I thought Ferguson’s selections were the best parts of the book, and there is much in his case for paedobaptism that I agree with. For example, I thought he handled the symbolic meaning of the sacrament better than the other writers: he shows how baptism ultimately points to Christ (not our faith!).
One of the things that I found unconvincing about Ferguson’s case, however, was his repeated appeal to Jesus’ blessing of children in Mark 10, Matthew 19, and Luke 18, and in particular Jesus’ statement, “to such as these belongs the kingdom of God.”
Why I respectfully feel that this statement by Jesus falls short of an argument for paedobaptism:
First, Jesus says that the kingdom of God belongs to such as these, not to children per se. What he is commending is child-likeness, with all that it entails, as a prerequisite to entering the kingdom.
As in Matthew 18:3-4, where anyone (of any age) can enter, if they become like a child: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (italics mine). Or Mark 10:15/Luke 18:17: “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Second, Jesus’ statement is not made with respect to the “children of believers,” but children in general. He is not talking about covenant children.
Third, Jesus refers to children entering the kingdom, which is not precisely what evangelical paedobaptists believe is happening at the baptism of an infant. Kingdom entrance is associated in Colossians 1:13-14 with redemption and forgiveness of sins.
Jesus’ point, in my opinion, can be summarized as follows: kingdom entrance requires childlikeness. For these passages to constitute an argument for paedobaptism, Jesus would have to say that church membership (not the kingdom) belongs to children (not those like children) of believers (not children in general).