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Matt. 19:13 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, 14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
The question asked from this is “Why is it right that Jesus would call children to him but that we should not call them to baptism, which is the sign of our union with him?”
If Christ has received these little ones into his arms should the Church therefore keep them away? Christ willingly, without compulsion, receives these little ones, yet the guardian of the oracles of Christ keeps those same little ones away from him. This is event of circumstances that lead to fencing the little ones from the one who first called them is a grave injustice. (more…)
Turretin’s third argument for infant baptism is by circumcision. He considers the similarities of circumcision and baptism and uses them as a support to the argument that baptism should be administered to children as circumcision was. The two sacraments are the same in their essence and purpose therefore the administration of both should also be the same.
In Genesis 17 God commands that circumcision was to be administered to infants. The command carries forward to the New Testament as baptism is now the covenant sign signifying what circumcision did. This is proven in the New Testament where baptism and circumcision are shown to meet at the Cross as Paul writes in Col 2:11-12
Col. 2:11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.
Turretin’s 1st proof for infant baptism was an appeal to the command of Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20.
Matt. 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
The 2nd proof, that I want to write about today, is his argument made from the covenant. I have said, and will say again, when we talk about baptism, we must talk about it in covenantal terms. If you don’t have a covenantal concept in view when discussing baptism, you will invariably arrive at an improper understanding of the signs and also the recipients. It is an error to withhold the sign of the covenant from those who are in the covenant. Turretin states it this way “seals of the covenant also pertain to those to whom the covenant of God pertains”. There isn’t disagreement with this statement. (more…)
Francis Turretin (1623-1687) wrote one of the most influential works in Reformed theology. His works were influential and used as text books till the time of Hodge. Turretin is a special jewel that was largely forgotten in Reformed circles. In volume 3 of his three volume work he discusses infant baptism. The question he starts with is:
Should the infants of believers be baptized?
The question, as Turretin points out, is not for all children but specifically for the children of believers. This is also is not to say that baptism is of absolute necessity but it is considered, as Turretin states, a “hypothetical necessity of the command”. Turretin re-phrases the question
Are the infants of Christians to be baptized because Christ thus commanded and because by baptism graciously, yet freely, God is accustomed to be efficacious in testifying and sealing grace?
Turretin’s response: “We affirm”
Turretin rests his argument on seven points.
1 From the command of Christ
2. From the Covenant
3. From Circumcision
4. Because Infants Belong to the Kingdom of Heaven
5. Because the Children of Believers Are Holy
6. Because Nothing Prevents the Baptism of Infants
7. From the Fathers
The first is “Infant Baptism is proved from the command of Christ”
The command of Christ is: (more…)
Liam Goligher writing for Tenth Presbyterian in Philadelphia, PA gives an account here describing the journey that led him to changing his mind from being a baptist to paedobaptist. Raised in a Baptist church he was baptized at 15 then became a pastor of his own church at the age of 22. His journey took time because of his numerous responsibilities that limited his time to research. Yet the questions he had still loomed in the background. His questions point out some of the problems with the baptistic system as a whole.
What were my problems? I wanted to understand where baptism stood in the context of biblical theology, how did it fit into the flow of the bible’s story line? I could not understand why, given the Old Testament emphasis of God’s working through families, the New Testament did not signal a change in that policy; it seemed passing strange to me that the new covenant sacrament included women and Gentiles but excluded the children of believers; it seemed that in that respect the new covenant was less generous than the old. There were too many questions surrounding the family baptisms in Acts and Corinthians, Paul’s “holy” children, the warning passages of Hebrews, and the nature of the church that I could not resolve from a Baptist perspective.
From the article:
It sounds like the beginning of a joke or a support group introduction, but it’s true: some of my best friends are Baptists. I speak at conferences with and to Baptists. I read books by Baptists (both the dead and the living). I love the Baptist brothers I know–near and far–who preach God’s word and minister faithfully in Christ’s church. I went to a Baptist church while in college and know that there are many folks of more credobaptist persuasion in my own church. I imagine the majority of my blog readers are Baptist. You get the picture. I have thousands of reasons to be thankful for my brothers and sisters in Christ who do not believe in baptizing infants.
And yet, I do. Gladly. Wholeheartedly. Because of what I see in Scripture.
One of the best things I get to do as a pastor is to administer the sacrament of infant baptism to the covenant children in my congregation. Before each baptism, I take a few minutes to explain why we practice infant baptism in our church. My explanation always includes some–but rarely is there time for all–of the following:
It our great privilege this morning to administer that sacrament of baptism to one of our little infants. We do not believe that there is anything magical about the water we apply to the child. The water does not wash away original sin or save the child. We do not presume that this child is regenerate (though he may be), nor do we believe that every child who gets baptized will automatically go to heaven. We baptize infants not out of superstition or tradition or because we like cute babies. We baptize infants because they are covenant children and should receive the sign of the covenant. Read the rest of it here