The Covenant of Grace and Infant Baptism
Six-Part Teaching Series
For the first twelve years after conversion, I held to “believers only baptism.” That is, I believed that proper and valid baptism required a credible profession of faith in the gospel. For this reason, I was re-baptized after conversion at the age of 23 (I was originally baptized as an infant). During these twelve years, I was a convinced, ardent Baptist, and I found the Presbyterian position on infant baptism to be confusing at best.
Understanding hermeneutics (i.e., the rules for properly interpreting Scripture), embracing Covenant Theology, and seeing the organic unity of the Scriptures led me to embrace the beauty and Biblical fidelity of covenantal infant baptism. After over a decade, I realized that my entire approach to the Scriptures with regard to baptism was wrong. It occurred to me that a complete doctrinal understanding of baptism cannot be properly formulated by simply compiling all of the verses containing a form of the word “baptism.”
The teaching series below represents what I have learned about how to approach the question of whether it is biblical to baptize the infant children of believers. My prayer is that it will provide clarity for those who do not yet see the biblical faithfulness and beauty of covenantal infant baptism, encourage those who do, and be a blessing to all. Please feel free to contact me with questions.
View the full outline here, or view the various sections of the outline which correspond to each part of the teaching series below.
|Part||Outline / Audio||Summary|
|Topics include: (1) The key components of the Covenant of Grace, including its meaning and duration, its covenant administrations, and its visible and invisible aspects; (2) Infant baptism summarized, including one summary from the perspective of the spiritual nature of the Abrahamic Covenant and one summary from the perspective of the visible church|
|Topics include: (1) Explicit baptism texts, most of which specifically require belief in the gospel; (2) The nature of the New Covenant|
|Topic: Discipleship and baptism. Subtopics include: (1) Discipleship consists of two connected components: baptism and teaching, and Christians treat their infants as disciples; (2) Water baptism is applied to the visible, not the invisible church; (3) Those baptized as disciples are either true, false, or future converts (i.e., professing believers and their children)|
|Topic: The status of children in the New Covenant: Subtopics include: (1) The real question at hand: Should infants be considered as part of the visible church in the New Covenant era; (2) Clear New Testament statements regarding infant membership in the visible church|
|Topic: The sign of the covenant applied to infants. Subtopics include: (1) Membership in the Abrahamic and New covenants, including the inclusion of the children of believers in the visible covenant community; (2) The sign of the Abrahamic and New Covenants, including the common identity, purpose, recipients, and signification of circumcision and baptism|
|Topic: Summary and conclusion. This part contains a high-level review of the contents of parts 1-5 as well as a final conclusion. It may also serve one well to use it as a brief overview to the topic and outline. In this sense, it may be helpful to listen to this audio before listening to the main content of the teaching series (i.e., parts 1-5).|
|Q&A||Handout / Audio||Question Addressed|
|Why do those who hold to covenantal infant baptism go beyond the many clear, explicit baptism texts of the New Testament?|
|What do we learn from the baptism of Noah?|
|How should we understand the language of 1 Corinthians 7:14?|
|How much continuity and discontinuity do we find between the Old and New Testament with regard to baptism?|