February 9, 2010

Can you guess who said this?

While reading through a treatise, I came across the following statements and was astonished. They were not contained within the same chapter; but they were part of the same treatise.

Can you guess who said the following:

But because the counsel of God is incomprehensible, we confess that in order to obtain salvation it is necessary to have recourse to the means which God has ordained; for we are not of the number of fanatics who, under colour of the eternal predestination of God, have no regard to arrive by the right path at the life which is promised to us; but rather we hold, that in order to be adopted children of God, and to have proper certainty of it, we must believe in Jesus Christ, inasmuch as it is in him alone that we must seek the whole grounds of our salvation.

The same man said elsewhere:

Moreover, we believe, that since baptism is a treasure which God has placed in His Church, all the members ought to partake of it. Now we doubt not that little children born of Christians are of this number, since God has adopted them, as He declares. Indeed we should defraud them of their rights were we to exclude them from the sign which only ratifies the thing contained in the promise: considering, moreover, that children ought no more in the present day to be deprived of the sacrament of their salvation then the children of the Jews were in ancient times, seeing that now the manifestation must be larger and clearer than it was under the law. Wherefore we reprobate all fanatics who will not allow little children to be baptized.

Do you see the blatant contradiction here? What this indicates to me is how powerful and pervasive loyalty to religious traditions can be. Even the most gifted men that God has given the church, can be blinded by religious traditions and/or sentimentality, to the point that they eventually and ultimately contradict there own doctrines and the Word of God.

So, I ask you two things. 1) Have you guessed who said these things? And 2) What would you do if you had only two choices in terms of church membership; the church he pastored or a Roman Catholic Church?

There never was and there never will be a church, on this side of heaven, that is not plagued with errors. There was a time, however, when lay people didn’t have many options and they didn’t have access to the Word of God and were therefore, much more apt to simply accept things without questioning them. They had to trust what they were being taught was the truth. In the event that they discerned a contradiction, they had only one or two options. (i.e., Rome or Geneva). Some held strong enough convictions that both options would violate their conscience and so they created a third option and that was to start their own churches (denominations), which were eventually also plagued with errors.

It started in the earliest churches and it continues to this day.

“But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, "It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses." The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, "Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. "And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith.

"Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?

"But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will."


G. N. Barkman said...

I'm guessing it was John Calvin? At any rate, it was a committed paedo-baptist. What a dilemma! On the one hand, many paedo-baptists believe and proclaim the true gospel of grace more clearly than any others. On the other hand, what they believe about covenant children and the nature of the church is a big problem, at least to those who believe that baptism is for disciples alone.

TruthMatters said...

I figured that the reference to Geneva was too big a clue for most men who know church history (smiling). Yes - it was John Calvin.

Since water baptism saves no one (infants or adults) it certainly should not be "a doctrine on which the church stands or falls".

Wonderful passages that I find great peace and joy in, when pondering just how much emphasis to place on this:

John 1:26
John answered them, "I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know..."

John 1:33
I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'

Acts 1:5
for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."

Acts 11:16
And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, 'John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'

Matthew 3:11

"I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Mark 1:8
I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

Luke 3:16
John answered them all, saying, "I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

TruthMatters said...

An After thought--as I ponder those passages:

No outward practice can create (or affirm) an inward reality, as much as so many want to believe (both paedo and credo).

As Paul reminds us, "For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter."

Anonymous said...

True. And yet, the ordinance of water baptism was given by Christ for the purpose of affirming the inward reality of regeneration, was it not?

TruthMatters said...

Dear Anonymous

I appreciate your comment and I am hoping that you might be able to provide passages to support your statement. Especially the conclusion: "for the purpose of affirming the inward reality of regeneration".

TruthMatters said...

Please note that I have nothing "new" to offer on this topic. It has all been said before. I would highly recommend that readers visit monergism.com. There are 256 resources (which clearly articulate all positions) from men who know much more than you might find on "blogs". Copy and paste this link into your browser and read, read, read, read.


Once you have, I think that you will come away realizing that it has, indeed, all been said before.

Grace to You.

G. N. Barkman said...

Perhaps I shouldn't comment further without reading the suggested material. Upon refelction (rather brief reflection), I guess I have to say that the statement regarding regeneration is assumed rather than stated. To take one example, if baptism is said to be undertaken as a sign of (or response to) repentance, and we know that repentance is the fruit of regeneration, then baptism becomes a sign (or testimony) of regeneration, does it not?