Friday, March 10, 2006

Debate on Infant Baptism Part 3

Case for Believer's Baptism by Geoff Chang

1. In the OT, God promised a coming New Covenant (Ezekiel 11, 36; Jer. 31) which would be radically different from the current state of the nation of Israel, involving a new heart being given to men. In the New Testament, we see this aspect of the New Covenant powerfully taught in several different ways, such as being born again (John 3:3), being made alive (Eph. 2:5), and opening blind eyes (2 Cor. 4:6). Another term for all this is regeneration.

2. The death and resurrection of Christ has inaugurated the New Covenant (Luke 22:20), which replaced the Old Covenant (Heb. 8:13)

3. Christ instituted two sacraments as signs of this New Covenant: the Lord's Supper and Baptism.

4. Baptism is to be an external sign of this New Covenant, namely repentance and faith, resulting in the inward reality of regeneration.

5. Therefore, only those who have experienced regeneration (believers) should be baptized.

A Few Arguments for Believer's Baptism

1. In the OT passages prophesying the coming kingdom, the single aspect most powerfully highlighted is regeneration (see Ezek. 11, 36, Jer. 31). This is the key difference that exists between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. This points to regeneration being the key indicator of those in the New Covenant.

2. The teaching of the New Testament is that all who experience regeneration will come to faith in Christ. Therefore, regeneration will only have happened in the lives of believers.

3. Baptism is taught by John the Baptist as a "baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins" (Mk. 1:4, Lk. 3:3). This is not to say that baptism forgives sin, but that baptism is a sign of repentance which results in forgiveness of sins, namely believer's baptism.

4. Baptism throughout the New Testament (in the book of Acts) is practiced only when the following conditions are met: 1) the Gospel is preached, 2) the Gospel is heard, 3) the Gospel is believed. This is the practice of the apostles given to us.

5. Paul teaches that those who have been baptized have been buried with Christ in his death and given newness of life (Rom. 6:3-4, Col. 2:12). If the act of baptism does not itself save, then this only makes sense if only believers baptized.

6. Paul often appeals in his teaching to the Christians to remember their baptism and the significance of it. Only for those baptized as professing Christians can this instruction have any meaning (how can those baptized as infants remember their baptism?).

7. Paul teaches that there is a spiritual reality in our baptism that unites us into one body (i.e. the body of Christ, the invisible church) and one Spirit. This is only possible in believer's baptism, which only allows those in the body of Christ to be baptized.

8. Those who are baptized into Christ are said to "have clothed (past tense) yourselves with Christ" (Gal. 3:27). Being clothed with Christ is a description given only to believers.

Personal Obstacles for Embracing Believer's Baptism



1 - Brothers, Magnify the Meaning of Baptism - Piper brothers_baptism.html
How do Circumcision and Baptism Correspond? - Piper

2- Southern Baptist Journal of Theology Vol. 2, No. 1, Spring 1998 - The Doctrines of Baptism and Assurance "Baptism and Becoming a Christian in the New Testament" - Stein "Baptist Principles Reset: Believer's Baptism" - Jeter

3 - "The Incomparable Glory of Fish Vomit: Baptism, the Great Commission and the End of the Age" - Moore

4 - Baptism: A Matter of Obedience - MacArthur

5 - Baptism - A Burial

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