Thoughts on life and Scripture...

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Infant Baptism Exposed! Part 4

In this post we will look at some common verses in the New Testament used to support infant baptism. But I would remind you that when these verses are used to support infant baptism, that it is assumed that their understanding of the covenants is right. So any debate must begin there. But it may be helpful to go through a few of these verses to show more convincingly that infant baptism is entirely absent from the Bible. 

Acts 2:38-39

 ‘For the promise is for you and for your children and for those who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.’ Yes, the promise of salvation is for all whom the Lord our God will call—all whom He calls to Himself. The  gospel promise is for the Jews that are present, for their children and for the gentiles who are far off.  (Ephesians 2:11-13.)  Does He call every child of believers to Himself? No. We see often enough children of believers who have rejected Christ—who reject all that they have been taught. Why? Because they were not called to God—He did not call them to Himself. This passage is referring to God's effectual and irresistible call that leads to salvation.

1 Corinthians 7:13-14
‘If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.’ So the children and spouse of a believing wife/husband are made holy. Does this mean that they have salvation? Does this mean that the unbelieving spouse also has salvation? No, of course not. They come under the believing spouse’s Christian influence and so, Paul notes, they are much more likely to be saved in due course through their own faith. Thus they are in a real sense “set apart” from other unbelievers and from the evil of the world. ‘ (ESV notes.) This does not mean that they will be saved or that they are saved, for if the believing spouse leaves, they are left unclean—with no spiritual or moral influence over them. The basis for their holiness is not the faith of the parent/spouse, but the presence of that parent/spouse.
It’s interesting that in Ezra and Nehemiah, when the people had intermarried and had spouses and children who were not Israelites, they had to divorce them—they had to ‘get rid of them’ and separate themselves from them. That was the OT way of doing things but here in the new covenant, this is not the way we do it. We stay with them so that we can have an influence in their lives and maybe win them over to Christ.

Matthew 19:14
‘But Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive this.’' 

Mark 10:14-15

‘But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.’’ And, also in Luke 18:15-17. It does not say that the kingdom of heaven belongs to these. But, it is saying that to enter into the kingdom of heaven you have to come with childlike trust. It belongs to those who know they are helpless to attain entrance into the kingdom—it must be received as a gift. 

Household baptisms 

Household baptisms are a weak argument to use to prove infant baptisms. First, there are not many compared to individuals who believe and are baptized. We have in the New Testament 4 household baptisms, two households that came to faith (John 4:53, Acts 18:8)  and 3005 individual baptisms (Acts 2:41, 8:39, 9:18, 19:5, 1 Cor 1:14) that are known to us of people who believed and were baptized.. There were, of course, more people baptized as we know from Acts 8:12 where we learn that "When they believed Philip,....... they were being baptized men and women alike." Note that it doesn't mention anything about infants or children. Surely these men and women had children. Second, it is bad to base a doctrine and practice on assumptions. If I were to pick at random 4 families in a large church, how many of them would have very young children? Chances are most families in a larger church don't have very young children. Using household baptisms to support infant baptism means you must assume there are very young children. Third, household baptisms are used to support infant baptism but are not practiced. No one I know practices household baptisms where when upon the conversion of a father or mother then all the children and unbelieving spouse are baptized even if they reject the gospel. If the head of a household believes do you baptize his slaves or servants even if they don't believe? And at what age would you not baptize children in the family? Do you baptize children of believers if they are 5 or 10 or 15 and they show no evidence of saving faith? Household baptisms cause more problems for infant baptism than they solve. But I think if we look closely at each case you will see that these household baptisms were also household conversions.

Cornelius' household 

This story is found in Acts 10. Cornelius gathered his relatives and close friends to hear Peter preach. While Peter was preaching the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening. These Gentiles then began to speak in tongues and started praising God. This coming of the Holy Spirit on those who were listening led Peter to conclude that these people were to be baptized as well. "Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?" verse 47. It seems clear from the passage that there was a gathering of people who were listening to Peter preach and the Holy Spirit came on them which was the basis for Peter then baptizing them.
 In Chapter 11:14 we are told that God told Cornelius to send for Peter who "will speak words to you by which you will be saved, you and all your household."  Here we learn that Peter's gospel message would bring salvation to Cornelius and to his household. The salvation given to Cornelius is the same that was given to his household; a salvation that is secure, permanent, and complete. I hope that  no one wants to argue that infants have salvation forever based on their parent's faith. Or that somehow there are two different salvations in this text; one for Cornelius and one for his household. When you put all these details together, it seems very unlikely that infants were present and were baptized.

The Philippian jailer's household 

 Acts 16 25-34. Notice here in this case that Paul and Silas spoke the word to all that were in his house. verse 32. And that he believed in God with his whole house. verse 34. Also verse 31 is similar to Acts 11:14 which we looked at already. It is clear that all those in the household heard the gospel, believed, and were baptized.

Lydia's household 

Acts 16: 11-15. In this case we have very few details. But again in order to use this to support infant baptism you need to assume Lydia was married and had young children. We don't read of her husband if she had one. She lived in Thyatira which was about 300 miles from Philippi where she was staying. She was on a business trip it seems. Lydia's case is inconclusive in this matter of infant baptism.

Stephanas' household

1 Corinthians 1:16 and 1 Corinthians 16:15. Paul baptized this household, but in the end of the book we are told that this household were the first converts of Achaia and this household was devoted to serving God's people. This is another case of a household conversion with a household baptism.


Originally I planned to simply post my wife's article on baptism, but because that was written in response to another article, it wasn't a good format. So I started writing a whole new defense of believer's baptism while inserting some of Fenna's work. What started out only going to be one blog post has become four. Since these posts are brief and introductory, if you want to study more on the subject I would recommend the book "Believer's Baptism, Sign of the New Covenant in Christ," edited by Thomas Schreiner and Shawn Wright.

 I dislike controversies. I dislike writing about them. But there is a time for them to be confronted. The reason I defended believer's baptism is because the truth matters. When we leave the truth and go into error there are always negative consequences. Some of the consequences are minor. Infant baptism leads to actively adding unbelievers into the church. Infant baptism prevents many from having the blessing and encouragement that comes from being Biblically baptized. But some of the consequences are major and serious. Because there is a very close connection between baptism, conversion, and the new birth in the Bible, the gospel is often confused or distorted. Too often infant baptism brings false assurance of salvation. Let me be clear, not every paedobaptist does this. Thankfully there are many who call their children to repent and believe in the gospel and emphasize the need for conversion. I think of men like JC Ryle, Joel Beeke and Thomas Watson. While they still practice infant baptism, they maintain that their children must be born again to enter the kingdom of heaven.
    But it is when the gospel is confused that I feel compelled to write. It is when terms used in the Bible for Christians are given to "covenant" children. It is when people say their children are children of God, or they were born Christians, or they are in Christ, or that they have the Holy Spirit or they are adopted and forgiven by God. It makes me angry when, because of  infant baptism, people can't understand regeneration, conversion, and the new birth. I read where some were debating whether a "covenant" child who grew up to live a godless and immoral life and then repented later in life was always saved and simply straying from her God or if she was born again when she repented later in life. Most concluded that she was saved all along, even though she confessed hating God. Infant baptism also can cause people to practically deal with their children like they are saved. They will say they are not saved and infant baptism doesn't equate salvation but how they talk and teach their kids gives the impression that they do believe their children are saved. Infant baptism often leads to a softening of the gospel call to repent of your sins and cling in faith to Christ's work. I hear things like "they need to accept God's promises." "they must meet the obligations of the covenant by believing in the promises of God." or they are "called to be obedient to the Lord." This weakens the gospel call to repentance. It can lead to confusion, legalism, and a Mosaic covenant model. Listen! Everyone must be born again. Everyone must repent and believe in the good news of the gospel. That includes your unbelieving neighbor's children and your children too. You must tell them that. It is a serious and deadly thing to not call them to repentance. These are the main reasons why we wrote against infant baptism.

Brad and Fenna

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Infant Baptism Exposed! And Baptism Explained Part 3

This is part three of a series which is shedding the light of scripture on infant baptism. The foundation of infant baptism is the assertion that there is a covenant of grace with believers and their children. So far we have been looking at the different covenants to see if that is indeed true. In this post I would like to explain what baptism means and how this meaning is not consistent with infant baptism. Also I hope to show that believers baptism is consistent with the new covenant.

Even before the New Testament there were baptisms. The high priest needed to bathe in water twice on the day of Atonement. Lev 16:4,24 When someone was ceremonially unclean, they often were required to bathe to become ceremonially clean again. So washing with water was some thing normal to the Jew. Also Gentile proselytes went though a baptism of sorts when they wanted to join the people of God. This washing was to remove their "gentileness". It made them clean, because as Gentiles they were ceremonially unclean. Then John the baptist appeared on the scene baptizing people, that is he plunged, dipped, or immersed them in water for that is what to baptize means. His baptism was a baptism of repentance. When people came to John to be baptized, they were admitting that they were unclean from their sins and needed to be washed clean. This was to prepare them for the arrival of the Messiah who would wash the truly repentant from their sins by His blood. But Christian baptism means something more than John's baptism.

First, let it be noted that the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ, commands believers to be baptized. "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." Matt 28: 18b-20a  We are to preach the gospel to all peoples. Those that repent are to be baptized and then they are to be taught what our Lord taught His disciples. That is pretty simple isn't it. It is significant that it doesn't read baptizing them and their children. If He did that would settle the issue wouldn't it? Some have argued this passage deals with a missionary context. Well even in a missionary context, some new believers will have children. Do you not think that of the 3000 new converts that were baptized on Pentecost, none of them had families and children? Yet we only read that the 3000 converts were baptized. Baptism is not an option, it is a command given by Christ. Let us look at what baptism signifies.

1) Baptism pictures the washing of our sins away by Jesus. 

The act of baptism doesn't do any thing apart from faith. The water is not holy or magical. Baptism, like Lord's supper, doesn't do good to the one without faith. This is shown in 1 Peter 3:21. After explaining how the ark saved Noah and his family from the flood Peter says, " Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ." The ESV study note says this on verse 21, " meaning that the passing of water over the body does not cleanse anyone. Baptism saves you because it represents inward faith, as evidenced by one's appeal to God for the forgiveness of sins."  Baptism is an outward picture that represents an inward reality. We use water to clean our bodies from  dirt and grime. So the death and sacrifice of Jesus Christ when applied to a repentant sinner washes away our sins and we are now clean in God's sight. We can see this aspect of baptism in Titus 3:5 where the regeneration is called "the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit." This washing of regeneration is what baptism pictures. Or Acts 22:16, Ananias said to Paul, " Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins calling on His name." Again baptism here pictures the washing away of sins. Through out the New Testament there is a close connection between the inward work of regeneration and the outward picture of baptism.

2) Baptism pictures the dying of the old man and the coming to life of the new man. 

"Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him though baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life." Rom 6:3-4
 Consider Col 2:12 " having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him though faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead."
  Baptism pictures our identification and unity with Christ. "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." Gal 3:27 His death was the death of our old natures. His resurrected life from the dead was our new life in the inner man. We died with Him and we were raised to new life with His resurrection. This is what happens when we are born again. Baptism pictures this union with Christ.When we go down into the water as if we were drowning, it pictures our death of the old man in Christ. When we come up from the waters, it pictures our new life in Christ as we again can breath the air. It is because of this symbolism in baptism, that immersion or dunking  is the best mode for baptism. Only this mode of baptism fully pictures all that baptism was intended to picture. Baptism points back to one's conversion while circumcision points forward to one's need for conversion. This is the connection between baptism and circumcision. See Col 2:11-13

3) Baptism is also a public profession of faith and one's commitment to follow Christ. 

While no texts bring this aspect out, it is an implication. Being baptized is showing to others that God has saved me and made me united to Christ so now I am a new creature and will live for the Lord Jesus rather than myself. In some countries or cultures when a new convert is baptized it is a serious statement to others that I am leaving my old life and I am a new person. This often results in great persecution. With those who practice infant baptism, they separate this aspect from baptism. They have a profession of faith ceremony years later when the child professes faith in Christ. This ceremony was not done in Old Testament Israel after circumcision. Nowhere in the New Testament do we find any basis for this later public profession of faith. It is not necessarily wrong, but God's ideal laid out in His word, is that baptism and profession of faith go hand and hand.

 While this is only a brief look at what baptism means, it should be clear that it fits perfectly with what God promises to do to those in the new covenant. Baptism's meaning also rules out applying this ordinance to infants. Baptism is designed to strengthen new believers with giving them a beautiful picture of the inward work of God in their lives.


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Infant Baptism Exposed! Part 2

 This is part two of a series that aims to put infant baptism under the microscope of scripture. Last post I considered if there indeed is a covenant of grace made with believer's and their children, which is the foundation of infant baptism. So I examined the Abrahamic covenant and circumcision and did not find evidence of a covenant made with believers and their children. But perhaps there is evidence of this covenant of grace in the new covenant. So in this post I plan to focus on the new covenant. I realize this is a little long but this is needed to understand the new covenant. So bear with me.

 The Jewish nation of Israel lived under the Mosaic covenant. This covenant was supposed to be temporary. It was there to reveal their sinfulness, to teach them the gospel in pictures, and to lead them to God's Messiah, High Priest, Prophet, and Lamb. While the people promised confidently that they could keep God's covenant, they failed, and failed, and failed all the way into exile and beyond. God knew that would happen and in Deut 30:1-10 God promised that one day He was going to make them all able to keep His law and covenant so they would experience His blessings. Now at this point this promise is not called a covenant, but when we examine other passages that more clearly refer to the new covenant, than we can see that this promise in Deuteronomy 30 is indeed referring to the new covenant. When we look at the whole of the Old Testament, we see many passages that promise a new covenant. Almost all the prophets reveal aspects of this new and glorious covenant. For example look at Ezekiel 11:14-21, Ezekiel 36 22-36, Ezekiel 37: 15-28, Hosea 2:14-23, Hosea 14. But the clearest passage that explains the new covenant is found in Jeremiah 31:31-40. Part of this passage is quoted in Hebrew 8:8-12. We will look carefully at this new covenant for it reveals to us why we baptize only believers.

  It is clear from scripture that we who are Christians live in the new covenant. At the first Lord's Supper, Jesus, when He was about to pass the cup of wine, stated that, " This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood." Luke 22:20 In Hebrews 9: 15-22, we learn that a will or covenant cannot come into effect without the death of the one who made the will. The death of Christ opened up to us God's will or covenant. The death of Christ instituted the new covenant. Again Hebrews 8 makes it clear that we enjoy the benefits of living in this new covenant.

  It is important to remember that this new covenant was originally promised to Israel. The new covenant was to be the fulfillment of all the other covenants. What the Abrahamic, Mosaic, and Davidic covenants promised, the new covenant delivers. When you look closely at all the passages about the new covenant you will see a consistent pattern in what is promised. The new covenant promises a great return of Jews to their own land. There in the land they will be ruled by the Son of David. It will be a time of great peace, blessing, and prosperity. But before this can happen there will be a great conversion of Jews. It will be a national repentance; a nation as a whole being born again, something the law could not give. See Ezekiel 37. The Holy Spirit is also promised in the new covenant for it is He who will work this great internal change. So we see material or physical blessings promised in the new covenant but also spiritual blessings. But since Israel has rejected her Messiah, she lives outside the blessings of the new covenant. Now Gentiles and believing Jews can participate in the spiritual blessings of new covenant though faith in Jesus Christ, the Seed of Abraham.  (Romans 11) So while the new covenant is instituted or begun, there remains a complete fulfillment. This will happen when the nation of Israel is born again and gathered into their promised land under the rule of Jesus the Son of David. This full fulfillment we, Gentiles, will experience as well during the blessed reign of Christ.

  Now let us look at Hebrews 8:8-12 to see in detail what God promises to give to those now in the new covenant. 
1) This covenant is unbreakable.
  We can see this in verses 8 and 9. There is a comparison between the new covenant and the old mosaic covenant. The people of Israel did not continue in the covenant God made with them at Sinai. They could not keep its demands. They were unable to do all that God commanded them. But this was to change in the new covenant for God was going to change the people internally. Notice all the "I wills", God promises to provide in Christ all that was needed for his people to keep this covenant. There are no covenant obligation for those in this covenant. Christ has done it all.

2) God promises to give His people a new heart. verse 10a
 The Mosaic covenant had laws written on stone tablets. But now the law would be written on the hearts of His people. Having the law written on a person's heart or mind means that God's law would become the driving force of our beliefs, affections, words, and deeds. We will delight to do God's law. We approve of God's law. We look at God's law as God sees it. This is what happens at regeneration. This is what is promised in Ezekiel 36:26 " I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."

3) God promises reconciliation and restoration. verse 10b
God promises that He will be their God and they shall be my people. This promise is found through- out the Bible. In Leviticus 26:12 God promised this if His people would keep His law. In Hosea 1:9, God says that He is not Israel's God and they are not His people because of their sins. But yet in the next verse promises a time when this relationship will be restored. In 2 Cor 6:16, this promise is also applied to individual believers, who were separated from God by their sins but now are reconciled to Him though Christ. In Rev 21:3 and 7, God promises that in the new heavens and earth there will be unhindered fellowship with Him.

4) Everyone in the new covenant will know the Lord. verse 11
To know the Lord is not to simply know about God, but to have a close personal relationship with God. The sons of Eli did not know the Lord. 1 Sam 2:12 Samuel who worked in the temple did not know the Lord before God appeared to him. 1 Sam 3:7 A theme in the book of Hosea is that Israel did not know the Lord, in spite of their apparent religious devotion. We can see something of the meaning  of this expression when it used to describe sexual intimacy. Adam knew his wife Eve. Gen 4:1  In Matt 7:23, Jesus says to those who did many mighty works in His name, that He never knew them. These were self deceived unbelievers who knew about Christ but did not know Him. Jesus knows about them, but He doesn't know them. In the old covenant there were people who did know God. But most of the time most  Jews did not know God. Many had no personal saving relationship with God. But in the new covenant it is promised that all people will know God. To put it another way, In old covenant Israel there were covenant members who needed to be evangelized. In the new covenant all members are saved; we don't need to evangelize covenant members.

5) God promises complete and irrevocable forgiveness. verse 12
 Forgiveness was given in the Old Testament based on the promise of a coming Savior who would suffer the punishment that we deserved for our sins. In the new covenant God gives forgiveness based on the finished work of Christ on the cross. This once for all sacrifice washes away our sins forever.

6) God promises the indwelling of the Spirit
It is important to note that in Ezekiel 36:27, which is also a promise of a new covenant, God promises to put His Spirit in them. "And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statues and be careful to obey my rules." So we see at Pentecost that the Spirit of God comes upon His people. see Joel 2: 28-32 Every time a person is born again the Holy Spirit indwells them and gives them spiritual gifts. This outpouring of the Spirit will also happen to Israel in her future national conversion.

 Infant baptism fails on every characteristic of this new covenant. Every point listed above prevents the idea that children of believers or any unconverted person can be part of this new covenant. Only those who are born again, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, forgiven, and reconciled to know the Lord are members of this new covenant. Baptism is a sign of this glorious covenant. So baptism is to be administered only to those who show the evidences of the new birth.

This post became longer than I planned and it really is only a brief explanation of the new covenant. So, I will explain what baptism means in the next post in this series.


Friday, February 12, 2016

Infant Baptism Exposed!

I am planning to write a brief series in which I want to expose infant baptism to the light of scripture. So if you don't care what scripture says on this matter, don't bother reading on. In this post I want to take a Biblical look at the Abrahamic covenant, which is the very foundation of infant baptism.

If you look in a concordance, you will not find the words infant baptism. The words never come up in Scripture. We never read of even one example of an infant being baptized in all the New Testament. No where does any writer of the New Testament explain or teach this doctrine of infant baptism. So then why do many baptize infants? Depends on who you ask. Catholics have their own strange reasons for baptizing infants. They believe the water is supposed to remove their original sin. Lutherans baptize infants based on the faith of parents or sponsors. The Reformed would tell you they baptize infants of believers based on an eternal covenant of grace made with believers and their children. This covenant is how they can justify baptizing infants when there is no example or explanation of infant baptism in the Bible.

I want to show you from Scripture that this covenant of grace with believers and their children doesn't exist. No where in the Bible will you find such a covenant. And if there is no such covenant, then the foundation of infant baptism crumbles. In fact those who hold to this form of infant baptism are wrong not only about this covenant with believers and their children, but they are also wrong in their understanding of circumcision, the Abrahamic covenant, and the New covenant. We don't need to leave the Old Testament to prove that infant baptism is without scriptural support. The battle begins and ends with the covenant with Abraham. So while better and wiser men have written on this subject, I intend to expose from scripture the errors surrounding infant baptism from the perspective of one who left infant baptism.

God's Covenant with Abraham

In Genesis 12:1-3, God promised to Abraham that He would make him into a great nation, which assumes land for that nation to live in, and God promised to make Abraham's name great. The result would be that Abraham would be a blessing to all the families in the world; a blessing that would come through the seed of Abraham, Jesus Christ. In Genesis 15, we see God making a covenant with Abraham to guarantee the promise made to him in the land of Haran. Abraham was a little unsure of how God could promise such great things to him, when he had no child. But God ratified this promise with a covenant to show Abraham how certain God's promises were. God gave additional details in this covenant concerning what He would give Abraham, for example in verses 19-20, God promised to give to Abraham's offspring the land of Canaan and then specified its boundaries. Abraham believed God's promise in spite of its impossibilities. Later the Lord reaffirms His covenant with Abraham in Genesis 17. The Lord again promises to greatly multiply Abraham and make many nations and kings come from him. God promised to give the land of Canaan to Abraham and his descendants forever. Then the Lord commands that Abraham circumcise all males in his household as a sign of this covenant. All Abraham's servants and slaves are to be circumcised, even Ishmael and Abraham. In fact anyone who was not circumcised was to be excluded from the covenant by God's divine judgement.


Let us consider what was the meaning and purpose of circumcision, for those who practice infant baptism say that circumcision and baptism are signs of this covenant of grace and that they have a very similar meaning. Circumcision was a sign and seal that they were physical descendants of Abraham or had joined the physical nation of Israel . They were a nation set apart. Not necessarily saved but set apart so that God could make Himself known to the nations through them. Circumcision reminded them of God's covenant with which He said that He was their God, not in a salvific sense, but in a national sense. He had chosen this race to be His nation. They were to be His nation by walking in His law or else they lose the blessings of being in this covenant by disobedience. Circumcision was then a reminder of all this. Circumcision also called the Jewish nation to break off from sin and call out to God for a circumcised heart. It was a picture of what had to be done to their hearts—their hearts needed circumcision. Jeremiah 4:4a, ‘Circumcise yourselves to the LORD; remove the foreskin of your hearts, O men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem…’ Or Deut. 10:16, "Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn."  Therefore circumcision was to be a sign of God's covenant with Abraham and his descendants which promised a land, a nation, kings, and a blessing that would be worldwide. Also it would remind the people of their position as God's people so that they would walk in obedience, removing sin from their lives and recognizing their need for a new heart, they would call out to God in faith and repentance. This will be important when we see how baptism is different.

First, it is important to note that this covenant is not with believer's and their children. This is a covenant made with a believer, Abraham, and his descendants, that is his physical children, grand children, great grand children and so on though the generations. Also the covenant includes slaves who are bought by Abraham and his descendants or slaves who are born in their households.

Second, we who are gentiles are children of Abraham only by faith in Christ. ‘Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.’ (Galatians 3:7) ‘So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.’ (Galatians 3:9) ‘But now faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, (the law (v.24)) for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ…And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.’ (Galatians 3: 26-27, 29) We share in the blessings of Abraham through faith in Christ, not our parent's faith in Christ.

  Third, the requirement to circumcise a baby was not faith of the parents, but the physical lineage to Abraham. You can see that here in Genesis 17:10 and 14. Every male was to be circumcised; no exceptions. Also in the Mosaic Covenant, God made it law for the Jewish nation that all males born must be circumcised on the 8th day. Leviticus 12:3, ‘On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised.’ It’s the law for all Israel. If that is not plain enough, consider Joshua 5:2-7 where God commands that all males are to be circumcised at Gilgal because they had not circumcised during the wilderness wanderings. So male children could be circumcised lawfully even if they were the children of ungodly Jewish parents.  The truth that circumcision was based on one's physical lineage to Abraham agrees with all the Old Covenant feasts and festivals. Passover was to be celebrated by all Jews regardless of their heart condition. The feast of booths, the feast of weeks, and the feast of unleavened bread were all to be observed by all the people, unbelieving and believing. These were national feasts to point the people back to what God had done, to call the people to submit to their covenant God and to point them to the Messiah who would fulfill all these types and shadows. If we forget or ignore the national character of the Old Testament, we will make many grievous errors.

Fourth, Consider Esau who was a child born in God's covenant to Abraham. He was circumcised and yet God said of him before he was even born, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." Rom 9:18. Being in the Abrahamic covenant didn't mean that God loved, claimed or forgave each Jewish boy. 

  Now at this point we shouldn't need to go further. The Reformed understanding of the covenant of grace and circumcision is unbiblical. Their strongest argument is cracked and broken.There is no covenant of grace with believers and their children.  But in order to show more clearly how broken this understanding is, we need to show how the New Covenant and baptism are different from the Abrahamic covenant and circumcision.  This we will show in another post.

Brad and Fenna

Friday, February 5, 2016

Top Ten Posts of Year One

Hooray, it is the first birthday of our blog Ruminations. While it was Fenna's idea to start a blog, I have written most of them. In fact I was reluctant to start a blog, but then I ended up writing most of the posts as I do enjoy writing. So in honour of this special day, we have the top ten most viewed posts of the last year. 

This post was the first post written. Fenna wrote this post about being thankful in all things, especially the daily struggles in parenting.

This was an exposition of Proverbs 11:22. This post explains what real beauty is in God's eyes.

I did a four article series on why God has told about the last things that will happen at the end of this world. If you don't think Eschatology is important, read all four posts. It will lead to greater godliness.

I wrote this one last week. It is to be an introduction to a Brad/Fenna critique of infant baptism. This post was written to show what the biggest and most important difference is between those that practice infant baptism and those who only baptize believers.

This is one of the first posts I wrote. It looks at how often the psalmists praised the Lord by dancing.

Abortion is a sin issue. I wrote this to explain that abortion is primarily a spiritual battle and needs to be primarily fought with spiritual weapons.

Everyone loves the movie "Frozen". But there is a deadly lie that overshadows the movie. We need to be aware of  this. This lie or sin is no new thing, David wrote about it in Psalm 2.

We stopped the practice of telling our children to say their prayers before and after meal times. This post explains why.

This is a study about alcohol in the book of Proverbs. I wanted to explain how God wants us to view and use alcohol. 

And the winner is... This post was written after I reread my Opa's autobiography. This post contains the lessons I learned from my Opa, who died 5 years ago. We miss him and are thankful for him. This post was the most read mainly because my cousin Wes shared it on Facebook and he has more friends than we do. :)

 While these were the most read posts, they aren't necessarily my favorite posts. Nor is it our aim to have many people read our writing simply for the sake of numbers. The most rewarding part of blogging is when it encourages, convicts, comforts, and blesses others. Our goal is not to share our opinions or ideas. We want to explain how God's word is to apply in all areas of our lives. We desire God to use this blog to bless and sanctify His church. If God has done that though this small blog, then all glory to Him. 

Brad and Fenna