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Sproul Sr. was a man and thus one would expect him to be inconsistent or holding to 'strange beliefs' somewhere, yes? Calvin it is somewhere allegedly admitted that he felt he was only 85% correct in his theology. I would love to know what that 15% was. giggle There have been some paedobaptists here too who were adamant that their church/denomination didn't teach presumptive regeneration, but the official documents held in high esteem and used on a regular basis clearly teach presumptive regeneration. scratch1


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Thanks for the discussion; it has been quite informative.

I have said this before and I will say it again. I have yet to find even one pastor or theologian I always agree with. I love people like Sproul, Spurgeon and a many others such as Voddie Baucham. I adhere to the 1689 LBCF, but I can not say I agree with all of it.
On Spurgeon, he believed that all babies dieing in infancy, automatically go to heaven. I disagree with that view, not because I don't think it is possible. Rather, because from my knowledge of Scripture, I find it overly optimistic and emotionally driven. When I tell some that, they say how could I take comfort (not exact term) in knowing there might be babies in hell?

I usually just say, that although I understand the sentiment. I take comfort that regardless, God is sovereign and He is good in all He does. I do not think the Bible states either way on the issue.
Many times, I hear people say that since David said he was going to see his baby in heaven, we can be confident all babies who die in infancy go to heaven. However, I question if that is not reading too much into the text. A few of my Reformed friends who used to think the same way I do on that subject; now agree with Spurgeon.
Perhaps I will one day as well?

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Tom, this is a touchy subject, and I don't think the Bible really addresses it straight-on. However, it seems to me that those who advocate that all babies who die in infancy will go to Heaven has somewhat universal salvation leanings. I mean if that was definite true, then why not just let all babies die somehow ensuring their eternal salvation. Does it make sense that babies who die goes to Heaven, but those who grow up may or may not depending upon God's merciful, gracious election.


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On a somewhat related note (sorry for the source);

“The Half-Way Covenant was a form of partial church membership adopted by the Congregational churches of colonial New England in the 1660s. The Puritan-controlled Congregational churches required evidence of a personal conversion experience before granting church membership and the right to have one's children baptized. Conversion experiences were less common among second-generation colonists, and this became an issue when these unconverted adults had children of their own who were ineligible for baptism.

The Half-Way Covenant was proposed as a solution to this problem. It allowed baptized but unconverted parents to present their own children for baptism; however, they were denied the other privileges of church membership. The Half-Way Covenant was endorsed by an assembly of ministers in 1657 and a church synod in 1662. Nevertheless, it was highly controversial among Congregationalists with many conservatives being afraid it would lead to lower standards within the church. A number of Congregational churches split over the issue.

The Half-Way Covenant's adoption has been interpreted by some historians as signaling the decline of New England Puritanism and the ideal of the church as a body of exclusively converted believers. For other historians, it signaled a move away from sectarianism. The Half-Way Covenant also opened the door to further divisions among Congregationalists concerning the nature of the sacraments and the necessity of conversion. Liberal Congregational churches extended church membership to all professing Christians, and in time many of these churches became Unitarian. The revivalism unleashed by the First Great Awakening was in part a reaction against the Half-Way Covenant.”

It’s an interesting dynamic - the outward covenant, the true elect, and what one may be called and/or considered. You can attempt to raise your child “Christian” but will he/she be counted thus? Did God adopt him/her?

It’s also interesting how Paul may have addressed churches in various regions in a general sense and who that entailed. I really don’t have any answers. Just thinking out loud and general considerations….

Baptists are probably convicted by these grey areas surrounding infant baptism. If we can’t even consider a baptized youngin’ a Christian yet part of the outward covenant of grace have we erred somehow in the administration of this sacrament?

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Originally Posted by John_C
Tom, this is a touchy subject, and I don't think the Bible really addresses it straight-on. However, it seems to me that those who advocate that all babies who die in infancy will go to Heaven has somewhat universal salvation leanings. I mean if that was definite true, then why not just let all babies die somehow ensuring their eternal salvation. Does it make sense that babies who die goes to Heaven, but those who grow up may or may not depending upon God's merciful, gracious election.

Actually, although you might think that; but it is actually a very common view in the Reformed community. Many of whom are very solid in the faith, such as CH Spurgeon. Which goes to show you that we all have feet of clay.

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Anthony

First of all, thankyou for that interesting part of history concerning the "half way covenant". Although I think I heard of it before; I don't remember discussing it before.

Quote
You can attempt to raise your child “Christian” but will he/she be counted thus? Did God adopt him/her?

I take comfort in the fact that not one of the elect with go to hell. Who is elect is not my responsibility. I just need to be obedient to the Scriptures and in the case of bringing up children, that obedience means training them up in the Lord. Although Proverbs are not absolute promises, they are general truths. Proverbs 22:6 is comforting. "Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it."

The rest is up to the Lord.


Quote
Baptists are probably convicted by these grey areas surrounding infant baptism. If we can’t even consider a baptized youngin’ a Christian yet part of the outward covenant of grace have we erred somehow in the administration of this sacrament?

Among Calvinistic Baptists, there are basically two views, lets call them the Dispensational Baptist view of baptism and the Covenant Baptist view held by those who adhere to the 1689 LBCF, sometimes called 1689 Federalism, which was held by the writers of the 1689 LBCF such as the person that is believed to be the editor of the 1689 LBCF 'Nehemiah Coxe.
I don't want to elaborate on that too much here at the moment, but there is a difference. If you would like to know more about the differences, I recommend the following link.
https://www.1689federalism.com/?msclkid=64b44307b95a11ecbb7ca383c927f80d

Secondly, the second part of your quote has more to do with those who are Paedo-Baptists. People like Pilgrim, John Gerstner and Jonathon Edwards, who were against "presumptive regeneration".

Tom

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Originally Posted by Tom
Originally Posted by Anthony
You can attempt to raise your child “Christian” but will he/she be counted thus? Did God adopt him/her?

I take comfort in the fact that not one of the elect with go to hell. Who is elect is not my responsibility. I just need to be obedient to the Scriptures and in the case of bringing up children, that obedience means training them up in the Lord. Although Proverbs are not absolute promises, they are general truths. Proverbs 22:6 is comforting. "Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it."

The rest is up to the Lord.
FYI, I would have to guess that the majority of people misunderstand Proverbs 22:6 due to the translation which you quoted. In the Hebrew, that text actually says, "Train up a child after the manner of his own way, and when he is old he will not depart from it." So, instead of this proverb giving alleged comfort to parents that if they are faithful in "training up children in the Lord, they will either live godly lives at least outwardly or actually be true followers of Christ. On the practical side, either the overwhelming of parents throughout history have not taught their children correctly for not many 'covenant children' are truly converted (see the nation of OT Israel as an example) or the text doesn't actually provide any form of 'promise' of how one's children will live and therefore it is untrue. Rather, it does provide a promise to parents who allow their children to have what they want rather than obeying their parents' sound biblical instruction, that their children will live their lives by their own depraved nature's influence.

And just a little side note. The Heidelberg Catechism is a wonderful document that when used rightly provides a sound biblical source of the Christian faith. But I believe it must be used rightly. 1) The pupils of that Catechism must be professing Christians, for the promises and truths of comfort and instruction belong to them and to them only. Thus, children in my opinion are not to be taught the Catechism as they are given a false sense of security and salvation in Christ. Without allowed exceptions, ask anyone who believes children should be instructed in the Catechism and that children should memorize it and you will inevitably find that they hold to "presumptive regeneration", i.e., their children are to be deem Christians unless they totally repudiate Christianity. May the Catechism be used in an evangelistic sense? Perhaps, but the teaching method would have to be very different than how it is historically been used.


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Before I even used that Proverb I checked with several Reformed sources. All of them said that this is not an absolute promise; which is how I tried to use it.
After reading what you said; I thought I needed to study more. Thanks for mentioning that.

I came across something written by Dr. Jay Adam. He talked about it as being a warning to parents, that if they allow their children to go after their own wishes (permissively), they should not expect to see them change as they get older. That would seem to support the translation you mentioned.
As I think through this, we should train up a child in the discipline of the Scriptures; but that does not guarantee that they will actually stay that way when they are old.
Perhaps I am wrong to say this, but still is an encouragement to me. At least as long as parents does what Dr. Jay Adam talks about. He talks about the habits that children form in childhood generally remain later in life.
God is ultimately in control, but parents need to make sure they bring their children up in the Lord.
Concerning catechisms, I am a little surprised at what you said concerning when you teach them it must be just for believers.
Yes, ultimately I agree that the promises and truths etc, are ultimately only for Christians. The Gospel should be central. Yet, I have always believed that we should be teaching our children the Scriptures from a very young age. The Catechism is a great way to do just that.
While it is a real danger for presumptive regeneration; I do not believe that needs to be the case IF we are clear to the people that are being catechised. Parents, faith cannot save their children; they must believe for themselves; we should not presume anything in that regard.
Until fairly recently, I only heard about some Paedo-Baptists who believed in “presumptive regeneration.” Generally speaking, at least in the Reformed Baptist Churches I have been around. Many pastors talked like children should be considered unsaved, until they show otherwise. Which is the opposite to what I hear in presumptive regeneration circles.
Not all Reformed Baptists talk about Catechisms, but more and more of them seem to be doing so in their families.
I love what CH Spurgeon said about “a good catechism”.
Quote
With Proofs, Compiled by C. H. Spurgeon, "Heir of the Puritans"
I am persuaded that the use of a good Catechism in all our families will be a great safeguard against the increasing errors of the times, and therefore I have compiled this little manual from the Westminster Assembly's and Baptist Catechisms, for the use of my own church and congregation. Those who use it in their families or classes must labour to explain the sense; but the words should be carefully learned by heart, for they will be understood better as years pass.

May the Lord bless my dear friends and their families evermore, is the prayer of their loving Pastor. C. H. Spurgeon
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15)
Published about Oct 14, 1855, when Spurgeon was 21 years old. On Oct. 14, Spurgeon preached Sermon No. 46 to several thousand who gathered to hear him at New Park Street Chapel. When the sermon was published it contained an announcement of this catechism. The text that morning was, "Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations" (Ps. 90:1).

From http://www.reformedreader.org/ccc/puritan_catechism.htm

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Yes, I also firmly believe that all children need to be raised "in the Lord" meaning that the Bible and other books, etc., which are faithful to what Scripture teaches should be used from the earliest days. And, that parents should be a living example of what they are teaching them too. Let me repeat what I wrote and try to clarify if there is a need concerning using the Heidelberg Catechism. It is my view that the Heidelberg is a marvelous work that is great for catechizing professing believers, whether new converts coming into the church or long-time members. But, because the way it is written, it should NOT be used to teach children. Rather, use something akin to the Westminster Shorter Catechism or some other catechism that fits the church's/denominations theology. Why??? and this should help make things clear. The Heidelberg is written in the First Person;

Originally Posted by Heidelberg
Question 1. What is thy only comfort in life and death?
Answer. That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ, who, with his precious blood, hath fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that, without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation: and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, he also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready henceforth to live unto him.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism is written in the Third Person;
Originally Posted by WSC
Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
What should be obvious is that the Heidelberg beautifully expresses the heart, mind and soul of a true believer. It describes from the subjective perspective the truths of Scripture and the life of being one with Christ. On the other hand, the WSC states the truths of Scripture from an objective perspective without involving the person reading it or being taught it. I hope this helps to understand where I'm coming from better. I believe that using the Heidelberg Catechism to teach children too often leads to a false assurance in the mind of a child which is grounded in a 'presumptive regeneration' of that child.

And lastly, just in a related aside... MANY years ago giggle I publicly debated John Reisinger on the subject of baptism. Without saying, John held to credobaptism and I held to paedobaptism. The debate, as expected, was a lose-lose exercise. However, what was an unexpected surprise to John and those who in attendance were credobaptists, was that I explained that some paedobaptists raised their children in the exact same manner as credobaptists. We did not baptize our children because they were regenerated. Nor, did we baptize them on the basis of the children's parent's faith. Nor did we consider the children Christians after they were baptized. We believe that ALL children are presumptively unregenerate, under the just wrath of God even as others, and are in dire need of God's saving grace, regeneration, repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. After the attendee's and John's look of shock, their appeared a smile on their faces. And we all realized that we did agree on the most important truth about the need for adults as well as infants/children to be reconciled to God through the Gospel. We all parted friends and children of God by adoption in our Lord Jesus. [Linked Image]


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