Friday, September 20, 2019

Credo vs Paedo Baptism: Pushback Part I

If you've been following this series you may have noticed my two Pastors commenting on my work. 

Phil it might help those of us who find your musings more amusing than biblical if you actually showed some exegetical proof of the paedobaptist position being 'more biblical'. You assert it but you don't prove it even in the slightest. Even your assertions are unsupported. Give me one example of infant baptism in the bible from a biblical text? Just one. Show me where the scriptures teach that the Abrahamic covenant is exactly the same as the New Covenant? Just one place is fine. Show me a text that proves that infants without faith are in the New Covenant? Let's get to the scriptures for the discussion before claiming paedo baptism is the most biblical position. As you said brother, you need to do better. I do think that one of the two ordinances of the church would need to be exemplified for us if we would practice it. No problem citing believers baptism, but paedo baptism is simply not there unless I have missed something. 
When you strip away the ad-hominems you find Robert packs a lot into his comment. 
  1. He asserts that I offered no proof for paedo-baptism being the more Biblical.
  2. He argues that because the Scriptures do not explicitly teach infant baptism (Something like, "I Paul command you to baptize infants") that infant baptism is not Biblical. 
  3. He says that I equate the Abrahamic Covenant to the New Covenant.  
  4. He uses the Baptist definition of New Covenant being equal to salvation, and then questions where faithless infants were saved.
That's a lot.
I'm not going to address point one because I think I've made a good showing of myself from Scripture. Plus his statement just seems mean to me.
Point two is pretty commonly thrown out in debates by the Baptist, but if we required an explicit statement and disallowed good and necessary inference then we'd have to bar the communion table against women because nowhere in Scripture does it say they're allowed to partake. Further, Jesus hung the Sadducees out to dry by pointing out God says "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob" implying they're all still alive. Had they died then God would've said "I was the God..."  So good and necessary consequence is a real thing.

Point three I don't know how to deal with because I never made that claim. But Romans 4:11 and Col 2:12 do tend to make the point about the two covenants being related, in the sense Baptists disagree with.
Point four proves my point that the two groups are operating under vastly different conceptions of what covenant and baptism actually mean.

The other comment was left by Steve, and he too packs a lot in.
I could have told you this - "Baptists and Presbyterians have a radically different view of what baptism actually is," and perhaps saved you some reading. :) Though, to be more specific, the "radically different view" between the two is not really over baptism - both confess it to be a "sign" (see WCF 28.1 and LBC 29.1) - but over the new covenant of which it's "a sign." That's the actual question, what's the new covenant? (Presbyterians have a harder time explaining what exactly is new about it). Since the new covenant is spiritual - not genealogical, as was the old - it's sign is only properly administered to those who may be legitimately considered members of the new covenant community, i.e., "who do actually profess repentance..." (LBC, 29.2).
To be fair, there's no problem with the oft-repeated Baptist concern: “Infant baptism is a positively harmful doctrine since infants who are baptized will think they’re saved" - I think you're missing the concern over the de facto state of many Presbyterians, not the consistency of their doctrine. Of course, there's no inconsistency with Presbyterian theological understanding of baptism, but what's the actual impact on people's lives? Many think they're saved because they were sprinkled as babies - it's the (however, unintended) inevitable fruit of a bad doctrine. It's similar, for example, to our concerns over Roman Catholicism, which does believe salvation is by faith through grace - and recoils at any suggestion that teach it's "by works." But what's the practical effect of their sacramental understanding of salvation by grace? Roman Catholics think they're saved by their works.
Paedobaptism is undeniably is a later accretion to the church - no evidence of it's practice earlier than later 2nd or 3rd centuries (look at baptismal archaeology - they're pools for immersing adults!). Of course, it became enforced practice after Christianizing Rome, a century later. There is no exegetical argument for it, which is what Luther confronted during the Reformation when opponents argued that if he carried his argument against Roman tradition to it's logical conclusion, he'd have to throw-out infant baptism, too - which would've sent European society into chaos. So, he invented the "household" argument from Acts and infant baptism has been built on that house of cards in Reformed traditions, ever since. And when you push Presbyterian historians and theologians, eventually they will admit this, "it's tradition" and it's later appearance is a sign of the church "maturing." Now, I believe in doctrinal development, but the church got baptism wrong for it's first couple hundred years?! C'mon.
So, the real key to this debate is understanding that infant baptism can only be deduced from the Bible if you assume it to be the inevitable conclusion before you actually study the Bible - it's a tradition searching for a biblical text. Sadly, people still think they've discovered some and then de-form into Presbyterians. I, however, feel sure of better things in your case, brother (Heb 6:9) - and trust the "most biblical" award goes to 1689 LBC, 29. :)
Steve makes the following points:
  1. The Dispensational Argument is true.
  2. Paedo-baptism is a doctrine that bears bad fruit.
  3. There's no exegetical argument for Infant Baptism.
  4. The practice of the early church was credo-baptism.
  5. Paedo-baptism only makes sense if you accept it's foundational premises
Most of these however were directly addressed by specific articles, so I don't feel the need to go over them again. The only one that wasn't was point two, and I'm not sure how much bearing that has on this investigaiton in any case. I'll leave you to decide for yourself how valid these points of criticism are.

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