Thursday, September 06, 2007

Debating Gene and Baptism!

Debating Gene and Baptism!
Author: tartanarmy (4:30 am)


Above, is a short clip from the Narrow Mind, and the sound is slightly lower than normal for some reason.

Anyway, recently Gene has debated Paul Manata on Baptism and there has been many comments about the debate on a few blogs.
I believe Paul clearly won the debate, but others will no doubt disagree!

Here are some links.

Original thread where I posted

Recent Puritanboard discussion here.

Original Puritanboard discussion

The above comments regarding something I had said were misrepresented by Gene and Jonathon, and that is ok. Such happens.
Gene goes to a passage in Hebrews in order to answer me, but I was not refering to the Mosiac Covenant.

Below is my fuller response.

Paul, they "are" hung up on both words and concepts (not so much Gene,(who has a logical mind when he concentrates!) but Jonathon seemed to "out-nuance" every reformed Covenant Theologian I have ever heard, except for many Dispensationalists), as I just listened to them discussing these matters on the latest show.

As Scripture reveals a series of covenantal relationships through redemptive history, we come to understand that the covenants made with Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and the New Covenant remain in perfect unity both in structure and theme. There is a structural unity that is perceived in these covenants as previous covenant administrations are built upon by later covenants, rather than replacing them.

I am sorry Gene if you thought I was being "sloppy" as you said on your show with Jonathon. And no, I did not miss your Genealogical presentation in your debate, and for Jonathon, your comments about Salutis Historia were not missed either in your comments with Gene about me. I am very careful to hold these distinctions in my theology, such as Pactum salutis, Historia salutis and the Ordo Salutis. These categories again, follow one from another in the unifying work of redemption by the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
I did not get Jonathon's comment about Historia Salutis with reference to any of my comments!

I assumed, (and that is a bad thing to do at times), that you were understanding what I was meaning regarding my usage of the terms "promise" and "seed" in the way I used it.

Not having ever embraced Dispensational thinking myself (and if my memory serves me right, you at one time did), I sometimes forget that others who have/had done so, who call themselves reformed, therefore it is easy to omit or not fully explain what I am meaning and therefore be misunderstood.

The other thing is, I am trying to keep matters as simple as possible, not wishing to bring in as Jonathon had said, "first level" fulfillment and all of that kind of talk etc which ends up looking like a cat chasing it's tail! No offence Jonathon, I appreciate your efforts brother.

Anyway to try and be clear, I was not in the first instance referring to the Mosaic Covenant, but rather the Covenant of grace and the Abrahamic Covenant, in that both promise and seed find their fuller fulfilment in the New Covenant. And I would think that no reformed believer would not see the relationship between the Mosaic and Covenant of works with the Covenant of grace fulfilled in Christ either!, but I digress.

I never stated that the Old Covenant/(s) are "identical" to the New Covenant, so to suggest such is false.

And please remember what it is I am arguing against with you guys, namely the nature of the New Covenant and why it is that certain principals have not been abrogated between the Covenants. Have you guys ever read say, "Christ of the Covenants" by O Palmer Roberstson?
Just wondering. If not, take the time to read it, for it is quite a good read!

Covenant theology has a unity between the Covenants and yet still holds and explains what the "better" and "new" aspects of the New Covenant are, and we do so without confusing/over articulating the Covenants that preceded.
Even by saying "preceded" one can be left with the idea that the New is altogether brand new, which of course it is not.

What I see you guys doing is simple. In your zeal to maintain a "regenerate only" New Covenant membership, there seems to be this "going back" with that presupposition, and then seeing "disunity" where possible in the Covenants, emphasising (confusing in my opinion) the shadows and typology aspects, but at the same time trying to hold the similarities, in order to come back out of the Old Testament intact with your "new" and "better" understanding of the New Covenant.
A kind of circularised argument.

If you start with the Bible, you go from Gen to Rev, from Old to New. There is a progression. There is a flow of thought. There is unity of thought.

Dispensationalists and NC Theology does not operate on that basis. It often thinks it does, but it does not.
It starts from the opposite direction of Biblical revelation, namely with the New Covenant, Jer 31 etc and then tends to go all over the map!
It argues in circles with pronouncements about types and shadows and Land promises etc etc, attempts to reconcile the Covenants using these distinctions, tiers, layers, levels and all sorts of confusing language (which will lose over 90% of listeners) then emerge with a doctrine of regenerate New Covenant membership intact.

The thing is, even when they emerge with this doctrine, they will have spent so much time agreeing with reformed theology and even admitting a future fulfillment aspect of the New Covenant itself! and still march on their merry way with all of this regenerate New Covenant theology as if forgetting what they had previously stated whilst discussing the unity of the Covenants. It is a thing to behold for sure!

But, as I have publicly stated a few times now, Gene will one day soon get it. He will. He is nearly getting it as I type this!

Blessings Brothers


PS.....Gene, as you so rightly asked Jonathon, that Abraham himself was seeing in his day, a land that was eternal and who's builder and maker is God, in what sense then is the New Covenant "new" and "better"? You are not suggesting that what Abraham had was "old" and "lesser" are you?

I simply ask this in order that you bring your understanding to see that even the New Covenant in the "historical" now/not yet paradigm cannot be made up of just the regenerate, otherwise the whole idea of "not yet" would be stripped of any meaning whatsoever.

We still operate under the now/not yet paradigm, and that is why we have a mixed membership in the New Testament Church. This is why we believers baptise our children. That is why Peter expressly states that the "promises" are for Jewish believers and their children, and then for all those Gentiles who are far off!

Here, you surprisingly ask what was promised to Esau?, as if that destroys the unity of the Covenants! Reformed theology does not separate the promises from the pactum salutis, historia salutis and the ordo salutis. There has always been the condition of faith and repentance, if that is what you are insinuating in some strange way by your mention of Essau!

Can't you see that you are again bringing in your "regenerate only" presupposition and hence begging the question?

Also, it is funny to me on another level, in which my stance at your forums in the past regarding the two wills of God and whom God desires to save, seems to go flying out the window at this point, and now you sound like the Hyper-Calvinist! I mention it because it made me grin and apply some salve to my pain on that subject from the past! If you do not get that, I am sure Tony will!

The New Testament writers did not have a reformed Baptist doctrine of New Covenant regenerate membership. They had a now/not yet community of believers and their children, and then the expansion of the Gentiles and their children, into the Church Visible/invisible (New Covenant-now and still not yet), until the end of time, when the complete fulfillment of the New Covenant shall eternally be ratified, hence Jeremiah's words are finally fulfilled, in that "all shall know me, and no longer teach each man to know the Lord, for all of them shall know me".
That is when Abraham's understanding of a place who's builder and maker is God shall be the Theocracy in the eternal rest of the Saints.

What is better and New in the New Covenant?
It is not that all in the present tense "now" are the regenerate believers, even though the present tense "elect" shall certainly persevere based upon all that you guys link to the perfection of Christ's mediation etc. Holding to a Covenant understanding that is reformed and not Credo only, does no damage to the work of Christ for example.
Often the argument from Baptists, seems to suggest that the mediation of Christ for His people is somehow undermined by a Paedo understanding, but it is not.
The New Covenant is the fulfillment of the one covenant demonstrated in its progressive stages through redemptive history.
God will be a God to His people, and this will never change. Saving these people (the elect) through Jesus Christ is the single unifying theme that transcends all the covenant expressions.

We can, for example, so stress pactum salutis that the decrees of God seem to swallow up history, including the work of Christ (historia salutis) and the work of the Spirit (ordo salutis). This overstressing of pactum salutis can have the effect of minimizing Christ's work for us and downplaying the need for vital, heart religion by the work of the Spirit.

Similarly, we can so stress the work of the Spirit in our lives (ordo salutis) that it detracts from the finished work of Christ (and our lives that are hidden with Christ in God) as well as the joy of the eternal decrees.

Finally, it is possible to focus almost exclusively on historia salutis, so as to minimize or eclipse not only the Father's electing love, but more particularly the present applicatory work of the Holy Spirit. Sadly, this has been done far too frequently.

"We must never imagine that the persons of the Holy Trinity are pitted against each other in their work. Rather, we must—with the Reformed faith—fully embrace the work of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit in our salvation. From the Father electing to the Son redeeming to the Spirit applying, our salvation, in every respect, is all of grace." (Alan D. Strange)

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