Friday, November 29, 2013

Book Review: A Traitor Within

On the Puritan Board Forum, Pastor Damon Rambo of First Baptist Church in Markham, Texas, offered free electronic versions to anyone who would read his new book A Traitor Within: How our Feeling Driven Minds are Undermining Our Purpose (And What We Can Do to Stop It) and review it on their blog.  I offered to do a review, and Pastor Rambo sent out his book on Monday, November 25, 2013.

The foiling began from the outset; in the first five words of A Traitor Within ("If you are a guy"), Pastor Ramon excludes half of his readers.  The first paragraph and first two sentences of the second paragraph are trite, and I found that they did not really encourage me to continue reading his book.

The thesis of A Traitor Within is clearly stated in the introduction:  "This book is about the feeling driven tendencies that have captured western society, me included, and in turn infiltrated the mainstream, traditional church."  However, this statement is vague and cannot be proven because of the subjective nature of feelings, which is why Pastor Rambo ends his introduction with the stress that this book is his answer; implying that it may or may not be my answer, and in my mind begs the question of why I should continue reading his book.

In the second paragraph of the introduction, Pastor Rambo implies that he is talking to true Christians and states that the traitor within leads us astray.  I agree; even as Christians we still struggle with a sin nature, and we do sin.  However, he goes on to identify the traitor as "our postmodern, politically correct, feeling driven minds."  From thefreedictionary.com:  Postmodern is characteristic of a school of thought that rejects the dogma and practices of any form of modernism; politically correct is demonstrating progressive ideals by avoiding vocabulary that is offensive; and feeling is having the ability to think or act emotionally.  Even though these three adjectives are very subjective, they are amoral in and of themselves.  It is our sin nature that corrupts them through our mental and physical actions.

In the introduction, Paster Rambo states that "feelings are good" and "God designed us to be feeling creatures."  Where is the biblical support for this?  The ESV (the cited source for his book) does not use the word 'feeling' or 'feelings'; the KJV and NASB use the word 'feeling' twice (and not in the way he stated), but never the word 'feelings'.  The author seems to equivocate the term 'feeling(s)' with our inherent sinful nature.  He says that we "seek after feelings that are pleasurable at the expense of doing the right thing" and claims that this is "why men cheat on their spouses and workers steal from their employers"  This terminology downplays the idea that Christians struggle with sin, not just the feeling of sin or "sinful tendency".  He goes on to say that he is being tempted to "seek pleasure", he is "pulled by various feelings", and he is being led "to do things that I should not do"; these phrases are just a soft sell for sin in his life.  Equivocating on the biblical word 'sin' is the politically correct thing to do...

The author cites 2 Timothy 3:4 as evidence that people will be lovers of pleasure in the last days.  In context, the men referred to in verses 2 through 5 are not true believers, but false believers.  Therefore, this verse cannot be applied to support the claim that believers have become pleasure-seekers rather than end-seekers.

I think that part of the problem may be the unclear definition of Christian in A Traitor Within.  Pastor Rambo definitely divides the sheep and the goats when speaking of the believer and the heretic, but it seems that he is not clear as to whether the "Christian" he is talking about is truly regenerated or just a cultural Christian.  I agree that there are many purpose-driven churches that rely on emotion to manipulate and deceive their members and the members of those churches are led by their feelings.  However, Pastor Rambo self-identifies with the feeling-driven group in his book; therefore, the purpose-driven group must be excluded in his assessment.

Mr. Rambo pastors a Southern Baptist Church with a high view of the sovereignty of God.  He states that his book is not directed toward emergent or mystical churches, but then he talks about churches that have "embraced feelings and placed them alongside the Bible as a director of action and determiner of truth".  What reformed church, or even traditional church for that matter, is exalting feelings in this way?  Maybe individually, feelings have become a biblical hermeneutic, but it's not an accepted hermeneutical principle, and I would say that this subjective practice is promoted by the prevalence of relativism in our culture, and not because feelings are being exalted.

After a thorough look at the introduction, I quickly read through the entire book just in case my issues were clarified, but that did not happen.  Pastor Rambo's personal anecdotes and hasty generalizations are not founded upon fact, but conjecture; there's no citing of surveys, polls, research, etc.  In addition, saying that the Bible rejects a postmodern outlook is anachronistic.  The lack of clarity of who he is talking to (it appears to be the evangelical church as a whole--regenerated and unregenerated), prohibits the reader from agreeing with the problem and applying the biblical solutions he provides.

Pastor Rambo rightly identifies that the chief end of man is to glorify God.  I think it's commendable that he referenced the Shorter Westminster Catechism, but the evangelical church will not recognize that work, nor give it any credence due to their unfamiliarity.  The logical flow of how a postmodern, politically correct mindset thwarts the purpose of a believer to glorify God is missing from this book.   The current cultural acceptance of abortion and homosexuality does not prove that true Christians have feeling driven minds.  Some believers do not have a clear understanding of the Bible; therefore, they need pastors and elders who can rightly divide the word of God every Lord's Day.  He also mentions the importance of the gospel, but fails to explicitly express the gospel, which assumes that he is writing to regenerated Christians (again, it is difficult to determine the audience of the book).  

The solution to the thesis is to "be purposeful every second of every day in our rejection of postmodern thought and politically correct language" by properly reading & studying the Bible.  A true Christian is a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), who is transformed by the renewing of his mind (Rom. 12:2).  Applying proper hermeneutical principles is part of the discipleship process, which I agree is lacking in many churches, not because they are postmodern, but because they are unregenerate and/or deceived.  This problem has been around since the serpent deceived Eve in the garden.  Paul tells us that they have itching ears, but they cannot endure sound doctrine (2 Tim. 4:3).

To combat the problem of feeling driven minds by proper Bible study, Pastor Rambo states that "we also need to understand the languages (Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic) in which the Bible was originally written."  Requiring the understanding of Greek, Hebrew, & Aramaic in order to truly understand the Bible puts an unbiblical stumbling block in front of the believer much like the Roman Catholic Church prior to the Reformation.  He also exhorts pastors to "do a sermon series on the dangers of postmodernism, political correctness, and the feeling driven culture."  A sermon series focused on the dangers of the world's philosophy is not what the church needs; Pastors should focus on the Lord Jesus Christ as found in the Bible because "the promise of Christ, and salvation by Him, is revealed only by the Word of God" (London Baptist Confession of Faith, Chap. 20, paragraph 2).

In the introduction the author describes the inherent sin nature as a set of feelings, but fails to follow-up with a clear gospel presentation as a solution to that sin nature.  He proposes that both saved and unsaved people can have a postmodern, politically correct worldview.  If the person is saved, he needs to be sanctified by God's word, and if he is not saved, then he needs to hear the preaching of God's word.  Either way, the legalism that is presented in A Traitor Within lacks God's grace and will not produce the result that Pastor Rambo is hoping for.

In summary, preaching the cross to them that perish is foolishness; but to us who are saved it is the power of God (1 Cor. 1:18).  No amount of self-imposed purposeful thinking to counteract worldly thoughts will change anyone.  I think A.W. Pink sums it up in his book, The Doctrine of Sanctification:  "...if your heart is still unsanctified, you are still unsaved; and if you pant not after personal holiness then you are without any real desire for God's salvation."  

I don't agree with the premise or conclusion of A Traitor Within; therefore, I cannot recommend this book.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Baptist Distinctives (The Conclusion)

After reading Pascal Denault's The Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology:  A Comparison Between 17th Century Particular Baptist and Paedobaptist Federalism, I decided to collect my thoughts and make some chapter-by-chapter observations.  You can find my post on the Introduction here, Chapter 1 here, Chapter 2 here, Chapter 3 here, and Chapter 4 here.  For a general overview of the covenants found in the Bible, see my post on Redemptive History here.  Now let's look at the last chapter titled 'Conclusion'.

The fundamental distinction between Baptist and Presbyterian federalism is determined by covenant theology.  Mr. Denault argues that Presbyterian beliefs were artificially constructed to justify their tradition of paeodobaptism.  In exposing Presbyterian faults, Baptists embraced reformed theology and harmonized credobaptism with the doctrines of the grace of God.

If this "debate" was in full-swing in the 17th century, why are Baptist rediscovering their reformed heritage today?  Mr. Denault answers:  "The Baptist theology was relatively well preserved until the twentieth century where many Baptist churches slid into Arminianism and Dispensationalism."  Like Mr. Denault, I hope to clarify my own understanding of covenant theology, and my prayer is that this blog series has helped you do the same.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Kingdom of God Explained

I'm participating in a free audit of the Baptist Covenant Theology course at the Founders Study Center.  In Session 9, Dr. Fred Malone lectures on The Spiritual Nature of the Kingdom of God.  Here are my notes from that session (Dr. Malone's explanation supports my understanding of the definition of New Covenant members found in my post here).

Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom. The kingdom of God is made up of those who are born from above by the Holy Spirit.  One enters the kingdom of God when the heart has been opened to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and comes to Him in submission as King.  Christians are citizens of the kingdom of God.

Jesus said that (1) His kingdom is not of this world, (2) the kingdom of God has come, (3) the kingdom of God is within you, and (4) the kingdom of God is made up of those who have entered into it by the new birth.  It is equivalent to the church invisible; the church made up of the regenerate of all ages.

The kingdom of God forms the local church, but the visible church is not the kingdom of God.  The church is only an outpost and a visible manifestation of the kingdom of God.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Baptist Distinctives (Chapter 4)

After reading Pascal Denault's The Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology:  A Comparison Between 17th Century Particular Baptist and Paedobaptist Federalism, I decided to collect my thoughts and make some chapter-by-chapter observations.  You can find my post on the Introduction here, Chapter 1 here, Chapter 2 here, and Chapter 3 here.  For a general overview of the covenants found in the Bible, see my post on Redemptive History here.  Now let's look at Chapter 4 called 'The New Covenant'.

Jeremiah 31:31-32 depicts two distinct covenants and describes the unconditional nature of the New Covenant (emphasis mine):

"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, said the Lord:"

It's important to note that the New Covenant is unconditional for all of its members, but it was conditional for its Mediator, Christ Jesus, who kept all of the law and is the perfect sacrifice for God's elect.

An obvious characteristic of the New Covenant is that it is new.  The Baptists agree that it is new because of its unconditional nature and the fact that its members participate in the substance (the salvation in Jesus Christ) of the Covenant of Grace.  However, as we saw in Chapter 1 on 'The Covenant of Works', Presbyterians believe that the New Covenant is a new administration of the Covenant of Grace and not a substantially different covenant.  They believe that the New Covenant, like the Old Covenant, includes regenerate and unregenerate members; therefore, members should baptize all of their infants under the New Covenant just like members should circumcise their male infants under the Old Covenant.

Pascal Denault writes:  "The Scriptures declare that the substance of the New Covenant can be summarized in three blessings:  the Law written on the heart (regeneration), the personal and saving knowledge of God, and the forgiveness of sins which constitute the basis of the other two blessings and of the whole New Covenant."

***

As I read this chapter, I struggled with Mr. Denault's statement on pages 152-153:  "The Scriptures do not provide any possibilities of being visibly in the New Covenant without participating effectively in its substance."  The parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13:24-30 immediately came to mind along with John's statement that 'they left us because they were not of us' in 1 John 2:19.  I had difficulty reconciling his statement to God's word.  The dichotomy of the visible church on earth and the invisible Church made up of true Christians loomed large in my thoughts, so I decided to dig further.  In Webster's 1828 dictionary, substance is defined as the essential part, the main or material part.  The key to understanding Mr. Denault's sentence rests in his short, but profound statement that the substance of the New Covenant is salvation in Jesus Christ.  Therefore, attendance and/or membership in a church does not guarantee or imply membership in the New Covenant.  A member of the New Covenant has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit to faith in Jesus Christ and repentance of sins.  Conversely, Presbyterians believe that their baptized infants are not saved by baptism, but the infants are members of the New Covenant; therefore, the covenant is mixed in nature.  I do not believe that the Bible supports this view.

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast," (Eph. 2:8-9)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

How to Read Your Bible

I'm reading Growing in the Spirit: The Assurance of Our Salvation by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.  It is a study of Jesus' prayer for His own from John 17:17-24.

The life of faith involves constant application of the truth of God's word.  Daily Bible reading facilitates this sanctification process in a Christian's life.  However, it's important to keep the right mindset as you read God's word and not just view it as something to check off of a to-do list.  Dr. Lloyd-Jones cautions against this and sets Bible reading back into its proper place:

"But they [Christians] seem to read the Bible as a good bit of discipline, as the sort of thing a Christian is expected to do.  That is not the way of reading the Bible that I mean here.  I am advocating that I should read my Bible daily not because I believe it is a good thing for me to read the word every day, not because I think it is going to do some general good, not because it is a good thing to be familiar with the word of God—no—I must learn to read the word of God in order to look for the doctrines that are in it.  I must search for doctrines which I can apply to myself, I must be looking for particular teachings.  My reading of the Bible must not be general, but very specific.

It is possible to be very familiar with the letter of the Scripture and yet not to know its doctrines; indeed, there are many who are familiar with the words of the Scriptures who are not familiar with the word of God.  You can know your Bible in a mechanical sense without ever having come face to face with its doctrines.  And my whole understanding of John 17:17 leads me to say that all that is useless.  In other words, if I do not read my Bible in such a way as to come to a deeper knowledge of the greatness and holiness of God, there is something wrong in my reading, and the same is true if my reading of the Bible does not humble me, or bend me to my knees.  In other words, my attitude towards Scripture reading must not be, 'I have a certain amount of time before I go to work,' or, 'I read my daily portion if I can’—that is not the way to read the Scriptures.  We must be very careful not to become slaves to the daily portion.  We must be searching for the doctrines not merely that we may know the contents of particular books of the Bible, but also that its spiritual message may come out to us.  We must see it and know it, and we must daily remind ourselves of it."

Convicting, isn't it?

"Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth," (John 17:17)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Baptist Distinctives (Chapter 3)

After reading Pascal Denault's The Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology:  A Comparison Between 17th Century Particular Baptist and Paedobaptist Federalism, I decided to collect my thoughts and make some chapter-by-chapter observations.  You can find my post on the Introduction here, Chapter 1 here, and Chapter 2 here.  For a general overview of the covenants found in the Bible, see my post on Redemptive History here.  Now let's look at Chapter 3 called 'The Old Covenant'.

In order to reconcile the view that the Old Testament is an administration of the Covenant of Grace, Presbyterianism holds that either (1) the Mosaic Covenant is an unconditional covenant by explaining that the conditions are the effect and not the condition of the promises or (2) the Abrahamic Covenant is isolated from the Mosaic Covenant which preserves the notion that the Covenant of Grace is mixed in nature and includes the natural posterity of its members.  Baptists contend that the Old Covenant is not the Covenant of Grace, but a conditional covenant of works that gives Christ a covenantal frame to bring about redemption. 

The Old Covenant covers the period from the Fall to the establishment of the New Covenant; it reaffirmed the Covenant of Works (but it was not the Covenant of Works) by demanding perfect obedience to the Law of God based on a sacrificial system for the redemption of sinners.  The sacrifices of the Old Covenant were temporary and a type (or foreshadow) of the work Jesus Christ would accomplish on the cross.  Christ was born under this law; He fulfilled the law by His obedience and endured the curse of the law by His death.

Blessings under the Old Covenant were earthly, while the blessings under the New Covenant are heavenly (or spiritual).  The goal of the Old Covenant was to preserve Abraham's lineage until the coming of Christ, which also preserved the promise of the Covenant of Grace.

Pascal Denault concludes:
"Therefore, the Old Covenant was, for the people of Israel, a figurative covenant, earthly and conditional, that had to lead them to Christ and not the Covenant of Works as such.  The Old Covenant, while being different from the Covenant of Works, reaffirmed it, not so that Israel would look for life by this means, but so that Christ would accomplish it.  The Old Covenant was, therefore, not only necessary to lead to Christ but it was necessary so that the later could accomplish salvation for God's Israel."

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Baptist Distinctives (Chapter 2)

After reading Pascal Denault's The Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology:  A Comparison Between 17th Century Particular Baptist and Paedobaptist Federalism, I decided to collect my thoughts and make some chapter-by-chapter observations.  You can find my post on the Introduction here and Chapter 1 here.  For a general overview of the covenants found in the Bible, see my post on Redemptive History here.  Now let's look at Chapter 2 called 'The Covenant of Grace'.

I can do no better than quote Mr. Denault at length regarding the Presbyterian view of the Covenant of Grace:

"...all paedobaptists considered that the children of believers had God as their God, at least in an external fashion, under the administration of the Covenant of Grace...Because no man has been saved other than through the grace of God since the fall, the reformed considered that there had only one Covenant of Grace in the whole history of redemption.  The Covenant of Grace was the substance by which seventeenth-century theologians united the Bible from whence came their paradigm:  one covenant under several administrations.  In establishing a distinction between the internal substance and the external administration of the Covenant of Grace, the Presbyterians managed to maintain the unity of this covenant while admitting a certain disparity between the different administrations.  What is more, by separating the substance and administration, the paedobaptists introduced a notion of mixed nature with the Covenant of Grace by which they explained that "unconverted" people could be in the covenant without taking part in its substance while being hermetically contained in its administration.  Finally, in considering the Old and New Covenants simply as administrations of the same covenant by insisting on the identity of their substance, the paedobaptists perpetuated a principle given to Abraham:  "I will be your God and the God of your posterity."  This principle allowed the paedobaptists to consider their children as members of the Covenant of Grace and, by making the distinction between the substance and administration, they justified a legitimate place for them:  that of the unregenerate who participate nevertheless in the Covenant of Grace and who receive the seal:  formerly circumcision now baptism.

...Presbyterian federalism extended the reach of the death of Christ to all the members of the covenant, but limited it salvific efficacy to the elect.  Consequently, Presbyterian federalism was comparable to Arminianism, but limited to the Covenant of Grace."

The 1689 federalism can be summarized as one covenant revealed progressively and concluded formally under the New Covenant:

"Benjamin Keach, one of the main Baptist theologians of the second half of the seventeenth century, ratifies this view of the Covenant of Grace when he describes its four sequences:  1. It was first decreed in past eternity, 2. It was secondly revealed to man after the Fall of Adam and Eve, 3. It was executed and confirmed by Christ in his death and resurrection, and 4. It become effective for its members when they are joined to Christ through faith.

...Baptists considered that no other covenant, besides the New Covenant, was the Covenant of Grace.  They still recognized that the Covenant of Grace had been revealed under all the covenants since the fall, but distinguished between the actual substance of these covenants and the Covenant of Grace itself."


"And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.  For if the inheritance be of the law, it is not more of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise," (Gal. 3:17-18).

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Closer Look at Believer's Baptism

I'm participating in a free audit of the Baptist Covenant Theology course at the Founders Study Center.  In Session 2, Dr. Fred Malone lectures on Baptism - Part I.  He looks at the mode, subject, and meaning of baptism as found in the Bible.

I. The Mode of Baptism

To determine the proper mode of baptism, you need to look at the grammar of the New Testament.  The Greek word baptizo is always used in a passive voice.  Look at Luke 3:21 where John the Baptist is baptizing in the Jordan River.

"Jesus also being baptized..." (Which translation makes sense in the passive?)
Jesus also being poured...
Jesus also being sprinkled...
Jesus also being dipped...

Therefore, the context and use of the grammar clarifies and corroborates the lexical meaning of baptizo: to dip or to immerse; the passive use indicates the mode.


II. The Subject of Baptism

In Matt. 28:19, we are commanded to go to all nations and teach them to observe all things that Christ has commanded; therefore, disciples are the ones being baptized.  The first application of the Great Commission is in Acts 2.  The multitude came from all nations who repented first and then were baptized.  Baptism is performed upon confession of faith before the world.

III. The Meaning of Baptism

Baptism is to be remembered by every believer.  It is a sign of coming to God to repent of a sin-ruled, self-ruled life; it is the evidence of a heart that has found a Savior.  Baptism symbolizes cleansing, (Acts 22:16). We are promised that all who have been baptized into Christ have been baptized into the Holy Spirit; He is in us and with us, (Rom. 6:3-8).

If the right administration of the sacraments is one of the informing principles of a true gospel church, then we must administer the sacraments as we understand the scripture to teach them; therefore, follow the Regulative Principle of Worship and do not compromise.  Individuals who have been baptized as infants, who were baptized by pouring or sprinkling, or who were baptized without being truly saved, need to pray and talk to their pastor.

In believer's (or disciple's) baptism, the person being baptized gives up his life to walk in newness of life unto God and in Christ.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Is Refusing Paedobaptism a Sin?

Reformed Baptist congregations (those that are Calvinistic in soteriology and subscribe to the London Baptist Confession of Faith) are sometimes difficult to find depending on where you live in the U.S. and how far you want to drive each Sunday.  Therefore, some reformed Baptist worship in reformed Presbyterian churches and vice versa.  Recently, a question was posed the Puritan Board Forum from a credobaptist about parents who refuse to baptize their infants in paedobaptist congregations.
The original question (edited for length) posted on 11/03/2013 by Sherwin L.:
"...Do reformed Presbyterian denominations permit membership for those parents who deny infant baptism? I found an OPC [Orthodox Presbyterian Church] article on this matter:
...It is this estimate of baptism that underlies the statement of our subordinate standards when the Confession says that it is "a great sin to contemn or neglect this ordinance" (XXVIII, v) and the Directory for Worship that the children of the faithful "are holy in Christ, and as members of his church ought to be baptized" (IV, B, 4). It cannot be denied that the person refusing baptism for his children is delinquent in doctrine...
I understand the covenant promises argument of the paedobaptist view, but given that there are wonderful reformed thinkers on both sides of the issue, I am very surprised that the OPC would say that parents who deny their infants baptism are committing "a great sin" and that they are "delinquent in doctrine." Does anyone from the OPC want to shed some light on this issue? Is there no room for strict credobaptist parents in a reformed Presbyterian congregation?"
Here are two (of many) responses:

Response by Josh (Administrator):
"Well, it is not as if we confess that applying the sign of the NT Administration of the Covenant of Grace to children of professing believers is something we just dreamt up for our fancies. Rather, we believe such is by divine command; ergo, those failing properly and fully to execute -according to place and station- this sacrament (which includes, not only professing believer's baptism of new converts, but also the baptism of their seed) should be called sin. The Lord calls professing Christians His people, and He calls their children, His children. We believe it is a serious matter to neglect that which we believe God has commanded in His Word pertaining to His children. We would permit those who do not subscribe to infant baptism to join the church, I believe, but whether they agree or not, they *must* submit their children for baptism, because it's a Confessional matter, and we believe by divine mandate."

Response by Bill the Baptist:
"As others have pointed out, if you believe that this is a mandate from God, than you must equally believe that it is a sin to disobey it. The same is true of Baptist churches, while we may not refer to infant baptism as a "great sin", I am not aware of a single Baptist church that would allow someone into membership who had not been baptized by immersion upon a profession of faith."

The unspoken prerequisite among some reformed Presbyterians is that in order to be truly reformed, you must practice paedobaptism; therefore, by definition, Baptists cannot be reformed.  Reformed Baptists are in "great sin" because they do not practice the "divine command", as Josh calls it, of paedobaptism.  While reformed Baptists believe that paedobaptism is not a good and necessary inference from the Bible, they would not call it a "great sin", as Bill the Baptist points out, and they would still hold reformed Presbyterians as brothers in Christ; although I'm not so sure that the feeling is mutual.

First, let's establish the fact that baptism is part of the Great Commission in Matt. 28:19, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."  However, there is no explicit command to baptize infants.  In fact, there's no indication of the age of the individual to be baptized, so for the ecclesiastical polity of the Presbyterian church to classify non-paedobaptism as great sin is far-reaching at best.  As stated above, baptism is for all nations; in addition, baptism is for men and women, but it is preceded by belief:  "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women," (Acts 8:12).  Presbyterians will cite the verses that refer to household baptisms, such as 1 Cor. 1:16, and state that the word 'household' implies the inclusion of infants; baptists reject that inference.

At the core of the disagreement between reformed Presbyterians and reformed Baptists is the covenant theology underlying the proper subject, mode, and meaning of baptism.  Presbyterians believe that there is one covenant with two administrations:  circumcision of Jewish male infants in the Old Covenant corresponds to baptism of believers' infants in the New Covenant.  Reformed Baptists believe that the Old and New Covenants are distinct; and therefore, baptism, as a sign of the New Covenant, should be administered to believers only.

So, is refusing paedobaptism a sin?  I think not.

"Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth," (2 Tim. 2:15).