Dan and I have been going at logger heads for some time… he is really a pest… LOL! Just joking!!!!
Actually, I really enjoy Dan’s input on my posts. I have even pulled the comments out to a new post as I think his comments of great value. I consider Dan a friend and though he needs to post more on his blog I think he has some interesting thought there.
Here is the comment on the last post that I was reviewing “A Heretic’s Guide to Eternity”. Though in a way I think the main point of the last post was that I agree with Spencer Burke on much of the topics of he book, I wanted to expound on some of the things Dan has brought up.
A couple counterpoints iggy,
First of all, looking at scripture collectively we see that baptism is a means of salvation (although not necessarily the only way). This is attested to by Christ when he says "He who believes and is baptized will be saved." Some people get hung up on the ordering of believe and baptized, but my point is that in this verse and numerous others baptism and salvation are linked. The most specific verse attesting to the salvific nature of baptism would be 1Peter 3:20-21 which states:
"God's patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ." That states it pretty clearly.
Throw into the mix that the vast majority of the early church leaders performed infant baptism and that the first case of a child being intentionally withheld from baptism doesn't appear until the 4th century and i think you have a pretty good case for salvific infant baptism.
Secondly, it seems strange that you would throw out the idea of salvific baptism for lack of biblical evidence but then claim a sort of "age of accountability" based upon cognitive ability which has even less in the way of direct Biblical support. I also am a bit perplexed that someone who has spent so much time rallying against the dangers of propositional truth would then base so much of our salvation upon a narrow definition of reasoning (not to mention that asserting that the developmentally disabled are unable to be depraved is insulting and paints the disabled as the cherubim imbeciles, an image that disability rights groups have been trying to eliminate for years. Trust me, developmentally disabled people can be just as depraved as you or I). Let me put it this way. An infant does not cognitively understand love, but would you say that your child does not know that you love them? A gentleman by the name of Hoffman puts it this way, "The child is capable of a “primal trust,” and, where this is not developed but held back, it sustains severe personality damage. This “primal trust” is not first developed through heard or understood articulated words, but in a personal mode which is other than verbal and which can indeed dispense with the verbal dimension. A child “knows”
Anyways, that's all for now.
P.S. I wrote an paper on infant baptism that lays out my beliefs pretty well and give a bunch more evidence for it. If you'd like I could send you a copy.
I want to clear up something about “propositional truth”. I aint against it… in fact I went back and put a disclaimer to that post as I think the title is misleading in regard to what I wrote. It set the wrong tone.
I do not think we are to base our understanding on “man’s reasoning” and I do not think man can reason his way to God at least without the “wooing” of the Holy Spirit.
I see that propositional truth must be in “right” relation to Jesus or it is really of no use.
- Jesus is THE TRUTH. (One can say He is TRUTH ABSOLUTE)
- Jesus is the source of All Truth. (One can say Jesus is the source of All Absolute Truth).
- All Truth comes from the source or it is not pure Truth.
- We receive this Truth from Jesus as revelation which is then confirmed by Jesus revealing Who He is in the Scripture.
- We understand scripture and its truths which are often “propositional” by our relationship with Jesus.
- We test this by our experience and by our fellowship with one another to test and prove these Truths with each other.
- We live our lives in and through these truths with each other.
- These Truths must be universally true or they are not true…
I admit whole hardily that this is not a formula, but rather what I have come to understand from scripture and my relationship with Jesus over the years.
Secondly, I am not perfect, so I may not be right on some things. Somewhere I realized in my walk that God is perfect and that is His job, not mine. Mine is to be the imperfect creation that is loved by Him.
In that I am always looking at my faith and beliefs to see if they square with what I hear God teaching me. Though you and I may not agree with some things, I truly respect your beliefs and know you have not just accepted things, but do challenge teachings. I do not take it personally when you do disagree as I know you realize we both are growing. (I must at least make you think cuz you keep coming back to read my silly posts LOL!).
The funny thing is as I was writing the paragraph on infant baptism, I thought about you for a moment as I know that the Lutherans are not too far off on the Catholic view of infant baptism.
I view the scripture as talking about two specific “baptisms”
- John’s Baptism (a precursor and one of remission of sins)
- Being immersed in the Blood of Jesus or being baptized into Christ.
#1 was not a permanent solution as it was temporary as the sacrificial system… John even said it was for the “remission of sins” as Jesus was the “Lamb Who would take away the sins of the world”. That was and is the permanent e solution.
I see that other than that, there is no “baptism” that is for salvation as even Paul said that if anyone preaches a Gospel different from himself, let him be accursed. (Gal 1) So, then if the “Gospel of your salvation” (Eph1:13) was preached by Paul… and anyone who preached contrary was to be eternally cursed, why does Paul sound so lackadaisical over baptism?
1 Cor 1: 11. My brothers, some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12. What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas "; still another, "I follow Christ."
13. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? 14. I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15. so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. 16. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don't remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel--not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. (NIV)
To me then if Paul who was so strong on defending the “Gospel” that saves us was not so strong on Baptism, I think that we then can see that baptism was not part of the “salvation equation”.
In fact I have for sometime noticed that as the Revelation of Jesus increased in scripture, the teaching of baptism progressively diminishes. There is either a contradiction or there is a progression as one scripture tell us we have only “One Baptism” (Ephesians 4:5) then in Hebrews we have the verse that says, “Hebrews 6:1. Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2. instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
So we must conclude that there is One Baptism… and one is symbolic of THAT BAPTISM. (1 Peter 3:21) There is one baptism and that is in Christ… as we are baptized into His Life… His resurrected Life. 1 Peter 3: 18. For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, 19. through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison 20. who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21. and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also--not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22. who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand--with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him. (NIV with my emphasis). I see it as not the water, but the Resurrection of Jesus that saves us. And that we now are baptized in Christ… or placed into Jesus… 1 Cor 12: 13. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14. Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. (NIV) personally I remember pastor Farina doing the dunking… not the Holy Spirit… as far as “water”. But, I do know that the Holy Spirit has baptized me in Jesus. Ephesians 1 explains how we are immersed in Christ… “22. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23. which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. (NIV)
Notice we are placed under Christ… just as one is placed under the water at baptism. We are baptized in Christ. This is backed up more if one does a study of being the body of Christ. I do not think Paul was talking of water baptism in Rom 6: 1. What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2. By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3. Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4. We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Rather I see he is saying that since we are now dead to sin, we are now being dead, have Jesus’ death in place of our own. With that as we are immersed in His death, we also will be raised from the dead, and will live a new life. Our sin was taken away, or put to death, so we too can partake in the resurrection of Christ.
Even through I do not see baptism as an essential, I do not see harm in child dedications, though I see this as more of a community of believer that are vowing together to help raise the child in a Godly way. Most the time it is a rather meaningless ritual.
I know the arguments of “the whole household was baptized”… and such, yet again, this is the “symbol” of what now saves us… the water does not do much but get us wet and shows what Christ has done on the inside of a believer.
My main point is that most reformed theologians and Calvinist do not believe child baptism, so deny Calvinism in its purity as Calvin would have taught it. Again, I thought of Luther, then you, and wondered how you would respond.
I am interested in your paper… I would really like to read what you have considered and discovered… I may be missing something.
The main point of the “developmentally disabled” is not that some can not grasp right and wrong, but many cannot understand even some basic teachings of the faith. In that if a child is mute and cannot “confess with their mouth”… or if one is deaf. How can they “hear the message”. I am thinking of my cousins which one is in her 40’s and is mentally still about 5 years old… another has down syndrome and just did a dance routine to “Little Willy, Willy” by Sweet in which she did a rather shocking hip swivel to the embarrassment of her family. I do not think she understood what she was doing… as I do not think she realized that the seductive hip swivel was not appropriate for the family reunion… though it was a bit fun to what my very religious cousins get shocked a bit by it. Both are more than capable of doing bad things, yet there is an innocence still there that is not present in adults. My main thought was not that these do not ever do anything that can be considered sinful, but that God’s grace covers them. In a sense it is like when Paul states, “And where there is no law there is no transgression.” (Rom 4:15) These who cannot understand transgressions, are not held to account of transgressions. They are innocent of transgressions, that is until they come to a point that they do realize they are transgressing against someone else, or God. After that if they continue, God turns them over to a depraved mind… but until then they do not have a depraved mind .