“New Covenant “adoption” is one that is salvific in import…Here we see “a clear contrast between the typical sonship of the Old Testament and the real, substantial and anti-typical sonship conferred by the New Covenant.”

He redeemed His people from their sin (Luke 9:31). New Covenant “adoption” is one that is salvific in import. An adopted child of God in the New Covenant is a child who cries out “Abba, Father” as “a joint heir ” with Christ (Romans 8:15-17; Galatians 4:4-7). Here we see “a clear contrast between the typical sonship of the Old Testament and the real, substantial and anti-typical sonship conferred by the New Covenant.”

From “From Paedobaptism to Credobaptism – A Critique of the Westminster Standards on the Subject of Baptism” by W. Gary Crampton, page 38

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“But circumcision, in its ceremonial aspect, was also a spiritual mark. To Abraham, and to him alone, writes Paul, circumcision signified salvation already received…Rather, to Abraham’s male seed, circumcision presented the gospel message, namely, their need for a circumcised heart…Thus the need of a call to be circumcised in heart was revealed.”

But circumcision, in its ceremonial aspect, was also a spiritual mark. To Abraham, and to him alone, writes Paul, circumcision signified salvation already received. “And he [Abraham] received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe…who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised” (Romans 4:9-12). It did not signify this to his male seed. Ishmael, for example, was circumcised the same day as Abraham (Genesis 17:23-27), but this rite was not to him “a seal of the righteousness of the faith” which he had (17:18-21). Rather, to Abraham’s male seed, circumcision presented the gospel message, namely, their need for a circumcised heart (Deuteronomy 10:16). The vast majority of Israelites did not have this kind of heart (Jeremiah 4:4; Acts 7:51; 1 Corinthians 10:1-11) even though they remained members of the Old Covenant community. Thus the need of a call to be circumcised in heart was revealed.

From “From Paedobaptism to Credobaptism – A Critique of the Westminster Standards on the Subject of Baptism” by W. Gary Crampton, page 33

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“Another difficulty involved with equating circumcision and baptism is that in the first century they were both practiced in the covenant community at the same time…”

Another difficulty involved with equating circumcision and baptism is that in the first century they were both practiced in the covenant community at the same time. As noted above in Acts 21:15-25, for example, converted and (presumably) baptized Jews continued to practice infant circumcision. If baptism and circumcision are one, not only would circumcision be unnecessary, it would also be confusing and contradictory. These are all pertinent issues which must be adequately explained if it is to be insisted on that circumcision and baptism are identical. If this cannot be done, then the argument for infant baptism from circumcision is invalid.

From “From Paedobaptism to Credobaptism – A Critique of the Westminster Standards on the Subject of Baptism” by W. Gary Crampton, page 28

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“According to these statements, paedobaptists declare that they confess their faith in baptism, and yet they give it to infants without their confessing anything; …And this bale of contradictions is bound together by a hoop of “buts,” “neverthelesses,” “althoughs,” and “not onlys””

Let anyone take [Philip] Schaff’s Creeds of Christendom and run through the classic Protestant creeds [including the Westminster Standards] and he will discover a study in paradox at this point. According to these statements, paedobaptists declare that they confess their faith in baptism, and yet they give it to infants without their confessing anything; they engage in baptism to be the Lord’s, and yet they give it to infants who engage nothing; they confess baptism to be a sacrament of faith and penitence, and yet they grant it to those who have neither the one nor the other; they call baptism a sign of profession, and yet they give it to those who make no profession. And this bale of contradictions is bound together by a hoop of “buts,” “neverthelesses,” “althoughs,” and “not onlys” [quote by Paul K. Jewett from Encyclopedia of Christianity via From Paedobaptism to Credobaptism]

From “From Paedobaptism to Credobaptism – A Critique of the Westminster Standards on the Subject of Baptism” by W. Gary Crampton, page 13

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“There is not a single example of infant baptism in the whole of Scriptur. This is admitted by paedobaptist theologians…”

There is not a single example of infant baptism in the whole of Scriptur. This is admitted by paedobaptist theologians. John Murray acknowledged there “there that no express command baptize infants and no record in the New Testament of a clear case of infant baptism.” Thomas Boston said that “there is no example of baptism recorded in the Scriptures, where any were baptized, but such as appeared to have a saving interest in Christ.” “Regrettably,” asserted Peter Toon, “there is no clear scriptural teaching on whether or not children and infants were baptized.” And, claimed Louis Berkhof, “It may be said at the outset that there is no explicit command in the Bible to baptize children, and that there is not a single instance in which we are plainly told that children were baptized… the New Testament contains no direct evidence for the practice of infant baptisms.” However, this is not the case with the baptism of disciples. There is an explicit commandment in the New Testament to baptize professors of Christ, and in every example of baptism that we find in the New Testament, wherein it is possible to identify the subjects of baptism, it is always those who professed faith in Christ.

From “From Paedobaptism to Credobaptism – A Critique of the Westminster Standards on the Subject of Baptism” by W. Gary Crampton, page 4

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“In this manner [the Baptists] showed themselves to be quite different than the Anabaptists who advocated a more marked separation between the believer and the kingdoms of this world…”

One of the key features of the Baptists understanding of the kingdom of God was the need for men and women to be free to act according to their consciences. This could only be guaranteed by unraveling the two kingdoms into their respective spheres. As subjects of a civil magistrate the Baptists insisted on the necessity of obedience and cooperation, even to the point of serving within the  sphere of civil government. In this manner they showed themselves to be quite different than the Anabaptists who advocated a more marked separation between the believer and the kingdoms of this world.

Where the Anabaptists saw serving within the civil government  to be a compromise with the world, the Baptists saw no conflict. It was not a compromise with the forces of evil, but service to God in the civil kingdom; civil magistracy could be a God-honoring vocation.

From “Separating God’s Two Kingdoms” by Ronald Baines
Journal of the Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies – 2014 by IRBS , pg. 50

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“The question between us is not, whether it be the duty…but it is, whether that duty ought to be enforced by the sword, or only by instruction, persuasion and good example?” The Baptists argued for the latter, the paedobaptists for the former…

Backus was quick to counter the implications some might make of removing the civil magistrate from using the sword to enforce religious affairs. It was not that the unbelief or recalcitrance of the citizenry was acceptable to God or the Baptists; rather God had ordained a different means for addressing the unbelief of those outside the church. “The question between us is not, whether it be the duty…but it is, whether that duty ought to be enforced by the sword, or only by instruction, persuasion and good example?” The Baptists argued for the latter, the paedobaptists for the former.

From “Separating God’s Two Kingdoms” by Ronald Baines
Journal of the Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies – 2014 by IRBS , pg. 48

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“Backus believed missing this point led to carrying over Old Testament elements of “the covenant of circumcision,” where “regenerate and unregenerate were bound together in a national church,” into the New Testament, leading to the theological justification for forming national churches…”

The Baptists held the state church system to be fundamentally odds with the New Testament revelation of the kingdom of Heaven because of the necessary connection between the subjects of the kingdom and the members of the church. If the kingdom was spiritual rather than physical, then entrance into the kingdom and membership in the church must both be spiritual. Backus believed missing this point led to carrying over Old Testament elements of “the covenant of circumcision,” where “regenerate and unregenerate were bound together in a national church,” into the New Testament, leading to the theological justification for forming national churches. “But men…have generally held to the bringing of persons into the kingdom of God by blood, by their own wills, or by the wills of other men; and from thence have come all national churches.”

From “Separating God’s Two Kingdoms” by Ronald Baines
Journal of the Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies – 2014 by IRBS , pg. 38

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“The important point at this juncture is that the difference between the Baptists, such as Merrill, and the standing order was greater than simply the sprinkling of children, the mode and subjects of baptism…”

The important point at this juncture is that the difference between the Baptists, such as Merrill, and the standing order was greater than simply the sprinkling of children, the mode and subjects of baptism. The difference was the entire formulation of the nature of the kingdom. If the kingdom of God comprised the physical seed of believers, then the baptism of children, like circumcision in Israel, brought them into the kingdom. But if the kingdom was spiritual, as the Baptists insisted, no amount of water would suffice. In the words of Isaac Backus, “Christ by his death had disannulled the covenant of circumcision” and “gave the pure gospel commission to none but regenerate persons” Only professed believers were subjects of the kingdoms.

From “Separating God’s Two Kingdoms” by Ronald Baines
Journal of the Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies – 2014 by IRBS , pg. 36

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JIRBS 2014

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