What About Baptism? – A Biblical Discussion Between Billy Baptist and Peter Presbyterian

DEDICATION

To my dearly beloved daughters, baptized and covenantally sealed in Name of the Triune God in early infancy:

To Johanna, who sang her first Psalms to His glory when not yet two years old; and to Annamarie, who has manifested a sweet spirit of general obedience as far back in her life as I can remember.

“I thank You, 0 Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent. and have revealed them to babies!   Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in Your sight” (Matthew 11: 25-26).

[Originally] Printed in Great Britain by The Burlington Press, Foxton, Royston, Herts SGS 6SA

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FOREWORD

One perceptive Presbyterian of an earlier day wrote:

Im first a Christian, next a Catholic, then a Calvinist, fourth a Paedobaptist, and fifth a Presbyterian.   I cannot reverse this order…..   The first is the broadest, and is the foundation laid by Christ; but we are to build on that foundation, and, as we ascend, our outlook widens.1

The Scottish Reformed Fellowship unhesitatingly endorses such an affirmation!   It is their purpose to promote just such a full–orbed expression of the Reformed Faith, among the main tenets of which, it will be noted, is the practice of infant baptism — paedobaptism.  

Concerning the question of baptism there has been much controversy and division in the Christian Church, even amongst professed adherents of the Reformed Faith.   In issuing this pamphlet, it is not our desire merely to fan the flames of controversy on the issue but rather to seek to answer seriously questions commonly raised against infant baptism by Baptist writers.

This purpose, we feel, Professor Nigel Lee has accom-plished with typical perspicuity in this booklet,2 constructed in the intriguing form of a conversation between a Presbyterian and a Baptist. Here we have a convincing and indeed compre-hensive demonstration of the paedobaptist case, in terms not easily misunderstood.

Essentially, then, the purpose of sending forth this booklet is twofold: Firstly, to convince Baptists of the Scripturalness of the infant baptist position; and, secondly, to establish and instruct Presbyterians in this important aspect of their profession.  May our great Covenant God be pleased to bless it to this end!

SCOTTISH REFORMED FELLOWSHIP, Edinburgh. January, 1976.

1 John Duncan, Colloquia Peripatetica, 6th Ed., Edinburgh, 1907, p. 8. 2 This is a revised form of the authors Afrikaans language edition, Julle Doop Mos Verkeerd! N.G. Kerk-Uitgewers, n.d. [1971].

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WHAT ABOUT BAPTISM?

Billy Baptist: Mr. Peter Presbyterian!   You and your wife claim to be Christians. But remember the words of that greater Peter at Jerusalem: “Repent and be baptized!”   Have you yet obeyed Christ, by  follow-ing Him through the waters of baptism “since ye believed?”1

Peter Presbyterian: Yes, Mr. Billy Baptist, my wife and I have indeed been baptized – in tenderest infancy.   Likewise our children.   We have not, of course, been re-baptized since then.   For Gods word teaches us that all re-baptisms are sinful, if not impossible.2

Baptism should never be repeated, not even if our (or your) ‘first and only actual baptism should prove to have been administered somewhat irregularly.2    For a Christian can never be, or only have been, ‘half-baptized.’   After all, Christians have either been baptized validly and once for all, or else they have never been baptized validly at all.   In the latter case, they still need baptizing.

B.: Re-baptism is no doubt sinful.   For those of us who have been validly “baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into His death”; and the Saviour died indeed but once for our sins. Consequently, His death, and the water-baptism which symbolises it, can never be repeated.2

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