Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Response to John MacArthur on Infant Baptism

On today's program I discussed a John MacArthur message on the subject of baptism. In this lecture, MacArthur argues against infant baptism and baptismal regeneration. I demonstrate that MacArthur's arguments are historically and exegetically flawed. I mentioned a blog post on this subject. It can be found here. Thanks to Charles Wiese for a thoughtful post.

Here is the program.

22 comments:

Juan Carlos Torres said...

I love your podcast, Jordan.
I was a Calvinist for a long time. In time I became a Barthian. I'm learning a lot about Lutheran Theology through your blog and podcast. I am telling all my followers about it on twitter. Keep up the good work!

P.S. Could you address Open Theism at some point? Thanks.

Jordan Cooper said...

Thanks for spreading the word. I've read quite a bit of Barth and Brunner. I'm currently reading Torrance. I respect Barth for his Christocentrism, but where he falls short is in his views on the sacraments.

I certainly could do something on Open Theism, but I would have to go back and reread Pinock, Boyd, Sanders, et. al. It's been quite some time since I've studied Open Theism.

Juan Carlos Torres said...

Even though I'm a Barthian on soteriology, I do have a high view of the sacraments. Torrance is better on the latter.

val said...

A gift for you...
The true Gospel is now delivered to you from the wilderness Rev 12:6 as a witness Matt 24:14.
Our heavenly Father will NOT put any child of his into a hell fire no matter what their sins. Sin doesn't scare God! He created it Isa 45:7 to teach us all the knowledge of good and evil Gen 3:22 for our eternal placement in his coming kingdom. Throwing a child of his into a hell fire has never entered the heart or mind of God to ever do such a thing Jer7:31, Jer 19:5. Anyone preaching a hell fire to God's children has been deceived into teaching lies. The whole world has been believing in a god of hate murder and revenge (The devil Rev 12:9). The true word of God John 1:1 is now delivered Rev 12:5 here http://thegoodtale.wordpress.com/

God chose a woman Rev 12 to be the prophet like unto Moses Num 12:3 and Elijah Matt 17:3, Acts 3:21-23, Luke 1:17. Those professing themselves to be Christians would be wise to hear all Acts 3:23 BEFORE making any judgment. The proof of what I tell you is in the hearing.

Prove ALL things 1 Thes 5:21. Satan has deceived the whole world Rev 12:9 until now.

Nicholas said...

The above commenter, val, writes the following on his blog:

"The Bible that must be studied the hard way of here a little and there a little for solving the hidden pieces of line upon line to rightly separate the word of love is the King James Version, the other versions have been altered for the convenience of man. God began this end time country with the King James Bible plus he provided study aids to go with this Bible. Other versions are helpful to more easily understand by today's language but the hidden things cannot clearly be seen in the other versions until you have solved the puzzles first in the King James Version. Satan is the author of confusion(1 Cor 14:33). He inspired several different Bible versions all with the deceptive notion of making us think that the word of God would be easier for us to understand. But actually the other versions hide the way for us to see truth by blocking our ability to study precept on precept, line upon line, here a little and there a little as God instructed us in Isa 28:9-10." [End of Quote]

And here is the typical cultist spiel about Christmas: http://thegoodtale.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/what-does-god-think-about-christmas/

The internet is chock full of nutcases.

Nicholas said...

It appears our friend val believes that she is a prophetess fortold in Bible prophecy: http://thegoodtale.wordpress.com/evidence/

By her own admission, she comes from an Armstrongite cult: http://carm.org/ucog

Steve Martin said...

MacArthur is so FAR off base that it is, in my view, another religion altogether.

I sometimes listen to his radio program "sermons". Dreadful stuff. Absolutely dreadful. 99% law. Ripping any assurance away from the believer and sending him/her right back into themselves.

When one does not have a real presence in the sacraments, then that is what must inevitably happen.

Thanks.

Nicholas said...

It's amazing that a man supposedly as educated as MacArthur would try to claim that the Waldensians were "credobaptists."

inga said...

For the segment that you played of John MacArthur, it is amazing HOW much be brags and uses the terms "bible based beliefs" and "biblically taught" and HOW much time he spends elsewhere but the Bible (arguments from history, political science and sociology). Amazing.

Great treatment of the subject, thank you for your calm delivery and non-polemical apologetics. Always welcome how you balance and give a complete and fair views of all parties involved, Jordan

Thoughts said...

When I have listened to MacArthur I only hear law. Even when these pastors talk about gospel it feels like law. This probably sounds ridiculous to another reader who may not be Lutheran, it is like clanging symbols to me. MacArthurs talk reinforces my decision to limit non-Lutheran sermon listening.

David Gray said...

"This probably sounds ridiculous to another reader who may not be Lutheran, it is like clanging symbols to me."

No, I'm Reformed and it sounds that way to me.

Don Liebelt said...

When I hear MacArthur I find myself just getting angry. One, for the fact I was so deceived by this pseudo-intellectualism for years. Two, that he does this with such condescending arrogance, that is veiled by his aire of scholarship. Finally, and most importantly, because this does so much harm to the body of Christ, placing everyone back under the Tridentine anathema of works righteousness. And despite his Reformed vocabulary, unless he has repented, he has clearly formulated this in his early book, The Gospel According To Jesus...no works, no faith. And yet, his radio ministry is named Grace To You. If this is true biblical grace,, we would all be better of back under the Pope...at least we could do penance, pay the rest off in purgatory, and finally see heaven, instead of going straight to hell for that beer.

Christian said...

Don Liebelt wrote "The Gospel According To Jesus...no works, no faith. And yet, his radio ministry is named Grace To You. If this is true biblical grace,, we would all be better of back under the Pope" Sir have you not read that faith apart from works is dead? Luther would agree with the statement "we are saved by faith alone but the faith that saves is not alone" the evidence between true and false faith is that true faith is a living vibrate things that trasforms the true child of God into a slave of righteousness. yes still a sinner but also a slave to righteousness. I think often times we confuse two separate issues, those being, will a true christian fall short of the perfection of
Christ in this life? absolutely! can a true christian continually to delibrately continue that which he knows to be sin? absolutely not!

Headless Unicorn Guy said...

Nicholas, I pegged Val as a crazy about five words in.

Her "gift for you" was nothing more than rewordgitating chapter-and-verse zip codes like an automatic playback. No neurons engaged above the brainstem; duckspeak The Party Line, Comrade.

Headless Unicorn Guy said...

t's amazing that a man supposedly as educated as MacArthur would try to claim that the Waldensians were "credobaptists." -- Nicholas

Maybe it was because they weren't ROMISH(TM). Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend.

This reminds me of something I read at Internet Monk years ago: the Landmark Baptist idea of "The Trail of Blood", claiming direct succession of "The One True Church" (i.e. Landmark Baptists) through myriad flake cults of the past, all to avoid anything Romish. (And to claim endless persecution by Rome's False Church.) Except for this rather dubious trace, I see no difference between their church history and that of the Mormons or JWs.

J. Dean said...

A very well done broadcast and commentary on MacArthur, Jordan. One would think that, if infant baptism were such a majorly divisive issue in the early church, that there would have been a greater dispute than just Tertullian's remarks about the matter.

Bruce Zittlow said...

We know that Landmarkism is true, because Rome destroyed all the historical evidence for it.

Anonymous said...

My husband grew up in an ARBCA Baptist church (Reformed Baptist, 1689 London Confession), and I remember when we were talking through our theology when dating he found the Trail of Blood claims (in many of the Church History books in the church library) outrageous. As long as The Established Church condemned the heretics, the persecuted were true Christians, whether they even held to the Trinity or Christ's divinity (or humanity). He was really shocked. Then he found zero rigorous defense for credo baptism. So we became Lutheran.

However, to this day, I am thankful for the centrality of monergism in his parents' church, and more serious view of worship, even if the RPW is obnoxiously inconsistent. I grew up Pentecostal and probably would have gone to Rome without my husband's guidance (and the Holy Spirit). My MIL got worked up a few years ago by one of their pastors sermons claiming a list of priestly requirements in the OT (I forget which Minor Prophet) was a checklist to see if you are really a Christian. She is catechized well enough to know that Christ fulfilled those priestly duties. They still are at that church, though, probably because it's the best Reformation church in town (Lutheran, Reformed, etc.) My husband expects they will become Presbyterian eventually. We drive 1.5 hours to our faithful Lutheran congregation, but pray daily we can find one closer.

terriergal said...

The Schleiermacher bit was jaw dropping... seriously.

I wonder if I can go around quoting Rick Warren or Benny Hinn to discredit things more solid baptists may believe... you think they'd put up with that?

Joe said...

Here is in my opinion, great article summary on the debate between Jeremias (who Jordan references) and Aland in the late 50's, early 60's....about the prevalence and theology of infant baptism in the first 4 centuries.

http://gregscouch.homestead.com/files/Infantbap.html

The author, Greg Johnson, concludes thus:

"This paper has argued that infant baptism was the normative practice in the first four Christian centuries. Having revisited the debate between Joachim Jeremias and Kurt Aland in the modern era, this paper has shown key methodological errors in Aland's argument that bring his conclusions into question. In the earliest period for which extensive records survive, it is apparent that the church baptized the children of believers as well as believers themselves. For the earlier period for which direct evidence is rarely available, substantial indirect evidence leads one to the conclusion that, given the classical cultural assumption of family solidarity under its parental head, it is unlikely that baptism was denied to the infants of Christians. This ancient practice of infant baptism, however, was interpreted differently in East and West. An eastern tradition understood infant baptism as an ingrafting into Christ and all his benefits, minus forgiveness, which was unnecessary for sinless newborns, while a western tradition understood infants as carrying the guilt of original sin, baptism being understood almost exclusively as a cleansing from original guilt."

in Him,

Joe

Anonymous said...

John MacArthur is not a Calvinist, unless you consider TULIP to be the sum total of Calvinism. He disagrees with Calvin on ecclesiology (otherwise he'd be a Presbyterian), infant baptism (otherwise he'd support it), eschatology (otherwise he wouldn't touch dispensationalism with a 10-foot pole), creation (Calvin wasn't a literal six-day creationist, but MacArthur says all true Christians have to be), relations between church and state, etc.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, landmarkism is a pile of nonsense. If you want to "avoid anything Romish", then why not go all the way and become a Gnostic? "The Da Vinci Code" is pretty much just pop-Landmarkism.