Who Owes Me Three Dollars?

December 27, 2005

It’s not that I have writer’s block. It’s more alo…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ineedsheetmusic @ 5:21 am

It’s not that I have
writer’s block. It’s more along the lines of biting off more than I can chew. The topic (the Abrahamic covenant and how it relates to infant baptism) is too big, more fundamental than I can treat in a “dash off a quick essay” burst of inspiration. Rest assured that I have been meditating on this a lot. I am sure that Abraham would have been more than a little put out had Isaac said, “You know dad, that circumcision bit was alright for you to apply to your child, but for me and my house, I think I’ll pass”. That’s where I am. It’s more than grandfather’s rights. It is God’s idea, not mine.

The funny thing is that I have been going backwards – from infant baptism to the Abrahamic covenant. Now I propose to go backwards again. I am proposing to back up out of necessity. The need came up because twice in this discussion I was asked to produce a scripture proof of infant baptism. I was subjected to the clever red-herring “That’s what we have so often treasured in the reformers, their insistence that the word is pre-eminent. There must be a scripture to prove your point. Give me a single scripture that says that we should baptize infants.”

I think that argument is a misuse of sola scriptura. The sola scriptura principle was the reformer’s weapon that combatted the Roman Catholic insistence that the church was authoritative over scripture, claiming that the church and especially its leaders who maintain apostolic succession from the first (i.e. Peter) were the authors of scripture.

I mentioned that I am lousy at theological ping-pong. That red-herring slam won a point for my opponent. But I am here to assert that inspite of the absence of a single scripture that says “you must baptize your infant children”, it is nevertheless God’s will for his church. That point, however, I am not going to push any further right at the moment. Rather, I want to address the principle that a single clear scripture must exist in the Bible before we as believers can accept a doctrine.

It’s not at all hard really. What follows is a list (an incomplete list) of doctrines or in a few cases, practices, that orthodox Christians hold to without there being a single verse that backs up the belief.
1) The Trinity. Without a single verse to back this belief up, the church has unequivocally stated that unless you hold to the trinity, you are not a Christian. Ask yourself how we get away with this.

2) A second, like unto the first, – Jesus is God. Of course, many verses come close to explicitly stating this but we’re not playing horseshoes.

3) Orthodoxy has stated for centuries that Jesus, in the flesh, was a single person with two natures. Not two persons with two natures, or a single person with one nature, etc. You may think that this distinction is not important, but I would counter that knowing Jesus includes knowing about Jesus.

4) Two wills of God. One will which relates to his moral demands of humans, and his sovereign will that controls every event that transpires inside and outside time and space. (See number 3)

5) Any eschatology system that you care to bring up. Especially those systems that appear to counter actual verses brought out by those pre-mil/dispensational types. A-mil types defend their position with what must seem to the pre-mil guys as having no visible means of support.

6) Just for fun, on what scriptural basis do we allow women to a) partake of communion – since, Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code notwithstanding, only men were present at the initial supper b) preach from a pulpit c) be an elder or deacon.

7) On what scriptural basis do we take the liberty to change scripture where it suits us – i.e. gender inclusivity issues.

What’s the point? The point is more than just demonstrating that the demand for a single scripture to prove the doctrine of infant baptism fails. The point goes beyond a mere ‘heads up’ that handling this issue will take a little work i.e. you won’t get your wish that a nice little verse, heretofore un-noticed, will pop up and solve the dilemma or that the lack of that single verse proves the opposite. The point really is two questions, 1) what is the Bible, 2) how do you read it?

There, I did it again. I bit off more than I can chew. But I am quite sure that to get to the bottom of infant baptism, to get to the bottom of the Abrahamic Covenant, you have to get to the bottom of your philosophy or presuppositions of what the Bible is and how you read it?

I am talking about more than just recommending that you read Gordon Fee’s Read the Bible for All its Worth. Although that wouldn’t be a bad idea.

I am amassing a pile of unfinished business. This wouldn’t happen if I was more disciplined.


December 21, 2005

I’m thinking, I’m thinking! But in the mean time,…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ineedsheetmusic @ 4:16 am

I’m thinking, I’m thinking!

But in the mean time, here is a contest: a signed print of any photo from our collection to the first person who can identify what this piece of code (which I wrote and run daily at home) does. (Second prize is two photos)

flac_fns = Array.new
wav_fns = Array.new
d.each {|x|
if x =~ /\.flac/
elsif x=~ /\.wav/

high_num = flac_fns.length

wav_fns.each {|i|
high_num = high_num + 1
`move \”#{i}\” \”#{i.sub(/\d+/,high_num.to_s)}\”`

To be eligible for this contest, you have to be someone other than a male whose last name is Settergren or someone younger than 25 or older than 36.

You don’t have to be baptized as an infant to be eligible.

BTW I am seriously considering finding a different (better) free blog service. This thing can’t even handle leading spaces – which makes the code even harder to read. Any suggestions for a better blog service?

December 16, 2005

Well, we have had two good reminders both of which…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ineedsheetmusic @ 6:22 am

we have had two good reminders both of which serve to provide a bit of a wake-up. First, we are saved by grace, therefore baptism, which is a work, couldn’t save. Second, the comment that Christ is to be found in the AbCo is telling. As for grace saving us, you have to admit that the infant does no work at all during his baptism, so technically, (and considering 1st Peter 3:21 which says that baptism saves us) the door is still open. However, I doubt that we will wind up there.

Second, I really appreciate the reminder to find Christ in the AbCo. This, I believe, is what covenant theology is all about: seeing Christ in the covenants. I think it is especially important to do so in the case of the AbCo.

I believe this: the church has been very lax in its teaching about the covenants. What with the focus on church growth, the importance of providing an exciting quality church experience, personal relationship and more at the expense of doctrine (which as you know means teaching) I myself can say proudly that, inspite of 2 score of years in church, I know next to nothing about covenant in any depth and next to nothing regarding teaching on baptism (among many other fundamentals).

In addition to that, I am beginning to learn the importance of not just learning about the covenant, but the importance of living the covenant; of discovering how the covenant can make sense of your life and also (as one of the elect) of life itself.

I also believe this: the way to build up faith is not by encouraging devotion, pietism, relationship for its own sake, but to teach Christ with the view to magnifying him.

I am naive if I think I can all of a sudden become an expert on covenant theology. The little reading I have done, however, has made a good start on firming up my conviction that infant baptism is fine and dandy. (My sister’s reference to infant baptism as covenantal baptism is astute).

December 15, 2005

The AbCo was/is a promise made by God and guarante…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ineedsheetmusic @ 6:13 am

The AbCo was/is a promise made by God
and guaranteed by Him by the passing of his person through the gauntlet of multiple animal halves strewn in a line on the ground. The promise consisted of three parts. 1) Land, 2) Inumerable posterity 3) Blessing to all the inhabitants of the earth via that posterity.

We always should remind ourselves that if God pulls out of that promise, then we are certainly doomed, since we see the promise ultimately consumated in the new heaven and the new earth.

Being a bit tired right now, I will let that sit. Anybody disagree with that outline?

December 14, 2005

Making little headway, I am, on the overall topic,…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ineedsheetmusic @ 6:17 am

Making little headway,
I am, on the overall topic, but questions are frequently as good as answers. A fundamental question is the issue of implied continuity. The classic scenario is Jewish parents listening to Peter’s sermon which told them “this promise is for you and your children . . . .” didn’t they recognize the Ab. covenant promise in those words. The Ab. covenant would need to have its mechanics rescinded somewhere along the line. Without an explicit command to cease and desist from giving the sign to your children, it should continue, no?

Anyway, many see it this way today but I suspect many drop the “if you don’t apply the sign, their soul will be cut off. . .” part. Why is implied continuity gladly employed as a defense of the idea that baptism is NT circumcision but the warning is conveniently forgotten. Shouldn’t implied continuity apply there as well?

A second question is what is suggested by this warning. I offer the following: the sign and that which it signifies are more intimately tied together than those who say its only a sign and nothing more will be comfortable admitting. Doesn’t this warning imply that baptism (of infants, don’t forget – Baptists can check out on this since they don’t buy any connection at all between circumcision and baptism. I guess it is clear that as soon as you admit a connection – equivalence- between circumcision and baptism exists, the you must allow that infant baptism is not just scriptural but commanded) does something. Apparently withholding it has a profound affect on the child. I am not sure it is sufficient to say “you don’t have to be baptized to be saved” unless you fully address this warning verse.

Maybe this is all obvious to everyone but me. If so, and if time permits, these questions and others will get answered.

For me, gone are the days when I could just say that I know I am saved so these details are irrelevant. My faith is not strong enough to make it from day-to-day without hearing and engaging the word. (If that sounds pietistic, I assure you I have no piety – just ask my wife – it’s more like I am a shark, constantly on the move looking for more food). The result is that I become a pain in the neck for not a few people.

December 13, 2005

I am not going to dive into this very far except t…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ineedsheetmusic @ 6:26 am

I am not going to
dive into this very far except to ask some questions whose answers will help later on.

If you are going to claim that NT baptism is the sign of the Ab. covenant, then you must be conversant on the Ab. Cov.

1) What is the Abrahamic covenant?
2) What was its sign and what did it signify?
3) Did the sign convey or apply any spiritual blessing, result, change or effect?
4) Was there any significance to the sign in the sense that it typified anything that was fulfilled in the NT?
5) Do you believe that there is anything significant about the mechanics of this covenant.
a) Should its sign always be something that can be given to your offspring, i.e. applied externally, as circumcision was?
b) Should the thing signified by the sign stay the same forever.
c) Or is it possible for it to signify one thing in the OT economy and something different later?
d) Same question for the sign itself.
e) If the sign conveyed or applied any spiritual blessing, result etc. , should its NT counterpart do exactly the same or can it change to a different applied result or no result at all?

That’s quite a lot right there. The first one is the toughest by far.

Won’t get to any answers tonight.

Lest you think I am the guy with answers, I am not. I just know that this is where the action is.

December 12, 2005

I lied, a little. I have the time now to write mor…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ineedsheetmusic @ 6:34 am

I lied,
a little. I have the time now to write more. But not much tonight. I want to tackle infant baptism again. The reason is that I have some grandchildren (half of them, to be exact) who haven’t been given the sign of the covenant, and I need to know if I should be bothered by it.

This verse bothers me: Genesis 17:14 “And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.” You can go read the whole Gen 17 passage at length.

I have had two discussions on this topic with guys neither of whom believe that infant baptism is a scriptural practice. Neither discussion went well. It turns out that I am really lousy at theological ping-pong.

It’s way too late to get into it but brace yourself for the questions and issues.

December 11, 2005

I thought about bailing on the gambling, but I sai…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ineedsheetmusic @ 5:54 pm

I thought about bailing on the
gambling, but I said before I am not a quitter. So, here goes:
Colts to cover 8.5
Detroit to cover 6
Jets to cover 3

I will be writing tonight.

December 4, 2005

I am running out of money here. But this week look…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ineedsheetmusic @ 2:27 am

I am running out of money here.
But this week looks promising:
Raiders to cover 11 points as road underdogs to the Chargers,
Denver to cover 1 point as road favorites over KC,
Miami to cover 5 points at home as favorites over Buffalo.

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