Monday, December 26, 2005

"Baptists Can't Be Reformed . . . Can They?"

Much of me hesitates to even do this post. I do not wish to take part in logomachy, or disputes over mere words. To tell you the truth, I think that arguing over who is "Reformed" and who is not does nothing to help the advance toward unity of the faith. Therefore, my only point in doing this post is to simply get our paedobaptistic brothers and sisters to consider the validity of my points (or the non-validity).

The term "Reformed" is a loaded term. Just what does it mean? Baptists are not the first to be accused of not being truly "Reformed." Others who have been accused of not being "truly Reformed" include paedocommunionists, theonomists, and the like. However, Baptists are indeed part of the Reformation heritage, and most Reformed Baptists hold to covenant theology as well. So let us consider this.

AM I REFORMED?

Let us examine myself, to see whether I be part of the Reformed faith. (I know, this is rather goofy!) The following I believe and confess:

*I hold to covenant theology, with the covenants of redemption, works, and grace.

*I hold to the so-called "five points of Calvinism," or the doctrines of sovereign grace.

*I hold to the five "solas" (sola fide, solus Christus, sola Scriptura, sola gratia, and soli Deo gloria).

*I hang out in "Reformed" circles, use "Reformed" lingo, and I appreciate the use and legitimacy of confessions of faith.

*Etc.

More could be said about me being "truly Reformed," since I hold to the "Calvinist view" of the "Eucharist," or Lord's Table; since I prefer to use the term "sacrament" rather than "ordinance," and the list could go on.

I think that all of this is rather ridiculous and silly.

Why are we quibbling over who is "truly Reformed" and who is not? Since when did the label "Reformed" become important to the apostles?

So, it doesn't really bother me if my paedobaptistic brothers and sisters tell me, as I have so often heard, that "Reformed Baptist is an oxymoron!" I usually respond to that in one of two ways. I either say, "OK. That's fine." Or I have a little fun sometimes and take them to task.

When I take them to task, I try to do it respectfully and just for fun. So let the fun begin.

RESPONSES TO THE PAEDOBAPTIST "BAPTISTS CAN'T BE REFORMED" ARGUMENTS

"Baptists can't be Reformed!", cries the paedobaptist.

ASSERTION: "Baptists can't be Reformed because they can't really hold to covenant theology without redefining it, since they cut the children out of the covenant.

RESPONSE: Paedobaptists "cut out" the unbelieving spouse, or other household members, of the covenant. They have a "dispensational hermeneutic" here.

ASSERTION: "Baptists can't be Reformed because of the view they have of an independent church."

RESPONSE: The Savoy Declaration is the confession of the Congregationalist churches. These churches still practiced infant baptism, but believed in an independent and autonomous local church. Among them was none other than John Owen, perhaps the greatest theologian of the Puritans.

ASSERTION: "Baptists can't be Reformed because they focus on the New Covenant not being like the Old Covenant."

RESPONSE: John Owen also believed that all of the Old Covenant had passed away. This is not something new, but this was a view which was held by some Puritans as well--even those who were paedobaptists, such as Owen.

ASSERTION: "Baptists can't be Reformed because they don't see the sacraments as having saving efficacy."

RESPONSE: This may depend upon what kind of Reformed Baptist you encounter. But Keach's Catechism does use the language that the ordinances are "effectual unto salvation." Of course, not by any virtue in themselves, but by the power of the Holy Spirit. We do see God's ordinances as indispensable, and we especially think that those who neglect the Lord's Supper neglect their very own soul. It is indeed a means of grace.

ASSERTION: "Baptists can't be Reformed because by cutting the children out of the covenant, they are being dispensational."

RESPONSE: Paedobaptists cut the other household members out of the covenant, so they are being dispensational.

ASSERTION: "Baptists can't be Reformed because they have an aberrant view of covenant theology."

RESPONSE: This assertion has never been proven. Besides, there is no one strand of covenant theology. There are several strands, and Baptists are just another strand of it.

I would like to conclude with one other thing to consider.

INFANT BAPTISM UNDERMINES COVENANT THEOLOGY

I believe that only the Baptist view of the covenant even allows for covenant theology. When we consider the doctrine of covenant or federal or representative headship, namely, that Adam is the federal head of all unbelievers, and we are born and conceived with Adam as our federal head, we must ask our paedobaptist friends:

Who is the federal head of the "covenant child"?

I have seen paedobaptists admit that the "covenant child" still needs to be regenerated. (They must add a kind of confirmation before they are admitted to the Lord's Table, interestingly enough. William Einwechter calls infant baptism a half-sacrament, because baptism was designed to be the sacrament of faith.) However, I have never heard or read a paedobaptist admit that their "covenant child" was conceived under God's wrath. But how then would the analogy hold of them being called out of the Egypt of slavery to sin and into the promised land of faith? It would not hold.

So I believe that covenant theology is Scriptural. This is why I think that the ultimate danger of paedobaptism is that it undermines the fabric of the faith itself. Could this be why the New Perspective on Paul is becoming so popular in Reformed circles these days? I of course can't prove this, but I do think it is something to think about. Could infant baptism be the catalyst for all of this?

CONCLUSION: STRIVE TOWARD UNITY, DON'T QUIBBLE OVER WORDS

Again, I was reluctant to write this post. Since the term "Reformed" is such a loaded term anyways, I think we should be careful when and how we use it. To argue over who is "Reformed," I believe, is silly. It does nothing to help the advance of the faith. In the above post my point was not to argue that Baptists can be Reformed--because I don't care. My point was to give our paedobaptistic brothers and sisters something to consider. I believe it is uncharitable to fight over this.

Who cares who is Reformed or not? Let's dialogue about what the Bible says, and not about who is "Reformed" or not.

May God continue to be patient with us, and with our many shortcomings.

16 comments:

Randy said...

Good to see you still blogging- Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Hannukkah from a constantly Reforming Baptist brother....

Josh Brisby said...

Brother Randy,

So good to hear from you! I hope things are well with you and your family. Please tell Lori I said hi, and tell your daughters we miss having Gabriel and Aaron play with them. We miss you guys so much.

In Christ,
Josh

Dax said...

Good post, brother.

Josh Brisby said...

Brother Dax,

It was good to hear from you. Angela and I miss you guys as well. I hope things are going well for you.

In Christ,
Josh

Russ said...

Josh,

Let me jump on in and say, I agree, very good post. You have some really good thoughts on Baptism.

Russ

Josh Brisby said...

Russ,

Congrats--I heard your first baby is on the way. God's blessings upon you and Heather and your child.

Josh

Robert Cole said...

Josh,
I, like Russ, appreciate your thoughts on baptism. I too care nothing for terms like, "Reformed" unless the implications of the doctrine are seen in the lives of those who proclaim it.
Good post,
Robert

Robert Cole said...

Josh,
I, like Russ, appreciate your thoughts on baptism. I too care nothing for terms like, "Reformed" unless the implications of the doctrine are seen in the lives of those who proclaim it.
Good post,
Robert

Josh Brisby said...

Robert (It's still kind of strange not calling you Mr. Cole!),

Thanks. Please tell Dawn we said hi. Hope your kids are doing well. Thanks again for the kind words.

Josh

Paul Manata said...

Question: who was Isaac's "federal head" and when you answer that, tell me how that didn't "mess up" covenant theology for the OT saints?

What can the anti-paedobaptist bring against us that could not ahve been brought against Abraham? -John Calvin

Josh Brisby said...

Paul,

We've been over this before. Have you come back for another theological spanking? :0)

Circumcision did indeed have spiritual significance. It did indeed mean the righteousness which comes by faith. But again, you overlook the fact that it wasn't just the infants of physical Israellites who were circumcised in the OT; it was also any male who came into the theocracy of Israel.

The theocracy had rich symbolism in types and shadows. These types and shadows signified Christ, who was to come. He is the True Circumcision, just as we are the true circumcision if we are united to Him by faith.

You see, you can't escape the fact that EVERYONE in the household who was male was circumcised. This is why, if paedobaptists were consistent, they would be baptizing households today. Greg Bahnsen said you should do it, but you just ignore that fact by denying that he meant what he said.

Furthermore, another question: Did children partake of the Passover Meal? You are in a real bind here, because if you answer that they did, then the term "household" in Exodus 12 means that you should be giving the Lord's Table to toddlers; if you answer that they did not, then you admit that the term "household" doesn't necessarily include infants. You see, as Jewett correctly said, there is no objection paedobaptists can bring to Baptists that we cannot logically bring against the majority paedobaptist view of the Lord's Supper. to counter Calvin here.

Ah, but I hear you cry: "But you know I don't rely on the household passages!" Indeed, you do not, but you can't deny the fact that this was the case in the OT.

I've been waiting for the past three years to hear a consistent answer about the unbelieving spouse in 1 Corinthians 7:14. Is the unbelieving spouse in the covenant? After all, it calls them "sanctified" in the same sense that the children are. If the unbelieving spouse is in the covenant, then why not baptize them--as Bahnsen consistently suggests. But if they are not, then 1 Corinthians 7:14 no more suggests "covenantal holiness" for the children than it does for the unbelieving spouse.

My friend and brother in the Lord, is this all you have for your "proof" for infant baptism? The Scriptural proof is certainly lacking, and everything paedobaptists bring up is easily refuted. If this were a court case, your evidence would not even be close to beyond reasonable doubt. With something as major as the sacraments (which the Reformers correctly said properly administrated are one of the three marks of a true church), I think the evidence should be beyond reasonable doubt. God has not left us in the dark. His Word clearly defines what baptism means and who it is for.

I've been waiting since 1999 to hear one solid good argument for infant baptism, and I'm still waiting. So where is it?

Paul Manata said...

In all that I missed your "answer." I'll repeat for the dense: Who was Isaac's federal head?" If you can't answer me, I'll understand. Anywho, let's give the illogical another mental spanking:

JB Circumcision did indeed have spiritual significance. It did indeed mean the righteousness which comes by faith. But again, you overlook the fact that it wasn't just the infants of physical Israellites who were circumcised in the OT; it was also any male who came into the theocracy of Israel.

PM Hmmm, maybe you can show everyone where "I overlooked" what you said I did? Where do you get that I "overlooked" something out of my post. I simply asked, "who was Isaac's federal head?" So, your argument back to me looks like this:

P1: Paul asked about Isaac's federal head




BIG GAPING HOLE I CAN DRIVE A TRUCK THROUGH


___________
C1: Therefore, Paul "overlooked" that circumcision was not just for Israelite male children.


note well, the big gaping hole is where what we cann an argument goes.

JB: The theocracy had rich symbolism in types and shadows. These types and shadows signified Christ, who was to come. He is the True Circumcision, just as we are the true circumcision if we are united to Him by faith.

PM: Who was Isaacs federal head?

JB: You see, you can't escape the fact that EVERYONE in the household who was male was circumcised. This is why, if paedobaptists were consistent, they would be baptizing households today. Greg Bahnsen said you should do it, but you just ignore that fact by denying that he meant what he said.

PM: These are assertion, brisby. Show, logically, why entire households would need to be baptized. If I hold the premise that "adults need to profess" then I have no "inconsistency." Greg Bahnsen said you should baptize children, but you just deny that fact by means of self-decpetion. C'mon Josh! Again you show how pathetic your debating and arguing skills are. Oh, I almost forgot, "who was Isaacs federal head?"

JB: Furthermore, another question: Did children partake of the Passover Meal?

PM Define "children?" If you let your 1o year old partake of communion, after he professes faith, then are you a "paedocommunionist?" I think you meant "infants?" Anyway, do try and be a bit more clear, it's always so painful to watch. If you meant infants, no they did not!

JB: You are in a real bind here, because if you answer that they did, then the term "household" in Exodus 12 means that you should be giving the Lord's Table to toddlers;

PM: First, show how the term hosehold means that I should give communion to toddlers? Second, I even reject the premise that "communion" replaces just "the passover." No free lunches.; Oh yeah, who was Isaac's federal head?

JB: if you answer that they did not, then you admit that the term "household" doesn't necessarily include infants.

PM: Yeah, I admit that, so what? Also, I don't think you know what "necessary" means, Brisby. I don't know of any paedobaptist who says "households necessarily include infants." C'mon Josh, Jewitt and your ilk to a good enough job embarrassing the baptist camp without you lending them a hand! Oh yeah, who was Isaac's federal head?

JB: Ah, but I hear you cry: "But you know I don't rely on the household passages!" Indeed, you do not, but you can't deny the fact that this was the case in the OT.

PM I can deny "the fact" since I deny that household "necessarily includes infants" and I also deny that "infants and many toddlers" partook of the passover meal." Oh, Josh, by the way, who was Isaac's federal head?"

JB: I've been waiting for the past three years to hear a consistent answer about the unbelieving spouse in 1 Corinthians 7:14. Is the unbelieving spouse in the covenant?

PM: No, she is not. How is that answer not "consistent?" You trip all over yourself, brisby. Oh, and Josh, who was Isaac's federal head?

JB: My friend and brother in the Lord, is this all you have for your "proof" for infant baptism?

PM: My friend and brother in the Lord, I simply asked a QUESTION and sicne when is a QUESTION an ARGUMENT or PROOF? C'mon, guy, I know you can do better than this. I mean, it is a scary thing to think that you're a teacher and it is your mind that molds the "minds of the future!" :-) Hey, who was Isaac's federal head?

JB:The Scriptural proof is certainly lacking, and everything paedobaptists bring up is easily refuted. If this were a court case, your evidence would not even be close to beyond reasonable doubt. With something as major as the sacraments (which the Reformers correctly said properly administrated are one of the three marks of a true church), I think the evidence should be beyond reasonable doubt. God has not left us in the dark. His Word clearly defines what baptism means and who it is for.


PM: Hmmm, so you "refute" me by offering a list of assertions and, under-handedly, not directly answering my question, whic is, in case you forgot, "WHo was Isaac's federal head?"

JB: I've been waiting since 1999 to hear one solid good argument for infant baptism, and I'm still waiting. So where is it?


PM: I've been waiting since 2,000 to hear one solid good argument for credo baptism, and I'm still waiting. So where is it? You see, all I need to do to you is just reverse all your mere, empty, and naked assertions. On such an issue as important as this don't you think you should rest your case on actual arguments rather than rhetoric and empty assertions? Stop grinding out the same ole tired cliche "arguments' that you've been using since 99!

I don't know what you mean by a "good solid" argument, anyway. I mean, here's one:

1) All church members should be baptized.

2) Children of believers are church members.

3) Therefore, children of believers should be baptized.

P1 is backed up by a CT hermeneutic, i.e., God never revealed that children of beleivers are to be removed from the church militant. P2 is backed up by many places, Eph 6 comes to mind. Therefore conclusion follows. Now, most people would call that a "good, solid" argument. You may disagree, but it's still a good argument, depending on what you mean; I mean, it's valid and, at least, conceivable sound. No, what you want to be is *persuaded* and that, my friend, isn't going to be done by my arguments, but rather the spirit testifying as you read the Bible for all it's worth.


Oh, and before I forget, who was Isaac's federal head.

~Paul

Josh Brisby said...

Pauly-paedo the rhetorician:

Sup g?

***FIRST, A DISCLAIMER FOR ALL WHO READ THIS: To all who read this, please know that Paul and I are good friends who go back three years or so. We have debated this subject a lot, so please do not think that we are upset or angry with one another. Paul enjoys a good debate, as do I. My desire, and I know this is Paul's desire as well, is for the church to come to a deeper understanding and unity in the faith. We are both postmillennialists who believe this will happen in history. He prefers more of a debate format, and I usually prefer more of a dialogue format; so I don't mind humoring him by "getting tough" and getting in "debate mode." So please understand that we are buddies just having fun. So, having said that, let the fun begin. ***END OF DISCLAIMER.

Paul,

Well my friend, if you want to play with the big boys, prepare to be tackled. (To those reading this, PM= Paul Manata, and JB= Josh Brisby, below.)

PM: "Who was Isaac's federal head?"

JB: To ask such a question misunderstands the nature of the Old Covenant. As I mentioned before, the theocracy itself was significant of Christ to come. This is why to ask such a question would be to ask the same question as, "Who was the federal head of the foreigner who came into the Israelite theocracy?" The federal head of ISRAEL was Christ, because Christ is the fulfillment of Israel. To practice infant baptism is to jump back to the OT types and shadows.

PM: "Greg Bahnsen said you should baptize children, but you just deny that fact by means of self-decpetion."

JB: If you want to waste time in debate by saying such a thing, then fine. You know better. Nowhere do I and nor have I ever denied that Bahnsen believed that. How is that helpful for debate? I know you prefer debate, so here I stand. Don't waste valuable debate time asserting such nonsense.

PM: I even reject the premise that "communion" replaces just "the passover."

JB: Once again, you're in another bind. Are your hands numb from the blood being cut off from all your theological binds? Even as Mark Horne the paedocommunionist has shown, if the Eucharist replaces more than just the Passover, then you have a problem, because there were many meals were God told Israel to bring their nursing infants and babies. What do you do with this?

PM: "I can deny 'the fact' since I deny that household "necessarily includes infants" and I also deny that 'infants and many toddlers' partook of the passover meal."

JB: So are you denying then that household didn't include infants in the OT? Why did God tell Abraham to circumcise his entire household? You see, the big problem of the paedobaptist system is that there is A BIG GAPING HOLE I CAN DRIVE A TRUCH THROUGH with regards to biblical exegesis. Where is the exegesis of EVEN ONE TEXT? We should derive our systematic theology from our exegetical theology, but you turn it the other way around. You see, you derive your EISEGETICAL theology from your systematic theology.

PM: "The unbelieving spouse in 1 Co 7:14 is not in the covenant."

JB: Wow! Don't you see what a serious bind you are in? If she's not in the covenant, then the same type of "holiness" (which you admit is not covenantal) that the passage says she is sanctified by must not be covenant holiness. How can you then use 1 Co 7:14 for one of your prooftexts? So how are infants "covenantally holy"?

By the way, what I have seen in our past three years of debating this is, slowly but surely, you have had to abandon your positions on certain texts. Before you told me that the unbelieving spouse was "in the covenant" as a status of "covenant breaker." Now you are saying she is not. Before you used to rely on the household passages, now you do not. You know what I see? I see you getting whooped. I'm gonna keep whooping you until your paedobaptism bleeds to the ground. :0)

PM: "I mean, it is a scary thing to think that you're a teacher and it is your mind that molds the "minds of the future! :-) "

JB: Cute. Well, it is a scary thing to think you desire to be an elder and that you will be perverting the sacraments. Touche and smooch. :0)

PM: "I don't know what you mean by a "good solid" argument, anyway. I mean, here's one:

1) All church members should be baptized.

2) Children of believers are church members.

3) Therefore, children of believers should be baptized."

JB: Stop begging the question. I can reverse what you just did:

P1: All church members should be baptized.

P2: All who profess faith in Christ are church members.

Conclusion: Ergo, all who profess faith in Christ should be baptized.

This is what the debate is about, Manata. Quit begging the question and stop wasting time.

PM: "Now, most people would call [what I said] a 'good, solid' argument. You may disagree, but it's still a good argument, depending on what you mean; I mean, it's valid and, at least, conceivable sound.

JB: Now, most people would call what I just said a "good, solid" argument. You may disagree, but it's still a good argument . . . I mean, it's valid and, at least, conceivably sound.

PM: "No, what you want to be is *persuaded* and that, my friend, isn't going to be done by my arguments, but rather the spirit testifying as you read the Bible for all it's worth."

JB: Actually, no offense, but I have no desire to be persuaded of infant baptism. I despise it as a perversion of the beauty of our Lord's sacraments. To me, infant baptism is as perverted as sex outside of marriage: a misusing of God's institution outside of its intention. The Spirit has testified as I read His Word. You see, paedobaptism undermines the perspicuity of Scripture. It has major implications for the perspicuity of Scripture. Again, God has been clear in His Word that baptism is a positive institution and a New Covenant sacrament. To misuse it has dangerous implications for His church.

Kisses, hugs, and smooches to you.

In Christ,
Josh

Paul Manata said...

Josh Brisby's Failed Attempt to Undermine Paedobaptism

Well, it appears that I am in a debate that I never signed up for. Josh Brisby announced to the blogosphere that he and I were having a public debate. Let's be clear that I was never asked to engage in a public debate, though. nevertheless, I told Brisby that I would humor him for a bit.

What are we debating?

Well, I don't really know! I began by asking a question and Brisby responded by avoiding the question and then bringing up a few points that were totally off topic. I wasn't even going to look at the thread again until Josh called me and told me he responded. I responded back by pointing out that he never dealt with my question and then I also offered some input on his off-topic points. Then, next thing I know, we're having a "Public Debate."

My Purpose

Well, since Josh Brisby has said that he,

"no desire to be persuaded of infant baptism. I despise it as a perversion of the beauty of our Lord's sacraments. To me, infant baptism is as perverted as sex outside of marriage: a misusing of God's institution outside of its intention."

I highly doubt a "debate" over infant baptism will be fruitful. It looks as if nothing I say will ever convince Brisby, for he "has no desire" to be convinced. If he does then does he also have a desire to be convinced that "sex outside of marriage" is acceptable? What I will do, then, is simply refute Brisby's arguments and show how he does not argue for his position and simply rants and squawks what he calls 'arguments" against my position. Therefore, my purpose will be to show that even if one wants to be a credo baptist, it should certainly not be on the basis of Brisby's so-called "arguments."

Let's Be Clear

Josh and I are friends. We have already spoken and there is no offense at any sarcastic language. A bit of sarcasm and rhetoric make for a fun and lively "discussion." Sop, to those on the outside, it's Brisby-Manata thing, you wouldn't understand.

My Summary So Far

A) Josh has avoided my question that I originally asked, shady debate tactic 1.

B) I brought up numerous points in my last post that were not addressed or responded to. So, I can only assume that they stand accepted. If he does not accept them was he hoping to let it slip out of the minds of the other readers? Is this a "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" aproach? Is Brisby the Wizard of Credo-ville? So, shady debate tactic 2.

C) Brisby does almost nothing but assert. Maybe he hopes that if he asserts loud enough, and then calls me a "debater" and him a "discussioner" that he'll win over his crowd? If so, shady debate tactic 3. I do put more faith in the minds of the average credobaptist and so will assume that you will not be fooled by Brisby's smoke and mirrors tactics.

My Response to Brisby's Latest Salvo

(Brisby is JB: and I am PM:

JB: Well my friend, if you want to play with the big boys, prepare to be tackled. (To those reading this, PM= Paul Manata, and JB= Josh Brisby, below.)

PM: And since I know you, you really do mean "big" boy, don't you? :-) (around the waist, that is).

I have asked repeatedly, "Who was Isaac's federal head." Brisby finally responded (kindof)?

JB: To ask such a question misunderstands the nature of the Old Covenant. As I mentioned before, the theocracy itself was significant of Christ to come. This is why to ask such a question would be to ask the same question as, "Who was the federal head of the foreigner who came into the Israelite theocracy?" The federal head of ISRAEL was Christ, because Christ is the fulfillment of Israel. To practice infant baptism is to jump back to the OT types and shadows.

PM: So should I assume that Isaac's federal head was Christ? Was the unbelieving Israelites federal head, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour? Is this not contrary to Romans 5? Indeed, how can you say that an unbeliever in Israel did not have Adam as their federal head?

Also, "Israel," as such, does not have a federal head.

Moreover, the NT church is Israel and Christ is called "the head" of the NT church, so what do you mean by saying Christ "fulfilled" ... whatever?

At any rate, note that you have not answered my question, Maybe you are studying the issue? If you think you have then I am confused. Confused because if you're saying that Christ is the federal head of all Israel (made up of believers and unbelievers) then what of your claim in your original post on the matter? You said,

"When we consider the doctrine of covenant or federal or representative headship, namely, that Adam is the federal head of all unbelievers, and we are born and conceived with Adam as our federal head,..." (emphasis mine)

So, who was the federal head of the unbelieving infants who were given the sign of union with Jehovah?

I previously said, "Greg Bahnsen said you should baptize children, but you just deny that fact by means of self-decpetion." And Brisby responded by saying,

JB: If you want to waste time in debate by saying such a thing, then fine. You know better. Nowhere do I and nor have I ever denied that Bahnsen believed that. How is that helpful for debate? I know you prefer debate, so here I stand. Don't waste valuable debate time asserting such nonsense.

PM: Uhhh, I didn't say that you denied that Bahnsen believed that but rather that you denied infant baptism by means of self deception. What I said was in response to you saying, "Greg Bahnsen said you should do it, but you just ignore that fact by denying that he meant what he said." I was pointing out the silliness of bringing up what Greg bahnsen says I should do. I mean, he says you should baptize infants! C'mon, Brisby, get with the program... Greg Bahnsen thinks you should ;-)

I wrote that I "even reject the premise that "communion" replaces just "the passover." My response will be to pick apart his answer a piece at a time.

JB: Once again, you're in another bind.

PM: Sophistry

JB: Are your hands numb from the blood being cut off from all your theological binds?

PM: Sophistry

JB: Even as Mark Horne the paedocommunionist has shown, if the Eucharist replaces more than just the Passover, then you have a problem, because there were many meals were God told Israel to bring their nursing infants and babies. What do you do with this?

PM: Can we get specific rather than assertions? Just citing Mark Horne's name, and then giving vague references to meals does nothing to help you. Did these "infants" eat lamb chops? How can they digest lamb chops? Were they just brought? Well, I "bring" my child to communion.

Also, what kind of "meals?" I do not deny infants ALL meals. I tdepends upon the significance. If God told you to have a Sunday Dinner with your family, would ytou exclude your children? To be more specific, then, communion replaces ALL the OT sacrificail meals.

I had said, "I can deny 'the fact' since I deny that household "necessarily includes infants" and I also deny that 'infants and many toddlers' partook of the passover meal." And Brisby blunders,

JB: So are you denying then that household didn't include infants in the OT?

PM: No, Brisby, as my post makes clear, I deny that households in the OT as well as the NT don't necessarily include infants. If they did, then ALL households would have had infants included. So, if there was an OT family made up of a father, mother, and three teenage boys then was that not a "household" because it didn't have infants in it. So, as I said, I deny that households "necessarily" include infants.

Remember, you said, "then you admit that the term "household" doesn't necessarily include infants." To which I said, "yes" to. So, since "household" does not "necessarily" have to have infants in it, then the Exodus passages that say that the household partook of the passover does not necessarily mean infants and toddlers partook!

JB: Why did God tell Abraham to circumcise his entire household?

PM: You don't know?

JB: You see, the big problem of the paedobaptist system is that there is A BIG GAPING HOLE I CAN DRIVE A TRUCH THROUGH with regards to biblical exegesis.

PM: Nice assertion, care to back it up?

JB: Where is the exegesis of EVEN ONE TEXT?

PM: In the hundreds of books on the subject.

JB: ? We should derive our systematic theology from our exegetical theology, but you turn it the other way around.

PM: Ahhh, you're not being a very good Van Tilian, are you? There are no "brute" facts. Scriptural verses are exegeted not in isolation from a broader philosophy of Scripture, but under a more general philsophy (or system) of Scripture. I'd say the two go hand and hand. For example, you must presuppose that the Bible is the word of God and that you have the ability to understand this revelation. That is, exegesis does not take place in a vaccum.

JB:You see, you derive your EISEGETICAL theology from your systematic theology.

PM: Eisogesis, hmmm, maybe, but saying so doesn't make it so. Good ol' Brisby, heavy on rhetoric and light on argument.

JB: Wow! Don't you see what a serious bind you are in? If she's not in the covenant, then the same type of "holiness" (which you admit is not covenantal) that the passage says she is sanctified by must not be covenant holiness. How can you then use 1 Co 7:14 for one of your prooftexts? So how are infants "covenantally holy"?

PM: Yes, I do not use 1 Cor. 7:14 as a proof text for infants baptism. I would quote something my friend, Rev. Buchanan, wrote on the subject:

"By itself it rather demands contextual and theological interpretation, from whatever part of the baptismal spectrum you hail.

That being said, it serves the paedobaptist with a singularly powerful confirmation of his position, previously established on surer ground. Naturally, the credo-baptist usually feels none of its force, for he has come to his position also on other grounds and other texts. So, we find Gill (for example) offering the interpretation that "holy" in this passage means "legal" or "legitimate." I find this interpretation entirely beside Paul's point, but if I know where the interpreter is coming from, as I do in this case, then I can follow his reasoning though not in agreement with it.

As to the suppostion: that if the paedo-baptist finds infant baptism here, he must likewise approve of adult baptism without a verbal, willing submission--I must demure. Two separate relations are spoken of here, marital and parental. The husband (or wife) is said to be "sanctified" by the other, believing, spouse. Now, whatever that means, it does not have the same force as the different language used with respect to the children.

1) A conclusion is drawn from the basic fact asserted in the former half of the verse. The fundamental truth (more basic than the influence of the one person on the other) is that the believer possesses such an influential power. To claim that the same influence must have the same effect on two different persons bearing totally different relations to the influencer, is the same argument that one chemical must have the same effect on every substance to which it contacts. That, of course, is absurd. The specific influence is equally a product of the influencer and the composition or relation of the thing (or in this case, the person) influenced.

2) The language used of the adults is that of action, verb-perfect-passive-indicative, "he has been hallowed". The relationship (oath-bound, whether implicit or explicit) itself is responsible for bringing into existence this "set-apart-condition", whatever its nature.

Whereas with the children, first "your" sets up the relation. Biology establishes this relation, not oaths. Second, there is the contrast set up: unclean (akatharta) vs. holy (hagia). This biblical contrast must be explored (see the OT, see in particular the ceremonial law). Third, Paul is emphatic in multiple ways--the use of the explicit copula (be verb) twice, and the subject position of the predicate. Such use is emphatic and identifies the predicate with the subject. The fact that the predicates are nominative case would be sufficient. Thus, the faith of the parent defines the parent's children. They are holy, and what constitutes them holy (as opposed to unclean) is that they are children of a believer.

From the standpoint of one who already holds to the principle of covenant inclusion, this verse hammers an exclamation point at the end of our postion. But like most punctuation, it doesn't really do anything to the sentence that the construction doesn't do much more. We think the New Covenant (just like the Old) is spiritual in essence, but is adminstered visibly in the world by the church. We baptize our children because we believe that's what God tells us to do. We don't baptize them because they are holy. But they are holy, not unclean, and so baptising them isn't repugnant to their identity."

JB: By the way, what I have seen in our past three years of debating this is, slowly but surely, you have had to abandon your positions on certain texts. Before you told me that the unbelieving spouse was "in the covenant" as a status of "covenant breaker." Now you are saying she is not. Before you used to rely on the household passages, now you do not. You know what I see? I see you getting whooped. I'm gonna keep whooping you until your paedobaptism bleeds to the ground. :0)

PM: This is silly, first, I NEVER rested or used (the traditional) "household" arguments and I challenge you to quote where I did. Second, I have changed my views on 1 Cor 7:14. I do not use it as a proof text but it does lend creedence to my position. But, let me get this straight, to change my views on 1 Cor. 7 means I'm getting my "butt whooped?" I mean, for Pete's sake, you used to hold that you had a "transcendental argument" against paedobaptism, but now you don't (after I showed that you didn't even know what a transcendental argument was). So should i conclude that your change means you're getting your butt kicked? C'mon, Brisby. How embarrassing.

Brisby had said that paedo's had no "good, solid argument" for our position and I replied,

PM: "I don't know what you mean by a "good solid" argument, anyway. I mean, here's one:

1) All church members should be baptized.

2) Children of believers are church members.

3) Therefore, children of believers should be baptized.

P1 is backed up by a CT hermeneutic, i.e., God never revealed that children of beleivers are to be removed from the church militant. P2 is backed up by many places, Eph 6 comes to mind. Therefore conclusion follows."


To the above Brisby responded,

JB: JB: Stop begging the question. I can reverse what you just did:

P1: All church members should be baptized.

P2: All who profess faith in Christ are church members.

Conclusion: Ergo, all who profess faith in Christ should be baptized.

PM: First, how did I beg the question? Second, notice that Brisby left out whewre I offered brief support for my premises, but then says I "begged the question." how deceptive. Third, he doesn't even know logic and how to argue for his position! I agree with brisby's argument. Indeed, all paedo's agree with Brisby's argument! Now, if Brisby had an "ONLY" thrown in there, then he would have "reveresed" my argument. Sheesh, Josh. Think man, think.

JB This is what the debate is about, Manata. Quit begging the question and stop wasting time.

PM: I backed up my premises. So, I'll just assume that I gave a "good" argument. ready to become a paedo yet? Oh yeah, NOTHING I DO will convince you of it.

I had wrote, "Now, most people would call [what I said] a 'good, solid' argument. You may disagree, but it's still a good argument, depending on what you mean; I mean, it's valid and, at least, conceivable sound." And Brisby responds,

JB: Now, most people would call what I just said a "good, solid" argument. You may disagree, but it's still a good argument . . . I mean, it's valid and, at least, conceivably sound.

PM: LOL! Well, I agree with his argument, and that it is sound. Note well, his little shell game tactic did NOTHING to refute my argument. So, I still have a "valid and, at least, conceivably sound" argument.

Anyway, tata for now. If this is the best I can expect to see from you, just count me out of the "debate" and go a head thinking you have good arguments against the most formidable minds God has given his Church.

Josh Brisby said...

Before I begin to answer Paul's last salvo, for those who read this, please understand that it was not my intention to catch him by surprise in a debate. I merely wished to let others know we were debating. Paul has been gracious and has suggested limiting this debate to five salvos each. That means this is my third, and then he will respond two more times, and then me two more times. I have offered him "the last word" as it were, since he is a guest on my blog, but he has declined. The offer is still open if he wishes to have the last word. Now, without further ado, let the whooping begin.

PAUL MANATA'S FAILED ATTEMPT AT ANYTHING EVEN CLOSE TO A "DEFENSE" OF PAEDOBAPTISM

In all of Paul's response last time, we are left amiss with any defense of paedobaptism at all. All he said is that he had a "sound" argument which argued from covenant theology. Well, something to consider, Paul:

(1) Covenant theology is not monolithic. I am a covenant theologian, and it is nothing new for Baptists to hold to covenant theology.

(2) There are many stripes of covenant theology among paedobaptists as well.

(3) Paedobaptists still have yet to prove that Baptists cannot hold to covenant theology. I think I have shown that it is paedobaptists who undermine the foundation of covenant theology, not Baptists.

So, that in and of itself should let the reader know that for Paul to merely "claim" that he has a "sound argument," and then defending it on the basis of "covenant theology" does not hack it. In fact, that's what we've been debating about in the first place!

PAUL'S EISEGESIS

So, Manata claims that he has some texts on his side. He claims he does not use 1 Co 7:14 anymore, but then he goes on a long rampage, and quotes another writer for most of his response. Yet he admits he doesn't use it! Paul admits that the unbelieving spouse is not in the covenant. If that's the case, then HOW IN THE WORLD are the children in the covenant, since they share the same "holiness" with the unbelieving spouse? I am amiss to see how Paul can use 1 Co 7:14 IN ANY WAY NOW.

He also tries to use Ephesians 6. He should know better than this. This has been thoroughly refuted and hung out to dry by Baptists. Here is how the paedobaptist argument goes:

P1: Paul writes Ephesians to "the saints" in the Ephesus church (1:1).

P2: Paul speaks to children in Ephesians 6:1.

Conclusion: Ergo, children are numbered among the saints.

A couple of things by way of response to this.

(1) As Baptists, we don't deny that children CAN be members of the church. If they profess faith, they are welcome to be members (and if they do, we won't withhold the other sacrament of the Lord's Table from them, as do most paedobaptists, Paul being one of them).

(2) Paul tells the children to obey "in the Lord." Yet most paedobaptists admit that their "covenant children" are not regenerate yet! How then can their obedience be "in the Lord"?

(3) We are dealing specifically with infant baptism here. Do paedobaptists really think the apostle is talking to infants? My wife and I have just been blessed with our next child, and we are praying that God will grant her faith. Can I really go up to her right now and say, "Rebekah Emerald Brisby, you need to obey your parents in the Lord"? Will she understand me? Let's ask her.

The paedobaptist appeal to these texts lacks any exegesis at all, and even in their system it does not work.

CLARIFICATION OF SOMETHING I EARLIER SAID

When I said that the federal head of ISRAEL was Christ, I was saying that Israel was typological of Christ to come. In all honesty, talking to paedobaptists about this many times is like talking to a wall. They just don't get it. This is why in Colossians 2, Paul says that we have been baptized and are circumcised with a circumcision "made without hands." The NT fulfillment of circumcision is not baptism. It is circumcision of the heart.

I think I have answered the substance of Mr. Manata's last salvo. He made some cute remarks here and there, but instead of letting rhetoric get in the way, I think we need to deal with the specific arguments and questions.

WHY WE ARE HAVING THIS DEBATE

Paul and I will not change one another. But I think that this is beneficial for our readers who come to read this debate. It is the reader who must sift through the rhetoric and the joking around, and it is the reader who must decide who has the more solid arguments. You are the jury. We are the lawyers. Who has better arguments? Sift through the rhetoric, and watch out for being diverted. Scroll back and scroll down several times and see who deals with the questions and arguments on the floor, and who does not. Scroll back and scroll down and see who deals with the biblical texts better.

Who has? Well, that's up to you, the jury. Two more salvos from Paul to go, and two more from me to go.

Josh Brisby

Paul Manata said...

Okay I'm back. Busy wedding time.



A: This "debate" started because Josh Brisby said that paedos have a problem.

He offers an enthymemetic rhetorical question in his original post,

"Who is the federal head of the "covenant child"?

Obviously he's implying that if I say that the federal head of the child, say, my child, is Adam then I should not baptise him.

I simply came in and asked my buddy (who served as a groomsman in my recent wedding, btw), "who was Isaac's federal head?"

Needless to say I expected a simple answer. I have not received one yet. My argument is that if Josh's argument against paedobaptism is correct, in that giving people whose federal head is Adam the sign of covenant membership undermines CT, then Abraham undermined CT (or, someone did since not all circumcised had Christ as thei federal head). Needless to say, I hold that Abraham *did not* undermine CT. Therefore, one is bound to agree that baptisimg children whose covenant head is Adam does not necessarily undermine CT. The conclusion we can draw from the above argument (which you'll notice is a valid modus tollens argument) is that Josh's argument on *this point* fails to land on its target. Since Brisby never paid me to take the fall, I'm not going down by this phantom punch.

Now, have I received an answer to my question? In his latest salvo he doesn't even mention it. Brisby has told me via phone conversations that he "did answer it, you just don't like my answer."

In his second second response to me he quotes my question and then responds below it. So, I take it that that is his answer. But the problem here is that my response to his second salvo addresses his so-called "answer." Then, in his follow up, he doesn't address my critique of his answer (or, as I like to call it, his non-answer).

So, what are we to conclude here? I asked a question and then brisby turns it into a "debate" and then refuses to even debate most of the isues I bring up. Indeed, the resolution, it could be said, was my original question. notice that Brisby steers his boart out of the dangerous waters I placed him in, and brings up many side issues. My question was pointed and *that* is what I wanted to discuss. In effect, then, Brisby has attempted to fallaciously shift the burden off proof as well as argue from irrelevant conclusions.

For example, I asked a question and rather than sticking on topic Brisby engages in rhetoric like: "I've never seen a good, solid argument from a paedo." WEell, that may be! But that is completely irrelevant to my question.

Having said the above, I'll quote Brisby's "answer" to my question:

"To ask such a question misunderstands the nature of the Old Covenant. As I mentioned before, the theocracy itself was significant of Christ to come. This is why to ask such a question would be to ask the same question as, "Who was the federal head of the foreigner who came into the Israelite theocracy?" The federal head of ISRAEL was Christ, because Christ is the fulfillment of Israel. To practice infant baptism is to jump back to the OT types and shadows."

Why is it absurd to ask "who was Isaac's federal head?" That was my question. Brisby says it's "absurd" to ask who Isaac's federal head was.

Well, I assume that Brisby holds to the 1689 LBC. In ch. 6 we read:

"3___ They being the root, and by God's appointment, standing in the room and stead of all mankind, the guilt of the sin was imputed, and corrupted nature conveyed, to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation, being now conceived in sin, and by nature children of wrath, the servants of sin, the subjects of death, and all other miseries, spiritual, temporal, and eternal, unless the Lord Jesus set them free."

Why did "all" mankind become corrupt, by nature, from birth? Well, simply because Adam was "all" mankind's federal head.

So, using the logical law of excluded middle we can ask, "who was Isaac's federal head?" And we would have two options: Either P ∨ ¬ P. That is, either Adam was Isaac's federal head, or Adam was not. Indeed, this apllies to all of the circumcised.

Is Brisby denying that any circumcised Israelite had Adam as their federal head? Since we saw above that, even according to Brisby's confession, all men have Adam as their federal head (until they trust in Christ as their representative, see LBC. ch. 11).

Further, either Adam or Christ can be a federal head for a man. All men have a federal head. Therefore, if they do not have Adam then they have Christ, and vice versa. One will note that this is a valid disjunctive syllogism. It cannot be denied. So, if Brisby is unwilling to say that Adam was Isaac's federal head (upon birth) then Isaac must have had Christ as his federal head. Indeed, if all Israelites had Christ as their federal head, which they would have to if Adam was not (see above argument), then all Israelites would be justified (see. LBC ch. 11). All Israelites were not justified, therefore not all Israelites had Christ as their federal head (again, a valid modus tollens).

What follows from the above? Well, we are *forced* to agree with this syllogism:

All male Israelties were to recieved the sign of covenant membership.

Some male Israelite's federal head was Adam.

Therefore some whose federal head was Adam were to receive the sign of covenant membership.

The above is obviously a valid syllogism (Datisi AII-3). I doubt Brisby will challenge P1. P2 was established by the above disjunctive syllogism and corrsponding modus tollens arguments. Thus, my conclusion necessarily follows. Not only that, it is a sound argument.

What follows from this? Well, quite simply, we ought to all agree, in accord with sound reason, that Brisby's enthymeme is untrue.

Therefore, my argument has been established. My argument is that if Brisby's argument is sound then not only do paedobaptists undermine covenant theology, but then Abraham would have done so as well. Again, Calvin is helpful: "What can the anti-paedobaptist bring against us that could not have been brought against Abraham?"

I'll close out this section with a quote from Brisby's own words in his original post:

"When we consider the doctrine of covenant or federal or representative headship, namely, that Adam is the federal head of all unbelievers, and we are born and conceived with Adam as our federal head,..." (emphasis mine)"

Therefore, even Brisby admits that people whose federal head was Adam were given the sign of covenant membership. Not only that, but Brisby holds that non-elect make up some of the members of the external/visible covenant. So, Brisby even holds that people's whose federal head is Adam may be baptized! But when a paedobaptist does this he's somehow got a problem.

B: Part two is concerned with one of the things brisby addresses in his last response to me. Notice that he has failed to engage the many points and counters I brought up, fine, I'll take them as points.

Basically, (B) is simple. Brisby claimed that he had "never seen a good, solid argument from a paedobaptist." I simply gave him a valid one, which was "good." Maybe Brisby thinks valid arguments are not good. And, at least on some interpretations, it is sound. So, it is a "good and solid one." Brisby doesn't like it. basically this boils down to brisby saying that he doesn't like paedo arguments. You see, what Brisby really meant is that he's never seen a paedobaptist argument which convinces him. But this is really more a claim about Brisby's presuppositions and what he takes to be evidence. Bare in mind, though, that Brisby's psychological state has no bearing on whether an argument is "good and solid." Not all good and solid arguments are convincing, otherwise all men would be self-conscious theists!

One premise of my argument was defended on a covenant theologies opperating assumption that only God Almighty has a right to change His prior commands and ordinances. Is Brisby denying this principle? Would Brisby seek to think that he has the right to say that the Lord of the covenant has changed certain elemetns if the Lord hath not spoken thusly!?

I never said that all covenant theology is the same. I know it is not monolithic. But attacking staw men is not enough for Brisby to appeal to the rational among us (yes, I'm including even you baptist readers!). I specifically said that P2 was backed up by "a" covenant theology hermeneutic. I would say that one element to CT is the belief, contrary to dispensationalists, that we consider something binding unless God abrogates it. We do not consider abrogated unless God re-affirms it. Is Brisby willing to deny this? If so, we can argue that point and I'll show that such ideas are disrespectful to the Creator. The creature does not have a right to assume that God must constantly re-affirm Himself.

C: Brisby asked "HOW IN THE WORLD ARE CHILDREN IN THE COVENANT SINCE YOU ADMIT THAT THE UNBELIEVING SPOUSE IS NOT." I'm afraid here that Brisby is, again, being illogical. Basically, to refute this, I need to point out that unbelieving spouses are different than the children of believers (for one, I'm not married to my son!), and therefore it is fallacious to assume that since unbelieving spouses are not in the covenant that means that the children cannot be in also.

D: Lastly, Brisby responds to my use of Ephesians 6. he's big on talk, but small on logic. he writes:

"He also tries to use Ephesians 6. He should know better than this. This has been thoroughly refuted and hung out to dry by Baptists. Here is how the paedobaptist argument goes:

P1: Paul writes Ephesians to "the saints" in the Ephesus church (1:1).

P2: Paul speaks to children in Ephesians 6:1.

Conclusion: Ergo, children are numbered among the saints."


This is his baptist argument! Well, first off it commits that fallacy of illicit minor.

Second, and probably most embarrassing, is how does Brisby deliniate the "children" in v. 1 and the "children" in v.4? That is, if "children" in v.1 are considered elect then are the "children" in v.4 considered elect as well? The fathers are told to not exasperate the same children as v.1. Does this mean that fathers can exasperate his non-elect children!

Moreover, was this only addressed to the 8 yr. olds and above? Would Brisby allow for a 7 yr. old to be baptised? What about 5? 4? And, how does he determine the cut-off. So, were all the kids under 4th grade in "Ephesians Children's Church?" That way they'd be sure to get only the "sainst" to here Paul's letter?

What method does Brisby use to say, "okay, v.1 talks about the saints and v.4 talks about saints and non-saints?

Third, notice the continuity. The children are told to honor their mother and father, they are also given basically the same promise (that things will go well) as the children of the covenant were given in the Old Testament. We see God talking to the children of NT believersa the same way he taled to children of OT believers.

Fourth, Brisby holds that non-elect can be in covenant with God. Was this letter not written for them as well? No, non-elect covenant members were called "saints," "brothers," etc. Though they are false-professors, Paul does not know. The "saints" do not have a red S on their forehead. Therefore, if in this life unbelievers may be called "saints" then Brisby has no argument against including infatcs in this category.

Fifth, Brisby begs the question. If all members of the visible coveant are referrd to as saints, then all Brsiby has does is to assume that children of believers are not members of the visiblke covenant, and, therefore, paul was not responding to them.

Brisby then says that Baptists think that children can be in the covenant, if they profess. I never denied this.

Brisby says that they are commanded to obey their parents, "in the Lord." Well, so were non-elect Israelite children. Indeed, Brisby would tell all covenant members that they should "obey in the Lord." Brisby would even tell non-elect members of the covenant the same, for we know that this serves to give them greater damnation (cf. Hebrews 6, 10 et al.).

Laslty, he says that infants could not understand the letter. I know. But my point was one of assumed inclusion regardless of profession. All the children, even the 3 yr olds who could understand, somewhat (would) brisby baptise a 3 yr old?), were just assumed to be members.

Furthermore, in the OT when we read that the laws and ordinances wwere for "you and your children" are we to believe that no one thought about the infants? What about when we read that "you and your children are to follow these laws I have laid before you today?" So, the idea is one of inclusion for children of believers. I did not think that it meant that infants could understand the letter, just like I didn;t thionk (and neither did Brisby!) that OT infants could understand and obey the law. The principle was one of inclusion. The principle was that, contrary to seeing God remove the children we have letters written to them. We hyave them assumed to be members of churches.

I'll close with Warfield:

"But now, having run through these various arguments, to what conclusion do we come? Are they sufficient to set aside our reasoned conviction, derived from some such argument as Dr. Hodge's, that infants are to be baptized? A thousand times no. So long as it remains true that Paul represents the Church of the Living God to be one, founded on one covenant (which the law could not set aside) from Abraham to today, so long it remains true that the promise is to us and our children and that the members of the visible Church consist of believers and their children -- all of whom have a right to all the ordinances of the visible Church, each in its appointed season. The argument in a nutshell is simply this: God established His Church in the days of Abraham and put children into it. They must remain there until He puts them out. He has nowhere put them out. They are still then members of His Church..."