John’s Baptismal Concession (Matthew 3:13-17)

Ministers do not like to be wrong, and we really do not like the find out that we missed the point of a text.  We could say this is pride, but the honest truth is we want to handle God’s word competently.   I wonder how John the Baptist felt when Christ came to him for baptism.  It must have been strange to see the one who delivers his people from their sins to be identified with sinners.  Why does Jesus need to be baptized? Does this contradict John’s message regarding the fire baptism that is coming? 

Worship Elements: You and Your Children (Acts 2:39)

Peter takes his stand in the midst of the skeptics in Jerusalem.  Peter makes the point that the Lord was sent to the cross by these wicked men who listen to Peter’s sermon.   What does baptism have to do with Christ’s mission and the reception of the Holy Spirit?  Does Baptism have any correlation to the Old Testament?  Why does Peter say that the promise is for you and your children?

Worship Elements: Baptized in Christ (Romans 6)

The apostle Paul exhorts us to walk in the Spirit as people who have moved from death to life in Christ.  He also exhorts us to walk in light of our baptism moving us from death to life in Christ.  Is Paul teaching that as one receives baptism that one necessarily receives the Holy Spirit?  Why would Paul use such strong language regarding baptism? 

Circumcision and Baptism (Col. 2:11,12)

One can see the force of the argument that circumcision is a fleshly covenant which is tied to the flesh while Baptism is a sign that communicates spiritual renewal and spiritual washing.  It is conceivable to think that maybe Paul is making a historic progression meaning that we move from circumcision, fleshly covenant, to baptism, a true spiritual realization, after Christ’s coming. So, why would people baptize infants if the Lord has changed the significance of the covenantal sign?

Worship Elements: Sacraments Uncircumcision (Leviticus 26:41)

So often people think of the sacrament of circumcision as a physical sign while baptism is a sign of Spiritual renewal.  So, these signs might point to Christ, but they have radically different intentions.  When we survey scripture we find that this is not necessarily a true distinction with circumcision being physical while baptism is spiritual.  In fact, Moses teaches that one being uncircumcised is stating that one is not walking in power of the Lord.  So, can we really say that circumcision is not a spiritual sign? 

The Christian Household (Colossians 3:18-4:1)

The Apostle Paul exhorts children to obey their parents for this is pleasing to the Lord.  It is not a surprise to us that Paul would exhort children to obey their parents, but what does this imply about their status in the church?  Why is the context of their exhortation so significant? Why is it important that this exhortation seems to echo the Old Testament?  What could this imply about children being in covenant with the Lord?

A Holy Household (Ephesians 6:1-4)

The Apostle Paul exhorts children to obey their parents for this is pleasing to the Lord.  It is not a surprise to us that Paul would exhort children to obey their parents, but what does this imply about their status in the church?  Why is the context of their exhortation so significant? Why is it important that this exhortation seems to echo the Old Testament?  What could this imply about children being in covenant with the Lord?

What about Baptism?

When people visit our church they eventually discover that we practice infant baptism.  So often this practice is misunderstood and people may move on to another church. I put together one of our lectures from the membership class and uploaded it to our webpage.  I do not claim this to be exhaustive or the definitive answer to every question that one might have regarding the practice of infant baptism.  I do desire this to be the start of the dialogue that will hopefully lead to a fruitful discussion. 

If you do not want to watch the video you can download the audio here.

Why One Baptism? (Ephesians 4:5 (LD 27; BC 34)

Our confession uses strong language that we are to be baptized once.  This means that we do not agree with other traditions that will baptize someone a second time because they do not see infant baptism as being a valid baptism.  Why do we believe in one baptism?  What is the bigger picture of this baptism?  How do we as Reformed people see baptism as something for children and adults?  Why are we not Roman Catholic even though we baptize infants?

Sign of Faith or Faithfulness? (Romans 4:11 (LD 27; BC Article 34)

Many times people will say that the sacraments are a sign of our faith.  We might not think that it is important to see that sacrament is a sign of God’s faithfulness verses the sign being a sign of my faith.  Ultimately we need to look discussion in light of the covenant of grace.  Did Abraham receive the sign because of his faith or because of the Lord’s faithfulness?  In other words does the sign point to Abraham’s faith or does it point to the promises of God and His faithfulness?  What does Paul say in Romans 4:11 regarding the sign that was given to Abraham?