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#13651 Wed Apr 14, 2004 9:02 PM
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Richard in another discussion thread said this: I understand that as a member of an American Presbyterian church such as the OPC that your church order would partake of much of the western culture. But there is no biblical basis for baptizing the infants and not also baptizing the wife of a man who professes Christ. Custom, I understand. But the Scripture, of course, does not make such an assertion. Acts 8:12 is vague on the subject and Acts 16:15 deals specifically with a woman who seems to be the head of a household for whatever reason. So, I don't see a biblical basis for withholding baptism from a wife. It is interesting to me that American paedos will use 1 Cor. 7:14 to justify the teaching of paedobaptism, but will not use the same passage to justify the baptism of a spouse.

Now I understand the reasoning (although I disagree with it) for baptizing infants even if there is but one believing person in the household. However, I must say that I can't see the reasoning from scripture or the Westminster Confession that an unbelieving spouse should be baptized because the head of the household has been baptized.

Also Richard I'd like an explanation with respect to Lydia in Acts 16:14-15. She apparently was the head of the household. Now I can't see that she was married but let us suppose that she was, does this mean since she was the head her husband (who may have been unbelieving) was baptized also? Does this mean we are to baptize unbelieving husbands?

Please elucidate.

#13652 Thu Apr 15, 2004 9:54 AM
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PrestorJohn said:
Now I understand the reasoning (although I disagree with it) for baptizing infants even if there is but one believing person in the household. However, I must say that I can't see the reasoning from scripture or the Westminster Confession that an unbelieving spouse should be baptized because the head of the household has been baptized.

The reasoning is identical. The head of the household is precisely that -- a covenantal head. If he should decide to move his family from Texas to Indiana or Michigan, the spouse and children my object, but at the end of the day they go. Similarly when he changes his religion from paganism or some other form of idolatry to the true religion, he does so not only for himself but also for all his family.

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Also Richard I'd like an explanation with respect to Lydia in Acts 16:14-15. She apparently was the head of the household. Now I can't see that she was married but let us suppose that she was, does this mean since she was the head her husband (who may have been unbelieving) was baptized also? Does this mean we are to baptize unbelieving husbands?

In my opinion, a woman is never a head of a household in which there is a husband present. She may have significant teaching and child-rearing responsibilites (and does at the church I pastor), such as Eunice and Lois did (2 Tim. 1:5). But there is no reason to maintain that she "automatically" takes the place of the husband in a covenantally structured family. So, when I said "for whatever reason," I was contemplating divorce or widowhood. I was not suggesting that Lydia may have been head of a household in which a husband was present. Further, in the same epistle in which 1 Cor. 7:14 appears, we have the clear teaching that the husband is the head of the wife (not just the children). But if the husband is the head of the wife, then the wife is not and cannot be the head of the husband. Of course, being the cads and curmudgeons that we are, Paul also found it important to explain that headship does not mean tyranny (1 Cor. 11:2-16).

Did that elucidate fairly?

Quick question in return: how do you think paedobaptists should deal with the commandment God gave to Abraham not only to circumcise Ishmael and Isaac (and his natural-born children), but also to circumcise his household servants? I realize you are not a paedobaptist and so this is not really your difficulty, but how do you think we should handle it? Do you not see the elegance of dealing with households rather than simply "infants?"

#13653 Thu Apr 15, 2004 11:00 AM
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Hi Richard:

You said in your post on this subject:

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Similarly when he changes his religion from paganism or some other form of idolatry to the true religion, he does so not only for himself but also for all his family.

Unfortunately, your overly broad interpretaion of the nature of the covenant, in my opinion, disregards, and in fact contradicts, another command of scripture and thus, does not stand the test of the analogy of the faith, which is that in order to establish a Biblical Truth, or doctrine, on any given subject one must reconcile all the pertinant verses on that subject.

One such verse which your statement on the covenantal nature of the Husband as head of the household contradicts scripture is the following:

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Eph. 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

Here children are told to obey their parents when such commands are in agreement with the Lord's teaching, which is obviously not the case if their parents tell them to worship some pagan idol as you cite in your example.

Surely, I have misunderstood the meaning of your post?

In Him,

Gerry

#13654 Thu Apr 15, 2004 11:20 AM
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Dear Gerry,

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Surely, I have misunderstood the meaning of your post?

I'm not sure if you misunderstood or if I was simply not clear. But in either event, please allow me to clarify now. Nobody -- not covenant head, policeman, husband, magistrate, judge, minister, etc. -- has the authority to command us to do anything unlawful. That means that he does not have the authority to turn either himself or his family to paganism or idolatry. But he does, as covenant head of the family, have the authority to turn them from paganism and idolatry to serve the true and living God (cf. 1 Thess. 1:9). Of course, when I refer to "American culture" as I did in the previous thread, one of the things I intended by that is the American idea that the magistrate cannot commit his nation to the religion of the true and living God. I think that is wrong biblically (though I also acknowledge that this is such a minority position in this country as to be miniscule).

Here is a worship service that indicates my basic view of baptism.

#13655 Thu Apr 15, 2004 8:01 PM
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Quick question in return: how do you think paedobaptists should deal with the commandment God gave to Abraham not only to circumcise Ishmael and Isaac (and his natural-born children), but also to circumcise his household servants? I realize you are not a paedobaptist and so this is not really your difficulty, but how do you think we should handle it? Do you not see the elegance of dealing with households rather than simply "infants?"

Quick response (keep in mind I could give you a slow response but I need to ponder much <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />) I think that the paedobaptists should realize that in the economy of the new covenant that the command to baptize households means those that profess faith and their children. And it doesn't mean to baptize everyone indiscriminately just because the head of the household believes.

Speaking as a baptist I would maintain that the economy of the new covenant being a better covenant than the old calls for a different administration of that covenant to wit only those that profess faith should be baptized.

yours,

#13656 Thu Apr 15, 2004 8:21 PM
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Speaking as a baptist I would maintain that the economy of the new covenant being a better covenant than the old calls for a different administration of that covenant to wit only those that profess faith should be baptized.
I have had the honor of speaking to Dr. Roger Nichole (a Baptist and visiting Professor of Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary) for hours concerning baptism. We have gone through all the Scripture and theology and have basically stalemated (like we do here). Your statement above is where we ended up from his point of view. We meet again soon and we are contemplating the issue of where is the proof of that "new administration" in baptism? Additionally, what is meant by "better" (a new administration, a continuing covenant more fully revealed, etc.)? So, how do you maintain your view?


Reformed and Always Reforming,
#13657 Fri Apr 16, 2004 7:34 AM
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PrestorJohn said:
I think that the paedobaptists should realize that in the economy of the new covenant that the command to baptize households means those that profess faith and their children. And it doesn't mean to baptize everyone indiscriminately just because the head of the household believes.

Can you give me an example of "household" meaning that in any other context? In other words, it seems that you are possibly leaving yourself open to the charge of special pleading when it comes to the subject of baptism and households.

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Speaking as a baptist I would maintain that the economy of the new covenant being a better covenant than the old calls for a different administration of that covenant to wit only those that profess faith should be baptized.

Yes, I understand. I've read both sides of the issue. And I would say that someone like Paul Jewett, for example, makes as good a case as can be made for the idea of credobaptism. I don't contemn (or condemn) your pov. But I do think it is important to demonstrate the "why" of these changes in adminstration that you propose. Do such changes advance the covenant of grace or do they retard it? In what ways do they advance or retard? These are the kinds of questions I'm proposing. If children should not be baptized (even though they had been circumcised for something like 2000 years at the inauguration of the new covenant economony), is it not passing strange that nothing was said to that effect?

#13658 Fri Apr 16, 2004 11:27 AM
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Hi Richard:

Thanks for the response and clarification. I'm glad to see I was mistaken in my understanding of what you're post was saying.

In Him,

Gerry

#13659 Sat Apr 17, 2004 8:37 AM
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Richard asked of Prestor John:
Can you give me an example of "household" meaning that in any other context? In other words, it seems that you are possibly leaving yourself open to the charge of special pleading when it comes to the subject of baptism and households.

Richard I don't think I am special pleading here when it comes to the issue of households being baptized. When I look at the examples that I have of the households being baptized I see a pattern there.

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While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who heard the word. They of the circumcision who believed were amazed, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was also poured out on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in other languages and magnifying God. Then Peter answered, "Can any man forbid the water, that these who have received the Holy Spirit as well as we should not be baptized?" He commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay some days. (Acts 10:44-48)

and brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" They said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household." They spoke the word of the Lord to him, and to all who were in his house. He took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes, and was immediately baptized, he and all his household. He brought them up into his house, and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, with all his household, having believed in God. (Acts 16:30-34)

He departed there, and went into the house of a certain man named Justus, one who worshiped God, whose house was next door to the synagogue. Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord with all his house. Many of the Corinthians, when they heard, believed and were baptized. (Acts 18:7-8)

Richard in all of those accounts it tells me that those of the household who heard the Word of God believed and because of that belief were baptized. Now I know that "all" doesn't necessarily mean all but contextually I must say that for those households it does. So to me it means that not only the head of the household believed but also those under the head of the household too. All believed and they believed because they heard the Word of God. Therefore my logical conclusion is that it wasn't because the head of the household believed that the wife was baptized. But it was because the wife believed along with the entire household that they were baptized.

yours,

J_Edwards #13660 Sat Apr 17, 2004 8:44 AM
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Joe I'm going to answer you, but I've got to set down and do some thinking. Between you and Richard this poor wee baptist's mind has been stretched a mite taut. Your causing neural synapses to fire that had wanted to stay dormant so being a baptist I must first go soak my head and then when cooled answer you. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/jester.gif" alt="" />

#13661 Sat Apr 17, 2004 10:21 AM
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Your causing neural synapses to fire that had wanted to stay dormant so being a baptist I must first go soak my head and then when cooled answer you.
See this proves that dunking is bad for you. Had you only been sprinkled the synapses would still "fire." <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />


Reformed and Always Reforming,
J_Edwards #13662 Sat Apr 17, 2004 10:39 AM
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<img src="/forum/images/graemlins/3stooges.gif" alt="" />

#13663 Sat Apr 17, 2004 11:45 AM
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While I am sure Richard will reply to you I would like to briefly respond here as well. Oikos is employed in a phrase that runs throughout the Old Testament and right through the New Testament. Of course, it means household. It begs the question, "Was baptism administered in the New Testament according to the Abrahamic household model or according to the modern "Baptist" model which emphasizes baptism as an individual and adult decision"? I will let Richard address that.

But, it also begs for its identity in family blessing and cursings? Is there similarity here?

Reading both the Old and New Testaments we see the continuity of family blessing and cursing. What about, "And Jesus said unto him, To-day is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham" (Luke 19:9). This is found in the story about Zacchaeus the tax collector. No other member of Zacchaeus' family is mentioned in the story, yet Jesus doesn't say that salvation had come to just Zacchaeus, but that salvation had come to Zacchaeus' household. And what about, "The Lord grant mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus: for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain" (2 Tim 1:16). Onesiphorus had served Paul so the Apostle invoked a blessing upon his whole house. While neither of these New Testament examples speak directly to the issue of baptism, they do in fact speak to the issue of family and household blessings. Blessings (which baptism certainly is) and cursings had effects on whole families! Adam is a prime example. The whole human race is of the seed of Adam and ALL fell in Adam. The curse also fell upon his seed (his family) that had no direct accountability in his personal sin. You can trace this all the way through the Old Testament….and the New. Thus, here we see a continuity in family blessings and cursing.

Additionally, the salvation of the household is a normal Bible pattern, not the salvation of just independent individuals (John 4:53; Acts 10:2, 11:14; Matt 10:12-14).
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Hebrews 11:7-9 By faith Noah, being warned of God concerning things not seen as yet, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house [did they all believe?, 1 Pet 3:20-21]; through which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed to go out unto a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he became a sojourner in the land of promise, as in a land not his own, dwelling in tents, with [his family] Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
In general, there are family blessing and cursings. In general, the New Testament baptismal practice (yes, a blessing to those who are elect and a curse to those who are …) was the baptism of an entire household at one time and not the baptism of individuals one by one. Moreover, these references to receiving the covenant sign of baptism are couched in similar language as the references to Abraham's reception of the covenant sign. Thus, IMHO the Old Testament pattern of giving the covenant sign of salvation to the whole household, including infants (i.e. eight day old Isaac), carries right over into the New Testament. Of course, this is only one point in the totality of the whole of the argument, but sufficient enough for our purposes here, IMHO.

IMHO, Dispensational Theology (DT) appears to be at the root of much of the mis-understanding of baptismal issues. If and when it is replaced with a proper hermeneutic of Covenant Theology (CT) a better understanding of the issues will arise. What I do find amazing is that the majority of individuals that are of the CT view have studied the DT view, but very few in the DT view seem to have studied the CT view—or maybe they have and they have all become CTers <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/rofl.gif" alt="" />


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#13664 Sat Apr 17, 2004 11:47 AM
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Prestor writes:

Richard in all of those accounts it tells me that those of the household who heard the Word of God believed and because of that belief were baptized. Now I know that "all" doesn't necessarily mean all but contextually I must say that for those households it does. So to me it means that not only the head of the household believed but also those under the head of the household too. All believed and they believed because they heard the Word of God. Therefore my logical conclusion is that it wasn't because the head of the household believed that the wife was baptized. But it was because the wife believed along with the entire household that they were baptized.

Actually not all household baptisms recorded in the Bible tell us who were included nor whether faith was present in all the members of the household. If it were that cut and dried there would be no discussion.

Acts 16:14,15 tells about a certain woman named Lydia who believed. We read that she and her household were baptised, but it doesn't tell us who her family members included nor if they had faith. Also in the story of the Phillippian Jailer which is recorded later in that same chapter we read Paul and Silas's reply to his question about salvation. In verse 31 they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household." This statement came before his family had heard the word.

Then in verse 32 we read, "Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house." My point is simply that the promise was given to him before they heard the word. In addition we don't know the ages of the individuals in his household.

In I Corinthians 1 Paul talks about some individuals he baptized and one household. In verse 16 he mentions the household of Stephanas. Yet what do we know about this household. My point is that we don't have a complete picture to support your presupposition.

Throughout redemptive history it has often been God's practice to save entire family units at the same time (Acts 2:38,39; 11:14; 16:31; Gen. 17:7-14). The household baptisms of Acts are striking examples of this (10:47, 48; 16:31-33; cf I Cor. 1:16). Such household baptisms were apparently standard practice.

In as much as these examples tell us God can and does choose to save entire families it leaves a lot unsaid. My concern from a paedobaptist's point of view questions the adult members of these households. I'm sure as a credobaptist you want each individual regardless of age to believe before they are baptized. Regardless the promise is there in these verses prior to the fulfillment.


Wes


When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride. - Isaac Watts
J_Edwards #13665 Sat Apr 17, 2004 12:16 PM
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Joe,

It has been my experience that many Credobaptists have grave concerns over the language used by many Paedobaptists, in that on the surface, it DOES appear that baptism and salvation are synonymous. Thus, to baptize an infant or an adult, in the case of Richard's view, connotes that salvation is infallibly promised and/or some salvific blessings are conferred. This concern is not confined to Credobaptists, as I too have found much to object to when I read such statements that have come from Paedobaptists. The problem I see here is that when we read, for example, "salvation has come to this house", one could wrongly assume that it means that each and every member of that household was saved. Or, that salvation would eventually come to each member of that household. I think this idea that "God generally saves entire families" only serves to exacerbate the chasm which separates Paedos and Credos. I personally find no biblical evidence that God saves "households". But contrariwise, when I read the O.T. record, it would seem that paradigmatically, the exact opposite is true. We read of this with the promise to Abraham, there was a bifurcation of that family (Isaac and Ismael). And again with Jacob and Esau. Actually, we see this even from the first with the children of Adam and Eve; i.e., Abel and Cain and again in the household of Noah.

What I believe is true is exemplified in the words of Peter:

Acts 2:37-39 (ASV) Now when they heard [this,] they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do? And Peter [said] unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 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.


Salvation is promised to 1) those who repent and believe upon Christ, and 2) as many as the Lord our God shall call. These two elements determine salvation; one being God's sovereign and infallible call and man's responsibility to respond to that call, which is the fruit of regeneration. There is no universal, infallible promise of salvation to households. The promise of God extends to those who belong to those who fall within the two qualifications of, 1) efficacious calling and 2) repentance and faith.

Now, this "individualism" is no less biblical than is the practice of baptizing "groups" (households). And in my view, this would include ONLY believing adults and their children. Although they do go hand in hand, despite the objections of Credobaptists, they are mutually exclusive when it comes to the promise of salvation.

Granted, if both sides would acknowledge the verity of what I hold to be true, this would not remove all the differences that exist between the two camps. But I do believe it would remove some of the differences and thus bring about a more irenic relationship between them.

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