To begin, I want it to be made clear that I have the highest respect and utmost love for my Presbyterian brothers and sisters (PCA). As a reformed man, I find myself agreeing with them on very many issues. Often times I agree with them on more issues than some churches I have attended. However, baptism is the issue that keeps me from being a Presbyterian. In short, I do believe that infant baptism is not the New Testament’s model for baptism.
I reject Roman Catholic infant baptisms because that’s not the Biblical model for justification and salvation, but that’s a different blog.
What sparked my interest in this blog post was a video shared on Facebook titled “Baptism is not enough: How Understanding God’s Covenant Explains Everything.”
In the video, a very interesting claim is made. The claim is made that your view of the covenant will shape your view on baptism, therefore, debating baptism is a waste of time.
I found myself wanting to believe this argument. For I find it to be very often the case in most arguments that the true heart of the issue is not being discussed. This is one of the many reasons why I am a Presuppositional Apologist. However, I could not buy this one, for it assumes Scripture is not clear on Baptism, but is clear on Covenant.
If Scripture is clear about baptism by itself, baptism can be used as a bench mark. We can check if our view of the Covenant is valid by what it logically leads to. In other words, my claim is that my Presbyterian brothers misunderstand Biblical covenants because it leads to infant baptism, an un-Biblical practice.
An example would be if I adopted a view of the Covenant that lead me to believe Christians are justified by practicing covenantal sacraments/works. I then tell you to debate me on justification in Romans, Ephesians, Galatians, etc. is a waste of time because we need to establish our view the Covenant first.
I am not denying that a Presbyterian could not win that debate, but we are cutting our legs clean off by not allowing us to run a reductio and debate justification as a check on our covenantal view. We can know certainly our view of Covenant relationships is wrong if it leads us to deny justification by saving faith alone.
In the same way, if we are to assume for the moment that infant baptism is clearly not the New Testament plan for baptism, then wouldn’t it follow that we could use that clear teaching in Scripture to keep our belief about the covenant in check? To poke fun at my dear brothers, this seems like an attempt to avoid dealing with the Scriptures on baptism. It seems to me to be a tacit recognition that the PCA’s view on baptism cannot be established via Biblical exegesis, but instead through covenantal deductions.