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Tuesday, 28 May 2013

The dangerous error of Covenant Succession Part 2

II. The Fallacy of Covenant Succession Examined
Any considered examination of the Scriptural evidence upon which this fallacy is based will require us to seriously question this thesis.

It is surely a most foolish practice to draw a distinction between how we treat and view our children before God and how they actually are in reality before God. How great is the folly of treating our children as being in the covenant when they may not be? It surely must be crystal clear that a person is either in the covenant or they are not. If it is claimed that the children of believers are in the covenant then it must emphatically follow that they will be converted and will persevere unto the end. Not one of them will fall out of the covenant and be lost if they are really and truly in the covenant! This is the infallible terms of the covenant of grace. They cannot be in the covenant and not eventually be saved.

Even the holders of 'Covenant Succession' have to admit the obvious reality that not all children of believers are in Christ. So where is 'Covenant Succession' here? Some go as far as to assert that those who do not persevere are not really their true children after all. A scandalous assertion!

If it has to be acknowledged that sadly many children of believers are not in the covenant because they end up dying out of Christ, then where is the reality of 'Covenant Succession'? The reality makes a mockery out of the claim! All the children of believers are not in the Covenant! Therefore they should not be treated as such.
Bible Texts
1. Genesis 17:7: And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. The covenant spoken of here encompasses far more than just the physical descendants of Abraham. If, as acknowledged by those who hold to this view, this is the covenant of grace, then it hast to be acknowledged that in the covenant of grace multitudes of Abraham's physical descendants were never included. Within Abraham's own lifetime there were physical descendants not included in this covenant. Hyper-Calvinists love to quote those words about Esau in Romans 9:13: As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. The sobering reality is that Esau never was in the covenant of grace! He could not be. Yet this text is employed to argue for the covenant succession of the physical offspring of believers. It argues against this thesis rather than for it. 

Furthermore, many are in the covenant of grace who were never the physical descendants of Abraham. All the Gentile believers, who have been and are being gathered into Christ, by virtue of that covenant of grace, are evidently not the physical descendants of Abraham. If, as claimed, this covenant is solely the covenant of grace then it has little to do with physical lineage. The Scriptures teach the true children of Abraham are those who have the same faith as Abraham not merely his physical descendants. All believers called Abraham 'father'. He is called the father of the faithful, Romans 4:11: And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also. We call Abraham 'father' as we have the same faith as father Abraham.

Only those who are in Christ can truly claim to be Abraham's seed and that in fulfillment of Genesis 17:7. As stated in Galatians 3:28,29: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Physical lineage doesn't come into it!

In fact, Paul elsewhere argues against the claim that physical lineage includes you in the covenant of grace, For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God, Romans 2:28,29

This is in keeping with the words of John's Gospel: But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God, John 1:12,13. The Jews boastfully claimed to be Abraham's physical children and believed that this made them the inheritors of the kingdom of heaven. It did not: They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? … They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham, John 8:33,39. They may have been Abraham's physical seed but this did not include them in the covenant of grace. 

If physical descent does not guarantee you inclusion in the covenant then it is gross folly to pretend otherwise to our children. It might make you feel good as a parent but it will do nothing for the child.

2. Isaiah 54:13: And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children. To force this text to teach 'Covenant Succession' is a travesty of Biblical interpretation. This text has nothing to do with children in the conventional sense. The context is speaking of the nation of Israel as a whole. The nation as a whole is looked upon as a wife and a mother, cf vv1-. In other places, in Hebrew Scripture idiom, a city is called a 'mother in Israel', with satellite villages being looked upon as daughters, cf. 2 Samuel 20:19: I am one of them that are peaceable and faithful in Israel: thou seekest to destroy a city and a mother in Israel: why wilt thou swallow up the inheritance of the LORD?

This text is speaking about a national gathering of the whole nation in which every inhabitant old and young alike will know the Lord and be taught of Him. It has nothing to do with an individual believing parent and their children. In fact, on closer inspection these words are spoken to an unbelieving people. The nation is described as being in 'widowhood' in v4, separated in unbelief from God. Something which can never be said of a believing parent and would be anathema to those who believe in 'Covenant Succession'.

3. Ephesians 6:1-3; Colossians 3:20,24: Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth; 
Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged, Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
The phrase 'in the Lord' is often employed to again argue for 'Covenant Succession'. However, this phrase is not a reference to the state of children before the Lord but rather is a reference to the terms of their obedience:
[1] They are to obey 'in the Lord', that is, as far as it is consistent with their duty to God. They must not disobey God in obedience to earthly parents. Our obligation to obey God is prior and superior to any command to obey all others, even our parents.
[2] They are to obey for the Lord has commanded it. Children are to obey their parents for the Lord's sake. It is dealing with the authority to require obedience.
[3] It may be a general duty. Children are to obey their parents, especially in those things which relate to the Lord.

To make these words an argument for 'Covenant Succession' is to force the text to teach something that there is no warrant for.

To argue in Colossians by joining two verses together and omitting what lies in between is equally dubious. Whatever is said of children by joining these two verses, vv 20,24, together must also be said of servants/employees as they are spoken of in v 22, which lies in between. Was every servant in every household a believer as well? We know this was not the case. Onesimus ran away from Philemon and was only later converted under Paul's ministry and then sent back. Maybe he was regenerated in infancy!

None of these Bible texts, so often quoted by those who subscribe to 'Covenant Succession' teach this thesis that the physical children of believers are all to be viewed and treated as being in the Covenant and therefore the children of God. 

24 comments:

Tom said...

I would agree with you that there is a hyper view of covenant succession held by some.

But, is there also not not a measure of inconsistency in your view if we "put" covenantal language into the mouths of our children by teaching them certain songs (e.g. Jesus Loves Me)?

I would also be interested in what your understanding of WCF 25:2 is, where it says that the children of believers are part of the visible church. What is the significance of Genesis 17:7 being used as a proof text in this context?



Rev Brian McClung said...

Tom

I don't see an inconsistency in children singing certain songs such as Jesus loves me. There is that general love that God has for humanity.

It is our denominational position to view the children of believers as part of the visible church. But we do not view them as the children God in the covenant. I actually preached upon this Lord's day morning past.

The visible church is not the invisible church. The visible church is in reality a mixture of saved and lost. This is confirmed by the parables of the wheat and tares and the five wise and five foolish virgins. Visible Israel under the old economy was not made up of those who were all redeemed. Esau, and many like him, were part of visible Israel but never part of redeemed Israel. I don't view the visible church today any differently. This is how how I would interpret Gen 17:7 in this context.

Brian McClung

Rev Brian McClung said...

Tom

I would teach that hymn to children whether they are born of believing parents or unbelieving parents. I would not make any distinction. I certainly don't 'view' or 'treat' any child as a Christian or 'federally holy' without them first knowing conversion. All children are sinners without exception or distinction. They need the same work of regeneration and conversion as any other individual.

How could you ever evangelise any child if you keep telling them they are in the covenant and they are the children of God. First of all, you have no evidence or grounds for doing so. This is pure unwarranted presumption as Bible history is replete with examples of the children of believers who died in their sins and were never in the covenant.

Secondly, what is the motivation for any child to seek the Lord for salvation if it is constantly being taught that it is already in the covenant and already is a child of God?

Thirdly, you end up populating the church with those who have an outward conformity to and a head knowledge of the things of God but have no saving experience of God's grace in their hearts.

Brian McClung

Tom said...

You stated in the comment section of your first installment on this subject that you were dealing with the extreme "form” of covenant succession. My concern is, and has been, that your “thesis” seems to paint with an extremely broad brush. Your last response to my comments would even seem to indicate this as well.
Although I would agree with you that “all children are [born] sinners without exception” and that “they need the same work of regeneration and conversion as any other individual”, I cannot agree with your use of the phrase “without... distinction”. Historical Presbyterianism has always held that there is a distinct manner in which the church is to treat and view the children of believers. And this is where I see your disagreement with covenant succession moving beyond the parameters you claim. Please, correct me if I am wrong.
By stating that you “certainly don’t view and treat them as a Christian or federally holy without them first knowing conversion”, seems to be inconsistent with what the writers of the Westminster Standards set forth in WCF 25:2. I make that claim based on the further writings of this body of men - individually as well as corporately.
How did the Westminster Divines believe that the children of believers should be viewed and treated as part of the visible church? They viewed and treated them just as I described: “Christian” “federally holy” and as having “an interest and a responsibility to that covenant”. As an example, I would refer you to the Westminster Directory of Worship where these exact words are used in the section on baptism.
Now, I know that the FPC has an open policy which allows for people to hold to either believer or infant baptism. And I want to make it clear that I am not arguing for my position on baptism, which would be the latter (although in essence I would hold to both based on circumstances). The point I am trying to make is that historically the Westminster Standards have been understood by Protestants as containing a form of covenant succession.
I will even take it as far as to say that the majority of protestant creeds and confessions do as well. And I see in your thesis and further statements, not a contending against the hyper form of covenant succession (and its abuses), but a contending against anyone that would view the children of believers in the way that this statement from the Directory describes. This, in my mind, would be anyone that holds to infant baptism, who believes that such a practice is taught in Scripture. But, I will take it further than that. There are many “Reformed Baptists” that would in some measure also view their children in this same way. They may not come to a point where they are willing to put the “sign of the covenant” (baptism) on them, but they do see them as distinct from the world’s children – even calling them “covenant children” in some cases.
My question is this; would you consider one who believes the views quoted above from the Directory of Public Worship (and sees the WCF, LC and SC as teaching the same concept) as holding to a form of hyper covenant succession? Your thesis and comments seem to indicate that you do. If that is the case, you are basically contending against the whole of historical Presbyterianism, not just an “extreme” segment of the reformed church today.
To hold to such views is not “fallacy”. Also, it is not “pure unwarranted presumption” to view our children in this way. Many, including the writers of the Westminster Standards saw such a view and treatment of children within the church in fact warranted by Scripture.

Rev Brian McClung said...

Tom

I think I made it pretty clear in the opening paragraph of the first post on this subject who I had in mind. It is all those who do not believe their children need to 'evangelise' and converted and that they only need to be 'nurtured'. If that is your position then I am against that and so would be the FPC as a denomination.

If you do not agree that 'All children are sinners without exception or distinction' then are there different degrees of sinners. Are the children of believers lesser sinners than children born of unbelieving parents? In my understanding of Scripture there is only one type of sinner by birth and that is a 'spiritually dead one'. It is one thing to say that believers and their children are part of the visible church. I don't have a problem with that. I do have a problem with those who argue that somehow their children are lesser sinners. Maybe they wouldn't even use the word 'sinner' about their children.

The words/terms 'Christian', 'federally holy' and 'having an interest and a responsibility to the covenant' are not in the Confession. Yes it is true that the FPC from its inception has adopted an open position on Baptism. I for one am very happy about that as I am not a paedobaptist. As I said before I have no problem with accepting children of believers as part of the visible church. I understand the visible church/kingdom of God on earth to be impure both in OT and in NT times. I refuse to countenance a tenet that believes because a child is born of believing parents it is somehow a 'Christian'. You can only be a Christian, as the Bible defines the term, by being regenerated or born again. Do you accept this definition of a Christian? If you do then you must believe in covenant succession in some form. If you do not then in what sense is a child of believing parents a 'Christian' or 'federally holy'? When did they become so? Are all children of believing parents 'Christian' and 'federally holy'? If a child of believers is not regenerated then how can they be classed as a 'Christian'? You must have different definitions of what a 'Christian' is.

If your idea within paedobaptism is that this makes children 'Christian' and 'federally holy' [I would like you define that term as well] then yes I repudiate that thesis for in my view that is akin to baptismal regeneration which the Confession repudiates. If someone views paedobaptism as no more than bringing a child into the visible church then I have can live with that.

In my opinion it most certainly is a 'pure unwarranted presumption' for history teaches us that many children of believers were never in the covenant for they have died out of Christ.

Brian McClung

Tom said...

Some answers to your questions and some further comments...

First, I believe (as I have already stated) that to bring your children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord must of scriptural necessity contain within it an element of evangelism. Beyond that, if a parent is a member of a gospel believing and gospel preaching church, their children should continually be under the sound of the free offer of that gospel of grace that calls sinners unto faith and repentance. And “covenant children”, if they are to be converted, must exercise faith and repentance. Sometimes that initial faith and repentance (that comes as a result of the Holy Spirit’s work of regeneration) is clearly defined, in that there is an unmistakable point in time in which they know that they have been translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God’s dear Son. Sometimes children may not know a specific point in time in which they first believed. It is possible that they may not consciously recollect a time in their life when they did not believe the truths of the gospel when they have been brought up in a Christian home.

Second, children of believers are not “lesser sinners” than children of unbelievers. I would agree with you that both are “spiritually dead” until, if and when, they are born from above. I would also call my children (and myself) sinners, whether converted or not. All Christians are at best sinners saved by grace. I also don’t believe that conceding that point does any damage to my views on the children of believers being in the covenant. If it does, then one must reevaluate their view of children in the “Israelite church” in the OT.

Third, how would I define the term “Christian”? I would define it as Scripture does in Acts 11:26. Christians are disciples (learners or followers) of Christ. Children of believers which are brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, should be viewed, treated and referred to as such. They are taught to follow Christ, pray in His name, sing of His glories, memorize His Word and worship Him under the proclamation of the full counsel of the Word of God. All this is to take place in the context of the church and family; with all involved completely reliant upon a sovereign gracious God and his promise to bless the means that He has ordained. Beyond that, I would use the term to describe the adults in the visible church that (with the judgment of charity) have a credible profession of faith.

Would you apply the same definition that you use for “Christian” to define the word “saint”? Paul often uses that descriptive term at the beginning of his epistles, with the clear intent being that it is meant to describe all those that he is addressing. Were all in attendance in those particular churches regenerated? I believe that we would both agree that it is entirely possible, if not highly unlikely, that they were not. Yet he uses the term “saints” to describe both the children and adults in those locations.

In fact, when he commands children in Ephesians 6:1 that they are to “obey” their “parents in the Lord”, the context dictates that he is addressing them as saints and followers of Christ (Christians). Not only that, but in linking his command to the moral law of God in verses 2 and 3, he appears to be addressing them in covenantal language by using the word “promise”. With that word and the context of the verse in the epistle, it seems clear that he is using the Fifth Commandment in a way that many reformed theologians (past and present) would describe as the “third use of the law”. The third use of the law is only for those who would be considered Christians. In other words, Paul speaks to them as members of the covenant in some “respect” – just as LC 166 describes the children of believers. If you would allow me, I would like to build on that last statement in an additional post. I know that I have a limited amount of characters…

Rev Brian McClung said...

Tom

So according to your most recent comment someone can be classed as a 'Christian' who is spiritually dead, someone can be classed as a Christian before they ever have actually become a Christian by faith and repentance; furthermore someone can be classed as a Christian and never ever come to faith and repentance. Amazing!

According to you a 'disciple' is not someone who has been converted to Christ but merely someone who is taught or being taught "to follow Christ, pray in His name, sing of His glories, memorize His Word and worship Him under the proclamation of the full counsel of the Word of God". We do all of that to the unchurched children who come into our Friday night evangelistic meeting! Are they not then 'disciples' and 'Christians' also? I take it that you have a difference definition for a 'disciple' when it applies to adults. Acts 11:21 has a somewhat different meaning to what a 'disciple and a Christian is: And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord. A 'disciple' and a 'Christian' is someone who actually has exercised saving faith and repentance. According to Acts 11:21 children who have not exercised saving faith or repentance should not be called 'Christian'.

Tom, this is one of the reasons why I am not a paedobaptist. There is so much ambiguity surrounding the terms and meanings applied to the children of believers by paedobaptists that I fail to find any warrant for in the Scriptures. You end up with at least two definitions for what a 'Christian' and what a 'disciple' is. That can't be right!

Are you suggesting that children may be regenerated and engage in the act [for it is an act and not a process] of saving faith and evangelical repentance and not know what they have done? Or are you suggesting that someone who is converted in childhood may in adulthood forget the exact time when they sought Christ for salvation? I acknowledge that the second may happen but not the first. Arising out of these questions is a third, namely, do you believe that a child can be regenerated in the womb or in infancy?

A 'saint' as I understand the term from the Bible is: [1] A 'holy one', this is the basic meaning of the word. Those who are regenerated are holy ones, Eph 4:24; [2] An 'effectually called one', Rom 1:7, 1 Cor 1:2; [3] A 'faithful' one', Eph 1:1, Col 1:2; [4] A 'conformed one', Eph 5:1-3; [5] Those for whom Christ is interceding, Rom 8:27; [6] The 'inheritors' of the blessings in Christ, Eph 1:18; [7] Those who will be glorified, 2 Thess 1:10.

Therefore I don't accept that it is an universal term for all who were attending a particular church. Not, when we apply the above criteria from Paul's pen as to who a saint is. By your own admission Paul must then be calling unconverted people who were in attendance at these churches 'saints' as defined above. To stretch the term to include everyone you need to make the meaning so elastic that is becomes worthless. It actually ends up contradicting what Paul says elsewhere.

What is your evidence for saying that the context of Eph 6:1 dictates that Paul is addressing them as saints and followers of Christ? The phrase 'in the Lord' can be understood a number of ways as I have indicated in this post. Your argument about the third use of the law in my opinion confuses, on one hand, believers in whose hearts the Spirit of God already flourishes and reigns, with, on the other hand, children in whose heart the Spirit of God may not flourish or reign and in whose hearts He may never reign. The third use of the law applies only to the former.

Brian McClung

Tom said...

What I find “amazing” is that you have haven’t acknowledged that the WCF and the Catechisms were written by men that basically believe as I do concerning the concept of children of believers being referred to, viewed and treated as Christians. I’ll comment and answer your questions before coming back to that point.
Your outreach to the “unchurched children” in your community, being the church’s duty as part of the Great Commission, is commendable. But, those precious souls are not “members” of the visible church according to the Confession’s definition, until they profess faith in Christ. (I believe that you would even grant this “distinction”.) You only quote part of what I wrote, thus missing a couple of qualifiers for the point I was making. I said, “Children of believers, which are brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, should be viewed, treated and referred to as such [Christians]. THEY ARE TAUGHT…etc.” I also went on to say that this teaching “is to take place in the context of the church and family”.
Do you believe that the children of unbelievers can be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord according to Ephesians 6:4? This is a commandment that is given to Christian fathers (and by extension Christian mothers) and is only applicable to the children of such. It clearly establishes a distinction concerning the church’s children. It also speaks to the great privilege and entirely gracious blessing (and may I dare say set apart [holy] standing) bestowed on those born into Christian homes, just as the children in the OT had, being born into the covenant people of God.
“The church is the same in all ages. And it is most instructive to observe how the writers of the New Testament quietly take for granted that the great principles which underlie the old dispensation are still in force, under the new. The children of Jews were treated as Jews; and the children of Christians, Paul assumes as a thing no one would dispute, are to be treated as Christians.” – Charles Hodge
I would counter your question in your fourth paragraph (of your last post) with a question. Do all children who die prior to coming to full term or living beyond the point of infancy go to hell? If not, what would be your rationale to say they don’t? If regeneration of the soul is not possible at those points, development and infancy, what comfort do you have to give to a grieving parent in your congregation concerning their child that has died? (Continued in next post)

Tom said...

I also don’t believe that I have made the term saint as “elastic” as you believe. In 1 Corinthians 7:14 the same Greek word is used to describe the children of at least one believer. Could one legitimately restate the end of that verse this way, “…now are they “saints”? To only define that term as you describe, in this particular instance, would be detrimental to your argument. (I am not making the case for defining the word that way in this verse.) I know that context has everything to do with how a word is translated. “Saints”, in most cases should be defined as you say. But this does not take away from the fact that Paul in his epistles addresses and speaks to the entire membership of the congregations he writes to as saints.
So, why would I believe that Paul is addressing the children as “saints” in Ephesians 6:1? Because the epistle is written to those that he defines as such. Furthermore, in chapter 5 he speaks and admonishes husbands and wives in such a manner that he viewed them as Christians. He also speaks to the fathers in 6:4 and servants in 6:5 in this same way. The context “dictates” (unless you can show me otherwise) that he speaks to the children as belonging to the same type of people – saints, Christians. I would agree with you that the phrase “in the Lord” can be used a number of ways”. How we determine the understanding of what a particular word or phrase means, is again by the context. How would you consider the phrase used in this instance?
My comment on the third use of the law fits into what I have just said. I believe, along with many others, that Paul is admonishing these “children” as those he viewed as Christians. Just as he uses portions of the moral law in other places in addressing adults. The fact that these two groups (children and adults) could be made up of a mixed multitude, does not change the tone and manner in which he speaks. Now, the Spirit’s application of that Word may be different to each hearer based upon their spiritual condition, but it does not change the manner of address, particularly in what he says. (Continued in next post)

Tom said...

…I do believe that you made it very clear in the comment section of your first article what form of covenant succession you had in mind. You said the same thing in another one of your posts as well. I have to confess that I am still a bit confused. When you say (in your second article) that covenant succession is a “fallacy” and state that “all the children of believers are not in the Covenant” and “therefore they should not be treated as such”, I believe that you have stepped on more “toes” than you may have intended. Again, I am not arguing for infant baptism in my disagreement with you, although it does in a sense come into the discussion. Let me explain.
LC 166 says that the children of believers are in some “respect within the covenant”. What did the writers mean by this? Without a doubt there was an original intent in what they wrote. And anyone who sincerely subscribes, as a sub-standard, the Westminster Standards must seek in some measure to understand what was originally intended by all the statements in those documents. If the Westminster Divines believed in infant baptism, did this statement also play a part in their view of the standing in the visible church that believer’s children have? In my limited understanding of their writings, it would clearly seem that this is in fact the case. (Continued in next post)

Tom said...

You say that if “someone views paedobaptism as NO MORE than bringing a child into the visible church” you “can live with that”. Those that hold to, and have held to infant baptism see it as MUCH MORE than you would allow. It is not merely a baby dedication with a wee bit of water as some would like to think. It is in fact the sacrament that the Confession and Catechisms describe. These documents make no distinction between an adult and an infant as they put forth their definition.
As I stated, I do believe that children are to be viewed as the Westminster Directory of Public worship states - “Christian”, “federally holy” and having an “interest in the covenant”. Such a view of the children of believers is also to be found in the writings of Calvin, Knox, the Westminster Divines (Thomas Goodwin, George Gillespie, Samuel Rutherford, etc.) and many of the English Puritans. These same concepts were also embodied in the Genevan Book of Church Order, the Belgic Confession, the Canons of Dordt, the Heidelberg Catechism and other reformed creeds, confessions and documents as well.
You said in one of your earlier posts that you believed using such terms was “akin” to holding to “baptismal regeneration”. Do you believe that any of the men that I mention above held to baptismal regeneration? I believe that it can be found in their writings that they clearly refuted such a view, especially as they disputed the teachings of Rome. Do any of the documents I mentioned espouse such a view? Not that I have seen. You may disagree with portions of them because they promote Infant Baptism, and I would grant that to you as your prerogative. But your criticism of the views I hold is also an indictment against these men (and documents), not just those that hold to an extreme view of covenant succession as you claim.
You are correct; the WCF “repudiates” baptismal regeneration. Yet, I would claim that based upon the writings of the Westminster Divines (some mentioned above) and the Directory of Public Worship, what they held too was consistent with what I hold to. The Directory is a product of the same group of men that wrote the documents you subscribe. And again, I understand that there are amendments to the FPC’s sub-standards that allow for an “open” view of baptism. That is not the point of my disagreement. My disagreement with what you have written is based upon my belief that you have made “blanket” statements that would call the views of someone that would hold to the Westminster Standards (as well as other reformed documents) in such a way as to invoke the original intent of the writers as fallacious.
The original intent of these writers does speak to the concept of viewing and treating the children of believers as “Christians” “federally holy” and “in the covenant”. You may see “ambiguity surrounding” certain “terms and meanings applied to children by paedobaptists”, but I see a certain measure of ambiguity in your position. Do the Westminster Standards have an original intent, or can someone accept the statements within them as ambiguous, allowing one to attach meaning to them as they see fit? When you speak of the children of believers as members in the “visible church”, are you speaking according to the concepts of the writers of the statement? Or, are you adopting your own to the words without consideration of what the words originally were meant to convey?

Rev Brian McClung said...

Tom

I have my doubts whether these men you refer to, and people like yourself, hold to the same viewpoint. I will enlarge on that a little later.

I would hold that believers' children are part of the visible church per se and this fact is not dependent upon being 'taught' as you suggest. How would you describe children whose parents, who profess, are failing to teach them? Where are these 'qualifiers' found, as you term it, as to who is in the visible church? The WCF doesn't mention these 'qualifiers'! Eph 6:1-4 is making no comment about the Church or who is in the visible church.

As I have mentioned before the phrase 'in the Lord' is capable of a different interpretation to the narrow one you and others have applied to it. I acknowledge the distinction that you mention, believers' children are certainly blessed as outlined in Rom 3:2, 9:4,5 with respect to children in OT times. However, that has no bearing upon them being a 'Christian' as the Bible defines the term.

In the way that you employ this quote Charles Hodge, good man as he was, I believe confuses two different things. The terms 'Jew' and 'Christian' are not equivalents. The term 'Jew' was variously defined. It was applied to members of the kingdom of Judah after the separation of the ten tribes prior to the captivity. After the Return the word received a wider application to all the members of the new state and later the name was extended further to the remnants of the people scattered throughout all the nations. It was not a term used of their 'spiritual' state. Whereas the term 'Christian' in the New Testament is used to only speak of the 'spiritual' state of those to whom it is applied. The context, as I have shown, in Acts 11 supports this. Those who use the term 'Christian' in the way you and others do, are doing so in a way that I find no warrant for in the Scriptures. I always find it somewhat ironic that I get accused of not following the regulative principle at times. Well it seems that the regulative principle can go out the window when it suits on this issue.

However maybe Charles Hodge understands the term 'Christian' in a second way. If, as it seems, he is equating the term 'Jew' and 'Christian' to be the same thing then maybe he is merely looking upon the children of believers as being part of wider general nominal Christendom and not having any reference to their spiritual standing; for as I outlined above the term "Jew' was not used of their spiritual standing merely of their ethnic descent.

I have actually addressed the issue of infants in my most recent post, highlighting that the WCF makes an expressly stated exception for them. If regeneration in the womb or in infancy was the general rule then why make the statement in the Confession that they do. It is superfluous. The WCF is expressly not presuming regeneration in the womb or in infancy. It is stating that elect infants who die in infancy are uniquely regenerated in infancy. This is why I suggest that you do not hold the same position on these things as these other men. I also take it then that you actually do believe that children can be and are regenerated in the womb or in infancy as a general rule.

Brian McClung

Rev Brian McClung said...

Tom

Regarding 1 Cor 7:14 - in whatever way you understand the term 'holy' it must also to be used of the unconverted spouse, in the same verse. The word 'sanctified' is from exactly the same root word. One is the verb and the other the adjective/noun of the same Greek word. Are unconverted spouses 'saints' as well? The term 'holy' is used in opposition to the term 'unclean'. I don't believe that it warrants calling unconverted children 'Christian' and saying that in being 'federally holy' they are regenerated. I don't believe that the WCF equates being 'federally holy' with 'regeneration'.

If Paul is including all the children of believers in the description of 'saints' then all these children must have already believed and trusted in Christ ['faithful' Eph 1:1 same word as believe]; they must all be chosen in Christ, predestinated, accepted in the beloved, have their sins forgiven, obtained an eternal inheritance, already received the seal of the Holy Spirit. These and more are the blessings of the 'saints' in Eph ch 1. It is evident that all the children of believers are not thus blessed, therefore they cannot be within the description of 'saints'. No more than it can be applied to 'servants' who are also addressed in Ephesians. Was the unconverted servant of Philemon a Christian? It is little wonder 'Reformed' children don't see their need to be converted when they are taught that all these blessings are really theirs as saints and Christians. Why would they ever then need to be saved?

What are they brought into if it is more than the visible church? Are they brought into the covenant of grace? As this could never mean savingly brought into the covenant as sadly believers' children grow up and die in their sins then what does it mean? I don't believe that the men you quote believed in baptismal regeneration; neither do I believe that they held to the same views as those who today hold to covenant succession do. I believe I have demonstrated that with the WCF statement on elect infants.

The whole answer in LC 166 would suggest that the phrase 'are in that respect within the covenant' is to be connected with the opening statement: Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible church, and so strangers from the covenant of promise'. I believe that 'covenant succession' today takes a completely different view than this and goes far further than what is outlined here. This statement implies to me that the baptism of infants is certainly tied to bringing them publicly into the visible church. I do not see this statement in LC166 as making any reference or inference to regeneration. I understand it to teach that:
1. Baptism is not to be administered to any outside the visible church
2. The children of believers are in the visible church therefore they should be baptised.

I repeat my previous point, for it the one thing that I cannot comprehend in this matter - If the children of believers are in the covenant then they all must and shall be converted, and persevere unto the end. That is part and parcel of being in the covenant. However it is false to say that all children of believers are in the covenant of grace, for evidently all are not. That fact cannot be denied. If this is true then what are the scriptural grounds for arguing that children are to be baptised because they are in the covenant of grace? The first point that would need to be proved in this thesis is that children are in the covenant of grace. However if the argument goes along the lines of the statement in LC166 that children are to be baptised because they are part of the visible church and this is how we are to understand the connection with the covenant I can live with that.

Brian McClung

Tom said...

I believe my thinking is very much in line with the men and reformed documents I mention. For example, if I hold to the WCF, LC and SC and what they teach concerning the baptism of children of believers, while at the same time believing that the Directory of Public Worship prescribes a “formula” by which such baptisms may be administered and understood, where is my viewpoint different from the writers of these documents? Are you willing to acknowledge that basically the same group of men put all these documents together?

If so, is it not rational to believe that what they prescribe as the proper administration of infant baptism in the DPW is merely an outworking of what their words (original intent) are meant to convey in the WCF, LC, and SC? If not, there was a serious disconnect between what the Church of Scotland historically confessed (The Westminster Standards) and what it practiced (DPW), as it administered baptism to the children of believers as an element of public worship.

You may not like the idea that the formulation says that such children are “Christians and federally holy before baptism, and therefore they are baptized” but I don’t believe that you would deny that this was the established practice of the church of Scotland as a result of the General Assembly approving the DPW in 1645. It is also interesting to note that the WCF, LC and SC were approved by the GA about 2 years later, while the DPW continued to be the prescribed directory of worship.

In stating this, I would agree with you that the WCF does not equate “being federally holy with regeneration”. (This is something I have not claimed in any of my comments.) But, its view on the children of believers as part of the visible church (might I dare say, covenant community), and there right to baptism has more to it than your understanding of the same concept. The WCF only uses one definition in 28:1 to describe baptism. And they saw that definition applying to both infant and adult baptism. If you read the DPW’s formulation for infant baptism, you hear the echo of this definition within its words. So, if an infant was/is baptized using the formulation contained in the DPW, would you consider it an extreme view? Again, I am not asking you to agree with it, but in your mind is it extreme?

If I was to hold as Thomas Goodwin did that “The children of believing parents, at least their next and immediate seed, even of us Gentiles now under the Gospel, are included by God within the covenant of Grace, as well as Abraham’s or David’s seed within that covenant of theirs”, is this an extreme view of covenant succession?

Do I hold to “extreme” views if I believe as John Knox did, that “The conviction of the writers of that Book of Common Order was thus the Biblical perception that the children of believers are Christians already, before being baptized in their infancy”? (As you know, Knox was a contemporary of Calvin and as a reformer in Scotland, a predecessor to the delegation sent from Scotland to Westminster.)

Tom said...

To one of your other points, I do not believe, nor have I stated that the regeneration in the womb of infants is the “general rule”. I only believe that it is a possibility as Calvin in his Institutes does. (There are also many others of the Dutch Reformed and Puritan tradition that do as well.) The “expressly stated exception” for infants that you deal with in your last post from the WCF may not be an end all to the discussion, as you seem to indicate. The point made by the Divines in this section is limited to those they speak of - “elect infants, dying in infancy”.

I believe that you are correct in stating that from what they say we should conclude that regeneration in the womb and during infancy is not the general rule. But neither can we conclude that what they establish is that regeneration cannot happen in infancy or at a very young age, so that a child truly does not know when it took place. The only thing that such a child may know is that they “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” and cannot remember a time when they did not. I know many who are walking with the Lord today and truly serving Him that know this as their own experience (including my own adult daughter). And their “forgetfulness” is not based upon senility or age as you seem to suggest. They truly don’t know when they were converted.

As far as the quote by Hodge goes, I believe that he sees 1Corinthians 7:14 as the writers of the Westminster Standards do. I would refer you back to the proof texts they use when they state that the children of believers are part of the visible church (Chapter 25:2c). I believe it is one of those texts that is the crux of the matter in what we have been discussing. Genesis 17:7 – 14 speaks of a “covenant”. It is called an “everlasting covenant”. Those that were circumcised were considered part of this covenant. What covenant does Genesis 17 speak of?

Rev Brian McClung said...

Tom [Sorry for the length of time it has taken to reply]

Yes I agree that basically the same body of men put all these documents together. It is your interpretation of the documents that I question. I pointed out in my last reply that the LC connects children 'in the covenant' with being in the visible church. What you have argued for goes way beyond this line of thinking. The Westminster Divines don't connect 'baptism/children/covenant' with 'regeneration', which is what I believe those who hold to covenant succession are doing. This is where I believe you and the Westminster Divines are at odds.

The Westminster Divines, much like Charles Hodge whom you quoted, must use the term 'Christian' in a nominal sense. Hodge likened it to the term 'Jew', which as I showed was not a term that described the spiritual condition of the Israelites. A 'Christian' therefore is someone distinct from a Muslim or even a Jew, a member of Christendom, a member of the visible church, pictured in the Scriptures under the representation of a field sown with wheat and tares and the wise and foolish virgins. This has no bearing on the spiritual condition of children. They are not regenerated, just because they are nominally called Christian. No more so than Esau was regenerated when he was circumcised.

I notice that you do not address the questions I put to you in recent replies:
1. Are unconverted spouses 'saints' as well in 1 Cor 7:14?
2. In what sense is a child of believing parents a 'Christian' or 'federally holy' or within the covenant? [It is not sufficient to repeat these terms without defining them]
3. When did they become so? Was it at conception or birth or sometime in between?
4. Are all the children of one believing parent 'Christian' and 'federally holy' and 'in the covenant'?

My question to anyone who claims their children are in the covenant of grace is as above: in what sense? If you mean in the sense that Christ died for them, then they will invariably be converted, persevere unto the end and be in glory. As sadly many of the children of believers do not profess faith in Christ and do not persevere unto the end it is abundantly clear then, that they never were in the covenant of grace. No clearer example exists than the immediate generation after Abraham. Esau was not in the covenant of grace. Whatever the sense of Goodwin's statement it evidently means something different than this slant that you are putting on it.

The striking point to observe is that right back at the beginning of this idea of children receiving the sign of the Old Testament covenant we have a child who was not in the covenant of grace, namely Esau, for God says that He hated Esau! Tom, could you then explain to me in what sense Esau was therefore in the covenant of grace? For your thesis to stand true Esau had to be in the covenant of grace in some fashion.

Where are there any scriptural examples of a child being regenerated in the womb that would give any grounds for surmising this is possible. The example of John the Baptist wouldn't suffice for the reasons I outlined in my third post on this subject.

Brian McClung

Rev Brian McClung said...

Tom

Respecting the Covenant in Gen 17 the following points are to be noted:
1. This covenant is multi-faceted;
2. This covenant does indeed include the Covenant of Grace;
3. There are more included in this covenant than the physical descendants of Abraham;
4. All the physical descendants of Abraham are not in this covenant if it is only and strictly the covenant of grace;
5. There is a dimension to this covenant that is not applicable to the NT Church. As Gen 17:8 clearly states: And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. This was a physical inheritance in this world. A physical land was promised. When Abraham died he didn't own a square foot of the land of Canaan, cf. Acts 7:5. Yet God had promised it to him personally and not just to his seed. Does this term of the promise then stand?

I note the way that you quote others without actually stating whether you personally believe what they say!

Brian McClung

Tom said...

I believe that my understanding of what the Westminster Standards say is in keeping with how those that have held to infant baptism have historically understood them. I don’t believe that I have stepped outside of the realm of teaching of any of the men and reformed documents/confessions I have mentioned. You say that the “Westminster Divines didn’t connect ‘baptism/children/covenant’ with ‘regeneration’”. I would agree with you, and have said as much in past comments. To do that is to get dangerously close to teaching baptismal regeneration. I have not linked regeneration with the former three in anything I’ve written. When you say that connecting all of these concepts together is what you “believe those who hold to covenant succession are doing”, are you speaking of all that would hold to some form of covenant succession or are you speaking of that extreme element that you claim you are writing against? If you say the latter, I would agree with you. But, maybe you need to define what constitutes a non-extreme view of covenant succession, since you have already implied that there is such a thing. Who (groups, individuals, etc.) would hold to an extreme view? Who wouldn’t? You say it is just those who don’t believe in evangelizing their children that fit into that extreme group. By that definition, I don’t fit into that group – not even close.

Someone asked in your first post about a book by Joel Beeke and you indicated that what that book taught was not in your purview when you spoke of extreme CS. Although I would hold to the Westminster Standards, I don’t see any significant difference between my views on this subject and those held by the Dutch tradition (BCF, HC) including the denomination that Beeke is a part of. As I have said a few times, my disagreement is with your blanket statement on how we are to “view and treat” covenant children. What I believe those in the reformed tradition have taught on this subject is what I have been seeking to set forth in our discussion. I am also not arguing for infant regeneration being the general rule as you seem to imply. I am only holding out the possibility as Calvin and many others have. But, that has no bearing on my belief that we are to “view and treat” our children as Christians, federally holy and in the covenant.

As far as those I have quoted (Goodwin, Knox, Hodge, the Divines), I do “personally” believe what they say concerning this subject. Their statements, especially those calling the children of believers “Christians, etc.” are well beyond the scope of merely describing these children as “nominal”. To say that they “MUST use the term Christian in a nominal sense”, in my mind is to take great liberty with what they have said. (Something you may have implied that I have done as well.) You have said that such statements are only indicative of children having a position in the visible church, and I would agree with you up to a point. But these men, if you study their writings, are making such statements not to merely label these children for some type of classification, but they speak in reference to a relationship they have covenantally. For example, the Hodge quote is from his commentary on 1st Corinthians (7:14). He is clearly not speaking in the manner you describe. When he uses the term “Jew”, he is using the term covenantally to speak of the relationship and responsibilities that such people had as they stood in some type of a covenant relationship with God. His point is that such an arrangement still continues today under the New Covenant. And that “Christian” children have the same relationship, blessings and responsibilities as Jewish children did in the Israelite Church, although some may not be elect now as they also may not have been then…(continued)

Tom said...

…I believe that this can be borne out by what he says in his Systematic Theology.

“Children, therefore, were included in the covenant of grace as revealed under the old dispensation, and consequently were members of the Church as it was then constituted. In the sight of God, parents and children are one. The former are the authorized representatives of the latter; they act for them; they contract obligations in their name. In all cases, therefore, where parents enter into covenant with God, they bring their children with them…It is vain to say that children cannot make contracts or take an oath. Their parents can act for them; and not only bring them under obligation, but secure for them the benefits of the covenants into which they thus vicariously enter. If a man joined the commonwealth of Israel he secured for his children the benefits of the theocracy, unless they willingly renounced them. And so when a believer adopts the covenant of grace, he brings his children within that covenant, in the sense that God promises to give them, in his own good time, all the benefits of redemption, provided they do not willingly renounce their baptismal engagements.”

I am not asking you to agree with what Hodge and others are saying. Again, I am just pointing out that I believe your “thesis” is too broad. You are the one that said, “It is surely a most foolish practice to draw a distinction how we treat and view our children before God and how they actually are before God”. If your statement is limited to the reality that there are those that hold to some form of “presumptive regeneration” (for lack of a better term), and because of that don’t believe that evangelism is a necessary component of bringing their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, I would agree. Again, I have already stated as much. My point has been that the concept of children being members of the visible church has meant more to those that have held to reformed theology, particularly those holding to infant baptism, than you seem willing to concede.

When the Divines use the phrase “…and of their children:” in WCF 25:2, I believe that subscription to such a statement should also include subscription to the scriptural proofs as well. This ensures that those that hold to what the document says are, as much as possible, limiting their understanding to the original intent of the writers. The only way to know that original intent is to seek to understand why particular verses were referenced. To that end, we have the collective writings of many of the men who put together the Standards themselves, as well as the subsequent writings of those that have subscribed to these documents historically from that point forward. More importantly, I believe that we as individuals should study and exegete these passages and thereby seek to understand what the original statements (like the one above) mean in light of them. (This is not to say that there cannot be a measure of, as some Church historians believe, “purposeful ambiguity” in some sections of the Standards to allow for some variance of opinion on particular subjects [e.g. WCF 33].)… (Continued)

Tom said...

…I agree with your use of the picture of “wheat and tares” to describe the reality that those in the church (children included) are made up of a mixed multitude of saved and unsaved, but I believe another agrarian “picture” from Scripture should be considered as well. Romans 11 speaks of an “olive tree”. Could some of the branches that were grafted into that olive tree be children (both Jew and Christian)? The WCF seems to indicate this is in fact the case in Chapter 25:2c. And when you read all the proof texts from that section together, what is being set forth appears (in my mind) to be more than just entrance into the visible church in the way that you describe it. There appears to be a covenantal depth and richness that I am not hearing in what you are saying. These children are federally holy (1 Corinthians 7:14, Romans 11:16), they are in some respect in the same covenant as their parent(s) (Genesis 17:7-12) and God views them as “His” children, being “borne unto” Him and also has an expectation that we do the same and treat them as such (Ezekiel 16).

Beyond that, I will answer the specific questions that you have asked in my next comment, although I believe that the original intent of the writers of the Westminster Standards in 25:2c (based on the culmination of their proof texts) have already done that in some measure. What is the relationship of these proof texts to your view of children in the visible church? Also, why didn’t the London Baptist Confession of Faith 1689 retain this particular statement, when much of its chapter on the Church is basically verbatim what the WCF says? I believe the answer is that they knew that saying that the children of believers were part of the visible church, and using such proof texts did not accord with their baptistic views because they understood the fullness of what the Divines were saying.

As far as your last post concerning the covenant, to save space (and time) I would refer you to Louis Berkhof’s Systematic Theology [“Christian Baptism” Section F:2a(1)(2)(3)(4)] for somewhat of a partial response. Your question concerning the land promise may take this discussion in another direction. My short “ambiguous” answer for now is “yes and no”. What is the relationship of this question to our discussion?

Rev Brian McClung said...

Tom

This conversation is going nowhere until you answer the questions I have posed. We are going round in circles! I cannot answer your questions until you state exactly what you mean by the use of these terms. I get the impression, maybe wrongly, that you are reluctant to precisely define/answer them. I repeat them again:

1. Are unconverted spouses 'saints' as well in 1 Cor 7:14? 

2. In what sense is a child of believing parents a 'Christian' or 'federally holy' or 'within the covenant'? It is no use saying as the Westminster divines etc understand the term. What do you mean by the terms?
3. When did they become so? Was it at conception or birth or sometime in between?
4. Are all the children of one believing parent 'Christian' and 'federally holy' and 'in the covenant'?
5. In what sense was Esau 'in' the Covenant of Grace in Gen 17:7?

I am not persuaded that you are of the same mind as the compilers of the Confession, etc. From reading over what you have said I come to the following conclusions [correct me if I am wrong]:
1. The children of at least one believing parent are born/conceived 'Christian', are born/conceived 'federally holy' and are born/conceived 'in' the covenant of grace.
2. Being born/conceived so they are to be baptised as infants and brought into the visible church.
3. No conversion experience [ie, saving faith and repentance unto life] is to be prayed for or sought for in these children as they may well be already regenerated.
4. These regenerated children will 'grow' into faith and repentance. There will not necessarily be a time when they exercise repentance unto life and be converted.

When you answer these points directly I will be in a better position to address your points. At the present I am not exactly clear what you believe about 'covenant children'.

Brian McClung

Rev Brian McClung said...

Tom

First of all, sorry for the inordinate long delay in posting your comments and responding to them. It just seems that every time I would think about doing do there was always something more pressing to do with regards to 'work'. This is after all a 'personal' blog, so it takes second place when others things are more urgent in Church life. Postings on the main blog have been light because of this as well. I also acknowledge receipt of your subsequent post asking about whether they would be posted. I can only reply through the comment section and its not the place for every comment like that. So sorry again.

Addressing the points you make:

1. You seem to labour under a couple of misconceptions.
(1) That I subscribe to the Directory of Public Worship and the entirety of the westminster standards. I don't! The DPW does not form part of the confessional standards of the FPC. Our sister denomination, the FPCNA, have actually formulated their own Directory of Public Worship. Our Articles of Faith read: These Articles, together with the Larger Catechism, the Shorter Catechism, and The Westminster Confession of Faith, form the Subordinate Standards of the Free Presbyterian Church. Our Articles of Faith take precedence over the westminster standards and therefore give liberty to set aside the positions of the WCF, and the Catechisms on baptism and related matters to those who hold contrary views, none believing in baptismal regeneration. See: www.freepres.org/fpcarticles.asp?fpcarticles. After all, the westminster standards are not infallible documents. There are other points which I fundamentally disagree with them as well. Therefore I don't have to justify the use of texts by the compilers of these documents on issues relating to baptism and who is in the covenant etc. To be specific I don't hold that 1 Cor 7:14 teaches that believing children are part of the visible church. I don't believe that 1 Cor 7:14 is teaching anything out the nature of the church at all. I believe it is teaching about marriage and the family. There are other verses which teach this. To answer your question, very few of our ministers would hold to paedo-baptist position. The vast majority hold to credo-baptism.
(2) That Israel replaces the church and therefore there is a direct parallel between what is said of Israel in the OT and the Church in the NT. There are similarities but not a direct carry over. It is an altogether different and vast subject but God will yet fulfil His everlasting covenant with the Jews. To speak of the Jews collectively breaking covenant with God and equate this to a baptised child growing up and not having any evidence of grace is to me illogical.

2. Your distinction in how an unconverted spouse is 'sanctified' as to how a child is made 'holy', is I believe inconsistent when the exact same Greek word that is used. The only difference is that in one place it is a verb and the other place a noun. In both places the same English could be employed! There is therefore no justification for this distinction in the word. What is true of its usage in one place is true of the other. The same applies to both places. To make a distinction in the usage is totally unwarranted and is made by those who have an agenda to work to.

Yes it is true that I therefore take a contrary position to 'good' men. I believe that on this point they are engaging in circular reasoning. They believe in infant baptism so these other positions are necessary corollaries of this. You mentioned their belief in infant salvation and infant regeneration yet the only example of this in the Scriptures is John the Baptist who was an unique case.

continued
Brian McClung

Rev Brian McClung said...

Tom

3. In answering my questions you have actually agreed with the argument I am making. In explaining Esau's position within the covenant you have begun to speak of those are "under the administration of that covenant". You also refer to the "covenant community". This is the resort of all who believe as you do. As I said before I can live with this to a certain degree. But you have conceded my point! This was what I suggested Hodge meant and you rejected it. There are those who are "in the covenant" and there are those who are "under the administration of the covenant" and there is a world of difference. I recognise this reality as well. You believe in administering baptism both to those who are "in the covenant" and to those who are "under the administration of the covenant". I believe in administering baptism only to those who by credible profession and a holy life give evidence that they are "in the covenant". I believe that to be the teaching and practice of the New Testament.

4. You say that "Covenant children are under the NT administration of the Covenant of Grace, just as those circumcised in the OT were under the OT administrations of that same covenant" yet females were not circumcised under the OT administration but you believe they should be baptised under the NT. Where is the warrant for this? In the OT it was on the eight day yet that requirement is not maintained by you today. Again why not? Where is the warrant to change?
There are these unconnected and unwarranted beliefs and practices about infant baptism that cause me to question its validity.

If you wish to close the discussion that is okay with me. Sorry again for the delay in replying.

Brian McClung

Rev Brian McClung said...

Tom

I will have to go searching for your previous comments. I did upload them but for some reason they have disappeared from the system. I can't explain why! I will seek to retrieve them and upload them. Apologies!

Brian McClung