Baptism: The Doctrine that Caused Tears (4)

“Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations, by means of baptizing them…by means of teaching them”

Francis Turretin…argued that the Great Commission was grounds for baptizing both adults and infants. I did not see how that was possible until I considered the Greek, but it was not as if only paedobaptists recognized the construction of the Greek grammar. Baptists fully acknowledged it, too


Time and time again I heard that Reformed paedobaptists read “the New Testament…as though it were the Old and the Old as though it were the New.…”1 I believed this for a time. Virtually every time I insisted that they show me a command to baptize infants, they took me to Genesis 17:9–10:

And God said to Abraham, ‘As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. This is my covenant which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised.’

“Great!” I thought, “but we are not discussing circumcision.” It was as if they were proving a directive for a new covenant sacrament utilizing an Old Testament command. While I knew better to associate everything under the umbrella of the Old Testament as the old covenant, I still was not satisfied with their answer.

What was I going to do? By this time, I believed the children of one or two believing parents were included in the covenant, but if I could not find a New Testament imperative to apply the sign of the covenant to children, it seemed, at the time, that any Old Testament directive was insufficient. Fred Malone, a former paedobaptist, in his book, The Baptism of Disciples Alone: A Covenant Argument for Credobaptism Verses Paedobaptism, emphasized this point and concluded that to baptize one’s infant(s), although no imperative exists in the New Testament, is a violation of the Regulative Principle of Worship (RPW). I latched onto his conclusion.

“But what about the household baptisms?” I was asked. Like a standard polemicist, I used their own theologians against them. Pierre Marcel exclaimed, “We state here with all desirable precision that these passages [household baptisms] have never served and still do not serve, in good Reformed theology, as a basis or justification of infant baptism.”2 Looking back, I realize this was not the best course of action. I utilized the opposing views of Reformed paedobaptists to my advantage as if all Baptists agree.

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