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Featured Why the Children of Believers Ought to be Baptized

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by Tree of Life, Jan 20, 2019.

  1. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Dungeon Master

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    Roman Catholics teach that children should be baptized so that they might be justified and regenerated from an early age in baptism.

    Baptists teach that children should not be baptized because baptism is reserved only for those who are able to make a credible profession of faith and who are already justified and regenerated.

    Both are wrong.

    The apostles taught that the children of believers are to be baptized for covenantal reasons. This reasoning is rooted in Old Testament revelation and would be particularly understandable for a Jewish audience. But as the church grew beyond the bounds of Judaism into Gentile lands, the practice of infant baptism was retained, yet it gradually became unmoored from its covenantal framework. Pagan ideas crept into the church and began to influence thinking on baptism and baptism gradually became more magical as the church headed into the medieval era. The Reformation recovered the covenantal setting of baptism. Here's the proper rationale:
    1. The Covenant in the OT and in the NT is essentially one, although administered differently. This is to say that both Abraham and the NT believer are in the same covenant of grace. Both Abraham and the NT believer are saved by Jesus Christ - by grace through faith. Jesus fulfills the promises given to Abraham rather than introducing something altogether new.

    2. The children of believers were included in the OT administration of the covenant of grace. Not only Abraham but also his children were given the mark of circumcision and recognized as members of the covenant community. Circumcision was a sign and seal of faith but was not necessarily accompanied by faith in the one circumcised. All in Israel were called to circumcise their hearts.

    3. There is an explicit connection made between circumcision and baptism in Colossians 2:11-12. Paul says that the one who has been baptized has been circumcised.

    4. There is no New Testament command to not baptize children and to exclude them from the covenant. Since the NT administration continues the covenant that God began in the OT, and since in the OT the children of believers were included in the covenant, one would assume that the children of believers should also be included in the NT administration of the covenant. If they were not to be included and given the sign of inclusion, then one would think that the apostles would have explicitly said: "Don't baptize children like you circumcised them in previous times!" But there is no such command. Within a covenantal context, the silence is very telling.
     
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  2. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    Not so. This shows a gross misunderstanding of the differences between the Mosaic covenant and the New covenant.

    Indeed, the Mosaic covenant was entered by reason of being born Jewish. It was an “opt out” kind of covenant. You were in from birth but could make decisions (or your parents could) to get you kicked out.

    The New covenant OTOH, is an “opt in” covenant. This is demonstrated in the image of the 2 olive trees in Romans 11. Born on the wild tree of destruction, one must make the decision for one’s self to get cut from that tree and be grafted (work of the Holy Spirit) into the cultivated tree of redemption.
     
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  3. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Dungeon Master

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    Any Gentile could opt in and become circumcised. Abraham's other children - though not descended from Israel - were also circumcised.
     
  4. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    That is never clearly stated in scripture. It was the tradition in the first century, and earlier in the last chapter of Esther, we see droves of gentiles becoming Jews. But no mechanism or scriptural precedent is given to allow that to happen.

    The closest we have is in Leviticus where it says no uncircumcised gentiles may eat of the Passover. So gentiles could be circ’d; but whether they were actually in the Mosaic covenant at that point is undefined. The “mixed multitude” that left Egypt all became part of Israel, but it was thru intermarriage and their children.
     
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  5. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Dungeon Master

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    There are so many examples of Gentiles being incorporated into Israel. You have the command to circumcise gentiles who wish to eat of the Passover. What is a circumcised Gentile who celebrates the Passover but one who has become one of God's people? What about their children? They are incorporated into Israel. You have the mixed multitude that you mentioned from Egypt. You have God-fearing women like Rahab and Ruth. You have the examples in Esther. You also have God's heart for the nations from the very inception of the covenant - saying that all nations would be blessed in Abraham. You have God saying he will establish Israel as a light to the nations so that they might come and learn to worship the God of Israel.

    What more is needed to conclude that Gentiles could indeed opt into the same covenant that Israel enjoyed? What evidence is there to suggest that they could not?
     
  6. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    Undefined in scripture.
     
  7. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    Only thru intermarriage. The status of the first generation individuals is never stated.

    So we DO NOT KNOW. And that is OK.
     
  8. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Dungeon Master

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    Mularky. What biblical evidence is there to suggest that a gentile could not opt into the covenant that Israel enjoyed?
     
  9. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    Fulfilled in the NEW COVENANT. An opt-in covenant.
     
  10. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    No mandated mechanism for them doing so.
     
  11. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Dungeon Master

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    Circumcision is not a mandated mechanism per Leviticus?
     
  12. Nicolaus Mourer

    Nicolaus Mourer Call me Nic. Supporter

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    Acts 8:36-38 is clear. The eunuch asked Philip, “What doth hinder me to be baptized?” Philip answered and said, “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.” The eunuch then said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” And then the chariot was stopped and the eunuch baptized. (Paraphrase of course).

    Philip himself (an apostle) said that the eunuch could ONLY be baptized if he believed with all his heart. Scripture is clear that baptism comes after a profession of faith. If the eunuch would never have believed in Jesus, Philip would have refused to baptize him.
     
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  13. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    Only for eating the Passover meal. It never says they became Israelites proper or were included in the Mosaic covenant.
     
  14. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Dungeon Master

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    This makes sense since the eunuch was an adult. This is perfectly consistent with what I've argued for in my OP.
     
  15. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Dungeon Master

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    That's a very strange disconnect that you have going on there.
     
  16. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    I try to not go beyond what is actually written in the text.
     
  17. Jonaitis

    Jonaitis Well-Known Member

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    If Abraham's covenant was the CG, under a different administration, then that means all the members of Genesis 17 would have Jeremiah 31:33. If infants are in the CG, they would have Jeremiah 31:33 and verse 34 (forgiveness of their sins). The passage isn't a command, it is a promise to the members of that particular covenant.

    Yes, Abraham was promised righteousness in his seed, but this referred to another covenant of a different substance, instead of the same covenant administered another way.
     
  18. Nicolaus Mourer

    Nicolaus Mourer Call me Nic. Supporter

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    No, because you’re arguing that baptism is covenantel without faith, like circumcision was for old Israel, but that’s not true.

    Show me one scripture of an unbeliever getting baptized, ever anywhere in scripture.

    You’re right in regards to circumcision not always being accompanied by faith, because circumcision was also for national purposes. Whereas baptism is ALWAYS accompanied by faith in scripture.
     
  19. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    Agreed. That is the opt-in to the New Covenant.
     
  20. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Dungeon Master

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    Your words "opt out" and "opt in" are nowhere written in Scripture. These are concepts you've deduced from the limited information in Scripture. I think my deductions are more consistent with the Scriptures themselves.
     
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