Agreeing with Presbyterians

Many of my heroes of the faith, both past and present, are Presbyterians. I have learned a lot from them, and have a tremendous amount of respect for them. That said, I still think they are wrong on a few things, and while that particular blog may come at a later date, I think it’s important to focus on the subject of baptism in the light of where I believe we can both agree.

As a background, I grew up in the Pentecostal denomination, and so my understanding of baptism was largely shaped by that. While I still find believer’s baptism to be the correct position, I think it looks a bit differently, even though I have poorly described it in the past. I have, even recently, explained baptism as a public demonstration of a private commitment. While that’s somewhat true, it also puts all the focus on me. In reality, the focus is on God, just like all of the Christian life.

Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, to be unto the party baptized, a sign of his fellowship with him, in his death and resurrection; of his being engrafted into him; of remission of sins; and of giving up into God, through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life.

– 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith 29.1

Baptism is a sacrament of the new testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible church; but also, to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life. Which sacrament is, by Christ’s own appointment, to be continued in his church until the end of the world.

– Westminster Confession of Faith 28.1

With the more controversial section highlighted, the bulk of both confessions is the same. (Yeah, I won’t talk about the ordinance/sacrament thing, so pipe down!) The focus is on the work of the Triune God. The texts used to support the LBCF version are fairly non-controversial as well. Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:12; Galatians 3:27; Mark 1:4; Acts 22:16; and Romans 6:4. So while there is important discussion to be had on where we disagree, and why, I think it’s also important to point out that both sides are focusing on God when talking about it. Hopefully this is something I can better articulate in future discussions.

Also, if you want the very best arguments for and against infant baptism, you need to look at this article. Nobody can argue with pictures.

SDG

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