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 Post subject: Baptism
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:16 pm 
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I currently have a basic Reformed and Covenant position on baptism. But I'd like to dig a little deeper into it. So I'm going to be asking questions at first, and not stating a position. :)

Feel free to just answer one or a couple of these, or just spout of randomly about it xD

What is baptism?
What is the purpose of baptism?
Is the method of baptism important?
Does baptism itself convey blessing, or is it purely symbolic?
Who should receive baptism?
Why?
For Crado-baptists, as grace for children of believers diminished from the Old to New Covenants as the people of God moved from circumcision to baptism?
Which side in the debate over infant baptism has the burden of proof?
What elements of continuity exist between the New and Old Covenants?
What elements of discontinuity?
How should that impact our understanding of baptism?

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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:41 pm 
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John III wrote:
I currently have a basic Reformed and Covenant position on baptism.
Okay, I have no idea what either of those means.

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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:28 am 
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David Roth wrote:
John III wrote:
I currently have a basic Reformed and Covenant position on baptism.
Okay, I have no idea what either of those means.

The reformed view of baptism says that baptism is a sign of God's covenant of grace. It's the New Testament successor to circumcision, so it signifies belonging to God's people. Since baptism replaced circumcision, it works fairly similarly: infants of believing parents are baptized, as well as people who become Christians in adulthood.

In my opinion, baptism is one of those issues that has fairly solid arguments for both sides (the sides being infant vs believers baptism). That being said, infant baptism makes the most sense to me in the broader context of covenant theology.

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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 3:33 am 
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ShaynePC wrote:
What is the biblical justification you see for infant baptism? Would you say a baby that is baptized is saved? If so, where does grace come in? If not, what is the point of baptism if non-believers should or can be baptized?

The biblical justification that I see for infant baptism is tied into covenant theology (specifically circumcision in the Abrahamic covenant). So here goes…

Covenant theology says that God has chosen to deal with man through the structure of covenants, that is through binding, life-and-death agreements between a sovereign and subject. God has instituted a series of covenants with his people, starting with the Adam and continuing with Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and finally the culminating covenant established through Jesus. All of these covenants build on each other, rather than replace each other, and are ultimately fulfilled in Christ.

Circumcision is part of the covenant God made with Abraham. In The Christ of the Covenants, Palmer Robertson wrote, "Circumcision symbolized inclusion in the covenant community established by God's grace. It was the sign of the covenant. As such, it brought people into fellowship with the people of the covenant." He also says that circumcision shows the need for cleansing and symbolized "the purification necessary for the establishment of a covenant relation between a holy God and an unholy people." Both babies and adult converts to Judaism were circumcised.

Although circumcision is no longer required under the new covenant the realities it signified still stand (the inclusion in God's covenant people and the cleansing & renewal of the heart). Baptism is the fulfillment of circumcision under the new covenant: it stands for entrance into God's covenant community (see 1 Corinthians 12:13), of which infants and young children are a part, although they may later choose to leave it. It also represents cleansing and regeneration (Romans 6:3-4 and 1 Peter 3:21). As circumcision's fulfillment, baptism applies in the same circumstances: infants of believing parents and new, previously unbaptized believers.

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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 3:57 am 
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ShaynePC wrote:
Can you answer my other question, though? I'm still confused on your position. Is infant baptism for the saved or the unsaved?

It's probably just me, but I don't understand the way your question is worded… Infant baptism is for the children of parents who are saved. It's not a guarantee that they'll be saved, but rather a sign that they are now part of the church and a promise of God's grace offered to them. There is also a place for baptizing adults, that is, when an adult who has not been baptized into the church becomes a Christian.

Does that answer your question? I'll take another stab at answering it tomorrow if it doesn't. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 7:15 am 
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What does 'Saved' and 'Unsaved' mean? I tend to think of Christianity as a lifelong commitment to God, not a flash in the pan that decides whether or not you are saved.

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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 1:19 am 
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David Roth wrote:
What does 'Saved' and 'Unsaved' mean? I tend to think of Christianity as a lifelong commitment to God, not a flash in the pan that decides whether or not you are saved.

Well, either you've made that lifelong commitment to God (i.e. you are saved) or you haven't (you're unsaved). Come to think of it, I think we tend to use 'saved' as short hand for 'justified', which is a one-time event. But the term 'saved' tends to leave out the ongoing process of sanctification that follows justification.

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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 5:07 am 
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A commitment isn't lifelong when you first make it.

I believe in infant baptism because I believe that Baptism is one of the 7 Sacraments, signs instituted by Christ to give grace. I believe grace is just as important for children as it is for adults.

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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 5:22 am 
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David Roth wrote:
A commitment isn't lifelong when you first make it.

I believe in infant baptism because I believe that Baptism is one of the 7 Sacraments, signs instituted by Christ to give grace. I believe grace is just as important for children as it is for adults.

What are the 7 Sacraments?

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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2013 2:45 pm 
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ShaynePC wrote:
I would agree, David. But would you say (I think you believe in infant baptism) that an infant is a saved person? That when they grow up, if they are baptized, they are saved- for good? Or can they be unsaved?

Tell me this, If an adult is baptized one week, but then loses his faith the next, does that make him saved for good? The point is that baptism is the sign of being a part of the church. No one is perfect. Under your reasoning we shouldn't baptize anyone because there's no guarantee that they will continue believing in God. (at least the reasoning that you presented) :)

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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 7:59 pm 
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Ok, I think that I see where you're coming from. Are you arguing that infants are not part of the church in a general sense? You said that only Christians should be baptized, people who make a confession of faith. But how can you tell if someone is truly a Christian? You can't tell. A person could lie their heads off with a confession of faith. Therefore no one should be baptized because we don't know who is a believer at heart, like infants. This is what your reasoning looks like. ;) Another question. Why were the Jews circumsised at birth? It represented them being born into the covenant. Where these children born into the covenant? Yes, so they were circumsised. While circumsision was the sign of the old covenant, baptism is the sign of the new covenant. The two are parralel with each other. Going back to that, babies born into the church should receive the sign of the new covenant, baptism. Where the circumsised Jews guarrenteed to follow God? Of course not. Where they still circumsised? Yes. Are infants in the church today guarrenteed to follow Jesus? Of course not. Should they still be baptised? Yes, because they are born into the new covenant. :) Make sense?

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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 9:06 pm 
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I think that we need to go back to the root of the concept of baptism. Others on this thread have already thoroughly detailed and outlined the historical usage of baptism, but what about the things Jesus had to say about it? The Great Commission is key to understanding this.

Matthew 28:19-20 tells us this: “ 'Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.' Amen."

The first step to this commission is making disciples, where the Holy Spirit uses us to help change the lives of others, leading, if God wills, to justification, sanctification, etc. Once said person (we'll name him Sam) accepts Jesus' gift of salvation and is regenerate through the working of the Spirit and the grace of God, they are then called to be baptized. This is not an action that leads to salvation, but that comes afterwards in a sign of obedience to Christ. Performing an action because Jesus told us to. That's the root of baptism.

However, we ought to go one step further by looking at 1st Corinthians 1:17: "For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect."

Paul explains to us that Sam being baptized in an act of obedience pales in comparison with him knowing, loving, and longing for Jesus. Therefore, Sam's obedience and willingness to be baptized is a symbol of his love for Jesus.

When it comes to infant baptism, I don't think it lines up with Jesus' words. After Sam is saved, then he should be baptized. Does a one year old infant have the mental capacity to repent of sins he can't even name with his mouth? No. Therefore, there's no justification for baptizing this child.

At the end of the day, this is about loving Jesus and making Him known. Publicly professing your faith through baptism is a wonderful way to do just that.

:D

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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2013 6:37 pm 
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I grew up Church of Christ/Christian Church (essentially the Baptist doctrine as regards baptism). But... I know a lot of people who go by the Catholic or Orthodox Presbyterian views... and (as the article I'm about to share notes) there doesn't seem to be explicit Biblical support for either stance.

And so I am confused, and have officially decided that I will just let my husband figure that out as regards my possible future kids. Anyway, though, this article gives a pretty persuasive and understandable explanation of the Orthodox Presbyterian view, I think. http://www.opc.org/nh.html?article_id=276

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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2013 7:41 pm 
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Bee wrote:
the Orthodox Presbyterian view

Just fyi, that's just the Presbyterian view :) The Orthodox Presbyterian Church is a (very good) denomination within the broader Reformed community. The Presbyterian Church in America, American Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America, and a host of others would affirm the same doctrine :)

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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2013 10:07 pm 
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John III wrote:
Bee wrote:
the Orthodox Presbyterian view

Just fyi, that's just the Presbyterian view :) The Orthodox Presbyterian Church is a (very good) denomination within the broader Reformed community. The Presbyterian Church in America, American Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America, and a host of others would affirm the same doctrine :)

Thanks. I never know whether it's okay to just say "Presbyterian" or "Catholic" or whatever or if I need to tack on a qualifier. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:15 pm 
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TheManInASuit wrote:
I think that we need to go back to the root of the concept of baptism. Others on this thread have already thoroughly detailed and outlined the historical usage of baptism, but what about the things Jesus had to say about it? The Great Commission is key to understanding this.

Matthew 28:19-20 tells us this: “ 'Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.' Amen."

The first step to this commission is making disciples, where the Holy Spirit uses us to help change the lives of others, leading, if God wills, to justification, sanctification, etc. Once said person (we'll name him Sam) accepts Jesus' gift of salvation and is regenerate through the working of the Spirit and the grace of God, they are then called to be baptized. This is not an action that leads to salvation, but that comes afterwards in a sign of obedience to Christ. Performing an action because Jesus told us to. That's the root of baptism.

However, we ought to go one step further by looking at 1st Corinthians 1:17: "For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect."

Paul explains to us that Sam being baptized in an act of obedience pales in comparison with him knowing, loving, and longing for Jesus. Therefore, Sam's obedience and willingness to be baptized is a symbol of his love for Jesus.

When it comes to infant baptism, I don't think it lines up with Jesus' words. After Sam is saved, then he should be baptized. Does a one year old infant have the mental capacity to repent of sins he can't even name with his mouth? No. Therefore, there's no justification for baptizing this child.

At the end of the day, this is about loving Jesus and making Him known. Publicly professing your faith through baptism is a wonderful way to do just that.

:D
Let me ask you a question. Can you show me one example of a second-generation christian being born and when he grows up and confesses Christ is baptized? (Hint: you can't) the New Testament records the process of the first Christians starting from 0 and going from there. That is what the Great commission was talking about. (brackets are my explantional interpretation) "'Go therefore [into the world that has never heard of me] and make disciples [, first generation Christians,] of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, [because they wouldn't already be part of my church because they haven’t heard yet,] teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.' Amen." Again, The New Testament doesn't tell us what to do with second generation Christians.

So how do we know what to do with that second generation? Well let's look at the closest thing to baptism that was established: Circumcision. (I think that people above have expounded on that enough :) )

So yes after Sam is saved (as a first generation christian) he should be baptized. But when Sam maries and has kids, Them (as second generation Christians) should be baptized. So yes it does line up with what Jesus said (or rather didn't say seeing as he didn't address second generation Christians).

However: I think we are coming at this with two different meanings for baptism (or reasons that you are baptized.) What I am saying is that: Baptism symbolizes being part of the church (which is why Circumcision is the closest thing to it). You get baptized when you inter into the church, whether that be as a First G through hearing, repenting, and believing, or as a Second-And-On G through being born to a First-Or-On G.

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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:39 am 
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"For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy." -1 Corinthians 7: 14

Just wondering, how do you respond to that? :) The children of believing parents are holy, even if it is only one parent who believes. (I think there's another verse reenforcing that, but I forget where it is) So yes, technically they aren't believers, but does that mean that they shouldn't be baptized into the church as children born into the covenant of grace?

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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:04 pm 
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First off let me say that all of this is my personal opinion. If any of you Infant baptismists think I am too off; Please, PM me or something and tell me where I stray (You Baptists can also do that, but I will probably take it better from someone who shares 50% with me instead of 0%.) I don't want a wrong belief.

Quote:
infant baptism is not a Biblical practice. An infant cannot place his or her faith in Christ. An infant cannot make a conscious decision to obey Christ. An infant cannot understand what water baptism symbolizes.
I don't think that that is what baptism symbolizes (I will get to what I think does symbolize that later)
Quote:
The Bible does not record any infants being baptized.
Again, because it was only talking about 1st-Generation Christians not 2nd-Gs

Quote:
Many Christians who practice infant baptism do so because they understand infant baptism as the new covenant equivalent of circumcision. In this view, just as circumcision joined a Hebrew to the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants, so baptism joined a person to the New Covenant of salvation through Jesus Christ. This view is unbiblical.
All Circumcision symbolized is that you were a Jew (ethnically) (notice that the kids had no choice in whether they were Jews or not) and so likewise Baptism symbolizes that you are a Christian (ethnically). So I agree that: the view that if you are baptized you are ipsofacto saved is unbiblical.
Quote:
The New Testament nowhere describes baptism as the New Covenant replacement for Old Covenant circumcision. The New Testament nowhere describes baptism as a sign of the New Covenant.
The Old Covenant and the New Covenant are not 100% the same. The Old Covenant has two parts: First, Being a Jew ethnically (by circumcision), Second, being a Jew spiritually by obeying all the laws, and thus being acceptable to God. The New Covenant has two parts: The first part is being a christian ethnically (by baptism), and the second part is being a Christian Spiritually by accepting Christ as our lord and savior (and if you really do have God in you they you will obey all that he says), and thus being acceptable to God.
Quote:
It is faith in Jesus Christ that enables a person to enjoy the blessings of the New Covenant (1 Corinthians 11:25; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Hebrews 9:15).
Absolutely 100% true.

Quote:
Baptism does not save a person. It does not matter if you were baptized by immersion, pouring, or sprinkling - if you have not first trusted in Christ for salvation, baptism (no matter the method) is meaningless and useless.
(see last comment)
Quote:
Water baptism by immersion is a step of obedience to be done after salvation as a public profession of faith in Christ and identification with Him.
Here is where I disagree. (one with immersion (and only immersion) but that is not as big deal) Baptism is not the sign of being a Christian spiritually and thus doesn't fit here.
Quote:
Infant baptism does not fit the Biblical definition of baptism or the Biblical method of baptism.
Nowhere does it say in the bible "this is the definition of christian baptism" so I would be a little hesitant to say what he just said to quickly. Depending on who you ask you may get a different definition of baptism. I personally think that infant baptism does fit the biblical meaning and mode of baptism.
Quote:
If Christian parents wish to dedicate their child to Christ, then a baby dedication service is entirely appropriate. However, even if infants are dedicated to the Lord, when they grow up they will still have to make a personal decision to believe in Jesus Christ in order to be saved.
Agreed. If an infant is dedicated he/she will still have to be baptized later. I personally don't have anything explicitly against infant dedication, (I do think that they have the wrong interpretation but I won't condemn anyone who does it), but I think that an infant should be baptized.

Quote:
Many Reformed traditions have made a very close parallel between circumcision and baptism and have used the Old Testament teaching on circumcision to justify the baptism of infants. The argument goes like this: since infants born into the Old Testament Jewish community were circumcised, infants born into the New Testament church community should be baptized.

While there are parallels between baptism and circumcision, they symbolize two very different covenants.
Agreed. One was works biased, the other was Grace biased
Quote:
The Old Covenant had a physical means of entrance: one was born to Jewish parents or bought as a servant into a Jewish household (Genesis 17:10-13). One’s spiritual life was unconnected to the sign of circumcision.
Kind of. The fact that you were a Jew ethnically (by circumcision) meant that you HAD to obey all the laws.
Quote:
Every male was circumcised, whether he showed any devotion to God or not. However, even in the Old Testament, there was recognition that physical circumcision was not enough. Moses commanded the Israelites in Deuteronomy 10:16 to circumcise their hearts, and even promised that God would do the circumcising (Deuteronomy 30:6). Jeremiah also preached the need for a circumcision of the heart (Jeremiah 4:4).
Yes, that is entirely different from physical circumcision. Likewise, There is a difference between physical baptism and accepting Christ to change your heart.

Quote:
In contrast, the New Covenant has a spiritual means of entrance: one must believe and be saved (Acts 16:31). Therefore, one’s spiritual life is closely connected to the sign of baptism.
True, but only a little bit more that circumcision.
Quote:
If baptism indicates an entrance into the New Covenant, then only those devoted to God and trusting in Jesus should be baptized.

Ok, Now what you have been all waiting for. "If baptism is not the only sign of the New Covenant, (and is only the sign of interance into the christian community,) What do you think is the sign of main sign of the New Covenant?" (This is really where I need you guys to tell me if I have strayed. This is just my rough idea that I would really like input on).

I think that Communion (The Eucharist) is the bigger sign of the New Covenant. Mat 26:26-28 While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is My body." And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.
When you take communion you are saying "I believe that Christ died for my sin, and rose from the dead conquering death to give me life with Jesus." (1Co 11:26) And to take it without believing that is blatant lying (1Co 11:27-30).
But before you can take communion you have to make a public profession of faith and that is where that comes in (which I have seen many, many churches do.)

That is what I think, but again if you think I am too far off PM/respond and I may change but "Unless I am convinced by scripture and plain reason, and not by popes or bishops or councils who have so often contradicted themselves, I can not and will not go against my conscience because to do so is neither safe nor right. Here I stand. I can do no other. So help me God." (Martian Luther. Diet of Worms)

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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:49 pm 
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JBWilson wrote:
Let me ask you a question. Can you show me one example of a second-generation christian being born and when he grows up and confesses Christ is baptized? (Hint: you can't) the New Testament records the process of the first Christians starting from 0 and going from there. That is what the Great commission was talking about. (brackets are my explantional interpretation) "'Go therefore [into the world that has never heard of me] and make disciples [, first generation Christians,] of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, [because they wouldn't already be part of my church because they haven’t heard yet,] teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.' Amen." Again, The New Testament doesn't tell us what to do with second generation Christians.

So how do we know what to do with that second generation? Well let's look at the closest thing to baptism that was established: Circumcision. (I think that people above have expounded on that enough :) )

So yes after Sam is saved (as a first generation christian) he should be baptized. But when Sam maries and has kids, Them (as second generation Christians) should be baptized. So yes it does line up with what Jesus said (or rather didn't say seeing as he didn't address second generation Christians).

However: I think we are coming at this with two different meanings for baptism (or reasons that you are baptized.) What I am saying is that: Baptism symbolizes being part of the church (which is why Circumcision is the closest thing to it). You get baptized when you inter into the church, whether that be as a First G through hearing, repenting, and believing, or as a Second-And-On G through being born to a First-Or-On G.


To start off with I am an example of that. My parents are both saved, I grew up and got baptized when I was 6 or 7.
I'm not sure I understand your point of view. When does the bible ever specifically differentiate between first and second generation Christians? I don't believe it does (if there are references, I'd be interested to see them.)

Here's your basic argument: Christians get baptized when they enter into the church. However, I don't believe that that's true. During the time of John the Baptist, there technically wasn't even a "church" in existence! So, why did he baptize people? It was because they had repented because the Kingdom of God was at hand. We are baptized for the same reason. You can look at these two verses to further illustrate this point:

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

These passages of scripture make it clear that we are to repent and then be baptized and that those who have "put on Christ" (been saved) are the ones who are called to be baptized. There isn't any differentiation between 1st and 2nd generation Christians, or between those who have entered the church or are still looking for a good home church: it is for people who are saved by the grace of God in Christ and desire to make a public proclamation of that action in obedience to God.

You also implied that salvation as a 2nd generation Christian is automatic.
Quote:
You get baptized when you inter into the church, whether that be as a First G through hearing, repenting, and believing, or as a Second-And-On G through being born to a First-Or-On G

This is absolutely false. A farmer may have a son who grows up on the farm all his life. The son certainly has an advantage over others if he decides to run the farm when he grows up, for he knows all about farming. However, that doesn't mean that he will be a farmer.
I know of quite a few young people who have grown up with wonderful, godly parents, yet strayed to the wide path once they were finished with high school. This either means that salvation comes to people individually or that we can lose our salvation over time. The second argument can't be true, for Jesus says in John, “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand." Therefore, children do not "inherit" Christianity from their parents.

If anything I said falsely represents your words and beliefs, I apologize :D I may have misinterpreted some of the things you said. Please let me know if that's the case. At the end of the day, this is about understanding God's Word more thoroughly and loving Him all the more because of it.

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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2013 10:35 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2011 5:18 am
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Location: Safe in His Arms.
ShaynePC wrote:
Thank you for that explanation; it was much clearer than what I wrote!


Haha :D You're too kind, Shayne. Either way, we're all just people looking to understand the scriptures more clearly.

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