Baptism Debate Audio

Several folks have written to ask about a debate on baptism. It’s been done. Here are links to two debates between Reformed theologians and Baptist theologians

1. David VanDrunen v Tom Schreiner on Baptism (2008)

Introduction of Friday Evening Speakers

Dr. Thomas Schreiner on Credobaptism

Dr. David VanDrunen on Paedobaptism

Baptism Q and A

2. Bob Strimple v Fred Malone (1999) on Baptism

3. Bill Shishko v James White


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  1. Hey Dr. Clark,

    Another GREAT exchange was done in the Free Church at one of their midwinter theological discussions a while back. Dr. VanGemeren was one of the participants and he actually helped me to first understand the whole concept of infant baptism. Greg Strand was on the other side (Baptist) with another gentleman. There was a Q&A session along with it. Definitely worth listening to.

    It’s 8 CDs and they cover EVERYTHING.


  2. Dr. VanDrunen said in the beginning of the debate that he was not good at debating; maybe he’s right. It seemed to me that in this debate, Dr. Schreiner dominated the conversation.

  3. Thanks for posting these. I really enjoyed them. I am a member of a PCA church but I don’t believe in infant baptism so I have been thinking about this issue a lot.
    Normally James White is excellent but I thought he could have been more persuasive in this debate with Bill Shishko. He started off strong but lacked emphasis in the latter parts of the debate. I thought he did a good job of dissecting the oikos baptism issue. It really falls apart when you look at the passages closely.

    Fred Malone’s book “A String Of Pearls Unstrung” has been influential to me in my searching through this issue. Although Mr. Malone is a deep thinker and an excellent writer, I thought he was not a very effective debater. He was hard to follow as it sounded like he was basically reading from prepared notes. He did do a good job of hitting the Jeremiah 31 – Hebrews 8 connection. Hebrews says that the old covenant is “obsolete” and that the new covenant is “not like the old covenant.” It seems to me that Paedobaptist want to live like old testament Jews and not recognize the changes that are present in the new testament that the Bible reveals. I thought that Dr. Strimple was somewhat antagonistic as well. he kept referring to Mr. Malone by name and refuting his personal assertions rather than disputing the concepts themselves. That was disappointing.

    • Rob,

      One of the keys to this debate is to define “old covenant” correctly. As I keep pointing out, in the NT “old covenant” refers to Moses not to Abraham. This is so in 2 Cor 3 and in Heb 7-10. Abraham is not Moses. Abraham represents the permanent, abiding covenant of grace. Moses was a temporary administration of the covenant of grace (Gal 3). The new covenant is new relative to Moses, not Abraham. There are several posts on this point on the HB. Use the search function.

  4. Thanks Scott. I have to say that I have never considered that before. That brings up some other questions though I guess. If the writer of Hebrews says that the “first covenant” is the Mosaic covenant then what is the Abrahamic covenant? If it’s the same as the new covenant then how can it precede the Mosaic covenant? Why would God even institute the Mosaic covenant if the “new covenant” had already been instituted. Why is Jeremiah looking forward in chapter 31 if the new covenant had already been instituted? Why institute the Mosaic covenant if a “better covenant” with “better promises” already exists?
    Sorry. Didn’t mean to write all that but the questions keep coming.
    On another note, as new testament believers, can our children be rightly referred to as “heirs of Abraham?” Why or why not? How does Romans 9:8 come to bear on that?
    “That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.”

    Humbly, Rob

    • Rob,

      There are a lot of posts in infant baptism on the HB. Check ’em out. Just search “infant baptism” (in the HB search box) and you see them.

      As to the new covenant being new, well, how does Paul talk about Abraham in Rom 4? He’s the father of all believers. Is Moses the father of all believers? No. Abraham and Moses occupy two distinct places in redemptive history. Both looked forward to the coming of Christ but God entered into the foundational covenant of grace with Abraham in a way he did not do with Moses. The latter participated in the covenant of grace but he is a symbol of what is temporary and fading. Abraham is not such a symbol in the NT.

      Jer 31 explicitly mentions the Exodus. That’s huge. He explicitly links the old covenant to Moses. The new covenant will not be like the Mosaic. That’s the message of Jeremiah and the message of the NT. The contrast is with Moses, not with Abraham.

      See also:

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