Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Inconsistency in hermeneutic

OK, I wasn't going to post on baptism anymore but I saw this on the MCTS Blog from an interview of Dr. W. Gary Crampton by Richard Barcellos. The interview pertains to Dr. Crampton's new book on why he moved from a padeobaptist position to a credo position. What I found interesting was this exchange regarding the inconsistency in the paedo hermeneutic:

Q3: What are some of the main problems you encountered with paedobaptism that caused you to keep studying?

A3: There were several issues that bothered me about the doctrine of paedobaptism. I will mention only one, and that is there is simply no text in the New Testament (NT) wherein there is any mention of the baptism of infants. This is admitted by some of the finest paedobaptist theologians that have written on the subject. This means, as admitted and taught by these same paedobaptist theologians, that we must go back to the Old Testament (OT) to establish the doctrine. When it comes to the other NT sacrament of the Lord’s supper, however, the paedobaptist theologians do not apply the same hermeneutic principle. That is, the recipients of the Lord’s supper are determined by the NT teaching rather than the OT teaching. The inconsistency here is glaring. Another problem here is that the OT does not mention baptism of infants at all. What this hermeneutic assumes is that the Abrahamic covenant, wherein the male infants were circumcised, is still binding on the NT church on virtually a one-to-one basis, and therefore the infants of believers should be baptized. There are so many difficulties here (which I write about in my book) that they are far too numerous to deal with in an interview like this. The most serious error committed here is that of overstressing the continuity of the Old and New Covenant to the detriment of the discontinuity between the two. The Reformed Baptist doctrine is not in any sense dispensational; rather, it is fully covenantal. It recognizes that there is most certainly a continuity between the two covenants, but there is also a discontinuity that must be seen (see Jeremiah 31:31-34; compare Hebrews 8:6-13).


I think that is dead on especially regarding forcing a one to one correlation between circumcision and baptism.

OK, no more posts on baptism (for now)


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2 comments:

Les said...

Not so fast.

"there is simply no text in the New Testament (NT) wherein there is any mention of the baptism of infants."

May I re-phrase, "there is simply no text in the New Testament (NT) wherein there is any mention of the females partaking of the Lord's Supper."

The writer demands more than he bargained for insisting on an explicit "mention."

2nd,

"we must go back to the Old Testament (OT) to establish the doctrine. When it comes to the other NT sacrament of the Lord’s supper, however, the paedobaptist theologians do not apply the same hermeneutic principle. That is, the recipients of the Lord’s supper are determined by the NT teaching rather than the OT teaching.">

Fail again. There is not different hermeneutic. Sign on males in OT. Sign on males and females in NT. Meal in OT bloody and meat. Meal in NT bloodless and bread.

Jesus took the significance of the Passover meal and put that significance to the Supper. All that the Passover pointed to in its bloody death was now seen in Him. The correlation is indeed one to one.

And as circumcision was bloody and involved cutting away, so in the NT the sign correlates in the bloodless application of washing with water.

Much digital ink has been spilled on this already. But the author makes no new contribution to the matter and fails to make his case when he mis-characterizes the Paedo view. Here is the correlation: bloody signs in the OT, bloodless signs in the NT.

John Mark Harris said...

Baptism comes from the Jewish tradition when one would come to faith as a proselyte. That's how it was used along with circumcision. People who argue for infant baptism assume the church changed the practice. It's a losing battle, it's deductive theology and I've got no room for it.