Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sola Scriptura as an Epistemological Principle?

It is objected by Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox that there is no verse that teaches sola scriptura. But I tend to disagree with this assessment because I believe that 1 Corinthians 4:6 teaches sola scriptura. But suppose I am all wrong about that and it in fact does not teach sola scriptura, does this entail that I should be a Roman Catholic or an Eastern Orthodox? In other words: What are the implications if one rejects that sola scriptura is taught in the Bible? My contention is that there is really no major implication to Protestantism if scripture alone is not taught in the Bible.

So let us suppose for the moment that sola scriptura is not taught in the Bible and that we reject the Eastern Orthodox and the Roman Catholic arguments (as I have done elsewhere on this blog) then all we are left with is scripture. So we could modify our view of God's revelation to be as follows: Scripture alone is the only infallible and authoritative rule for faith and practice that we have knowledge of. As for there being additional revelation other than the Bible we should withhold belief that such additional revelation exists. In other words, with respect to the proposition that there is additional revelation other than the Bible we should be agnostic with respect to this proposition.

Once one has accepted this epistemological form of sola scriptura (the criteria given above) then it seems like the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox claims of incoherence lose their weight. This is because the conjunction of reason and scripture warrant the conclusion that these are the only scriptures we know of (this is of course assuming that the other church authority arguments fails). Therefore, there is no logical incoherence with this epistemological version of sola scriptura.


So even if Protestants cannot provide a proof text for sola scriptura this still does not entail that one should be a Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox. In fact it would appear that the epistemic status of Protestantism is not effected at all if one cannot give a proof text.

Additional arguments must be given and have dealt with those arguments in the posts referenced below.

For the refutation of all the positive arguments that the East and Rome gives for believing their positions see the following blog posts:

Canon Argument:




Infallible Interpretations:


Scripture Alone:


Friday, July 23, 2010

Gerry Matatics and The Sinlessness of Mary

In his debate with James White on the Marian Doctrines Roman Catholic Apologist Gerry Matatics makes the following argument for the sinlessness of Mary:

P1: Honoring your Mother entails that if S has the ability to keep S's mother sinless then S would bring it about that S's mother is sinless

P2: Jesus has the ability to keep his mother sinless

C: Jesus brought it about that his mother is sinless

The problem with this argument is obvious: When Mary was born and inherited original sin at that time she was not Jesus' mother (Jesus with respect to his human nature was not born). So Jesus at that time was not under obligation to bring about her sinlessness. Another obvious problem with this argument is that the commandment says to honor your *father* and your mother. This means that if this argument was carried out consistently then we ought to think that Joseph was sinless, but neither Catholics nor Protestants teach this. All this to say: arguments like these are entirely desperate attempts to hide the obvious truth that Roman Catholic churches teachings cannot be justified by scripture and right reason.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Will There Be A Future Divine Judgment By Works?


Historic Protestantism has always taught that the Bible teaches that justification is by faith alone. The Doctrine of justification by faith alone is clearly taught in Romans 3:28 28 “For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.” However, there has been in recent years some Protestants that reject the doctrine of justification by faith alone on the basis of a future justification based on works. This rejection of justification by faith alone can be explicit or implicit depending on who you are reading. This tendency to reject sola fide on the basis of a future justification by works is primarily held by those who are proponents of the Federal Visionists movement. To give a concrete example: Rich Lusk is a Federal Visionists proponent and he says the following from his blog here http://www.hornes.org/theologia/rich-lusk/future-justification-to-the-doers-of-the-law concerning future justification:

“The initial clothing in white is received by faith alone. This is the beginning of Joshua’s justification. But if Joshua is to remain justified — that is, if the garments he has received are not to become re-soiled with his iniquity — he must be faithful. Thus, initial justification is by faith alone; subsequent justifications include obedience.”

And again Rich Lusk says:

“Again, we find the Bible teaching that future justification is according to works. Final justification is to the (faithful) doers of the law (Rom. 2:1ff) and by those good works which make faith complete (Jas. 2:14ff). Justification will not be fully realized until the resurrection.”

In these two quotations we see an explicit denial of the traditional doctrine of justification by faith alone. Therefore, because of the seriousness of this issue in even Protestant circles now. I believe it is important that we look at the biblical texts that are often used to support future justification by works. It is my position that the Bible does not teach a future justification by works. I shall deal with the Bible passages that are appealed to support a future justification by works and I shall demonstrate that none of these passages in fact teach this doctrine that is incompatible with sola fide.

Romans 2:6-8

The first text I will look at is Romans 2:6-8 which reads “ 6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.” Paul is teaching in Romans 2:6-8 that the only way for us to obtain eternal life is by works. Protestants do not actually disagree with this nor is this principle incompatible with justification by faith. This is because in the doctrine of justification by faith we are legally imputed Christ's perfect work by faith alone (Rom. 4:5; 5:19). So we will go to heaven by this works principle. However, this is not our works but Christ's works which are legally imputed to our account (Rom. 5:19). Therefore, this text does not disprove justification by faith alone, but it rather this proves the principle behind justification by faith which is this: that in order to obtain eternal salvation one needs to have fulfilled a works principle.

Romans 2:13

Romans 2 contains another passage that is used to attempt to support a future justification by works, this is in Romans 2:13 which reads “13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” This is an additional passage that expresses the principle in Romans 2:6-8. The principle is this: In order to be righteous one needs to do the Law of God perfectly. This is what Jesus did for us and it is imputed to us by faith alone in Christ Jesus (Rom. 4:5; 5:19). Contextually, this is the most plausible understanding of this text because Paul in Romans 3:9-20 teaches that in light of human sin no one can be justified by works because everyone has failed to follow the law. So if we were to take this passage in the way that some Federal Visionists do then we would end up contradicting Paul's thought in the larger context of Romans; the Federal Visionist interpretation of this text contradicts Paul's thought on the lack of ability of humans to follow God's Law and on the doctrine of justification by faith alone. The best explanation of these two texts in Romans 2 is to understand them as a principle that is behind justification by faith alone.

2 Corinthians 5:10

Another text that is mistakenly used to support a future justification by works is 2 Corinthians 5:10 which reads 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” The best way to understand this passage is that it is referring to God's perfect standard of Justice for goodness or good deeds done in the body. The only way we are going to get to heaven is if we are good in our bodies, but we have all failed to do this. So the only option for a sinful person is to have faith in Jesus, so that his goodness is legally imputed to us by faith alone.

Matthew 7:21-23

Now we are going to moving from Paul's Epistles to the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew 7:21-23 is one of many sections in Matthew that has been mistakenly thought to be teaching a future justification by works, it reads “21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23 Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” This verse is compatible with justification by faith alone and it actually teaches against a future justification by works. These people are condemned by God because they are appealing to their good works so that God will let them into heaven. God's response is that what they are doing is against his “will” and that he never knew them. What is God's “will” for sinners so that they can enter into heaven? God's prescribed “will” for sinners is that they are to have faith in Christ so that they can enter heaven. So far from contradicting justification by faith this verse is compatible with it and it teaches against a future justification by works.

Matthew 12:36-37

Another passage that is used in Matthew to support a future justification by works is Matthew 12:36-37 which reads “36 But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned." The context here is that Jesus is condemning the self-righteous Pharisees. The way Jesus is condemning them is by holding before them a perfect standard of speech which they have failed. The principle behind these passages is the same sort of principle we have seen in the previous passages we have looked at. This principle is that God requires perfect obedience and in this case Jesus is emphasizing perfect obedience in speech. The only person who had perfect speech was Jesus Christ himself and we receive all of his righteousness by faith alone.

Matthew 25:31-46

The last passage we will look at is Matthew 25:31-46 and it reads “31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' 37 "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' 40 "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' 41 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' 44 "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' 45 "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' 46 "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." These passages are not teaching that one is justified by these good deeds, but rather Jesus is pointing out their good works to demonstrate to them that they have been justified by faith alone. The final judgment has an element which is demonstrative. In other words, on the final day of judgment God will speak of your good works to show that you were imputed Christ righteousness when you had faith in Christ. God will give you evidence that you are believer and he will give others evidence that they are unbelievers. This is what Matthew 25 is teaching.


We have seen no good reason to believe in a future justification by works. This view is incompatible with what Paul teaches on justification by faith alone and it is also incompatible with the Gospel of Grace. When we as believers die we should not fear a future judgment by works because we will be judged by Christ's perfect works. Therefore, on that glorious day God will say to us “well done good and faithful servant, enter into the Joy of your Master”. The only reason why God will say this is because of Jesus, who was a good and faithful servant in our place.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Defense of Covenant Infant Baptism Part 2

This was a sermon I preached @ grace URC and has been adapted for this blog, This blog post operates on the assumption that perseverance of the saints is true which I establish here: http://reasonfromscripture.blogspot.com/2009/06/can-you-lose-your-salvation.html

If you recall last weeks post I was giving positive biblical reasons for the truth of infant baptism. The three reasons I gave were 1) continuity of the covenants, 2) the replacement of circumcision by baptism, and 3) and children being in the covenant community. I argued that all three of these reasons show that from scripture the case for infant baptism is more plausible than it's negation. Today I am arguing that there are no good reasons for thinking that credo baptism is true. In this post I will show that none of the strongest arguments against infant baptism are sound and persuasive.

Objection 1: Only Believers in the New Covenant

One of the most common objections against Infant baptism is that children can no longer be in the covenant anymore as they were in the Abrahamic covenant because the new covenant is different in that only believers are in this covenant. And because children are not believers then they therefore cannot be in the new covenant. The Baptists typically justify this theological argument by one obscure and foggy prophetic text: Jeremiah 31:31-34 which reads 31 "The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them," declares the LORD. 33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." The baptists interprets verse 34 to mean that all believers in the New covenant will be saved. However, Reformed paedobaptist interpreters have understood verse 34 to either be a reference to the new heavens and the new earth (amill. interpretation) or they have understood it to mean that in the age of the New covenant there will come a point were most people in the world will be saved (post-mill interpretation). Both interpretations are entirely plausible depending on which view of the end of the world you hold to. There are two fundamental problems with the baptist interpretation of this text: 1) it is incompatible with the teaching of the New Testament and 2) it is logically incompatible with Calvinism. The one text that demonstrate these two points are Hebrews 10:28-31. Let us first look at Hebrews 10:28-31 which reads as follows: Hebrews 10:28-31 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people." 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. What we have in this text is a man who is sanctified or set apart by the new covenant that falls away from it and is going to receive damnation for falling away from the covenant. Now if you say as the baptists do that all those in the new covenant are saved then the logical conclusion to this text is that someone has fallen away from salvation. If we take the baptists interpretation of this text then it would be incompatible with the Calvinistic doctrine of perseverance of the Saints which is clearly taught in Romans 8. So on the baptists interpretation we generate a contradiction with Calvinism and worse with the Word of God. But on the classical Reformed paedobaptists view we can account for this text by saying that people can fall away from the New covenant and not be saved because the covenant functioned the same way as the Abrahamic covenant. The function of the Abrahamic and the New covenant in the classical Reformed view is that there are both believers and unbelievers in the covenant community. If we understand Hebrews 10:29 in this sense then there is no contradiction in the Word of God. Moreover, the text teaches that the person who is condemned in the covenant community is considered to be a part of the people of God. This is evident when the author of Hebrews says in verse 30 "The Lord will judge his people." Therefore, this clear New Testament text teaches us that there are unbelievers in the New Covenant community. The classical Reformed hermeneutic is more consistent because we interpret the Old Testament by the New Testament and we interpret the clear by the unclear. So the logical implication is that we ought to interpret the unclear Old Testament prophetic text of Jeremiah 31 by the clear teaching on the covenant community found in the New Testament, like Hebrews 10:29. Thus, the baptists argument that the New Covenant is only comprised of believers is defeated by clear New Testament scripture.

Objection 2: Only Believers are Baptized in The New Testament

One very popular objection by baptists is that every example of Baptism in the New Testament involves professing adults, therefore, the New Testament teaches that only professing believers ought to be baptized. This argument is an argument from silence that assumes that the other clear Reformed infant baptism arguments are unsuccessful. Furthermore, the argument is unclear because there are some examples in which we do not know if all people that were baptized professed faith. For example in Acts 16:15 it reads: 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. "If you consider me a believer in the Lord," she said, "come and stay at my house." And she persuaded us.” In this text we have a household baptism that does mention whether or not if all the members of the household professed faith. So it is entirely unclear whether or not only professing believers were baptized in the New Testament. Because this argument is an argument from silence that assumes that the other infant baptists arguments are unsuccessful and it is altogether unclear then this argument is to be regarded as a failure.

Objection 3: Children are not Disciples

Another very popular objection is that 1) Matthew 28:19-20 teaches that we should only baptize disciples, 2) infants are not disciples, 3) hence would should not baptize infants. Before I answer the objections let us take a look at Matthew 28:19-20 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." The text is saying that the way we make disciples is by baptizing and teaching them. So there is nothing in the text that would exclude infants because after all we can teach infants (otherwise how would they ever learn) and we can baptize them. Therefore, it seems that we can make infants disciples because we can baptize and teach them so far from this verse disproving infant baptism it actually supports infant baptism (after all Judas was disciple, how much more should believers children be disciples).

Objection 4: Infant Baptizers are Inconsistent

The last argument is that paedobaptists are inconsistent with how they think about how circumcision relates to Baptism. The inconsistency arises from this claim that we as infant baptizers make, this is the claim: that baptism replaces circumcision so therefore we ought to baptize babies because circumcision applies to babies. The baptists claim that this claim is inconsistent with the paedobaptist's position because we do not baptize infants on the eighth day, we do not baptize slaves, and we do not baptize all males. They draw out this inconsistency from Genesis 17 so let us turn there to understand how our Reformed baptists brothers are reasoning, Genesis 17:9-14 which reads 9 Then God said to Abraham, "As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. 10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner-- those who are not your offspring. 13 Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant." The baptist understand this text to be saying that all infants are to be circumcised on the 8th day and that all men were to be circumcised and that it did not matter if they were believers or not. Now lets deal with these baptists claims one at a time. The first claim is that we are inconsistent because we do not baptize babies on the eighth day as they did in the Abrahamic covenant with circumcision. The continuity of the Abrahamic covenant and Matthew 19:14 does teach that children are in the new covenant community, but the Bible abrogates the practice to observe ritualistic Old Testament days, Galatians 4:10 “10 You are observing special days and months and seasons and years!” So as a general rule we need not to observe Old Testament days anymore. Therefore, the paedobaptist need not observe the eighth day to baptize their child, but children are still in the covenant community and still need the covenant sign so the parents are under obligation to baptize their children. The second baptist claim is that Genesis 17 allows for unbelieving males to be circumcised because in verse 10 it says that “every male is to be circumcised”. They conclude from this that the Abrahamic covenant allowed for the possibility of unbelievers being circumcised so that therefore we have to be willing to baptize unbelievers. The problem with this argument is that it breaks two fundamental hermetical principles which are 1) let the New Testament interpret the Old, and 2) differentiation in accounts does not entail a contradiction of the accounts. It should be first mentions that the text never says that unbelievers ought to be circumcised and the narrative does not address this question. But the New Testament does address this question in Acts 2:38 38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” When Peter was speaking to adults who were had the gift of tongues he told them that they were to repent and be baptized and the consistent testimony of Acts is that when unbelieving Adults profess faith they are baptized. So for adults receiving the sign of baptism this should be connected to repentance and faith. Now Genesis 17 does not say that, but does that mean that Genesis 17 is incompatible with the New Testament teaching? No, because in the Bible one Gospel records that there was one angel by the tomb and in the other it says that there was two. This is not a contradiction because in two angels you at least have one angel. The issue here is Genesis 17 and Acts 2 are addressing different topics, but not contradictory topics so we should be consistent Reformed Christians and let the New Testament interpret the Old and when we do this we will find that there is no reason to believe that God was commanding that circumcision ought to be administered to known unbelievers. So for the reasons above I simply think that none of the standard baptists objections to Reformed infant baptism are reasonable or sound. So with that being said I would like to conclude that we have seen in this brief two part series that the Bible teaches that we should baptize our children because our God is a covenant making God that does not just deal with believers, but believers and their children.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

New Comment Policy

After a good amount of discussion, the authors here at RFS have decided that we should no longer allow anonymous comments. There are three primary reasons for this: (1) It is impersonal, (2) it removes accountability and responsibility on the part of the commenter, and (3) we find it annoying when we have to repeatedly address someone as "anonymous" (which only gets more confusing when there are more than one anonymous commenters on a single post).

From now on everyone will have to sign in using a Google account, Livejournal account, Wordpress account, etc. This will provide a level of accountability that we feel will help to foster a more charitable and academic dialog.

Thank you for your patience. We look forward to your comments!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Defense of Covenant Infant Baptism Part 1

This was my sermon manuscript that was preached @ Grace URC, but I have adapted it for this blog.

In this blog post we will be looking at the issue of Covenant Infant Baptism. I say Covenant Infant baptism because I will be arguing for the Reformed understanding of Infant Baptism which says that we do not baptize infants because they are regenerate nor do we baptize infants to make them regenerate rather we baptize infants because God commands us in his word that we ought to administer the visible sign of the covenant (in the New Covenant Baptism) on the covenant members which include children. This view is contrasted from believers or professors baptism which says we only are to baptize persons who profess faith in Jesus Christ. But the classical Reformed Infant baptism position says that if a person were not baptized as a infant and became a Christian latter on in life then that person should be baptized when he is a professing believer. It would make very little sense for Reformed people to go around baptizing people who do not want to be in the Christian church. My basic contention is that there are good reasons to believe in covenant infant baptism and that there are no good reasons for thinking that believer's baptism is true. The first part of this series will look at the good reasons in favor of covenant baptism and the second part I will demonstrate that none of the believer's baptism arguments are successful.

Argument 1: Covenant Continuity

The first argument we will look at is the argument from presumed continuity of the covenants and the commandments of God. This argument relies on a very reasonable philosophical and theological principle which is this: If God commands or reveals a way of functioning in His word we ought to follow it unless God gives us a implicit or explicit indication that a commandment is no longer ethically binding or a indication that God is no longer functioning that way. I am going to support this principle both philosophically and theologically but first I need to tell you why this principles supports infant baptism. This principle supports infant baptism because God in his word clearly commands that Infants of believer's are in the covenant community and that male infants are to have the sign of the covenant which is circumcision. This is taught explicitly in Genesis 17:1-14 which reads: When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, "I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless. 2 I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers." 3 Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, 4 "As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. 5 No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. 6 I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. 7 I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. 8 The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God." 9 Then God said to Abraham, "As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. 10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner-- those who are not your offspring. 13 Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant." In this passage we have the sign of the covenant administered to infant boys, so if my principle of continuity were true then it would follow that the sign of the covenant (baptism) would be administered to male infants in the New covenant. The reason why this principle would follow is because there is no verse in the New Testament were God implicitly or explicitly abrogates this commandment or the Abrahamic covenant in general. But what we do find are alterations and additions to the commandment to put the covenant sign on infant males who are in the covenant. For example we see that the covenant sign is added on to so that it includes women (Acts 8:12) and that the covenant sign is altered to baptism (Col. 2:11-12). So we see that the principle I discussed earlier gives warrant to infant baptist position. It is appropriate that I give philosophical and theological arguments in favor of the principle I developed earlier, let us call this principle “the principle of presumed continuity”. The philosophical reason for holding to this principle is that if one did not hold to it then consistency would then allow for the possibility that when God gives you a commandment you could just presume that it no longer applies to you. But surely this is not right because we could use this to rationalize away commandments like “you shall not murder” or “you shall not commit adultery”. The rationalization for no longer following the commandments not to murder and not commit adultery could go something like this: “well God has not told to me that I should stop following it, but he has not commanded this in awhile so I am not longer obligation to follow these commandments”. Because rejecting the principle of presumed continuity has ethically disastrous results then we are rational in affirming the principle to avoid these absurd results. Not only is this principle reasonable but the scriptures teach it. We see an example of this principle being carried out in Paul's theological reasoning in Galatians 3:15-18 which reads “15 Brothers, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say "and to seeds," meaning many people, but "and to your seed," meaning one person, who is Christ. 17 What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18 For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.” Paul is saying that when the Mosaic covenant came to be it did not abolish nor do away with the Abrahamic Covenant. But the Mosaic covenant did add and qualify the Abrahamic covenant by giving different Laws and regulations. So Paul's principle in this verse is that we are to assume covenant continuity even if a additional covenants comes about. Lastly, this verse connects the Abrahamic covenant to the Mediator of the New Covenant Jesus Christ. Therefore, we see that in the same text that teaches the principle of presumed continuity it also implicitly connects the New Covenant with the Abrahamic covenant. Therefore, we have strong reason for thinking that the principle of continuity is true and that the Bible even implicitly teaches that the Abrahamic covenant is connected to the New Covenant. The natural inference from this data is that because there is no hint of abrogation of the Abrahamic covenant and because the Word of God connects to the Abrahamic covenant to the New Covenant then we ought to give the covenant sign to covenant children by virtue of it being commanded in the Abrahamic covenant.

Argument 2: Baptism Replaces Circumcision

The second argument for infant baptism is that circumcision is connected to and is replaced by baptism so we should assume that the replacement functions the same unless there is a sufficient reason to doubt it. Now let us look at the various ways circumcision and baptism connect and parallel. We see in Colossians 2:11-12 that both circumcision and baptism points to our salvation and the death of Christ, Colossians 2:11-12 which reads 11 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. In this case circumcision points to the death of Christ and Baptism points back to the death of Christ. Ultimately circumcision and baptism are related in that they both are connected in Jesus Christ and his death. We also see that circumcision and baptism are connected by external visual symbols of the representations of the inward realities of our salvation in Christ Jesus. We are circumcised by Jesus cutting off our sinful flesh and this is done by being buried with him in baptism. In Paul's mind baptism and circumcision were so linked and connected that he could use them as overlapping imagery to point to Christ's death and to describe our inward regeneration. The implications of this text for infant baptism is 1) that baptism and circumcision both point to regeneration and 2) that those who are regenerated have a circumcision of the heart by having been baptized by the Holy Spirit. Paul does not use this visual salvation language for no reason, but rather he uses this imagery to show the truth that we have the equivalence of the sign physical circumcision having been baptized physically. This interpretation can make sense of the context and concerns of the book of Colossians because Paul is dealing with Jewish mystical moralist who wants to follow the Jewish Laws (which circumcision was one of them) in this letter (Col. 2:16-23). The way Paul deals with this moralist that want to follow the Old Testament Laws is that he uses this new regeneration by Jesus and his death by using physical signs that point to the death of Christ. Paul shows in the same statement that we need not follow the system of the circumcision anymore because we have that and more in our baptism. Now if circumcision is equivalent to baptism in the sense that baptism now functions in the place of circumcision. Therefore, we ought to assume they function the same unless we have reason to doubt it. My contention is that we have no reason to doubt that baptism should be also applied to covenant children as circumcision was. This is then my second argument for infant baptism, so with that in mind let us move to my third argument for infant baptism.

Argument 3: Children in the Covenant

My third argument for Infant baptism is that 1) if children are in the covenant community we ought to give them the sign of the covenant which is baptism. 2) Children are in the covenant community, 3) therefore, we should baptize them. The text I am going to be using to justify this argument is Matthew 19:13-14 which reads 13 Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. 14 Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." There are a few things I want to point out before I give my support for the infant baptism argument from this text. My contention in this text is that kingdom of heaven means the new covenant. Now you might ask: How do you know this text is referring to the new covenant? Well by eliminating all the other plausible meanings of the phrase “kingdom of heaven” and this process of elimination shows that in this specific text the most plausible meaning of the phrase kingdom of heaven is the new covenant. There are three plausible meanings of the phrase kingdom of heaven: 1) The entire world, 2) the regenerate, or 3) the new covenant (Matt. 16:19) It cannot be the entire world because that would make the words of Jesus trivial and insignificant. If this were the meaning why would Jesus even need to mention it? Jesus would be in effect saying, “hey you have the same status as every person in the world so that justifies you coming to me” The reason I put it like this is because if all people are in the kingdom of heaven why would this justify Jesus' actions of blessing them and allowing others to bring children to Jesus? This would make Jesus' reasoning absurd because even his unbelieving enemies like the Pharisees were in the kingdom of heaven on this understanding. This understanding of the kingdom of heaven is inappropriate in immediate context and it makes Jesus' reasoning trivial therefore this cannot be plausibly the meaning of “kingdom of heaven” in this text. The second meaning of kingdom of heaven is that it refers to those who are regenerate. This is even more absurd because this would suggest that all of the children of believers are regenerate, but we know that children of believers can later become unbelievers. So in order to hold to this meaning of kingdom of heaven one would have to reject the doctrine that once someone is truly justified they cannot lose their justification (perseverance of the saints), but the bible clearly teaches perseverance of the saints or that once one is truly justified they cannot lose their justification. Therefore, the kingdom of heaven cannot refer to those who are regenerate in this context. The only plausible option that remains is that kingdom of God is referring to the New Covenant and that according to Jesus children are in the New covenant. Therefore, it follows that children are in the new covenant, the kingdom of heaven, and it is plausible that we should baptized those who kingdom/covenant members.


I have established that there is good reason to believe that children are to be given the sign of the New Covenant which is baptism. There are many baptist objections to infant baptism and in the next week I shall argue that all objections are insufficient to defeat the arguments that I have given. When we give covenant children the sign of baptism we are doing what Abraham did with his sons and this shows God's consistency in working with his church throughout the ages.