Saturday, November 14, 2009

The condition of the Christian church is exactly the same

Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 4 of 4 - External Means by which God Invites Us into the Society of Christ and Holds Us Therein

Chapter 16 - Infant Baptism fits with the nature of baptism
10-16 - Objections to the circumcision parallel
10. They say the meaning of circumcision is carnal and earthly, making the Jews out to be no more than beasts.
11. Col 2:11-12 equates the spiritual promise behind circumcision and baptism, against their claim.
12. They say circumcision foreshadowed the NT church's spiritual infancy in their regeneration by the Spirit. This is partly true, but they deny OT saints had the spiritual truth in circumcision, which is false.
13. Circumcision and uncircumcision are "equal in honor" since Abraham received the promise without it, and received it as the sign of the promise. Gentiles who believe have Abraham as their father, "for they have baptism in place of [circumcision]."
14. Those against infant baptism try to say that physical descent means nothing - Rom 9:7. But the covenant promises came through the Jews to us. God did not abandon them, as "heirs of the gospel," though they forsook Him - Rom 11:16, 29.
15. "God's election... rules," but He gives promises to Abraham's physical children. "The condition of the Christian church is exactly the same." Also, the promise of circumcision is not fulfilled allegorically in the infancy of the church with the Spirit's coming, but literally with Christ's coming - Acts 2:39; 3:25; Eph 2:11-13. If we take it figuratively, what do we do with the Ex 20:6 promise of mercy to the thousandth generation?
16. They object that circumcision and baptism are different, because circumcision was commanded on the eighth day. This doesn't mean anything, other than waiting for the infant's body to handle it, and perhaps a pointer to Christ's resurrection, on the eighth day. They object that women weren't circumcised, so it must be very different from baptism; but women partook of their husband's circumcision.

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