Summary on Covenant Continuity and Development – Response to Gavin Ortlund

Gavin Ortlund has written another response to my last rejoinder.  I agree with him that this has been a great discussion, and I also feel that we should draw it to a close. I think we have painted a clear distinction, and hopefully I can bring more clarity with this response.  Much of the question under debate here revolves around the terms continuity, overlap, and identity.  These are all possible ways of describing the relationship between the old pre-Christ covenants and the New Covenant.  Development of redemptive history is another key component.  Gavin has acknowledged overlap between the covenants, but he is wary of pressing to the point of identity.  He is wary of over-spiritualizing the Old Covenant to the point that redemptive history is “flattened”, having minimal real development.  Let me see if I can summarize my perspective here, then try to answer some of Gavin’s specific questions in a follow up blog post. Continue reading

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Follow Up Response to Gavin Ortlund on Baptism

Gavin Ortlund has been kind enough to offer a rejoinder to my initial critique of his blog post against infant baptism.  I appreciate Gavin’s taking the time to respond to me, and I also hope that this exchange will be useful, edifying, and encourage everyone reading it to examine the Bible very thoroughly for themselves on this topic.  I also want to thank Gavin for his charitable demeanor and I have every intention of maintaining that.  Before diving into specific responses, I think it is good to take a step back and state the big picture.  It is clear that what is under debate here is the nature of the old (pre-Christ) covenants between God and His people, and how our perspective on these covenants (specifically the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants) impacts our view of the New Covenant in Christ. Continue reading

Reformed Paedobaptist Response to Gavin Ortlund’s Article – “Why I Changed My Mind About Baptism”

Gavin Ortlund, a PhD student at Fuller Theological Seminary in California, recently wrote a brief article for The Gospel Coalition’s blog, entitled “Why I Changed My Mind About Baptism”  Mr. Ortlund was baptized into the Church of Scotland and raised as a Presbyterian.  Through the course of his study, he has departed from the paedobaptist position and become a credo Baptist (i.e. believer’s baptism).  His article gives a brief summary of the reasoning behind this transition.  The article has garnered quite a bit of attention, with 120+ comments on the article and 540+ facebook “likes” at the time of my writing.  My attention was drawn to this article by an interview with Mark Horne on the City of God blog.

Here’s a link to the Gavin Ortlund article:
http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/03/08/why-i-changed-my-mind-about-baptism/ Continue reading

Infant Baptism Part 9 – Old Testament Events as Baptisms

The New Testament gives four examples where Old Testament events or rituals are connected with baptism.  Two cases are one time events in the Old Testament that are explicitly associated with baptism in the New Testament.  These events will be discussed in this blog post.  In both of these cases, the household(s) of the believers are included in the baptism with the parents.  The other two cases are rituals involved with Israel’s purification system, which will be discussed in the next post.

The first example occurs in 1 Corinthians 10, where Paul is warning the church not to fall away in disbelief as Israel did. Continue reading

Infant Baptism Part 8 – Covenantally Holy

1 Corinthians 7 provides another strong piece of evidence in favor of the children of believers belonging to the people of God.  This passage states:

1 Corinthians 7:12-14 12 But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. Continue reading

Infant Baptism Part 7 – The Formation of the Church

The Promise is to You and Your Children
Peter’s sermon in Acts 2 after the outpouring of the Spirit is indicative that baptism should be applied to the children of believers.  I have written a far more detailed post addressing this passage, found here. Peter begins by quoting Joel 2, and by citing the outpouring of the Spirit that has started with the disciples as the explicit fulfilment of this passage.  Remember Joel 2:28-29:

Joel 2:28-29 28 “It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. 29 “Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. Continue reading

Infant Baptism Part 6 – Jesus and the Children

Jesus addresses small children of the covenant extensively in Matthew 18, and briefly in Matthew 19 and the corresponding passages of Mark 10 and Luke 18.  I believe these passages are critical to the debate over infant baptism.

Matthew 18:1-14 18 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Continue reading