Comments Worthy of Noting

I wanted to share two comments made over the past week that I really enjoyed, even when they were opposed to my position. The first is from Stan, over at BirdsoftheAir. He was commenting on one of my posts on baptism, and stated his opposition to my position:

Raised a Baptist, I was introduced later in life to the concept of paedobaptism by someone I greatly admire — R.C. Sproul. So I spent a great deal of time examining the Scriptures on the subject, not wishing for emotion or precedent to determine what is true. I became so adept at it that I once spent time defending it on a Christian discussion forum. I can see where paedobaptists such as yourself come to your conclusions, and I respect them as not merely traditional, but biblical. That is, you derive your view from Scripture.

I also agree that baptism is the new circumcision (so to speak). Having said that, however, I find that this is where I end my convergence with paedobaptism. I believe that “repent and be baptized” is the correct formula (see also Matt 28:19-20). So if baptism is the sign of the new covenant, at what point did the children of Israel become part of the old covenant? At birth, of course. And at what point do we become part of the new? At spiritual birth. Thus, after comparing Scripture with Scripture, listening to godly men debating godly men (I was treated to a debate on the subject between R.C. Sproul and John MacArthur once), and recognizing many Reformed folks who are biblical, Reformed, and credobaptists (such as John Piper), I’ve concluded that I am convinced by Scripture and evident reason that the credobaptist position best reflects the biblical view.

But, as I said, I respect those who, by virtue of Scripture, conclude that I’m wrong on this. Not so much those who, by virtue of righteous indignation and wrath, decide credobaptists are rank heretics perhaps not even part of the faith.

I appreciate his comment because he fully recognizes my position as a paedobaptist, shows why he disagrees with the position without being insulting or demeaning, and still admits that my position is supported by scripture. Yet, even with that support, he is not convinced and remains a credobaptist. Excellent response.

The second comment is from Greg, who comments from time-to-time, when he made remarks about the Colin Kaepernick/National Anthem dust up. Greg wrote:

Whether one participates in patriotic customs or not is of no concern or interest to me. And, if I am praying for the leadership of this land, and voting according to conscience, I cannot allow myself to lose any sleep over whomever ends up sitting in the Whitehouse. I think our government has proven itself to be corrupt in both parties, so to say one or the other is going to restore the land to its constitutional roots is a pipe dream, or more like a delusion. God sits at the helm, and whether we like those in power or not, He sets them up, and He brings them down at His will, not ours, not theirs. That is our security and victory!

Concise, well stated and to the point.

So thanks go to Greg and Stan for writing comments worthy of noting.

Baptism: Necessary Inference

Quite frankly, I have ignored the subject of baptism for a long time, only dipping my toes into the topic now and then. If you read some of the comments in my posts recently on baptism, you will see why. It is frustrating to see dear sisters and brothers railing against something, in such a way that if they applied the same hermeneutics (a method or principle of interpretation),  to any other doctrine of the faith, we would become doctrineless.

For instance, many who oppose paedobaptism do so because the Bible never says “baptize your children.” What is so sad is that so many erroneously think because the Bible doesn’t say things in an express way that is pleasing to their minds, that the Bible doesn’t speak to the subject at all.

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As Christians, We Should Support Kaepernick’s Decision to Not Stand During the National Anthem

Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback, has decided that he is no longer going to stand during the National Anthem. This has caused a huge, uproarious outcry leading to all kinds of personal attacks on the QB. But as Christians, we should stand, or dare I say sit, with Kaepernick’s decision not to participate in the National Anthem.

Why? We should support him in his decision because his decision is a matter of conscience, and this is truly vital for not only the freedoms we are losing in America, but for our Christian walks as well.

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The Analogy of Faith

Thomas A Rowe has an excellent piece called The Analogy of Faith, dealing with how we interpret scripture. Since some of my readers are in the habit of pulling one passage out of context for their beliefs, I thought I would share this to shed some light on the subject.

The analogy of faith is not the principle that Scripture interprets Scripture, but that all Scripture is in agreement and will not contradict itself. It assumes the unity and harmony of teaching throughout the Bible. In other words, when multiple passages say something about a topic (either explicitly or implicitly), then what those passages say about that topic will be consistent and will not be contradictory. For example, Psalm34:15 speaks of God having eyes and ears, whereas John4:24 says God is spirit. The analogy of faith means that these passages are not contradictory, as they might appear at first glance. We can reconcile them when we recognize that in Psalm34:15 the author is using a figure of speech and is not asserting that God has literal, physical eyes and ears. He is asserting, rather, that God watches over His people and hears their cries for help; whereas in John4:24 Jesus is asserting that God is not a physical being, therefore, the physical location of His worshipers is not what is most important to Him. The analogy of faith forces us to dig further to understand how passages that appear to be contradictory should be understood.

This brings us to another aspect of the analogy of faith, that is, that we should interpret unclear passages in light of clear passages, not the other way around. Milton Terry says the expression analogy of faith “denotes that general harmony of fundamental doctrine which pervades the entire Scriptures.…No single statement or obscure passage of one book can be allowed to set aside a doctrine which is clearly established by many passages. The obscure texts must be interpreted in the light of those which are plain and positive.”2 When a particular passage is unclear to us, we can and should go to other passages that address the same topic more clearly in order to help us understand the unclear passage.

Baptism: The Problem with Credo Baptists

I know, that title is probably a bit inflammatory and I haven’t intentionally done inflammatory in a while. But nothing gets the blood going more than the topic of Credo/Paedo baptism in our ever-decreasing circles of Christendom. (Credobaptism is the belief that only grown, professing men and women should be given the sign of the New Covenant, wheras, paedobaptist believe that the promise is given, not only to us, but to our children as well).

I think that happens because there is a certain circle of Credo baptist who are so dogmatic in their three or four proof texts, that it is really hard to dialogue. They take the, “the Bible says it, I believe it” position, never realizing that the Bible has a lot to say on the subject of baptism. (See earlier post and some of the comments.)

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Baptism: God’s Sign To Us, Not Our Personal Testimony

From Paul Viggiano’s sermon Why In the World Would We Baptize an Infant?

Baptism is not primarily a personal testimony of having saving faith for oneself as much as it is (as we learned earlier) a testimony that God justifies, or saves sinners, by faith. To baptize someone is a rite that points to the truth that righteousness comes by faith. It points to the fact that salvation is based on God’s grace and that we can do nothing to merit it. Baptism points to that truth! It does not necessarily point to the salvation of the person baptized. Baptism is not primarily designed to be a personal testimony of personal saving faith. God commanded circumcision be applied to those whom He knew full well would not be children of faith (e.g., Ishmael, Genesis 17:23).

Does this mean the circumcision was wrongly applied to Ishmael or that it meant nothing? No! It was a sign of man’s only hope. It was a testimony to the saving work of God. Many people are baptized who aren’t saved (see Hebrews 6 and Acts 8). Simon Magus was baptized in Acts 8:13, then in verse 20 Peter says to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!”

            Baptism is not a testimony of an individual’s saving faith. It is a testimony that God saves by faith. It is not my personal expression to God. It is God’s expression to me. It is valid and its message is true regardless of the worthiness of the recipient. Baptism is not so much a sign my personal faith as it is a sign and a seal of a covenant promise that God has made to a people—to His people. It’s a beautiful sign when given to an infant because it portrays the spiritual impotence of man and the grace of God toward His powerless creatures. [Emphasis added]

            The whole idea that we would only baptize true believers is a flawed concept at best. B.B. Warfield stated the obvious when he asserted that it would be impossible to only baptize true believers because only God knows who the true believers are. He goes on to explain that if we are to baptize based upon our best guess, we should only baptize the children of believers because there is greater likelihood that the children of believers will continue to walk in faith than those who are seemingly converted as adults at crusades and such.

            We often hear Baptist (those who oppose infant baptism) parents, who wish to have their children baptized, offer explanations of their children’s salvation based on outward observations. Maybe they said a prayer or made a cohesive statement about the nature of salvation by grace. These are precious and probable causes for the parents to believe their children are following in their spiritual footsteps. The parents still, nonetheless, are making an assumption. If we are going to make assumptions, should they not be Biblical ones?

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Expose Them

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them (Ephesians 5:11).

This verse really jumped out at me as I read it yesterday. Paul instructs us on how it is that we should walk as believers, given that we have the fruit of the Spirit, goodness, righteousness, and truth. Given this, we are to work toward what is acceptable to the LORD and have no fellowship with unfruitful works of darkness.

Most would agree up to this point. But Paul doesn’t stop there. He continues with one more clause: but rather expose them.

We are not only to keep from having fellowship with that which is sinful, but expose that which is sinful as well. This is the part of the verse that most people want to quickly jump over and think nothing of it, because in this part of the verse, it requires something of us. In fact, the verse requires two things of us.

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