Do Christians and Their Unbaptized Children Pray to the Same God?

The New Calvinists are apparently worried about teaching unbelievers to pray:

While it is wise to be discerning with our children as they grow up and to not give them a false sense of security if they’re not actually Christians, I don’t know of any place that the Bible warns parents to beware of teaching children to pray too early. Rather, we are told to teach them and this includes not just facts, but also practices. By encouraging our children to pray, we are teaching them the language, the practice, and the importance of prayer.

That could also be a reason for bringing back prayer into public schools.

But John Piper is on the same page with Tim Challies:

Yes. I think we should teach our children to pray as soon as they can say anything. … I can’t discern when a child is being spiritually wrought upon by the Lord. … I can’t tell precisely when his faith becomes his own and authentic, I don’t want to wait too long before I start treating him as a believer. …

Would that also apply to David Bowie when he prayed the Lord’s Prayer?

Tim Challies argues, finally, that the Bible is for children praying:

… the Bible doesn’t warn parents against teaching such things to their children too soon. On the other hand, in both the Old and New Testaments, parents (and especially fathers) are told to teach their children to obey the word of God (which includes the practice of prayer). Consider these verses:

“These words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (Deuteronomy 6:6–7)

“Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.” (Psalm 34:11)

“Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.” (Proverbs 29:17)

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)

The Bible also tells parents that their children should have the sign of the covenant. Infant baptism would fix this problem in a hurry. As non-communicant Christians, why shouldn’t baptized children learn to pray?

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41 thoughts on “Do Christians and Their Unbaptized Children Pray to the Same God?

  1. Yeah, so-called ‘Reformed Baptists’ be inconsistent, uncovenantal twits.

    Which is why we should ignore them, don’t think of them as part of our community – they’re their own, alone.

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  2. Obviously, my theology doesn’t create such a conundrum. However, I think the answer is to teach our children to pray doctrine and Scripture. Pray Psalms, the Lord’s Prayer, other Bible canticles (Miriam’s song, Simeon, Anna, Mary, etc). Traditional, morning, evening and mealtime prayers (the latter in Luther’s SC includes Scripture). I also teach ours to pray for personal needs, wants, fears, joys, but I think praying Scripture and even passages of the catechism is a better opportunity to also expose them constantly to Law and Gospel. The elect need to hear they are poor, miserable sinners, too

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  3. Why should watered children be left out of the conversation? Is it really back to Augustine and Kuyper with the only alternative being Edwards or Piper?

    http://www.westminsterconfession.org/the-doctrines-of-grace/historic-calvinism-and-neo-calvinism.php

    Thesis IV: The covenant relation warrants the presumption that children of believers are regenerated from earliest infancy, and are to be treated as possessing saving grace unless and until they should reject the covenant.

    This is the Kuyperian thesis of presumptive regeneration. Its tempting attractiveness consists largely in its providing a systematic basis for the defense of infant baptism and for the comfort of believing parents…. it will be contended that in spite of Kuyper’s claim that this is the historic Reformed doctrine taught by Calvin, by the Reformed standards and by the best Reformed theologians, the doctrine of presumptive regeneration is alien to historic Calvinism, certainly to the Calvinism of Presbyterian and Puritan divines and also to outstanding Dutch writers from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

    The appeal made by Kuyper to Calvin, the Dutch Reformed standards, and to Maccovius, Voetius, Gomarus and others, is far from conclusive. The old writers cited by Kuyper for the most part argue against the Anabaptists that elect infants may be and sometimes are regenerated in infancy, Voetius championing the stronger position that all elect children of believers are regenerated in infancy,(28) a position rejected by Herman Bavinck.(29) But none of the texts cited by Kuyper, with the possible exception of an ambiguous remark of Cloppenburg, asserts the doctrine of presumptive regeneration.

    As to the historic position of Princeton Presbyterianism, the following statement by Archibald Alexander is decisive: “The education of children should proceed on the principle that they are in an unregenerate state, until evidences of piety clearly appear, in which case they should be sedulously cherished and nurtured. . . . Although the grace of God may be communicated to a human soul, at any period of its existence, in this world, yet the fact manifestly is, that very few are renewed before the exercise of reason commences; and not many in early childhood.”(30)

    The view of Voetius and Kuyper involves the anomaly of a time gap between regeneration and effectual calling, particularly appalling in the case of the apostle Paul, of whom, on the basis of Gal. 1:15, the younger Kuyper is reported to have preached as an example of a regenerated blasphemer.(31)

    Kuyper quotes from Institutes IV.xvi.17-20 to find support in Calvin, who does teach: “That some infants are saved; and that they are previously regenerated by the Lord, is beyond all doubt.” What Kuyper fails to quote is Calvin’s rejoinder to the Anabaptist evasion that the sanctification of John the Baptist in his mother’s womb “was only a single case, which does not justify the conclusion that the Lord generally acts in this manner with infants.” Calvin’s rejoinder is: “For we use no such argument.”(33)

    But Kuyper does use such an argument, in contending that children of the covenant are to be presumed to be regenerated because in fact that is the general manner of the Lord’s dealing with them. Calvin does speak of a seed of future repentance and faith implanted by the Spirit,(34) but does not state the false proposition that this is the case with all baptized infants, nor the highly disputable thesis of Voetius that this is the case with all elect children of believers. Certainly there is no hint of the presumptive doctrine of Kuyper in any of these texts of Calvin.

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  4. Perhaps we could ask what God this is. Is it the God who wants to saves all the non-elect also?

    http://headhearthand.org/blog/2014/06/18/daddy-does-god-want-to-save-me/

    Is David Murray old or new?—Pick up God’s Public Book and on the basis of 1 Timothy 2v4, say, “God wants to save you with all His heart! He doesn’t want you to perish.

    Is Spurgeon old or new? — “As it is my wish that it should be so, as it is your wish that it might be so, so it is God’s wish that all men should be saved; for, assuredly, he is not less benevolent than we are. . . . It is God’s wish that the sick should not suffer. Do you doubt it? Is it not your own wish? And yet the Lord does not work a miracle to heal every sick person. It is God’s wish that his creatures should be happy. Do you deny that? He does not interpose by any miraculous agency to make us all happy, and yet it would be wicked to suppose that he does not wish the happiness of all the creatures that he has made.”

    John Calvin—This passage of the apostle (1 Tim. ii. 4) was long ago brought forth by the Pelagians, and handled against us with all their might. . . . I have nevertheless extorted from Pighius this much: that no one but a man deprived of his common judgment can believe that salvation was ordained by the secret counsel of God equally and indiscriminately for all men. The true meaning of Paul, however, in this passage now under consideration is clear. The apostle is exhorting that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men: for kings and all that are in authority. Who does not see that the apostle here is speaking of orders of men rather than of individuals? ”

    Calvin: “But Paul teaches us (continues Georgius) that God would have all men to be saved. It follows, therefore, according to his understanding of that passage, either that God is disappointed in His wishes, or that all men without exception must be saved. If he should reply that God wills all men to be saved on His part, or as far as He is concerned, seeing that salvation is, nevertheless, left to the free will of each individual; I, in return, ask him why, if such be the case, God did not command the Gospel to be preached indiscriminately from the beginning of the world? why he suffered so many generations of men to wander for so many ages in all the darkness of death? “

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  5. Piper’s “spiritually wrought upon” — I think we all know how painful that can be. Maybe he can work that into one of his overwrought media-poem content projects.

    Directed by some guy named Tristan. Shock.

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  6. So we don’t show “respect of persons” to the unbaptized children of professing Christians?

    Mark Jones —“I do not believe we can say that the infants of unbelievers will definitely go to hell. However, I do not believe, based on the above, that we can say they will definitely go to heaven. Personally, I am agnostic on that specific question. But I do not believe, contrary to some, that the biblical evidence requires us to say that all infants dying in infancy will go to heaven.”

    Mark Jones—“Nonetheless, we can speak more definitively to this issue when it comes to the children of believers. The Canons of Dort address the topic better, and certainly more pastorally, than the Westminster Confession of Faith, in my view: 1st Head of Doctrine, Article 17. Since we are to judge of the will of God from his Word, which testifies that the children of believers are holy, not by nature, but in virtue of the covenant of grace, in which they, together with the parents, are comprehended, godly parents have no reason to doubt of the election and salvation of their children, whom it pleases God to call out of this life in their infancy.

    Mark Jones—The basis for having this hope is not merely the goodness of God, but the goodness of God as revealed in his covenantal promises towards his people. The children of believers are holy, and thus their identity is NOT, as far as we are to judge, “in Adam”. They have been set apart, with a new identity (i.e., they are holy)…. God’s Word seems to give us some grounds to make these judgments, which, as a pastor, I am glad to offer to bereaved parents in my congregation who have lost an infant.

    Mark Jones—The WCF (10.3) says, “elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated, and saved by Christ, through the Spirit…” – a view that could still allow for all infants, without exception, to receive salvation, but also allows that not all infants will necessarily be saved. Certainly the Westminster divines, based on the public directory for worship, which calls the children of believers “Christians”, would have likely been in agreement with the Canons of Dort on this issue. Pastors have grounds for giving real comfort to Christians who have to deal with the tragedy of losing a child, especially infants . I cannot offer that same comfort to an unbeliever.

    http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2015/07/infants-dying-in-infancy-what.php

    mcmark—Since paedobaptists are so generous about the Lord’s Supper that they welcome baptists to the table (these ignorant baptists think they are doing something there, when really it’s God), why don’t they trust God’s sovereignty instead of fencing the table against their baptized children until those children learn the catechism?

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  7. cw, first a question and then an anser.

    Does the Bible command people to baptize or to be baptized?

    Answer—I was not able to discern the body (those who believe the gospel) until I was able to understand and believe the gospel, and I was not able to understand the gospel until God effectually called me by His Word. Or did you think “the body” was something else besides those who believe the gospel?

    Mark Jones—The indicative comes before the imperative, even for our children (Ephesaisn. 6:1). Otherwise, I do not see how asking them to obey becomes a form of moralism if there is no indicative present

    Mike Horton—Covenant theology doesn’t teach that the covenant of grace itself is “breakable” (67). God promises his saving grace in Christ to each person in baptism, whether they embrace this promise or not. … The word proclaimed and sealed in the sacraments is valid, regardless of our response, but we don’t enjoy the blessings apart from receiving Christ with all of his benefits. Is baptism the believer’s act of testifying to a personal response, or God’s act of testifying to his everlasting pledge?…..To be claimed as part of God’s holy field comes with threats as well as blessings. Covenant members who do not believe are under the covenant curse. How can they fall under the curses of a covenant to which they didn’t belong? If faith is the only way into membership (693), then why all the warnings to members of the covenant community to exercise faith and persevere in faith to the end?

    mcmark—So is the indicative law or grace? When the law promises curse conditioned on the sinner, is that law grace?

    http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/kingdom-through-covenant-a-review-by-michael-horton

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  8. Since paedobaptists are so generous about the Lord’s Supper that they welcome baptists to the table…why don’t they trust God’s sovereignty instead of fencing the table against their baptized children until those children learn the catechism?

    Marky Mark, because presumably Baptists affirm the gospel (sola fide). Reformed aren’t Lutheran, i.e. require orthodox eucharistic doctrine in order to receive it, only a credible profession of faith. Membership is another matter however.

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  9. nope. not taking the bait; you ADD? except to say:
    “However, we should still be thankful that believers who differ on the issue of baptism can have wonderful fellowship with one another across denomination lines and can have respect for each other’s sincerely held views” Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem, p. 984.

    I know we agree:
    But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, who 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

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  10. Mark, I think the body might mean the body of X — the incarnation, what the supper points to. I recall reading or hearing something about how Wilson or some FVer knew that his grandchild could “discern the body” — the liltle toddler rubbed his belly when presented with the bread.

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  11. i get it—only the elders (in theory) need to understand that God is doing sacrament and that sinners are not doing anything. So why don’t you trust God’s sovereignty instead of fencing the table against your baptized children until those children learn the catechism?

    Brandon Adams — Historic Presbyterianism was very different than modern Presbyterianism. Modern Presbyterianism will consider a non-communicant member who has reached the “age of discretion” and does not profess saving faith in Christ to be a covenant breaker and thus excommunicated. That was not the historic position. Instead, non-communicant members could remain members of the church without making any credible profession of saving faith. That was only required for communicant membership (access to the Lord’s table). Thus everyone in a nation was required by law to profess the true religion but they were not required by law to profess saving faith. Therefore the covenanters did not see themselves as judging “the world” with these laws. They were judging the church.”
    http://reformedlibertarian.com/articles/theology/the-half-way-covenant/

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  12. Philip Cary (Anglican with a Lutheran theology) —Catholics don’t worry about whether they have saving faith but whether they are in a state of mortal sin—so they go to confession. Reformed Protestants don’t worry about mortal sin but about whether they have true saving faith—so they seek conversion.

    Luther points here to the words “for you,” and insists that they include me. When faith takes hold of the Gospel of Christ, it especially takes hold of these words, “for you,” and rejoices that Christ did indeed died for me

    In this way the Gospel and its sacraments effectively give us the gift of faith. I do not have to ask whether I truly believe; I need merely ask whether it is true, just as the Word says, that Christ’s body is given for me. And if the answer is yes, then my faith is strengthened—without “making a decision of faith,” without the necessity of a conversion experience, and without even the effort to obey a command to believe.

    For what the sacramental word tells me is not: “You must believe” (a command we must choose to obey) but “Christ died for you” (good news that causes us to believe).

    It is sufficient to know that Christ’s body is given for me. If I cling to THAT in faith, all will go well with me. And whenever the devil suggests otherwise, I keep returning to that sacramental Word, and to the “for us” in the creed, where the “us” includes me. Thus precisely the kind of faith that is insufficient to get me admitted to Reformed sacraments—which is to say, mere belief in the truth of the creed and trust in my baptism—is all the faith I have. If Luther is right, it is all the faith I can ever have, and all the faith I need.

    The Reformed tradition generates pastoral problems that cannot be helped by the sacrament, because neither word nor sacrament can assure me that I have true saving faith. The logic of the matter, it seems to me, makes it impossible to split the difference between these two positions and get the best of both.

    https://afkimel.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/clinging-to-externals-weak-faith-and-the-power-of-the-sacraments/

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  13. I Cor 5: 4 When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus with my spirit and with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 turn that one over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, in order that his spirit be saved in the Day of the Lord. 6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast permeates the whole batch of dough? 7 Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch.

    I Cor 10: 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for all of us share that one bread. 18 Look at the people of Israel

    I Cor 11: 32 But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord, in order that we not be condemned with the world. 33 Therefore, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you gather together you will not come under judgment.

    T. J. Davis, “Discerning the Body: The Eucharist and the Christian Social Body in Sixteenth Century Protestant Exegesis,” Fides et Historia, 38.2 (2005)—“For Luther in 1518/1519 the social aspect directed the individual. By 1523, for Luther, the individual directed the social. Love in the social/spiritual body do not disappear, but they become dependent on faith in the presence of the natural body of Christ, and that faith is now incumbent upon individuals and cannot be lodged in the social body.”

    Reviewing Anthony Hoekema (Created in God’s Image) in his Covenant Theology in Reformed Perspective, p 328, Mark Karlberg quotes Hoekema: “To be sure, all infants are under the condemnation of Adam’s sin as soon as they are born. But the Bible clearly teaches that God will judge everyone according to his or her works. And those who die in infancy are incapable of doing any works, whether good or bad.” p 165

    Mark Karlberg comments— “This view appears to be something less than consistent Calvinism. Is not the basis of salvation the sovereign, electing purpose of God in Christ, rather than any consideration of human performance either in the case of adults or infants?”

    No. 20: Daddy, Why Was I Excommunicated?
    http://www.biblicalhorizons.com/rite-reasons/no-20-daddy-why-was-i-excommunicated/

    Tom Chantry—1. When Esau sins and asks for forgiveness from God, can I assure him that his sins are forgiven?

    2. When I ask Esau to obey me in the Lord should I get rid of the indicative-imperative model for Christian ethics? On what grounds do I ask him to forgive Jacob? Because it is the nice thing to do? Or because he should forgive in the same way the Messiah has forgiven him?

    3. Can Esau sing “Messiah loves me, this I know” and enjoy all of the benefits spoken of in that song? (“To him belong…He will wash away my sin”)

    4. When Esau prays during family worship to his heavenly Father, what are the grounds for him praying such a prayer? Does he have any right to call God his “heavenly Father”?

    5. Should I desire that Esau have a “boring” testimony? Is it not enough for him to simply say each day that he trusts in the coming Messiah alone for their salvation?

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  14. Ali, was your comment directed to me?

    I just now checked OL for the first time since yesterday noonish. Looks like I need to make sure I have plenty of popcorn on hand. Maybe an IPA if I can figure out what the heck that is. ☺

    Lay on, McDuff, er, McMark!!

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  15. no book reports until after you read the book

    https://contrast2.wordpress.com/2016/01/13/samuel-mather-on-israel-as-a-type-of-the-church/

    Matthew Mason—“According to John Owen, although God’s will toward the elect was not changed upon the death of Christ, for he is immutable, Christ’s death nevertheless changed the status of the elect. On the basis of Christ’s merit, founded on God’s free engagement in the covenant of redemption with his Son, God is obliged to deliver them from the curse . Therefore, because of Christ’s satisfaction, God is able to give out the benefits Christ purchased, without any other conditions needing to be fulfilled. In particular, Christ also purchased for the elect faith in the gospel; hence, from the time of the atonement, the elect have a right to justification.”

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  16. The 2-kers also seem to worry about encouraging unbelievers to pray. They only want them to pray privately, and not when they kill Muslims as magistrates for the public. Instead of some silly “regulative principle” that says that unbelievers should pray first only in repentance and in faith toward the gospel, they make a distinction between creation ethics and redemption ethics, so in the present age there is a difference between creation prayers and redemption prayers.

    But since being in a family involves not only creation but “the promise” about redemption, children of Christian parents (not Christian grandparents only) can pray without needing to question if they have ever been redeemed. In fact all members of the church should pray, even those who are fenced off from the table because of their lack of discernment. And these Christians can and should kill anybody (Christian or not) in order to protect the lives of other Christians, as long as they make a distinction between killing them to prevent more killing and killing them because they already killed.

    2kers also want to make a distinction between motives for killing intruders into one’s home. We don’t d this because redeemed Christians are threatened. Since the baptized family is not the church, the reason dad kills the intruder is because human creatures are threatened. Creation killing, not killing for redemption.

    http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2016/01/12/police-teen-mistaken-intruder-shot/78672506/

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  17. A different) Dan Ali, was your comment directed to me?
    Looks like I need to make sure I have plenty of popcorn on hand.

    🙂 yep or lots more coffee this am, oh wait, maybe less would be better;
    anyway yes- it was to you –the only known baptist here- wondering if you were going ‘to represent’

    but anyway for myself, realizing there are actually 3 baptism views represented here by OL passer-by-ers, I should clarify this statement for myself:
    “However, we should still be thankful that believers who differ on the issue of baptism can have wonderful fellowship with one another across denomination lines and can have respect for each other’s sincerely held views” Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem, p. 984.

    that is, that since there is 1) the Roman Catholic view; 2) the protestant paedobaptist view; 3) the baptistic view, that ‘wonderful fellowship’ statement above only applies to 2 and 3 ,since 1 believes that baptism is necessary for salvation and that the act of baptism itself causes regeneration.

    “Martin Luther’s great concern was to teach that salvation depends on faith alone, not on faith plus works. But if baptism and participating in the other sacraments are ‘necessary for salvation’ because they are necessary for receiving saving grace, then salvation is really based on faith plus works” Systematic Theology Wayne Grudem.

    To summarize the views for myself 1) the Roman Catholic view: baptism causes regeneration; 2) the protestant paedobaptist view:baptism symbolizes probable future regeneration; 3) the baptistic view: baptism symbolizes that inward regeneration has occurred

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  18. Ali–
    Probably better to summarize the covenant baptism view like so: The efficacy of baptism is not tied to the moment of its administration (WCF 28)
    Most of the Reformed antipaedobaptist remarks above seen to want to maintain that the efficacy of baptism is tied to the moment of its administration, which, of course, would be hugely problematic at best and sacerdotalist at worst.

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  19. thanks, most different Dan, aka MDD, Mighty Diplomat Dan, have a great day

    “Baptism not only symbolizes Christ’s death and resurrection.., it also symbolizes the application of redemption to us, as a result of our response to faith. Baptism pictures the fact that we have been united with Christ in his death and resurrection, and the washing with water symbolizes that we have been cleansed from our sins. Grudem

    …(5) Finally, those who advocate believers’ baptism often express concern about the practical consequences of paedobaptism. They argue that the practice of paedobaptism in actual church life frequently leads persons baptized in infancy to presume that they have been regenerated, and thereby they fail to feel the urgency of their need to come to personal faith in Christ.” Grudem

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  20. Thanks, Ali. Grudem may be the best charismatic baptist Calvinish theologian, but he is still a charismatic baptist and therefore is not to be trusted. Go watch some sappy videos or something. Facebook — have you tried Facebook? I think you’ll like Facebook.

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  21. Dear cw, oh the hostility cw; DG brought the topic up…for discussion I presume, just like every other post, I presume- btw, your partiality is showing – say the same to the Catholics. Or maybe nothing they say and believe gets you quite as hostile. hmm.

    and btw 2: Ali = a person baptized in infancy presumed regenerated and thereby failed to feel the urgency of their need to come to personal faith in Christ.

    the Lord set me straight.

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  22. Ali Grudem, pure caricature. The same could easily be asserted about adult baptizees presuming upon their baptism, since presumption is an equal opportunity affliction, but it’s rare to nil among PBs (who also baptize adults, by the way, which means we baptize way more than you guys do, which means maybe we should be called “baptists”?). Try harder.

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  23. So some of our Calvinistic Baptist brethren feel the pull of consistent covenant theology, just like other Baptist brethren do when they observe the man-made tradition of having a “baby dedication” ceremony for a newborn in the church (which is basically an attempt at a dry baptism).

    The circle of the covenant of grace (at least in terms of its external administration) is always larger than the circle of election. It was that way in OT times, and it is also that way under the new covenant administration. Calvinistic Baptists who reject this are either, by implication, inconsistently covenantal or inconsistently dispensational in their hermeneutic.

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  24. Ali, as I think McMark gets, the paedo/credo debate over Baptism can (should?) Involve much discussion about Covenant theology in addition to other theological and historical questions. Like McMark, I would agree that the writers he has engaged with are worth careful study. I wish I had more time, in more than one sense of the word, to devote the effort to understanding them that Mark has.

    I regret that some practices of my Congregation have never been examined or questioned in the decades I have belonged . But I can live with that, particularly since we seem to be, right now, less prone to “post denominational” thinking than most. I am encouraged that I see more interest than I have in years among the young people that I interact with at our church in learning about our history and distinctives.

    Suffice it to say that I do not consider questions about Baptism and the Lord’s Supper adiophora, far from it, but I don’t feel called to defend, or promote, my views in an internet com box. I do find the discussion threads here about Covenant theology to often be useful, though I simply do not have the background to add anything.

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  25. “Pastor Mark Jones believes that all baptisms are paedobaptisms, for unless one becomes like a little child he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

    http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2014/06/daddy-am-i-really-forgiven.php

    “All baptisms are paedobaptisms”. But Zrim says that ” presumption is rare to nil among paedobaptists (who also baptize adults, by the way, which means we baptize way more than you guys do, which means maybe we should be called “baptists”?).

    I guess this mean that paedobaptists agree on the practice for different reasons, just like those who water only professing believers agree on that practice for different reasons. I wonder if Zrim’s position is merely the “reverse” of that taught by Mark Jones. Jones as a puritan thinks presumption is a problem, but Zrim’s “we do converts also” does not think presumption is a very big problem in a world where the problem is baptists.

    Mark Jones thinks antinomianism is what we need to worry about, but others think that the construct which say that “election is greater than the covenant” leads to “flattening” and a denial of the distinction between law and grace, which denial is what they think is the big problem in our situation.

    But Zrim wants to eat cake and still have it. First, it’s objective and not about us. But second, we do converts also. After we preclude the water baptism of as many as we can after they profess, by watering as many as we can before they profess, we also condescend to water those who slipped through the cracks of Christendom (like for example those who had Christian grandparents but not one professing parent)—-It’s not about us, it’s about the professing of that one parent, which is a little different than it used to be back in the Abrahamic covenant.

    Cake and have it. Paedobaptism demonstrates the sovereignty of God to seek out those who are utterly helpless–but then good news, we do convert water also, which maybe is not the best, maybe it’s second best, but we also do water after God gives faith, because we are not only Reformed but also as Arminian as those Southern Baptists who say that Jesus Christ died for “all of us” but that sovereign grace enables the elect to “accept this” and this faith then “enables God” to count the death for them and this enables us to then water them…

    Zrim, how do you explain how there is not one baptism but two kinds, one of which is really better than the other, for those who missed the first boat by waiting for the effectual call, for those who had to live with the idea for a while that they were not born Christians? Do you say “one essence, merely different forms”? After you say “one covenant, many administrations”, do you explain how the antithesis disappears for people after they are baptized, so that from then on the covenant conditions are grace, and the basis for negative sanctions (curse) are also “covenant grace?

    When you ask if there is at least one parent professing an effectual call, are you asking if there is at least one parent “who had a hand in their own salvation”? When you “baptize converts as well”, are you at that point sending the message that these converts “had a hand in their own salvation”?

    “We do what you do, as well”. But when we do it, it’s not about us. When credos do it, then it’s about them? What would you think if I were to say that all who do paedo-water believe that it removes original sin and corruption? As you know, there are some paedos who argue for that. But you don’t know many Lutherans or federal visionists in your context, so not a problem?

    Yes, surely there are some credo-water folk who believe that water is instrumental in salvation as do some paedo-water folk. Also on both sides some have denied that this instrumentality of means contradicts sovereign grace. .

    Mark Jones–I have two three-year olds, one six-year old, and an eight-year old. And it occurred to me that I wouldn’t actually know how to raise them if I were not a Presbyterian. And let me just take this opportunity to inform sensitive (Baptist?) readers that I know many Baptist families that raise their children remarkably well, even many in my own church.

    1. When my children sin and ask for forgiveness from God, can I assure them that their sins are forgiven?

    2. When I ask my children to obey me in the Lord should I get rid of the indicative-imperative model for Christian ethics? On what grounds do I ask my three-year old son to forgive his twin brother? Because it is the nice thing to do? Or because we should forgive in the same way Christ has forgiven us?

    3. Can my children sing “Jesus loves me, this I know” and enjoy all of the benefits spoken of in that song? (“To him belong…He will wash away my sin”)

    4. When my children pray during family worship to their heavenly Father, what are the grounds for them praying such a prayer? Do they have any right to call God their “heavenly Father”? Do non-Christians cry “Abba, Father” (Rom. 8:15)?

    5. Should I desire that my children have a “boring” testimony? (Though a testimony to God’s covenant promises can never be boring, of course). Is it not enough for them to simply say each day that they trust in Christ alone for their salvation? If my children were not Baptized, and were not part of the church, and did not bear the name Christian, I’m not sure what grounds I would have for worshipping with them, praying with (not just for) them, and rejoicing with them when they ask for forgiveness for the sins they commit.

    Mark Jones—Far from leading to a lazy form of “presumptive regeneration” (where children are not daily exhorted to repent), I believe that we must in fact hold our covenant children to higher standards by urging them to live a life of faith and repentance in Jesus Christ, their Saviour and Lord. Their baptism, whereby God speaks favour to his children (“You are my child. With you I am well pleased”), demands such a life.

    Zrim, do you agree? No grace, then no law? Not in the covenant, no imperative?

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  26. “Thou hast forgiven us, and our children all our sins…and received us through they Holy Spirit as members of thine only begotten Son. Govern these baptized children by thy Holy Spirit, that they may increase and grow up in the Lord Jesus.”

    David Gordon—John Murray (and his followers) implicitly believe that the only relation God sustains to people is that of Redeemer . I would argue, by contrast, that God was just as surely Israel’s God when He cursed the nation as when He blessed it.

    Mark Jones—On what grounds do I ask my four-year old son to forgive his twin brother? Can my children sing Psalm 23 or Be Thou My Vision with the assurance that God is indeed their shepherd?? Can they sing “‘Jesus loves me, this I know.”?

    http://confessingbaptist.com/a-reformed-baptist-response-to-mark-jones-daddy-am-i-really-forgiven-tom-chantry-reformation21/

    Tom Chantry—I’ve left out the answers; the short version on each is, “Yes, because I’m a Presbyterian, but if you’re a Baptist you have no answers. Charles Hodge referred to Christ’s “little lambs” being written into the book of life – and then excoriated Baptists for erasing their names

    Chantry—“What Mark Jones is attempting to do is to jump from federal holiness to regeneration, which are two very distinct and different categories. It is for exactly this reason that Rutherford and Goodwin had their debate over the nature of a covenant child’s holiness. The category of New Covenant child doesn’t exist in the Bible, and the category of Old Covenant child is distinctly unsatisfying.

    Chantry—”Mark Jones concedes near the end of his piece that perhaps one of his children might be non-elect, but what exactly does that mean if federal holiness means being a Christian? It is distressing to hear a New Covenant believer speaking of his children – or anyone – as being in that covenant, enjoying the benefits of that covenant, and yet still possibly being non-elect.

    Chantry—“Mark Jones, in keeping with the Goodwinian tradition, judges his children to be Christians, but again, we must ask why? Is it because, as his narrative suggests, they express their faith in Christ through prayer, or is it for some other reason?

    Chantry–”His are the sort of rhetorical questions Pedobaptists love to bat about between themselves without ever asking them of any actual, real-world Baptists. How do I deal with my children when they ask questions about their salvation? With this answer: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved.” If a woman comes to Jones and tells him she is struggling with assurance, that she has sinned greatly and prayed about it, but that she doesn’t know whether or not God hears her prayers, will he point her to federal holiness, or to Jesus? If Jones has urged an unbeliever to call upon the Lord, and that unbeliever kneels and says, “Oh Father…” does Jones interrupt and say, “Please don’t call God ‘Father’ until after you’ve been baptized”?

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  27. GW—“The circle of the covenant of grace (at least in terms of its external administration) is always larger than the circle of election. Calvinistic Baptists who reject this are either, by implication, inconsistently covenantal or inconsistently dispensational in their hermeneutic”

    David Gordon– “The Auburn theology cannot describe covenant theology without reference to dispensationalism, despite the historical reality that covenant theology was here for several centuries before dispensationalism appeared. My own way of discerning whether a person really has an understanding of covenant theology is to see whether he can describe it without reference to dispensationalism.” By Faith Alone, edited by Gary Johnson and Guy Waters (Crossway,2006, p121

    To quote from Shepherd’s Call of Grace, published by Presbyterian and Reformed, p 83—-“To look at covenant from the perspective of election is ultimately to yield to the temptation to be as God.”

    p 84—“God has wrought a finished and complete redemption, and so salvation (and not merely the possibility of salvation) is offered without equivocation to all…. The Calvinist frequently hedges on the extent of the world, because the saving love of God revealed in the atonement is only for the elect….The Reformed evangelist can and must preach to everyone on the basis of John 3:16 –Christ died to save you.”

    p 89—“John 15 is often taught by distinguishing two kinds of branches. Some branches are not really in Christ in a saving way. Some are only in Him externally…If this distinction is in the text, it’s difficult to see what the point of the warning is. The outward branches cannot profit from it. because they cannot in any case bear genuine fruit. And the inward branches cannot help but bear good fruit. The words outward and inward are often used in the Reformed community…to account for the fact that the covenant community includes both elect and non-elect. But when Paul uses the terms Romans 2:28-29 , he is not referring to the elect and non-elect. The terms define the difference between covenantally loyal Jews and disobedient transgressors of the law.”

    Clair Davis—”Election is not really about evangelism. I think this is the answer that pulls us together, the one that helped Whitefield and Wesley keep on working together, actively evangelizing together.”

    https://theecclesialcalvinist.wordpress.com/2014/10/15/hyper-inerrancy-and-the-sectarian-impulse/

    Doug Wilson: “To see election through a covenant lens does not mean to define decretal election as though it were identical with covenant election. Because of the promise of the covenant, we may deal with election on our end, which is covenant election.”

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  28. Mark, just because there is only one way to enter the kingdom of God and that way is a child-like faith doesn’t mean “every baptism is a paedobaptism.” That’s a lame attempt at being creative and ends up just coming across as muddled. The baptism of a child is a paedobaptism, the baptism of an adult isn’t because an adult isn’t a child.

    No, you’re not reading very well. I’ve suggested that presumption is indeed a problem. What I said is rare to nil among paedobaptists is to accuse credos of fostering presumption (the way credos like Grudem accuse PBs). The reason credos use this smear tactic is that they assume an individualistic and rationalist view of faith, such that there can be no other result of baptizing a covenant child than to foster presumption. Fubar. There is the next step of catecchising with an eye toward profession which is the only way to the table. Better paedobaptists are also cred-communionists, which makes hash of the presumption jazz Grudem perpetuates–who’s presuming who also requires a credible profession?

    And there is indeed only one baptism, though different recipients (believers and their children). And the imperative of repentance is on all, inside the covenant or not.

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  29. Mark McCulley: “David Gordon– “The Auburn theology cannot describe covenant theology without reference to dispensationalism, despite the historical reality that covenant theology was here for several centuries before dispensationalism appeared. My own way of discerning whether a person really has an understanding of covenant theology is to see whether he can describe it without reference to dispensationalism.” By Faith Alone, edited by Gary Johnson and Guy Waters (Crossway,2006, p121”

    GW: Mark, are you implying by this quote that I favor Auburn Theology / Federal Visionism, or that I am not a sola-fideist? If so, you are incorrect. (I reject Auburnism/Federal Visionism as heretical in its most consistent forms.) Regarding the Gordon quote, I agree. But the goal of my comment was not so much to “describe” coveanant theology as such as to point out that the “covenantal Baptist” position is inconsistently covenantal, and more influenced by the dispensational hermeneutic than its adherents sometimes recognize.

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  30. Hey, we were not talking about antinomian presumption vs neonomian presumption. We were only talking about credobaptists being inconsistent when they pray with children they have not yet watered.

    Lee Irons—“Mark Jones fails to mention this, but the treatise by Flavel wasn’t on justification but was part of a debate over paedobaptism. Philip Cary, the credobaptist, had argued that the new covenant or the gospel covenant is absolute or unconditional—a position that was even held by some paedobaptists, most notably John Owen. Flavel disagrees and argues that the gospel covenant is conditional upon faith. I happen to agree with the paedobaptist (Flavel) against the credobaptist (Cary) in this particular debate.

    Lee Irons—“Flavel’s entire discussion of the various meanings of the word “condition” has to do with paedo- vs. credo-baptist debates over covenant theology, e.g., questions like whether the Abrahamic covenant of circumcision was the same in substance with the new or gospel covenant, and whether the new or gospel covenant is conditional. The precise question of the role of faith (instrumental vs. conditional) in justification is not directly in view (although justification is mentioned several times and Flavel… argues that faith is a condition in the obvious sense that it is necessary for justification).”
    http://upper-register.typepad.com/blog/2015/10/response-to-mark-jones-on-faith-as-a-condition-of-justification.html

    We just wanted to talk about the baptists being legalists. We did not want to get into internal debates between paedobaptists about the nature of the covenants and and the law-gospel antithesis. Mark Jones thinks antinomianism is what we need to worry about, but not many paedobaptists (who are not dutch) think that saying “some of the non-elect begin in the new covenant” leads to “flattening” and a denial of the the antithesis between conditionality on the sinner and conditionality on Christ alone.

    Norman Shepherd—“John 15 is often taught by distinguishing two kinds of branches. Some branches are not really in Christ in a saving way. Some are only in Him externally…The words outward and inward are often used in the Reformed community…to account for the fact that the covenant community includes both elect and non-elect. But when Paul uses the terms Romans 2:28-29 , he is not referring to the elect and non-elect. The terms define the difference between covenantally loyal Jews and disobedient transgressors of the law.”

    Scott Clark –The term covenant of grace can be used broadly and narrowly. When used broadly, it refers to everyone who is baptized into the Christ confessing covenant community. When used narrowly, it refers to those who have received the double benefit of Christ: justification and sanctification. Used in the broader sense, the covenant of grace is not synonymous with election so that all the elect are in the covenant of grace, but not all in the covenant of grace are elect.
    Used in the narrow sense, the covenant of grace refers only to the elect.The internal/external distinction is a corollary of the distinction between the church considered visibly and invisibly.”

    Mike Horton—“God promises his saving grace in Christ to each person in baptism, whether they embrace this promise or not. … The word proclaimed and sealed in the sacraments is valid, regardless of our response….To be claimed as part of God’s holy field comes with threats as well as blessings. Covenant members who do not believe are under the covenant curse.”

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