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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
William

Covenant Theology and the Salvation of Covenant Kids

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The essential query of this blog relates to the pedagogy of covenant theology regarding the children of Christian parents. Does covenant theology teach divine election of children born to Christian parents? In other words, does God bind Himself to the salvation of my children if I am a Christian? If He does not, if there is no promise of salvation to my children under the covenant, then why do covenant folks baptize their children? Does not such an act treat the sacrament of baptism contemptuously? I am going to address two questions in this blog. First, does covenant theology teach that covenant children are elect? Second, does the NT provide exegetical support for such a fundamental doctrine? While there are many subjects in theology that would be classed as infinitesimal, paedobaptism, and its subsequent teaching on covenant children is not one of them.

 

Not so very long ago, I was a member in a PCA church here in NC. I recall on numerous occasions the pastor explaining to the congregation that baptizing their children did not save them, nor did it guarantee their salvation. What it did, according to this PCA pastor was bring them under the protection and multifarious benefits of the covenant. I admit that I never really understood that, nor have I ever subscribed to infant baptism. It always seemed to me that this practice abridged the significance of baptism, not to mention the very covenant it signifies. I have come to realize that this particular pastor was doubtless not the best delegate for covenant theology.

 

The argument from continuity is of course, a favorite of paedobaptist proponents. Robert Reymond argues that “The Old Testament practice of reckoning children among the covenant people of God and having the covenant sign administered to them in infancy is nowhere repealed in the New Testament.” [Reymond, Systematic Theology, p. 940] Reymond is right, that in the Old Testament, under the Old Covenant, the children were ipso facto included in that covenant. Quoting David C. Jones, Reymond continues, “Are [these little ones, by virtue of their parents relationship to Christ,] also brought into a new relationship with Christ even though they are too young intellectually to apprehend the gospel and to appropriate it for themselves in the conscious exercise of repentance and faith?” [Reymond, p. 935] As the argument goes, by virtue of the parents’ relationship with Christ, the children are afforded a place in the covenant, a new relationship with Christ. No doubt this is an argument from inference. Reymond contends that antipaedobaptists argue in similar fashion. “Biblical principles have the force of commands by good and necessary inference.” [Reymond, p. 936] While I agree that both sides include a degree of inference in their arguments, the idea that we can legitimately excavate commands from principles strikes me as backwards and comes dangerously close to legalism. To my way of thinking, we extend principles from commands via application within a given context.

 

In answer to the question, “Are infants to be baptized?” the Heidelberg Catechism answers, “Yes: for since they, as well as the adult, are included in the covenant and church of God; and since redemption from sinb by the blood of Christ, and the Holy Ghost, the author of faith, is promised to them no less than to the adult; they must therefore by baptism, as a sign of the covenant, be also admitted into the christian church; and be distinguished from the children of unbelieversd as was done in the old covenant or testament by circumcision, instead of which baptism is institutedf in the new covenant.”[1]

 

The HC answers emphatically that the basis for paedobaptism is that the children are included in the covenant AND in the church of God. Moreover, redemption from sin and the Holy Ghost are promised to them no less than to the adult, they must be baptized. In addition, they must be admitted to the church.

 

The Canons of Dordt I article 17 states the following regarding the salvation and redemption of covenant children, “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 ought not to doubt the election and salvation of their children whom it pleases God to call out of this life in their infancy (Gen. 17:7; Acts 2:39; 1 Cor. 7:14).”[2]

 

The Canons of Dordt instruct parents not to doubt the election and salvation of their children whom it pleases God to call out of this life in their infancy. It seems abundantly clear from the sources, that covenant theology clearly, emphatically, and adamantly contends that children born to covenant parents are included in God’s elect.

 

In his project on Systematic Theology, Louis Berkhof teaches “Baptism is a sign and seal of the covenant of grace. It does not signify one thing and seal another, but sets the seal of God on that which it signifies. According to our confessional standards and our Form for the administration of baptism, it signifies the washing away of our sins, and this is but a brief expression for the removal of the guilt of sin in justification, and for the removal of the pollution of sin in sanctification, which is, however, imperfect in this life. And if this is what is signified, then it is also that which is sealed.”[3] Berkhof is quite adamant that baptism seals what it signifies. What does it signify? It signifies the washing away of our sins and the removal of guilt. There can be little doubt that covenant theology not only teaches the salvation of Christian parents, it teaches this doctrine quite emphatically without ambiguity.

 

To be fair, not every covenant theologian embraces this view with the same gradation of principle. For example, the nomenclature in R.L. Dabney’s project on Systematic Theology exhibits a more liberal grasp on the question than those quoted above. However, prevarication by some within the covenant system on the query of paedobaptism does not ipso facto mince the normative standards on which the system is constructed. Every system has protagonists whose locus is not quite as steady as the system itself.

 

Source: http://reformedreasons.blogspot.com/...vation-of.html

 

 

The Covenant Sign in the Old Testament

 

It is in Genesis 17, that Scripture introduces us to the ancient practice of circumcision. “This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised. And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you.” This is not the first or the last time the word אות is used to refer to the אוֹת בְּרִית.

 

אוֹת־הַבְּרִית is used in Gen. 9:12. God also gave Noah the rainbow as a sign of the covenant that he made with him. Moreover, we also see the Sabbath used as a sign between the Lord and Israel in Ex. 31:13 and Ezk. 20:12. The idea that God provides an outward sign to indicate his covenantal relationship appears on several occasions throughout redemptive history. This is a well-established and without controversy.

 

I should also note that God informed Abraham that any uncircumcised male would be cut off from his people because he has broken God’s covenant. (Gen. 17:14) The question enters concerning the female covenant members. What would be the sign they could carry? The answer must be viewed through the patriarchal structure of the culture. The Fathers and husbands of the daughters and wives stood as the representative head of the family and therefore, their sign was also the sign of the female(s) they represented. Circumcision was not a condition of the covenant, but rather, it was the sign that a covenant was in effect, established, in place. What we are looking for is an equivalent to the sign of the covenant in the NT, under the new covenant.

 

Baptism in the NT

 

Covenant theology holds that baptism is to the New Covenant what circumcision was to the Abrahamic covenant. It is a sign indicating God’s abiding covenantal relationship. My first question relates to the sufficiency of baptism to serve in such a role to begin with. For Noah, the sign of the rainbow would be continual. Hence, it served as a continual reminder that God would never again destroy the earth with water. The sign of the Sabbath was another covenant sign that represented a continual, on-going sign indicating a covenantal relationship was in place. Finally, circumcision was an act that permanently altered the appearance of a man. By its very nature, it also reflected the permanent nature of the sign of the covenant and the special, on-going covenantal relationship between God and His people. One has to ask if the sacrament of baptism has the same ability. Is baptism the sign of the new covenant or is it a picture of the person’s death to sin, burial with Christ, and resurrection to a newness of life? Perhaps it is both. To answer that question, we turn to the NT Scriptures.

 

“Rites of immersion were not uncommon in the world in which early Christianity developed. One type of symbolism with which they were frequently connected was that of purification: from sin, from destruction, from the profane sphere before entering an holy area, from something under a taboo, etc.”[1]

 

The idea of defilement and uncleanness was prevalent in the first century culture of Palestine. In the case of Christian baptism, it isn’t any one thing that has made one unclean or profane, but rather one’s entire existence apart from the Christian group, apart from Christ Himself, and hence without God. Perhaps this explains the connection between baptism, and the new birth, or entrance into Christ’s Church, His body. “Such cleansings can take place when one stands on the verge of a new state in life or is entering into a new community or upon a new phase of life, etc. Thus they can function as rites of initiation or as rites of passage. Depending on the way in which one regards the situation being left behind and the one being entered, such rites can be connected with ideas of a new birth, of a new life, or of salvation as contrasted to nothingness, chaos, death, or destruction.[2]

 

It would seem that NT baptism is more germane to the change in an individual than it is the sign of a covenant. The practice of Christian baptism is a command of the founder of Christianity, Jesus Christ Himself. Christians are commanded to be baptized as part of their public proclamation that they have left the old group, the world, behind and have entered a radical new sect known as the Christian group, the Christ-followers. Christ commanded His followers in Matt. 28:19 to preach the gospel, make disciples, and baptize converts throughout the world. Hence, Christian baptism is a momentous practice in the Christian community. Peter reinforces this command of Christ in Acts 2:38 when he commands his audience to repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ.

 

Christian baptism follows an outward response to the gospel. In Acts 2:41, those who had received the words of Peter were baptized. Again, in Acts 8:12, when the city of Samaria received the word of God, they were baptized, women and men alike the text informs us. The Ethiopian Eunuch, after hearing Philip deliver the gospel, desired to be baptized and indeed he was baptized. (Acts 8:36-38) While I recognize the variant in v.37, the fact that the best Alexandrian witnesses omit it does little to detract from the fact that Christian baptism in fact does require Christian conversion and a public confession of faith in Jesus Christ. In essence, Christian baptism requires genuine faith. Even though the earliest manuscript that contains the verse is dated to the 6th century, the tradition of the Eunuch’s confession is attested as early as the second century, being quoted by Irenaeus in Against Heresies III.xii.8.

 

After his conversion and subsequent healing of blindness, Paul was immediately baptized by Ananias. (Acts 9:18) Peter baptized the gentile coverts of Cornelius’ house immediately after they received the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 10:48) Lydia was baptized after the Lord opened her heart to respond to the gospel. (Acts 16:15) The Jailer who expressed faith in Christ was immediately baptized along with his house. (Acts 16:33) The connection between faith and baptism emerges once more in Acts:18:8 where Crispus and his house believed as well as a number of Corinthians and were baptized. The final record of baptism in Acts is located in 19:5 where John’s disciples were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. All throughout the historical record of the NT Church, baptism followed quickly the outward sign of conversion to the Christian group.

 

The spiritual parallel of water baptism is our baptism into the body of Christ by His Spirit. Romans 6:4 states it clearly, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” Water baptism is an official proclamation by the individual that they have been spiritually baptized into the body of Christ. They have died to the rudimentary elements of this fading world, and now live a new life devoted entirely to Christ. The believer is submerged into the watery grave, and raised again in a newness of life. This is the picture. The whole point seems to be that water baptism is a depiction of something that has already taken place in the heart. Paul says, “having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”

 

In I Cor. 10:2, Paul provides the OT type for the NT antitype. It was not circumcision at all. According to Paul, the exodus was the type, which pointed to Christian baptism in the NT. The evens of Exodus 13-14, according to Paul are a picture of the NT sacrament of baptism. The OT presents the picture of baptism in the presence of God witnessed in the cloud and in the miracle of the parting of the sea as the Children of Israel passed through the waters. Just as the exodus was a baptism into Moses, who stood for the law and liberty in God, freedom from Egyptian bondage, so too does NT baptism depict the exodus of the new believer as they are delivered from sin to come under the law of Christ.

 

The question of the salvation of covenant children is a very serious one. If covenant theology is correct in its understanding of the covenantal arrangement, it follows that to leave children out of the equation and to deny their guaranteed salvation, and not to include them in Christian baptism as early as possible is a serious and grievous error. This is a matter of exceptional significance. The practical implications are far reaching if the covenant view is correct. It is fundamental to our Christian walk as believers in the Christian community and especially as parents.

 

There are a number of opportunities for the NT writers to have recorded the baptism of children with absolute clarity. Luke was clear when he recorded the baptism of women in Samaria. He stated clearly that both men and women were baptized. He went out of his way to record the baptism of Lydia, a female convert to Christ. He was clear when he informed Theophilus about the baptism of the Samaritan believers as well as the Gentiles. He even went out of his way to mention followers of John. Luke was a very precise historian who gave careful attention to the details. Yet, in all his records of the NT Church, Luke never once recorded the baptism of a child. It seems quite natural to me that the record in Acts 8 of the Samaritan baptism was a perfect opportunity for Luke to add children to the men and women being baptized. However, there is no mention of children in Luke’s record. Every use of household assumes the presence of children. This assumption has little to go on. Moreover, we do not build theology on assumptions and we certainly do not dogmatize views based off it. Since the belief that children of covenant parents are elect and guaranteed salvation is basic, it would seem to me that the doctrine of perspicuity would provide direction on the subject in the revelation of the NT. However, the record is far from clear. The lack of clarity itself serves as a devastating blow against the covenant argument. The baptism of children, according to covenant theology, must fall into the category of basic Christian praxis. Hence, basic Christian praxis is always, always treated with great clarity in the NT teachings.

 

In addition, nowhere in the NT is the Greek word σημεῖον used with διαθήκη to signify that there is a sign of the new covenant. However, the sign of the covenant was significant enough that in Noah’s case, and in Abraham’s case, and even in the case of Moses, God spells out clearly signs for those respective covenants: the rainbow, the Sabbath, and circumcision. Providing signs for a divine covenant is God’s prerogative. The point is that a sign is rudimentary, central, and unequivocal. There should be no room for reasonable dispute based on rigorous exegesis or interpretive principles. This is clearly not the case when we come to the subject of baptism standing in place of circumcision as the sign of the new covenant.

Suffer the Children to come to me

 

Covenant theologians are famous for using Jesus’ blessing of the little children to demonstrate that infants are or can be elect. Mark’s record (10:13-16) is probably the most detailed with Luke giving us the added detail that these children were babies (βρέφη). Jesus tells us that unless we receive the kingdom of God like a child, we will in no wise enter into it. This gives us a hint as to what godly faith and trust looks like. No one believes like a child believes. No one trusts quite like a child trusts. Is it any wonder that we are called children of God? Hence, we are called to believe and trust like little children. There is rich theological truth in these passages, but none that would support the idea of covenantal election. There is no relationship mentioned between the faith of the parent and that of the child. In other words, if we were to interpret this text as covenant theologians do, it would seem to point toward the salvation of all infants because Jesus did not bother to provide any qualifications or distinctions. The parents’ status is nowhere mentioned by any NT writer and thus, seems irrelevant. If the NT authors were writing with divine election of covenantal children in mind as they recorded this event, which is what covenant folks seem to believe, they certainly left much to the imagination. Again, we come back to the point of severe or extreme ambiguity.

 

I Cor. 7:14

 

The last piece of examination is the interpretation of 1 Corinthians 7:14. Paul writes, “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.” It is illegitimate exegesis to characterize this pericope as dealing with the question of children in spiritually mixed or even unmixed marriages. The subject of I Corinthians 7 is marital relations, not the election of covenant children. Moreover, the family is not coming into anywhere in this text. Paul begins the discussion talking about sexual relations and moves quickly into marital relations in the covenant community. The immediate context of this passage concerns divorce, not covenantal children.

 

The use of the perfect tense indicates a stative aspect in Paul’s thinking. The state of the unbelieving husband is sanctification. However, is this sanctification in terms of individual sanctification or should it be viewed as sanctification in the context of marriage? Whatever the meaning, one must consider the that this same sense extends to the children of such a relationship as well. “The perfect tense indicates that the unbeliever has become and will continue to be a part of the marriage unit on which God has his claim [EBC].”[3]

 

The context of this passage is within the area of the institution of marriage. It is best to understand this sanctification within the unit of the marriage, the husband wife relationship. God has set apart the unbelieving husband for the believing wife, and vice-versa. Therefore, the believing spouse has no cause to worry about separating from the unbelieving partner. There are no contamination fears with which to be concerned. The Corinthians were concerned with what defiled a person. Sexual relations with an unbelieving spouse do not defile the believing spouse.

 

Paul then argues that if the Corinthian believers were correct about such defilement, then it would mean their children are also defiled in the sense that they are outside of the bounds of the Christian community like any other unbelieving family. The idea is that your children, by nature of your covenantal relationship to Christ are indeed in an advantageous position. They are within the circle of the Christian community in the sense that they are surrounded by believers. They are in the presence of the word. They experience the gatherings of the Christian group. The holy are children in the same way that the unbelieving spouse is holy. Does it follow then that God promises to save the spouse of the believer because Paul uses such language to describe them? I do not think any covenant theologian would agree.

 

Source: http://reformedreasons.blogspot.com/...nant-kids.html

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You have posted a rather lengthy and some what nonspecific concern. I do not say that detrimentally, but it is a challenge to discuss your concern in a straight forward specific answer. I suggest that you consider sectioning your concerns categorically. I noticed that you've indicated that you are Presbyterian and therefore I suspect that TULIP is your religious acrostic underpin. If it is not an imposition do you mind confirming my impression that you are Presbyterian and that the TULIP acrostic pretty well outlines your beliefs, please?

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You have posted a rather lengthy and some what nonspecific concern.

 

Non Specific concern to who? I think the article was written rather nicely, addressing questions that may lead another deeper into orthodox Covenant Theology. The original post consists of two articles (see sources) that attempt to tackle how children ARE recipients of blessings in the NT Covenant? There were several opening questions laid out in the first paragraph that the author addresses.

 

I do not say that detrimentally, but it is a challenge to discuss your concern in a straight forward specific answer. I suggest that you consider sectioning your concerns categorically.

 

You realize I am not the author of the article? The sources were posted which are from Reformed Answers.

 

I noticed that you've indicated that you are Presbyterian and therefore I suspect that TULIP is your religious acrostic underpin. If it is not an imposition do you mind confirming my impression that you are Presbyterian and that the TULIP acrostic pretty well outlines your beliefs, please?

 

All Reformed/Presbyterians are Calvinist. And because they are Reformed they are also Covenantal.

 

You can view a person's denomination in the profile if they have filled out the profile information completely.

 

I am from the Orthodox Presbyterian Church which are Reformed. Reformed encompasses not only Five Sola, Calvinism, but also Covenant theology, Cessationism, and Amillennialism.

 

God bless,

William

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Just realized that This thread is from April of last year -- would like to comment about Covenant Children. Apparently that means that Christian parent's children are going to be included in their parent's salvation? The children of that family are guaranteed to be saved?

 

Doesn't Scripture teach individual accountability to God? Salvation included?

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Well Sue D, being you asked many places in the New Testament your children are promised salvation. Why else would they baptize them:

 

Acts 16:15: "And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us."

 

1 Cor. 1:16: "And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other."

We have to claim it in faith. :RpS_thumbup:

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Well Sue D, being you asked many places in the New Testament your children are promised salvation. Why else would they baptize them:

 

Acts 16:15: "And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us."

 

1 Cor. 1:16: "And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other."

We have to claim it in faith. :RpS_thumbup:

The first passage comments "her household' and says nothing about the ages of those In that household. It could very easily have been that as the adult members heard the Gospel that they Also believed. And were then baptized.

The second passage is talking about in whose name people were being baptized. Nothing about who was included in the household of Stephanas.

 

According to those passages -- what is being claimed in faith?!

 

No one is guaranteed salvation. Only God knows who His elect are.

 

My husband and I are both believers -- we have 4 adult children. Each had to come to the point in their lives of understanding their own need and accepting Jesus Christ as their own Savior.

 

Baptism by immersion is for those who have believed in their heart and confessed with their mouth, the Lord Jesus. The baptism is the outward witness to others of that decision already made in their heart. There are baptisimal services in churches or out at lakes -- in front of congregations / the general public -- as their witness to their salvation.

 

At the time of judgement -- we are judged as individuals -- not as couples or as families.

 

Some years ago there was a family -- parents and three daughters. The parents wanted their family to united in Christ. Their youngest daughter was not interested in salvation. So they approached pastor at a social gathering -- I happened to hear the conversation. They requested that he, as pastor, might approach their daughter and lead her to Christ. He said that it just didn't work that way. They could pray for her , and pastor said that he would also. But that no one can talk another person into being saved. And putting pressure on their daughter wasn't going to help any. The younger daughter was a good young lady. No rebellion or anything. She simply showed no interest in salvation.

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The way we saw it was that the husband was to decide the belief system for the family. There are many examples in the NT. The children are then instructed in the ways of the Lord. Then you could claim: Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

 

That is the way we saw it, and we are still claiming our children. :RpS_thumbsup:

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1 Cor. 1:16: "And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other."

 

Look at the context of this statement.

 

I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.)

 

He baptized the household of Stephanas but he also baptized Crispus and Gaius, but apparently not their householed. Why the difference? The most likely reason is that Stephanas and his entire household believed, but Crispus and Gaius became believers while their households didn't. If all the members of a household are saved, then of course all of them should be baptized.

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The way we saw it was that the husband was to decide the belief system for the family. There are many examples in the NT. The children are then instructed in the ways of the Lord. Then you could claim: Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

 

That is the way we saw it, and we are still claiming our children. :RpS_thumbsup:

And what are your Children 'claiming' in beliefs? Beliefs need to become Their beliefs at some point.

 

Well -- way back Before a couple are married -- shouldn't people be dating those of the same faith?

 

And -- what if -- two young people meet at college -- maybe they are both going to be entering the same career field -- Wonderful --They want to get married -- They Do get married. But -- turns out they are Not of the same belief system -- maybe she's Presby and he's Methodist. And they've Been going to the college chapel service.

 

Should they be getting married? And they're both believers.

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The way we saw it was that the husband was to decide the belief system for the family. There are many examples in the NT. The children are then instructed in the ways of the Lord. Then you could claim: Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

 

That is the way we saw it, and we are still claiming our children. :RpS_thumbsup:

We did not baptize babies. They were old enough for a decision, and they agreed that we sought God together as a group. They still consider themselves as saved. Their marriage partners all consider themselves as Christians also.

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On 2/7/2018 at 8:20 PM, deade said:

We did not baptize babies. They were old enough for a decision, and they agreed that we sought God together as a group. They still consider themselves as saved. Their marriage partners all consider themselves as Christians also.

Much opposition to infant baptism by denominations which do not practice it is based upon misunderstanding of the scriptural basis relied upon by those who do. Many assume there to be no 'scriptural basis', simply because no definite instance of an infant baptism can be found in New Testament scripture. It is a mistake however to assume that other's understanding of the scripture on this subject is as deficient as one's own.

 

The use of New Testament scripture to try to establish legitimacy of praxis by citing examples and excluding anything not specifically referred to, is illegitimate and error prone. If this principle were applied to all praxis in Christ's church then women could not receive communion, there being not a single instance in the New Testament of one actually recorded as having done so. Also there is not a single specific record of the adult child of a known believing Christian being baptised.

 

The unbelieving infant children of believing Christian parent(s) are, according to New Testament scripture, 'Holy', whereas the unbelieving infant child of unbelieving parents is 'outside the promises of the covenant'. This means, in accordance with scripture, that the infant children of Christian believers have a special status with God under the Covenant that God has made with their parent(s), which by extension will also, according to God's promises, apply to the infant, AS they grow up and learn to 'know him'. In effect they are under a different set of covenant conditions than the unbelieving infant child of unbelieving parents.

 

Being 'outside the promises' the non covenant child though still being 'Under God's Grace' and afforded a permanent offer to accept the discipline and protection of God's Covenant of Grace, in the blood of Jesus Christ, by hearing and responding to The Gospel, is offered only the choice of 'Entering' the covenant. This invitation is open to them all their life long, but until they respond to the hearing of the Gospel by receiving The Holy Spirit in regeneration, they are not members of Christ's church, not entrusted with the Gospel message of reconciliation, cannot be charged with disobedience to a covenant they are not included under, and are merely ('saved' along with the rest of the world, no longer having their sins held against them by God, since God in Christ reconciled the world to Himself on the cross).

 

The child of believer(s), under God's Grace and a member of The Church of Christ by promise,  though, is not 'invited' to take upon themselves the obligations of The Covenant of Grace, until they are able to understand and willing to accept them, but they actually already have the privileges of the Covenant of Grace provisionally, until such time as they either 'accept' their obligations under God's Covenant by responding to The Gospel, (something God Himself will present to them in due course, as promised to their parents), and become regenerate, or conversely 'reject' both God and His Covenant and become a Covenant breaker and renege upon it. So they in fact have only a choice to 'Remain' in The Covenant, or 'Fail to keep their obligations to it, thus risking discipline from God for disobedience'. If they rebel, they may or may not have excuse for their rebellion, depending upon how their parents fulfilled their own covenant obligations.

 

So as far as, (God no longer holds their sins against them), there is very little difference between a child of believing parents who grows in faith and is in later life baptised after hearing and believing the Gospel, and a child of believing parents who was baptised as an infant, grown in knowledge of God, hears the gospel and accepts their covenant responsibilities as a mature child of God. Both fulfil their obligation to God to place themselves at God's disposal as ambassadors to the world, of the Gospel of Reconciliation, and receive from God the gifts to accomplish God's purposes in their lives.

 

The children of believers who fail to accept their covenant obligations are likewise very similarly fixed in the world. Their sins are no longer held against them by God BUT they will be disciplined for failing to keep covenant and pruned for failing to 'bear fruit', and may even be 'cast forth' from the vine. They are not entrusted with the responsibility of bearing the gospel of reconciliation. Their lives will become increasingly futile as they fail to fulfill their God ordained destiny. They will squander and misuse their 'gifts' and pay a heavy price for their obstinate waywardness.

 

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5 hours ago, RdrEm said:

Much opposition to infant baptism by denominations which do not practice it is based upon misunderstanding of the scriptural basis relied upon by those who do. Many assume there to be no 'scriptural basis', simply because no definite instance of an infant baptism can be found in New Testament scripture. It is a mistake however to assume that other's understanding of the scripture on this subject is as deficient as one's own.

 

The use of New Testament scripture to try to establish legitimacy of praxis by citing examples and excluding anything not specifically referred to, is illegitimate and error prone. If this principle were applied to all praxis in Christ's church then women could not receive communion, there being not a single instance in the New Testament of one actually recorded as having done so. Also there is not a single specific record of the adult child of a known believing Christian being baptised.

 

The unbelieving infant children of believing Christian parent(s) are, according to New Testament scripture, 'Holy', whereas the unbelieving infant child of unbelieving parents is 'outside the promises of the covenant'. This means, in accordance with scripture, that the infant children of Christian believers have a special status with God under the Covenant that God has made with their parent(s), which by extension will also, according to God's promises, apply to the infant, AS they grow up and learn to 'know him'. In effect they are under a different set of covenant conditions than the unbelieving infant child of unbelieving parents.

 

Being 'outside the promises' the non covenant child though still being 'Under God's Grace' and afforded a permanent offer to accept the discipline and protection of God's Covenant of Grace, in the blood of Jesus Christ, by hearing and responding to The Gospel, is offered only the choice of 'Entering' the covenant. This invitation is open to them all their life long, but until they respond to the hearing of the Gospel by receiving The Holy Spirit in regeneration, they are not members of Christ's church, not entrusted with the Gospel message of reconciliation, cannot be charged with disobedience to a covenant they are not included under, and are merely ('saved' along with the rest of the world, no longer having their sins held against them by God, since God in Christ reconciled the world to Himself on the cross).

 

The child of believer(s), under God's Grace and a member of The Church of Christ by promise,  though, is not 'invited' to take upon themselves the obligations of The Covenant of Grace, until they are able to understand and willing to accept them, but they actually already have the privileges of the Covenant of Grace provisionally, until such time as they either 'accept' their obligations under God's Covenant by responding to The Gospel, (something God Himself will present to them in due course, as promised to their parents), and become regenerate, or conversely 'reject' both God and His Covenant and become a Covenant breaker and renege upon it. So they in fact have only a choice to 'Remain' in The Covenant, or 'Fail to keep their obligations to it, thus risking discipline from God for disobedience'. If they rebel, they may or may not have excuse for their rebellion, depending upon how their parents fulfilled their own covenant obligations.

 

So as far as, (God no longer holds their sins against them), there is very little difference between a child of believing parents who grows in faith and is in later life baptised after hearing and believing the Gospel, and a child of believing parents who was baptised as an infant, grown in knowledge of God, hears the gospel and accepts their covenant responsibilities as a mature child of God. Both fulfil their obligation to God to place themselves at God's disposal as ambassadors to the world, of the Gospel of Reconciliation, and receive from God the gifts to accomplish God's purposes in their lives.

 

The children of believers who fail to accept their covenant obligations are likewise very similarly fixed in the world. Their sins are no longer held against them by God BUT they will be disciplined for failing to keep covenant and pruned for failing to 'bear fruit', and may even be 'cast forth' from the vine. They are not entrusted with the responsibility of bearing the gospel of reconciliation. Their lives will become increasingly futile as they fail to fulfill their God ordained destiny. They will squander and misuse their 'gifts' and pay a heavy price for their obstinate waywardness.

 

 

Hello RdrEm, I see this is your first post. Welcome to the forum. I will look forward to posting with you some more.

 

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Guest RdrEm

Thanks for the welcome. I hope we enjoy one another's company. :classic_smile:

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Guest RdrEm
On 4/13/2017 at 11:15 PM, William said:

The last piece of examination is the interpretation of 1 Corinthians 7:14. Paul writes, “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.” It is illegitimate exegesis to characterize this pericope as dealing with the question of children in spiritually mixed or even unmixed marriages. The subject of I Corinthians 7 is marital relations, not the election of covenant children. Moreover, the family is not coming into anywhere in this text. Paul begins the discussion talking about sexual relations and moves quickly into marital relations in the covenant community. The immediate context of this passage concerns divorce, not covenantal children.

 

The use of the perfect tense indicates a stative aspect in Paul’s thinking. The state of the unbelieving husband is sanctification. However, is this sanctification in terms of individual sanctification or should it be viewed as sanctification in the context of marriage? Whatever the meaning, one must consider the that this same sense extends to the children of such a relationship as well. “The perfect tense indicates that the unbeliever has become and will continue to be a part of the marriage unit on which God has his claim [EBC].”[3]

 

The context of this passage is within the area of the institution of marriage. It is best to understand this sanctification within the unit of the marriage, the husband wife relationship. God has set apart the unbelieving husband for the believing wife, and vice-versa. Therefore, the believing spouse has no cause to worry about separating from the unbelieving partner. There are no contamination fears with which to be concerned. The Corinthians were concerned with what defiled a person. Sexual relations with an unbelieving spouse do not defile the believing spouse.

 

Paul then argues that if the Corinthian believers were correct about such defilement, then it would mean their children are also defiled in the sense that they are outside of the bounds of the Christian community like any other unbelieving family. The idea is that your children, by nature of your covenantal relationship to Christ are indeed in an advantageous position. They are within the circle of the Christian community in the sense that they are surrounded by believers. They are in the presence of the word. They experience the gatherings of the Christian group. The holy are children in the same way that the unbelieving spouse is holy. Does it follow then that God promises to save the spouse of the believer because Paul uses such language to describe them? I do not think any covenant theologian would agree.

 

Source: http://reformedreasons.blogspot.com/...nant-kids.html


 Most of what the above paragraphs suggest is true. The infants and children of a believer come under and are included in the covenant promises made by God to the believing parent(s), at the time (he/she/they) became regenerate by responding appropriately to the 'call' of the Gospel. Infants and children are not under condemnation by God anyway, whether or not their parent(s) are believers. It is not their 'salvation' that is at issue, it is their adoption as children of God and their fitness to inherit the Kingdom of His Son Jesus Christ. That is an issue regarding merely their membership of Christ's church. Regeneration is a separate issue the timing of which in an infant's, child's or adults life is entirely in God's hands and cannot in any way be legislated for by any human agency, no matter how exulted they happen to regard themselves.


Paul uses the fact that the infants and children of a believer, (even the female believer in a believing / non-believing partnership), are NOT unclean. In other words the New Testament model of covenantal relationships within marriage do not depend upon a patriarchal hierarchy as it did under the Covenant that has now been superseded by The Better Covenant, of Grace.
Paul can appeal to the Corinthian believers in this way regarding the sanctity of marriages between 'unequally yoked' partners, specifically because of their understanding of covenant theology, which as faithful covenant keeping Jews, had always known their children to be recipients of the same covenant promises as any adult Jew, by everlasting edict from Almighty God himself, to Abraham, Isaac and his descendants, ( by faith). The 'by faith' is important. There was, and is, nothing automatic about it.


If there had been any confusion about the status of Christian infants or children regarding their inclusion under the standard historical covenant promises of God to His people, then there would certainly be evidence of it in The New Testament. Had the baptism or circumcision of believer's infants been an unacceptable practice the Apostles would most certainly have registered their objections to it in Holy Scripture. There is no record whatsoever of any such Apostolic objections anywhere within the New Testament. The notion that Jewish Christians suddenly abandoned the practice of including their infants into the 'Better and Improved' covenant they themselves enjoyed the benefits of, is fanciful beyond belief. That the New Testament bears no record of any stricture or prohibition of infants being accepted by baptism or circumcision into the New Testament church, should be convincing evidence that the practice did not invite Apostolic disapproval. The fact that the practice receives no specific mention can be explained by the following:

 

(1) In the earliest years of the inclusion of the Gentiles into the church of Christ the majority of baptisms would have been of adult proselytes who had heard and responded to the gospel message. Obviously most accounts of baptisms in scripture are of this nature. That does not necessarily imply that adults were the only ones to receive baptism. In fact the origins of infant baptism are very ancient and the practice was common as soon as Christians had Christian grandfathers or grandmothers and family commitments to the faith and its community.


 (2) There was, for some years, confusion over whether baptism, circumcision or both were the rites of initiation into the church. This issue was eventually settled with baptism being the acceptable rite of entry in the covenant promises. We have that on Apostolic Authority in the scriptures.


(3) The practice (either continuation of circumcision or its eventual replacement by baptism), was probably therefore so widespread among the Christian communities that it needed no mention. The Lord's supper is another example of this effect. It might be expected that so fundamental a Christian rite might find numerous mentions in New Testament scripture, but that is not the case. Mentions of 'The Lord's Supper' are fairly rare. This is because the New Testament is not primarily concerned with establishing rules, regulations or ceremonial rites of passage. It is primarily concerned with addressing contentious issues which worried the communities, and answering questions concerning the expectations of the movement's adherents.


(4) Until the inclusion of the Gentiles, the church was predominantly Jewish and Jewish praxis would have been assumed to be acceptable in the Christian 'sect' of Judaism, unless specifically objected to by Apostolic authority. Much of what we read in the NT from the Apostles to the churches cover exactly the issues which concerned them most. Baptism / circumcision of infants was clearly never one of the issues which attracted Apostolic attention, or they never ever objected to its continued and increasing praxis in the Apostolic communities. 

 

 

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On ‎4‎/‎13‎/‎2017 at 5:15 PM, William said:

 

Reformed Answers

 

 

 

The essential query of this blog relates to the pedagogy of covenant theology regarding the children of Christian parents. Does covenant theology teach divine election of children born to Christian parents? In other words, does God bind Himself to the salvation of my children if I am a Christian? If He does not, if there is no promise of salvation to my children under the covenant, then why do covenant folks baptize their children? Does not such an act treat the sacrament of baptism contemptuously? I am going to address two questions in this blog. First, does covenant theology teach that covenant children are elect? Second, does the NT provide exegetical support for such a fundamental doctrine? While there are many subjects in theology that would be classed as infinitesimal, paedobaptism, and its subsequent teaching on covenant children is not one of them.

 

Not so very long ago, I was a member in a PCA church here in NC. I recall on numerous occasions the pastor explaining to the congregation that baptizing their children did not save them, nor did it guarantee their salvation. What it did, according to this PCA pastor was bring them under the protection and multifarious benefits of the covenant. I admit that I never really understood that, nor have I ever subscribed to infant baptism. It always seemed to me that this practice abridged the significance of baptism, not to mention the very covenant it signifies. I have come to realize that this particular pastor was doubtless not the best delegate for covenant theology.

 

The argument from continuity is of course, a favorite of paedobaptist proponents. Robert Reymond argues that “The Old Testament practice of reckoning children among the covenant people of God and having the covenant sign administered to them in infancy is nowhere repealed in the New Testament.” [Reymond, Systematic Theology, p. 940] Reymond is right, that in the Old Testament, under the Old Covenant, the children were ipso facto included in that covenant. Quoting David C. Jones, Reymond continues, “Are [these little ones, by virtue of their parents relationship to Christ,] also brought into a new relationship with Christ even though they are too young intellectually to apprehend the gospel and to appropriate it for themselves in the conscious exercise of repentance and faith?” [Reymond, p. 935] As the argument goes, by virtue of the parents’ relationship with Christ, the children are afforded a place in the covenant, a new relationship with Christ. No doubt this is an argument from inference. Reymond contends that antipaedobaptists argue in similar fashion. “Biblical principles have the force of commands by good and necessary inference.” [Reymond, p. 936] While I agree that both sides include a degree of inference in their arguments, the idea that we can legitimately excavate commands from principles strikes me as backwards and comes dangerously close to legalism. To my way of thinking, we extend principles from commands via application within a given context.

 

In answer to the question, “Are infants to be baptized?” the Heidelberg Catechism answers, “Yes: for since they, as well as the adult, are included in the covenant and church of God; and since redemption from sinb by the blood of Christ, and the Holy Ghost, the author of faith, is promised to them no less than to the adult; they must therefore by baptism, as a sign of the covenant, be also admitted into the christian church; and be distinguished from the children of unbelieversd as was done in the old covenant or testament by circumcision, instead of which baptism is institutedf in the new covenant.”[1]

 

The HC answers emphatically that the basis for paedobaptism is that the children are included in the covenant AND in the church of God. Moreover, redemption from sin and the Holy Ghost are promised to them no less than to the adult, they must be baptized. In addition, they must be admitted to the church.

 

The Canons of Dordt I article 17 states the following regarding the salvation and redemption of covenant children, “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 ought not to doubt the election and salvation of their children whom it pleases God to call out of this life in their infancy (Gen. 17:7; Acts 2:39; 1 Cor. 7:14).”[2]

 

The Canons of Dordt instruct parents not to doubt the election and salvation of their children whom it pleases God to call out of this life in their infancy. It seems abundantly clear from the sources, that covenant theology clearly, emphatically, and adamantly contends that children born to covenant parents are included in God’s elect.

 

In his project on Systematic Theology, Louis Berkhof teaches “Baptism is a sign and seal of the covenant of grace. It does not signify one thing and seal another, but sets the seal of God on that which it signifies. According to our confessional standards and our Form for the administration of baptism, it signifies the washing away of our sins, and this is but a brief expression for the removal of the guilt of sin in justification, and for the removal of the pollution of sin in sanctification, which is, however, imperfect in this life. And if this is what is signified, then it is also that which is sealed.”[3] Berkhof is quite adamant that baptism seals what it signifies. What does it signify? It signifies the washing away of our sins and the removal of guilt. There can be little doubt that covenant theology not only teaches the salvation of Christian parents, it teaches this doctrine quite emphatically without ambiguity.

 

To be fair, not every covenant theologian embraces this view with the same gradation of principle. For example, the nomenclature in R.L. Dabney’s project on Systematic Theology exhibits a more liberal grasp on the question than those quoted above. However, prevarication by some within the covenant system on the query of paedobaptism does not ipso facto mince the normative standards on which the system is constructed. Every system has protagonists whose locus is not quite as steady as the system itself.

 

Source: http://reformedreasons.blogspot.com/...vation-of.html

 

 

The Covenant Sign in the Old Testament

 

It is in Genesis 17, that Scripture introduces us to the ancient practice of circumcision. “This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised. And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you.” This is not the first or the last time the word אות is used to refer to the אוֹת בְּרִית.

 

אוֹת־הַבְּרִית is used in Gen. 9:12. God also gave Noah the rainbow as a sign of the covenant that he made with him. Moreover, we also see the Sabbath used as a sign between the Lord and Israel in Ex. 31:13 and Ezk. 20:12. The idea that God provides an outward sign to indicate his covenantal relationship appears on several occasions throughout redemptive history. This is a well-established and without controversy.

 

I should also note that God informed Abraham that any uncircumcised male would be cut off from his people because he has broken God’s covenant. (Gen. 17:14) The question enters concerning the female covenant members. What would be the sign they could carry? The answer must be viewed through the patriarchal structure of the culture. The Fathers and husbands of the daughters and wives stood as the representative head of the family and therefore, their sign was also the sign of the female(s) they represented. Circumcision was not a condition of the covenant, but rather, it was the sign that a covenant was in effect, established, in place. What we are looking for is an equivalent to the sign of the covenant in the NT, under the new covenant.

 

Baptism in the NT

 

Covenant theology holds that baptism is to the New Covenant what circumcision was to the Abrahamic covenant. It is a sign indicating God’s abiding covenantal relationship. My first question relates to the sufficiency of baptism to serve in such a role to begin with. For Noah, the sign of the rainbow would be continual. Hence, it served as a continual reminder that God would never again destroy the earth with water. The sign of the Sabbath was another covenant sign that represented a continual, on-going sign indicating a covenantal relationship was in place. Finally, circumcision was an act that permanently altered the appearance of a man. By its very nature, it also reflected the permanent nature of the sign of the covenant and the special, on-going covenantal relationship between God and His people. One has to ask if the sacrament of baptism has the same ability. Is baptism the sign of the new covenant or is it a picture of the person’s death to sin, burial with Christ, and resurrection to a newness of life? Perhaps it is both. To answer that question, we turn to the NT Scriptures.

 

“Rites of immersion were not uncommon in the world in which early Christianity developed. One type of symbolism with which they were frequently connected was that of purification: from sin, from destruction, from the profane sphere before entering an holy area, from something under a taboo, etc.”[1]

 

The idea of defilement and uncleanness was prevalent in the first century culture of Palestine. In the case of Christian baptism, it isn’t any one thing that has made one unclean or profane, but rather one’s entire existence apart from the Christian group, apart from Christ Himself, and hence without God. Perhaps this explains the connection between baptism, and the new birth, or entrance into Christ’s Church, His body. “Such cleansings can take place when one stands on the verge of a new state in life or is entering into a new community or upon a new phase of life, etc. Thus they can function as rites of initiation or as rites of passage. Depending on the way in which one regards the situation being left behind and the one being entered, such rites can be connected with ideas of a new birth, of a new life, or of salvation as contrasted to nothingness, chaos, death, or destruction.[2]

 

It would seem that NT baptism is more germane to the change in an individual than it is the sign of a covenant. The practice of Christian baptism is a command of the founder of Christianity, Jesus Christ Himself. Christians are commanded to be baptized as part of their public proclamation that they have left the old group, the world, behind and have entered a radical new sect known as the Christian group, the Christ-followers. Christ commanded His followers in Matt. 28:19 to preach the gospel, make disciples, and baptize converts throughout the world. Hence, Christian baptism is a momentous practice in the Christian community. Peter reinforces this command of Christ in Acts 2:38 when he commands his audience to repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ.

 

Christian baptism follows an outward response to the gospel. In Acts 2:41, those who had received the words of Peter were baptized. Again, in Acts 8:12, when the city of Samaria received the word of God, they were baptized, women and men alike the text informs us. The Ethiopian Eunuch, after hearing Philip deliver the gospel, desired to be baptized and indeed he was baptized. (Acts 8:36-38) While I recognize the variant in v.37, the fact that the best Alexandrian witnesses omit it does little to detract from the fact that Christian baptism in fact does require Christian conversion and a public confession of faith in Jesus Christ. In essence, Christian baptism requires genuine faith. Even though the earliest manuscript that contains the verse is dated to the 6th century, the tradition of the Eunuch’s confession is attested as early as the second century, being quoted by Irenaeus in Against Heresies III.xii.8.

 

After his conversion and subsequent healing of blindness, Paul was immediately baptized by Ananias. (Acts 9:18) Peter baptized the gentile coverts of Cornelius’ house immediately after they received the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 10:48) Lydia was baptized after the Lord opened her heart to respond to the gospel. (Acts 16:15) The Jailer who expressed faith in Christ was immediately baptized along with his house. (Acts 16:33) The connection between faith and baptism emerges once more in Acts:18:8 where Crispus and his house believed as well as a number of Corinthians and were baptized. The final record of baptism in Acts is located in 19:5 where John’s disciples were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. All throughout the historical record of the NT Church, baptism followed quickly the outward sign of conversion to the Christian group.

 

The spiritual parallel of water baptism is our baptism into the body of Christ by His Spirit. Romans 6:4 states it clearly, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” Water baptism is an official proclamation by the individual that they have been spiritually baptized into the body of Christ. They have died to the rudimentary elements of this fading world, and now live a new life devoted entirely to Christ. The believer is submerged into the watery grave, and raised again in a newness of life. This is the picture. The whole point seems to be that water baptism is a depiction of something that has already taken place in the heart. Paul says, “having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”

 

In I Cor. 10:2, Paul provides the OT type for the NT antitype. It was not circumcision at all. According to Paul, the exodus was the type, which pointed to Christian baptism in the NT. The evens of Exodus 13-14, according to Paul are a picture of the NT sacrament of baptism. The OT presents the picture of baptism in the presence of God witnessed in the cloud and in the miracle of the parting of the sea as the Children of Israel passed through the waters. Just as the exodus was a baptism into Moses, who stood for the law and liberty in God, freedom from Egyptian bondage, so too does NT baptism depict the exodus of the new believer as they are delivered from sin to come under the law of Christ.

 

The question of the salvation of covenant children is a very serious one. If covenant theology is correct in its understanding of the covenantal arrangement, it follows that to leave children out of the equation and to deny their guaranteed salvation, and not to include them in Christian baptism as early as possible is a serious and grievous error. This is a matter of exceptional significance. The practical implications are far reaching if the covenant view is correct. It is fundamental to our Christian walk as believers in the Christian community and especially as parents.

 

There are a number of opportunities for the NT writers to have recorded the baptism of children with absolute clarity. Luke was clear when he recorded the baptism of women in Samaria. He stated clearly that both men and women were baptized. He went out of his way to record the baptism of Lydia, a female convert to Christ. He was clear when he informed Theophilus about the baptism of the Samaritan believers as well as the Gentiles. He even went out of his way to mention followers of John. Luke was a very precise historian who gave careful attention to the details. Yet, in all his records of the NT Church, Luke never once recorded the baptism of a child. It seems quite natural to me that the record in Acts 8 of the Samaritan baptism was a perfect opportunity for Luke to add children to the men and women being baptized. However, there is no mention of children in Luke’s record. Every use of household assumes the presence of children. This assumption has little to go on. Moreover, we do not build theology on assumptions and we certainly do not dogmatize views based off it. Since the belief that children of covenant parents are elect and guaranteed salvation is basic, it would seem to me that the doctrine of perspicuity would provide direction on the subject in the revelation of the NT. However, the record is far from clear. The lack of clarity itself serves as a devastating blow against the covenant argument. The baptism of children, according to covenant theology, must fall into the category of basic Christian praxis. Hence, basic Christian praxis is always, always treated with great clarity in the NT teachings.

 

In addition, nowhere in the NT is the Greek word σημεῖον used with διαθήκη to signify that there is a sign of the new covenant. However, the sign of the covenant was significant enough that in Noah’s case, and in Abraham’s case, and even in the case of Moses, God spells out clearly signs for those respective covenants: the rainbow, the Sabbath, and circumcision. Providing signs for a divine covenant is God’s prerogative. The point is that a sign is rudimentary, central, and unequivocal. There should be no room for reasonable dispute based on rigorous exegesis or interpretive principles. This is clearly not the case when we come to the subject of baptism standing in place of circumcision as the sign of the new covenant.

Suffer the Children to come to me

 

Covenant theologians are famous for using Jesus’ blessing of the little children to demonstrate that infants are or can be elect. Mark’s record (10:13-16) is probably the most detailed with Luke giving us the added detail that these children were babies (βρέφη). Jesus tells us that unless we receive the kingdom of God like a child, we will in no wise enter into it. This gives us a hint as to what godly faith and trust looks like. No one believes like a child believes. No one trusts quite like a child trusts. Is it any wonder that we are called children of God? Hence, we are called to believe and trust like little children. There is rich theological truth in these passages, but none that would support the idea of covenantal election. There is no relationship mentioned between the faith of the parent and that of the child. In other words, if we were to interpret this text as covenant theologians do, it would seem to point toward the salvation of all infants because Jesus did not bother to provide any qualifications or distinctions. The parents’ status is nowhere mentioned by any NT writer and thus, seems irrelevant. If the NT authors were writing with divine election of covenantal children in mind as they recorded this event, which is what covenant folks seem to believe, they certainly left much to the imagination. Again, we come back to the point of severe or extreme ambiguity.

 

I Cor. 7:14

 

The last piece of examination is the interpretation of 1 Corinthians 7:14. Paul writes, “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.” It is illegitimate exegesis to characterize this pericope as dealing with the question of children in spiritually mixed or even unmixed marriages. The subject of I Corinthians 7 is marital relations, not the election of covenant children. Moreover, the family is not coming into anywhere in this text. Paul begins the discussion talking about sexual relations and moves quickly into marital relations in the covenant community. The immediate context of this passage concerns divorce, not covenantal children.

 

The use of the perfect tense indicates a stative aspect in Paul’s thinking. The state of the unbelieving husband is sanctification. However, is this sanctification in terms of individual sanctification or should it be viewed as sanctification in the context of marriage? Whatever the meaning, one must consider the that this same sense extends to the children of such a relationship as well. “The perfect tense indicates that the unbeliever has become and will continue to be a part of the marriage unit on which God has his claim [EBC].”[3]

 

The context of this passage is within the area of the institution of marriage. It is best to understand this sanctification within the unit of the marriage, the husband wife relationship. God has set apart the unbelieving husband for the believing wife, and vice-versa. Therefore, the believing spouse has no cause to worry about separating from the unbelieving partner. There are no contamination fears with which to be concerned. The Corinthians were concerned with what defiled a person. Sexual relations with an unbelieving spouse do not defile the believing spouse.

 

Paul then argues that if the Corinthian believers were correct about such defilement, then it would mean their children are also defiled in the sense that they are outside of the bounds of the Christian community like any other unbelieving family. The idea is that your children, by nature of your covenantal relationship to Christ are indeed in an advantageous position. They are within the circle of the Christian community in the sense that they are surrounded by believers. They are in the presence of the word. They experience the gatherings of the Christian group. The holy are children in the same way that the unbelieving spouse is holy. Does it follow then that God promises to save the spouse of the believer because Paul uses such language to describe them? I do not think any covenant theologian would agree.

 

Source: http://reformedreasons.blogspot.com/...nant-kids.html

Your posting was exceptionally long and difficult to understand at times . I did manage to read your scriptural quotes that attempted to justify children of redeemed parents being joined to Christ by mere reason of their relationship to them. Any attempt to reason that [ all ] of these children  have a special kind of calling and election is totally untrue . That's the same as believing that all Jews can deny  the salvation of God by a constant state of unbelief in the existence of Christ and His atoning work on the cross and still be saved by saying that they are "The people of God." That alone would eliminate any salvation reserved for the Gentiles since God requires an entirely different way to Christ .  Anyone's  salvation ,including elect and chosen children is built entirely on the Word of God . We learn from Romans chapter 9 beginning in verse 4 where Paul is laying the groundwork for the Jews .They were privileged in being adopted, having the glory, the covenants ,the law and the service of God .They had everything it took to believe that their messiah would come to them first . But the dividing line was the unique quote in vs. 6 where Paul says , " For they are NOT ALL ISRAEL ,which are OF ISRAEL ." Many wore the badge of honor, but few could relate to their Messiah by coveted choice. Even being  the seed of Abraham did not make all of them the 'children.'  ( In Isaac's seed.) Let me run through this quickly in order to save time ; It all centers around Election.

Vs.9 Sara shall have a son . Isaac the  son of promise .

Vs.10 Isaac's wife Rebecca conceived and bore Jacob and Esau.

Vs.11 The children not being yet born , neither having done any good or evil that the PURPOSE OF GOD ACCORDING TO ELECTION MIGHT STAND ,not of works but of Him that calleth .

Vs. 12 It was told to her that the elder shall serve the younger . Entirely out of order according to Jewish law and tradition. This was utterly unheard of . We see who the favored one was . No doubt it was Jacob.

Vs. 13 As it was written,,," Jacob have I LOVED, but Esau have I HATED !" God's choice is clear.

Suggest,,,read the entire ninth chapter of Romans . It is clear that any child that falls under the saving grace of God is without doubt a genuine child of the Living God.   "  

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