Christians who believe Jesus Christ is Lord (fully God and fully man), that He must be your Lord in order to be your Savior, and that salvation is all God's doing and none of ours. Most of us are from the PMR group (Pretty Much Reformed)


    Mark Dever calls infant baptism sinful

    Share

    Pilgrim

    Posts : 72
    Join date : 2009-02-10

    Mark Dever calls infant baptism sinful

    Post by Pilgrim on Fri Mar 20, 2009 10:30 pm

    Here are my thoughts on the unrest over this: http://tinyurl.com/d773eq
    avatar
    Scottish Lass

    Posts : 37
    Join date : 2009-02-10
    Age : 41
    Location : Louisville, KY

    Re: Mark Dever calls infant baptism sinful

    Post by Scottish Lass on Sat Mar 21, 2009 3:53 pm

    I'll express the same ideas my husband and I did on another board: I'm distressed that he chose this and only this to name as sin. I understand that both sides call the other's practice a sin (the WCF calls delaying a baptism a sin, and vice versa). Singling this issue out is my problem, however, while treating female ordination and Arminianism much more lightly.

    I also don't see the consistency in allowing a paedobaptist to preach from a credobaptistic pulpit if one would not serve the Lord's Supper to that same paedobaptist.

    However, I am admittedly unlearned about the intricacies of these things.
    avatar
    elnwood

    Posts : 36
    Join date : 2009-02-11

    Re: Mark Dever calls infant baptism sinful

    Post by elnwood on Mon Mar 23, 2009 4:00 am

    Dever used to be my pastor, and I have the greatest and utmost respect for him.

    For the record, Dever does allow paedobaptist visitors take communion if they are a member of an evangelical church and can take communion there.

    My thoughts generally echo Pilgrim's. If anything, the WCF uses far stronger language; Dever would never call paedobaptism a "great sin." Perhaps the critics ought to revise the WCF?

    Pilgrim

    Posts : 72
    Join date : 2009-02-10

    Re: Mark Dever calls infant baptism sinful

    Post by Pilgrim on Sat Mar 28, 2009 2:40 pm

    I am a bit disappointed in the report that he will allow paedobaptist visitors to take communion. He suggested otherwise in the article that caused this latest uproar. (There was a similar one in 2007.) I can find no scriptural warrant for admitting the unbaptized to the table. Here are the remarks in question:

    11. Infant baptism. I cannot live with infant baptism. Having said that, if I were the pastor of the only church allowed in Mecca, maybe… But even then, I simply lack the authority to admit someone to the Lord’s Table who has not been baptized. It is, as one said not too long ago, “above my pay-grade.” I have many dear paedo-baptists friends from whom I have learned much. Yet I see their practice as a sinful (though sincere) error from which God protects them by allowing for inconsistency in their doctrinal system, just as he graciously protects me from consistency with my own errors.

    avatar
    Scottish Lass

    Posts : 37
    Join date : 2009-02-10
    Age : 41
    Location : Louisville, KY

    Re: Mark Dever calls infant baptism sinful

    Post by Scottish Lass on Sat Mar 28, 2009 3:46 pm

    elnwood wrote: Dever would never call paedobaptism a "great sin." Perhaps the critics ought to revise the WCF?

    But what is the difference between sin and great sin? Dever does call paedobaptism sin, as the WCF calls delaying baptism sin.
    avatar
    elnwood

    Posts : 36
    Join date : 2009-02-11

    Re: Mark Dever calls infant baptism sinful

    Post by elnwood on Mon Mar 30, 2009 12:53 am

    Scottish Lass wrote:
    elnwood wrote: Dever would never call paedobaptism a "great sin." Perhaps the critics ought to revise the WCF?

    But what is the difference between sin and great sin? Dever does call paedobaptism sin, as the WCF calls delaying baptism sin.

    The difference is tone and willingness to cooperate. Dever is accused of being polemic, but he is willing to work with paedobaptists. The Westminster Divines, on the other hand, were never in cooperation with Baptists, and dismissed them as Anabaptists. I believe that bias comes out in the wording of the WCF. They didn't use "great sin" very often. The only other time they used it was to refer to those who took the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner.
    avatar
    elnwood

    Posts : 36
    Join date : 2009-02-11

    Re: Mark Dever calls infant baptism sinful

    Post by elnwood on Mon Mar 30, 2009 1:02 am

    Pilgrim wrote:I am a bit disappointed in the report that he will allow paedobaptist visitors to take communion. He suggested otherwise in the article that caused this latest uproar. (There was a similar one in 2007.) I can find no scriptural warrant for admitting the unbaptized to the table. Here are the remarks in question:

    11. Infant baptism. I cannot live with infant baptism. Having said that, if I were the pastor of the only church allowed in Mecca, maybe… But even then, I simply lack the authority to admit someone to the Lord’s Table who has not been baptized. It is, as one said not too long ago, “above my pay-grade.” I have many dear paedo-baptists friends from whom I have learned much. Yet I see their practice as a sinful (though sincere) error from which God protects them by allowing for inconsistency in their doctrinal system, just as he graciously protects me from consistency with my own errors.


    Dever's remarks are confusing, but in fact they are consistent. When Dever allows paedobaptists to the Lord's table, he is recognizing that the Lord's Table is not the institution of just one local church, but of all true churches.

    Dever recognizes that gospel-preaching paedobaptist churches are true churches. Thus, he will allow members of paedobaptist churches to take communion. He does not do this on his authority, but on the authority of their home church.

    When he presents the Lord's Table, he says something like the following: "If you are a member in good standing of an evangelical church that preaches the same gospel that you heard here today, and you are able to take communion in your own church, we welcome you to the table."
    avatar
    Scottish Lass

    Posts : 37
    Join date : 2009-02-10
    Age : 41
    Location : Louisville, KY

    Re: Mark Dever calls infant baptism sinful

    Post by Scottish Lass on Mon Mar 30, 2009 10:50 am

    elnwood wrote:
    Dever's remarks are confusing, but in fact they are consistent. When Dever allows paedobaptists to the Lord's table, he is recognizing that the Lord's Table is not the institution of just one local church, but of all true churches.

    Dever recognizes that gospel-preaching paedobaptist churches are true churches. Thus, he will allow members of paedobaptist churches to take communion. He does not do this on his authority, but on the authority of their home church.

    When he presents the Lord's Table, he says something like the following: "If you are a member in good standing of an evangelical church that preaches the same gospel that you heard here today, and you are able to take communion in your own church, we welcome you to the table."

    Thank you for this clarification. I am glad to hear this.
    avatar
    Adam
    Admin

    Posts : 177
    Join date : 2009-02-10
    Age : 48

    Re: Mark Dever calls infant baptism sinful

    Post by Adam on Mon Mar 30, 2009 12:06 pm

    I've had numerous paedo's say credo's we're sinning to me personally.


    _________________
    Help spread the word about "Fisher's of Men"!

    Pilgrim

    Posts : 72
    Join date : 2009-02-10

    Re: Mark Dever calls infant baptism sinful

    Post by Pilgrim on Mon Mar 30, 2009 3:18 pm

    If what is reported (open communion) is true, Dever is indeed being inconsistent, and much of the heat from the paedos now and in a similar discussion in 2007 are due to the assumption that he is a close communionist. Again, assuming the report is accurate IMO it appears to amount to rank denominationalism. "If your denomination says it's ok, then you are welcome to the Supper but if you join this church you gotta follow our rules and be baptized first."

    The practice reported by elnwood resembles Spurgeon's Metropolitan Tabernacle's practice in his day. Spurgeon apparently changed his views later on in his ministry and expressed admiration for the Southern Baptists in the USA who practiced close communion but said it would have been too much of an ordeal to change the Met Tab's practice at that point.
    avatar
    elnwood

    Posts : 36
    Join date : 2009-02-11

    Re: Mark Dever calls infant baptism sinful

    Post by elnwood on Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:09 pm

    Chris, I don't follow. Why is Dever being inconsistent? Are you saying that open communion is inherently inconsistent?
    avatar
    Scottish Lass

    Posts : 37
    Join date : 2009-02-10
    Age : 41
    Location : Louisville, KY

    Re: Mark Dever calls infant baptism sinful

    Post by Scottish Lass on Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:42 pm

    Chris,
    Is this not close communion (not closed, but close)? The table has been fenced, albeit with a gate.

    Pilgrim

    Posts : 72
    Join date : 2009-02-10

    Re: Mark Dever calls infant baptism sinful

    Post by Pilgrim on Wed Apr 01, 2009 1:38 pm

    elnwood wrote:Chris, I don't follow. Why is Dever being inconsistent? Are you saying that open communion is inherently inconsistent?

    Yes it is inherently inconsistent. Dever says admitting the unbaptized to the table is "above my paygrade" IOW that he doesn't have the authority to do it. If his practice is as you say and he does indeed admit the unbaptized to the table because their church says it is ok then it should be obvious that this is a glaring inconsistency.

    Edit: To perhaps make it more clear, I'm stating that open communion/restricted membership (i.e. restricting membership to those who have been immersed) is inconsistent. Open membership based solely on a profession of faith (the Bunyan view and apparently what John Piper proposed a few years ago) would be more consistent, although I can find no scriptural justification for the idea that baptism isn't prerequisite to either church membership or the Lord's Supper. Presbyterians agree on this issue as well, the argument between us is over the mode and subjects of baptism, not over whether baptism should come before membership and admittance to the Lord's Supper.

    I consider the Presbyterian practice of paedobaptism and credo communion to be inconsistent as well, and as I noted in my "Why I am a Baptist" article that I posted on the PB and on my blog, this realization was one factor that led me to reexamine my position last year and return to Baptist convictions.

    Both open communion/restricted membership and paedobaptism/credo communion are inconsistent and IMO unstable positions, but they are happy inconsistencies in that they at least avoid the pitfalls of falling into worse errors.

    Time doesn't permit me to get into an extended debate over these issues here. I am in the process of posting the contents of a 1900 Southern Baptist publication "Baptist Why and Why Not" on my blog that more or less represents my position on these issues. The article on close communion should be going up in the next few days.


    Last edited by Pilgrim on Wed Apr 01, 2009 2:04 pm; edited 1 time in total

    Pilgrim

    Posts : 72
    Join date : 2009-02-10

    Re: Mark Dever calls infant baptism sinful

    Post by Pilgrim on Wed Apr 01, 2009 1:46 pm

    Scottish Lass wrote:Chris,
    Is this not close communion (not closed, but close)? The table has been fenced, albeit with a gate.

    The definition of open/close/closed definitely varys by region, etc.

    Inviting or permitting the unbaptized to come to the table based on their profession of faith is open communion in the traditional Baptist understanding. (Closed communion would be members of that particular church only, with close being various positions in between but would at least require immersion. Some don't have a third category and simply use the terms open and closed but I have never found that to be helpful.)

    Someone who has not been baptized (using the Presbyterian definition of baptism) would not be permitted to come to the table in the ARP or PCA either.

    I suppose some would define open communion as allowing anyone to partake without even so much as a profession of faith, but that's not the typical usage of the term within our circles.
    avatar
    Scottish Lass

    Posts : 37
    Join date : 2009-02-10
    Age : 41
    Location : Louisville, KY

    Re: Mark Dever calls infant baptism sinful

    Post by Scottish Lass on Wed Apr 01, 2009 11:04 pm

    I guess I always get confused when I see the word "unbaptized". I certainly don't view myself that way, but I guess you do.
    avatar
    elnwood

    Posts : 36
    Join date : 2009-02-11

    Re: Mark Dever calls infant baptism sinful

    Post by elnwood on Thu Apr 02, 2009 12:49 pm

    Chris, when you say you support "closed communion," do you mean giving communion only to members of your church? To all properly immersed believers? To members of another Baptist church?

    Pilgrim

    Posts : 72
    Join date : 2009-02-10

    Re: Mark Dever calls infant baptism sinful

    Post by Pilgrim on Sat Apr 04, 2009 7:24 pm

    elnwood wrote:Chris, when you say you support "closed communion," do you mean giving communion only to members of your church? To all properly immersed believers? To members of another Baptist church?

    Elnwood,

    I did not state that I support "closed communion." (If I did appear to state it somewhere, I didn't intend to do so.) But I find there is a lot of misunderstanding regarding the usages of the various terms.

    I gave a brief summary of the differences between open/close/closed communion in post 14 on the previous page. I would define closed communion as being local church only communion (although it might be defined slightly more broadly than that) and I do not hold to that view.

    When discussing this issue, it seems that on the West Coast particularly, people define the terms differently. (I'm sure this is not limited to the left coast, but objections to my categories and definitions from people who live in that region have arisen often enough for me to think perhaps it is a regional difference.) It seems that many also only have two categories, open and closed, and some evidently use the term open communion to refer to any practice that is broader than local church only communion. However the three categories that I work with (open/close/closed) have a long history of usage. I find them to be preferable because they relate to not only church membership but the relation between baptism and the Lord's Supper.

    I am still working through these issues and recognize the danger of dogmatically adopting and defending a position before I've adequately studied it, just as I did several years ago with Presbyterianism. Just because a position is internally consistent doesn't mean it's what the Bible teaches.

    Much of my posting on this subject has been an attempt to clear up and debunk misrepresentations in the blogosphere by some who would claim to be "Historic Baptists" but who are ignorant (at best) of actual historic beliefs and practices on this issue.

    However, I doubt that I will ever be comfortable with the restricted membership/open communion position that is rather common in Baptist churches today (if baptism (immersion) is not prerequisite to the Lord's Supper, then on what grounds is it prerequisite to church membership?) and figure I'll either end up adopting the Bunyan view of open membership that makes a profession of faith and not baptism the "door" to church membership or will stick with the historic practice of restricted membership and close communion, which would view baptism (immersion) as being prerequisite to both church membership and the Lord's Supper.
    avatar
    elnwood

    Posts : 36
    Join date : 2009-02-11

    Re: Mark Dever calls infant baptism sinful

    Post by elnwood on Mon Apr 06, 2009 1:28 am

    Hey Chris,

    Open/restricted/closed views of membership and the Lord's table are definitely difficult issues, and IMO not one that Scripture is all that clear on. You are definitely wise not to adopt a dogmatic view so quickly, and perhaps it may be wise to even hold a studied view tenuously.

    One of the related issues is whether baptism is a necessary prerequisite to the Lord's table. It seems to be the pattern, and has been the historical practice of both Presbyterians and Baptists according to their view of baptism. But perhaps exceptions can be made for the sake of unity in either church membership or fellowship in the supper?

    I'm not fully decided on this issue either, but I'm wary of positions that find their greatest support in historic practice and historical confessions.

    Sponsored content

    Re: Mark Dever calls infant baptism sinful

    Post by Sponsored content


      Current date/time is Fri Apr 20, 2018 11:36 pm