Reviewing Jeffrey Johnson’s The Fatal Flaw, Part 1 (Chs. 1-2)

Posted by R. Fowler White

In this post and (God willing) a series of posts to follow, I plan to work through the chapters of Jeffrey D. Johnson’s book, The Fatal Flaw of the Theology Behind Infant Baptism (Free Grace Press, 2010). Yes, it’s been out a while, so perhaps you’ve seen it mentioned here and there. The initial reasons for my interest in the book are that I was once a convinced credobaptist myself (even publishing on the topic!) and that Johnson’s book has been applauded by some noteworthy (self-identified) “sovereign grace Baptist” leaders, such as Tom Nettles and Richard Belcher, Sr. The more significant reason that I picked up the book, however, is that it is part of a relatively recent flurry of activity among Baptists who have been reexamining covenant theology (e.g., Tom Wells, Fred Zaspel, Gary Long), and Johnson states that his own position on covenant theology is very similar to that of Meredith Kline, Michael Horton, and Kim Riddlebarger (p. 22 n. 70). All these factors provoke my interest in Johnson’s critique of paedobaptist covenant theology.

Johnson divides his book into two major parts, the first of 16 chapters on “The Fatal Flaw” behind paedobaptist theology and the second of 8 chapters on what he calls “Covenantal Dichotomism” and in which he discusses the relationships between Abraham, Moses, and Christ. For the purpose of interaction, I don’t expect to review each of these 24 chapters in detail, but to focus on what Johnson tells us is the primary thrust of his book, namely, “a direct and pointed attack on the covenantal framework in which paedobaptism is rooted” (p. 21). Even with that emphasis, “the purpose of this work is not so much to convert the die-hard paedobaptist as much as to help prevent credobaptists from changing their position” (p. 20). In addition, the book is not offered merely to deliver negative commentary (ibid.). For Johnson “there are many sturdy stones, which must be left alone” (ibid.) in paedobaptist covenant theology. Not least among those stones is the progressive unfolding of God’s eternal plan of redemption in each of His covenants throughout history. Given Johnson’s purpose and primary thrust, I’ll leave aside the helpful introduction in which he surveys the history of infant baptism and various paedobaptist interpretations of its rationale and settles on engaging presbyterians who’ve adopted the Westminster Confession. I’ll use this opening post to look at his first two chapters (pp. 25-48), where he takes on the absence of a NT command to baptize infants and the analogy between circumcision and baptism.

Zeroing in on the paedobaptist appeal to OT inferences to fill in where no NT command exists, Johnson argues that those inferences leave too many uncertainties to justify infant baptism. He insists that, if OT inferences are really to make up for a missing NT command, then some related issues should also be considered: 1) that, besides baptism, no duty of the local NT church comes from the OT; 2) that baptized children are excluded from the Lord’s Supper even though circumcised children were included in the Passover meal; 3) that the NT church experienced much confusion on almost everything related to the old covenant; 4) that the NT church experienced major controversy over circumcision in particular; and 5) that NT Gentile converts, largely ignorant of circumcision’s meaning, doubtless needed instruction on baptism and its participants. With these uncertainties as backdrop, Johnson moves on to take up the circumcision-baptism relationship itself, intent on showing that the two ordinances are only analogous and not identical. Contending that “the NT must set the limits of the analogy” (p. 45; see also p. 47), he concludes that they are similar, not in that both involve children, but only in that both signify circumcision of the heart (regeneration). Citing Jer 31.34, he goes on to urge that, “unlike the old covenant, the new covenant leaves no room for unbelieving participants” (ibid.). All told, then, Johnson maintains that neither OT inferences nor the circumcision-baptism relationship can be authoritative for determining the nature of baptism or its participants (p. 47).

The absence of a NT command to baptize infants – What shall we say about Johnson’s claim that OT inferences leave too many uncertainties to warrant infant baptism? In my view, the uncertainties that Johnson highlights do little to discourage the paedobaptist appeal to the OT to locate the warrant for infant baptism. For example, when he argues that, besides baptism, no requirement for the local NT church comes from the OT, Johnson asks us to presuppose that the administrative principles of the NT church originated without any connection whatsoever to OT Israel. Leaving aside the question of baptism, this is a bridge too far: we cannot simply concede that the administrative principles of the NT church generally or the basis of its membership specifically are disconnected from OT Israel. After all, we know that God is administering one household in redemptive history, not two (Heb 3.1-6). Going on, Johnson observes that, unlike circumcised children, baptized children are excluded from the covenant meal. We acknowledge, of course, that paedobaptists differ on this point, though we cannot pursue it here. Suffice it to say, then, that back of Johnson’s objection is the debatable assumption that the function and basis of the OT ordinances differ from those of the NT. Further, Johnson points out that almost everything related to the old covenant, including circumcision, created confusion or controversy in the NT church that was eventually dominated by largely uninformed Gentile converts. The difficulties of the transition from the old covenant to the new notwithstanding, Johnson offers no evidence that there was ever confusion or controversy in the NT church about the membership status or baptism of children. In sum, Johnson’s collection of uncertainties does not touch the fundamental concern of the paedobaptist argument from the OT. More pointedly, if the administrative principles of the NT church, including the basis of its membership, originated without any connection to OT Israel as Johnson argues, there would have been an obvious and profound need for and expectation of an exposition not unlike the one we find in the Epistle to the Hebrews to make this change emphatically clear. Instead we find that the principles and practices of the NT church are stated in language that imitates the language in which the principles and practices of OT Israel were stated.

The circumcision-baptism relationship – Moving on to Johnson’s take on the circumcision-baptism relationship, we can agree with him that the relationship is one of analogy and not identity. There are clear differences between the two (thus the denial of identity), but both rites testify to the same realities (thus the affirmation of analogy): death to sin and new life to God (otherwise known as circumcision of the heart). In fact, because both rites speak as one, we can understand better why circumcision became obsolete and baptism superseded it. The transition came to pass because Christ’s death-and-resurrection was both a circumcision (Col 2.11) and a baptism (Mark 10.38; Luke 12.50). Whether we say that Christ was circumcised or baptized in His death and resurrection, God’s witness to us is that the death He died He died to sin, and the life He lives He lives to God (Rom 6.10). In that light, it makes sense that the circumcision of Christ made circumcision obsolete as a covenant sign, while the baptism of Christ established baptism as the covenant sign that continued to testify of the realities formerly signified by circumcision.

Meanwhile, however, the differences between the two and the change from the one to the other do nothing to revoke the membership status of children in God’s covenant. How can we be so sure? Because the NT narrates the administration of baptism by the apostles in language that imitates the narration of the administration of circumcision and baptism in the OT. In particular, the apostolic company is said to have baptized households (Acts 11.14; 16.15, 31-34; 1 Cor 1.2), just as God is said to have baptized the household of Noah in the flood (1 Pet 3.20-22; Gen 7.1) and the households of “our (circumcised!) fathers” in the cloud and the sea (1 Cor 10.1). Strikingly, in the baptism into Moses, the baptized are even said to have been those who “feared the Lord and believed in Him and His servant Moses” (Exod 14.29-31). Paedobaptists might ask, then, shall we dispute that those OT baptisms included both parents and their children? Can we imagine Joshua saying anything other than, “as for me and my house, we were baptized into Moses”? If baptism into Moses was administered thus to our circumcised ancestors, it at least strains credulity to maintain that the apostles administered baptism into Christ differently to those who are the descendants of those baptized into Moses. To press the point still further, paedobaptists might ask, would not the Jews at Corinth (Acts 18.1-8), who were among those addressed in 1 Cor 10.1, have justifiably inferred that just as parents and children were baptized into Moses, so also parents and children were to be baptized into Christ? Consider here especially what Crispus, the ruler of Corinth’s synagogue, and his household (Acts 18.8) would have been thinking. Insofar, then, as we observe the parallel language in the narration of the baptisms of Noah’s household, Israel’s households, and the church’s households, there is warrant sufficient for paedobaptists to urge that the apostles’ practice of baptism into Christ took place on the same principle as did OT baptism and circumcision: “you and your household.” All this to say, then, that we can agree with Johnson that the relationship of circumcision and baptism is one of analogy, but we cannot agree that the analogy makes infant baptism less than clear. To the contrary, the administration of baptism in the NT imitates the administration of circumcision and baptism in the OT. To be sure, other questions and passages remain to be considered.

34 Comments

  1. Stephen Welch said,

    September 20, 2019 at 4:01 pm

    Hi, Fowler. I hope you are doing well. I appreciate you writing on this topic. I have a couple in my congregation who are “reformed” Baptist, but they have no small children, so that is not an issue. I have discussed this topic with them many times and they would follow the arguments of the men you have mentioned, so this is particularly helpful to me. They are not convinced of household baptisms in Acts, but I am not sure how well they understand the issue. They did mention after my discussion on circumcision that this was a badge of entrance into OT Israel, so there is still some dispensational leanings. I look forward to hearing more in your postings.

  2. roberty bob said,

    September 22, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    Although you have chosen to leave alone the practice of infant covenant children sharing in the communion of the saints at the Lord’s Supper, which is the new covenant Passover meal, your agreement with the analogy (baptism : circumcision as Lord’s Supper: Passover) shouts in support of the practice.

    Baptism is the “union” sacrament.
    The Lord’s Supper is the “communion” sacrament.

    If a person — even an infant — lives in union with Christ, as baptism attests, would you withhold communion with Christ from such person?

    Credobaptists will stick to their guns as long as we Reformed stick to our own inconsistency.

  3. Phil D. said,

    September 22, 2019 at 3:10 pm

    As a credobaptist I for one can assure you my beliefs have absolutely nothing to do with the so-called inconsistency you perceive.

  4. Roy Kerns said,

    September 22, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    exercise left for the reader: after the initial Passover, who was to participate and where? Answering this question will resolve an enormous number of other questions.

  5. Ron said,

    September 23, 2019 at 12:45 pm

    “Credobaptists will stick to their guns as long as we Reformed stick to our own inconsistency.“

    Brother,

    If that were true, then I wouldn’t expect to see the numbers of credos who become paedobaptist (but not paedocommunionists) that we do. Moreover, if what you’re saying is correct, then I think we would see a greater attraction to the allegedly more consistent paedocommunion position, but we don’t. In other words, why do credos who don’t “stick to their guns” stop short of the supposedly more consistent view, if in fact your more “consistent” view is what we need to attract people to infant baptism?

    It’s rather apparent that what attracts the greater number to infant baptism is the traditional Reformed view, not your view. So, totally aside from doctrine, your thesis seems a bit flawed to me.

  6. roberty bob said,

    September 24, 2019 at 8:49 am

    Baptist Practice:
    Get Married to Jesus willingly, knowingly, professing faith in him.
    Partake of marriage supper willingly, knowingly, professing faith.

    Reformed Practice:
    Get Married to Jesus unwillingly, unknowingly, no profession of faith.
    Partake of marriage supper willingly, knowingly, professing faith.

    So, we Reformed marry infants to Jesus who do not yet have the capacity to make a marriage vow, but then we require marriage vows of those same married infants before allowing them to partake of the marriage supper.

    Why do we do this?

  7. rfowlerwhite said,

    September 24, 2019 at 10:36 am

    1 & 6 RB: My very brief comments on Jeff Johnson’s claim of paedobaptist inconsistency were worded very deliberately for a couple of reasons.

    As a participant in the 2003 colloquium on Federal Vision theology, I have a clear memory that we who were (and admittedly still are) critics of the FV affirmed to the FV advocates that we were eager to join them in having children, as early as possible, profess their discernment of the body and the blood and therefore participate in the Table. In other words, we were clear that the Table was not just for discerning adults, but for discerning children too.

    More to the credobaptist’s point about inconsistency, my view is that there is a functional consistency between instructions regarding Passover participation and those regarding Supper participation. As I see it, Moses’ directions, particularly regarding the children’s question in Exod 12.26, require of Israel that all who take part in the Passover meal, be they children or their parents, discern the meaning of the Passover meal lest any of them think it is just another meal. In other words, for children to ask and then learn the meaning of the Passover meal is tantamount to requiring those who would take part in the Supper to discern the meaning of the bread and the cup. The apostle’s concerns in 1 Cor 10.14-22 and 11.17ff. echo the concerns of Moses for Israel (cf. 1 Cor 10.1-13). The behavior of some in the Corinthian congregation at the Table showed that too many were failing to discern the Supper’s meaning and were turning it into just another meal. In fact, their observance was making a farce of the Supper’s proper meaning. It looks to me then that the function and basis of the apostle’s Supper instructions are consistent with the function and basis of Moses’ Passover instructions. The common aim of Moses and Paul was that all who took part in the covenant meal, whether adults or children, would discern its proper meaning. Otherwise, it was just any other meal or worse.

    More could be said, but I’ll leave it there for now.

  8. roberty bob said,

    September 24, 2019 at 11:35 am

    To discern the “body” is to recognize all who are “in Christ” and make sure that all such members are welcome at the Lord’s Table. Right?

    By failing to welcome all such persons, some in the Corinthian church failed to discern the body; it’s not that they didn’t know the meaning of Christ’s atoning sacrifice, but that they abused it in a body-divisive way.

  9. rfowlerwhite said,

    September 24, 2019 at 11:51 am

    8 RB: I don’t disagree with you. I take it from 1 Cor 10.16-17, for example, that the discernment required of us includes discerning our communion in Christ’s body and blood. To do one, we must do the other.

  10. roberty bob said,

    September 24, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    I, too, have noticed that covenant children in the 6-8 age range are now making their public profession of faith. I see this as a healthy corrective to the traditional practice of professing in the 18-21 range. Furthermore, I have observed in American Anglican churches parents carrying their little ones with them to the communion rail — and that these infants are being given the bread and cup.

    As for the Reformed, why is it not necessary to know what union with Christ through baptism means before undergoing this marriage rite? If it is not necessary — and baptism also is grounded in Christ’s ordeal on the cross — then why, if one is married to Christ, must she wait, wait, wait to have supper with him until she comprehends the cross?

  11. rfowlerwhite said,

    September 24, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    1 Stephen Welch: Hey, Stephen. For what it’s worth, I wasn’t convinced of household baptisms in Acts. I was convinced of household baptisms in the OT. With tongue-partly-in-cheek, it looks to me that Moses and Joshua, Paul and Peter, would have known nothing else.

  12. Stephen Welch said,

    September 24, 2019 at 5:10 pm

    Hi, Fowler. Yes, you are correct. It is rooted in the O.T. I came to the paedobaptism position based on Dr. Scott Clark’s argument on households in Acts. It struck me then as it does now that Peter said the promise is to those Jews and their children. That was the turning point for me.

  13. roberty bob said,

    September 27, 2019 at 11:53 am

    In the New Testament one reads several admonitions addressed to those who have been baptized. While the baptized infant does not yet have the capacity to obey, much less understand, apostolic exhortation, he is nonetheless being admonished. As the infant matures, he will gain the capacity to take to heart and apply to life. Meanwhile, the baptized infant is regarded as a having membership in Christ’s covenant family. He participates in the life of that family according to his capacity. The same is true for the mentally impaired.

    If baptism is given to the entire covenant household (sacrament of union with Christ), then isn’t the Lord’s Supper also for the entire household of faith? The mature members who partake are those with the capacity to self-examine, so it is incumbent upon them to do so. The infants and children would be seated at the Table so that they experience from their early days the blessing of having supper with their Lord Jesus. If our Lord God has ordained that infants give Him praise — and they do! — why would you keep them away from His Table?

  14. Ron said,

    October 6, 2019 at 2:10 pm

    “In the New Testament one reads several admonitions addressed to those who have been baptized. While the baptized infant does not yet have the capacity to obey, much less understand, apostolic exhortation, he is nonetheless being admonished.”

    That’s equivalent to saying, adults who don’t understand French, who are admonished in French, are being admonished. In the like manner, of the room is filled with only infants and “admonishment” is pronounced, so what?

    Those who cannot comprehend x can’t be expected to heed x.

  15. roberty bob said,

    October 7, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    All persons who have been baptized into Christ — and that would include baptized infants — are exhorted to count themselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

    All persons who would partake of the Lord’s Supper are admonished to examine themselves and rightly discern the body of Christ.

    Infants are incapable of counting themselves dead to sin and alive to God, yet we baptize our covenant infants nonetheless; these same baptized infants are incapable of examining themselves and rightly discerning the body of Christ, so we forbid them to partake of the sacramental communion meal.

  16. Ron said,

    October 14, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    “…baptized infants — are exhorted to count themselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

    Let’s focus on that. The exhortation of an infant is as intelligible as the exhortation of a couch. Tell me, can an infant born of English speaking parents be exhorted in Chinese or only the language(s) of the house in which she’s born? When you see the weight of that question, the couch analogy might begin to make sense. Exhortation is a vacuous term if you believe that it needn’t be understood. Can a deaf infant be verbally exhorted? If not, then why an infant who can hear sounds? You have unwittingly confused sounds with meaning.

  17. Ron said,

    October 14, 2019 at 1:48 pm

    “All persons who would partake of the Lord’s Supper are admonished to examine themselves and rightly discern the body of Christ.”

    Which presupposes they can be exhorted, which undermines your position unless you can demonstrate the intelligibility of infant exhortation. (As an aside, better paedocommunion polemicists would never use your arguments.)

    “Infants are incapable of counting themselves dead to sin and alive to God, yet we baptize our covenant infants nonetheless; these same baptized infants are incapable of examining themselves and rightly discerning the body of Christ, so we forbid them to partake of the sacramental communion meal.”

    That would seem to be some rather twisted logic. The reason we baptize infants is because of OT precept. They are capable of being marked out as God’s heritage, even apart from understanding these things. They are also capable of being regenerated and united to Christ, even apart from understanding these things. Therefore, infants in their passivity can experience ALL of the reality behind the sign.

    Whereas infants are not to be fed communion because they are *not* capable of communing with God by faith. They cannot feed on Christ in their hearts, with thanksgiving. Therefore, infants in their passivity can experience NONE of the reality behind the sign.

    The two sacraments are vastly different in this regard yet your arguments obfuscates this distinction that even you won’t deny. Again, infants can be marked out and regenerate, but infants cannot partake of a covenant meal of spiritual renewal, or do you deny this? If you do, then you have a magical view of the Supper, if not of baptism as well.

  18. roberty bob said,

    October 16, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    I agree that children born to covenant parents out to be marked as God’s own through baptism, and that the Lord is pleased to regenerate many of them in their infancy. If a mature profession of faith is required of all who partake of the Lord’s Supper, then infants and children are forbidden to come to the Table. Doesn’t the Bible acknowledge faith in infants? Wouldn’t that faith be nourished by partaking of the covenant renewal meal? Or is there really a 12 – 18 year gap between God’s act of regenerating the covenant infant and creating within him a true faith whereby he can be a worthy partaker?

  19. Ron said,

    October 16, 2019 at 6:26 pm

    “Doesn’t the Bible acknowledge faith in infants?”

    RB,

    Thanks for moving this along. Much appreciated.

    Any faith an infant might have can only be the seed of faith, the propensity to believe whatsoever the Bible teaches. However, such a faith would not be accompanied understanding, assent or reliance upon anything revealed in Scripture. Surely you distinguish the gift of faith implanted in seed form and the exercise of such faith. “By this faith, one believes.”

    “Wouldn’t that faith be nourished by partaking of the covenant renewal meal?”

    Not apart from discerning the body of Christ, which presupposes a cognitive faith.

    “Or is there really a 12 – 18 year gap between God’s act of regenerating the covenant infant and creating within him a true faith whereby he can be a worthy partaker?”

    The gap isn’t the point. The point is infants can’t believe the gospel with the seed of faith they might have.

  20. roberty bob said,

    October 16, 2019 at 9:36 pm

    I am wondering when a child’s cognition kicks in. Our Lord commends faith like that of a child. My guess is that such faith is insufficient for a seat at the Lord’s Table.

  21. Ron said,

    October 17, 2019 at 2:13 pm

    Well, maybe you’ve crossed the Rubicon. There’s quite a distance between infant and child. You’re now engaging in an intramural discussion with credo-communionists.

  22. roberty bob said,

    October 17, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    So, our Lord at his triumphal entry says that the praises of children and infants are God-ordained. Jesus rejoiced in the participatory praise of these little ones. Apparently some infants are capable of bringing forth that which pleases the Lord. Does their praise flow forth out of faith?

    I suppose that even if it does, such infantile faith falls short of that which is required for worthy partaking of the Lord’s Supper.

  23. Ron said,

    October 17, 2019 at 10:31 pm

    RB,

    If you’d take time to formulate actual arguments rather than hurriedly make passing remarks… Or is this your best? Really, it’s hard to take these arm chair remarks seriously.

  24. roberty bob said,

    October 18, 2019 at 7:48 am

    To “discern the body” is to acknowledge all who are members of it and include them in all things that nurture the body. All of the “little ones” who have been baptized into Christ should have their seed faith nourished at the Lord’s Supper so that they may also grow in their faith. Covenant parents who say prayers with their little ones and teach them to love their Lord Jesus are cultivating that seed of faith. Jesus himself took note of these little one’s praises. I believe that he regarded such praise as God-ordained acts of true faith and love. Little ones, baptized into Christ, who partake of the Lord’s Supper do not sin against the body and blood of Jesus when they do so without a mature knowledge of all that Jesus had done for them. They are beginning to grow in their faith and love for him.

  25. roberty bob said,

    October 18, 2019 at 11:11 am

    Isn’t it true that the Christian church opened the Lord’s Table to all who were baptized into Christ, and that this practice remained the norm until the 12th / 13th century? Isn’t it true that the basis for this practice was the belief that all who live in union with Christ (via baptism) have free access to the communion meal, partaking with all the members who are constituted as the one body of Christ?

    The body is rightly discerned when rich and poor, wise and simple, old and young — even the little one that to Him belong — be seated at the Table. The Church in Corinth, having failed at this, was soundly rebuked. The self-examination of which Paul speaks revolves around the matter of seeing to it that all those for whom Christ died and who are called into union with Him are acknowledged and included in Christian communion. To fail at this is to sin against the body and blood of Christ.

  26. Ron said,

    October 19, 2019 at 7:47 pm

    The self-examination of which Paul speaks revolves around the matter of seeing to it that all those for whom Christ died and who are called into union with Him are acknowledged and included in Christian communion.

    So, in other words, while the rest of us our examining personal sin in our respective lives, paedocommunionists are examine themselves to ensure they haven’t excluded anyone from the table.

  27. roberty bob said,

    October 19, 2019 at 10:51 pm

    Some members of the Church in Corinth partook of the Lord’s Supper before all were able to be in attendance, thereby leaving the impression that the late-comers were of lower standing and could be left behind. This abuse, says Paul, was a failure to discern the body — to value and include all who should rightly partake. The self-examination is meant to keep us from partaking in an unworthy manner, namely, in a way that humiliates the neglected members of Christ’s body. So says Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:17-34.

    You may locate all kind of sins in your self-examination, but the Apostle is specific about dealing with the sin that fails to discern the body. That is his prime concern.

  28. Ron said,

    October 21, 2019 at 4:38 am

    “but the Apostle is specific about dealing with the sin that fails to discern the body. That is his prime concern.”

    I know how infants are baptized into Christ. By doing nothing, of which they are capable. How are they to discern the church body to avoid eating damnation to themselves?

  29. roberty bob said,

    October 21, 2019 at 8:39 am

    The Apostle is admonishing those who had partaken of the bread and cup without waiting for the entire congregation to gather around the Table. This inconsiderate act turned the Lord’s Table into something else. It is those responsible for this failure to discern the body who are called upon to self-examine. The admonition does not apply to children or others who were blameless in this matter. The Apostle neither states nor implies that every baptized member of Christ’s body must be able to self-examine, and also conduct a self-examination, before partaking.

    In no way would a covenant infant or child eat or drink damnation unto himself for having excluded the poor latecomers from the communion meal; the child would have been blameless in the matter.

    The self-examination was urged upon the grown ups who were guilty of the sin.

  30. Ron said,

    October 21, 2019 at 11:31 am

    Magical view

  31. roberty bob said,

    October 21, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    How, then, do you in your non-magical way read 1 Corinthians 11:17-34?

    What specifically does it mean to discern the body?

    What specifically is a person doing when he eats the bread and drinks the cup in an unworthy manner? How is one’s partaking to be recognized as such?

    What specifically is a person doing when he sins against the body and blood of the Lord?

    Is a little baptized child who is learning to fold his hands in prayer, sing Jesus Loves Me, and attend Lord’s Day worship engaged in the act of eating and drinking damnation unto himself when he comes to the Lord’s Table with his Christian parents, dips a morsel of bread into the cup and swallows it? I think not. This little one who is already in union with Christ is being permitted to enjoy this same union with all the brother and sisters in his Christian family: communion.

  32. Ron said,

    October 21, 2019 at 11:42 pm

    “How, then, do you in your non-magical way read 1 Corinthians 11:17-34?

    What specifically does it mean to discern the body?”

    Your post is telling. It’s irrelevant what I think regarding the passage. The reason being, (p) *infants being part of the body* does not imply that (q) *qualified partakers of the elements needn’t be capable of discerning the body.* In other words, your own interpretation doesn’t get you to your desired conclusion. You’ve begged the question. Why does p imply q?

    I wouldn’t state my complaint as such if your dodging was not so prevalent. Just in this thread alone, you began by offering a most convoluted theory on the inconsistency of Baptists. You ignored my response. Then, you conflated the seed of faith with cognizant faith. Yet when that was pointed out to you, you were seemingly uninterested in showing how your rightful claim on the former satisfied any condition that can only be met by the latter. Then you based much on the premise that an infant in the presence of admonishment is actually admonished. Yet, once again, when challenged with a couple probing questions, in this case pertaining to language and comprehension, you merely ignored the force of the query and from your arm chair tossed over the wall your p implies q. I’m sorry but it’s a bit tedious, so I trust you won’t object if I bow out. You’ve refused to argue.

  33. Ron said,

    October 21, 2019 at 11:46 pm

    “In no way would a covenant infant or child eat or drink damnation unto himself for having excluded the poor latecomers from the communion meal; the child would have been blameless in the matter.”

    How can the infant be blameless on your view given that your view entails infant admonishment?!

  34. Ron said,

    October 22, 2019 at 7:52 am

    “Is a little baptized child who is learning to fold his hands in prayer, sing Jesus Loves Me, and attend Lord’s Day worship…”

    And here you go again… You’ve shifted the subject away from infants to little children who can be capable of a credible profession. Yet when I noted before that you crossed the Rubicon by abandoning a strictly paedo defense in exchange for a tenable position among credos, you wouldn’t address the relevance of cognition. It’s rather obvious why you do this bait and switch Infants cannot pray or confess “Jesus loves me” and that obviously undermines your Paedobaptist position Accordingly, you point to toddlers to bolster your claim regarding infants.

    I’ve now listed not one but several examples of you not engaging the subject.


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