A salvation question....

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Molly, Apr 8, 2003.

  1. Molly

    Molly
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    I'm hoping some of you can help us with this....How do you relate these things in the bible?

    Covenant theology(we believe this is accurate to scripture)
    Election(which we agree with this doctrine!)

    Now,here's the biggie:

    If we believe in those 2 things,when should our children be indentified as believers by baptism? 1)At birth,2)when they repent, or 3)when *they* want to as a step of obedience? If we believe our children are elect,when should they be baptized and take the Lord's Supper? Haven't they always been believers????

    Also,how do we determine when salvation occurs? there is nothing in scripture that says anything about age of accountability....are we the fruit inspectors? Do we wait until we see fruit of salvation?

    You guys that are so knowlegdeable of scrpiture and have a good grasp on all this,please share!

    [​IMG] :confused:

    Molly

    [ April 08, 2003, 08:54 AM: Message edited by: Molly ]
     
  2. Shiloh

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    How do you define "covenant theology"? How do you define "election"?
     
  3. Harald

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    Salvation as the Bible teaches about it is a multi-faceted thing. It is a thing bestowed by God on certain individuals, not on all. With respect to those blessed individuals their salvation began in eternity in the mind of God. But I take it Molly's question seeks an answer to salvation taking place in time.

    Legally the people of God were saved when Christ Jesus their covenant head died on the cross. If considering those of His people living in our days they are saved in a concrete sense, according to the Bible, when the Holy Spirit applies Christ's redemption to their persons in regeneration. After this they will in due time be brought by the same Spirit to Gospel conversion, cp. 1Thess 1:4-6, 9. The Scripture sometimes refers to Gospel conversion as "salvation", sometimes it refers to regeneration as "salvation". Most often when professing believes talk about salvation they mean a point in time when a person initially believe the Gospel of God. Nobody knows when regeneration takes place in the innards of a chosen vessel, only the triune God knows, because He is the sovereign Regenerater. But the chosen vessel knows when he/she is experimentally saved by Christ Jesus in a Gospel salvation (conversion) experience. Some Baptists of old have referred to this experience as "experiencing a call by grace", "coming to Gospel liberty" etc. Other men may learn of a person's experimental salvation having occured by his/her fruits. If there is fruit corresponding to that which the word of God teaches about salvation fruit then there is sufficient reason to assume a person has been truly converted by God.

    Nobody today as I see it is a believer from birth or early childhood in the sense of "have always been a believer". A person who has not experienced Gospel conversion as it is set forth in God's revealed word is not a Christian, not a "saint", not a disciple of Christ. If a person says he/she has always been a believer as long as he/she can remember he/she is deceived. The word of God as I understand knows nothing about a "Christian" who lacks a conversion experience by the Gospel of Christ Jesus in the irresistible grace of God the Holy Spirit.

    As for baptism I will say what I know about how Baptists of old dealt with candidates for baptism. If a person came and applied for baptism and assembly membership they did not immediately baptize him/her and join to the assembly. They had to ascertain that an experimental salvation had really occured in the life of the candidate. They had to be fruit inspectors. What they did was that they asked the person about the hope that (allegedly) was in them, and the person had to give an account in his/her own words. This usually meant the candidate had to relate his/her claimed conversion experience. If the saints of God approved of the testimony, i.e. if it was in agreement with what the word of God teaches about conversion, and with their own experience of it, then the candidate was scheduled for baptism by immersion, and after that was received into assembly fellowship by giving him/her the right hand of fellowship. Now, this is how I understand the Baptists of old did it, the English Particular Baptists and the Gadsbyite Baptists, and the american Old Regular Baptists, and I think also the Old School Predestinarian Baptists of the USA. And this procedure of theirs I believe is biblical.

    If the testimony of a baptismal candidate did not satisfy the saints of God listening to it he/she was turned down and thus not baptized. This meant they did not consider the candidate a true convert, but an unbeliever.

    Hope this answered your query to some degree.

    Harald
     
  4. Molly

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    Thanks for your responses...Harald what you say makes sense and it was I have believed all these years....but,looking back on my own life I see repentance,belief,faith...and although I have had a point that I label my salvation experience,how do we really know when that occurs. I have always believed in Jesus as long as I remember and have gone through stages of sanctification where I can see growth,but it is a process of sanctification,right? How do we *know* when that process begins,esp when dealing with children who clearly understand and believe the gospel...does God call us to be fruit inspectors???? Isn't that between God and the person? How can I tell my child she is not a believer? I'm sorry honey,we have to see more fruit before you can be baptized and take the Lord's supper....I know we all sin,but you....well...you...you just don't have enough fruit. Isn't that what we are saying? I guess I am trying to figure out if we can say that????

    Also,when thinking of Abraham and the covenant God made with him,we are God's chosen ones(those of us who are believers) and covenantly aren't those who are born into a believer's household and taught about God and the gospel going to be believers. Can we trust God to do that?

    Thanks!
     
  5. Harald

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    Molly. Those who have "the faith of Jesus" are, according to the word of God, the children (spiritual ch.) of Abraham. This does not mean all who say "I believe in Jesus". Only those with a faith corresponding to that which the Scriptures teach about the faith which is God's gift give evidence that they are Abraham's seed. Having the faith of Christ does not mean one is subjectively perfect in character and conduct, it means one is everything that the word of God says about such a person, no more no less.

    If a believing couple (married of course) is blessed with offspring, then they should bring up the child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. This is the teaching of the Bible as I understand it. Yet, the fact of teaching a child the things of the Bible and the precepts and prohibitions of the Scripture does not in any sense guarantee that the child will be regenerated and converted by the sovereign God. Because the Bible teaches that salvation is not according to works or according to law. It is according to grace, according to God's sovereign and unconditioned choice in eternity. Nothing which a child or grown up person does here in time can cause him/her to become elect, redeemed, and regenerated. All things pertaining to salvation from sin is of grace, in and by and through the Mediator Jesus Christ the Lord. Nor should a believing couple induce the child to think that much reading of the Bible or being indoctrinated into the things of Scripture etc. merits him/her anything with God, such as salvation. He/she should be taught the truth that salvation is by grace through Christ Jesus, and that it is only God who can bestow it on a person if it thus should please Him. No one has any claims on God whatsoever. It is thus wrong to induce a child to think he/she is saved if the parents are believers in Jesus Christ. Salvation does not run in the family, it does not come through "bloods", John 1:13.

    If believing parents have reason to believe a child of theirs may have been converted aright by the Gospel I would say they must not be too much of a hindrance if the child wishes to be baptized. The child's religious freedom must be considered. Yet, as the parents are the legal guardians I would not see it wrong they have their say as well. This is not so easy a question to myself, right now. Age is a thing that comes into play, among other things.

    But if believing parents have good reason to believe a child of theirs has experienced a false conversion I think they ought to be honest with it, so as not to encourage it to go on in a false profession.

    I could mention about John Gill, the famous Baptist theologian. I think he was Gospelly converted at quite a young age, about 12 or so. But as for his being baptized for some reason it was delayed, and he did not come before the local Baptist congregation until he was about 16 or 17, if I recall aright. And from other biographies one may learn that the Lord has led His sheep differently, it is not easy to fix any dogmatic rule as to how soon etc. a youth should be baptized. If so be that your child(ren), Molly, have been taught of God (John 6:45), truly converted, I think you need not be too anxious about their baptism and related things. If the Lord should have begun a good work He will complete it as well.

    Harald
     
  6. Molly

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    Thanks for the thorough explanations,Harald! I do agree with you,but we have close friends who are Presbyterian(reformed) and they have given us much to think about...we just desire to be biblical in all we do. We have had questions about all this for a while. We are memebers of a reformed babtistic church that holds to the same salvation doctrines as you have mentioned.

    Anyone else have thoughts on this?
     
  7. Daniel David

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    Molly, a couple of things:

    1. We know the truth of election.
    2. We also know that it isn't related to family but God's free will.
    3. Even in Romans 9, family descendants were not guaranteed salvation.
    4. Baptism is spoken of as an act of faith. I think it is Col. 1 that you might want to look at.
    5. I would be cautious of what your Presbyterian friends say about "covenant theology". There is zero basis for baptizing an infant and including him in the church.
    6. What do you mean by covenant theology?
     
  8. Molly

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    I know,I know [​IMG] ...you are right,but we have had some interesting conversations lately and my husband is reading this really good book on it....we are still thinking like you on this and we agree with Piper(we have read some of his info on the topic). But...we also have some unasnswered questions. We'll read the scripture you pointed out.

    Thanks,
    Molly
     
  9. IfbReformer

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    Molly,

    I think the scriptures give us a clear answer as to your question about your child always being a believer because they are elect and when Baptism should occur.

    I believe in unconditional election. But some of my fellow brothers who believe in it have add some things to it the Bible does not.

    They say unconditional election=salvation. This is incorrect, the correct equation is this:
    unconditional election=will believe(irresistable grace)
    belief = salvation

    Paul(a saved man elect of God before the foundations of the world) makes it clear that "we" ,that includes him, "were God's enemies". We are saved though Christ's life, specifaclly because he died on the cross to reconcile us to God.

    Romans 5:10(NIV)
    "For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!"


    Someone cannot believe if they are not one of God's elect.

    John 6:44 (NIV)
    "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day."

    Acts 13:48(NIV)
    48When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed."

    But if someone is one of God's elect they must AND will believe:

    II Thessalonians 2:13(NIV)
    "But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth."

    Notice three phrases Paul uses here II Thessalonians 2:13:

    "from the beginning God chose you to be saved"
    1.Unconditional Election

    "through the sanctifying work of the Spirit"
    2.Holy Spirit regenerates elect so
    they can believe

    "AND through belief in the truth"
    (emphasis mine)
    3.After being chosen to be saved and being regenerated by the Holy Spirit believe must and will take place. The person is now eternally saved.


    Acts 2:41(NIV)
    "Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day."

    If your child is one of the elect he will believe one day, and after believing he must be baptized.

    IFBReformer
     
  10. IfbReformer

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    I read book from Piper that a friend lent me, I forget the name but it was taking about lives of Augustine,Martin Luther and John Calvin. I read it three days - it was really good reading.

    I have examined some articles on his website - but I think I will have to take a closer look at them.

    I thought I liked Piper(because he is a soverign grace thinker like me) but now I am growing concerned about some ideas he is forming.

    I don't agree with his "future grace" theology which is very similar if not identical to the "means of salvation" theology be thrown around today.

    Be careful of Piper and examine the scriptures to carefully compare to his ideas.

    IFBReformer
     
  11. Daniel David

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    IFB, I would encourage you to get a copy of "Future Grace" by Piper or "The Race Set Before Us" by Shreiner before you write it off.
     
  12. IfbReformer

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    Daniel,

    I plan on it. But some excerpts I have read in paragraph format(so they are not out of context) seem very unbiblical to me.

    I will read them and I am in the process of redesigning my website so when it is back up I will right a review of both books in more detail.

    IFBReformer
     
  13. Molly

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    Thanks,IBFreformer and Daniel David,

    Very good points. [​IMG]
     
  14. superdave

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    Molly,
    I am not a believer in "Covenant" theology, although that is a very broad category, but I do believe in Election. Clearly taught in scripture, so thats good enough for me.

    I think the debate mainly comes down to perception. We see the effects of God's work through the spirit as a choice by the persons will to "choose" salvation, we hear it presented that way, preached that way, yet, it is important theologically to recognize the sovereignty of God, it is also important for us to help people to understand they are responsible for their condition. I know those two things contradict, but I can only understand them to the extent they are explained by scripture.

    Hence, I think children/adults should be Baptized when they have made a profession of faith, since we cannot know the mind of God, and cannot assume our children are among the elect until we see the Spirit's work in their life to convict them toward repentance and faith in Christ.

    I would be careful with Piper, I agree with much of his teaching, and he is a gifted man, but I also disagree with him on several points, especially on eschatology, but thats OK, I think God will take him and the rest of the post-trib rapture Guys home to heaven with me when he comes pre-trib, even if they don't expect it! ;)

    Good to post with you again, its been awhile
     
  15. Molly

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    Thanks,Superdave....that makes sense!
     
  16. Pete Richert

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    Its "The Legacy of Sovereign Joy: God's Triumphant Grace in the Lives of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin by John Piper ". It is really quick reading and though I love Austine, Luther, Calvin, and Piper, and didn't find this book very good. You can see my review on others at
    read me
     
  17. Dr. Bob

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    Disagree with Pete, and would say it is a very good book. Not at the deep theological level, but interesting insights on these great Christians of the past.
     
  18. Terry_Herrington

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    Harald,
    How can any rational person believe that man does not have any choice when it comes to salvation? This would make God the author of atrocities worse than any ruthless dictator that ever existed.

    Then to claim that we are to bring up our children to love and serve God, all the while not even knowing if these precious children can even be saved is unbelievable.

    If I believed this I would not have had children.

    I do not understand how this evil doctrine ever came about in the first place. Certainly, it did not come about by study of the Scriptures.
     
  19. Daniel David

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    1. The real question is: how can any rational person believe the same lies and strawman arguments put forth by the critics of something they obviously don't understand.

    2. Since this is not a thread on calvinism, such will not be addressed. Your real problem is in the nature of God. You think that if man doesn't have free reign over his life, that God must be this evil dictator who delights in pain. That is what is called arguing from the excluded middle. You have given such thinking only two options and only one can be true (to you). You do not allow other possibilities. As evidence by your entire post, you are not willing to learn the other side either. So, enjoy thinking you have sovereignty over God.
     
  20. Daniel David

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    If I believed that, I wouldn't want children either. I tend to stay away from strawman stuff.

    Btw, I am believe in the freewill of God and I have two wonderful gifts from God: Daniel and David.
     

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