Letters in the Midst of Dobbs Celebration Month

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There Were Responses to Child Communion, Naturally

In your Invitation to Child Communion, you sure use a lot of words to rationalize a practice with no scriptural warrant. Paedos confuse physical and spiritual birth all of the time, and you do it quite a bit in your article. You talk about singing to infants in English when they don’t even know English. Yes, that is a fabulous description of a ‘physical’ child. Now imagine that there are spiritual babes as well as physical ones. How can you retool all of your descriptions of treating infants to the spiritual context of spiritual infants? It kind of makes even better sense, don’t it? I get it that it’s messy when it comes to children of believers who raise them at home and teach them only the Gospel. They don’t have much opportunity to rebel against the only worldview they have ever known, but their little hearts are still little unbelieving hearts, and they still need to be regenerated. Despite the difficulties, parents and churches need to be looking for signs of life and acting accordingly, not inventing practices and then trying to work backwards with anecdotes and human rationalization to shore up an unbiblical behavior.
Heck, most paedos don’t even immerse the little spiritual stillborns! If that doesn’t raise a red flag when we are talking about the verb baptizo, then I’m not sure what will.

Corey

Corey, of course they need to be born again. Of course parents should be looking for signs of spiritual life and acting accordingly. Of course. But a far more common problem is a child saying, without guile, “I love Jesus,” and the parents say something like, “We’ll see about that.” And instead of teaching the children to believe, which was their assignment, they teach their children to doubt.
Re: a warm invitation Thank you, thank you, thank you!
When I was a prospective parent, already loving and praying for my children, one thing that convinced me of paedobaptism was this. I make all other decisions for my kids. They live where I live. They eat what I eat. (This is literally true during pregnancy.) They are Americans because I’m an American. If I move overseas, they also move overseas. Why, I ask myself, do I feel justified in making all these other identity-related decisions for them, giving them all these good things as it were, and yet withhold the one best thing: they are Christians because I am a Christian? Isn’t that a bitter irony to say, “No, you can’t have this”?

Jennifer

Jennifer, yes. And it comes with a total package. It is not just covenant blessings, but also covenant responsibilities.
Jesus said “Go Preach Baptize,” not “Go Baptize Preach” Matt. 28:19.
If Timothy was raised in the Covenant without circumcision, then his membership was based on the faith of his mother. So, circumcision/baptism is not the sign of covenantal admission for God but having a faithful parent. That is what makes a child holy.
In Romans, Paul speaks of the first time he cognitively sinned. He said that he died at the point. If he had physically died then, he would have gone to Hell. He was inarguable a full-fledged member of the covenant. That means, when our children commit their first sin, our cemental children, they are just as lost until they meet Jesus. Pilgrims and Puritans on average, lost at least one child before they were five, so this was very much on their minds.
Young baptism is certainly proper at say 3-4. By that point, they have need to have called upon the Savior for their own sins. Self-inspection can be led by the parent for communion. “Are you mad at someone?”

Zeph

Zeph, but in the case of Timothy, the faith shared with his grandmother and mother was not his by proxy. That faith was in him also. As were the Scriptures.

Book on the Church?

Could you recommend a book/s on What is the Church? Does she have any purpose other than preaching the gospel on Sunday and administering the sacraments? Does preaching the gospel include witnessing as an ORGANIZATION to the state? I have heard many times that the church is not political, and should not get involved in political matters at all. Any suggestions appreciated. Thanks heaps.

Carol

Carol, sorry, I wish a knew of a good book about this. Recommendations anyone? In the mean time, I do believe the church should stay in her lane, and not meddle in things that truly are just political. But when the state has gotten out of its lane, and has started to sacralize sodomy and butchery, the church must stand a prophetic stand against it.

Helping With the Kids?

My wife and I attend a PCA church in Columbia, SC. Our pastor is a faithful man who preaches the Gospel and shepherds well. But there’s things I would personally change. Notably, during the sermon the children are led out of the service to age-specific classes for biblical instruction. They are not released until the end of the service. Needless perhaps to say, communion isn’t offered every Sunday from which the children would partake. I am not very comfortable with this. If God call us to worship, why ask the children to leave? We have recently been asked to serve in the nursery and children’s ministry on Sundays. Consequently, we would be partly responsible for helping take children out of the worship service. Should we volunteer given that I don’t think this is appropriate? Or should we show more grace and helpfulness where needed given this is simply part of the culture of the church that we have submitted to? Thanks.

Mitch

Mitch, I think it is a good opportunity to express your concerns. I would tell the person who asked you that you would be prefer not to help in that way because you don’t agree with pulling the children out, but you would be happy to volunteer in some other capacity. It would be a natural way to start a conversation.

That’s Sure the Way It Looks

I vote for Trump proudly as the only person standing between America and tyranny.

Mike

Mike, yes. But I would change the wording slightly, as Trump the man is not the thing standing between us and tyranny. I would say that he is the only option on the ballot that offers significant resistance to the tyrants.
I have been reading Joy at the End of the Tether, after finding it by chance in a used bookshop. This is the first book of yours I have read, and I appreciate that you do not shy away from the piercing truths of Ecclesiastes. One application you present in the book pertains to voting: “Evangelical Christians . . . have contented themselves . . . in voting for the lesser of two evils . . . But the Bible prohibits establishing a ruler—whether a ruler or a judge—who does not fear God” (pg. 55).
I have been wrestling with this principle for a few months now, even before reading Ecclesiastes. I have been voting in my local elections (it’s easier because I know the people), but this will be the first presidential election I am old enough to vote in. Thus, I have been trying to establish some explicit principles for voting. Your proposed principle in End of the Tether seems very biblical.
Yet, I am confused by your article “7 Reasons Why It Is Possible for Christians to Vote for Trump in 2020 . . .”. You restate the portion of the book I am referring to, but switch to presenting a dichotomy (because practically, it seems to be a true dichotomy), concluding: “. . . my vote is an indication of nothing more than what direction I would like us to go from here.” This would lead one to vote for Trump, if the dichotomy were true.
However, I don’t want us to go Trump’s direction from here. I will praise God for His mercy in giving us a lesser judgment than Biden, a wake-up call/chemo, but I do not know how I could reasonably ask for it. This is how I see it right now: If there were a faithful Christian candidate with a chance at winning, I would vote for him, no question. The only difference between my hypothetical and reality is the support of the masses. Why should his chances of winning deter me from voting for him? Am I going to “follow the crowd in”—as I see it now, and you did once—“doing wrong”? (Ex. 23:2).
Is there a risk that Trump will lose this election if I vote my conscience? Technically, yes. But is it my responsibility to appoint rulers? As you said in your article, no. If God chooses to appoint a ruler from Biden or Trump, that is His business. My business is to vote for which direction I would like us to go from here, and it is not the direction of a man who does not fear God. Ultimately, I think the Trump/Biden dichotomy is a false one. Would you explain where my error may be? Thank you for your time. The most frustrating thing about this issue is that I do want to vote for Trump, especially in light of the specific targeting that he has faced and my fears about the direction Biden would take us in, but I am limited by these principles. Additionally, thank you for your willingness to write about these things!
In Christ,

Meridith

Meridith, I still believe that we ought not to choose between the lesser of two evils—voting for a man who will murder half the Jews instead of all of them. But we also have to factor in the kings who do right before the Lord, but who “did not remove the high places.” That would be the lesser of two goods.
A question really. I am an abortion abolitionist. However, I’ve always thought voting for Mr. Trump is the classic “lesser of two evils” but now with his conviction I’m even more vexed with my options. My wife says she really likes everything about RFK Jr. except his abortion stance. Given that we (abolitionist) won’t get what we want either way, what say ye as far as the RFK option?

Ken

Ken, in my view, the only good thing that RFK will do is siphon off votes that otherwise would have gone to Biden.
“Under no circumstances should you ever take the bait.” However, left unchecked, things will continue to worsen until, at some point, it will no longer be *just* bait.
What then?

grh

grh, by “taking the bait,” I mean doing what they are trying to provoke you into doing, like storming the Capitol. There will come a time when concerted action will be necessary, but when that time comes I believe that it should come in the form of a general strike. Something that cannot be used by them.

Time Prices

Time Prices. Well written. I attempt to explain this to my adult children, though not as thorough as this article. And I’m not just focusing on technology improvements or the disposable 52 inch flat screens that keep dropping in price. They want to focus only on dollar amounts over the years for purchasing power and home values. The post WW II house I grew up in is way different than the 1977 house my daughter and son-in-law purchased, let alone homes built since the 70s. And yes, people are our greatest resource and resources.

Hal

Hal, thanks. And yes.

Layers

In your book “Standing on the Promises”, you say an elders children must be believers. Does this include the scenario in which an elder was unsaved when he raised his children and now at 50+ years old he’s become a pastor? Also, if this is the case and it was deemed unbiblical but the church is otherwise solid theologically, should one leave? Even if there are no other faithful in the area?

Eric

Eric, in a case like that, I would not leave the church. I draw a distinction between scenarios where I would feel compelled to step down, scenarios when a good friend asks me for advice about his situation, and scenarios that would make me want to fight about it at presbytery.

Agricultural Issues

I’ve recently been reading Joel Salatin on regenerative agriculture and the Christian ethos of food. When I logged into Canon+ just now I noticed a segment from Joel as well. I thought it would be amazing to hear you two discuss (maybe in a series) Joel’s “The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs,” postmillennial eschatology, Christian nationalism/theonomy, kingdom building, the state and bureaucracies therein, reforming farms and food, etc.
Joel is a sharp guy and very well-versed in his field (no pun intended), as are you; so when I was reading his work on Christian ethics in farming (Marvelous Pigness of Pigs) I realized everything fit beautifully into the post-mil worldview I have come to understand, embrace and enjoy.
I hope you’ll consider doing some long-form interviews or interactions with Joel in the future to help Christendom along in food/farm reform and pushing our Christianity into the corners.
I also wanted to say Thank you for the Tucker interview! That was amazingly great. 12/10, perfect, I absolutely loved it. I think you and Joel will be just as much fun to watch as you and Tucker.
Just so you know, or in case you forgot, you are loved very much, in and out of Moscow. Keep up the fight, you are running well. Grace and Peace,

Robert

Robert, thanks very much, and thanks for the suggestion.

Church Courts

It seems to me that an implication of 1 Corinthians 6’s discouragement of Christians going to court with one another is that Christians ought to be able to handle things in a more just way than a secular, godless legal system will. But when I look at the CREC, I observe that often the very basics of the rights of a criminal defendant are lacking when it comes to cases of church discipline:
The right to counsel for an accused. As far as I know, no CREC church has this, whereas the OPC and PCA assume the unambiguous right to counsel for someone facing disciplinary proceedings, and every criminal defendant has the right to an attorney.
The presumption of innocence and the requirement of two or three witnesses This is a biblical requirement, but, once again, CREC churches are not required to follow this procedure.
The accused’s right to know the charges against him, and to receive evidence of those charges, and the right for any trial to be public. In many CREC churches this is not built into their Constitution, whereas in both the secular legal system and in many denominations, it is required that charges be specific, including specifications of facts that the charges are based on. But CREC churches do not explicitly require this, or even require that hearings be open to church members.
A prohibition on judgment where there is a conflict of interest, and a split between the prosecutorial arm and the judicial arm of the courts. Because local CREC churches are semi-autonomous, it is easy for elders to play prosecutor, judge, and jury simultaneously, with no recourse for a church member who is being prosecuted and judged by the same individuals.
The right to appeal an errant judgment. The CREC technically has this, but the appeal can be unilaterally dismissed if the appellant “has discredited himself in bringing the appeal,” according to the Constitution. This standard is not clearly defined anywhere. In the secular legal system, and in the OPC and PCA, the right of appeal is automatic and certainly not subject to the whims of a single person.
How can the CREC say its process of church discipline is just when it does not even rise to the level of basic fairness that the criminal courts require?

Kelby

Kelby, I think you are misconstruing a few things. In the CREC, the person on trial may have counsel if he would like, but there is no obligation to provide counsel. Hopefully, the standards that would cause someone to be disciplined are not so arcane and convoluted that legal representation would be a necessity. We do have the presumption of innocence, and the requirement of two or three witnesses. If someone were convicted on the testimony of one witness only, that would be a strong basis for an appeal. And with that said, church discipline is frequently more familial than it is juridical—although the same principles of justice should apply.

Thanks

My granddaughter graduated high school last weekend from the Logos Online School which you gave the Commencement. I had the pleasure of attending and thoroughly enjoyed your inspired words. Would it be possible to get a copy of your speech? I’d like to read it again for my own benefit, as well as read it to my young (step)children. I look forward to your reply. God bless you and your work.

Don

Don, here it is. Thank you.

A Hard Civics Problem

I have a general question regarding Christian Nationalism that I am interested in getting your response to. I think that even if I were 100% in agreement with you on the merits of the goals of CN, I would still be somewhat confounded by what I see as the “hard problem” of CN, particularly here in the U.S. That hard problem, as I see it, is the irreconcilability of the very 1st Commandment of God with the very 1st American Right (of “Bill of” fame). The Lord commands his people to worship him and no other. As far as the particular commandment goes, there is no freedom of conscience, such as was envisioned and enacted by our founding fathers.
If I recall correctly, I think you have expressed that what the founders really conceived of themselves as enshrining is religious freedom of conscience strictly as it relates to differences among various, orthodox denominations of Christianity. This doesn’t seem to bear scrutiny though. I mean, I get the argument that they had no way of imagining that they were protecting the possibility of Islam or Hinduism or Voodoo becoming the predominant religious of the nation someday. But minimally, they had to at least have seen themselves as ensuring freedom of conscience for the various forms of unorthodox religious beliefs that were prevalent among the founders themselves, such as deism, atheism, Unitarianism, etc.
With that in mind, how could we possibly have a nation that legally requires the worship of the Christian God, in conformity with the 1st Commandment, while simultaneously enshrining religious freedom of conscience as the 1st human right of its citizens?

Kenneth

Kenneth, there is a difference between prohibiting the worship of false gods, which can be done, and requiring the worship of the true God, which is much more problematic. So I hold liberty of conscience for the people, but to have the Christian faith the standard for our laws, and to have a requirement that office holders be orthodox believers.

Called to Preach?

My wife comes from an extremely Gnostic Church of Christ background, and doesn’t understand the biblical basis for “God called me to preach.” I’m having trouble explaining this myself, while steering clear of a more charismatic “I heard God’s voice”. Resources?

Logan

Logan, I would recommend this book.

Founders and Freemasonry

I have been researching the founding fathers to deconstruct what I learned about them in public school (e.g. white supremacists, all slave owners, atheist enlightenment thinkers). I’m seeing a wide variety of denominational backgrounds as well as participation in Freemasonry. What exactly is Masonry and is/was it overtly non-Christian?
Thank you,

Noelle

Noelle, there were variations of Freemasonry in that era, with some of them quite radical and others pretty tame. I would regard all of it as not spiritually healthy, even the tame versions. The only detailed treatment of that which I have read was from Gary North, and I don’t remember which book. Perhaps some of our readers could help out?

Dishonesty?

I have been enjoying your book Reforming Marriage. I have a question regarding the different ways men and women communicate. You mention that men should understand that their wives communicate differently, using the classic example of a wife saying “nothing is wrong” when in fact many things are. Intuitively I understand this, but am wrestling with how this relates to the requirement for us to tell the truth. What is the distinction between”communicating differently” and telling falsehoods? Thanks!

CH

CH, the best way to show that this need not be dishonesty (although it sometimes is) is by looking at what happens if a husband overhears his wife talking with a girlfriend. The girlfriend asks, “is anything wrong?” and the wife responds “no, nothing is wrong.” And then her friend says, “oh, dear. Tell me all about it.”
Thank you for all the work you have done over the years. I enjoy your work more and more as I read it. I don’t think you’ve addressed this specifically, but what is your perception on the world according to the DSM-5? My opinion is that it seems that most behavioral problems truly do result from a lack of correct biblical discipline. My own research in trying to understand my own issues (a psychiatrist has given me the diagnosis of bipolar-unspecified) has led me to observe a subculture of mental disorder identity (I have X disorder, therefore I’m not responsible for behavior Y) which doesn’t feel right as I read the Scriptures. What soothes the heart is holding to a God-centered view of realty, taking the Word straight with no chasers as you have put it, taking covenantal responsibility as head of a household, despising sin and loving what is holy, and practicing gratitude. Yet still I have days similar to Cowper where I feel as if the world has fallen out from under my feet, every good thing has vanished and I cannot trust which thoughts or memories are real.
My question is three parts:
1) which books and biographies would you recommend for framing depression and suffering;
2) are there genuine Christians who can give good context to things such as autism, ADHD, Asperger’s, and schizophrenia?
3) I’ve got 3 girls ages 6-10. Top 3 book recommendations for them?

Joe

Joe, I am sorry that I don’t have book recommendations for your girls on this topic. But for you I would start with Lloyd-Jones Spiritual Depression and Ed Welch’s Blame it On the Brain?

Resources for the Unmarried

I applaud all the resources aimed at young couples trying to make marriage work, however, what about those that God has destined to be forever alone? The millennial generation is reaching the age where marriage and children are simply no longer in the cards for them.
What should their focus be, if God has chosen to leave them barren (metaphorically speaking).
I’m not including those with the gift of celibacy, I am strictly referring to those who will have to deal with the affliction of wanting a family, but never having one.
How does one seek joy in this circumstance?
Thank you for your work. Keep fighting the good fight.

Nephew Dawson

Nephew Dawson, it is true that there are not abundant materials. But there are some. My wife has written a book for women in this situation, entitled Single and Satisfied. It makes sense to start there because women do not have the option of taking the initiative in relationships. With the guys, we have tried to provide materials to help them find someone, as your hat tip use of “Dawson” indicates.
I am writing this knowing that you are likely inundated with messages, and are very busy. If this finds its way to you, I was wondering if there might be something worth addressing. I have noticed (and have experienced multiple times now) a trend that has arisen over the last few years, that is disturbing and leaves me bewildered at how to address in the moment. I wonder if other white people are experiencing this, if it is organized, and if it is worth addressing publicly and giving some guidance. My husband and I are white, and we live in an area on the south eastern shore of Virginia that includes a large percentage of black people – 41% -51%. There have been at least three distinct times in the last year that I have felt targeted by black women when in a public place. Once as I was walking, a woman veered straight toward me and clipped my shoulder and kept going. Another time a woman barreled toward me with her grocery cart from the opposite end of the aisle, and pushed herself directly in front of me where I had been looking at an item on the shelf. I said, “Oh, excuse me.” and she replied, ”You are excused!” She then proceeded to make it clear that my white privilege was offensive.
There have been other experiences as well. My husband has also experienced this a couple of times. I wonder, should this simply be ignored, or is there some way that we should try to engage and diffuse/disarm the person/situation? This trend burdens my heart and is incredibly sad to me. I wonder if there are others experiencing the same thing, and what, if anything, we should do in response? Or should we be thinking about moving? There is a component of physical aggression in these experiences that is worrying. Thank you, Pastor Doug. God bless.
Sincerely,

Tesa

Tesa, I just finished reading Jeremy Carl’s book The Unprotected Class, which was marvelous, and no, I don’t think you are imagining things. I recommend the book to you, as it will help you to understand what is going on.
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Laura
Laura
4 days ago
Chris
Chris
4 days ago

Noelle, I think the Gary North book you are looking for is Political Polytheism. https://www.garynorth.com/freebooks/docs/21f2_47e.htm

Jennifer Mugrage
4 days ago

“Nothing is wrong” is an example of indirect speech. Very few people are 100% direct in their speech. For example, you would not say to dinner guests, “I would like you to leave now.” Instead, you’d stand up and say, “Well…” People tend to use indirect speech when they are presenting information that may not be welcome. So, saying “nothing is wrong” could be a form of social cowardice, where your wife is avoiding a confrontation or sort of wants to have the confrontation but wants you to do all the work. Or, it could be part of a script… Read more »

Jane
Jane
4 days ago

Also I think that “nothing is wrong” can be said fully ingenuously, because the wife can’t put her finger on the issue and so doesn’t think it’s right to bring it up, or thinks she’s just in a mood and this won’t bother her tomorrow. But something is going on, and with further discussion, it comes out. It is sometimes perhaps a failure to be fully honest with oneself which comes out in a statement that is not wholly true, but not quite the same thing as simply lying, as though she heard the direct question as a direct question… Read more »

Jennifer Mugrage
4 days ago
Reply to  Jane

Yeah, I agree. Or she might think it’s not something hubby would consider worth mentioning, or it’s not something she can answer succinctly in the 10 minutes before supper.

Jill L Smith
Jill L Smith
3 days ago
Reply to  Jane

Or it can mean nothing is wrong between you and your husband (or other loved ones) but you do have a headache and you’ve noticed that your jeans are uncomfortably tight. If I told my loved ones every time my head aches or I think I’m too fat, they would get sick of hearing about it. There is also a vague sense of something being wrong that you know is unreasonable and it would be unfair to burden someone else with it. But, once you have said there’s nothing wrong, you can’t go on acting as if there is something… Read more »

John Middleton
John Middleton
4 days ago

Jennifer,
Of the “identity related decisions” you cite as examples only, one (American) has to do with identity, and you did not make that decision for your child. You make only the decisions for your children that you can make for your children. You cannot decide for them to believe in their heart.

Kristina
Kristina
4 days ago
Reply to  John Middleton

Giving birth in a US hospital is a decision, no?

John Middleton
John Middleton
4 days ago
Reply to  Kristina

No, not really a decision for most American women living in the US. More of a default without thinking much about it. Even if giving birth in a US hospital is a personal decision, the law rather than the parents decision is what makes the child American.

Jane
Jane
4 days ago
Reply to  John Middleton

Being in the US and not leaving is a decision. Choosing never to consider the possibility of living somewhere else, or choosing to consider that possibility and coming to the US, are also decisions.

Last edited 4 days ago by Jane
John Middleton
John Middleton
4 days ago
Reply to  Jane

It’s not really a decision if you haven’t really given any thought to alternatives. Even if you have, your child born in the US is not a US citizen because you say so.

Jane
Jane
4 days ago
Reply to  John Middleton

Not giving any thought to where you choose to live, is a decision not to be proactive about it. Is it what most people default to? Sure. But it’s still a choice. It’s still within your grasp to choose differently.

Yes, a child is not a US citizen because you say so, but because the sum total of choices you made resulted in that child being born in the US. It’s not something that happens apart from the parents’ choices.

John Middleton
John Middleton
3 days ago
Reply to  Jane

Sum total of choices, not all ours, get us where we are, yes, but intent matters if we are talking about making decisions. “I stayed where I already was at X and then I discovered Y so I did A because I wanted B and it just worked out that C happened” isn’t really saying you made a decision for C to happen. Anyway, what is the intent when we baptize anyone and what is the expectation? What is it we think we are doing? As I’ve said before the answers to those questions are makes the difference to who… Read more »

john k
john k
4 days ago
Reply to  John Middleton

And so, similarly, God’s law (1 Cor. 7:14) designates our children “Christian,” although in both cases I don’t see how the parent’s decision is uninvolved.

John Middleton
John Middleton
4 days ago
Reply to  john k

I suspected that verse was the, or a, rationale for automatically viewing children born to Christian parents as in the covenant for those who believe it is so. This may be the first time I’ve had someone confirm that. Thanks. However, birth to Christian parents does not make the child a Christian believer the way birth in the US makes the child a US citizen.

Zeph
7 hours ago
Reply to  John Middleton

One of my friends has a son who had a temporary job in Canada when his daughter was born. He tried to keep her from having Canadian citizenship. It didn’t work.

Jennifer Mugrage
4 days ago
Reply to  John Middleton

We aren’t saved because we believe, we believe because we are saved. We believe because the Holy Spirit is working on our hearts in response to our hearing the Word, and this is happening because God has sovereignly and lovingly ordained from all eternity that in the fullness of time, He will save us. One of His means is by giving us Christian parents. On our end, we can often point to a moment when we began to believe, but that moment did not cause our salvation. There are exceptions, but we know that in the vast majority of cases,… Read more »

John Middleton
John Middleton
4 days ago

So say Calvinists, I know. And part of it I do too. However, no one is a Christian before they believe the gospel; non-believing Christian is an oxymoron.

The point is whether or not the child does believe is not something the parents can choose. The funny thing is, Calvinists, emphasizing as they do God’s particular election in salvation, ought to insist on that point more than anyone.

Jennifer Mugrage
3 days ago
Reply to  John Middleton

Ok, I see what you are saying. My original letter made it sound like I meant that, by baptizing my baby, I could somehow choose to make them elect. No, obviously God does that, and believing when you hear the word follows from being elect. What parents who don’t baptize their children until they make a confession of faith (or, worse, have a “conversion experience”) are doing is choosing to withhold the sign of the covenant from their child, intentionally treating them as an outsider. The child, on my view, still gets the spiritual benefits of being in the covenant,… Read more »

John Middleton
John Middleton
3 days ago

This of course assumes the child is automatically in the covenant because the parents are and that there is a distinction between being saved or elect and being in the covenant. Not everyone does assume that. I’m not trying to prove or to criticize, just pointing out where the disconnect can be. I have to laugh (good naturedly) at the “coin toss” because that’s kind of what I feature paedobaptist parents doing at the baby’s baptism, not knowing if the little one will be a believer or not (and the little one unable to give them, a hint), but covering… Read more »

Dave
Dave
2 days ago
Reply to  John Middleton

There’s no coin toss. “Now they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them. But Jesus called for the little ones, saying, “Allow the children to come to Me, and do not forbid them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Luke 18:15,16  WCF Chapter X III. Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated, and saved by Christ, through the Spirit; who worketh when, and where, and how He pleaseth: so also are all other elect persons who are uncapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the… Read more »

John Middleton
John Middleton
2 days ago
Reply to  Dave

Who said anything about the children dying in infancy? If they do it won’t matter if they were baptized or not.

Now, Luke 18:15-16 might provide us hope on behalf of children who die in infancy because it shows us what God is like toward little ones, but Jesus did not specify elect children or children of Christian parents when He said “Allow the children to come to me…”.

What the WCF says doesn’t matter.

Amanda Wells
Amanda Wells
3 days ago

Beautifully said, Jennifer.

Jennifer Mugrage
4 days ago
Reply to  John Middleton

Obviously not all decisions a parent makes for a child are technically identity-related, but when you decide to have children, you do have to accept (perhaps reluctantly) that they will share an identity and many characteristics with you. Sorry, kids. This is what we got.

Jennifer Mugrage
4 days ago
Reply to  John Middleton

Sorry, I can’t help myself. Here are some other examples. If you’re a pastor, your kids will be pastor ‘s kids. If you’re a missionary, they will be missionary kids. If you’re a cop, they will grow up in a police family, which is a kind of identity. Same thing if you are a hippie living in a van. If you are a Michigan fan, your kids will be Michigan fans. All these roles or identities come with significant stressors and hardships, especially being a Michigan fan. ;) Parents, especially fathers, pass down to their children not just genetics, but… Read more »

John Middleton
John Middleton
4 days ago

But one lesson our contemporary world surely teaches us is, identity isn’t always reality.

Jennifer Mugrage
3 days ago
Reply to  John Middleton

Everyone has some kind of identity; that’s inescapable. One major problem in the modern world is people thinking of identity as something that we can and should forge for ourselves as a form of individual self-expression. Another problem is the heirs of Marx trying to get people to adopt an ideological identity as their primary one. Family, tribe, and covenant are much more natural sources of identity, that I would argue come from the creation order rather than from man’s individual or collective rebellion against God.

Zeph
4 days ago

Actually, you child is legally an American because they were born here. Jus sanguinis requires paperwork.

Shawn Paterson
Editor
Shawn Paterson
4 days ago

Joe,

CCEF has good resources on psychiatric diagnoses from a biblical perspective. https://www.ccef.org/.

David Anderson
3 days ago

What I noticed about the article about paedocommunion was the standard refrain/intro that goes something like “you’ve worked your way through a lot of books, and are getting there”. This is, all observation shows, how thoughtful people become paedobaptists or paedocommunionists. They work their way through *a lot* of books. It requires a large amount of study of books to arrive at the destination – a destination which is, so the authors and proponents of the books claim, a practice universally mandated by the apostles for the entire Christian church in all times and places. It appears that (in contrast… Read more »

Jacob David
Jacob David
3 days ago
Reply to  David Anderson

I think yours is a very simplistic take. There can be many factors, like if you grew up in a baptistic family or served in a baptistic ministry. This is true with other doctrines, like the Trinity or election. If one or two Bible verses are all that’s needed, the church was crazy to have councils that debated those issues and to have published mountains of books.

David Anderson
3 days ago
Reply to  Jacob David

A universal observation can’t itself be simplistic; in itself it’s simply the statement of observed data. An explanation for that data could of course be overly simplistic, but if so, an alternative explanation is still then needed. I’ve never heard an explanation (other than the obvious one!), only attempts to explain it away. Your analogies aren’t truly analogous. The doctrine of the Trinity was an issue that was addressed in councils and opposed by powerful people inside the church because of political reasons, not because of a lack of perspicuity in the Biblical teaching. The proponents of orthodoxy had many… Read more »

Andrew Lohr
Andrew Lohr
2 days ago
Reply to  David Anderson

So where’d it start? I remember when paedocommunion was articles, not yet books (in the recent evangelical discussion following Christian Keidel’s article. Now it’s an 8-page bibliography in Phil Kayser’s book.) To be officially in? Baptism. If you’re in? Eat. If you need thrown out? Hand over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh that the spirit may be saved. Jesus said, Let the little children come to Me, and don’t stop them, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven. What is the sin of not letting children come to Him? (A sin he warned his own apostles–not… Read more »

Andrew Lohr
Andrew Lohr
2 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Lohr

One book, rather hostile to paedocommunion, gave Robert Rayburn 15 pages to argue in favor, and Kenneth Gentry 45 to so to argue against.

Andrew Lohr
Andrew Lohr
2 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Lohr

“45 or so,” Oops.

In Proverbs today I noticed one of Wisdom’s invitations to the simple begins, Eat my bread and drink the wine I mixed. Not just, Listen.

Jacob David
Jacob David
1 day ago
Reply to  David Anderson

For paedobaptism, I offer Matthew 28:18-20, for nations include the little ones. And of course the household baptisms in Acts. For the communion being open to children, I offer the Passover meal and Festival meals taken by an Israelite family, which includes children in the eating and celebration. I see these verses. There was a time that I do not know what a constellation is. Once I was taught them, I began to recognize and see them. So seeing may also be a result of the teaching and training we receive. And per observation, I do not see a specific… Read more »

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
2 days ago
Reply to  Jacob David

Jake Dave, paedobaptism is not like the Trinity. The latter is an essential doctrine of Christianity, whereas the former is not. Would be nice if the paedobaptists would stop acting like it’s essential and ease up a bit. It’s not worth being contentious over a non-salvific issue, especially one where there are people of good faith on both sides. You wanna dunk your infant? Fine, have at it — as long as you don’t keep him under for too long. But asking if you should leave a healthy, orthodox church that you otherwise like because they don’t practice it is… Read more »

john k
john k
1 day ago

Surely some non-essential doctrines are worth contending for and changing churches for. Is it absurd for a credo-baptist to leave a paedo-baptist church? Also, something non-essential to the being of the
Christian, or church, might be essential to the well-being. If the Lord has given baptism as one tool for his nurture and admonition of our children, it is unwise to dismiss it as unnecessary to carry out and argue for.

Jacob David
Jacob David
1 day ago

My point in mentioning the doctrines of the Trinity and election is that verses alone do not produce the doctrine. We synthesize, we use logic, we make inferences, we make comparisons, etc.

chris jones
chris jones
3 days ago
Reply to  David Anderson

amen david

Dave
Dave
3 days ago

Founders and Freemasonry, Gary North recommendation:
Dr. North addresses Freemasonry in the appendix to this book. conspiracyinphiladelphia
Gray North
This book is a free download online.

II would be profitable, especially at this time, with Constitution controversies surrounding us, to read a review of this book by Doug Wilson. Dr. North’s mastery of American history is unbeatable and should be given serious consideration. You will learn facts about the Founding and Founders you will never read in a school textbook.

Last edited 3 days ago by David Duke
Chris
Chris
2 days ago
Reply to  Dave

Is this the REAL David duke?

Jill L Smith
Jill L Smith
3 days ago

Joe, I think that autism (they don’t use Asperger’s anymore–that has been replaced with “on the autism spectrum) are definitely real but they are unfortunately over-diagnosed. I would not take a teacher’s or social worker’s word for it! The thing is, even when a child is genuinely neurodivergent, that child still has to learn to comply with reasonable behavioral expectations. Schizophrenia is very serious because it produces psychosis. Onset before the late teens is quite unusual. As with Bipolar Disorder, psychiatrists are reluctant to diagnose it in children because a certain amount of delusional thinking and emotional volatility is pretty… Read more »

Zeph
2 days ago

In Galatians, we are taught that if they were of us, they wouldn’t leave. The logical conclusion to why so many young leave the church at the first opportunity is that they were never saved to begin with.

Diana
Diana
11 hours ago

Regarding the person facing lifelong singleness – I think this is one point in which the Catholic/Orthodox churches have a distinct advantage, because they offer singles a legitimate option for living in community – that is, monastic life as nuns or monastic brothers. In Protestantism, it’s either marriage or nothing (in terms of living in community). This seems rather unfortunate.