Abortion and Infant Baptism

Last week I saw a Facebook thread that had been kicked off with a comparison of abortion and infant baptism. Quite a discussion ensued, as you might expect. The initial point being made concerned things parents do that they have no warrant from God to do, and since I am writing here as a paedobaptist it is not surprising that I agreed with the pushback the post generated. There is an important difference between slaughtering your children and dedicating them to God.
At the same time, there is a sense in which I want to commend the instinctive wisdom of the initial observation — a wisdom that is often missing from the saints who practice infant baptism.

The meaning of baptism is death. The initiatory Christian rite is baptism (Matt. 28:18-20), and as Bonhoeffer observed, whenever Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.

“For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27).

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3–4).

Every religion worth its salt claims the children, and every religion does in fact do so — false religions included. The problem with Molech was that he was a false god, an idol, a lying cheat that had no right to that claim. Having no right to claim the death, he had no power to give the resurrection.

It is the same today. The contemporary gods of Orgasm and Personal Convenience, like all other gods, claim the children. 50 million of them have been sacrificed on these altars in our nation alone. To claim to be a god is to claim the children. To claim deity is to claim a right to blood. The problem is that they are claiming something they have no right to claim. If the claim were true, the need for the offering would follow.

But they are not true gods. “For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him” (1 Cor. 8:5–6).

So the distinction between the false gods and the true God is not that they claim the lives of the children and the living God does not. The distinction is that they claim the children for destruction and God claims them for death and resurrection.

The true God does in fact claim the children.

“For all the firstborn of the children of Israel are mine, both man and beast: on the day that I smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them for myself” (Num. 8:17).

When He claims the firstborn of Israel, He is doing this in lieu of His claim on their lives the night of the first Passover. The angel of death passed over them, but this did not mean his claim was relinquished. God chose the tribe of Levi to stand in for the firstborn of Israel, and God also had chosen the firstborn to stand in for all the children.

So God does in fact claim our children, all of them, and in a sinful world this claim is clinched in a dying. That dying is represented by Christian baptism. This means that every paedobaptist who does not want infant baptism to represent child sacrfice should stop performing the rite. It is child sacrifice with a resurrection following, but it is nonetheless a child sacrifice. Infant baptisms can be endearing, but if that endearing sentiment is allowed to replace what baptism actually means, then we would be better to dispense with the rite altogether.

Baptists mistake, in my view, who is a fitting recipient of baptism. But they do not mistake what baptism actually means. It means death. Death to self, death to me, death to personal space. When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die. This means that if Christ calls your children — as I believe He has — He bids them come and die. For paedobaptists, it would be the height of theological insanity to offer God what He requires, but to do so only with the proviso that you don’t mean it. What is better — to offer God half of what He requires but really mean it, or to offer Him all of what He requires, children and all, and not mean a word of it?

And so parents who bring their children to the font ought to be terrified, as they are working out salvation with the gospel trembles. One of the questions I ask at such baptisms is “do you look in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ for his/her salvation, as you do for your own?” How do we do it for our own? We are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12).

So Christian parents bringing a baby to be baptized are not coming to a feel good photogenic moment. They should feel like Hannah did as she was looking over her shoulder to see small Samuel, waving at her from the tabernacle.

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Luken Pride
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Luken Pride

I hope those of us who are credo-Baptist would agree that, in some sense, children of believers belong to God and have special blessings children of believers don’t have.

Tim Etherington
Guest

Everyone and everything belongs to God and he does with them as he pleases. In placing children in the homes of God-fearing, Jesus-believing, Bible-loving adults, he puts those children in the best place to hear and believe the gospel. He also gives Christian parents instructions to raise those children in a Christian fashion (Eph. 6:1, 4; 1 Tim. 3:4, 12; Col. 3:20-21) so that, at the right time, as many of them as the Lord calls to himself may receive the promised Holy Spirit. Then they, like all who are far off who are called and believe, should be baptized.… Read more »

AM
Guest
AM

Good stuff, Pastor Wilson.

I fear we often forget about the unborn children who were aborted on account of chemical birth control methods like the Pill. Certainly, we should lament the more than 50,000,000 surgical abortions since 1973, but there are likely countless millions more children dead at the altar of chemical birth control.

BillB
Guest
BillB

Does this mean that Christians need to be sacrificed and resurrected at least twice — once upon paedobaptism and once again upon regeneration?

Eric L.
Guest
Eric L.

BillB — Regeneration is that which the sign of baptism signifies. Temporal proximity isn’t essential; but that they be joined by faith alone is.
IOW, we are sacrificed and resurrected just once.

Eric Z.
Guest
Eric Z.

Furthermore, the paedobaptist would argue that in some cases (those baptized as infants), baptism precedes regeneration, while in others (those baptized as believing adults), baptism follows regeneration. (Naturally, a third option is those who are baptized but never regenerate.) Regeneration, of course, being that God-orchestrated softening of the will to effectually result in that individual’s acceptance of Christ.

-Eric Z.

Jane
Member

Fourth option — child is already regenerate when baptized, but you can’t tell yet.

Jane Dunsworth
Guest
Jane Dunsworth

Fourth option — the child is already regenerate, you just can’t tell yet.

mikebull1
Member

Jane, faith comes by hearing. The first birth and the second are very different things. There was only one miraculous baby.

Andrew Lohr
Member

Isaac, JacobEsau, Samuel, John the Baptist…and of the last, he was to be full of the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb. Infants in Christian households hear the Word, and can believe as early as who knows when? (“I love God. I always have”–Nathan Chilton to his dad in “Conversation[s?] with Nathan, by David Chilton.)

mikebull1
Member

Right up to John the Baptist it was all about the first birth, pointing to the coming of the Seed (why does this need to be pointed out?) That is why John was only the greatest among those born of women. It was all about physical offspring until the birth of Christ. Yes, children hear the Word. When they believe, and are born again, you baptize them. When that happens, they are not just *your* children but also now children of God, with circumcised hearts. There is a big difference. Paedobaptism is exactly the kind of carnal kingdom Paul railed… Read more »

Paul
Guest
Paul

I don’t know about yours, but my kid heard the gospel in the womb :)

mikebull1
Member

So we need to be preaching the Gospel to the tummies of pregnant women now? Or is that just the tummies of “Covenant” women and their miraculous born-again-before-they-are-even-born-the-first-time babies. And of course, we have an entire history of people preaching to unborn children under the Old Covenant – not. I’m sorry. This is crazy, stupid, and cultic, and it shows how silly intelligent people can be when we have a misguided paradigm to defend. Do you people have any idea what you sound like? I love you, but you are off the rails on this subject. That’s what happens when… Read more »

Paul
Guest
Paul

Sorry Mike – I was totally trolling you then – although it’s completely true as we did speak and sing to our boy and he responded very well to the song we sang lots when he heard it again post birth. And I completely respect your views on baptism too, which are *much* more challenging and convincing than that of any other non-paedopaptist’s. And I admire your passion about it too. Really really do – and all your other work. But I don’t see how your argument on this works with 1 Cor 7:14. Clearly there is some kind of… Read more »

mikebull1
Member

I suspected – but then again I have heard Peter Leithart make exactly these arguments. My response would be – did you infant repent and bow the knee to Jesus?

Regarding 1 Cor. 7:14, in 2006, Matthew Colvin (a paedobaptist) wrote that Paul is speaking about whether or not Christian>non-Christian marriages should be dissolved. Google 1 Cor 7:14 matthew colvin and it should come up as the first link, titled “Sanctified by the Believer.” He makes a lot of sense. Otherwise, why do you guys not baptise your unbelieving spouses? No consistency there.

Jane Dunsworth
Guest
Jane Dunsworth

Because we don’t baptize overt rebels. Covenant children are assumed to be members of the people in good standing, just as American children are not held under suspicion of treason and denied the rights and privileges of citizenship until they grow up and indicate otherwise. I realize this goes completely against your concept of covenant and baptism, but it is not inconsistent.

mikebull1
Member

But it says unbelieving spouses are holy. It’s not talking about hypocrites who profess they believe. When did you last see a couple get baptised where one of them was an unbeliever? My point is that you can’t use this text to justify baptizing children and not unbelieving spouses. Are they not part of the household and therefore to be considered “citizens” of this alleged “Covenant order”? Is it OK to baptise an unbelieving adult if he or she is not “an overt rebel”? The assumption that baptism is for anyone but the regenerate is a minefield.

Jane Dunsworth
Guest
Jane Dunsworth

Since regeneration precedes faith, I don’t see a problem.

mikebull1
Member

But hearing also precedes faith. There’s your problem, right there.

Jane Dunsworth
Guest
Jane Dunsworth

How is it a problem to say that the child might be regenerate, simply because you say that faith cannot be present? I’m not following your logic here — faith and regeneration are not the same thing.

mikebull1
Member

Because, with all due respect (and I do respect you) you’ve been sold the idea that the Church is a people in the same way that Israel was a people. But the new birth begins with circumcision of heart by the Gospel. Children trust their parents, which is why parents are to image the love of God. But parents are not God. Baptism is about outgrowing that mediation and instead becoming a mediator. At Jesus’ baptism He answered directly to His heavenly Father. Paedobaptism is all about earthly guardians. True baptism makes one a guardian. Big difference.

Jane Dunsworth
Guest
Jane Dunsworth

So you’re not really engaging with the first comment I made in the context in which it occurred, you’re just opposing the whole framework of covenant baptism, as you consistently do. Which is fine, but in that case you weren’t really interacting with the subthread and the purpose of my initial comment, you were just taking another opportunity to state your case.

mikebull1
Member

Thanks Jane. That wasn’t my intention. Fill me in on what I missed and I will do my best to engage.

Jane Dunsworth
Guest
Jane Dunsworth

In the context, I was just pointing out an overlooked possibility, from the paedobaptist view, of what was going on with respect to the child in baptism. Obviously I don’t expect you to agree that those things could properly be going on, but that’s part of a different discussion. This discussion was about what paedobaptists believe, not about what we would believe if we weren’t paedobaptists.

mikebull1
Member

Well, I think I did understand then. If it were a Muslim, I’d say, well, your fundamental assumption is that the Koran is true, so I don’t have a horse in that race. But I do have a horse in this race because we both claim the Bible as our authority. If one carries the paedobaptist assumption to its logical conclusions, there are problems, which is why you people are still fighting with each other and hauling each other into the courtroom for heresy trials. You have to choose between an ineffectual infant baptism (as most Pressbuttons do) or one… Read more »

Jane
Member

I don’t object to your stating your case, I just think that the context didn’t lend itself well to it at that point. It was very clearly a “given the assumptions of paedobaptism, what are the possibilities here” kind of discussion. Even on this thread itself, there were more appropriate places to challenge the larger issues. And maybe I do object to the assumption that your position is news to any of us who frequent this blog. :-) Since you have made your case here many times before, it might be good to consider giving us credit for recognizing, and… Read more »

BJ
Guest
BJ

(Removed)

john k
Guest
john k

Actually, these are not the only two choices. A fair construal of infant baptism (as opposed to an unfair one) would consider that baptism that saves the elect through the way the Bible says ordinances that portray the Gospel do: when water, bread, and wine are received with the Word, according to the capacity of faith given by God. And note, this does not require speculative commitments about infant faith.

mikebull1
Member

But then you’ve got the sacraments working as rivals to the Gospel, which is exactly the kind of thing that made Paul mad. My FV friends even talk about unborn infants receiving communion in the womb via the umbilical cord. I’d call them stupid but I like them too much. Baptism and table are not means of salvation. They are expressions of it, public testimonies of the saint willingly identifying with Jesus and His death, and willing to die for His testimony. Paedosacraments put the ‘mental’ into sacramentalism.

john k
Guest
john k

Pardon me, but, no, that is just your apparent opinion of the Reformed view. Deal honestly–you know that our view of the sacraments holds that they preach the gospel. Without the words of promise, the signs are nothing, and on that score might well rival the gospel as much as walking the aisle, or raising one’s hand with head bowed could. At least you make clear your diminished view of these ordinances, admittedly in order to preserve the Gospel. But that is to be wiser than God. The divine command for sacraments means that God does not administer salvation exclusively… Read more »

mikebull1
Member

I don’t have a diminished view at all. Any more than I have a diminished view of cutlery just because somebody is using it to dig in the ground. The sacraments are far more glorious than any sacramentalist suspects. Baptism is a knighthood and communion is the round table. Only prophets eat with God. These are not for those who merely “hear” (Hear, O Israel, and now hear all nations) but those who speak as His legal representatives. So I am against baptists who serve grape juice to adults, but also against paedobaptists who give wine to infants. Is everybody… Read more »

BJ
Guest
BJ

Just in case this fouls up… I am BJ from the old blog format. Mike, Your comments about being sold the idea that, “the Church is a people in the same way that Israel was a people” fail to heed Peter’s notion of this idea. “you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5) “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession…Once you were not a people, but now you are the people… Read more »

mikebull1
Member

Hi BJ – PB thinking cherrypicks the bits it wants out of the Abrahamic Covenant. That’s one reason why there are disputes over the parameters of the authority of “households” in the Church. If the Church is an Abrahamic people, tribal and genealogical, then the Jew/Gentile distinction still exists. To use those Peter references to justify some kind of tribal baptism (which is what paedobaptism is) is to miss the point of those statements entirely. He is writing to Jews (2:12). The Church is a prophetic body, working among all nations (all bloods) just as the prophets worked in Israel… Read more »

BJ
Guest
BJ

Mike, Thanks for the response. It might surprise you that I agree with much of what you say. I wasn’t defending infant baptism, per se, as much as I was defending the idea that we are a nation collectively, not merely individuals. I am still working through the implications of infant baptism, but I will add this. The notion of our nationhood or chosen people-ness (?) (I prefer the phrase covenant people) is what leads me to see infant baptism as (at the very least) feasible, if not outright obligatory. I come from a very dispensational background and one of… Read more »

mikebull1
Member

Good points BJ, and very thoughtful. Re “holy nation” – Israel, the nation set apart, found its end in the birth of Christ, who became the firstborn from the dead. So I’d argue that the carnal nationhood (generations) of Israel found its fulfilment in the heavenly sons (regeneration) of the Church. So the continuity is not a carnal one. It the continuity between flesh and smoke in the sacrificial process. The Church is a fragrant body (good works), not a bloody one (tribal/genealogical). Even Israel itself had a blood boundary (circumcision) and a water boundary (ministry and mediation) in microcosm.… Read more »

BJ
Guest
BJ

BTW, I am not sure what you meant by PB thinking.

mikebull1
Member

PB thinking – starts with an assumption of paedobaptism and goes looking for evidence to support it. Sees every reference to infant and child as support, but also ignores any contrary evidence: i.e. where infants are included, the animals are also always included, because there was a link between circumcision and animal sacrifice on their behalf – fruitfulness of womb and land were linked. Paedobaptism turns the church into a fertility cult to some degree. It changes the focus of the Gospel and the nature of New Covenant succession, making it parochial rather than pioneering.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Hi Jane, this isn’t intended as a silly question! How could one tell from the outward conduct of a young child if he or she were regenerate? If we imagine twins, one regenerate, one not, would we find evidence in their demeanor even at an early age? Would the regenerate child be less foolish, less childish, than his twin? If you believed a child was in fact regenerate, should that have any impact on how you raise that child?

Jane
Member

Jill, I think my point is more that we don’t need to guess and speculate, but that it can occur at any time. We baptize because our children covenantally belong to Christ. It is possible that regeneration will occur before, during, or after baptism, but when is not important to the baptism itself. The important thing is that we rear our children in the gospel, and look for evidences of faith as we encourage them in that. The primary evidence of faith would be profession of faith, accompanied by a desire to be obedient to the Word and to repent… Read more »

Jane Dunsworth
Guest
Jane Dunsworth

Jill, I think my point is more that we don’t need to guess and speculate, but that it can occur at any time. We baptize because our children covenantally belong to Christ. It is possible that regeneration will occur before, during, or after baptism, but when is not important to the baptism itself. The important thing is that we rear our children in the gospel, and look for evidences of faith as we encourage them in that. The primary evidence of faith would be profession of faith, accompanied by a desire to be obedient to the Word and to repent… Read more »

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

If His scars still show — then our death also.

mikebull1
Member

Pastor Wilson – Excellent points, mostly. But God shed blood in the Garden to open the womb and the Land, albeit with limiting curses. With the avenging of the blood of Abel and the end of the Temple and “Land,” and the ascension of the Seed as firstborn from the dead, God no longer claims the children. So a link remains between offering children to Molech and infant baptism. Both are Baalism, an intended stimulation of the natural that it might produce fruit outside the clear commandments of God. Infant baptism bypasses the hearing of the Gospel, that sons of… Read more »

mikebull1
Member

This might be worth a read: http://bit.ly/1GVj9Jj
Happy to be proven wrong – from Scripture.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Mike,

Tis totally circumcision — unless the baby really was given faith of course.

mikebull1
Member

Faith comes by hearing. See my comments below to Jane. Yes, paedobaptism is just like circumcision, and thus worthless. Baptism is about circumcision of heart. Your baptism is entirely carnal.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Circumcision IS really a waste of time. .. unless of course that little boy has faith. Mike you seem to fear His prerogative His interest in saving babies. Not too partial to the kiddos?

mikebull1
Member

Our kids (aged 24 to 12) are believers. No sprinkling required. It’s redundant. All they need is the Gospel. Baptism is the first step in their testimony as Gospel witnesses. That’s why your baptism doesn’t share any resemblance whatsoever with the baptisms in the Bible.

I’m just not willing to pervert the definition of faith like you are just to maintain a superstitious tradition. All children everywhere are already in the New Covenant. That was the point of ending circumcision. Basic logic.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

If I ready you correctly, Mike, you’re saying infants in the womb are rarely if ever have faith. But if you knew a particular infant in the womb did have faith, would you baptize such when he came out for a look around?

mikebull1
Member

The fact that you ask a question like this means you don’t understand what faith is. Paedofaith twists it to maintain a hybrid between the truth about credo baptism and its “bap-cision.” John’s reaction in the womb to the Christ was a miraculous sign pointing to the Seed of the Woman. To use that to claim that Christian babies are baby Christians is to sit enthroned and cut strips off the New Testament and throw them into the fire. Paul would give you a black eye. Neither he (as far as we know) nor the Christ had children, which is… Read more »

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Mike — It’s true. I don’t have much of an understanding of what faith is. And I don’t get yet if you are saying that infants are incapable of it or just unwilling, or both? Was John’s reaction a miracle of belief over unbelief? — of that I truly agree. Or was it a miracle of capability? — as in no one, God included, can or will make an infant believe — Or both?

mikebull1
Member

John was the greatest “born of women” – that is, preceding the coming of the Seed. Yet even the least of those “born of the Spirit” is greater than John. So using John as evidence for miraculous “first births” when Jesus clearly makes the first birth redundant (the Messianic genealogy came to an end) makes no sense.
Faith is hearing what God says, and believing it based on confidence in His character. It’s not a sport than infants are engaged in. Infants were promised to Adam, but they weren’t tested in the Garden. That’s the difference between circumcision and baptism.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Are you saying that infants that are born of the Spirit after the Seed came are ok to baptize then? Or aren’t you trying to say that infants altogether, while they are infants, have any capacity to hear and therefore be saved? Your boys couldn’t believe when they were in the womb, you’re saying, right? — Because they couldn’t hear? — presumably you’re saying they don’t have the mental capacity to hear & understand enough? — so faith comes by understanding too, then?

mikebull1
Member

I’m saying that the children of men are not the children of God. God deals in fractals and images. Our job as (baptised, believing) parents is to raise our children that they might become children of God. Adam’s failure as a son of God put his own offspring under a sentence of death – it was mediated through him. Baptism is investiture. It makes you a mediator like Adam. We father our children until they can answer to the heavenly Father — and His church — for themselves.That’s what baptism is about – a legal witness, the testimony of Jesus.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

So you’re assumption is that you can’t successfully raise children to the point of becoming a child of God until the child reaches a certain age — the age when the can answer to the heavenly father and His church for themselves? Your assumption is that an infant is incapable and/or unwilling to provide this answer? — which is it: incapable or unwilling? Or are you saying that they may be capable or willing or both — but that we as parents can’t know this?

mikebull1
Member

The second birth is a miracle. Jacob and Esau were brothers by birth, and both circumcised as sons of an earthly father. Paedobaptism is not a celebration of earthly fatherhood. It divides between Jacob and Esau, between a response of faith demonstrated in profession and works, and a response which despises spiritual things. Stop worrying about your kids. Just teach them the truth. If they are taught what baptism truly is, they will ASK you for it when they believe, no coercion required. Being born again is step 1 in spiritual maturity. But it is still the beginning of maturity,… Read more »

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Alright — I think I read you loud and clear that you don’t think infants have the God-given capacity for faith. You believe that faith is dependent or at least coordinated with some cognitive capacity or ability. They aren’t mature enough to have faith. Or am I putting words in your mouth?

mikebull1
Member

Yes, but “cognitive capacity or ability” is inherently linked to moral capacity and ability. Those who are outside of this (as we all were in Adam’s loins, if you’ll pardon the language) are at the mercy of God. And we have a merciful God. If anything, paedobaptism puts the infants of the nations outside of this mercy, where credo baptism does not.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

A papa sprinkling water on an 8 day old prevents God from saving that kid?

mikebull1
Member

No. The Gospel can overcome anything, even paedobaptism.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Unless the child dies before he can gain the mental capacity to experience the second birth, right? Then nothing can save him, right?

mikebull1
Member

Paedosacraments are an attempt to gain blessings from God which He never promised. We are commanded to preach the Gospel to every creature, not sprinkle them and claim they are saved. Big difference. Just do what God says and leave the rest to Him.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

So you’re saying an infant has no great moral capacity either? They’re what — innocent?

mikebull1
Member

The Bible doesn’t tell us. It does tell us that each of us is “in Adam,” under a curse of death, until we repent and believe. Then death becomes a door. But it also tells us that there’s no longer any division between offspring. Circumcision divided Adam in two that he might be conquered. Christ put Him back together, so putting any sign on infants testifies against the work of Christ.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

So you’re saying you don’t know if an infant is innocent or not, but you know he is going to hell until he believes — and he has no capacity to believe until he developes / matures physiologically?

mikebull1
Member

I’m saying that without the second birth, the first birth leads irrevocably to the second death. So unless paedobaptism is the second birth, you have a problem. Even Pastor Wilson can sort you out on that one – although even he has at least once mentioned “regenerate zygotes.” He’s very confused on what “regenerate” means in that case. Paedosacraments create confusion wherever they go. Wombs are not tombs, people.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

So, paedobaptism aside for the moment, you believe a zygote can experience the second birth?

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

oops — I think you already made that clear that you don’t believe a zygote has the capacity, right?

mikebull1
Member

No I don’t believe that. It’s stupid because it’s an ad absurdum of the FV. But Doug Wilson believes it. See his post “Evangelicalism, Cultural and Doctrinal” from July 6, 2012. How he can put a divide between regeneration and the new birth is beyond me. Conviction and conversion are NOT the same thing. And he uses John’s leaping the womb as an example. Born of woman is not the same as BORN OF GOD. Abject craziness. Totally worthy of a strait-jacket. I think you people need a sermon on what a son of God actually is.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

This is my fault Mike but I’m embarrassed to say I’m not sure if you believe a zygote has the capacity for faith or not — I wasn’t clear in my question earlier so I’m not sure what you don’t believe. Let me try again, por favor?

You don’t believe a zygote has the capacity to have faith, correct?
So you don’t believe a zygote has the capacity to experience the second birth, correct?
So if a zygote dies, obviously without faith and the second birth, do you assume he goes to hell?

mikebull1
Member

According to justice, yep. But our God is merciful. He can do what He likes in that regard. We need to stop second guessing Him and simply obey His command to repent and believe and be baptized.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

So I hear you saying that all zygote DESERVE to go hell.
But because God is merciful, He may not be sending particular zygotes to hell.
But we can’t know if He is or not — “we need to stop second guessing Him”.
So paedobaptists are second guessing (presuming) that God has chosen to be merciful to their particular child? — is that your objection?

mikebull1
Member

All zygotes are in Adam. Like caterpillars, they are of the earth, earthy. Baptism is for butterflies. It’s about God’s children, not yours.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Earlier you said God can do what He likes in regard to whether a zygote goes to hell of not if it (he/she) dies. Does that mean you think He can and sometimes does turn zygote earthy caterpillars into heavenly butterflies?

mikebull1
Member

Good question. I was talking about the final judgment, where questions over what Christ does with all the miscarriages and abortions in history are basically the same as what He will do with infants and the simple-minded. We are simply not told. But baptism or heredity made any difference at all, it would contradict everything we know about actual salvation, which is my beef against paedobaptism. We can’t baptize the unborn (so paedobaptism is meaningless there anyway) and if it did anything we would be adopting or borrowing or child-minding other people’s babies just so we could sprinkle them in… Read more »

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

So you’re saying you can’t know if a zygote has been born again and has been given faith?
AND you’re saying that since baptism doesn’t do any saving anyway — it’s useless at best and misleading and destructive at worst if it’s done with all this mumbo-jumbo that paedotists tend to engage in?

Andrew Lohr
Member

Isaiah 49, 54, 59–participation of children is promised as a FEAture of the New Covenant, not a bug. And if infant baptism were so bad, how did triune Jehovah ever get off on that circumcision thang?

mikebull1
Member

Circumcision set Israel apart as “cultivated land.” One could be a Jew and not believe, and one could be a Gentile and believe. Circumcision was intended to lead to circumcision of heart. This is why circumcision of heart – actual faith – made circumcision or uncircumcision redundant. Since Pentecost, circumcision and thus paedobaptism is redundant. There is no more wall of enmity, or division of flesh. The New Covenant is about sons of God – the kind of son Timothy was to Paul, spiritual offspring by the Gospel. This is why Paul despised the Circumcision. If he were alive today,… Read more »

The Doane
Guest
The Doane

Hey Mike,
As always, hope you are well. And thanks for the Xmas card. Made me laugh. I’ll just throw this out there. Paul hated circumcision because it was tied to land rights. The promised inheritance of Jerusalem. And that was going to end very badly for those who wanted to go to war with the Romans over their physical real estate that they believed their fleshly circumcision got them. The true/heavenly Jerusalem was coming/arrived in Jesus. So I think you have Paul’s anger at Circumcision a bit off and sort of misplaced. Just a smidge.

– Doane

mikebull1
Member

Hi Darren, welcome to my parlour. I agree totally. Fruit of Land and womb were tied together in Genesis 3, and to avoid another flood, tied to Abraham in Genesis 15. But paedobaptism tries to separate the Land from the womb. You want earthly offspring to be citizens of the heavenly city. No. Earthly sons (sons of man) = earthly city. Heavenly sons (sons of God) = heavenly city. That’s why John 1:19 separates between earthly fatherhood and the Fatherhood of God. So Paul would be just as mad about paedobaptism. It tries to achieve the same thing as the… Read more »

john k
Guest
john k

This is a spectacular misrepresentation of both circumcision and infant baptism. Neither one makes salvation by earthly inheritance.

mikebull1
Member

Hi John – No, but that’s what Paul was railing against. And you might notice how much of the discussion on here focusses on “regeneration in the womb.” So I guess you are saying that paedofaith misrepresents both circumcision and baptism and I would agree. Paul would say that nobody is a Christian by birth, even though one could certainly be Jewish by birth. Nobody is a communist by birth. Judaism was about external law (leading to circumcision of heart). Christianity begins with circumcision of heart, that is, internal law. Circumcision did limit the Abrahamic promises to Jews – until… Read more »

john k
Guest
john k

What andrewlohr said.

mikebull1
Member

If you are talking about the participation of children, why do you exclude all the children of the nations every time you “include” a child in the Covenant by paedobaptism. That was the whole point of removing circumcision. All the kids in the world are already in the Covenant. Jesus is king of all and all are obligated to Him. Your imaginary “Covenant” is too small. :)

john k
Guest
john k

Your imaginary “Covenant” has no content, because all people are in it, without knowledge, commitment, or binding ordinances. But these are exactly what the covenant always required–because the Covenant is more than a mere obligation and call to repent and believe. It is living in repentance and faith in response to the call. (And yet Old Testament infants were included.) The breaking down of the wall of separation does not put all people into covenant with God. It rather invites all people into it, and without having to become Jews! It is astonishing that the truths of 1 Peter could… Read more »

mikebull1
Member

Nice kickback! No, in Christ, God now commands all men everywhere to repent. That is the only binding ordinance. The so-called “Covenant obligations” that Pastor Wilson speaks about are just the law of Moses exhumed from the grave. (If you want to read my case, click on my name for my blog and find recent post “Because of Transgressions.” Infant males were included before circumcision, but no sign was required, but there was no Jew/Gentile distinction. No that there is no Jew/Gentile distinction again (like the order of Melchizedek and not like the order of Aaron), there is no sign… Read more »

john k
Guest
john k

Thanks for the reminder of your low view of circumcision. Won’t you reconsider it?

An unbelieving Jew was not, and is not a Jew. Paul’s chief point is that this was always true–not just since Christ came.

True Christians cannot be unbelieving, but professing Christians can be (Heb. 3:12).

mikebull1
Member

Certainly. But circumcision was a social demarcation with an ethical telos (circumcision of flesh leading to circumcision of heart). Baptism is the opposite. It is an ethical demarcation with a social outcome – the nations. Even if somebody makes a false profession, baptism remains an ethical demarcation. If we make it into a social one, it loses its ability to transcend all tribes and nations. It merely becomes another one on the list.

The Doane
Guest
The Doane

Mike,
You should just be happy that you’ve got everyone focused on your view of baptism and not your view that the entire world (including babies in the womb) is already in the New Covenant. Because that would realky freak people out.

mikebull1
Member

My view of baptism only makes sense if the entire world is obligated to Jesus, i.e. under Covenant. And I like freaking out parochial paedobaptist patriarchs, anyhow. “You mean I’ve been sprinkling babies for nuthin’?” Yep. Your Covenant is too small. The Federal Vision is tunnel vision, waiting on salvation to come from the womb.

Aaron Richmond
Guest
Aaron Richmond

Reading through these comments is actually the first time that Mike’s idea of the entire world already being in the New Covenant has clicked for me. And it clicked because of a point Doug is always making when he talks about the federal government. Doug says that government rule is covenantal–they represent us and they represent us well (‘federal’ coming from the Latin ‘foedus,’ which means covenant, after all). Christ being glorified and ruling as Lord means that Christ is the covenant head of all that he rules. To say that there are sections of the world that are outside… Read more »

mikebull1
Member

Yep – that’s it. Spot on.

Sean Carlson
Guest
Sean Carlson

As one of those mistaken Baptist, great article. I do think my mistake has better biblical ground than your mistake (my mistake can beat up your mistake!)

Chris W
Guest
Chris W

‘The true God does in fact claim the children.

“For all the firstborn of the children of Israel are mine, both man and beast…”‘

Can any paedobaptists here provide me with a reason why we shouldn’t baptize animals as well as babies, on a household basis? They are members of the covenant, as the text above makes clear. And God has a claim on all creation.

mikebull1
Member
CIW
Guest
CIW

Did God require The Israelites to circumcise their animals? Did the animals also eat the Passover with the household as well?

Chris w
Guest
Chris w

The animals weren’t circumcised, no, but neither were the women! What matters is that they were ‘under covenant’. And the animals (the lambs at least) didn’t eat the Passover, they *were* the Passover. They mediated God’s grace in a unique way. And they likely ate the manna in the wilderness as well (what else was there to eat?).

CIW
Guest
CIW

Chris,

Paedobaptists see the consistency of the Covenant. Circumcision was the sign and seal of the covenant until it was replaced by Baptism. Can you tell me who was circumcised in the Abrahamic Covenant? Why were women not circumcised? Why were animals not circumcised?

Chris W
Guest
Chris W

Israelite males were circumcised as federal representatives, pointing to the human male ‘seed’ who was to come. However, the women were still included in the covenant, and as is clear from the verse Doug cited, so were the animals. Here are a bunch of other reasons why paedobaptists should be sheep-sprinklers: http://www.bullartistry.com.au/wp/2013/10/02/the-case-for-covenantal-animal-baptism/

PB
Guest
PB

CIW, the sign and seal of the New Covenant is the Holy Spirit, not Baptism.

mikebull1
Member

Circumcision was about the claim upon the firstborn, as Pastor Wilson notes in his post. What he fails to note is that that claim was mediated by animal sacrifice, which was fulfilled in Christ. So God no longer has any special claim upon the firstborn (as I said in my original comment), so paedobaptism is redundant. Christ claims all males, females and children everywhere, according to the flesh. When they hear the Gospel and respond, they are to be baptised that they might become witnesses of the Gospel.

CIW
Guest
CIW

I can’t think of anywhere in the Bible that circumcision is directly related to the firstborn of Israel. But even if it is, I assume you would agree that it’s not merely the claim upon the firstborn. I will reiterate one of the three questions above for either of you. Who was to be circumcised under the Abrahamic Covenant?

mikebull1
Member

No, not merely a claim upon the firstborn, but the entire system is now gone. You can’t just keep the bits you want and peddle it as “Covenant obligations” as Pastor Wilson does. It just ends up being a tribal/genealogical demarcation, and those were wiped away. In Genesis 3, a curse was put upon the fruit of the land and the fruit of the womb. Both were wiped out in the flood. Circumcision set Abraham apart to bear the curses on behalf of all nations – he is barren in land and womb until these curses are miraculously reversed. Abraham… Read more »

CIW
Guest
CIW

So is this your answer to my previous question – “Abraham’s offspring, beginning with Isaac, are all symbolically “sacrificed” (or murdered).” ?

mikebull1
Member

Yep. Adam would have been “cut off” except for the shedding of blood. Cain, the firstborn, shed the first blood, and was cursed by being “cut off” from the fruit of the Land. I was trying to put circumcision in context. Isaac was offered on Moriah. Jacob was almost slain by his brother. Joseph’s death was faked by his brothers when he was sold into slavery (he was the firstborn of Rachel). Then finally we have the substitution of all the firstborn of Israel in Passover, and the destruction of the firstborn of Ham (Egypt) and the destruction of all… Read more »