When Should Doctrine Divide?

For various reasons I’ve been thinking lately about how Christians should relate to each other around secondary doctrines. What kinds of partnership and alliance are appropriate among Christians of different denominations, networks, and/or tribes? What kind of feelings and practices should characterize our attitude to those in the body of Christ with whom we have significant theological disagreements? What does it look like to handle with integrity and transparency personal differences of conviction that may arise with your church, boss, or institution? These kinds of questions have been a significant part of my own denominational and theological journey over the…

I Corinthians 7:14 and Household Baptisms

Since I’ve already addressed Acts 2:39 and Jesus’ blessing of children, I thought I would also address two more points of data in the New Testament commonly appealed to in arguments for paedobaptism: I Corinthians 7:14, and household baptisms. I share these thoughts in hope they might be helpful to others thinking about this issue, and to dialogue and sharpen my thinking if anyone wants to comment. I Corinthians 7:14 The text reads, “For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be…

Further Thoughts on Baptism

Drew Trammell has written a fantastic surrejoinder to my last post. It has both the logical/theological rigor that makes for a clarifying discussion, as well as the irenic tone that makes for an edifying one. Thanks Drew. Our discussion is breaking into some new territory that I’ve not seen covered in the literature on this subject, and I don’t think its run its course yet, so I’m going to give one more response (I may not have time for much after this one). I think its helpful the way Drew starts off by giving an overview of the big picture,…

A Friendly Rejoinder to Drew Trammell on Baptism

Drew Trammel has written a thoughtful and courteous response to my “Why I Changed My Mind on Baptism” piece from last month. Drew draws attention also to Mark Horne’s video response. Since these two and a number of other responses have made a very similar counter-argument, I thought it might be helpful to offer a brief rejoinder. Hopefully these discussions can sharpen and encourage us all, whether we end up changing our minds or not! Drew helpfully summarizes my argument in a 4-point syllogism. His disagreement is with the second premise, which concerns the inter-generational nature of the Abrahamic covenant…

A More General Statement on Covenantal Paedobaptism

Since I’ve been going through particular texts, I thought it would be good to give a more general response to the reformed/covenantal argument for paedobaptism.  Its a big issue, and there are lots of points to make, but what follows is a brief summary of the main reason I do not accept covenantal paedobaptism. B.B. Warfield gave a helpfully succinct expression of the reformed paedobaptist view: “the argument in a nutshell is simply this: God established his Church in the days of Abraham and put children into it. They must remain there until he puts them out. He has nowhere…

Are Mark 10:13-16 (and its parallels) valid prooftexts for paedobaptism?

I recently read Baptism: Three Views, ed. by David Wright, with Sinclair Ferguson arguing for paedobaptism, Bruce Ware for credo-baptism, and Anthony Lane for dual practice. 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…