Frank, I believe everything that Scripture says about baptism. Including that one in 1 Peter that goes "Baptism now saves you..." …See – I break in here to note that the passage of Scripture I cited to Tim in order to see how he would respond is 1Peter3:21, which does say:
- Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ
Tim: Peter undoubtedly says, "baptism … now saves you", but the "now saves you" is in an analogolous relationship to what Christ did. V. 18 says Christ died for the unrighteous; v. 20 says the ark delivered Noah & his family through the water; v. 21 says that baptism, which is like the flood, saves not by washing "but [as] the answer of a good conscience toward God". In a very real sense, Peter is saying that baptism separates the just from the unjust in the same way that the flood separated the just from the unjust. Baptism saves in the sense that it demonstrates the good conscience of the baptized person through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Peter isn't here saying, "Baptism confers the seal of grace upon you": He is saying "Baptism shows or testifies to the seal of grace upon you."
And it is also important to note that Peter says baptism "now saves you", with you undoubtedly being "you who through Him are believers in God" (1Pet 1:20-21). I think this also goes back strongly to the point Pastor Wilson was making about James and Paul: the "believers" are not just people with some head-knowledge about Jesus: they are people who show faith in action. So if this is the definition of "believers", how can "you" include infants? Moreover, how does it include those who do not show faith in action? If "baptism now saves you believers", then the question you are raising here is obscure at best.
And please: make sure you bring up the matter of the historical practice of infant baptism when you respond. Was it never practiced in the first 3 centuries? It certainly was. Was it the majority practice in the first 3 centuries? It certainly was not? What kind of minority practice was it?
… and that one in Colossians that says, as my old PCA pastor summarized it, "You were circumcised, having been baptized."It's interesting that your PCA pastor would make such a paraphrase, as Col 2:11-12 says,
- In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.
That's not a confession of synergism over monergism: it's a confession that when God says "believer" He doesn't mean "someone with a name on an invisible list": He means "someone whom I have changed who will now demonstrate that change."
That's why the faith component cannot be assumed in Baptism any more than it can be assumed in the Table: the sign means nothing without faith, and means everything and more in the grip of faith.
There is not a shred of Scriptural information anywhere which can, apart from a positivistic Bible-Only hermeneutic that looks more like Enlightenment humanism than Reformation faithfulness, be made to teach that the validity of GOD'S OWN sign depends upon subjective human appropriation of certain intellectual content.Blah blah blah. Re-examine your own understanding of the theological object "faith" – especially as Pastor Wilson has outlined it in his recent post – and then try to float that air biscuit without holding your nose.
As I have argued, to quite stunning silence from those on your side who most loudly proclaim their exegetical prowess, that sort of view destroys not only the Reformation, but society itself. It is the ultimate capitulation to secular humanism, with its idolatrous obsessions with "epistemology", the autonomous private self, the subjectivization of religion, and intellectual slavishness to the Myth of Universal Reason. You can quote "clear" Scriptures all day long, but until you can deal responsibly with how you approach the Scriptures, I don't know why you ought to be taken as saying anything intelligible in a discussion that partakes of public, not merely private, standards of truth and accountability.The irony here, Tim, is that I agree with you that you cannot even approach the Scriptures apart from faith and get anything like a right answer, but the question is then, "what next"? If society itself is at stake – and in many respects, it is – what kind of society is it? Where does it come from? Where is it going? And does it ever have people inside its boundaries who are outside its purpose?
With that, I have a funeral to attend, and I will be out of pocket for a few days. You-all play nice while I'm gone.