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Friday, June 23, 2006

Augustine has difficulty in fielding questions from Boniface in 418 A.D.

"Innocent fell in with this practice and infant communion, and after Zosimus, Boniface, in 418, was bishop of Rome. This Boniface inquires of Augustin, “Suppose I set before you an infant, and ask you whether, when he grows up, he will be a chaste man or a thief? Your answer, doubtless, will be, I cannot tell. And whether he, in that infant age, have any good or evil thoughts? you will say, I know not. Since you therefore dare not say any thing, either concerning his future behaviour, or his present thoughts; what is the meaning, that when they are brought to baptism, their parents, as sponsors for them, make answer and say, to the inquiry, Does he believe in God? they answer, he does believe. I entreat you to give me a short answer to these questions, in such a manner, as that you do not urge to me the prescription of the customariness of the thing, but give me the reason of the thing.” Augustin felt the difficulty of giving a reason for his own custom, and subjoined a silly reply, gets angry, and concludes by saying, “I have given such an answer to your questions as I suppose is to ignorant or contentious persons not enough, and to understanding and quiet people, perhaps more than enough.” Again, “He that does not believe it [infant baptism], and thinks it cannot be done, is indeed an infidel.” Wall’s Hist. pt. 1, c. 15, p. 196. Note. — The questions and answers were the relics of believers’ baptism, which when used about an infant, was a lie before God! If the church had always practised infant baptism, why so many inquiries from Donatists and Catholics in the fifth century? Augustin being required to answer so many questions, and explain its utility, proves how great a share he had in introducing the rite, and in his reply, he considers scripture and tradition on an equal footing in the church, while the catholic community is the only church."

Orchard, A Concise History of the Baptist, pg.248

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Refutation of a Pedobaptist

I am going to take the arguments of a pedobaptist that posted on my daughter’s blog and examine their merits. He is very articulate and at times even persuasive. Nevertheless I believe that his apologetics lack consistency and instead of assuming the burden of showing infant baptism in the New Testament he attempt to shift the burden of proof to those whose position is a negative. I understand why he would attempt this maneuver, for his position lacks merit in the pages of the New Testament. The arguments of the pedobaptist are in bold type.

Jesus told us to baptize "all nations." From Genesis to Revelation the concept of "nation" includes everyone from the least to the greatest. And yet your denomination says that in this case "all nations" does not include infants. If that is true, the burden of proof belongs to you. Are we to baptize all nations against their will? There have certainly been religious organizations that have believed this to be the case and it led to some of the worst tyranny the world has ever seen. The kingdom of heaven belongs to infants and toddlers. (Matt. 19:14; Lk. 18:16)

You understanding of these verses is dictated by your tradition and not the context. Luke 18:17 says, “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.” When Jesus says, “of such is the kingdom of God” he is saying that people must become as a child to receive the kingdom of God. This verse also tells us that he is speaking of children who are old enough to receive.

Also, there is nothing in this passage about babies being baptized. You have to assume that is happening.

Jesus commanded the church to baptize and teach.

Actually what Jesus commanded is as follows, “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. . . .” Your partial quote would have people believe that baptism precedes teaching when such is not the case. They were to be taught (made disciples) then baptized, then taught to observe. Again this all takes for granted that we are dealing with people who have sufficient intellectual development to be taught so that they can become a disciple. Such is not the case with babies.

The church teaches that infant baptism was delivered to us by the apostles.

With this argument you start in the wrong place. We do not start with the church and go the New Testament. We start with the New Testament and go to the church. The church is not the authority the Scripture is.

If it is true, then you need to demonstrate how the apostolic practice of infant baptism is inconsistent with the apostolic teaching of scripture.

I will feel obliged to do this when you can show just one conclusive, open and shut case, where the Apostles baptized a baby.

If it is false, then some person or group of people with tremendous power and influence within the church, prior to Emperor Constantine, sinned against the Holy Spirit by profering a plainly obvious lie about apostolic doctrine and practice -- they called a spade a diamond -- and virtually every Christian on earth bought into it. In other words you wind up embracing a conspiracy theory.

I would not so much call it conspiracy as apostasy. Your statement would lead people to believe that if our position is true that someone somewhere called an ecumenical council and declared the baptizing of babies legitimate and it was that way from then on. This is not our position. We believe that there were subtle changes in the doctrine of baptism over several centuries that culminated in pedobaptism. People were not fed a lie; they were led over centuries to accept changes from the New Testament practice.

The burden of proof still belongs to the challenger -- the Baptists.

Your putting us in the position of challenger and thus assuming the burden of proof does not make it so. You are asking us to prove something that from our perspective did not happen. Its absence is the proof. It is you who are arguing for a positive; they baptized babies in the New Testament. The burden of proof is on you to prove it did happen. Surely if it did there would be some clear, decisive evidence to that end.

If someone says, "The Gibson family had their picture taken yesterday," (assuming that the person addressing you thinks you know the Gibsons but you really don't) do you imagine a husband and wife alone with each other, or do you imagine at least one or two children with them? You imagine children because even though "family" technically applies to a husband and wife, "families" usually have children.

This example does not help your argument. The whole analogy is premised upon what we imagine and assume. This is exactly what pedobaptist do when they claim that babies were baptized in the New Testament. They imagine and assume it. They must for it does not say it.

The same sort of thing is true for the Greek word translated "household" in the New Testament. The default setting is to assume the presence of children under that rubric.

Here again you are assuming. This is exactly what we argue about your position. It is a position that is built on assumption. Assumptions prove nothing.

Baptists must force upon the text the unnatural assumption that there were no children in the baptized households,

We do not say there were no children in these households. What we say is that every one that was baptized in these households were believing, and babies cannot believe. Thus “if” there were babies present they were not baptized. For we both know the New Testament teaches believer’s baptism for there are several examples to support this claim.

or the even more unnatural assumption that children in those households were excluded from baptism. If children were present but excluded, there would have to be an indication making that explicit,

You keeping using the term children as though we contend there were not children present. We do not know if there were children present, no one does. But our disagreement is not about whether children can be baptized on the basis of their faith and repentance but whether babies can be baptized who have no capacity for either faith or repentance.

just as one would have to say "The Gibson household, except for baby Grace, had their picture taken yesterday." Otherwise you would naturally assume that any and all babies were included in the photograph.

We are talking about eternal salvation not having one’s picture taken. Assuming, and notice we are still assuming, all babies are included in a picture is one thing, assuming babies are baptized is another thing altogether.

It simply isn't enough to read the Bible, fail to find any example of infant baptism, presume that infants were always excluded from baptism, and then challenge those who cannot make the leap of faith joining you in your presumption to prove that it is wrong.

Would you have us believe it is simply enough to read the Bible, fail to find any example of a baby being baptized, yet presume that they were baptized and then challenge those who cannot make the leap of faith and join you in your presumption to prove they were not baptized.

That is shirking the burden of proof that naturally belongs to the Plaintiff -- Baptists in this case.

Someone is shirking the burden of proof but I would respectfully submit that it is not the Baptists, but the pedobaptist. We contend for a negative, babies were not baptized in the New Testament. How do you provide evidence for something that did not happen? Now if I contend for a positive like, believers were baptized in the New Testament, then I am claming something did happen and I would have the burden of proof to show that it did. And if necessary I will be glad to carry the burden of proof for that positive assertion, because it is a light burden in deed. But it is you who are arguing for a positive; babies were baptized in the New Testament. Now you must prove it, the burden rests with you. Assumptions are not proof. Imagining is not proof. I believe you will find your burden of proof heavy to carry, in fact too heavy to carry any distance at all.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Several times over the course of my ministry I or the church I pastor has been accused of brainwashing people. I have come to believe that this is a word that is used by people to marginalize others with whom they disagree because they are at a loss in the arena of ideas. When they cannot refute positions they find a word to discredit the person in their own mind.

Brainwashing is a term that seems to meet that objective.

I have an 1892 Webster's Dictionary and the term "brainwashing" is not included. I have a 1961 Webster's seventh collegiate dictionary and the term is included there. The definition is as follows:

1. A forcible indoctrination to induce someone to give up basic political, social, or religious beliefs and attitudes and to accept contrasting regimented ideas. 2. Persuasion by propaganda of salesmanship.

Both of these definitions are interesting and merit a closer look. According to the first definition we cannot brainwash our own children or adult people who choose to interact with us. We cannot brainwash our own children because they have no political, social, or religious beliefs to give up. We do not brainwash our children we equip them. Every parent does either actively or passively. We do not brainwash adult people because we cannot force them to associate with us. If they do so it is because they have seen the merits of what we espouse and want it for themselves. According to the second definition brainwashing involves persuasion. Well it seems to me every one exercises their powers of persuasion to get people to come to their view of things. I believe the Apostle Paul did a fair amount of persuading with the truth. As for the propaganda, well, one man's propaganda is another man's truth. Salesmanship. I suppose there is a sense in which it could be said that we are all trying to sale our ideas to others. I don't necessarily like the term because it hints at a willingness to do anything to get others to embrace your side. Of course this is not an option when you are dealing with eternal truth. So salesmanship in my mind is not an accurate representation of what we do. Declaration is a more apt term.

People use the term brainwashing in an attempt to stigmatize those with whom they disagree. Of course the folks who use the term are never brainwashed?? If they were would they know it?? Brainwashing is not a precise term. Instead of accusations of brainwashing give me reasons why my positions are wrong. Why my manner of living is wrong. I can give you Biblical reasons why I believe I am right. Can you show me where I am wrong from the Bible. It is easier just to claim brainwashing than to examine the merits of the issue.

Why are we brainwashed?

Because the ladies in our family and church dress like ladies.
Because the men in our family and church dress like men.
Because we closely monitor the things we allow in the name of entertainment.
Because we believe Christians are to be different from the world.

This really is what it comes down to, with possibly a few other issues.

I suppose it has nothing to do with the light exposing the darkness and the darkness being uncomfortable.

From the beginning God's people who were serious about serving him have been marginalized and stigmatized by the world.

Those that have turn the world upside down are come hither also.
In reality they were turning the world rightside up.
Paul much learning doth make thee mad.
These men do exceedingly trouble our city.
This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law.
We have found this man a pestilent fellow.
For as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against.

Paul said that we are as the offscouring of all things.

Brainwashing is a term that is used by people who have no ability to confront ideas and address them on the merits.

I suppose given the choice I would rather be brainwashed than braindead!


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Where Are The Ministers That Preach

I was reading this morning and came accross this in a message preached by Spurgeon. I thought I would pass it along for your consideration. It is from a message entitled Enchanted Ground.

Where are the ministers that preach? We have men that read their manuscripts, and talk essays: but is that preaching? We have men that can amuse an audience for twenty minutes. Is that preaching? Where are the men that preach their hearts out, and say their soul in every sentence? Where are the men that make it, not a profession, but a vocation, the breath of their bodies, the marrow of their bones, the delight of their spirits? Where are the Whitefields and Wesleys now? Are they not gone, gone, gone? Where are the Rowland Hills now, who preached every day, and three times a day, and were not afraid of preaching everwhere the unsearchable riches of Christ? Brethren the church slumbers. It is not merely that the pulpit is a sentry-box with the sentinel fast asleep; but the pews are affected.