Friday, 22 February 2013

Reformed or Misinformed - a brief examination of Paedobaptism in Reformed churches

Many of the Reformed churches use the Reformed Psalter to sing metrical Psalms.  At the back of the Psalter, in the same vain as the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, there is a liturgy for the administration of what many of these fellow-Protestants incorrectly believe to be Baptism.  Here is the thanksgiving of such a false baptism:

'Almighty God and merciful Father, we thank and praise thee, that thou hast forgiven us and our children all our sins, through the blood of thy Son Jesus Christ and received us through thy Holy Spirit, as members of thine only begotten Son, and adopted us to be thy children , and sealed and confirmed the same unto us by holy baptism.'

Firstly, it must be recognised that this is a declaration that the baby is born again.  They have all their sins forgiven, have been washed in Christ's blood, have been sealed by the Holy Spirit and are indeed members of Christ's body and children of God.  According to the New Testament, all the verses relating to these statements declare that this baby has eternal life and will never perish.

e.g. John 6:39-40 & 44  And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 
And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 

Notice that to be consistent, the Reformed churches must recognise that these babies have eternal life and shall never be lost.  And, yet, what does the rest of the thanksgiving say?

'We beseech thee...that thou wilt be pleased always to govern this baptized person by thy Holy Spirit...that they may acknowledge thy fatherly goodness...shown to them...'

Note, these churches recognise that their baptized children can and do turn from God and live as though they are dead in sin and have no desire of Christ and the will of God.  But, as they  believe their children have been regenerated and made members of Christ's body from their sprinkling, they must either: 
Recognise that they believe a Christian can lose their salvation and therefore not only deny the words of Christ (above) but also deny foundational Calvinistic doctrines and admit that they are actually Arminians; or
Recognise that they believe their carnal, Christ-despising children are somehow filled with the Spirit of a perfect and Holy God, to which they must be give an explanation as to why God is not disciplining His children as a good Father (Hebrews 12:5-11).

The Canons too declare that '
the election made by [God] can neither be suspended nor altered, revoked, or annulled; neither can his chosen ones be cast off, nor their number reduced' and that 'parents ought not to doubt the election and salvation of their children whom God calls out of this life in infancy.'  And, yet, it also declares 'the calling according to his purpose cannot be revoked, the merit of Christ as well as his interceding and preserving cannot be nullified, and the sealing of the Holy Spirit can neither be invalidated nor wiped out.'

Therefore, for these who profess to believe that salvation cannot be lost is to believe that their children are children of God.  Only the pope would declare that he can command the Holy Spirit to enter another and assure them of salvation when, to all appearances, that person does not know God nor bear the fruits of His Spirit.  But the Reformed ministers who follow this liturgy do the same continually.  They blaspheme by calling upon God to do what is His prerogative alone to perform; they demand grace and salvation and then popishly pronounce another deaf, spiritually dead reprobate to be saved.  This remains even more absurd than when the great mass of apostate, free-will, Semi-Pelagians call people to walk up to the altar to say the sinner's prayer and then pronounce them all 'saved!'  It is more ridiculous and unscriptural because a baby cannot in the least understand what is occurring.

Romans 10:13-14  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

For a fuller study on the subject of Infant Sprinkling and Baptism, this booklet may be of interest: