Friday, November 27, 2009

I will try to be brave!

Anyone who knows me or reads this blog already is very aware how much I love and promote Dr James White, a man of God whom I believe is at the very cutting edge of Christian Apologetics, and a man who God has used in my own understanding and appreciation of genuine Christianity. I love this man.

Now, having said that, the good Dr has just responded on his blog to certain comments made by Dr R Scott Clark regarding the whole matter of Infant Baptism. It is an interesting read.

Some of you may well know how I used to energetically and quite boldly defend the "Credo" position, and in fact use all the same arguments that Dr White and some other Reformed Baptists use in defence of that position. But, some of you know that I had a rather sudden change in my views, whilst actually in mid debate upon the subject, which resulted in me fully embracing the "Paedo" position. It was all a rather major shift in so many ways, and there is even a cost that can come with such a change.

I have wrote here all about how that change came about, but I have not really been anywhere as vociferous in defending my new views, not because I am not confident in them nor persuaded from Scripture of my position, but because I have had the luxury of being on both sides of the issue and hence have a very real appreciation and new found patience that I did not previously have with regards to those who held an opposite view.

I am so thankful that Dr White so often speaks warmly of those who hold my views, and am so appreciative of the fact that he does have genuine unity and fellowship with men who hold the "Paedo" position.

I cannot really comment on how Dr White may be reading Dr Clark, but I will say that perhaps Dr Clark does seem to suggest a few things that I know would rub any Baptist the wrong way.

I also think that Dr Clark has said too much in a few of those comments and would suggest he clarify some of his assertions, particularly the quotes Dr White makes comment upon.

But I would also like to say a few things about Dr White that I feel should be said. I am nowhere convinced that the "tradition" card nor the "inconsistent hermeneutic" card holds much water at all.

I will not take the time to demonstrate that here at this moment, but perhaps in another post.

I appreciate that Dr White really and truly makes the effort to be "consistent" and I really do appreciate his mindset upon that principal, given that he does bring an apologetic defence to so many differing views and such a wide range of errant theology.

For that, I take my hat off to the good Dr, but I do not think he is justified with his use of certain rhetoric when refuting the "Paedo" view.

On the emotional level, I know it really irks Reformed Baptists when some Reformed men will not even allow the name "Reformed" to be legitimately used, and I am very sympathetic to the Baptists in that regard, as I used to constantly get accused of that charge when I was a Reformed Baptist myself, but I have come to see, that this thing called "consistency" is even at the heart of that dispute which I am sure Dr White should be able to appreciate or at the very least discern!

I have said on record that Reformed Baptists are "Reformed" in their Soteriology, and for that we stand toe to toe, and that is the simple truth, and it is the highest and most precious unity that we must hold and continue to cultivate. However, to be "reformed" in the historical and Covenantal sense has a meaning and pedigree that no Reformed Baptist can avow, and that is just the way it is.

As a Reformed Baptist, I regularly defended my views against Paedobaptists, and even joined with them to refute Dispensationalism which I strongly oppose, and then one day, mid debate, I actually came to see that part of my hermeneutic, just part mind you, had more in common with Dispenationalism than reformed thought. It actually shocked me to tell you all the truth and I am more than happy to elaborate the point if anyone asks.

Ever since, I have been coming to see the richness in Covenant Theology, and yes, trying to facilitate this great principal of Semper Reformanda, "always reforming", and it is a day by day process.

Maybe if I have the time I would try to enlarge upon this important topic, and do so in a spirit of grace and charity, in the hopes of trying to bring about more unity if possible and if it please the Lord.



PuritanReformed said...

Here's to encourage you in threading where the giants are fighting it out =P. Seriously, IMHO both sides are talking past each other.

Mark Farnon (Tartanarmy) said...

I find this to be true in so many cases of this dispute, at least in the debates and material I have read.
Really comes down to the bigger issue of that term "world view", that being which hermeneutic takes in all of scripture and not merely an over realised eschatology, not to mention whether we see a unity in the Covenant of grace and not conflating the types and shadows of the Mosaic Covenant and making the New Covenant something “altogether” new etc......Sometimes the whole debate seems so simple in your head, but when it comes to fleshing out the whole matter, we really need patience and a willingness to really take a long hard look at our position, and to do so on many fronts.
For me, it was painful, and I needed the Lord to humble me for sure! And He did, but I do thank God for the patience of those who I opposed on this matter.

You know who you are.
Thanks again guys! (Mr McAtee and Mr Chambers the other Mark.)