Friday, March 23, 2007

BEHOLD, CHILDREN ARE A HERITAGE FROM THE LORD

Praise our Lord!!!

We had our beautiful baby Owen on March 21st at 4:00 in the morning, on the dot. He weighed 7 lbs, 15 oz.

His full name is Owen Isaac Brisby. We named him Owen after the great Puritan John Owen (who wrote the best defense of particular redemption ever to this date, and which has still not been answered by universal redemptionists and Amyraldians), and Isaac after the great patriarch of our faith.

Please pray that our little one will trust in the Lord Jesus one day.

Thank You, O Lord, for this little one. Please guard him and watch over him, and grant him faith and repentance, even very soon. May it please You, O God, to have mercy on him by showing him the great riches of salvation in Christ. In His Name I pray. Amen.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

HISTORICITY OF INFANT BAPTISM DOUBTFUL

As I have listened once again and studied up once again on paedobaptistic arguments, the area of history, at least, seems to call into question the paedobaptist view. David Wright, who is professor of Patristic and Reformed Christianity at the University of Edinburgh (and, I might add, a paedobaptist), warns us against the dangers of trying to use the historical record as one of the proofs for infant baptism. I will let my readers click on the link to read his excellent article:

www.baptism.org.uk/wright.htm


Also, two articles on the Triablogue website I thought were helpful in this regard as well:

www.triablogue.blogspot.com/2006/02/patristic-rejection-of-infant-baptism.html

and

www.triablogue.blogspot.com/2006/03/history-of-infant-baptism.html

Please read the articles, but they make the point that infant baptism was not the common practice of the church until well into the sixth century, and did not even show up until the second century (although it may had been around in small spurts before Tertullian).

The case is also made that modern historical scholarship is admitting (even admitted by paedobaptists) that credobaptism seems to have been the apostolic practice.

The articles certainly help shed some light on the question at hand.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

DISTURBED BY MACARTHUR'S RECENT COMMENTS

I have been grieved by John Macarthur's recent comments that he gave at the recent Shepherd's Conference. You can read about this online more or do a google search, but I am surprised that he would speak the way he did.

Let me be clear. I am not amillennial, but I think it is next to slanderous to claim that amillennialism is influenced by Arminianism.

Furthermore, I think that even amils could answer Macarthurs question of why the curses on Israel are literal but the blessings are transfered to the Church. Amillennialists (at least of the paedobaptist variety) would say that the curses are still offered to the Church if a visible member does not persevere, even as blessings are offered to those who do persevere.

Of course, as a postmillennialist, I think I have even a better answer for Macarthur. Why does one have to be amil to reject premil? In fact, I think one of the main strengths of the postmillennial eschatology is that it takes seriously both the timing of the eschaton, and the nature of the kingdom. I think this makes up for the weaknesses of both premillennialism and amillennialism.

Yet, I do not take a dogmatic stance on my eschatology. (See my recent post before this one.) However, I have some questions for Dr. Macarthur:

(1) Dr. Macarthur, why do you believe the Reformed faith has overwhelmingly rejected any form of premillennialism?

(2) Dr. Macarthur, do you really believe that the Reformed divines were Arminian in their outlook with regards to their eschatology?

(3) Dr. Macarthur, what has driven you to such a dogmatism with regards to your eschatology, especially when you are going against the majority of the Puritans and the Reformed divines?

Finally, I think there are always people who try to argue that their view is the "most consistent" with Reformed theology. In fact, check out an article by Richard Muller, a paedobaptist brother, which tries to argue that the continental Reformed tradition is the most consistent with Calvinism and Reformed theology. You can read the article by clicking on http://www.kimriddlebarger.squarespace.com/how-many-points/ .

Again, another warning against dogmatism.

Monday, March 12, 2007

DOGMATICALLY AGAINST DOGMATISM

I need to dogmatically assert the following:

We need to be careful about being dogmatic on issues of the faith which are in the more debated camp. That is not to say that we should not debate and dialogue in love; it is merely to say that we need to avoid dogmatism.

Consider an issue which I was very dogmatic about in the past. In the past, I have been very dogmatic about the doctrine of credobaptism. I would say that it is "clear" that the Bible is against infant baptism. Likewise, I have read many paedobaptist brethren assert that the Bible "clearly" teaches covenantal infant baptism.

Yet, godly men on both sides of the camp, throughout church history, have been many.

I could name many godly Reformed Baptists, both contemporary and past; and I could name many godly Reformed paedobaptists, both contemporary and past. This, at least prima facie, should warn us against the danger of being dogmatic on the issue of the proper subjects of baptism.

Many of my Baptist brethren find it hard to believe how anyone could believe in infant baptism, but I would dare say that that is because, perhaps, they are unfamiliar with the case for Reformed paedobaptism. Again, I am not saying I agree with paedobaptism--I am just saying that we need to be careful when it comes to dogmatism against it.

Paedobaptists do not believe infant baptism for sentimental reasons. They believe it because they think the Bible teaches it.

Baptists do not reject infant baptism for sentimental reasons. They believe in professors' baptism alone because they think the Bible teaches it.

MY BAPTISM "TESTIMONY"

I was raised dispensational and Southern Baptist. By God's grace, I came to the Reformed faith in 1996. I was Presbyterian, and paedobaptistic, for two years at the time. In 1999, by God's grace, I became a Reformed Baptist, after having met a Reformed Baptist brother and having studied the issue. I grew into a dogmatism when it came to Reformed credobaptism, and I even came to the point where I dared to say that paedobaptism had no good arguments, no, not one.

Yet, years ago I had seen some problems with the Reformed Baptist view. I do not wish to go into them here and now--perhaps in a later post. But I still remain a Baptist. I am not convinced of paedobaptism at this point. May the Lord lead me into all truth if I am wrong. I remain open to change here, I hope, by God's grace. And I continue to study. May God forgive me if I am wrong.

I am not trying to open up another baptism debate with this post; I am merely trying to warn against dogmatism in secondary issues. For some reason, God has seen fit in His providence, in the history of His Church, to have this issue unresolved at present. I have to respectfully disagree now with the Reformers when they said that one of the three marks of a true church is the proper administration of the sacraments. If it were, then would not our Lord have made that issue clear in His Word? Yet the debate remains unresolved.

As a postmillennialist (and I could be wrong there too!), I believe the issue will be resolved before our Lord returns. Until then, may the Lord Jesus' prayer for unity among His brethren continue to be fulfilled.

O Lord, I thank You for Your people, both paedobaptist and credobaptist. Our Father, we desire to be faithful to Your Word when it comes to the sacraments. Please, our God, in Your providence, would You be pleased to take away the fog and open our eyes to the beauty of Your sacraments? Would you be pleased to make it clear to us how You would have us treat them? As Your precious Son, Who is our Righteousness, has prayed, may we be brought to complete unity. Even as You are Triune, O Great Three-In-One, I lift this prayer to You in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.