Luther/Calvin--infant baptism

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Michael D. Edwards, Jan 23, 2002.

  1. Michael D. Edwards

    Michael D. Edwards
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    Hello:

    I am wondering if anyone has documents or studies showing Luther and Calvin's position on infant Baptism. This is an important issue, I think, because many hail such men for their theology systems and say that we must return to that type of theology in our churches, yet did they feel the same way as most Baptists do today about infant baptism as being unscriptural (at least it's pointless)?

    Michael
     
  2. Harald

    Harald
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    Hello. I remembered I had a Lutheran site among my favourites, or more exactly under Heretical Sites. Here it is...
    http://linetap.com/trinity/trinity2.htm

    There you might find some old confession of Luther himself. Maybe someone else knows about Calvin and infant baptism. As far as I know both these men heretically favoured infant baptism, but it is best you read from their own works. Yes, as you say many, regardless of denominational affiliations, hail these reformers so called and their respective theological systems. I am better acquainted with Luther than Calvin and must say that Martin was heretical on many doctrines, the Lord's supper, baptism, soteriology just to name a few. I believe Calvin was the more "orthodox" of them, and he might have written quite a lot of useful things, but personally I am suspicious of him. One thing which makes me suspicious is his favouring infant baptism. If it is true what some claim that Calvin more or less persecuted anabaptists or such like it would not be to his advantage. Well, best you investigate these men and their systems. Personally I do not want to hail them nor recommend anyone to return to their theological systems. Beside the New and the Old Testaments, which contain pure doctrine of God, I believe the Particular Baptists of England and USA have the purest theology and the most God-glorifying confessions. Just come to think of the Baptist confession of 1689 and the confession of the Gospel Standard Baptists from the 1800's.

    Harald
     
  3. Michael D. Edwards

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    Brother, I would certainly love to get to the bottom of all of this. Studying has made me realize how utterly uninformed most pastors are that are standing in the pulpits of America today!!! What a shame on us!

    In Christ
    Michael

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Harald:
    Hello. I remembered I had a Lutheran site among my favourites, or more exactly under Heretical Sites. Here it is...
    http://linetap.com/trinity/trinity2.htm

    There you might find some old confession of Luther himself. Maybe someone else knows about Calvin and infant baptism. As far as I know both these men heretically favoured infant baptism, but it is best you read from their own works. Yes, as you say many, regardless of denominational affiliations, hail these reformers so called and their respective theological systems. I am better acquainted with Luther than Calvin and must say that Martin was heretical on many doctrines, the Lord's supper, baptism, soteriology just to name a few. I believe Calvin was the more "orthodox" of them, and he might have written quite a lot of useful things, but personally I am suspicious of him. One thing which makes me suspicious is his favouring infant baptism. If it is true what some claim that Calvin more or less persecuted anabaptists or such like it would not be to his advantage. Well, best you investigate these men and their systems. Personally I do not want to hail them nor recommend anyone to return to their theological systems. Beside the New and the Old Testaments, which contain pure doctrine of God, I believe the Particular Baptists of England and USA have the purest theology and the most God-glorifying confessions. Just come to think of the Baptist confession of 1689 and the confession of the Gospel Standard Baptists from the 1800's.

    Harald
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
     
  4. Kiffin

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    Both Luther and Calvin believed in Infant baptism. Luther strongly held to baptismal regeneration though it is not fair to say he believed in the Roman Catholic or even Church of Christ viewpoint. Calvin it appears did not hold to Baptismal regeneration.

    We should not dismiss all of their theology because of some doctrinal errors in their theology. Even the Anabaptists and the first generation of Baptists were Arminian in their overall theology but we should not dismiss them because of a few doctrinal errors.
     
  5. Michael D. Edwards

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    Well, I wouldn't throw out people just becuase of disagreeing on one point, but it begs the system of theology involved. If that's the conclusion that is reached, it brings the entire system into question.

    Thanks
    MIchael
     
  6. Kiffin

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    Hi Michael,

    We need to remember that the first generation of Reformers had just left Roman Catholicism and carried some of that baggage with them. If we bring all their theology into question then we bring our own into question since we are fruits of Luther and Calvin's Reformation.

    The Particular Baptists of whom we come from were strongly influenced by Luther and Calvin on the doctrine of Salvation while holding to the Anabaptist view of the Church and baptism. Both Luther, Calvin and yes even the Anabaptists had glaring weaknesses in their theology but they like us are fallible. I mean where in the Bible do you read of a Deacon board that helps a Pastor rule? though it is common amongst most Baptist but is as scriptural as having a Pope rule. We all fall short and that is why the Church is to always be reforming seeking to get as close to the Apostolic churches.

    So enjoy reading Luther and Calvin for they were used by God to get the focus on what the Bible says and not man. Where they err we must admit it. Yes, they had weaknesses but so did Moses, David, Abraham etc..We must accept our heroes as they are. Great but also flawed in some areas.

    [ January 23, 2002: Message edited by: Kiffin ]
     
  7. Michael D. Edwards

    Michael D. Edwards
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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Kiffin:
    Hi Michael,

    We need to remember that the first generation of Reformers had just left Roman Catholicism and carried some of that baggage with them. If we bring all their theology into question then we bring our own into question since we are fruits of Luther and Calvin's Reformation.

    The Particular Baptists of whom we come from were strongly [ January 23, 2002: Message edited by: Kiffin ]
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I would not be convinced as of yet that I am a fruit of Luther or Calvin. There were others before them, obviously, and certainly there were those following the Scripture OUTSIDE of the Catholic tradition. It is that I wish to find out more about. I guess I'm saying I'd like to pass up Luther and Calvin a bit and find out if and who was NEVER part of the Catholic church, so they didn't bring that baggage with them.

    I also don't truly know for a fact that I come from any "particular" baptists either. This is what I continue to diligently seek.

    Michael
     
  8. Kiffin

    Kiffin
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    Michael,

    Most Baptists in the USA (especially the South)have their origins in the Welsh and English Particular Baptists who were all Calvinists. There may be a few who can link up with the General Baptists but I know of none and there are some I believe German Baptists groups I think in the north. Regardless, all groups were splitoffs from Paedobaptists and were influenced by the Reformers. The Anabaptists who were forerunners of the Baptist movement have their origins as disciples of the Swiss Reformer Ulrich Zwingli and split from his Reformation over the doctrine of baptism.

    There is no evidence to suggest of a unbroken line of Evangelical churches going back to the Apostles. Pre Reformation Evangelical churches such as the Paulicians, Albigences, Lollards and Waldenses and the Ancient Celtic Churches existed but no direct connection between them and Anabaptists and Baptists can be established.

    I would suggest you read A Short History of the Baptists, H.C. Vedder, A History of the Baptists, Robert Torbet , Baptist History, Leon McBeth and The Anabaptist Story, William Estep
     
  9. rlvaughn

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    Though I do not agree with Kiffin that Baptists are just splits off of the paedobaptists, nevertheless his analysis of the origin of American Baptists is right on. Unless you are part of the North American Baptist Conference (German), the Baptist General Conference (Swedish), or perhaps ethnic Baptists that more recently entered the United States, your history will go back through the Particular Baptists from the British Isles (England & Wales mostly, I think pracically all the Scottish Baptists succumbed to "Campbellism"). There is only slight evidence that some of the Free Will Baptist movement might possibly link to the English General Baptists.

    P. S. - in the above paragraph when I say the Scottish Baptists succumbed to "Campbellism", I am particularly referring to those who came to North America.

    [ January 23, 2002: Message edited by: rlvaughn ]
     
  10. rsr

    rsr
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    Kiffin:

    I've had a hard time finding much on Zwingli -- usually rates a few paragraphs, mostly dealing with lack of agreement with Luther. I know he was "reformed" and viewed the "sacraments" as ordinances and suppressed instrumental church music (Oh, the precious organs that were lost!), but what is the reference to the split with the Anabaptists?

    Thanks
     
  11. Michael D. Edwards

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    What group then, would you say based on what you know of Church history, HAS connections with pre-reformation evangelical churches?

    Michael

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Kiffin:
    Michael,

    Most Baptists in the USA (especially the South)have their origins in the Welsh and English Particular Baptists who were all Calvinists. There may be a few who can link up with the General Baptists but I know of none and there are some I believe German Baptists groups I think in the north. Regardless, all groups were splitoffs from Paedobaptists and were influenced by the Reformers. The Anabaptists who were forerunners of the Baptist movement have their origins as disciples of the Swiss Reformer Ulrich Zwingli and split from his Reformation over the doctrine of baptism.

    There is no evidence to suggest of a unbroken line of Evangelical churches going back to the Apostles. Pre Reformation Evangelical churches such as the Paulicians, Albigences, Lollards and Waldenses and the Ancient Celtic Churches existed but no direct connection between them and Anabaptists and Baptists can be established.

    I would suggest you read A Short History of the Baptists, H.C. Vedder, A History of the Baptists, Robert Torbet , Baptist History, Leon McBeth and The Anabaptist Story, William Estep
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
     
  12. rlvaughn

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    Unless my memory is wrong (and it is failing [​IMG] ), Zwingli held that the Lord's supper was symbolic or memorial and evidently wanted to be in substantial agreement with the Anabaptists on believer's baptism. But pressures of the times seem to have caught up with Zwingli and he reniged on the baptism issue and became an enemy and persecutor of Anabaptists. I think he kept the idea of the symbolism of the ordinances, at least the Lord's supper. I haven't thought too much about Ulrich Zwingli in awhile and need a refresher course in Zwingli 101. But I think all this is at least roughly correct. :(

    [ January 23, 2002: Message edited by: rlvaughn ]
     
  13. DocCas

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    Martin Luther: "Baptism is a Greek word, and may be translated immerse. I would have those who are to be baptized to be altogether dipped." Martin Luther changed his view in about 1525 when he realized it was aligning him with the hated anabaptists - and that it would not suit his "church-state" model, which requires wholesale infant baptism.

    John Calvin: "The word 'baptize' signifies 'immerse.' It is certain immersion was the practice of the primitive church." Institutes, Book IV; c15.
     
  14. Michael D. Edwards

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    I don't want to get off topic. But does Calvin have anything to say on teh rapture of the church? If so, there is a rapture thread here on the theology forum

    Michael
     
  15. Pete Richert

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>James2 wrote:

    You have to remember that Luther was brought up in the Catholic Church. He did teach infant baptism, but not everyone is perfect. At any rate, I'm just finishing up reading several of Luther's treatises taken from "Luther's Works." Man, oh man, what a preacher of the Word of God. I have a new respect for that man. He was a giant among men. Taking into account the times he lived in it is easy to see why he was so blunt in his speech. No politically correct, so-call mushy "tolerance" babble from him.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I totally with JAMES2 on this. I have been reading "Martin Luther's Basic Theological Writings" and I think this guy is awesome! I obviously don't agree with his view on baptism or sacrements, but he certainly stressed a living, acting, TRUSTING faith in Jesus Christ and all of the promises of God. He is an inspiration to read and a "giant of a man" to take JAMES2 words again.
     
  16. JAMES2

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    [ January 29, 2002: Message edited by: JAMES2 ]
     
  17. Pete Richert

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    I read "The Babylonian Captivity of the Church" just last week. I am looking into getting "The bondage of the will". It will probably have to wait til the summer though (if things were busy enough, my first baby was just born on Wednesday!)
     
  18. JAMES2

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    [ January 29, 2002: Message edited by: JAMES2 ]
     

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