April 30, 2015

A Note About Links

Just for the record, by linking to a blog, article, website, etc. I am not offering a blanket endorsement. I follow blogs by people with whom I disagree on many important issues. This blog features links to websites that represent several different (and often contradictory) perspectives. By following these links, I believe the reader will find much that is true and helpful. . . along with some other things that are false and potentially harmful. Read with discernment.

April 27, 2015

Why Baptists Should Stop Baptizing Their Children

Baptists reject infant baptism (inconsistently in many cases, see this post). However, Southern Baptists seem to be increasingly okay with baptizing very young children.

In defense of this practice, I've heard it said that children are often capable of understanding very deep truths, and we shouldn't be too quick to deny that they know what they're doing when they are baptized.

That's debatable. I was thirteen when I was baptized, and I certainly didn't understand the full significance of what I was doing. In fact, the very person who said the above statement admitted that when she was baptized (at the age of about nine, I believe) she didn't fully grasp what she was doing.

But, for the sake of argument, let's say that young children are completely capable of understanding the meaning and significance of baptism (surely that's the case in at least some instances).

That still doesn't justify the practice of baptizing young children. The problem isn't whether or not they understand so much as whether or not we can accurately judge their understanding. The problem isn't that young children cannot be converted. The problem is that it's so hard for us to judge one way or the other in the case of a very young child.

How does a regenerate 5-year-old act? What about a born-again 3-year-old? How is it any different from the behavior of an unregenerate child of the same age? What does the fruit of the Spirit look like in one so young? Again, I'm not saying that young children can't be converted. I'm very confident in God's ability to draw his elect to himself at any age. I'm much less confident in our ability to discern when that drawing has taken place.

Young children are typically eager to please adults. Many (if not most) children who are baptized do so to please their parents. I don't have any statistics to back that up, but I believe most Southern Baptists, if they're honest, would have to agree.

Nearly every adult I know who was baptized before the age of eighteen, admits that he did not fully understand what he was doing when he was baptized. And yet, we still attempt to justify this practice. Perhaps we're afraid of invalidating our own baptism.

I was converted before my baptism. Yet, I didn't fully grasp what I was doing when I was baptized. I did it to please others. Had I been taught properly, I would have eventually grasped the significance of baptism on my own without any pressure from my believing family members.

Why not teach the children rather than pushing them and prodding them? Let's trust the Spirit to teach those whom He indwells. If the child is truly converted, he will be taught, not only by us, but by the Holy Spirit, and once taught, he will seek baptism in obedience to Christ. If the child is not converted, then we have no business dunking him.

I fear that, at some level, we Southern Baptists do believe in baptismal regeneration. Why else would we insist on dunking toddlers who show dubious evidence of conversion?

Why Baptists Should Stop Dedicating Their Babies

I recently taught on the various views of baptism. I contrasted believer's baptism with infant baptism.

I explained that, even when separated from the doctrine of baptismal regeneration (as in the case of Presbyterian and Reformed believers), the practice of infant baptism is unbiblical (for reasons that I will not get into here as they are outside the scope of this post) and ought to be rejected.

The objection was raised that, since infant baptism (particularly when practiced by those who reject the doctrine of baptismal regeneration) is nothing more than a baby dedication accompanied by the sprinkling of water, we Bapists ought not to object to it. After all, when we dedicate a baby, it is nothing more than a dry baptism.

This line of thinking is backwards.

If one believes that the Evangelical practice of baby dedication is nothing but a dry baptism, then the conclusion that one ought to draw is that the practice of baby dedication, like infant baptism, is obviously unbiblical and ought to be abandoned.

For the record, I do believe that a baby dedication is essentially a dry baptism, and that's why I don't support the practice.

April 20, 2015

Jesus Is Not Your Boyfriend!

I absolutely detest the song How He Loves. It's one of those "Jesus is my boyfriend" songs that Evangelicals seem to love so much. It's crass. It's worldly. It has no place in the worship of the local church.

Over at Pulpit & Pen, contributor Seth Dunn critiques this song and the whole disgusting trend that it represents.

McMilan’s hit song, which has been covered by seven professional performing artists and countless praise bands, includes the erotic lyric, “Heaven meets Earth like a sloppy wet kiss, and my heart turns violently inside of my chest.” This is clearly a poetic allusion to making out. . . . McMilan’s song uses such imagery poetically to refer to the love of God, but it . . . is not an appropriate song for church. Yet it is. It is also blared across the airwaves by Christian radio stations. It’s simply profane. God is described as an overwhelming hurricane who bends an unwilling lover to His will. (This is not the type of irresistible grace studied at the seminary.) The singer of this song, in corporate worship, takes on the effeminate position of a girl who gives up on resistance and lets her romantic pursuer reach second base.

Read the rest here.

April 19, 2015

Another Critique of Capitalism Misses the Mark

The Imaginative Conservative has recently posted an excerpt from Russell Kirk's Prospects for Conservatives (read it here).  In it, he offers the following thoughts on capitalism:
The “capitalist” ideologues who proclaim that the Holy Market is the be-all and end-all are working their own destruction. As truly private property gives way to colossal mergers and combinations, the prediction of Marx is increasingly fulfilled: monopolies and oligopolies find few defenders in rough times, and are converted readily into agencies of the state.
Kirk is clearly confused. Once "private property gives way to colossal mergers and combinations" resulting in "monopolies and oligopolies" which are mere "agencies of the state" one is no longer talking about free market capitalism. At this point, the system would more accurately be called interventionism or economic fascism (though now commonly referred to as "crony capitalism").

Kirk then says, "The market does have its virtues—in moderation." Moderation, eh? How exactly will the markets will be moderated? Regulation would be more accurate because it is the state, of course, who will be doing the moderating. This results in the very sort of interventionist system (under the misnomer of "capitalism") that Kirk is critiquing.

April 09, 2015

More on Mission Drift at TGC

Over at Reformed Libertarian, Brandon Adams has posted his thoughts on The Gospel Coalition's regrettable decision to prioritize social justice issues over the gospel.

The church’s goal is not to create quiet, peaceful neighborhoods that are perishing. When we act in the name of Christ we are acting as representatives of his kingdom. As such, our goals, methods, and message must represent his kingdom. This is precisely where TGC runs into trouble.
Read the rest here.

April 06, 2015

Mission Drift at TGC?

It seems like Tim Keller and his social justice warriors are setting the agenda rather than the more conservative members.

Read and decide for yourself: Why Are Non-Christians TGC15 Panelists? 

Then go check out What Is the Mission of the Church? by DeYoung and Gilbert if you haven't already.

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