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
I recently finished reading “A Table in the Mist” by Jeff Meyers, a commentary on the book of Ecclesiastes. The book is part of the “Through New Eyes” series. As I mention in my review on Goodreads (both linked and pasted below), I may write a more complete review in the future when I finish reading the book for a second time. Jeff Meyers pastors a PCA (Presbyterian Church in America) church in St. Louis, MO. He will be presenting a series of lectures on the book of Acts at Cornerstone Reformed Church in Carbondale IL, for our annual theological conference on March 22nd and 23rd. It should be really good. Continue reading
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?” 2 And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, 3 and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; 6 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
As has been shown, great emphasis is placed throughout the Old Testament on covenant children and their position and relationship with God from the beginning of their lives. Given this fact, and the general continuity between the covenants demonstrated in the previous post, it would take a strong statement from the New Testament to make clear to the earliest Christians (predominantly Jews) that their children had been removed from the covenant, and were no longer looked upon with favor by God. This is why arguments from silence, which are typically taken to favor the argument for believer’s baptism, actually favor the argument for infant baptism! With NO New Testament data concerning covenant children, the sheer weight of the Old Testament evidence would push one towards the belief that children should still be included in God’s covenant. Continue reading
Large books have been written on the topic of HOW God’s covenants with Israel transition into the New Covenant. What changed with the coming of Christ? On the other hand, what stayed the same – what parts of God’s dealings with His people carried through into the New Covenant era? There is much debate over this topic, and the key terms that define the debate are continuity and discontinuity. One’s view of baptism will be largely determined by the degree of continuity he sees between the older covenants and the New Covenant in Christ. The Reformed position of infant baptism rests solidly on the belief in a strong continuity between the covenants, particularly in the area of covenant children.
God calls the generational covenant that he made with Abraham an “everlasting covenant”. It is easy to demonstrate that this covenant proceeds throughout the Old Testament, and that the expectation is that it would continue on throughout the history of the world. Consider a selection of verses.
Exodus 3:15 15 God, furthermore, said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations. Continue reading
Although the principle of a generational covenant is seen earlier in the Bible, it is given its foundational structure in the covenant that God made with Abraham.
Genesis 17:7 I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your seed after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your seed after you.
God’s covenant promise to Abraham was that He would be the God of Abraham, and the God of Abraham’s children (seed). The phrase “to be God to you” connotes a special relationship of favor and blessing with God. Continue reading