Who Owes Me Three Dollars?

September 24, 2008

Tent of Shem

Filed under: Uncategorized — ineedsheetmusic @ 11:50 am

Read the Noahic oracle –  Gen 9:20-27. Given that the flood is a re-creation event, having numerous parallels with creation itself, the oracle functions just as the proto-evangelium did in Gen 3:15. It provides further ilumination on redemptive history. Canaan (son of Ham) will be cursed and on the receiving end of judgment and Japheth will be brought in to the tent of Shem. Canaan has certainly turned out to be the whipping boy of history, and Japheth (signifying the Gentiles in general) have been brought into covenant relationship with God.

Now read Acts 10. Here is the historical event that inaugurates the fulfillment of the Japheth-Shem portion of Noah’s oracle.

Presumably, reflecting on these two historical events, you will agree that Gen 9:20-27 and Acts 10 bear the promise-fulfillment relationship that characterizes redemptive history.

Now re-read Acts 10:48. My question to you is this: Did Peter command them to be baptized because a) they were now believers (i.e. Peter was a credo-baptist) or b) they were now Japheth brought into the tent of Shem and had to be given the sacramental sign of such inclusion (i.e. Peter believed in covenant theology)?

A second question is much more problematic, but I think helps immensely to answer the first question. Why did Peter command them to be baptised? My experience as an observer in credo-baptist circles is that in every case the expectation was that believers would volunteer for baptism when they feel that they are really ready to get serious about this Jesus business and then make a request for it to be done. Never have I seen anyone commanded to get baptised  in credo-baptist circles.

This passage should be relevant to the upcoming Hoagies&Stogies debate, Oct 4, 2008.

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  1. Your first question is a false dichotomy. They were filled with the Spirit. They were regenerated. Ergo, they believed.

    They maybe were Japheth brought into the tent of Shem, or Gentiles brought into Israel. But it’s more proper to say that Israel has exploded. After all, Israel was cursed by Christ (Mat 23). And thus Israel was done away with in 70AD. In a poetic way of speaking, we’ve been grafted into Israel. And yet, the church is something truly new as well. It’s a new thing established by a new covenant.

    Israel was constituted by the Mosaic covenant. We are not. That covenant which constituted them, is now obsolete. No covenant, no Israel. Poetically speaking, yes, we’ve been grafted into Israel, so to speak.

    As to your second question, to whom was Peter’s command given?

    I would suggest not the new Gentile believers, but those with the proper authority to baptize them that were with him. I think this is clear from vv. 45-47. Particularly in 47, when he asks, “who can deny them…” There, Peter is saying that they should not be refused the sacrament, given the evidence of the Holy Spirit coming upon them, despite being uncircumcised.

    So then he orders those present who have the authority to baptize to do so. “Baptize these men”, so to speak. Apparently, the Jewish believers were reluctant to accept the Gentiles, and Peter speaks as an Apostle, with all authority, to the leaders in the church, to apply the sign to the Gentiles too, not to withhold it from them until they have been circumcised.

    By the way, ask any credobaptist why they want to be baptized, and they’ll almost all tell you the same thing, “I wanted to be obedient to Christ.”

    Everyone understands that as Christians we are commanded to be baptized. Credobaptists, however, tend to see baptism as a symbol, a pledge on their part of their obedience. When I was baptized at about 12 years old, I thought I was pledging myself to obey Christ.

    I thought I was under Moses, and I said, “All this I will do.”

    The problem with credobaptists is that they don’t understand that baptism is not our pledge to God, but his pledge to us. Therein lies the crux of the problem, in my opinion.

    But of course, as soon as you point it out to them, they immediately deny it. The truth is, they have no idea what baptism actually means or why it means that. They just usually know that it’s commanded, so they want to do it.

    They’ll do it to obey the command, but they don’t want to think about it. (Ironic, because we are commanded to love God with our minds, and Paul exhorts us over and over to grow mature in knowledge and wisdom, so you’d think people that want to be obedient to the commands of Scripture would actually want to think.)

    Ah, but it’s the age of Aquarius after all. No one wants to think anymore.

    It’s funny. They say God didn’t give us a systematic theology. To that I can only respond that I have one on my shelf. If it did not come from God, where did it come from? Did it evolve? Did it happen by accident? Just where did that book come from?

    Give us practical application, not doctrine!

    Then why does the Bible make so many doctrinal statements?

    God is love: that’s all we need to know!

    But that’s a doctrine. Actually, two doctrines. God is love is the first. That it’s all you need to know is the second. The first is grounded in Scripture. The second is contrary to Scripture. Pick any chapter of the Bible and I’ll show you how it disproves the second doctrine. Heck, choose any verse of the Bible at all, and I’ll use it to disprove the second.

    The only problem with Evangelicals today is this: they have no idea what they believe or why they believe it.

    Shorter: Unbelief.

    That’s the problem. And that’s just what Jesus said to his own disciples when they showed that they didn’t understand the Bible. Their problem was not lack of education, but unbelief. Luke 24:25-27.

    Yep, that’s what’s wrong with the church today. Unbelief.

    Comment by Echo_ohcE — September 24, 2008 @ 8:45 pm

  2. For question one I guess you are saying I should have provided option c) both.

    You misread question 2. The question is why the command. Not who was commanded.

    Comment by Bruce S. — September 25, 2008 @ 8:36 am

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