Affirmation and Defense of Credobaptism

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by ReformedBaptist, Jul 20, 2008.

  1. ReformedBaptist

    ReformedBaptist
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    Hey BB brethren,

    I wanted to hear from the board here their affirmation and defense of credobaptism (baptism of disciples, or believers, only). Your replies will help me as I study with Reformed Theological Seminary which is a paedobaptist (infant baptism) seminary. I am reading through some books of course, and especially studying the Scriptures on the matter.

    If you are able, try to make your affirmation and/or defense convincing for a paedobaptist. In order to do so, you will have to deal with their views on covenant theology to some degree. If your not able to do that, then simply tell the board why you believe what you believe concerning baptism.

    If the subject interests you, I would highly recommend Fred A. Malone's book "The Baptism of Disciples Alone." He holds his MDiv from Reformed Theological Seminary, so it was of special interest to me, and because of his role with the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches in America (ARBCA) which our own church is in process of requesting fellowship in. I will also have an opportunity to hear him speak at Heritage Baptist Church in Fayetteville, GA later this year. (If anyone is from the area and would like to know more, send me a message).

    Thanks for your replies. I believe as Baptists we should be able to give a sound, biblical and reasonable reason for why we affirm the baptism of disciples only (coined by Fred Malone) and reject the baptism of infants.

    RB
     
  2. Joseph M. Smith

    Joseph M. Smith
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    This will by no means be a complete answer ... but to the Reformed approach that focuses on covenanting as taking in children and all persons associated with the elect, think about using Ezekiel and Jeremiah as starting points in the Old Testament. Ezekiel's focus on "The soul that sins, it shall die" and his rejection of the responsibility of others for individual souls helps to begin our Baptist argument. And then Jeremiah's focus on the new covenant, made in the heart rather than merely taught, takes another step in the right direction.
     
  3. jdlongmire

    jdlongmire
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    #3 jdlongmire, Jul 20, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2008
  4. jdlongmire

    jdlongmire
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    RB - check your PM :)
     
  5. nunatak

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    jd, your links aren't working.
     
  6. jdlongmire

    jdlongmire
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    oops! let me see what happened...
     
  7. ReformedBaptist

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    Got the PM jd, I am already there brother!
     
  8. jdlongmire

    jdlongmire
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    Suh-wheet!
     
  9. ReformedBaptist

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    I am surprised I haven't seen more responses here. Consider the following statement by a paedobaptist:

    Is this true of us here? Isn't our doctrine of baptism the reason why we are called "Baptists" and should we not have a clear reason why we do what we do? I am sure all of us would say yes. Perhaps this thread is a good encouragement for us all to dig deep and be able to give a reason for one of the things that makes us distinctly Baptist.
     
  10. lbaker

    lbaker
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    Okay, here's my take on it:

    At the end of Matthew Jesus tells the disciples to "go" and make disciples and baptize them. You can't really make a disciple out of an infant or young child.

    At the end of Mark Jesus tells the disciples whoever "believes and is baptized" will be saved. I don't think an infant can believe.

    In all the examples of baptism I can think of in the NT faith or repentance or belief came before the folks were baptized.

    One area where the Paedobaptists do have a better handle on it than we do is their understanding of the intended purpose of baptism.
     
  11. Brandon C. Jones

    Brandon C. Jones
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    Hello Reformed...

    I too am a Baptist studying at a Reformed school (Calvin). I would recommend Nehemiah Coxe's "Covenant Theology: From Adam to Christ." (Amazon Link). Coxe was most likely one of the two editors of the Second London Confession, and his treatise is the most substantive theological work of covenant theology from a credobaptist position that I have come across. There's also the volume on Believer's Baptism put out by the Southern Baptists that has some ok articles.

    As for some good scholarship on the meaning of baptism, I recommend the monographs by Stanley Fowler and Anthony Cross on baptism put out by Paternoster in their excellent series on Baptist theology and history.

    Good luck with your studies. Covenant theology and the doctrine of baptism are both research interests of mine (I will most likely be writing my dissertation on this area).

    In a nutshell, Coxe argues (as many other Baptists in his day), that covenant theology does not require infant baptism because the covenant with Abraham had spiritual and physical referents. Thus, baptism did not replace circumcision.

    FWIW, even the General Baptists of the seventeenth century like Thomas Grantham utilized covenant theology along with both credobaptism and arminian soteriology.
    Sadly, Baptists rarely get in touch with their own history, and they often replace it with fictional history instead.
     
  12. Marcia

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    I do not agree with baptism of an infant or very young child (like maybe age 4 or under). If one believes that baptism symbolizes faith in Christ and is done out of obedience, an infant or very young child cannot understand this nor do this out of obedience.

    I do not know of any examples of baptizing an infant or child in the NT. I realize there are references to the "household" being baptized but I do not think this is enough substantiation since we don't know the ages of the people in the household. Also, I believe that servants were included as part of the household.

    If baptism of an infant or very young child is done, then baptism would have to mean something other than how I understand it.
     
  13. ReformedBaptist

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    Hey Brandon,

    Thanks for the reply. May the Lord bless you in your studies. I have that book by Nehemiah Coxe, but I have not read it yet. I tend to collect books and fill my library, and then read them slowly. haha.

    The pastor of our church is preaching on the covenants. It is something new to me, yet it is throughout Scripture. I must admit that I do not have a full grasp to it in a systematic way. My coursework begins with Systematic Theology 1,2,3 which will take me about a year to complete. I have to do one course at a time because of time contraints.

    If you do end up writing your disseration on this subject keep me in mind. I would love to read it.

    RB
     
  14. lbaker

    lbaker
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    If you're talking about articles in the Southern Baptist Theological Journal, the one by Stein was especially good, IMHO.

    Also, Fowler and Cross have put out some good stuff, for sure.

    Another good book, if you can find it, is "Baptism in the New Testament" by Beasley-Murray.
     
  15. HankD

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    One of the best examples is in

    Acts 8:
    36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
    37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
    38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
    39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.


    HankD​
     
  16. Brandon C. Jones

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    Hi Baker,

    I'm sorry that I wasn't clear. My use of the word "articles" for the work by Southern Baptists is rather vague. I was referring to the book edited by Schreiner and Wright filled with essays from Southern Baptist profs on baptism (Amazon Link). Stephen Wellum provides a lengthy one on covenant theology (but he never addresses Baptist history in the essay). The book as a whole is okay with some great essays and some that aren't worth your time.

    BJ
     

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