As we pointed out in our previous post, Mark Dever posted an article last year on the T4G website that describes paedobaptism as a sinful act.
Here’s the title and link: “’The Sin of Infant Baptism’, written by a sinning Baptist”. (http://www.t4g.org/2009/03/the-sin-of-infant-baptism-written-by-a-sinning-baptist/
How has Dever’s position of calling infant baptism “sin” been received by Paedobaptists? We decided to investigate. Here’s how one blogger responded:
“The post … references Pastor Dever’s earlier comments on us Paedobaptists and what he calls our “sinful practice” of baptizing babies. Now Pastor Dever has a post exclusively on the subject. Now I’m not trying to pick a fight here. I greatly admire Pastor Dever and his ministry. I am extremely thankful to God for him and other Reformed Baptists. Let me say again. Thank God for pastor Mark Dever. But if anyone is picking a fight, so to speak, it is Pastor Dever… It is mystifying to me that Pastor Dever would 1) pick this to focus on when there are so many other more important matters facing the Christian church, 2) continue to preach in Paedobaptist pulpits and have Paedobaptist preachers preach in his own when, according to Pastor Dever, these men are in habitual sin. I wonder…when they are together (for the Gospel), does Pastor Dever call these men to repentance? Does he continually remind them of their error? I doubt it. Last, and perhaps this gets to the heart of the matter, is it possible that the Paedobaptist position is the correct one? According to Pastor Dever and many other Credobaptists the answer is “No!” There is no possibility that their position on baptism is wrong. Now if a preacher espouses a view that God is not a Triune God, or that the resurrection did not really happen, then I can see where Pastor Dever would call such men out as “sinning” in their theology. I would join him. But baptism? I do believe that Pastor Dever, of the 9Marks ministry, has missed the mark!”
Chris Poe wrote a post on this topic as well. His opening paragraph caught our attention:
“Dr. R. Scott Clark, Professor of Church History and Historical Theology at Westminster Seminary California, has been invited to respond to the controversy at the 9 Marks blog. Dr. Clark posts a lightly revised version of what he had previously posted on his own blog. Dr. Clark is not offended by Dr. Dever’s calling infant baptism sin and considers Dr. Dever to be in sin for not baptizing his own children.”
Prior to reading Poe’s comment, I had listened to Mark Dever’s chapel message entitled "Childlike Faith" which he delivered on March 23, 2010, at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (http://www.sebts.edu/news-resources/chapel/default.aspx). At the 15:10 mark, Dever remarks:
“Now listen, I’m a parent of two children. Neither of my children have been baptized. I am not telling you that I know this is the way you win people to Christ. I understand that to be God’s job ultimately to convert. But I understand that I am to be a faithful evangelist, and you are to be as well.”
Have Dever’s children reached the “age of accountability”, an important concept among Baptists? Here’s an excerpt from his bio on the Capitol Hill Baptist Church website (http://www.capitolhillbaptist.org/we-are/led/staff/staff-bios/):
“He and his wife Connie live and minister on Capitol Hill, with Connie giving a lot of her time to creating a children’s curriculum (PraiseFactory). They have two adult children.”
Hmmm….. This raises an interesting question. It is known that C.J. Mahaney, who sits at the helm of Sovereign Grace Ministries, has "de-gifted" pastors (SGM speak for firing them – Larry Tomczak is among the casualties. See sgmrefuge.com and sgmsurvivors.com) when "SGM kids do not "follow the SGM way"… If Dever were in an SGM leadership position, would Mahaney "de-gift" him because his adult offspring have not been baptized?
Dee and I pray that Mark and Connie Dever’s children are followers of Jesus Christ and that they will follow through with “Believer’s Baptism”. Both Dee and I were baptized by immersion as adults, although we accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior much earlier.
We agree with Al Mohler’s position that baptism is a second-order doctrine, which he explained on his blog two years prior to the launch of “Together for the Gospel”.
“These first-order doctrines represent the most fundamental truths of the Christian faith, and a denial of these doctrines represents nothing less than an eventual denial of Christianity itself.
The set of second-order doctrines is distinguished from the first-order set by the fact that believing Christians may disagree on the second-order issues, though this disagreement will create significant boundaries between believers. When Christians organize themselves into congregatons and denominational forms, these boundaries become evident.
Second-order issues would include the meaning and mode of baptism. Baptists and Presbyterians, for example, fervently disagree over the most basic understanding of Christian baptism. The practice of infant baptism is inconceivable to the Baptist mind, while Presbyterians trace infant baptism to their most basic understanding of the covenant. Standing together on the first-order doctrines, Baptists and Presbyterians eagerly recognize each other as believing Christians, but recognize that disagreement on issues of this importance will prevent fellowship within the same congregation or denomination."
In conclusion, we believe that anyone claiming to belong to Christ should be allowed to receive communion, regardless of whether they have been sprinkled, immersed, undergone "alien baptism" or have not yet been baptized but are saved. Should someone who has just received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior be denied this ordinance simply because they have not yet been baptized?
We believe Christians who engage in communion will be held accountable by Almighty God for partaking of the bread and the cup. It is our sincerest desire that all those who profess Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord will follow through with baptism, but that's not what saves…