I get this question frequently but it is not the right question.
The better question is: what does the Bible teach about the unity of the covenant of grace? Once one understands the continuity of the Abrahamic covenant with the New Covenant, the baptism question answers itself. Did God ordain the initiation of the children of believers? Yes. Did he change that? No. Most of what we need to know about infant baptism we learn from infant circumcision. Most of what we need to know about the covenant of grace, we learn from Abraham (who is not Moses). The answer to virtually all the “but what about?” questions is another question: what did God say to Abraham?
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True enough…no doubt that we can learn more about baptism from God’s word than any place else, and everything else falls just a little short. But as a person that came from a Baptist background I understand why this question is so frequently asked. To that end I would recommend: Believers and Their Seed, by Herman Hoeksema; The Covenant of God and the Children of Believers, by David Engelsma…. and lest we forget, Baptism Election & the Covenant of Grace, by R. Scott Clark. I was also greatly helped by William Hendriksen’s The Covenant of Grace which is what I was reading when the proverbial light came on (“Infant baptism can’t be taught, it must be caught.”) The issue with those of us who were first “taught” believer’s baptism is that we attempt to fit paedobaptism into the framework of believer’s baptism…..such is not possible as they are two different things (the same but different). One must approach infant baptism with only a covenantal biblical foundation in order to truly grasp why we baptize our children…there is simply no other way.
Good analysis, Jerry. Thanks for that.
Reformed CT was the most hopeful reading of Scripture I had ever come across. That’s why I could not deny it once I understood it. Because, what could be more hopeful than the promise-idea that God would be God to me and to my children?
I would highly recommend J. V. Fesko’s Word, Water, and Spirit.