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”.  (


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 (  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 (


“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 and 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… 



  1. Thanks — we were once members of a church in NC that recognized that issue — and stated that baptism is not an option, but the particulars were optional in that church. Believers, infants, dipping, sprinkling, pouring — done as a matter of the individual’s conscience. It worked.

  2. Nickname

    I am a member of a church in NC that believes the same, as well.This is as it should be.Funny thing, we will all be in heaven together.Hope we’ll get along better there.

  3. Not so sure I agree with communion sans baptism – though I agree with the idea that it is baptism that counts (though for me it is credo-baptism that seems more correct) not so much ‘how’ the baptism is done.

    To my point, it seems to me Baptism and Communion are a pair. They should go together. The only exception would be the Believer who has not yet been baptized due to logistics ( no viable opportunity to follow the Lord in Baptism has yet presented itself). That is, a supposed believer, never baptized in any Christian tradition, who refuses to be baptized – that one taking communion doesn’t make sense.


  4. OB

    Here is my bottom line: all Christians should be baptized if they are obedient. But, baptism is only an outward expression of an already existent inward reality. The moment believers are born again in Christ, they are members of the body. Even though there should be very few who go to communion without baptism, it is still possible. I don’t like linking baptism to communion but still think that most who take communion should be and are baptized.

    Now, in my case, I did not get baptized until 20 years after my conversion, in some eyes.. Actually, I had been baptized as an infant by non-believing parents but I looked at my conversion as a confirmation of that baptism. For a long time, I never thought about baptism, and churches allowed me to join without bringing this up. This included a northern Baptist church!

    And just to make something clear, all of these churches were conservative and evangelical. Yet, something about being up north helps them to major on the majors — something that is difficult to find here in the south. Perhaps being in the minority and viewed somewhat suspiciously helps Christians living up north to do so. They need all of the Christians they can get!!

    Since I practiced believer’s baptism with my own children and felt my original baptism was not acceptable to many Christians, I proceeded with immersion baptism in the Jordan (the Jordan River in NC, that is). This, except for some Baptists who would not accept my baptism in a Bible church and “fooey” on them, took care of most issues.

    However, there are some who would not have allowed me to take communion in my original state. And that is the issue. Even if you don’t recognize a particular form of baptism, I do not believe the Bible would want churches to limit the participation of believers in communion. And, I was clearly a believer.

    Frankly, I am tired of all the “rules” that some of these guys put on what constitutes a “real” Christian. One day, you might not be able to participate in communion unless you give up your views on theistic evolution, etc.

    Hope this helps to clear up my thoughts.

  5. Dee,

    Thanks for your comments. I would only point out that I am speaking of an unusual, fringe exception. I am for the most part a believer in open communion of Believers. I am definitely not for a list of requirements for participation in communion, or a list of overly restritive requirements on Baptism (though I don’t thing a Baptism in say the Mormon ‘church’ would be an acceptable Christian Baptism).

    Is a person who, having never been baptized in any way or any Christian tradition, who refuses to be baptized (Christ commanded it) a person who should be taking communion? I tend to think not. Something is wrong. This is entirely different from your case. You were Baptized in a Christian tradition, and were taking that as your Baptism – in faith. That is an entirely different matter.

    A key example of where what I speak of is critical is in Islamic countries and communities. Baptism there is when all hxxx breaks loose. You can visit churches in the US, hang out with Christian friends. But if you get Baptized – that’s when you are in trouble. Those who follow Christ in Baptism risk often their lives. Are they risking life and limb for something optional to the Christian? I don’t think so.

    Baptism is not optional for the Christian. How it is done, where it is done, who does it (as long as they themselves are a believer) – these are not critical. A time delay working out logistics is not critical. But refusal to follow Christ in Baptism is a problem.


  6. OB
    How do I know if my original baptizer when I was a baby, was a believer? I asked my parents who had absolutely no idea. So, was i really baptized correctly as a baby? Or is this all a heart matter as opposed to a legalistic matter.

    And yes, I believe every Christian should be baptized, no ifs about it.

    As for the Muslims, just because they don’t understand that you actually become a Christian at acceptance, doesn’t mean it isn’t true. However, when someone makes an outwards declaration by baptism, then there is no turning back in their eyes. However, I have no problem with secret baptisms for Christians in Muslim countries. I would even give grace to a believer who was afraid to be baptized in a Muslim country and even have communion with them if i could do it without getting my throat slit.

  7. A heart matter for sure. Not sure if I have the right to ‘give grace’ though. To many have suffered too much just because they were Baptized, Doesn’t seem I have the right to make Baptism de facto optional (of course – the same logic is used in reverse in the RCC to make missing mass a mortal sin – and I don’t agree with that!) But good questions/points, need to think about it some more I guess.


  8. I was thinking about Mark Dever’s statement during his SEBTS chapel message that we are to be faithful evangelists. Can you imagine what Christendom would look like if ALL Christian parents made one of their top priorities to evangelize their own children? Sadly, so many kids raised in Christian homes reject the faith when they become adults. Why? Is it simply because they are not part of the “elect”?