Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Why men become paedobaptists...

A link on Conrad Mbewe's blog lead me to a fascinating interview with Paul Levy of the International Presbyterian Church in London.  I almost know Paul; I've met him, I know his brother Steve and I read a fair bit of the stuff Paul writes.

Now Paul grew up in a Baptist home in South Wales.  His Dad's a Baptist.  His brother's a Baptist.  Paul is a Presbyterian.  What went wrong?

This interview confirmed for me again something I've noticed before, and it's always true.  If you ask a man (or woman, though I don't think I ever have) why he (or she) became a Baptist, his answer will start something like this: 'The more I read the Bible...'  But if you ask a paedobaptist why he (she?)  became p/b, they will always start something like this: 'I read this book on the covenants...'  In Paul's case, it was Palmer Robertson's book, and then Schaeffer 'tipped him over'.

Nobody ever, it seems, becomes a paedobaptist through reading the Bible.  Interesting, that.

1 comment:

Peter Ratcliff said...

Excellent point but . . .. . not sure if it is worth commenting but here we go anyway, in good faith in Christian love, of course . . . .I was baptised as a baby and was not saved until I was 31. I was saved in a more or less baptistic church (Grace Community Church, Looe, Cornwall). As I began to read the Bible I of course saw baptism but I also saw no need to be (re) baptised and I found no cases of children being baptised later than parents etc. (Re)baptism was suggested to me by the Pastor but I told him I was quite thankful enough that my original baptism that merely symbolised salvation had now become real to me. I guess as such a wretched sinner I saw more of God's wonder (sovereign grace) in saving me and so I was a Calvinist right from the start of my Christian life before I knew what such a thing was. I was quite happy that I had been baptised rather than chosen it. After all, He had chosen me, not me Him. The reality of saving grace was so great that I did not need to add to it by a mere sign that I had already, in God's providence, received. Wisely the Pastor only suggested it once! I believe that many now who are persuaded to be (re) baptised do so because of peer pressure and wanting to "do" something" to be accepted by others, or merely to gain church membership, not because they had proved it in the Bible.

As a last attempt to save the paodobaptist skin, I'd just say that we know full well that on hard subjects there is such a thing as theology in which we derive truth from the whole Bible rather than by mere proof-texting! Isn't that why we are Calvinists rather than Arminians who endlesslely quote "all" and "whosoever". Isn't that why we are not Seventh Day Adventists and their apparently biblical Sabbath? Isn't that why we are not Roman Catholics with their "This is my body"?

But what is personal experience or debate in the end. For all of us it is indeed only the Bible to prove it, even if we have been helped by other godly men, who in their fallible way were moved by the Holy Ghost.

A more serious issue is for mature Christians, especially pastors, switching sides. These men are the real heroes in either direction!
It is tragic that conviction on this (relatively minor) matter is so costly to pastors who are forced to leave their charges because they have changed their view on baptism. They take up one of a million heresies and all is well but woe betide the man who changes his view on baptism!

But thanks be to God of whom we can say, "But he giveth more grace" James 4:6