Catabaptism in the Presbyterian Church in America

During 1983 there was an interchange of opinions on the above baptismal matters between Drs. Thompson, Bogue and Knight.650   Dr. Thompson651 soon drew attention to the irregular yet valid and unrepeatable circumcisings administered by Zipporah and received by Josiah and Hezekiah. Exodus 4:24-26; Second Chronicles 28:1-2,27; 29:12; 32:33; 33:1-25; 24:1-2.

Pursuant to the Question by Grace Presbytery, now submitted to the Committee, Dr. Bogue had stressed the issue of Rome's heretical view of justification.652   Dr. Knight was concerned chiefly with the best methodology for the Committee to follow procedurally.653   In addition, Dr. Bogue654 and Dr. Knight655 both seem to have thought that Rome's formulations at Trent anent baptism and anent justification might indeed be germane to the matter of the validity of baptisms subsequently administered by Romanists.

On November 23rd 1983, Dr. Thompson wrote to Dr. Lee in Australia to ask for his opinion regarding the validity of baptisms administered specifically by the Roman Catholic Church.656 Here, in our own following treatment of this controversy, we shall be as short as possible.

Few new arguments for catabaptism were now being advanced in the American PCA -beyond those already dealt with by us in the pages above in connection with previous baptismal debates. By the latter, we mean: the debates in Europe, between Calvin on the one hand and both the Anabaptists and Trent's Romanists on the other; the debates in America, between Hodge and Thornwell; and the debates in Australia, between the PCA and the PRC (and also the PCEA).

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In his November 23rd 1983 Letter to Lee (this present writer), Dr. Thompson lamented that "the PCA continues to plunge towards an even broader evangelicalism than before."   He then raised the matter of the baptismal opinions of some within the PCA General Assembly’s Committee on the Validity of Certain Baptisms.

Dr. Lee responded to Dr. Thompson late in 1983 with a personal letter.657   There he states: "The PCA needs to be reminded that Rome is a Church in ruins, not a mosque or a synagogue…. Anabaptists and Antinomians are more lethal than Classic Romanists."

Lee's 1983 article on unrepeatability of circumcision and baptism

In Australia, Dr. Lee then wrote his article The Unrepeatability of Circumcision and of Baptism as its Replacement.658   Before the end of 1983, he sent it to Dr. Thompson in the U.S.A.

In Dr. Lee' s article, he said — inter alia — that "even the great Baptist Rev. Dr. Augustus Hopkins Strong rightly tells us in his Systematic Theology:659 ' In respect of not being repeated, baptism is unlike the Lord' s Supper….   Rebaptism, in the case of unstable Christians, tends to bring reproach upon the ordinance itself.'    Cf. too: Exodus 4:24-26; 20:5-6; Psalm 105:6-10; Isaiah 59:20-21; Romans 11:16,25-29; Ephesians 4:4-6; Hebrews 6:2-6.

"Both before and after the 1545 Council of Trent, Calvin rightly opposed the thoroughly anti-Scriptural 'h eresy' of catabaptism.   For catabaptism — whether by wildcat anabaptistic immersionists, or by deranged catabaptists (alias paidorebaptistic resprinklers of validly baptized Ex-Romanists or Ex-Lutherans or even ExPresbyterians) — was rightly reprehended.

"It was regarded by Calvin and by every single one of the Reformational and PostReformational Calvinistic Confessions, as a slight against triune baptism.   Implicitly, it was also to be regarded as an insult against the ' Ontological' Trinity and the Triune God Himself — as well as being inimical to all truly Biblical ecumenicity.

"For there is no such thing as ' papal baptism' or 'b aptist baptism' or ' presbyterian baptism' — but only triune baptism administered by unworthy administrators.   Such ' unworthies' include the Pope, Billy Graham, the Moderator of the Presbyterian General Assembly, and Martin Luther.   Such also include all other (saved or unsaved) baptizers.   They are all unworthy [though indeed in varying degrees]. For every human priest or sinful preacher is (to a greater or lesser extent) — shabby before a sinhating God!

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