Friday, March 28, 2008

Captain Headknowledge On Baptism

Eric asked the question "why do we both come to the scriptures and find different conclusions?" I answered this with a rather flippant "We live in a fallen world." Now while this is true and does contribute to it I thought the Captains comments on that post deserved front page treatment. I now present for your reading pleasure the Captain's insight.

"May I attempt to insert some thoughts regarding Eric's question about how individuals can examine the same text and come away with different interpretations?

As a listener to the White Horse Inn, I frequently hear Michael Horton point out that no one comes to the text of Scripture completely free of preconceived notions. Even though Eric was raised in a paedobaptist denomination, he says they didn't promote paedobaptism. That leaves a deficit in the minds of those not receiving clear instruction on the matter. So, naturally, this void of teaching on baptism was easily filled with the very consistent emphasis offered by the tradition for whom baptism is their very namesake--the Baptists! Perhaps I'm just trying to say, "nature abhors a vacuum."

The heart of the Baptist approach to the question of baptism seems to be in the difference in the emphasis put on the leap from the Old Testament to the New Testament. The paedobaptists emphasize the continuity between the testaments, while the credobaptists emphasize the discontinuity between the testaments. While paedobaptists are looking in the New Testament for explicit negations of giving the sign of the covenant to children of covenant adults (if you will), Baptists are looking for explicit commands prescribing the same thing. Baptists come looking for a positive; paedobpatists come looking for a negative--that explains, in my mind, how two individuals come to the text and end up with varying interpretations (which not amazingly coincide with the interpretation of the traditions from which both individuals come). It's the age old problem of not being able to get away from one's preconceived notions.

This may not have told you anything you didn't already know, but I think it's the plain and simple answer to that particular question.

I must confess, Alan, I haven't been following the posts on Calvin and Green as much as I would like, however, every time I did read them, I came away with a new layer of understanding on the issues. I'll certainly try to get back to looking up the ones I've skipped in the past. I presume they'll still be there when I come looking for them.

If I may, I'd like to suggest, if you haven't done so already, come by my blog later and check out the link to Google Maps which I found featured at the ESV blog. They are featuring satellite images of the greater Jerusalem area, with tags detailing the events of Passion Week, linking to the ESV website to read the relevant Scripture passages. It's pretty interesting. But my blog features a bonus great hymn on Christ's sacrifice by a seventeenth century Lutheran pastor to add a devotional application to the interesting maps."

1 comment:

John D. Chitty said...

Thanks for the props, Alan!

Sorry it's taken so long to comment, it's been busy around here.