Reformed Baptist Ironies (or) Things we’d Like Reformed Baptists to Think About

There is an inescapable irony to tell people that grace is irresistible and unconditional only to tell people that infants can’t be baptized because they aren’t old enough to meet the condition of showing that irresistible grace wasn’t resisted.

Corporeality & Covenantal Standing … A Question From Bulgaria

“Is there anything in the material composition of man which defines and determines his covenantal standing before God — be it salvation,etc. … ? If a person says, “yes, there is” he is a heretic and he must be excluded from Christian fellowship.”

 

Bojidar Marinov
2015

Note that Bojidar has said here that those who believe in the absolute necessity of Jesus Christ for salvation are a heretic. You see no one can be saved apart from the material composition of Jesus Christ being very man of very man. The Scripture teaches expressly that all of our covenant standing before God is dependent upon the material composition of man. If Christ is not very man of very man we are without hope.

Furthermore, as God only saves Adam’s race my covenantal standing before God and so my salvation is absolutely dependent on my material composition. God does not save spirit beings. God, in Christ, only saves men, — body and soul. Nobody saved is non-corporal and immaterial. If I am not a material being I cannot be saved.

Then there is the whole matter of covenant theology which does teach that our children, in their material composition, are members of the covenant precisely because they are the children of believers. The fact that children of believers are children of believers in their material composition does determine their covenantal standing before God as in the covenant, and that as ordered and commanded by God.

Obviously, nothing about any of this denies “Grace alone.” It is just to affirm that non-corporeal, material beings can not be saved

So … who is the heretic and who needs to be excluded from Christian fellowship?

A Few More Words on Baptism

So, the children of Reformed parents are Baptized with the presumption of charity as to their children’s covenant identity.

Following the conviction of “no neutrality” we understand that if we do not Baptize our children we are then presuming either they are not sinners and so have no need of the sign and seal of the washing of regeneration or we are presuming that our babies do indeed belong to their Father the devil and so are counted seed for Lucifer. Holding to neither of these presumptions, we presume, following Scripture, a charity regarding our children’s covenant identity and so following Scripture we baptize our children as God’s children.

We see in this passage in Genesis 17:7 that God has always required the sign of the covenant to be placed upon those who dwell in the Household of God. In the Old Covenant, that sign … that mark … was circumcision. A bloody cutting of that agency which produces life. In the New Covenant, with all bloodletting being fulfilled by Jesus Christ, who was bloodily cut off as God’s agency which produces life, the sign of the covenant is now water which throughout Scripture speaks of life and purification.

Trying to Help the Baptists Not be Baptists

An example of Baptist reasoning touching infant Baptism

A man who belongs to Christ

Marries

A woman who belongs to Christ
AND
Have a baby.
This baby though, belonging to the man and woman who belong to Christ, should not be thought of as one upon whom Christ as a claim of ownership and so should not be baptized.
UNTIL
The baby is old enough to claim that Christ is owned by him.

So … claims of belonging and ownership moves from the divine to the acquiescence of the human who is owned.
And yet, the parents do not wait before being responsible for the child until the child asks the parents into their lives.

Charles Church objects.

Parents or children don’t ask because the child is begotten of them. No one wonders about whether those born of God are proper candidates for baptism either.

Unless, then, you are prepared to confess baptismal regeneration…not even that really, since your point is about who are proper candidates for baptism, so if you are prepared to confess that children of believers are automatically regenerate, then your parallel can make sense. But not until then.

Bret responds,

  • The children of Reformed parents are Baptized with the presumption of charity as to their redemptive identity. This presumption of charity as to their redemptive identity is valid because God Himself has been pleased to open the womb of His redemptive people and provide a covenant seed for Himself. Thus children of Reformed parents are Baptized with the presumption of charity as to their redemptive identity. Reformed people Baptize their babies, not because they know that the babies are regenerate but rather on the basis of God’s command and promise. God’s promises are to us AND TO OUR CHILDREN, (Acts 2;39) and Christ commands for the Nations to be Baptized (Matthew 28) and as children are part of those Nations to be Baptized they are to be Baptized.

    There is a key difference seen here Charles. Baptists do not baptize their children because they are operating with the presumption that their children are damned until those children are old enough to;

    A.) Be old enough to not be presumed damned
    B.) By offering up their ability to agree to God’s claim upon them from conception in exchange for God’s mark of ownership seen in baptism.

    Third, unlike Baptists, Covenantal Reformed do NOT hold to the doctrine of every member of a visible Church is automatically regenerate simply because they are members of the Church. We concede that there are within the visible Church those who are only administratively attached to the visible Church while others have the essence of what is promised by being marked by baptism into Christ’s and His body. As such, there is no claim on our part (unlike Lutherans) that Baptism itself brings regeneration.

    Baptism is God’s claim of ownership wherein the expectation is found that said Baptized child will grow up yielding to love and commands of He who has claimed Him. However, just as all of Israel was not of Israel in the Old Covenant (Romans 9:6-7), so today not all of grown up Israel (the Church) is of grown-up Israel. Just as then some who would fail were rightly marked with the sign of the covenant so today some who will fail are rightly marked with the new covenant sign.

    Baptists presume that the babies born of Christians are born as belonging to Lucifer AND as God having to wait on their decision to claim Him before God can make a valid claim upon them without their consent.

    It really is a matter of priority. Baptists believe that the priority of claim of ownership moves from divine to human before the claim of Divine ownership upon man, as communicated in Baptism, can be allowed.

    Baptists are latent Arminians because they are requiring that their babies are able to bring something they can’t as babies bring (their verbal testimony of conversion) to Baptism in exchange for the sign of the covenant that age-accountable people can bring.

God Names & Exegetes Himself

18 And he (Moses) said, “Please, show me Your glory.”
19 Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” 20 But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” 21 And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. 22 So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. 23 Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen….”

Exodus 34:5 Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, 7 keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” “The meaning of the divine name and thus the very person of God are revealed in the two texts. The first one exposes what God will do when he discloses His name to Moses on the mountain, and the second one exegetes the content of that meaning.
The first text anticipates the second. Moses wishes to see the divine glory and God permits him to see the divine goodness — tantamount to proclaiming the divine name in his hearing.”

Stephen G. Dempster
Dominion and Dynasty; A theology of the Hebrew Bible — pg. 105-106

What must not be missed here, if Dempster is correct, is that God binds up His name and the exegesis of His name not only with the idea of His graciousness, mercy, longsuffering, goodness, truth, justice and forgiveness but also with the idea of divine freedom, or as Calvinists prefer, divine sovereignty. God’s very name is and means His ability to have compassion and to not have compassion on whom He sovereignly chooses and refuses to choose.

Of course, legion are the name of the Evangelicals who refuse to accept this proposition. Per, the expansive Arminian camp inside Evangelicalism it is absolutely denied that this is the character of God’s name. God’s name is not “divine freedom,” but “divine lack of freedom.”

If God says is divine freedom is the very essence of who He is, doesn’t it teeter on the denial of God to deny God’s freedom? Of course this divine freedom operates in the context of grace, mercy, forgiveness, long-suffering and goodness but as Pharaoh discovered it also operates in the context of justice and wrath.

To deny God His essence by denying Him is divine freedom is to create an idol instead of God. Hard Arminians, never mind Open Theists have taken to themselves a God who is not the God as God names and exegetes Himself in Exodus 33 & 34.