that you feel that these have already been answered (and the thread has grown so large and unwieldy that I may have missed it), but I'd be obliged if you'd humour me by dealing with Gerry's points. It does seem to me that he has put his finger on the weakness of the PB covenant structure.

Every blessing,
Steve

Steve,

Please give me the specific questions you desire answered. Begin a separate post for them that way we do not have go through 200 posts to determine what you desire??? Dates like May 6th, 8-16; May Th 6-17 and May 7th 9-50 are no help at all. I am assuming that by 8-16 you mean 8:16 a time, but I see no posts matching with with those times. Thus, please if you have a specific question begin a new thread and ask the question.
Posted By: Henry

Re: The New Covenant - Tue May 11, 2004 4:17 AM

Quote
Pilgrim said:
I see another one can't seem to grasp what is so simple: Baptists define baptism in such a way that it is no definition at all because the definition changes depending upon the recipient of baptism. Thus, in plain English, Baptists have no definition that is valid to describe what baptism MEANS. You all adamantly say baptism IS, "an outward sign of an inward reality". Okay fine... so by DEFINITION when I see the sign there MUST BE that "inward reality" existing in the person being baptized. If there is no reality, then baptism is NOT "an outward sign of an inward reality". Thus the definition is false.

It's a universal maxim: "Something cannot be and not be at the same time!" grin

I think I have gone through this simple little lesson far too many times at this point. If you or any other Baptist doesn't "get it" now, then I fear nothing I could say further on this particular point will be worth the effort. This is mostly due to another maxim: "Don't confuse me with the facts. I already have my mind made up!" rofl
In His Grace,


Pilgrim,

With all due respect (because there's a lot!) please go back and read my post and the arguments I made. If I didn't know better, it would appear that your doctinal position was blinding your ability to see plain logic, at least in this instance.
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: The New Covenant - Tue May 11, 2004 12:27 PM

Quote
please go back and read my post and the arguments I made. If I didn't know better, it would appear that your doctinal position was blinding your ability to see plain logic, at least in this instance.

You are right about this one thing, brother.... it is plain logic (common sense even) that is behind and consistent with my doctrinal position which is firmly based upon my understanding of the Scriptures. I do not have a presupposition which bifurcates Israel and the Church, the Covenant(s), etc., into neat little separate discontinuitous compartments (aka: Dispensational hermeneutic). My biblical theology is linear and progressive. grin

My argument is sound. If it were not, then we could know nothing with certainty for everything would exist in a state of flux depending upon certain mutable conditions. So, by definition, I may be a man today but not tomorrow, depending if certain conditions are present. rolleyes2 The onus is upon Baptists to show how their "definition" of baptism can be and not be a "sign" of a "reality". It simply doesn't make any sense... sorry

In His Grace,
Posted By: Henry

Re: The New Covenant - Tue May 11, 2004 1:07 PM

Quote
The onus is upon Baptists to show how their "definition" of baptism can be and not be a "sign" of a "reality". It simply doesn't make any sense...


I clarified this misunderstanding quite clearly in my post when I talked about the "High Voltage" signs hung on a power station where there was none at all- i.e. the Howard Stern example. I'm suprised that didn't make sense- it sure does to this anylitical mind.

I would say there is an onus upon you, or any other paedobaptist, to answer the subtle challenge here:

Quote
Now you're taking a huge leap, by saying that "High Voltage" signs aren't a sign of the subjective reality of that one particular station having high voltage, but of the objective reality that all real power stations everywhere have high voltage. If this were the case, I could hang a "High Voltage" sign over my bedroom door, or the neighbour's doghouse, and it wouldn't be a problem. Hey, we could hang 'em everywhere- at every street corner! In every restaraunt! It would be awesome, because it would continue to proclaim to everyone the objective reality that all real power stations have high voltage. What would be more wonderful?

And what it does, is makes the signs in front of real power stations mean absolutely nothing anymore.
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: The New Covenant - Tue May 11, 2004 4:03 PM

Quote
I would say there is an onus upon you, or any other paedobaptist, to answer the subtle challenge here:


Quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now you're taking a huge leap, by saying that "High Voltage" signs aren't a sign of the subjective reality of that one particular station having high voltage, but of the objective reality that all real power stations everywhere have high voltage. If this were the case, I could hang a "High Voltage" sign over my bedroom door, or the neighbour's doghouse, and it wouldn't be a problem. Hey, we could hang 'em everywhere- at every street corner! In every restaraunt! It would be awesome, because it would continue to proclaim to everyone the objective reality that all real power stations have high voltage. What would be more wonderful?

And what it does, is makes the signs in front of real power stations mean absolutely nothing anymore.

One last comment and then igiveup

Your remarks above simply illustrate my point, and thanks for doing so, that Baptists want to DEFINE baptism on the a foundation of shifting sand, i.e., the subjective, the spiritual state of the individual. This is impossible due to the very nature of the case. In your illustration, you balk at the truth that "High Voltage" means just what it says... HIGH VOLTAGE. The fact that the "sign" is misplaced doesn't diminish what the "sign" means. Paedobaptists are more correct to DEFINE baptism by what it truly is; a "sign" of the redemption of sinners secured by the substitutionary atonement of the Lord Christ. Regardless of who the recipient is, it always and forever means the same. You are confusing the reality of that which baptism signifies with the application of that reality to individuals. In so doing, as averagefellar has many times tried and failed to communicate, one must be able to know incontrovertibly that the person being baptized in fact does possess that which baptism signifies; i.e., the "inward reality" of faith. However, few if any Baptists, will ever agree that this is possible. That can clearly be evidenced from the comments made by Baptists on this Board throughout these discussions. They all admit that there are false professors who receive baptism. Thus the definition given to baptism is untrue, false, meaningless, spurious, useless.... agnostic. One simply cannot know the meaning of baptism as Baptists are want to define it because, 1) it depends upon a variable, 2) the variable is impossible to know infallibly.

So, now I must make my leave of this discussion as I cannot see where anything I could add would be of any benefit. Having studied at a Baptist seminary, I am fully aware of the position and how it is derived. It never did ring true to me and I would venture to say, it never will. And, as I have often said, I find errors on both sides. Consequently, I am targeted by both and thus I have found it most prudent just to sit back and watch the two sides throw stones at each other and expend my energy in more fruitful endeavors. grin

In His Grace,
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Tue May 11, 2004 5:44 PM

Henry,
I think that the better question is about Who are the "worthy recipients" of baptism, instead of the matter of how we define it . Your point made sense to me and I cannot understand why it doesn't to others.
A wedding ring is a sign that a vow has taken place between a man and a woman who have become one flesh in God's sight. This sign could be worn by an unmarried woman or man in order to give an appearance that they are married, even if they are not. It could also be given to a man by his homosexual lover at a "civil ceremony" yet, in both these instances, the sign means nothing at all about the person's state of being truly married. There is nothing wrong with the sign, but the ones who are wearing it are "unworthy recipients" and it communicates a lie about their state. To the worthy recipients, the sign of the wedding ring given as a token of their commitment shows their true condition, that they are truly married. To Abraham whose heart was circumcized, circumcision was a seal of righteousness. To Ishmael whose heart was uncircumcised, it was not a seal of righteousness to him. If a person was not circumcised at heart, their circumcision meant nothing. Likewise baptism given to someone who is a false professor means nothing like the instance of Simon the sorceror.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Tue May 11, 2004 10:27 PM

So what about this Pilgrim?
Baptism, for the worthy recipient, is a sign and seal of an inward reality.

Can we all agree with that definition? We will still disagree about what a "worthy recipient" is though and could discuss that till the cows come home. argue
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: The New Covenant - Tue May 11, 2004 10:54 PM

Quote
Susan said:
So what about this Pilgrim?
Baptism, for the worthy recipient, is a sign and seal of an inward reality.

Can we all agree with that definition? We will still disagree about what a "worthy recipient" is though and could discuss that till the cows come home. argue

[Linked Image] For the very reason you state after the question. rolleyes2 Why? This is insufficient to qualify as a definition because you simply cannot know the spiritual state of the "worthy recipient". What I will agree to is this: "Baptism is a sign and seal of an inward reality to and of a true believer." grin This qualifies because it is OBJECTIVELY true in any and all cases.

As a paedobaptist; one who rejects all forms of presumption of the salvation of covenant children, who I believe are "worthy recipients", what you propose would mean that every single infant/child who is baptized is saved. This is nothing more than the same error Baptists make in their insistence that baptism IS "an outward sign of an inward reality"! rofl

Now, I violated my own decision to further my involvement here. stupidme This is my final response .... honest! :laugh

In His Grace,
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: The New Covenant - Tue May 11, 2004 11:03 PM

Quote
"Baptism is a sign and seal of an inward reality to and of a true believer."

Yes, I see the problem with my definition when applied to the paedo view. Yours sounds fine to me! BigThumbUp
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