Thursday, November 19, 2009

Heaven is awarded to that age group

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
25-30 - Texts seemingly against infant baptism; dying unbaptized
25. They object to infant baptism using John 3:5 - being born of water and Spirit. They say it means regeneration must precede baptism. But the water there just means the Spirit: without regeneration by the Spirit you can't enter the kingdom. And if water DOES mean baptism in that verse, notice that it comes before the Spirit - if we're going to play with words like that.

26. Remaining unbaptized can't be done "with impunity" for in doing so "the Lord's covenant will be violated." But all the unbaptized aren't automatically damned. John 5:24. In claiming so, they condemn all infants to hell, when "the Kingdom of Heaven is awarded to that age group" by Jesus - Matt 19:14.

27. They infer from the great commission - Matt 28:19; Mark 16:16 - that we must make disciples before we baptize. Jesus wasn't baptized until He was 30 - Matt 3:13; Luke 3:21-22. But if we infer in such a way, from word order, then John 3:5 is on our side, as is Matt 28:19-20, where baptizing comes before teaching! "Good God!"

28. But "I do not wish to slip out by such trivial shifts." Mark 16:16 refers to converting adults, not infants. "The gospel must be preached to those who are capable of hearing, before they are baptized. For it deals with these only."

29. Paul says those who don't work shouldn't eat (2 Thess 3:10), so we should withhold food from infants, by this twisted logic. Jesus was baptized at 30 only to closely connect His baptism with His preached message. If this is the example, why do they accept men into the church and baptism before 30. Servetus "boast[ed] himself a prophet" at 21!

30. "They object that there is no more reason to administer baptism to infants than the Lord's Supper, which is not permitted to them." The early church allowed paedo-communion, according to Augustine and Cyprian, but no longer, and rightly so. Communion is for those who can "take solid food." 1 Cor 11:28-29 requires self-examination before partaking, and "it is vain to expect this of infants." Only "those who were old enough to be able to inquire into its meaning" partook of Passover in the OT - Ex 12:26.

[This is one area I disagree strongly with Calvin. Using his own logic from section 29, 1 Cor 11:28 doesn't apply to infants, and we shouldn't withhold food (Communion) from them because they can't examine themselves and discern the body as well as adults can.]

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