“And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.” (Genesis 17:7 ESV)
“And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.’” (Acts 2:38-39 ESV)
Before you can delve into the particulars of infant baptism (which I would rather refer to it as covenant baptism, as this gets at what is being emphasized in it), there are many larger assumptions and presuppositions that must be dealt with that inform why and how we make our decision in regard to this. One of these particulars is how we, as the New Covenant church, relate to Abraham in the Abrahamic Covenant. In addition, how does Abraham relate to Moses and the Mosaic Covenant? And how do both relate to Christ and the present-day, New Covenant church? There are many other aspects to each of these and more points to cover, but the fundamental issue in the debate over baptism isn’t really about baptism: rather it’s more about how you read scripture concerning the outworking of the history of redemption between the Old and New Testaments. Everything hinges on that. If you come with a different set of assumptions to bigger questions than baptism, infant baptism indeed won’t make sense.
R. Scott Clark’s podcast Heidelcast is currently going through these assumptions by getting to the heart of how scripture interprets scripture and gives us a pattern for how we understand the Old Testament within the context of the New, namely how the covenants relate to each other. Very good series. I’ll post each new podcast that becomes available. The titles below are my own, not R. Scott Clark’s.
- Part 1: Introduction to the Series
- Part 2: How We Read the Scriptures; Hermeneutics
- Part 3: The Covenant of Grace
- Part 4: The Substance of the Covenant of Grace and its Accidents (or its Outward/External Administration through Redemptive History)
- Part 5: Continuity of the Old and New Testaments
- Part 6: Covenant Formula of Genesis 17
- Part 7: The Covenant of Genesis 17 and Its Sign
- Part 8: Relation of the Mosaic and Abrahamic Covenants
- Part 9: The New Covenant, Children and Jeremiah 31:31–33
- Part 10: The New Covenant and Hebrews 7-8
- Part 11: The Identical Nature of Jeremiah 31:31-34 and the Abrahamic Covenant
- Part 12: What is Baptism Itself? How Do We Define It? What is a Sacrament?
- Part 13: Covenant Infant Baptism
- Part 14: The Overarching Covenant View of Scripture, How the NT Interprets the OT, And the History of Redemption
- Part 15: Listener Call-ins and Questions