Moses lays out the expectations for the sacrificial system with Israel. Moses communicates essential points of this sacrificial system from Leviticus 7. This chapter teaches us that there are feasts anyone can eat, other feasts only the priests, and then there are offerings that are not eaten at all by the priests. Why does the Lord have some meals with his people? Why does the Lord have some meals with the priests? What does any of this have to do with the Lord’s Supper?
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 Apostle Paul speaks Abraham first having faith and then receiving he sign. This would seem that the sacraments are a sign of our faith rather than a sign of the covenant. This has profound implications because this would mean that first we would profess our faith and then receive the sacrament. So, why would we as reformed people baptize infants if this contradicts the Apostle Paul? Why would infants potentially receive the sign if they have not first professed faith like Abraham did?
This is the ripped audio from our membership class video. I wanted to put this up on the web because many people who visit our church inquire about the doctrine of infant baptism. I do not claim this lecture to be the definitive defense of the doctrine, but I see it as presenting some Biblical reasons for infant 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.
We might be tempted to think that there is not a whole lot we can learn from Israel or the history of Israel. They are a people who lived under the Old Covenant and they were people who did bad things while we are the people who are going to do good things because we are more informed right? The apostle Paul wants the church to learn things from Israel’s history. How does Paul use their history to show that we can fall into similar things? What does the history of Israel have to do with us, our sacraments, and even the Lord’s Supper?
We follow the structure of the Heidelberg Catechism which progresses as the preaching of the gospel, then baptism, and now the Lord’s Supper. We have argued from the previous Lord’s Day that infants are baptized because they are part of the covenant of grace so the sign of circumcision and baptism have a correlation to one another pointing to the same covenant of grace. If this is true, then we do we not allow infants to come to the Lord’s table if Christ is celebrating the passover? Or is the passover merely the opportunity to lay out the Lord’s Supper? So, what is the Lord’s Supper?
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?
When we look at the Lord’s Supper we might think that this is something that is empty or something that we do on Sunday. Our concern is that this is something that could just be a mere sentimental memory of Christ rather than communing with Christ. How do we know that this supper is more than that? How do we see that this supper challenges us to live in an exclusive relationship with the Lord?
Christ states in a very strong way that in order for us to have life we must eat his body and drink his blood. Why does Christ use such language? What does this language communicate regarding our life in the kingdom?