What one pastor read last week (2.19 – 2.25.18)

NOTE: Gonna’ try to start keeping an online record of my reading for work. This will: 1) show others the types of things they could be reading, too; 2) will help me keep a searchable record of the topics I read about, and 3) help me start generating article ideas. I need to become a better writer. In the past, when inspiration has hit (to write more frequently) I often don’t have more than one idea at a time. This will help me keep a longer list of things I need to write about. Lastly, the frequency of questions from people (in the church) has increased in the last year and this approach will help me collect my thoughts in one place.

Last week, for Acts: “…to the end of the earth.” (Sunday School), I read from the following book(s) and came across these insights:
  • Believer’s Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ (edited by Thomas Schreiner & Shawn D. Wright; NAC Studies in Bible & Theology)
    • “Chapter 4: Baptism and the Relationship between the Covenants” by Stephen J. Wellum
      • pp. 97-117, so far
        • This is the most helpful, concise overview of paedobaptist covenant theology I ever have ever read. I have read book-length treatments of the doctrine, but I would highly recommend this one chapter if you are (like me) trying to understand the logical basis for their view.
For study in 2 Peter (current sermon series), I read from the following book(s) and came across these insights:
General reading for work as a pastor:
  • From Paedobaptism to Credobaptism: A Critique of the Westminster Standards on the Subjects of Baptism (by W. Gary Crampton)
    • 56 pages before going to the office, one morning
      • ***An example of the helpfulness of this critique is found in Chapter 7: “Supposed New Testament Foundation for Infant Baptism”
        • Starting on p. 73 Crampton shows how a favorite paedobaptist proof text (1 Cor. 7:14) actually proves too much.
          • Allow me to explain, briefly: if this verse means an unbelieving husband is ‘made holy’ by a believing wife, and vice-versa, then it also means the children of their union are made holy and thus are suitable candidates for baptism. With that established, this viewpoint (that such children are candidates for infant-baptism) then also proves that the unbelieving spouse should be baptized as well.
            • Why? If the paedobaptist logic is to be followed consistently, both the unbelieving children (ie “infants”) and the unbelieving spouse are referred to by Paul with very similar words (signifying the same general meaning). Those words are hagios and hagiazo, respectively.
          • Paul is not even discussing baptism in this passage. He is simply seeking to curb a growing interest in believers putting their unbelieving spouses away, while trying to maintain possession of their children. He is pointing out the inconsistency of such a practice. He is not intending to create a legitimate ground for the practice of baptizing infants.
    • Finished the book, Monday afternoon.
      • Crampton cites Presbyterian scholars and theologians (stalwarts like Hodge, Murray, and Warfield) to demonstrate their support of infant baptism and also to show that – in some instances – infant baptism must bring along with it some degree of baptismal regeneration or presumptive regeneration.
        • It’s actually quite shocking to see how easily they lean into presumptive regeneration; here are a few examples:
          • ***Charles Hodge – ‘president’ of Princeton Theological Seminary in the mid-to-late 1800s said,
            • “We see not how this principle [presumptive regeneration] can be denied in its application to the church without giving up our whole doctrine and abandoning the ground to the Independents and Anabaptists.” (FOOTNOTE 1) (emphasis mine)

          • ***John Murray – a preeminent scholar at Westminster Theological Seminary from 1930-1966 – said,
            • “[There are] certain principles which lie close to the argument for infant baptism and without which the ordinance of infant baptist would be meaningless…These principles are: 1) that little children, even infants are among Christ’s people and are members of His body; 2) that they are members of His kingdom and therefore have been regenerated; 3) that they belong to the church, in that they are received as belonging to Christ, that is to say, received into the fellowship of the saints.” (FOOTNOTE 2) (emphasis mine)

***denotes future article forthcoming

FOOTNOTE 1: Cited in Kingdon, Children of Abraham, 64.

FOOTNOTE 2: John Murray, Christian Baptism, 62.

Now, what do you think?

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