Who Owes Me Three Dollars?

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).



  1. Bruce, have you ever seen any of the Ray VanderLaan videos about the Holy Land. (He’s a Bible teacher at Holland Christian, whose tours of Israel have been filmed and picked up for distribution by Zondervan (I believe) and Focus on the Family. You’d really appreciate them, I believe. I still must finish exam grading before I get to check this, but I know he analyzed the Gen. 19 passage as son#1 was relating. I haven’t had any teaching on covenants in almost 40 years, so it is probably about time I dug in myself. What books do you recommend??
    And speaking of Calvinists and covenants, etc, you must check out a funny entry on Gideon Strauss’ blog called John, John, John, John, John, Jonathan, John, John, John. It will give you a good chuckle to start your day.

    P.S. Your (and Deb’s) Christmas books were sent off Monday but by bookrate mail, so I hope they arrive in time.

    Comment by sister — December 16, 2005 @ 1:31 pm

  2. Amen.

    Comment by mike s. — December 16, 2005 @ 3:58 pm

  3. I agree with you on the importance of understanding covenant theology. I think that’s one of the most important things I’ve gotten fron New Life; an anti-dispensational picture of how God (being the same yesterday, today, and forever) issued covenants of faith in Jesus in both the Old and New Testaments. Abraham was justified by FAITH.

    As a matter of fact, this is the keystone in my understanding of infant baptism: OT babies were circumcised as a symbolic act of faith by parents who believed in the promises of God–before it could possibly be known whether the child would grow up to also believe in the promises of God. We do the same thing with infant baptism.

    Of course, there must have been plenty of OT parents who applied circumcision without having faith, and without really knowing what they were doing (thus not really being in God’s covenant community themselves).

    Good thing that never happens any more.

    Comment by son1 — December 16, 2005 @ 6:39 pm

  4. I am starting to get a whiff of what may be the real issue (or what should be the real issue) with baptism debates. Now, realize that this is just now starting to simmer in my head, but I think the discussion needs to move away from paedo-baptism vs. credo-baptism to just exactly what baptism is.

    I think once you arrive at each camp’s concept of what baptism is, you will see why each camp holds the view they do.

    Again, I think the benefit of doing that (putting baptism under a microscope) is that Christ will be exalted, in my view, as the Lord of the covenant and as the Servant of the covenant.

    Comment by Bruce S — December 16, 2005 @ 8:29 pm

  5. On a whim, I just checked COW’s collection of books that have “covenant” and “theology” in their keyword search. Hmm, we go back to the 70s for any relevant titles (lots of stuff on contemporary Jewish theology). Good Presbyterian school that we are. I guess I’d better check at Calvin when we’re there on Monday?? However, I did find a book on Genesis by Leon Kass, which I’ve been wishing I could findhad no idea existed. I appreciated his articles of long ago in FT. Obviously they have been collected into a book, but I’ve never been able to find them in article form even through the FT webpage. So all is not lost. Ordered it from Kenyon (or wherever).

    Comment by Sister — December 16, 2005 @ 10:16 pm

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