Church Membership and the Definition of Baptism

tiana_101tiana_101 (Posted by) Level 3
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Original Post by Gavin Ortlund: Can We Reject Paedobaptism and Still Receive Paedobaptists?

partnership in the gospel, and I remember your time in DC fondly.

Objections - Baptist - Practice - People - Infants

As I understand it you raise two basic objections to the baptist practice of excluding people baptized as infants from church membership—what I call the definitional objection and the unity objection. You know me well enough to probably predict why I don’t find either objection finally persuasive, but let me go ahead and lay out why.

You want to say that paedobaptism fits inside the definition of a true or valid baptism, even if it’s not orderly or proper. To make this work, you have to remove subjective faith from the essence or definition of baptism, which you do at the end of the article. In so doing, I would argue that you effectively adopt a paedobaptist view of baptism. That’s fine. You can do that. But let’s be clear: you are defining baptism differently than baptists do (whether denominationally affiliated or not; hence, small “b”).

Baptist - Paedobaptist - Friends - Nature - Sign

A baptist like me, together with our paedobaptist friends, does affirm the objective nature of baptism—that it’s a sign and seal, as you and others have said. But we also insist on the subjective role of faith at the moment of baptism in order for that sign and seal to objectively “speak” and “seal.” This is why the New Testament uses baptism metonymically—or as a stand in—for conversion.

“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27).

Circumcision - Hands - Body - Flesh - Circumcision

“In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him...
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