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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.
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Best arguments for Covenant/Household Baptism

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Really short version by JTB.SDG:

 

1) The covenant promises to Abraham were about salvation in the fullest sense (Gen.17:7-8; NT scripture). "...to be God to you and to your descendants after you." This is the essence of God's covenant with Abraham; and if you get this, everything else falls into place (below).

 

2) The covenant promises were made not only to Abraham but also to his offspring (Gen.17:7-8). "I will be God" --not just to Abraham--But: "to you and to your descendants after you. . .I will be their God." The exact same promise that is made to Abraham is equally made to his descendants.

 

3) The covenant sign of circumcision was given to Abraham as a sign of THAT salvation. The sign of the covenant represents what the covenant is. If the covenant is about salvation, the sign is about salvation. This means that circumcision wasn't actually an ethnic or national sign--it was a spiritual sign.

a) Abraham was marked with circumcision to signify his faith only
after
he believed (Rom.4:11). True. So why infant baptism? Abraham believed FIRST, and then and only then did he receive the sign.

 

b) Because he was then to apply that same sign to his infant sons
before
belief was possible (Gen.17:7-8). The exact same sign that he only received AFTER believing, he was to mark his infant sons with at 8 days old. It's what God commanded. Adult-circumcision for Abraham; but infant circumcision for his sons.

 

 

 

4) New Testament believers have entered into the SAME covenant promises made to Abraham (Rom.11:17 makes it clear there was not an OT tree and separate NT tree, but we are grafted into the same tree begun with Abraham). Galatians 3 and other Scripture make it really clear that the promises made to Abraham are GOSPEL promises that extend also to us as NT believers. Our only hope as NT believers are the covenant promises made to Abraham.

 

5) The NT Scriptures confirm that those covenant promises still extend to our children (Acts 2:39; household baptisms in the NT; and think about 1Cor.7:14--children of believers are "holy"--in what sense? Are they automatically saved? No. In the sense that they are "set apart" from unbelieving children. How set apart? They are part of the covenant--the same pattern as OT children).

 

6) THUS, our infant children should continue to be marked with the covenant sign.

 

IMPORTANT CLARIFICATIONS:

 

7) This doesn't mean that all Abraham's children (or ours) will be saved: this is by faith alone (cf. Ishmael, Esau; Rom.9:6-8, etc).

 

8) But it does mean that our children are included in the covenant and should receive the sign.

 

So--a question for you--I would love to hear. What about this would you object to?

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It's also a strong silent argument that the NT doesn't restrict infant baptisim since the converted Jews would need to be told that difference is in the new covenant.

They circumsized in the old so naturally they would baptize in the new.

 

Also, why would the new covenant include a sign for women and Gentiles yet exclude infants? Faith was the requirement for justification in the O.T. just as it is in the N.T. so lack of faith of an infant wouldn't exclude them from baptisim as it didn't with circumsion.

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Really short version by JTB.SDG:

 

 

 

 

1) The covenant promises to Abraham were about salvation in the fullest sense (Gen.17:7-8; NT scripture). "...to be God to you and to your descendants after you." This is the essence of God's covenant with Abraham; and if you get this, everything else falls into place (below).

 

2) The covenant promises were made not only to Abraham but also to his offspring (Gen.17:7-8). "I will be God" --not just to Abraham--But: "to you and to your descendants after you. . .I will be their God." The exact same promise that is made to Abraham is equally made to his descendants.

 

3) The covenant sign of circumcision was given to Abraham as a sign of THAT salvation. The sign of the covenant represents what the covenant is. If the covenant is about salvation, the sign is about salvation. This means that circumcision wasn't actually an ethnic or national sign--it was a spiritual sign.

 

 

a) Abraham was marked with circumcision to signify his faith only
after
he believed (Rom.4:11). True. So why infant baptism? Abraham believed FIRST, and then and only then did he receive the sign.

 

b) Because he was then to apply that same sign to his infant sons
before
belief was possible (Gen.17:7-8). The exact same sign that he only received AFTER believing, he was to mark his infant sons with at 8 days old. It's what God commanded. Adult-circumcision for Abraham; but infant circumcision for his sons.

 

 

4) New Testament believers have entered into the SAME covenant promises made to Abraham (Rom.11:17 makes it clear there was not an OT tree and separate NT tree, but we are grafted into the same tree begun with Abraham). Galatians 3 and other Scripture make it really clear that the promises made to Abraham are GOSPEL promises that extend also to us as NT believers. Our only hope as NT believers are the covenant promises made to Abraham.

 

5) The NT Scriptures confirm that those covenant promises still extend to our children (Acts 2:39; household baptisms in the NT; and think about 1Cor.7:14--children of believers are "holy"--in what sense? Are they automatically saved? No. In the sense that they are "set apart" from unbelieving children. How set apart? They are part of the covenant--the same pattern as OT children).

 

6) THUS, our infant children should continue to be marked with the covenant sign.

 

IMPORTANT CLARIFICATIONS:

 

7) This doesn't mean that all Abraham's children (or ours) will be saved: this is by faith alone (cf. Ishmael, Esau; Rom.9:6-8, etc).

 

8) But it does mean that our children are included in the covenant and should receive the sign.

 

So--a question for you--I would love to hear. What about this would you object to?

 

Nowhere does the Bible say infants can be baptised, God's laws are, Believe first, Mk 16: 16.Then Repent, Acts 2: 38. so how can an infant choose to believe, then choose to repent, then choose to be baptised. The Greek word and meaning for,"Children in Acts 2: 39, Is "Teknon", meaning a child from the age of understanding, Right up to a good old age. If it meant infants, The Greek word would have been, "Brephos". Infant baptism, is witchcraft, Imposing one's will on another.

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Nowhere does the Bible say infants can be baptised, God's laws are, Believe first, Mk 16: 16.Then Repent, Acts 2: 38. so how can an infant choose to believe, then choose to repent, then choose to be baptised. The Greek word and meaning for,"Children in Acts 2: 39, Is "Teknon", meaning a child from the age of understanding, Right up to a good old age. If it meant infants, The Greek word would have been, "Brephos". Infant baptism, is witchcraft, Imposing one's will on another.
The Greek word τέκνον simply means child\offspring and can refer to a child of any age.

 

 

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Nowhere does the Bible say infants can be baptised, God's laws are, Believe first, Mk 16: 16.Then Repent, Acts 2: 38. so how can an infant choose to believe, then choose to repent, then choose to be baptised. The Greek word and meaning for,"Children in Acts 2: 39, Is "Teknon", meaning a child from the age of understanding, Right up to a good old age. If it meant infants, The Greek word would have been, "Brephos". Infant baptism, is witchcraft, Imposing one's will on another.

 

For adults they must believe, the children that they are responsible for are baptisted with the symbol of the new covenant the same way infants were circumsized in the old covenant, now wasn't faith necessary in the old covenant?

 

Witchcraft doesn't involve baptizing in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

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For adults they must believe, the children that they are responsible for are baptized with the symbol of the new covenant the same way infants were circumsized in the old covenant, now wasn't faith necessary in the old covenant?

 

Witchcraft doesn't involve baptizing in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Thanks Innerfire89 I forgot about his silly comment concerning witchcraft and infant baptism.
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Of course, assuming that the Old Covenant has every part transferred in some way to the new is not necessary. We are not told to baptize children. We are told to believe and be baptized. Every instance where it says household it does not say the ages of the household. You do not know that they did not also believe.  There is no indication that baptism replaces physical circumcision as an import of the Old Covenant.

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9 minutes ago, davidtaylorjr said:

Of course, assuming that the Old Covenant has every part transferred in some way to the new is not necessary. We are not told to baptize children. We are told to believe and be baptized. Every instance where it says household it does not say the ages of the household. You do not know that they did not also believe.  There is no indication that baptism replaces physical circumcision as an import of the Old Covenant.

Oh, there's plenty. But you already touched upon the main point of issue "necessary inference". What you say is explicitly not mentioned concerning children of households etc could be compared to the same principles and methods of interpretation that allow women to partake of communion. There's no explicit mention of any sort of women partaking in the sacrament of communion, therefore, with respect to consistency women should refrain.

 

A very good debate on this subject may be found here:

 

 

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Act 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. 
 

 

Mat_19:14  But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. 
 

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1 hour ago, davidtaylorjr said:

We are told to believe and be baptized. Every instance where it says household it does not say the ages of the household. You do not know that they did not also believe.  

 

 Ephesians 1:13 is clear. Hear the message, believe it and upon this belief one is sealed with the Holy Spirit. This corresponds to Acts 19:2 - did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?

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41 minutes ago, Becky said:

Act 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. 
 

 

Mat_19:14  But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. 
 

Notice Acts 16:15 says nothing about baptizing without first believing.  Matthew 19:14 has nothing to do with baptism at all.

26 minutes ago, Faber said:

 

 Ephesians 1:13 is clear. Hear the message, believe it and upon this belief one is sealed with the Holy Spirit. This corresponds to Acts 19:2 - did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?

I'm not sure what your point is here?

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I'm sorry. I meant to have connected what I wrote above with the situation with Cornelius. In Acts 11:14 we read that Peter was to speak words to him and his household. His household meant individuals who are able to "hear" the message (Acts 10:22, 33).

 Upon their belief they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:47) and then they were water baptized (Acts 10:48).

 Hear -> believe -> receive the Spirit -> then water baptism.

 

 Thus in the case of Lydia in Acts 16 those members of her household who were water baptized had to first believe. Not every aspect of the 4 I mentioned above always has to appear in the text.

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55 minutes ago, Faber said:

 

 Ephesians 1:13 is clear. Hear the message, believe it and upon this belief one is sealed with the Holy Spirit. This corresponds to Acts 19:2 - did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?

Just curious, is there a distinction between a seal and being sealed? The promise or seal is clearly made to covenant heads and not only them but their children all those far off.

 

And there's no question as to what is expected from adult converts.

 

Acts 2:38, 39 also links circumcision and baptism. In Acts 2:38 the Apostle Peter calls for repentance, faith in Christ and baptism by Jews who are hearing his preaching. In v.39 he gives the reason for this action: “the promise is to you and to your children, and all who are far off….” The Apostle Peter consciously uses the same formula in his preaching as the LORD himself used when he instituted the sign of circumcision in Genesis 17, which the Jews listening understood precisely.

 

My question is not whether covenant or household heads are to believe and be baptized but whether everyone (children) were included in households which were to be baptized? Is the promise made today? The OT Covenant had forward looking signs and seals made to Abraham, Moses, David, and the prophets. Does Acts 2:38 push the SEAL forward in time to a time of personal choosing or decision making? Think about it, when you are old enough to reject God and decide to choose God then you'll be rewarded Covenant blessings. Is that really the message we want to convey to our children? Implicit as it is I think some do this. Of course Scripture doesn't say that. It says to Covenant heads to believe and be baptized. And how I read the promises (SEAL) made to not only us but our children is that the promises are very much theirs today. Some take great issue that promises were made to our forefathers even as Peter suggested our forefathers were baptized into the Covenant with Moses. Right then and there we should recognize our body, our church, as having roots in Israel. I'll refrain from taking that thought out to not derail.

 

28 minutes ago, davidtaylorjr said:

Matthew 19:14 has nothing to do with baptism at all.

I have ran into Credo baptist that respond to this verse by dedicating children rather than baptizing into the "body of Christ". Ephesians 4:4-6, but I'm receiving a mixed message. If one is not actually in the body but distinguished from the body are they not being prevented member status in the body of Christ? I can definitely understand how some can come to the conclusion that refraining from baptizing our children is an obstacle in coming to Christ.

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My mind wants to ask if little kids crossed the Red Sea? 

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Act 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. 

The above is how the Scripture reads in KJ 

 

It does not read Act 16:15  And when she was baptized, and her household,  except the children, 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. 

 

 

Mat_19:14  But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. But do not baptize them ? 

 

There is not Scripture that says dont baptize the kids There is not Scripture that says baptize the kids 

 

In crossing the Red Sea it was the parents who would have been responsible for getting their kids across. We need to show the same type of responsibility to our our children today.. I know i sure wish i had  

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17 minutes ago, William said:

Just curious, is there a distinction between a seal and being sealed? The promise or seal is clearly made to covenant heads and not only them but their children all those far off.

 

And there's no question as to what is expected from adult converts.

 

Acts 2:38, 39 also links circumcision and baptism. In Acts 2:38 the Apostle Peter calls for repentance, faith in Christ and baptism by Jews who are hearing his preaching. In v.39 he gives the reason for this action: “the promise is to you and to your children, and all who are far off….” The Apostle Peter consciously uses the same formula in his preaching as the LORD himself used when he instituted the sign of circumcision in Genesis 17, which the Jews listening understood precisely.

 

My question is not whether covenant or household heads are to believe and be baptized but whether everyone (children) were included in households which were to be baptized? Is the promise made today? The OT Covenant had forward looking signs and seals made to Abraham, Moses, David, and the prophets. Does Acts 2:38 push the SEAL forward in time to a time of personal choosing or decision making? Think about it, when you are old enough to reject God and decide to choose God then you'll be rewarded Covenant blessings. Is that really the message we want to convey to our children? Implicit as it is I think some do this. Of course Scripture doesn't say that. It says to Covenant heads to believe and be baptized. And how I read the promises (SEAL) made to not only us but our children is that the promises are very much theirs today. Some take great issue that promises were made to our forefathers even as Peter suggested our forefathers were baptized into the Covenant with Moses. Right then and there we should recognize our body, our church, as having roots in Israel. I'll refrain from taking that thought out to not derail.

 

 

 All the groups Peter mentions in Acts 2:39 needed to "repent" (Acts 2:38). Furthermore, the "promise" in Acts 2:39 refers to the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 2:33).

3 minutes ago, Becky said:

Act 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. 

The above is how the Scripture reads in KJ 

 

It does not read Act 16:15  And when she was baptized, and her household,  except the children, 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. 

 She may have had children who were water baptized but if these children were water baptized they had to believe first.

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7 minutes ago, Faber said:

 

 All the groups Peter mentions in Acts 2:39 needed to "repent" (Acts 2:38). Furthermore, the "promise" in Acts 2:39 refers to the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 2:33).

The Holy Spirit is indeed the Promise. God is to be their God. Is the promise made for the future or is the promise theirs now?

 

Again, there is no debate about what is expected of covenant heads.

 

As a covenant was made to Abraham, faith, was present. But the promise which alluded back to in Genesis 17 included children. They received the sign and seal of the covenant. Am I really to think that the covenant Jews which heard Peter all of a sudden excluded their covenant children from a new covenant? 

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 Those who repent will receive the Holy Spirit. This promise (the Holy Spirit) is given to all who do so.

 Children are included - if they repent (cf. Acts 20:21).

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13 minutes ago, Faber said:

 Those who repent will receive the Holy Spirit. This promise (the Holy Spirit) is given to all who do so.

 Children are included - if they repent.

So the promise, the seal is theirs today. If the promise is theirs, can anyone cite a reason why the sign of the covenant should not be administered to children? 

 

If you notice major contention exists between those that see baptism as a symbol, signifying a reality. Whereas Covenant theology recognizes baptism as a sign and seal and a reality only made possible in God's timing. The administration of baptism does not suggest regeneration as in baptismal regeneration, but Covenant status. In doing so Hebrews 6 really becomes an apparent reality rather than the head scratching over how some which demonstrated the reality of salvation by symbolic baptism and turned from the faith, as if one can actually lose salvation. 

6 minutes ago, William said:

So the promise, the seal is theirs today. If the promise is theirs, can anyone cite a reason why the sign of the covenant should not be administered to children? 

 

If you notice major contention exists between those that see baptism as a symbol, signifying a reality. Whereas Covenant theology recognizes baptism as a sign and seal and a reality only made possible in God's timing. The administration of baptism does not suggest regeneration as in baptismal regeneration, but Covenant status. In doing so Hebrews 6 really becomes an apparent reality rather than the head scratching over how some which demonstrated the reality of salvation by symbolic baptism and turned from the faith, as if one can actually lose salvation. 

And are you stating that one must repent demonstrating fruits of the Holy Spirit before they actually receive the Holy Spirit?

 

I am making a distinction between Covenant membership and actual salvation.

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9 minutes ago, William said:

So the promise, the seal is theirs today. If the promise is theirs, can anyone cite a reason why the sign of the covenant should not be administered to children? 

 

 If they truly repent then I think they ought to be water baptized.

 

 I would not be for water baptizing anyone who did not repent for this would mean they do not have the Spirit and if one does not have the Spirit then they do not "belong to Him (Christ)" cf. Romans 8:9. 

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6 minutes ago, Faber said:

 

 If they truly repent then I think they ought to be water baptized.

 

 I would not be for water baptizing anyone who did not repent for this would mean they do not have the Spirit and if one does not have the Spirit then they do not "belong to Him (God)" cf. Romans 8:9

In other words, make disciples, and only those who repent and believe afterwards should be baptized.

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In case anyone is interested in the Covenant Household Baptist view:

 

 

The perspective hasn't been disputed yet.

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2 hours ago, Becky said:

It does not read Act 16:15  And when she was baptized, and her household,  except the children, 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. 

It also does not say that her children were infants, nor that they did not also believe.

 

2 hours ago, Faber said:

 If they truly repent then I think they ought to be water baptized.

Agreed

 

2 hours ago, William said:

In other words, make disciples, and only those who repent and believe afterwards should be baptized.

Yes, that is what the New Covenant teaches.

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2 minutes ago, davidtaylorjr said:

It does not read Act 16:15  And when she was baptized, and her household,  except the infants, 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. 

Edited it again 

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