Baptism, Whew!

What follows is a series of emails I exchanged with Doug Serven five years ago when I was trying to wrap my brain around all the infant baptism teaching in the PCA. I’m bumping it up here as a starter point for those of you who asked me about it this past week. Feel free to ask more questions in the comments and I’ll find someone who can answer them.

Megan: Doug, This is Megan, writing you with what is probably Presbyterian 101 basic stuff, but something I need some education on, if you don’t mind. Can you explain the baptism thing to me? I don’t even necessarily mean the infant baptism as much as the believer’s baptism and being sprinkled and whatnot. I realize that my Baptist upbringing has played a big role in developing what I’ve always thought to be scriptural baptism, but am now wondering if it is indeed scriptural, or simply the Baptist way.

Any insight you can send my way would be greatly appreciated. We’re going to be “Presbyterian” again in about 5 weeks and would just like to have something else to help develop my thinking in this area.

Doug: Megan – That’s a great question. Glad you asked. I hadn’t heard the news that you were going Presby again. Village Seven or somewhere else? This is going to be a pretty long answer, but mostly a first installment I suppose.

Hmmm… a few preparation thoughts. I grew up Methodist, so had seen a thousand babies baptized. When in college, I was Baptist, then EFree, then of course Countryside with JB. I’d say it took a good year or two for me to get my mind around inf baptism – it just seemed so contrary to what was right, what the Scriptures said. And then when we did sort of embrace it, we were in another quandary. Our church didn’t believe in it. And it seemed like we should be getting baptized in accordance to what our church believed, not off in a corner somewhere with Jimmy Covey and a bowl of water in our living room. So we held off. We baptized Ruth and Cal together in Lincoln. So I’m not saying that this is/was an easy process, especially if you’ve grown up Baptist all your life.

Also, don’t forget that you don’t have to believe in inf bapt to be a member of a PCA church. That can grow on you. Obviously, you will see many inf bapts and may or may not be able to handle it, but it’s not a requirement of membership. It is of elders and deacons though, naturally. That being said, I think it’s an important issue bc it gets at a lot of what I’m going to say below as to how we read and understand the Bible and also how we think of our children and their standing with God.

Megan: Why does the covenantal perspective matter with how we think of our children and their standing with God?

Doug: Why did God treat his people in terms of covenant from the beginning of time?

Megan: I don’t know.

Doug: Okay – but he did. The point is that for some reason he thinks that this is important and this is how he has always done things.

First question – is the OT and the NT essentially the same or essentially different? Between the time and pages of Malachi and Matthew, how much of the story of God’s people changed? Another way of asking – would the NT believers assume continunity or discontinuity with the OT? How you answer this question goes a long way in forming your opinion of many topics, inf bapt included. A continuity perspective would be considered “covenantal” (and of course there is not a complete continuity, ie, the New Covenant, Jesus, etc). A discontinuity one would be considered “dispensational” (and of course it is not completely different from their perspective either).

This question really matters, for it lurks under our reading of the same Bible like a culture – unnamed, unmasked, unacknowledged.

I’m assuming/arguing for a continuity/covenantal outlook on the Bible. We are the same people as those in the OT. Israel is the church of the OT. The church is the new Israel. We assume continuity when the Bible is unclear.

Megan: If I’m going to be honest here, I must say I’ve never really understood “dispensationalism” or why it did or didn’t matter. So I’m not having difficulty in switching from the Baptist belief there to the “covenantal” one.

Here’s another one of my problems, Doug. Growing up, I believed and trusted the leadership I was around (Baptist). I embraced their teaching. I went to college and saw some discrepancies, so I changed my thinking. That has been happening to me for the last ten years. What I’m afraid of doing now, is just switching to another denomination and again, believing and trusting the leadership, so embracing their teaching. The practical reality is that I can’t go to seminary. I am feeling on top of things if I even remember to have a quiet time, so pouring hours into figuring all of this out doesn’t really seem possible either.

Doug: Fill me in on what kind of changes you’ve made over the past ten years. You don’t have to figure it all out, like I mentioned. Glad you’re asking. Some of it comes slowly, over time.

Megan: Mostly all basic Baptist beliefs. From the views on election vs man’s choosing to dumb things like drinking and dancing. There are a lot of random things I was taught that are just someone’s personal moral code plugged into church doctrine. It took me a while to figure that out.

Megan: So what’s my responsibility here? Do I just put myself under the authority of those I believe God is leading me to do so (ie: Village 7) and then believe what they say? Am I really supposed to spend hours myself trying to figure this out?

Doug: I guess you need to follow your husband and trust that he isn’t leading you into heresy. After that, like I said, all you have to believe to join a PCA church is in Jesus as Savior. You can disagree with Inf baptism and the 5 points all you want. Just don’t get mad when they teach it and baptize babies. That’s why they’re teaching this stuff in the new members class.

Doug: So, God has always had a people for Himself. He called those people, formed them. But those people were always made of the regenerate and the unregenerate. There were the saved and the unsaved, both within the covenantal community. We would call this the visible and the invisible church. The visible church is made of all those who are members of the cov. community, marked off from the world in some way. The invisible church are those within the vis church who are the “true Israel,” ie, the elect, bound for Heaven.

Megan: I’m not understanding the difference between the visible and invisible church. Are some of them elect and some not? How can non-elect, non-saved people be in the same covenantal community with elect, saved people? I can see how they can coexist and be in the same community, but not in the same covenantal community. Are you saying the invisible church, the “true Israel” are unsaved, but still bound for Heaven?

Doug: Does God make a covenant with Israel? Are they the covenantal community? Is Israel the Old Testament church? What do you think that means? There were certainly nonBs in the OT covenant. A covenant is a relationship set up by God (usually administered by blood) where there are duties and blessings. It isn’t necessarily a saving thing, as in Salvation/Heaven. That’s why the OT and NT talk about the circumcision of the heart, of the New Covenant. So there are Bs and UnBs within a covenantal community. All of the people in the cov community receive blessings from God (manna, getting out of Egypt, miracles, etc), and cursings too for that matter (not getting to get into the promised land) – but not all within the cov community are Christians. Some are, some aren’t.

This is an important concept here and I want to make sure you get it. This makes you read the OT differently than the way it seems you are looking at things. This is covenantal verses dispensational theology (just so you know).

Megan: Okay, I’m understanding this.

Doug: Very good.

Doug: What’s the point of the unregenerate being a part of the visible church you might ask? Well, number one, it happens all the time, and also there are blessings and curses associated with being the cov community. ALL of Israel was released from captivity from Egypt – not just the believers. That would be a benefit for sure. We strive for a greater overlap between visible and invisible, but this will never be a 1 to 1 correlation. The normal Baptist is uncomfortable with this and doesn’t like it, ignores it.

Megan: This may be part of what I was asking in my earlier email. Is there any chance of someone being in the “covenantal” community, who thinks they are part of the church, but really aren’t, although to them and to everyone else they look like the visible church? They might be the invisible church? But then would they receive the same benefit as the rest of those in the covenantal community anyway? I’m sure I’m not understanding the visible/invisible thing.

Doug: This is what I was trying to explain above. In this understanding, there are four groups of people. The questions are what is a person’s relationship with Jesus and the Church.
No to Cross, Yes to Church
No to Cross, No to Church
Yes to Cross, Yes to Church
Yes to Cross, No to Church
In the context of our discussion here, everyone fits into one of these categories (and can change categories of course).

The two columns on the right are what makes up the visible church. These are the people who are under the authority of the church, members of churches, taking the sacraments, etc. They are the covenantal community. They are like Israel in the OT. But not everyone in church is a Christian. Some are not elect while others are elect and have not yet realized their election in space and time.

Where we want people to be is in Yes/Yes. That is the best place. The book Jaded makes the case that the bottom right place is fine too, but the Bible indicates otherwise. The top right corner are the people you don’t find many of in Oklahoma – more in the Northeast or in Nebraska. I’d say in Oklahoma you see mostly the top left and bottom right people.

We want to minister to people where they are and pray that God will move in their hearts to help them align the outside with the inside. Bottom left is what we’re praying for. That’s the place to be.

Does this help?

Megan: Yes. So if I’m getting this, you can have believers who are in the covenantal community, or visible church, or not in that. You can also have non-believers who are in the cc or not in that. Believers in either category are still believers and will still be in heaven when they die, but the proper place for the believer while on earth is as a member of the cc. Am I understanding that?

Doug: Yes, although I am uncomfortable with the Jaded book people. Augustine and others said, “there is no salvation outside of the church.” Depends on what he means by that, but a believer who is operating outside of the church should seriously wonder about that. Not saying he or she isn’t a Xian, but that Bs should WANT church, for it is the bride of Christ.
Now, if we know that there have always been (and I contend will always be) both the regenerate and the unregenerate within the midst of God’s people (and he does call this mixed group his people), his church , then how do we know what marks off that mixed group from the outside world? God gave us a mark for that – circumcision. Ouch. Why that? Much speculation, but essentially it was God’s choice to do so, and he is the one who said that every boy at eight days old was to be marked out as belonging to the cov community. No choice in the matter. Esau and Jacob. Isaac and Ishmael. Both in the cov community – one elect and the other not. Does this make sense?

Megan: So are you saying that there are unregenerate people in the group of people God calls his church? If they are in the group that God calls his own, then will they be in Heaven later on?

Doug: If you’re following, then yes, I am saying (along with the OT) that there are unregenerate people within the cov community. Within his church.

But of course, no, I am not saying they will be heaven. That is a connected category of course, but not the same thing. See above.

If you’re wondering about how can God call a group of people that are made up of Bs and unBs his people, then you have to grapple with the OT not me. Explain how it can mean anything else.
There are other concepts working than personal salvation all the time. That is a late American grid put upon the Bible.

Doug: Okay, the big thing here is what I tried to set up at the beginning. Do you assume continuity or discontinuity? Can you have a form change while retaining the essence of the thing? I believe so.

There are two sacraments, right? Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. What is the antecedent of the Lord’s Supper?



The Passover. Now the Passover is changed to a bloodless sign and symbol because the blood of the paschal lamb has definitively been spilled for the release of the people from captivity. This provides some extremely rich meditation on the Passover, by the way. It is the NT, changed bc of Jesus but retaining the same essence, sign and symbol of abiding love and fellowship for God’s people. Without understanding the OT though, you can’t really understand baptism. It is too shallow.

Now, here’s my big contention, the one that my Baptist friends cannot seem to buy, and that took me a long time to as well. What is the OT correlation for the other NT sacrament – baptism? Most will go into talking about the ritual washings and things like that, but will not find an equivalent that’s been changed. That should seem odd to them, but again, must assume discontinuity. But it has to be circumcision. Paul makes this connection directly for us in Col 2. Circum is the OT sign and seal of membership into God’s cov community. It is changed, in form but not in essence, bc blood doesn’t need to be spilled any more, and bc of the attitude of Gal that it is broader, ie, for boys and girls not just for boys any more.

Megan: Why suddenly are girls part of this now? If baptism is the NT equivalent to circumcision, why don’t we just baptize boys then? And why then do we still circumcise boys? Is there no spiritual significance to it anymore, just purely medical? Where does it say (and I’m not saying it’s not in there – I just don’t know where) that you don’t circumcise anymore, you baptize now?

Doug: The NT signs are greater and more inclusive than the OT signs. The blood signs are replaced since no more blood needs to be shed. Girls are now explicitly (instead of only implicitly) included.

There is no more sp significance to circum any more. That was dealt the final blow in Acts 15. Where does it say to replace circum with baptism? – that is my whole argument to you.

Megan: Okay, surprisingly enough I’m following this this time around. I reread your original answer here and my brain absorbed it this time. OT had to be about blood, NT not blood anymore because Jesus took care of that. Passover=blood, LS=same symbol, no blood. Circumcision=blood, baptism=same symbol, no blood. Am I understanding that?

Doug: Mostly, but for sure in regards to the two sacraments. There are covenants in the OT that aren’t bloody (cov with Adam for one), but in the main they all deal with blood as the sign and sealer. In the NT, on this side of the cross, the blood is no longer needed. And the New Cov is fuller in its expression (which only makes sense) in that it includes girls for one, and all nations (which was always in fact intended).

So, circum/bapt is the sign and seal for entrance into the cov community. The Passover/LSupper is the seal and seal for continuing and renewal in the cov community. (as an aside, in the three years I was in Stillwater, I never once took the Lord’s Supper. They did it once a month or once a quarter on Sun night. I didn’t EVER go to Sun night church, and I didn’t think that the LS was very important. Now though, I see it as very important and might even go as far and argue for weekly communion).

Megan: I’m not saying the Lord’s Supper is non-important, but I am asking why is it SO important? I mean such as you are saying we should do it every week? And I also wonder why is it something that has to be done as a whole congregation? I’m not suggesting that I want to do it with my girls here at home by myself or anything – but if our family did want to do this together (assuming later that all my girls are chosen ones), why couldn’t we do that? Wouldn’t we still be the church? Or is the church not merely believers, or believers in a family, but lots of families of believers and only when they are together?

Doug: Why is it so important? Bc we only have two given signs and seals – baptism and the LS. That means that it must be pretty important. Why was it so important for the OT believer to continue the Passover meal? What’s the big deal? We have signs and symbols to make us remember and realize that our faith isn’t purely cognitive and intellectual. It is earthy, real, touchable. That’s why we need signs and symbols. How often to do it is another discussion. More often seems better to me than less often, but that is pretty flexible to the session of a church.

I don’t believe it is appropriate to take a private LS. That’s the position of the PCA, though many believers differ. The LS can become sort of a magical/mystical thing if we aren’t careful. It must be protected form that, and from a Catholic sort of meaning. The ordained pastor therefore protects the table from misunderstanding by guarding it (in a good way) by fencing the table and preaching the Word. It is for the church, not just for you. It is to be taken in the context of the cov. community at large. The church is not just merely a gathering of believers.

Megan: Surprisingly again, I think I’m following this. If I’m to view the Lord’s Supper as the NT version of the OT Passover, I need to view it with the same kind of importance that the OT people (and God) placed on the Passover? The main thinking switch for me here is that I have always been taught that the church is a gathering of believers. I can accept what you are saying on this, but if you would care to elaborate on that a bit more, it might help.

Doug: Yes. The Passover is tremendously important. Some might argue that the release from slavery in Exodus is the central thing that happens in the OT. This would put the Passover remembrance in a central role as well. You might want to meditate on the connections between the actual Passover and the LS (lamb, no bones broken, blood spilled and covers the home, takes faith, one for the many, etc).

The church is NOT merely a gathering of believers. That is a part of the church, but that is not the church. If you look at Matthew 18:20, which is the popular place where this notion comes from, you will notice that this verse comes in the context of church discipline, which goes up the ladder to the church elders and authorities. This other view (your current one) is the wrong headedness of the concept of the priesthood of all believers. That is intended to mean that we all have access to God. We don’t need priests to pray for us. We can have the Bible in our own language and read and understand it for ourselves. But you may not do whatever you want spiritually. There are authority structures in the church meant for your (and my) good that need to be followed. This has always been the case and the neglect/misunderstanding of this does great harm. It also does great harm when the authorities mismanage and abuse their authority of course.

You may be running out of steam more than me so I’ll wrap it up. If you can agree with the circum/LS parallel, then a lot of your questions are going to have to be questions you ask God Himself. Why do we baptize infants when they don’t have a choice? Ask God, for he said you HAD TO circum your boys when they were eight days old. God said that. I guess maybe Xianity isn’t quite as choice-based as we think. Etc.

Megan: So when we baptize infants, we are saying what? Are we saying we want them to be part of the elect and will raise them as if they were? What really is the difference between baptizing infants and doing a baby dedication at another denomination? We’ve done that with our kids – does that mean nothing? Or if we really wanted to be official we need to have all our kids baptized? And also, Mary, on her own initiative wanted to ask Jesus to forgive her sins sometime in the Spring. We didn’t push that on her, but walked her through her questions and then prayed with her when she asked to do so. I know she doesn’t understand all the ins and outs of what that meant, but I really believe she understands what sin is and what punishment is and what she needed to do with that. She hasn’t been baptized. Would she need to be baptized twice? What would that look like? Do children in the Presbyterian church not get baptized to show their profession of faith until they go through a class? What about the Lord’s Supper? After we prayed with M in the Spring, we allowed her to take part in the Lord’s Supper at our other church. Every time it happened, I would explain what was happening so she would know there was more to it than mid-service snack time. I think I read somewhere on the V7 website that children aren’t to partake of the Lord’s Supper until they go through some kind of confirmation classes. Why would this be so? Is the Lord’s Supper not to be taken by believers but only by certified believers?

Doug: When we baptize infants we are saying that we are placing them in the cov community and trusting in and praying for God’s promises to be realized in their lives. We don’t hold those over God’s head, but we believe them to be true and will raise our children according to that standing.

It’s hard to keep going when now we’re talking about your kids. I don’t want to step on toes.
Let me ask you – what is a baby dedication? Show me in the Bible where you found that and why it seems appropriate? What are YOU saying as per all your questions above?
I submit that your desire and inclination was a correct one, but that the church has just the thing you’re looking for, you don’t need to invent a new “sacrament.” I think it would be wholly appropriate to utilize the signs and seals of the church and baptize your kids into the cov. Then pray that they will realize that tremendous sign.

It’s great that M is talking about this. That’s wonderful. That’s what we’re talking about. Why would she need to be baptized twice? Only once, only once.

Megan: Okay, now this one is confusing me a little bit. I guess I was now thinking that you baptize children of believers to bring them into the covenantal community. But I was also thinking that once they do become a Christian, they are then baptized as a profession of that happening. Is that not necessary? If someone is baptized into the cc as a child, but before becoming a Christian, they don’t need to be baptized again later on? And I, though not baptized into the cc, but was baptized as a profession – am I a member of the cc and thus don’t need that particular baptism? And M, not baptized at all, but probably a Christian, would only need one baptism?

Doug: Now your question is making sense. From the way I see it, (just like circumcision in the OT by the way) a person is only baptized once ever. Baptism is meant to signify entrance into the cov community. That happens in two ways – by birth from believing parents or by profession of faith as an “adult.” You are too closely identifying baptism with profession (which you’ve been taught and trained for 30 years to do so it’s going to take awhile if you agree with me to retrain your brain). If you’re buying with me that baptism is the new circumcision, then you have to ask yourself if circumcision was based on profession. What did circumcision do? What was going on there? Did believers get circumcised again upon profession? No, they already bore the mark. When a man came into the community who had not been circumcised as an infant, what was he to do – profess his faith in Yahweh if he had it and get the mark.

Of course you have been baptized into the cov community and you bear its mark. The mark is not so closely associated in time. God puts to bear the spiritual significance of the mark in the way you are thinking of it even if there is a lapse in time.

What you’re suggesting is the classic “Anabaptist” thinking – that you have to be baptized again upon profession of faith. This comes from what I would call a misreading of the book of Acts, but hey. Like I said, I would have to be rebaptized to be a part of Bethel. Anyone who had been baptized whenever it was would be a member of our church (after stating the membership vows). Anyone who hadn’t been baptized at any time would need to at that point get baptized, and if it were a couple with children, we would seek to baptized their children at that point.
A bigger question to ask in this that might help you think about it is: what does baptism really mean? Why do we do it? If it’s for believers only, how do we KNOW they are believers? What if they’re not?

Doug: If someone hasn’t been baptized as an infant, then he or she would probably talk to the session and demonstrate God’s working of salvation in his or her life and then be baptized. That could be at age 6 or 60. There isn’t like “one way” to do it.

In my opinion, it’s not up to a family to decide if a child is ready or not to take the Lord’s Supper. They can obviously determine that that child is ready to talk to the elders – but they make the decision (graciously of course). The way it’s worked for us is that we did the same thing in talking to our kids about it every time it happened. Explaining it. Then I contacted the pastor and told him that I thought Ruth and then a few years later Cal were interested in taking the Lord’s Supper. Mike came over and asked questions. Some of them were really easy, and others were more complicated. But they talked about it. I think maybe he said that he thought Cal should wait a few months. So that was fine. But they were both administered to the table, which was pretty cool, and we felt good about it since it was through the leaders of the church taking an interest in the faith and growth of our family. Larger churches may have to go to some sort of more programmatic way to handle this, but I’m sure an appointment with a pastor would be great. Some kids figure all this out at age 5 or 6, and others not until they are 12 or 15. There is not “age,” but all is dependant on an understanding able to be articulated at some level. Not a theological paper, but being able to explain what is happening (the children’s catechism is good for this).

Megan: Okay, this is new too. I’ve always been taught that anyone who is a believer can take the Lord’s Supper. So what would you tell a family who has been attending a different church and their professing young kids had taken part in the Lord’s Supper there and now they are coming to your church? What do you say to the 5 year old? I’m just curious to know how to handle this with M

Doug: Anyone who is a believer may take the LS. However, it is best to “examine” him or her to make sure they can discern the body and blood, as per 1 Cor. 11 (this was a part of my balking in my 20S blog earlier). That is the job of the parents and the elders working together. There is often a rushing to the table bc it is seen as a mystical place – but there can also be an unhealthy delay in allowing the table to children.

I would counsel you to stop taking the LS with M and talk with the elders in your church about it. Of course talking with her about it and not making it a huge deal. Of our kids, two take and two don’t. Drew may be ready soon (he’ll be 5 in Sept) but I’m not entirely sure when it will be. That’s okay. I want him to participate fully in the sacraments, but on the other hand I don’t want him to take it without understand it at a basic level. Can I perfectly tell when that would be? No, that’s why we have elders to help me shepherd my family and they shepherd me in my shepherding. I would wait and talk to your elders. That would be submitting to their authority.

Now, if you’re going to balk at sprinkling as opposed to immersion, then we have a whole other discussion, but that doesn’t seem particularly germane to this one here.

Megan: I do have questions on it, although I’m not convinced it really matters – but does it matter one way or the other? Why or why not?

Doug: A few parting comments:

I’ll bet most baptistic churches do a baby dedication, something that assuredly isn’t anywhere in the Bible. What is the motivation for that? I would contend it is a waterless baptism, which is sad when we have something that does exactly what the family and church wishes.

Megan: Why is this sad? If the intention and motive is the same, and there is no clear directive to do otherwise, what’s the difference really?

Doug: Is there no clear directive to do otherwise? Couldn’t we say that baby dedications are at least non-Biblical? Where did they come from?

Most Xian and even baptistic confessing families treat their children covenantally even though they confess to the otherwise. They can’t help it.

Believer’s baptism is an extreme misnomer. Profession baptism would be better. No one can know the heart. There have been thousands, nay millions of “adult converts” who were baptized and were never regenerate. This creates serious confusion, the very thing the earnest Baptist wishes to avoid.

Most balking at inf bapt is a good desire not to be Catholic, which would be to believe that the baptism does save the child. No PCA person would say that. The Catholic understanding of ex operate operato is wrong. But that doesn’t negate the proper use of the same sign.
All inf baptizing churches also believe in adult baptism if the person wasn’t baptized as an infant. We did a mother and her daughter a few months ago, which was beautiful.

Megan: Why would you do this? I’ve been baptized for “profession of faith.” As a Christian, am I not a member of the covenantal community because I’ve not been baptized as an infant?

Doug: Huh? Not following you here. Neither the mother or daughter had ever been baptized, that’s why they did it together (not sure if that was clear).

If you have been baptized and are a member of a church, then of course you are a member of a cov community. However, many, many Baptist churches would say that I am not, since I was “only” baptized as an infant. I would not be allowed to be a member of Bethel Baptist church in town here until I was baptized by profession.

Megan: Okay, I guess I asked this again just above. But I think my question now is – is baptism for the sake of profession a non-biblical concept? Why would you only need to be baptized for covenantal purposes and not for profession? And do Methodist churches who baptize infants do it for the proper reason?

Doug: You do baptize upon profession when we’re not talking about infants, and this baptism is a mark that you are entering the cov community. This happened in the OT, and it is what you see happening in the NT (the baptisms in Acts all had to do with adults converting to Xianity – but then the text indicates that they went home and baptized their families).

WHAT DOES BAPTISM MEAN? WHAT DID CIRCUMCISION MEAN? WHY DO WE DO IT/THEM?
You are separating profession and cov purposes for an adult that betrays that you’re not completely following me. That’s cool. Ask again. The cov community and eternal salvation are not entirely different and not entirely the same. Don’t separate them so far that they don’t have anything to do with each other. Being a member of a church is important. It is vital. It is necessary. It isn’t salvific. But neither is it just something you do to pass the time and get built up and find small groups and help you train your children. Being a part of the cov community is really, really, really, really important. And how do we know who is a member of the people of God? The OT says circumcision is the way. So is baptism the way.

Methodist churches do retain the understanding of the cov community, though I would think it would be difficult to find anyone there who understands it and could engage in an email exchange like this one. I could be wrong though. They have the proper form though, and treat their children like real members of the cov community.

I would contend that the “believer’s baptism” tends to focus on the person and his or her profession, while the inf baptism tends to focus on God and his promises to his people.
I think Jesus was baptized as an ordination to priesthood, like you’d find in Leviticus. He was the right age, performed the duties of a priest, and hadn’t done any ministry before that point that we know of. There are all kinds of sprinkling baptisms in the Bible.

Megan: Just curious – where are the sprinkling baptisms in the Bible? I’m sure you are right, just I don’t remember reading about them.

Doug: Read Hebrews. There’s all kinds of sprinkling going on in the Old and New Testaments in relation to God purifying things.

Okay, okay. That should get the wheels turning. I hope I haven’t overwhelmed you.
Fire back any questions you might have. That would be helpful.

Suggested Resources in order of helpfulness: To a Thousand Generations, D. Wilson
Baptism Video (can’t remember its name), R Pratt, can find a www.goodtheology.com – this is very helpful monergism.com

Children of Promise, Booth

Megan, I hope this helps. I’m not sure if it does. Let me know. We can also talk on the phone.

Keep asking.

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4 thoughts on “Baptism, Whew!

  1. Aubrey says:

    I loved reading this – your questions about infant baptism definitely echoed the ones that I had to work through, coming from a background where children were not baptized. I have really come to love the doctrine of covenant, infant baptism the longer I’ve stayed in the PCA, though, and definitely look forward to baptizing our babies. 🙂

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  2. Renae says:

    Whew, I didn’t get too far in reading through your discussions with your friend Doug, but just wanted to say that I have always found baptism as practiced in the PCA one of the more moving events contained within corporate worship, whether infant baptism or believers’ baptism for those who weren’t baptized as infants. I never fail to get chills when I hear teaching during a baptism service on God’s covenant with His people. Having our children baptized as infants has been a large contributor to the great sense of comfort and care I feel in our family’s relationship with God.

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