Just Add Water (4 of 4)

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Closing Thoughts/Parting Shots/One Liners

Well, they tell me it's been an exciting week here at Ref21 (that's what they tell me - we should try calling out antinomianism in divorced Christian music artists if we really want to light up the phone banks), but all good things must come to an end.  Having said what I meant to say in response to Mark Jones' original post(s) on this subject, I wanted to close up with a quick Q&A for the readers to make sure we have covered all the salient items.  Some come from the mail bag; some come from twitter; some come from the bricks thrown through the office windows at the Alliance.  I have cleaned all of them up for spelling, punctuation, and homeschool-appropriate language.

Dear Frank - it's clear to me that you have never read "X" book on Baptism.  You should never have written on this subject or tried to say anything about it unless you have read (and agreed with) this book.  Signed, X's Mom

Dear X's Mom --

Well, I wasn't responding to "X".  I was responding to the rather broad and amusing comments of Mark Jones.  If you want me to come back and respond to the greater problems of Paedobaptism exposed in (or ignored by) that book, please write to the Puppetmaster here at the Alliance and I'll be pleased to do it.

Dear Frank - Since Baptists can't even really be truly reformed™, you should never have said anything about this subject.  You and your ilk need to stop pretending you know anything about the reformation or theology and start baptizing babies because of the continuity of the covenants. Signed, X's Dad

Dear X's Dad -

Thanks for your note.  I realize that the point of faith in Jesus Christ is to be Truly Reformed™, but because I am a hard-hearted Baptist, I am going to stick to what I know best - and that's following all of Christian history, and all of the best aspects for all the men who have come before us (from Paul and Peter, to Ireneus and Justin Martyr, to Jerome and Athanasius and Augustine, to Charlemagne and then guys like Francis in spite of all they got wrong, and then to the early English fellows who thought that even a Vulgate Bible translated into English was better than a Vulgate Bible nobody could read, and then to the Reformation for all its highs and lows, and the Puritans {for all their highs and lows} {MT: Tom Chantry}, all our great and good friends in 19th and 20th century Presbyterianism, Fundamentalism, Evangelicalism and whatever it is we are doing here at Ref21), and most importantly (lest we forget) the actual Bible since it is the word of God.

If someday I accidentally become Truly Reformed, I'll alert the fellows at Westminster West so they can pretend they are not home when I stop by.

Dear Frank - While I am That kind of puritan, I hold to an open table approach to the Lord's Supper - and so does your local church.  Why aren't you disfellowshipping them in order to be perfectly consistent?  Signed, Not Tom Chantry

Dear Not Tom -
The actual Tom Chantry would not be so devious.  It's a fair question - if you intend to lynch me no matter what.  Because there is no church on Earth which is perfect in all doctrine and practice, my wife and I chose the one which was the best fit for us and our family when we moved to [redacted].  There are some things we are wrong about, and they are kind enough not to burn us at the stake for those things; there are some things they are wrong about, and we are kind enough to merely roll our eyes when they say {that} again.  (just for example: they are dispensational, and I could never be - I wasn't born that way.  Now what?)

What I find funny about this question is that it assumes my goal is to be as isolated as possible from other people, and I ought to be - coming from people who would otherwise advocate for so-called "catholicity".  I guess if I don't agree with them, then that's a good enough reason to despise me and misrepresent my views - when all I have actually asked for is that people be decently baptized.

Dear Frank - I want to be fair with you since you are wrong and I want to turn a brother away from his sin in good James 5 fashion.  So riddle me this: how much water is enough water?  Isn't your real concern over the mode of baptism rather than whether or not anyone is actually saved? Signed, D. Ripley Faucet

Dear Talented Mr. Ripley -

There's no question that the LBCF is clear that the mode of baptism ought to be immersion.  There's no question that in America, I think that a decent church ought to have a decent pool of water available so that we can show that one dies to sin and is raised to newness of life by putting them under the water, and then raising them out of the water.  Does that mean that I'm actually so bedazzled by that spectacle that I cannot see my way to saying that (for example) a soldier converted in a time and place of war who takes a sprinkling rather than a dunk because there's only a few cups of water to spare has been baptized?  Why would I be that hard-hearted and obstinate?  The point of Baptist practice is pretty singular: obedience to the ordinance as Christ commanded.  Faith prior to the sacrament seems necessary from a logical and biblical perspective, and the baptisms we see in the NT are generally dunkings.  If we need to do something pragmatic with the volume of water to enact the rite to receive a new believer into the church and into Christ, we should do it.

And since you're going to ask anyway: there's nothing wrong with grape juice that a couple of weeks wouldn't fix.  You baptize too early, we use the wine too early. You do the deed without the prior faith of the receiver, all of our receivers have faith.  Compare and contrast.

Dear Frank - How do I become a member of the Alliance of Confession Evangelicals in order to better support its ministry?  There really is no other place on the internet where I can find people who are willing to disagree decently and persuasively on things that really matter, and I want to make sure this web site keeps doing well. Signed, Trustee, the Walton Foundation

Dear Trustee -

I'm glad you asked.  Please click this link for more details.

God bless you all -- have a great Lord's Day in the Lord's Household with His people, and keep the right end of the baby dry, please.

Posted October 2, 2014 @ 9:32 AM by Frank Turk
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