Saturday, February 28, 2015

Of Walking With God - Chapter 9

I'm concluding my look at Jeremiah Burroughs' "Of Walking With God" found in his book Earthly-Mindedness.  Please see my introduction and Chapters 1-2 summary here, Chapter 3 summary here, Chapter 4 summary here, Chapter 5 summary here, Chapter 6 summary here, Chapter 7 summary here, and Chapter 8 summary here.

In Chapter 9 Mr. Burroughs answers the Christian's objection that he cannot walk with God because God has withdrawn Himself:
  1. It is a good sign that you know what it means to walk with God because you are sensitive to God's withdrawal from you.
  2. Examine whether you have not shut out God from you.
  3. If God withdraws from you it is your affliction, but if you withdraw from God it is your sin.  It is better to bear any affliction, even spiritual affliction, than to commit sin.
  4. God's withdrawing of His comfort is not always the withdrawing of His presence.  Even though He seems to be gone, God may be present to uphold and strengthen you.
  5. If you cannot see God's face, hearken to hear His voice and follow that.
  6. Keep yourself in a waiting frame for God.  Do not determine that because the Lord is gone He will be gone forever.
Mr. Burroughs concludes this treatise by encouraging the Christian to "know that God calls for the work of faith in such times as these are.  Now God calls you to walk by faith and not by sense."

This completes my summary look 'Of Walking With God' by Jeremiah Burroughs.  I pray that it has been as helpful to you as it was for me.

"And Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him," (Gen. 5:24).

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Of Walking With God - Chapter 8

I'm continuing my look at Jeremiah Burroughs' "Of Walking With God" found in his book Earthly-Mindedness.  Please see my introduction and Chapters 1-2 summary here, Chapter 3 summary here, Chapter 4 summary here, Chapter 5 summary here, Chapter 6 summary here, and Chapter 7 summary here.

In Chapter 8 Mr. Burroughs outlines twelve rules of direction for walking with God:
  1. Be sure there is no way of sin in you.
  2. Labor to withdraw your heart from earthly and sensual things.  We keep our hearts in subjection to spiritual things even when we are busy with earthly things.
  3. Take Christ with you.  Look to God, but do it through Jesus Christ, the Mediator.
  4. Be careful to beautify your soul.  Look to your spirit rather than your outward actions in walking with God.
  5. Take heed of halting.  When you walk with God you must not halt between two opinions, but give yourself fully to Him; do not have a distracted or divided heart.
  6. Take heed of formality in holy duties.  Do not be satisfied unless you meet God in holy duties.
  7. Take heed of secret slidings away from the truth of God.
  8. Labor to keep such a tenderness of spirit so as to be sensible of the beginnings of declining.
  9. Labor to be spiritual in your solitary times.
  10. Let God's presence be more to you than all the world.
  11. Go on with a resolution in holy duties though you see nothing come of them for the present.
  12. Make good interpretation of all God's dealings with you; look on God as intending good to you in everything.
Jeremiah Burroughs give a clear picture of what it means to converse with God:
"Be careful of your spirit, that is, of the thoughts of your mind...What speech is to men, thoughts are to God. We converse much with God by our thoughts. Make conscience, therefore, of thoughts. Labor to cleanse your thoughts and, likewise, the affections of your heart and the stirrings of your heart, for God and your soul converse together."
He warns us that "[y]ou have had some good thoughts, but if your hearts are divided between God and the world you will be turned into an apostate in time."
In my next post I will conclude this series by looking at his answer in Chapter 9 to the objection concerning God's hiding His face.

"And Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him," (Gen. 5:24).

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Puritan Perspective on Prosperity

The Word of Faith movement within Christianity today promotes the heretical doctrine that Christians can attain health and wealth through positive confession. This is not a biblical concept based on the whole counsel of God (see 2 Cor. 8 and 1 Peter 4). Speaking the right words to attain a specific outcome is witchcraft. Think of Aunt Clara on the popular TV seires Bewitched; she couldn't get her spells to work because she always messed up the words. To promote the unbiblical concept of positive confession, leaders of Word of Faith movement (such as Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, etc.) rip Bible verses out of context to support their contention. A popular verse used in this movement is 3 John 2: "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in heath, even as thy soul prospereth."

Let's see what the Puritan Jeremiah Burroughs says about 3 John 2 in his book Earthly-Mindedness. In Chapter 7 he looks at ten distinct evidences of a man's walking with God. The tenth evidence is that Scripture speaks of a man walking with God in uprightness. Mr. Burroughs notes that in 3 John 3 the Apostle John rejoices because he heard that Gaius walks in the truth; the Word of God prevailed in Gaius's heart, and because it prevailed in his heart he walked in the strength and power of that truth. The author goes on to state why Gaius was in such a condition on pages 197-198:
"It is no wonder that the soul of this man was in as good a condition as it was. For you find in the 2nd verse of this Epistle [3 John 2] a very strange expression of John's about Gaius. What does he say of him? I wish above all things, that thou mayest prosper and be in health even as thy soul prosperth. It seems that this Gaius had a poor, weak, sickly body, but a very good soul. John said, "I wish that you may prosper as much as your soul prospers. O that you had as good a body as you do a soul!" It's a very strange expression. That would be a curse to many of you, I'm afraid. But John could say about Gaius, "O that this man, Gaius, had as good a body as he has a soul!" And how did he come to have his soul prosper? He walked in the truth and sincerity of his heart, hence his soul came to prosper. And those that have weak parts, if they walk in the truth their souls will prosper."
Jeremiah Burroughs rightly expresses the true meaning of 3 John 2-3. He shows us that if a Christian walks in the truth of God's Word, then his soul will prosper. It doesn't matter what his outward circumstances are; the most important thing is spiritual condition--the prosperity and health of his soul. Health and wealth can be blessings from God, but they are not guaranteed as in the case of Gaius.

Context is key in reading and understanding the Bible. Obviously, the Apostle John is not saying that all Christians will prosper and be in health like those in the Word of Faith movement maintain. Be careful of popular "Christian" personalities who use single verses to support their spiel. Regardless of what any man says or doesn't say, God is not and never will be obligated to do anything for him--Christian or not.

"Now I [the Apostle Paul] beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple," (Rom. 16:17-18).

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Book Review: Spurgeon's Sorrows

In his book Spurgeon's Sorrows: Realistic Hope for those who Suffer from Depression, Zack Eswine looks at the life of Charles Spurgeon and his struggle with depression.  Mr. Eswine writes his book "with prayerful hope that its few bits will likewise nourish you [the Christian struggling with depression] in His [Jesus'] carrying," (Kindle location 200).  He divides his book into three parts:  Trying to Understand Depression, Learning How to Help Those Who Suffer Depression, and Learning Helps to Daily Cope with Depression.

In Part One, Mr. Eswine states that sadness is not a bad or sinful emotion, but sometimes "multiplied sadnesses can also take a dark turn toward depression," (Kindle location 248).  As a sufferer of depression himself, the author notes that Christians who struggle from biological or circumstantial depression are more vulnerable to spiritual depression, which he defines as having "real or imagined desertions by God," (Kindle locations 500 & 534).

In Part Two, the author paints an accurate picture of what it's like to struggle with depression to give those who don't struggle a better understanding.  Mr. Eswine states the obvious, but highly needed advice that "trite sayings and quick fixes will not work," (Kindle location 709).

In Part Three, Mr. Eswine lists several aids in combating depression.  As a Christian sufferer of circumstantial depression, I am encouraged by the reminder that Jesus Himself was also a Man of sorrows.  Like the author, I find reading the Bible difficult to do at those low points, so I appreciate the recommendation of reading Clarke's Precious Promises to reflect on the promises of God.  The author also points to Scripture to look for case studies that sufferers can identify with, but rightly warns that one should not read himself into any Bible story (Kindle location 1266).

The topic of depression (whether it's biological, circumstantial, and/or spiritual) seems to be taboo in some Christian circles.  Mr. Eswine does an outstanding job of identifying depression and opening it up for discussion and for help in healing.  He doesn't shy away from looking at the ordinary helps available to sufferers including--but not limited to--medicine.  He also boldly comments on the reality of suicide for some sufferers.  While he affirms the desire of death and says that Christians are to choose life, he does not exhort the sufferer with thoughts of suicide to seek medical or pastoral help.  I think this oversight could potentially be harmful to the Christian suffering in silence.

Finally, I have a couple of points of observation.  First, Mr. Eswine assumes a Christian audience and does not present the Gospel in his book.  Depression affects many people (Christian and non-Christian), so I think he misses a golden opportunity to preach the Gospel to unbelievers who might read his book.  Secondly, the author refers to Charles Haddon Spurgeon as Charles throughout his book.  This familiar use gives the book an informal tone.  Initially, I had to remember who 'Charles' is because I am more acquainted with the name C.H. Spurgeon.  In addition, I found using his first name alone to be rather disrespectful to such a prominent Christian pastor.  We don't call Luther by his first name Martin, nor do we call Calvin by his first name John.  If the author had used a more formal address (C.H. Spurgeon, Charles Spurgeon, Mr. Spurgeon, and/or Pastor Spurgeon), quotes and ideas from this renowned pastor would have carried the authority and esteem they deserved.  Using Charles was too familiar; so in answer to the author's question of 'may I call him that?' (Kindle location 152), I would say, 'no.'

Overall, I thought this book was very well done on a topic that can be easily swept under the rug.  Mr. Eswine brings depression into the light and reminds us that "suffering can exist and God still be good," (Kindle location 1801).  I would highly recommend Spurgeon's Sorrows for all Christians because "[w]e then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves," (Rom. 15:1).

Full Disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Of Walking With God - Chapter 7

I'm continuing my look at Jeremiah Burroughs' "Of Walking With God" found in his book Earthly-Mindedness.  Please see my introduction and Chapters 1-2 summary here, Chapter 3 summary here, Chapter 4 summary here, Chapter 5 summary here, and Chapter 6 summary here.

In Chapter 7 Mr. Burroughs shows the evidences of a Christian walking with God:
  1. He does not depend upon sense or reason in the course of his life.
  2. He is the same in private as he is in public.
  3. He has a serious spirit.  A Christian with joy is able to command himself, which makes him fit for that which is holy.  All wicked men walk in the vanity of their minds.
  4. He walks in newness of life.
  5. When he has to deal with the world, he will not stay there, but will return quickly to God.  He is not relying on the world, but he is relying on God in all that he enjoys.  Those that stick to the things in the world are not acquainted with the way of walking with God.
  6. He loves to be withdrawn from the world and have his secluded times of meditation and prayer.  He who walks with God loves some alone times as well as to be busy in the business of the world.
  7. He is careful to make his accounts with God even every day.
  8. His soul delights in spiritual truth, spiritual ordinance, and spiritual company.
  9. He walks in all the commandments of God.  It's true, the chief work a man has is to converse with God, yet he is careful to be blameless before men because the honor of God has a great deal to do with being blameless before men.
  10. He walks with God according to Scripture:
    • He walks in humility.
    • He walks in uprightness.
    • He walks in the fear of God.
    • He walks with the comfort of the Holy Ghost.
    • He walks above by looking upon himself as being set by God in too high a condition to be satisfied with all the world as his portion.
    • He endeavors to walk as Christ walked.  May the Lord bring you into this walk and keep you in such a blessed walk as this.
Jeremiah Burroughs clearly shows the need for Christians to have alone times for meditation and prayer: "Those that walk with God, if they live in a house with no secluded rooms, go abroad and have some time to be alone by themselves, whereas other men do not know how to spend any secluded, withdrawn times.  When they are alone, their minds wander this way or that, and they gaze after every feather that flies."  I was certainly convicted of how much precious time I waste in my vain thought life.

In addition, I was confronted with a very valid, but often ignored, reason that my prayer life is not always consistent: "Here is the reason why many people are reluctant to pray, reluctant to come to duties of communion with God.  It is because they have not kept their accounts with God even but have gotten behind, and their hearts are entangled in the world and in their lusts."

In my next post I will look at the twelve rules of direction for walking with God from Chapter 8.

"And Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him," (Gen. 5:24).

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Refuting a Case for Infant Baptism - Part II

In his video "From Credobaptist to Paedobaptist: A Case for Infant Baptism" dated January 24, 2015, Paul Flynn of Megiddo Radio announced that he was leaving Arann Reformed Baptist Church to attend Loughbrickland Reformed Presbyterian Church.  You can see my first post on his apology for infant baptism here.

As he continues his argument for infant baptism, Mr. Flynn looks at Galatians 3 (specifically verses 16, 27-29).  At around the 29 minute mark he says: "The New Covenant is the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant.  The Abrahamic Covenant, in some sense, has never been done away because it is called an everlasting covenant.  The Abrahamic, Noahic, and Davidic Covenants are everlasting.  In Heb. 8:9 the Mosaic Covenant is abrogated.  In the Old Testament the everlasting covenant was not done away with, just the administration of it."

In my first post, I showed that the New Testament links circumcision to the Mosaic Law in John 7:23 and Acts 15:5.  Since Mr. Flynn himself confirms that the Mosaic Covenant is abrogated in Heb. 8:9, circumcision as part of the Mosaic law is also abrogated.  In Acts 15 the Jerusalem council decided not to require new converts of Christianity to be circumcised because it was part of the law that they themselves could not keep.  Therefore, circumcision was done away with in the New Testament and should not be carried forward in infant baptism today.  I believe this is the crux of the argument against infant baptism which cannot be refuted with Scripture because there is no direct command to baptize infants (only those who believe) and there is no New Testament connection between circumcision and baptism; however, I will continue to address a few more comments made by Mr. Flynn.

In October of 2013, I posted an overview of Redemptive History here and started a series of posts regarding Baptist Covenant Theology here.  As a Reformed Baptist, I don't agree with Mr. Flynn's new alignment with Presbyterian Covenant Theology view, which holds to one covenant with two administrations; however, I'm not going to refute his position in this series since I have already written extensively on this subject.

I was surprised that Mr. Flynn makes a few disparaging remarks against Baptist Covenant Theology.  First, he says that the problem with the Baptists is that they work backwards from the New Testament to the Old Testament, but he believes that the correct approach is to start from the beginning like the Presbyterians.  Actually, the correct biblical approach is to view the Old Testament through the lens of the New Testament because the Old Testament is about Jesus Christ and is given to believers as an example and shadow of things to come (1 Cor. 10:6; Col. 2:17; Heb. 4:11, 8:5, 10:1; and Jude 7); as a Reformed Baptist, this is how I read the Old Testament.  Those who work from the beginning without allowing the New Testament to interpret Old Testament types and shadows end up in Judaism, the Hebrew Roots Movement, or dare I say, Presbyterianism.  In addition, Mr. Flynn states that he finds Dispensationalism to be more consistent than Baptist Covenant Theology.  He acknowledges that this statement is inflammatory, but provides no proof on why he thinks it is true.  I have also studied Dispensationalism here, and you can see that consistency is not an accurate description of this view considering their dichotomous treatment of Jewish and Gentile believers.

Mr. Flynn continues his argument against Baptist Covenant Theology by stating that "the [Baptistic] ways of explaining it [the Abrahamic Covenant] is almost like there are two covenants: the physical covenant for land, seed, and promise and the other one [spiritual covenant] for salvation."  In his video Mr. Flynn did not seem to understand Baptist Covenant Theology, or at least he did not express himself well in this area.  Baptist Covenant Theology holds that there are two covenants: the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.  The Abrahamic covenant is not seen as two separate covenants, but there are two aspects of this covenant: one temporal and one spiritual.  God promised Abraham land and descendants (Gen. 12:1-3, 17:4-8).  Physically, the nation of Israel is descended from Abraham, but spiritually he is the father of all believers (Rom. 4:16).  The Apostle Paul clearly makes the distinction between the physical and spiritual descendants of Abraham: "Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect.  For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.  That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed," (Rom. 9:6-8).  

Throughout his video, Mr. Flynn keeps stressing the everlasting nature of the Abrahamic Covenant found in Gen. 17:7, which is why he believes that the sign of the covenant in the Old Testament (circumcision) must translate into a sign of the covenant in the New Testament (infant baptism); one covenant, two administrations.  He appears not only to question the spiritual nature of the Abrahamic Covenant, but he also insists on the everlasting physical sign of it.  However, if the promise of physical descendants in the Abrahamic Covenant were still binding, then the nation of Israel should be an identifiable group of people with a lineage that can be traced back to Abraham and not just a political entity as it is today.  God gave Israel the Seed promised by sending forth His only begotten Son in the likeness of man to be a propitiation through faith in his blood (Rom. 3:25, Phil. 2:7).

Furthermore, God's land promise in the Abrahamic Covenant was temporally fulfilled in the Old Testament as clearly stated in Josh. 21:43-45, which says, "And the LORD gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein.  And the LORD gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand.  There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass."  Therefore, if the physical land promise of the Abrahamic Covenant were still binding, then the nation of Israel should be in possession of all the land in the Middle East as outlined in the book of Joshua.  God gave Israel the land He promised, but the spiritual promise of an everlasting land, the land of rest, the land of milk and honey is not here on earth; it is in heaven with Jesus Christ (John 14:2-4).  The Abrahamic Covenant is everlasting because it was ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the everlasting Father (Isa. 9:6, Rom. 16:26).

Now, let's look more closely at Gal. 3:16 which says, "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made.  He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ."  The book of Galatians was given to help believers interpret Genesis 17.  In Galatians (as well as Genesis) the word 'seed' is singular.  The promise is not for 'seeds' plural.  Therefore, 'seed' is not alluding the nation of Israel in the Old Testament, nor Christian parents in the New Testament.  The Seed is Jesus Christ.  Again, we see that Christ took on Him the seed of Abraham (Heb. 2:16).  He is the ultimate fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant because salvation is through Him alone.  The great promise given to Abraham in Gen. 12:1-3 was the preaching of the Gospel (Gal. 3:8), not circumcision.

Finally, in Galatians 4:22-26, we read of two covenants not through Abraham, but one through the bondmaid Hagar (the law, the Old Covenant) and the other through the freewoman Sarah (grace, the New Covenant).  You can see my post on Hagar and Sarah here.  The Apostle Paul is demonstrating that that which is born of the flesh (Hagar) is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit (Sarah) is spirit (John 3:6).  It's not about Abraham, or circumcision, or even baptism; it's about the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of Jesus Christ (John 16:13-14).

All types and shadows in the Old Testament ultimately point to Jesus Christ.  The Bible is about Him.  Those who are Christ's are Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise (Gal. 4:29).  Ripping circumcision from the Old Testament and forceably grafting it into the New Testament as infant baptism moves the focus off of Jesus and onto man, or the infant in this case.

I'll conclude my look at Mr. Flynn's infant baptism apology in my next post of this series.

"For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God," (Rom. 2:28-29).

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Of Walking With God - Chapter 6

I'm continuing my look at Jeremiah Burroughs' "Of Walking With God" found in his book Earthly-Mindedness.  Please see my introduction and Chapters 1-2 summary here, Chapter 3 summary here, Chapter 4 summary here, and Chapter 5 summary here.

In Chapter 6 Mr. Burroughs looks at the five uses of exhortation in walking with God:
  1. Bless God that He is pleased to walk with His poor creatures.
  2. See what strangers most of the world is to this walking with God.  Walking with God is just an empty sound to most men.  The greater part of the world walks after their own counsel.
  3. See that the godly are to be rebuked because they do not walk closely with God.  Who are you conversing with?  Are you not, many times, walking with the devil and making provision for the flesh?  You should be walking with God.
  4. Let us keep close to God in our walking with Him.  Though we are afflicted, it should be comfortable to walk with God.
  5. If there is so much excellency in walking with God here, then think how excellent it will be in heaven.
Jeremiah Burroughs encourages believers with a practical example of walking with God:
"Many times God, our Dear Friend, call us, 'Come, let us walk together.' When God darts a heavenly thought into your minds He calls you to walk with Him there, and would have you follow that thought. Following that heavenly thought is the answering of God's call to walk with Him. Consider this one thing, do not refuse this. You do not know how your lives may be comforted this way, and how your hearts may be strengthened."
In my next post I will look at the evidences of walking with God from Chapter 7.

"And Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him," (Gen. 5:24).

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Of Walking With God - Chapter 5

I'm continuing my look at Jeremiah Burroughs' "Of Walking With God" found in his book Earthly-Mindedness.  Please see my introduction and Chapters 1-2 summary here, Chapter 3 summary here, and Chapter 4 summary here.

In Chapter 5 Mr. Burroughs describes twelve excellencies of walking with God:
  1. It makes the ways of God easy.
  2. It it most honorable.
  3. It gives blessed satisfaction to the soul.  The hearts of saints who walk with God must be filled with the influences from God that make their hearts glow within them while they are walking with Him.
  4. It is a special part of the covenant that God makes with us.
  5. It gives a blessed safety in walking with God.  He that walks uprightly, walks surely; the ways of wickedness may seem to be pleasant and comfortable, but certainly he is on a snare and may be caught and undone forever.
  6. It gives the soul enjoyment of sweet familiarity with God.
  7. It communicates God's secrets.
  8. It finds favor in God's eyes.
  9. It puts glory and beauty upon the soul.
  10. It mightily draws forth every grace of God's presence.
  11. It means that the presence of God shall never be terrible to the soul, neither at death nor judgment.
  12. It will be blessedness in the end.  The communion we have with God here is a forerunner of the glorious communion we will have with Him together with the saint and angels to all eternity.
Jeremiah Burroughs succinctly sums up this chapter: "The devil deceives you and your hearts, and the world deceives you, if it promises any good thing in any other way that this.  Oh no, walking with God is the good of a Christian."

In my next post I will look at the five uses of exhortation in walking with God from Chapter 6.

"And Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him," (Gen. 5:24).

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Refuting a Case for Infant Baptism - Part I

In his video "From Credobaptist to Paedobaptist: A Case for Infant Baptism" dated January 24, 2015, Paul Flynn of Megiddo Radio announced that he was leaving Arann Reformed Baptist Church to attend Loughbrickland Reformed Presbyterian Church.  I was greatly saddened by this announcement.  It's difficult to find Reformed Baptist resources in general, and almost impossible to find Reformed Baptist resources that use the King James Bible in particular.  I still consider Paul Flynn a brother in Christ, but since his views of Covenant theology no longer align with Reformed Baptist beliefs, I can not use his videos and podcasts for serious study.  Of course, all things should be filtered through the Word of God, but there are ministries that I trust for sound, biblical teaching which is where I spend the majority of my time.  Unfortunately, Megiddo Radio is not one of those ministries anymore.  I had noticed Mr. Flynn's use of Presbyterian terminology in a previous video--his comments now make more sense.

Mr. Flynn starts out his apology for infant baptism by stating that there is one church and two Israels (Rom. 9:6).  One is the visible Israel made up of professing believers and the other is the Israel of God, the truly regenerate Israel.  The visible church is the outward form and the invisible church is God's elect.  He states that we don't know--in any church--who is regenerate.  We [the church] baptize adults based upon a profession of faith, but we don't know [if they are truly regenerate].  The same goes for infant baptism.  He reminds us that God can regenerate whomever He wants to; the issue of infant baptism is not regeneration or unregeneration, but how the Bible treats children of believers.  Mr. Flynn continues with his argument that children of believers are set apart, holy to the Lord; which does not mean that they are regenerate.  At the 25-minute mark of his video, he states what he considers to be the biblical position of infant baptism: "You don't presume regeneration and you don't presume unregeneration; but what you do do is treat them the way the Bible says."

First, Mr. Flynn states that adults are baptized upon their profession of faith, but we don't really know if they are regenerated.  This is true.  No one can see the heart of someone else, so only God truly knows if a person is regenerate or not.  However, just because false professors are baptized does not mean that Christians should baptize their infants.  In the Parable of the Sower (Matt. 13), the Bible tells us that people who receive the Word of God among stony places and thorns will endure for awhile, but eventually they will be offended or become unfruitful.  In Hebrews 6 we also see people who were once enlightened fall away never to be renewed again.  These people are false professors who were never regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit because the Apostle John tells us "[t]hey went out from us, but they were not of us," (1 John 2:19).  From the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith: "Temporary believers and other unregenerate men, may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions of being in the favor of God and in a state of salvation, which hope of theirs shall perish," (Chap. 18, para. 1).  Therefore, the New Testament depicts false professors in the church and warns us of false teachers as well (Jude 4), but it does not command or illustrate infant baptism.

An explicit argument for believer's baptism is that the New Testament shows baptism following a profession of faith:
  • "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost," (Acts 2:38).
  • "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).
  • "And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?  And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him," (Acts 8:36-38).
His video was very long at one hour and 46 minutes.  I thought Mr. Flynn made the household baptism argument, but I don't have it marked in my notes, so I'm not sure if he did or not.  Nevertheless, some paedobapsits will say that even though believers are baptized in the New Testament (as seen above), households are also noted as being baptized which does not explicitly exclude infants (for example, with the conversion of Lydia in Acts 16).  Again, this is true.  But the context of Lydia's conversion (along with the other households) is that the individual believed and was baptized.  Others in the household were baptized, implying that they believed.  The fact that infants could have been baptized is an argument from silence.  I think a stronger argument from silence is Acts 15 and the Jerusalem council.  At that time, Judaizers were insisting that Gentile believers be circumcised; however, the council and the Holy Spirit (Acts 15:28) determined that circumcision was not required of the new converts.  Luke, the author of the book of Acts, was not inspired by the Holy Spirit to link Old Testament circumcision with New Testament baptism, but circumcision was linked to the Mosaic Law in John 7:23 and Acts 15:5.  The connection between circumcision and the Mosaic Law explains why circumcision was not required of new converts because this law was fulfilled by Jesus Christ (Matt. 5:17).  This is also why infant baptism today is not a biblical concept.

Secondly, Mr. Flynn's statement that "infant baptism does not presume regeneration or unregeneration" is certainly not the biblical position because it denies the doctrine of the total depravity of man.  The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, which Mr. Flynn agrees with except for the doctrines on baptism and church government, states "They [our first parents] being the root, and by God's appointment, standing in the room and stead of all mankind, the guilt of the sin was imputed, and corrupted nature conveyed, to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation, being now conceived in sin, and by nature children of wrath, the servants of sin, the subjects of death, and all other miseries, spiritual, temporal, and eternal, unless the Lord Jesus set them free," (Chap. 6, para. 3).  The biblical position is that unregeneration is presumed:   "There is none righteous, no, not one," (Rom. 3:10); "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God," (Rom. 3:23).  Everyone born of natural generation has an inherent sin nature; and therefore, he is born in an unregenerated state.

In contrast, regeneration of an infant can never be presumed.  Believers are saved by grace through faith; it is a gift of God lest any may should boast (Eph. 2:8-9).  "Although the gospel be the only outward means of revealing Christ and saving grace, and is, as such, abundantly sufficient thereunto; yet that men who are dead in trespasses may be born again, quickened or regenerated, there is moreover necessary an effectual insuperable work of the Holy Spirit upon the whole soul, for the producing in them a new spiritual life; without which no other means will effect their conversion unto God," (LBCF, Chap. 20, para. 4).

Finally, Mr. Flynn says that children are holy to the Lord.  He later cites 1 Cor. 7:14 written by the Apostle Paul (so I'm presuming he's referring to that verse here as well): "For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now they are holy."  I completely agree with the Apostle Peter when he says that Paul's writings are difficult to understand (2 Peter 3:16).  This verse is definitely one of those writings.  However, based on the whole counsel of God, we know that it does not say that a believing spouse saves the non-believing spouse, nor can the believing spouse save his children.  The believing spouse can be used as an instrument of God, but it is not a guarantee that the spouse will be converted.  This verse does not imply that marrying an unbeliever is a valid method for evangelism.  Otherwise, Paul would not have written 2 Cor. 6:14 "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?"  In addition, Paul was writing to the saints in the Corinthian church.  Therefore, the married believers he is addressing are probably new converts, so it is highly unlikely that the children mentioned were baptized as infants, yet Paul still describes them as holy and clean.  Just as an unbelieving spouse is not baptized because of the believing spouse, the unbelieving children are also not baptized because of the believing parent.  Baptism is based solely upon an individual's profession of faith, not their relationship to another believer.

Being part of a Christian home is a blessing from God.  Believing Christians should bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4).  We should teach the Word of God to them (Deut. 6:7).  We are to love, exhort, comfort, and charge our children (Titus 2:4, 1 Thess. 2:11).  But there is no biblical command (Old Testament or New Testament) to baptize infants.  Reformed Baptists evangelize their children because we want to see them saved.  However, it's important to remember that the internal call of God cannot be forced by any work of man because the process of regeneration is the role of the Holy Spirit alone.  "Those whom God hath predestinated unto life, He is pleased in His appointed and accepted time, effectually to call, by His Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ," (LBCF Chap. 10, para. 1).

"[W]hosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved," (Acts 2:21).  Once salvation has been wrought by God, then the individual can participate in the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper (Matt. 28:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:26-29).

I'll continue my look at Mr. Flynn's infant baptism apology in my next post on this series.

"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.  For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him," (Rom. 10:9-12).