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#42427 Sun May 10, 2009 5:34 PM
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I was reading what Lutherans believe about salvation, particularly how it contrasts between the Calvinist belief in “irrestible grace” and the Arminian belief in “prevenient grace”.

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Lutheran
Like Calvinists, Lutherans view the work of salvation as monergistic in which an unconverted or unrepentant person always resists and rejects God and his ways.[4] Even during conversion, the Formula of Concord says, humans resist "the Word and will of God, until God awakens him from the death of sin, enlightens and renews him."[5] Furthermore, they both see the preaching of the gospel as a means of grace by which God offers salvation.
Calvinists distinguish between a resistible, outward call to salvation given to all who hear the free offer of the gospel, and an efficacious, inward work by the Holy Spirit. Every person is unwilling to follow the outward call to salvation until, as the Westminster Confession puts it, "being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed by it."[6] Once inwardly renewed, every person freely follows God and his ways as "not only the obligatory but the preferable good,"[7] and hence that special renewing grace is always effective.
Contrary to the Calvinist position, Lutherans hold that whenever the Holy Spirit works outwardly through the Word and sacraments, he always acts inwardly through them as well. Unlike Calvinists, Lutherans believe the Holy Spirit always works efficaciously.[8] The Word heard by those that resist it is just as effective as the Word preached to those that convert.[9] The Formula of Concord teaches that when humans reject the calling of the Holy Spirit, it is not a result of the Word being less efficacious. Instead, contempt for the means of grace is the result of "the perverse will of man, which rejects or perverts the means and instrument of the Holy Ghost, which God offers him through the call, and resists the Holy Ghost, who wishes to be efficacious, and works through the Word..."[10]
Lutherans are certain that the work of the Holy Spirit does not occur merely alongside the means of grace to regenerate, but instead is an integral part of them, always working through them wherever they are found. Lutherans teach that the Holy Spirit limits himself to working only through the means of grace and nowhere else.[11] so that those who reject the means of grace are simultaneously resisting and rejecting the Holy Spirit and the grace he brings.[8] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irresistible_grace
Obviously as a Calvinist I don’t agree with Lutherans conclusions on this view. However, I am trying to wrap my mind around what they actually believe. If this is an accurate understanding of Lutherans views, it makes it sound like a synergetic view of salvation, rather than a monergistic view.
If one can resist the efficacious grace of God, then wouldn’t the logical conclusion be that salvation is synergistic?
Understand that I am not interested at this point at who is correct, just the logical conclusions of such a view.
Perhaps someone can explain this to me.

Tom

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Tom,

IF <---- what the person who wrote that section in the Wikipedia article was true, i.e., this is what the "Formula of Concord" actually states, then yes, your conclusion would be correct... it is synergism and actually no different than the Arminian position of "prevenient grace".

However, I not only read the entire Wiki article, but I also followed the links provided in the footnotes thinking that this doesn't sound like historic Lutheranism. Footnote '17' brought me to a copy of the "Book of Concord" which states:

Quote
17] 3. That by His Holy Ghost, through the Word, when it is preached, heard, and pondered, He will be efficacious and active in us, convert hearts to true repentance, and preserve them in the true faith.
Now, what this says is far different than what the Wikipedia article author states, or rather has interpreted the official statement says. wink Notice the salient part which states: "when it is preached, heard, and pondered, He will be efficacious and active in us,...". There is nothing said about resisting the Holy Spirit. There is particularly nothing mentioned about the "calling", i.e., this preaching of the Word being inherently efficacious.

My conclusion is that the author of the Wikipedia article has misconstrued what the "Formula of Concord" teaches.

In His grace,


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Pilgrim #42430 Mon May 11, 2009 2:44 PM
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I agree completely Pilgrim that the author of the Wikipedia article put in his own interpretations however, I must also point out truly confessional Lutherans hold that Calvinist theology is a different gospel and as such they can't and will not join together with those of Calvinist beliefs.

Example 1: Differences between Calvinism and Lutheranism

Example 2: Taking the mask off of Calvinism

Example 3: Hour 3 Dr. Leonard Payton from Calvinism to Lutheranism

Example 4: Kim Riddlebarger: Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

Now I haven't listen to the MP3s just haven't had time but if they are indicative of what I have heard from confessional Lutherans (ELCA don't count tongue) then they are definitely viewing Calvinism as screwing up the gospel.


Peter

If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself. Augustine of Hippo
Peter #42431 Mon May 11, 2009 4:09 PM
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Well,

Example #1: The author has typically fabricated a straw man called, "Calvinism" and then burned it with his fiery rhetoric. It seems rather odd, doesn't it, that neither Luther nor Calvin wrote about such differences. And rarely can one find such condemnation in the writings on either side of authors who lived close to the time of Luther or Calvin. scratchchin

Example #2: Again, the author erects a straw man from some of the tenets of hyper-Calvinism and labels it "Calvinism" and then proceeds to burn it to the ground. The author knows little of the writings of John Calvin which can be evidenced by his erroneous statement that John Calvin himself didn't hold to "Limited Atonement" (aka: particular redemption), but the doctrine is derived by his later followers from human reason. Paul Helms has obliterated this silly idea in his book, Calvin and the Calvinists, which shows how Kendrick and all those like him distort the writings of John Calvin in an attempt to make Calvin an Arminian. rolleyes2

Example #3: Likewise, I didn't take time to listen to the MP3. evilgrin

Example #4: Kim Riddlebarger did a fine job of presenting the distinctives of the "Five Points" to which historic, traditional Calvinists all hold to. That's the good part. However, as one who adheres to the Dutch Reformed tradition, he fell into the typical contradiction when it comes to infant baptism. On the one hand he disparaged (and rightly so) Abraham Kuyper's view of "presumptive regeneration" but then on the other hand he stated that in his view, all infants of believers are to be "presumed/considered" to be Christians unless they openly deny the faith. Now, pray tell, how can someone be considered a Christian if they have not been previously regenerated? And knowing that such a thing is utterly impossible, then Riddlebarger is no less guilty of holding to "presumptive regeneration" than those with whom he says he disagrees and who are in error. giggle This was worth the time listening to on the whole, IMHO. grin

What one needs to keep squarely in front of them is that the Lutherans have an official Confession just as Reformed Baptists, Presbyterians, historic Congregationalists and Continental Reformed denominations do. And today especially, there are myriad individuals who speak contrary to those confessions all the while claiming to be of their respective confessional denomination. The modern ELCA adherents, at least some of them as is obvious, deviate from the views of their forefathers in a similar manner. But does this mean that Lutheranism is as diametrically opposed to Calvinism as these individual authors?

Thanks for the links.





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Pilgrim #42432 Mon May 11, 2009 4:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Pilgrim
However, as one who adheres to the Dutch Reformed tradition, he fell into the typical contradiction when it comes to infant baptism. On the one hand he disparaged (and rightly so) Abraham Kuyper's view of "presumptive regeneration" but then on the other hand he stated that in his view, all infants of believers are to be "presumed/considered" to be Christians unless they openly deny the faith. Now, pray tell, how can someone be considered a Christian if they have not been previously regenerated?

It’s not as typical as you may think, our denomination of 9000 or so and our sister denomination of over 100,000 reject Kuyper’s view of "presumptive regeneration" and certainly do not believe in a presumed salvation of covenant children but stress the need for regeneration between the cradle and the grave. THE END.




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William,

It may be true to various degrees in your denomination and in the sister denomination to which you referred. However, the OFFICIAL position of the Continental Reformed Churches can be found in the Form for the Baptism of Infants. Additionally, there are Dutch Reformed denominations, e.g., the PRC (Protestant Reformed Church) who reject the Kuyperian doctrine, although Kuyper surely didn't invent it but simply re-introduced it and made it popular once again, but who in practice are consistent with it. Lastly, there are Presbyerians who likewise hold to this view. THE END


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Pilgrim #42434 Mon May 11, 2009 7:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Pilgrim
William,

It may be true to various degrees in your denomination and in the sister denomination to which you referred. However, the OFFICIAL position of the Continental Reformed Churches can be found in the Form for the Baptism of Infants. Additionally, there are Dutch Reformed denominations, e.g., the PRC (Protestant Reformed Church) who reject the Kuyperian doctrine, although Kuyper surely didn't invent it but simply re-introduced it and made it popular once again, but who in practice are consistent with it. Lastly, there are Presbyerians who likewise hold to this view. THE END

Yes you colorized the parts that someone who holds that baptism is saving would also colorize. So I think we most look at thru it a different light. This first statement along with the three forms of unity clearly teach that the of the form of administration of baptism is not teaching baptismal regeneration and it is not the OFFICAL doctrine of “Churches of the Dutch tradition.”

The beginning of the form of administration says:
Quote
First: That we with our children are conceived and born in sin, and therefore are children of wrath, so that we cannot enter into the kingdom of God, except we are born again. This, the dipping in or sprinkling with water teaches us, whereby the impurity of our souls is signified, that we may be admonished to loathe ourselves, humble ourselves before God, and seek for our purification and salvation apart from ourselves.

I might add that the PRCA is only a small denomination of about 6000 members and baptismal regeneration is not their OFFICIAL position either. Neither is it the OFFICAL position of the Heritage Reformed Church founded by Joel Beeke.

So the teaching that baptism is saving and typical among “Churches of the Dutch tradition” is not a accurate statement.


Have a good Lord’s day,
William




William #42436 Tue May 12, 2009 1:21 AM
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William,

The "colorized" portions were not inserted by me but are part of the actual form. Let's get that point in our minds first. Secondly, I have not charged the Dutch Reformed Churches in general with holding to BAPTISMAL REGENERATION, but rather PRESUMPTIVE REGENERATION. The former is held by both Roman Catholics and Lutherans, i.e., baptism has some inherent salvific qualities. Thirdly, what the first part of the form says is true, i.e., taught in Scripture. However, the form then goes on to say that this necessity of being born again INHERENTLY belongs to all the children of believers. This is PRESUMPTIVE REGENERATION... get it? The form is indisputably clear in its teaching that covenant children are "in Christ". Now, perhaps you weren't a member here when the debate with Dr(s). McMahon took place over this heresy. shrug But if you were then let me remind you that this is exactly what is believed among those who believe covenant children are "to be considered Christians unless they repudiate "the faith", i.e., deny the fundamental tents of Christianity.

Again, in the New Testament, the term "in Christ" refers to and only refers to that union with Christ which is established by faith. And only those who have been "born again" by the Spirit of God, i.e., those elected to salvation by God from all eternity are given faith at regeneration. Thus, to state that the baptized infant is "in Christ" is de facto to also state that the child is regenerate... NOT due to baptism but due to the infant's relationship to a believing parent, aka: covenant child.

Whether the "Form for the Baptism of Infants" is the "Official" form adopted by all the Dutch Reformed Churches you decide. It just so happens to have been in the back of the Psalter, other hymnal or book of church order in every Dutch congregation I have attended, e.g. Christian Reformed Church, Reformed Church in America, Netherlands Reformed Church, Canadian Reformed Church, Protestant Reformed Church and Free Reformed Church. Also, having been a student for the ministry in the Free Reformed Church and having studied at the Protestant Reformed Seminary, both openly deny they hold to "Presumptive Regeneration", yet it was the OFFICIAL form used. However, as I stated originally, they contradict themselves by using the FORM and pronouncing and praying that the baptized infant is "in Christ", has its "sins washed", etc. As to Joel Beeke personally, or the Heritage Reformed Church denomination in regard to what they believe or practice on this subject I am not knowledgeable.

Lastly, with such a teaching as Presumptive Regeneration being taught and/or practiced is it any wonder why Baptists are so antagonistic against paedobaptists? The error isn't that baptism saves but rather being born of a believing parent inherently and automatically places you "in Christ" to which baptism is a sign and seal of THAT relationship is the error. And that error, by its very nature, contradicts other major tenets of Reformed Theology. It is a pernicious error which ironically and unfortunately is a point of pride among the Dutch as a whole (exceptions being allowed of course). grin

In His grace,


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Pilgrim #42437 Tue May 12, 2009 7:35 AM
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The "colorized" portions were not inserted by me but are part of the actual form. Let's get that point in our minds first.
Well I don’t know what modernized version of the form you have but the two Psalters that I have are printed it black and white.


Quote
Secondly, I have not charged the Dutch Reformed Churches in general with holding to BAPTISMAL REGENERATION, but rather PRESUMPTIVE REGENERATION. The former is held by both Roman Catholics and Lutherans, i.e., baptism has some inherent salvific qualities.
Sorry

Quote
Thirdly, what the first part of the form says is true, i.e., taught in Scripture. However, the form then goes on to say that this necessity of being born again INHERENTLY belongs to all the children of believers. This is PRESUMPTIVE REGENERATION... get it?
No need for sarcasm. One of the primary ways God builds his church is thru covenant families. Not the hear today gone tomorrow type churches that are antagonistic against paedobaptists. No regenerated creature (some congregations have over 1500 members) would ever believe that every one is presumably regenerated. The form says “Whereas in all covenants, there are contained two parts: therefore are we by God through baptism, admonished of, and obliged unto new obedience, namely, that we cleave to this one God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; that we trust in him, and love him with all our hearts, with all our souls, with all our mind, and with all our strength; that we forsake the world, crucify our old nature, and walk in a new and holy life” therefore those who are not born again and do not show forth fruits of being changed by God are still dead in their sins.

Quote
The form is indisputably clear in its teaching that covenant children are "in Christ".
Obviously this is speaking of the covenant of grace as opposed to being within the realm of the covenant.

Quote
Now, perhaps you weren't a member here when the debate with Dr(s). McMahon took place over this heresy. But if you were then let me remind you that this is exactly what is believed among those who believe covenant children are "to be considered Christians unless they repudiate "the faith", i.e., deny the fundamental tents of Christianity.
Dr. WHO. So YOU deny that there are some whom the seed of regeneration has been implanted by God between conception or dying in infancy and IF----> you believe that then all children who die in infancy go to Eternal Hell. Again the form says “First. That we with our children are conceived and born in sin, and therefore are children of wrath, in so much that we cannot enter into the kingdom of God, except we are born again. This, the dipping in, or sprinkling with water teaches us, whereby the impurity of our souls is signified, and we admonished to loathe, and humble ourselves before God, and seek for our purification and salvation without ourselves also”.

Quote
Again, in the New Testament, the term "in Christ" refers to and only refers to that union with Christ which is established by faith. And only those who have been "born again" by the Spirit of God, i.e., those elected to salvation by God from all eternity are given faith at regeneration. Thus, to state that the baptized infant is "in Christ" is de facto to also state that the child is regenerate... NOT due to baptism but due to the infant's relationship to a believing parent, aka: covenant child.

Again the form is speaking about the covenant of Grace, any regenerated person knows that there a two seeds. As it is written, "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated". Also this is clearly and beautifully taught in the Three Forms of Unity and summarize the Bible's doctrine of the covenant. It's thru these confessions the "The Dutch Reformed Churches" must look at the Form. Any other way is apostasy. Again it's not typical of the "Dutch Refomed Tradition".


William,





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William,

It surely sounds like you are defending your denomination rather than the error they embrace? shrug As to your question as to where I got the version of the "Form for the Baptism of Infants", it was scanned in from the back of the Psalter Hymnal which was dated some 40 years old. As I mentioned before, in most all of the Dutch Reformed churches I have attended who used this hymnal which contained the Three Forms of Unity and various forms for baptism, the Lord's Supper, etc., this Form was included and used. I say again, as a student for the ministry in one of the conservative Dutch Reformed churches, this "Form for the Baptism of Infants" was the OFFICIAL form that was and had to be used. Additionally, this same form was used and taught in the PRC seminary as their OFFICIAL form for the administration of the baptism of infants in their congregations. And to make it clear once again which evidently I have not done, the colored portions were colored by me to point out those portions in the Form which teach "presumptive regeneration".

Let's try to focus upon what the FORM itself says and discuss the proper understanding of it. I think it will be far more profitable than wasting time debating whether the form is "officially" accepted as the form used in infant baptism. grin

Quote
ADDRESS TO THE PARENTS


First: Do you acknowledge that our children, though conceived and born in sin and therefore subject to all manner of misery, yea, to condemnation itself, are sanctified in Christ, and therefore as members of His Church ought to be baptized?
What does it mean that the children of believers brought for baptism are "sanctified in Christ"? Can you give Scriptural evidence to support your understanding?

Quote
THANKSGIVING


Almighty God and merciful Father, we thank and praise Thee that Thou hast forgiven us and our children all our sins, through the blood of Thy beloved Son Jesus Christ, and received us through Thy Holy Spirit as members of Thine only begotten Son, and so adopted us to be Thy children, and sealed and confirmed the same unto us by holy baptism. We beseech Thee also, through Him, Thy beloved Son, that Thou wilt always govern these children by Thy Holy Spirit, that they may be nurtured in the Christian faith and in godliness, and grow and increase in the Lord Jesus Christ, in order that they may acknowledge Thy fatherly goodness and mercy, which Thou hast shown to them and to us all,
1. What does it mean that "Thou [God] has forgiven us and our children all our sins through the blood of Christ"?

2. What does it mean that these children are received through the Holy Spirit as members of Thine only begotten Son [Christ]"?

3. What does it mean to be "adopted as children"?

4. What does it mean that these children are "sealed and confirmed unto us by holy baptism"?

5. What do the words "always govern these children by Thy Holy Spirit"? Who are governed by the Spirit and nurtured in the Christian faith?

6. Who is it that can "grow and increase in the Lord Jesus Christ... shown to them"?

7. Lastly, in regard to the view that is founded upon what this Form teaches, i.e., "We are to look upon our children as Christians unless they deny the faith." Is it possible for a child to be considered and even deemed a Christian, i.e., to be in Christ and then for that child to fall away or to be considered never regenerate?

Quote
William wrote:
So YOU deny that there are some whom the seed of regeneration has been implanted by God between conception or dying in infancy and IF----> you believe that then all children who die in infancy go to Eternal Hell. Again the form says "First. That we with our children are conceived and born in sin, and therefore are children of wrath, in so much that we cannot enter into the kingdom of God, except we are born again. This, the dipping in, or sprinkling with water teaches us, whereby the impurity of our souls is signified, and we admonished to loathe, and humble ourselves before God, and seek for our purification and salvation without ourselves also".
I have never mentioned anything about the regeneration of infants dying in infancy. That there may be the rare exception that regeneration is given to an unborn child who lives is true. The Westminster Confession of Faith rightly states that "III. Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated, and saved by Christ, through the Spirit, who worketh when, and where, and how he pleaseth: so also are all other elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word." (Chapter X, article III) The doctrine of infant regeneration is nowhere taught in Scripture as a universal doctrine which applies to all or even to the majority of infants. Instances of regeneration in the womb are extremely rare, two of which come to mind are Jeremiah and John the Baptist.

So, please take time to answer the above questions so we can come to a right understanding of the Form through the teaching of Scripture. THANKS

In His grace,



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Pilgrim,

First I do not deny that many people of the Dutch reformed tradition do or have believed in a “Presumed Regeneration” but would say they are now in the minority.

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Pilgrim said:
William,

It surely sounds like you are defending your denomination rather than the error they embrace?
Sorry but I don’t think you worded this remark very well. If you are saying that my denomination holds to presumptive regeneration, I have to ask you to please not misrepresent them across the world wide web.

Quote
Pilgrim said:
As to your question as to where I got the version of the "Form for the Baptism of Infants", it was scanned in from the back of the Psalter Hymnal which was dated some 40 years old. As I mentioned before, in most all of the Dutch Reformed churches I have attended who used this hymnal which contained the Three Forms of Unity and various forms for baptism, the Lord's Supper, etc., this Form was included and used.

O.K. the FORM you have checks out except for some modern spelling. Below is some rather pertinent information.

Quote
Most of these forms were composed during the sixteenth-century Reformation, The forms for the administration of infant baptism, the Lord's Supper, and the solemnization of marriage first appeared in a 1566 edition of the Dutch Psalter edited by Petrus Dathenus (1531-1588), a leading minister in the Reformed churches in the Netherlands. In composing these forms Dathenus borrowed heavily from existing liturgies based on Calvin's Geneva liturgy. The Reformed churches adopted these forms at the Convent Of Wesel in 1568. The forms for the administration of church discipline, the ordination of ministers, and the ordination of elders and deacons were added by the Synod of the Hague in 1586. The form for the baptism of adults was accepted by the Synod of Dordrecht in 1618-19.

An English translation of these forms, original prepared in the Netherlands for use in the English and Scottish refugee churches, was later revised ,and adopted by the Reformed Church in America. This translation, with minor revision and correction, Was adopted by the Christian Reformed Church in North America in 1912 and first appeared in the 1927 edition of the Psalter, . . .

Quote
Pilgrim said:
And to make it clear once again which evidently I have not done, the colored portions were colored by me to point out those portions in the Form which teach "presumptive regeneration".

I can colorize almost any document to make hold forth my position.

Quote
Pilgrim asked
What does it mean that the children of believers brought for baptism are "sanctified in Christ"? Can you give Scriptural evidence to support your understanding?
As I’m sure you know it has reference to 1 Corinthians 7:14. Below is an explanation of sanctified from a’Brakel “The Christians Reasonable Service” and to be honest I have emboldened where a presumptive regeneration (according to your definition)is implied. Nevertheless any truly regenerated creature would never consider their children regenerated because they are born to presumed Christian parents. But rather they would seek to bring them up in the nurture of the Lord at the same time praying that God would savingly change them between the cradle and the grave. Surely no spiritually enlightened parent is going to look at their children who show no fruits as being born again.
The focus on the FORM, again I would have to say must be looked at in the light of the “Three Forms of Unity” The Synod of Dordrecht in 1618-19 accepted the form for the baptism of adults and if the Form for children was fifty years earlier why didn’t they reject it.

Quote
Eighthly, the form for baptism asks of parents and witnesses, “Whether you acknowledge...that they (their children) are sanctified in Christ, and therefore, as members of His church ought to be baptized?” In order to understand this question correctly, it must be noted:
(1) This form addresses members of the covenant and speaks of their children.
(2) To be sanctified does not imply that the children at that moment are in truth possessors of the principle of faith, regeneration, and sanctification. It also does not imply that all baptized children are, and particularly, that my child is elect, will be converted, and be a partaker of salvation. Rather, it means in a general sense that children of members of the covenant, by virtue of the covenant made with them and their children, are entitled to its benefits and will become partakers of them. This is in distinction to the children of those who are not members of the covenant and for whom there are no promises in the Word. The salvation of the latter, if they die in infancy, is a matter which pertains to the sovereign and secret dealings of God, there being no foundation in regard to which something can be stated about them. And as long as children of members of the covenant manifest nothing which is either in their favor or disfavor, we may not discriminate among them, but by reason of the promise must deem them to be children of God until the contrary manifests itself. Therefore, to be sanctified in Christ means to be a partaker of Christ.

(3) To be sanctified does not mean to be included in an external covenant, for there is no external covenant. The parents have the salvation of their child in view, and not something of an external nature. The sacraments are not seals of an external covenant, but only of the covenant of grace, and signs and seals of the righteousness of faith. Also the child is acknowledged as being sanctified in Christ, which cannot be said in reference to an external covenant. It is furthermore acknowledged that the child is sanctified prior to baptism, and therefore ought to be baptized. The child therefore does not become a member of the covenant by virtue of baptism; he was already a member prior to baptism, and prior to the child’s baptism there was also no other covenant but the covenant of grace.
(4) Some wish to change the form and say, “to be sanctified in Christ, or those who are sanctified, must be sanctified in Christ.” This is the result of ignorance and misunderstanding concerning this matter. If they wish these words to mean something different than to be in the covenant of grace (which appears to be the intent), I cannot understand on what basis they let their children or other children be baptized, since there is no other foundation for baptism but the covenant of grace, of which baptism is a seal.


I sincerely ask you a question. Are you implying that the WCF teaches that God kills the little baby, which He does, and THEN the Spirit of God saves his/her soul? Or is regeneration necessary for the saving of an elect infants never dying soul before the death of the body in what ever stage of development it's in?



Thanks for the stimulus package,
William "the layman”













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William,

I'm at odds on how to make it any clearer than I have. My contention has always been and always will be until you or someone else can convince me otherwise that the FORM teaches "presumptive regeneration". The colored sections are salient, relevant and need to be addressed due to the phraseology used. Let's not forget that I am more than superficially familiar with the Three Forms of Unity, perhaps significantly more than you are. I did a thesis in seminary on the Canons of Dordt and I am currently teaching a class on the same. wink

Until you are willing and able to address the several questions I enumerated for you in regard to the wording of the FORM, e.g, the children being "in Christ", "members of Thine Only Begotten Son", having "forgiven our children all their sins", etc., etc., any further dialog is fruitless. I know how the inspired writers of the New Testament use those phrases and to whom they belong. If you are able to show that they belong to unregenerate individuals, which is exactly what is necessary to disprove the allegation that the FORM presumes the regeneration of every baptized covenant child, then please do so.

Lastly, you asked:

Quote
I sincerely ask you a question. Are you implying that the WCF teaches that God kills the little baby, which He does, and THEN the Spirit of God saves his/her soul? Or is regeneration necessary for the saving of an elect infants never dying soul before the death of the body in what ever stage of development it's in?
I don't have a clue what you are asking, to be honest. I'm not implying anything. I simply provided a direct quote from the WCF concerning the death of elect infants who die in infancy. They, having been predestinated to eternal life in Jesus Christ by the immutable counsel and unsurpassable grace of God are saved in Christ no less than any conceived human being. How God unites that elect unborn infant to Christ is not certainly known, although it could be surmised that the soul is alive spiritually and drawn infallibly to the Lord Christ, for only in Him is anyone saved. Non-elect infants are not saved and will face eternal judgment no less than any other reprobate.

Again, I await your answers to the previous questions framed from the exact wording of the "Form for the Baptism of Infants". grin

In His grace,


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Pilgrim #42441 Tue May 12, 2009 5:09 PM
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Pilgrim,

I initially replied because of your disparaging and somewhat slanderous remarks about the thousands who hold to the Dutch Reformed Tradition and not about the FORM. Believe me when I say everyone who has been privileged to visit this discussion board has heard the favorite string on your guitar about the Dutch Reformed many many times.


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Pilgrim said here:Example #4: Kim Riddlebarger did a fine job of presenting the distinctives of the "Five Points" to which historic, traditional Calvinists all hold to. That's the good part. However,as one who adheres to the Dutch Reformed tradition, he fell into the typical contradiction when it comes to infant baptism.






William #42442 Wed May 13, 2009 6:52 AM
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Do we not count baptized covenant children as members of the VISIBLE church? Or do we assume that they are reprobate in spite of their membership in the visible church?


Last edited by Robin; Wed May 13, 2009 6:53 AM.
Robin #42443 Wed May 13, 2009 10:23 AM
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Robin,

Personally, I do not count the children of believers as "members" of the Visible Church simply on the basis of their having been born to believing parents, but rather under the Church's oversight. If they are to be considered "members", then they are also entitled to all that pertains to such, e.g., deemed regenerate, the discriminatory love of the brethren vs. the general benevolence (love) we are to have to all men, encouragement to pursue their sanctification vs. their justification, etc.

Secondly, I would not and cannot assume that ANYONE is "reprobate" as that term designates what God has eternally decreed in regard to the end of someone. I do assume they are unbelievers until they make a valid profession of faith. And thus being unbelievers, as Paul has written, they are "by nature children of wrath, even as the rest..."

In His grace,


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