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#14117 Fri May 07, 2004 5:56 PM
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William,
I don't really know what you want me to say. Obviously, I don't see 'oikos' the way you do. If you have the book, read Chapter Six of Malone's 'The baptism of Disciples Alone.' Basically, I see no indication that infants are being brought into the New Covenant; indeed, this would go against Jer 31:31ff which very clearly says that everybody in the NC knows the Lord. Therefore it is simply not appropriate to baptize infants.

I think I have said elsewhere that my wife and I were baptized together. She was certainly not baptized on the basis of my faith. God forbid! Had my children been older and had they also confessed faith in Christ at that time, we could have had a family (oikos) baptism. If we'd had a cleaning lady, a gardener and a chauffeur, and they'd heard the Gospel and come to faith at the same time (Acts 16:32), it would have been even better. But what does this prove?

Blessings,
Steve


Itinerant Preacher & Bible Teacher in Merrie England.
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grace2U #14118 Fri May 07, 2004 6:45 PM
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The problem is that you haven't given any reason to see OIKOS as anything other than the definition given. Here it is, with a small section from it

OIKOS Formula

Quote
"The phrase 'he and his (whole) house' denotes the complete family; normally husband, wife and children. In no single case is the term 'house' restricted to the adult members of the house, though on the other hand children alone may be mentioned when the whole house is meant. Whilst slaves are very often not reckoned as part of the 'house,' the inclusion of the children is taken for granted. Indeed, the Old Testament repeatedly lays special emphasis on the very smallest being reckoned in. Since the primitive Church takes the phrase over as a firmly established biblical expression, the statement 'it includes small children as well as others' applies to its employment in the New Testament as well" (Jeremias, p. 24).
(emphasis mine)

Act 16:30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
Act 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
Act 16:32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.
Act 16:33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.
Act 16:34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

The passage does not give ages, and your example has only adults. Although I am not a language expert, I am unsure that believed must apply to everybody.


God bless,

william

grace2U #14119 Fri May 07, 2004 6:48 PM
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Basically, I see no indication that infants are being brought into the New Covenant;

So, no infants are saved?

and

Who is in the New Covenant, specifically?


God bless,

william

#14120 Fri May 07, 2004 7:48 PM
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Gerry Stated to Wes,

Quoting Berkhoff back to you with respect to the SUBJECT OF the Covenant of Grace:

The prevailing opinion in Reformed circles is that it is the elect sinner in Christ.

Gerry do you think you may have not given us the complete context of this quote in Part 2, The Doctrine of Man in Relation to God, section 3 of Man in the Covenant, page 273? Berkhof’s complete statement is more expressly stated as,

Quote
Berkhof States,

….Consequently, the question arises as to the extent of the limits of the covenant. Reformed theologians are not unanimous in answering this question. Some simply say that God made the covenant with the sinner, but this suggests no limitation whatsoever, and therefore does not satisfy. Others assert that He established it with Abraham and his seed, that is, his natural seed, but especially his spiritual descendants; or, put in more in a more general form, with believers and their seed. The great majority of them, however, maintain that He entered into covenant relationship with the elect or the elect sinner in Christ….But, now the question arises, What induced these theologians to speak of the covenant as made with the elect in spite of all the practical difficulties involved? ....While they understood that others have a place in the covenant in some sense of the word, they nevertheless felt that that it a was subordinate place, and that their relation to it was calculated to be subservient to the full realization of it in a life of friendship with God…..

Now we could go further with the quotes here, but IMHO enough has been shown that the context of your quote is lacking at best. I am sure this was probably a simple oversight on your part, but therein lies the rub. Your quotes are only partial ones and thus your reasoning is faulty. If you would have read a little further into, The Dual Nature of the Covenant (section 4) your assertions would have been disproved. Berkhof after making a defense of adult and infant covenantal relationships, states,

Quote
Berkhof States,

From the proceeding it follows that even unregenerate and unconverted person may be in the covenant. Ishmael and Esau were originally in the covenant, the wicked sons of Eli were covenant children, and the great majority of the Jews in the days of Jesus and the apostles belonged to the covenant people and shared in the covenant promises, though they did not follow the faith of their father Abraham. Hence the question arises, in what sense such persons may be regarded as being in the covenant. Dr. Kuyper says that they are not essential participants of the covenant, though they are really in it; and Dr Bavinck says that they are in foedere (in the covenant), but not de foedere (of the covenant). The following may be said regarding their position in the covenant:

  • a. They are in the covenant as far as their responsibility is concerned. Because they stand in the legal covenant relationship to God, they are duty bound to repent and believe….
  • b. They are in the covenant in the sense that they may lay claim to the promises which God gave when He established His covenant with believers and their seed. Paul even says of his wicked kinsmen, whose is the adoption, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises, Rom 9:4…
  • c. They are in the covenant in the sense that they are subject to the administration of the covenant. They are constantly admonished and exhorted to live according to the requirements of the covenant….
  • d. They are in the covenant also as far as the common covenant blessings are concerned. Though they do not experience the regenerating influence of the Holy Spirit, yet they are subject to certain special operations and influences of the Holy Spirit....
Please read Berkhof for the complete text.

Gerry, the Scripture severely severs your argument—Rom 9:1-5, etc.


Reformed and Always Reforming,
#14121 Fri May 07, 2004 7:55 PM
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Susan States,

Clearly, Ishmael's circumcision did not carry the significance of Abraham's circumcision. What counted was the circumcision of the heart.

So how did Abraham know the condition of a child’s heart at 8 days old? It is ludicrous to think that every child born to Abraham was in no way a member of the Abrahmaic covenant, prior to faith. If this is what we were to believe then God very simply would have told Abraham to circumcise only the ones that came to faith (latter in life), so they could be in the Abrahamic covenant! Indeed, that was not the command of Scripture (Gen 17). Indeed, the teaching of God’s Word directly contradicts what you would have us to believe. Paul says of his wicked kinsmen:

Quote
The Scripture States,

Rom 9:1-5 I AM telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh (lost Israelites), who are Israelite <span style="background-color:#FFFF00">to whom belongs </span>the adoption as sons and the glory and <span style="background-color:#FFFF00">the covenants</span> and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

See below for what the plural--<span style="background-color:#FFFF00">the covenants</span> means.

Quote
Susan States,

…. These Galatian verses also show that Ishmael is in a different covenant than Isaac. God shows grace only to His elect, so how could an unbeliever even be in that Covenant? Do you believe that Ishmael was in the Covenant of Grace?...
Paul explains Gen 17 to us. Though others use other brands of hermeneutics that embrace TWO or more covenants, there is only one covenant of grace, in essence identical in both dispensations, but revealed more and more fully in course of time (Gal 3:17-18). These two women, says Paul, are (that is, represent) two covenants (that is two distinct affirmations of God’s one and only covenant of grace, as revealed below). These two, but one were: the covenant with Abraham (Gal 3:8, 16-18) and the covenant of Sinai (Gal. 3:19, 24).

Quote
The Scripture States,

Gal 3:8, 17-18 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham (one Gospel), saying, “ALL THE NATIONS SHALL BE BLESSED IN YOU.” …What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, <span style="background-color:#FFFF00">does not invalidate</span> a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise.
<span style="background-color:#FFFF00">The Sinai Covenant did not invalidate Abrahamic Covenant</span>. See my answer to Gerry for more.


Reformed and Always Reforming,
J_Edwards #14122 Fri May 07, 2004 9:50 PM
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Hi Joe:

As usual, you have ignored the direct question and are engaging in verbal gymnastics to get around a simple answer.

To do so, you asked:

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Gerry do you think you may have not given us the complete context of this quote in Part 2,

No, Joe, I don't, because, once again, your own quote from Berkhoff proves the point I am making, which is that he, Berkhoff, can't reconcile a covenant of grace for the elect, and include the non-elect. It simply can't be done because it is either/or as I previously stated and you have chosen to ignore. Read your own quote again, part of which I supply;

Quote
While they understood that others have a place in the covenant in some sense of the word, they nevertheless felt that that it a was subordinate place, and that their relation to it was calculated to be subservient to the full realization of it in a life of friendship with God…..

Berkhoff must use terms like "some sense of the word" and "subservient to the full realization of it" to qualify his understanding of the covenant of Grace. Sorry, but this is the same as saying that such are not the elect, for there is no such thing as the elect who have less than "a full realization of it in a life of friendship with God".

To compound the error Berkhoff goes on to state:

Quote
From the proceeding it follows that even unregenerate and unconverted person may be in the covenant. Ishmael and Esau were originally in the covenant,

To which I reply, unregenerate and unconverted persons may be in A covenant, but not THE covenat of Grace, which flows from the covenant of redemption, the everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure. Ishamel and Esau may have been in some covenant but not the covenant of grace, or at least no covenant of grace I want any part of.

As I said before, this is a weak attempt to reconcile apparently divergent scriptures.

Why don't you just admit your error and get on with it instead of making statements like the following;

Quote
Gerry, the Scripture severely severs your argument

On the contrary, sir, scripture fully supports it for the postion I have taken requires no mental and verbal gymnastics, no double speak about the covenenant of grace "in some sense of the word". No, my postion, in keeping with the analogy of faith, reconciles all the scripture such that such qualifications and contradictions, which both you and Wes have refused to address directly, are eliminated.

Now, would you care to answer my question directly instead of providing more equivocation and qualification from Berkhoff? Or will you let the deafening silence be the answer?

In Him,

Gerry

J_Edwards #14123 Fri May 07, 2004 10:01 PM
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So how did Abraham know the condition of a child’s heart at 8 days old? It is ludicrous to think that every child born to Abraham was in no way a member of the Abrahmaic covenant, prior to faith.

Abraham did not have to know the condition of his child's heart in order to circumcise him. God told him to do it, so he did it. Circumcision told nothing necessarily regarding the person's faith. Only those with faith are in the Covenant of Grace, so not all those circumcised were in the Covenant of Grace. They were not true members of the covenant but only apparent members or members of the Covenant Community. The true sons who had faith were the heirs of the covenant promises. In contrast to his brother, Jacob inherited the promises and blessings of Abraham. The other physical children of Abraham are under the law and are lost.

Quote
Genesis 28:1Then Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and directed him, “You must not take a wife from the Canaanite women. 2 Arise, go to Paddan-aram to the house of Bethuel your mother's father, and take as your wife from there one of the daughters of Laban your mother's brother. 3 God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. 4 May he give the blessing of Abraham to you and to your offspring with you, that you may take possession of the land of your sojournings that God gave to Abraham!”

I was interested in your comments on this passage:

Quote
Genesis 17 v.19 Then God said: "No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him [not Ishmael] for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, [not Ishmael] whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year."

God establishes an everlasting covenant with Isaac, Not with Ishmael, how can you explain this if they are both in the same position covenantally?

And I will repeat these questions since you didn't answer them the first time.
[*]Do you believe that Ishmael was in the Covenant of Grace?

[*]God shows grace only to His elect, so how could an unbeliever even be in that Covenant?

[*] And even more importantly, when you baptize an infant, do you say he or she is "in the New Covenant" and "in Christ"?

#14124 Fri May 07, 2004 10:24 PM
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Gerry States,

Now, would you care to answer my question directly instead of providing more equivocation and qualification from Berkhoff? Or will you let the deafening silence be the answer?

Gerry, the Scripture is not silent. It has answered your questions already as I, and others, presented in several posts here. Thus, my direct answer will be that I will pray that, "the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints," (Eph 1:18).

#14125 Fri May 07, 2004 11:01 PM
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Regarding Gen 17:19-22, I see a continuity in the covenants as Paul explained in Galatians 3:17-18 and that I explained earlier to you here!

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Susan Says,

God establishes an everlasting covenant with Isaac, Not with Ishmael, how can you explain this if they are both in the same position covenantally?
Susan I NEVER said they were in the SAME POSITION in the SAME COVENANT, but ONLY in the SAME COVENANT. Please look at my post again!


Quote
Susan Says,

Do you believe that Ishmael was in the Covenant of Grace?
Yes, to a limited degree as already explained. Look at my post to Gerry.

Quote
Susan Says,

God shows grace only to His elect, so how could an unbeliever even be in that Covenant?
This is your faulty presupposition that God only shows grace to His elect. The Bible speaks on God revealing His grace to even the non-elect (not effectually of course, but none-the less His grace), as already demonstrated in several posts, including this one.

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Susan Says,

And even more importantly, when you baptize an infant, do you say he or she is "in the New Covenant" and "in Christ"?
Look at the PCA Book of Church Order and you will find the language "similar" to what I now use.


Reformed and Always Reforming,
J_Edwards #14126 Sat May 08, 2004 7:13 AM
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This is your faulty presupposition that God only shows grace to His elect.

No, that's hyper-Calvinism. Susan (and the rest of us credobaptists) are not hyper-Calvinists.


True godliness is a sincere feeling which loves God as Father as much as it fears and reverences Him as Lord, embraces His righteousness, and dreads offending Him worse than death~ Calvin
J_Edwards #14127 Sat May 08, 2004 8:34 AM
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Joe erroneously says:

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Thus, my direct answer will be that I will pray that, "the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints," (Eph 1:18).

That is another INDIRECT answer, for you have failed to reconcile or even address the statements you have both made and quoted that say the covenant of grace is both "inviolable" and violable, thus it is a clear falsehood.

And, for your information, "the eyes of my understanding have been enlightened" and I do "know what is the hope of His Calling" and most wonderfully, something of "the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints".

I just finished reading several of T. Goodwin's sermons on this very verse and find myself in complete agreement with his interpretation, both doctrinally and experientially, and thus, your evaluation, like others I have been a witness too, is lacking sorely in this important matter. Perhaps you would benefit from a reading of him?

In the meantime I leave you to your Covenant of Grace, "in some sense of the word", and hope your eternal salvation, on which it depends, is real, "in some sense of the word".

In Him,

Gerry

MarieP #14128 Sat May 08, 2004 8:43 AM
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No, that's hyper-Calvinism. Susan (and the rest of us credobaptists) are not hyper-Calvinists.

Precisely!!!


Thank you, Marie, for pointing that out, it was my thought exactly when I read the statement. God extends grace to all mankind, but saving grace, only to the elect. Phil Johnson has an article on this subject that has appeared on this site several times which lays out this postion quite clearly.

In Him,

Gerry

#14129 Sat May 08, 2004 9:28 AM
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Dear Gerry,

Wow!! A lot of discussion has transpired since I was online. I regret that I've not been available to reply to your message earlier. Yesterday was a very busy day for me which included a doctor's visit and a funeral. So now let me try to carry our discussion forward.

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Gerry writes:

Could you please answer the question from my prior post to you about the contradictory nature of the two statements. Simply quoting Berkhof's contradictory statements doesn't make them any less contradictory. Nor does assuming "I am having difficulty understanding the issue". What I am saying is this. I disagree with Berkhof’s interpretation.

Let me see if I understand why you think my position and Berkhof's are contradictory. Is it because in your view the covenant doesn't include any unbelievers? If this is true then I understand why it sounds contradictory to you because you view the covenant differently than I do. I see a broader view of covenant being taught in the Scriptures. Your description addresses only those who are the elect of God and denies any covenant which includes others even though it may be temporarily. Have I understood your view correctly and is that what you want me to address?


Wes


When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride. - Isaac Watts
#14130 Sat May 08, 2004 10:01 AM
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Hi William,
You seem to be very taken with Joachim Jeremias' book, but to put it mildly, I am not.

Fred Malone wrote:-
'...The real problem with the oikos formula is that itappeals to a cultural and socialogical concept not clearly specified in Scripture in order to justify infant baptism, while ignoring the immediate NT context that clearly rejects infant baptism,' These include:-

1. Joel's prophecy of the New Covenant repeated by Peter (Acts 2:21) that 'Whoever calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved.'
2. The testimony of Jeremiah and Hebrews that only those who know the Lord are in the New Covenant.

3. John the Baptist's practice of baptizing only the penitent.

3. Our Lord's Great Commission: 'Go therefore, and make disciples of all the nations baptizing them in the Name of the Father etc.' How easy it would have been for our Lord to have added 'and their children' at the appropriate spot. It would have ended all the controversy at a stroke. But He didn't say it, and it's not for us to write it in.

With regard to Acts 16 and the Philippian jailor, it is clear that the Gospel was preached to the whole household (v32). It was the middle of the night. How likely is it that he would have woken up his infant children so that they could listen to something they couldn't understand? It is clear therefore that there were no infants in the house and that all those who heard were converted. That is the natural reading of the text. But let's suppose that only the jailor was converted, and the rest of his oikos were not. Things might have gone something like this:-

Because the Jailor was an old soldier, he and his wife were worshippers of the god, Mithras. The wife was very attatched to Mithraism and didn't want to leave it, but after the jailor had slapped her about for a while and blackened both her eyes, she submitted to be baptized. Their 5 year-old son and 7 year-old daughter were quite happy to join Daddy's new religion, though they really couldn't make out the difference between Jesus and Mithras, and they didn't really care. The 15 year-old son had recently become a follower of Epicureanism, and despised all supernatural religion. He flatly refused to be baptized, but after a considerable struggle, Silas and the Jailor managed to hold him down while Paul poured the water over him. The two house-slaves, an elderly married couple, were devotees of the goddess, Cybele. However, when it was put to them that their choice was being baptized or being sold to work down the salt mines, they consented to baptism without argument, secretly determining to carry on with their Cybele-worship in private.

The Jailor's eldest child was their 18 year-old son. He was an ardent Stoic. He was horrified at the idea of being a 'bond servant of Jesus Christ.' He regarded baptism as a badge of servitude. Faced with his father's inflexible demand, he recalled the famous Stoic dictum, 'Quis mori dedicit, servire non dedicit' ('He who had learned to die has learned not to be a slave'). He went out of the house and stabbed himself to death.

This may not be wholly accurate, but if oikos baptisms really went on, then something similar must have taken place. Is it the sort of thing you would recommend today?

Every blessing,
Steve

Last edited by grace2U; Sat May 08, 2004 11:06 AM.
Wes #14131 Sat May 08, 2004 10:10 AM
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I see a broader view of covenant being taught in the Scriptures. Your description addresses only those who are the elect of God and denies any covenant which includes others even though it may be temporarily.
So if I am understanding you correctly, you are saying that unbelievers can actually be in the eternal covenant temporarily? <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" />

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