Puritans on Infant Baptism
Chapter 45 - Puritans and Paedobaptism
Does covenant theology justify baptizing infants?
The promises God made to Abraham still apply to us today in Christ. There is no clear Scripture taking away the sign of the covenant from the children of believers.
- "when circumcision was abrogated with Christ, the command to keep this covenant [Genesis 17] ended with it. No 'substance' remained from Genesis 17" - pg. 730.
- "circumcision as a sign did not entail being 'in' the covenant of grace" - pg. 730.
Beeke/Jones outline in detail a debate over Genesis 17 - was this a covenant of works or of grace?
The baptist view imposes the "oppose law and gospel" interpretation on this, winding up with us "under two contrary covenants at once" (734). They want to say since that covenant was of works, it is now abrogated. But just because God tells Abraham to do something doesn't make it a covenant of works or dependent on works.
I expected a far more comprehensive treatment of baptism. This chapter honed in on Genesis 17 and didn't deal with New Testament texts at all. They treat Genesis 17 as expected (Baptists dismiss it as irrelevant and abrogated; paedobaptists take it as their starting point to argue their view), so the detail of the debate was a unique contribution.