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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The "Household Baptism" Texts

I decided to post part of an article from Fred A. Malone that I found very helpful and clear on explaining the baptism of households. I have talked with many people about this and peadobaptist position for some reason loves to come to these texts. This cleared up a lot for me and again it is impotent that we do not eisegete this passage by adding what is not in the text.
The question of household baptisms has long been used to support paedobaptism. These are the baptisms of the households of Cornelius, Lydia, the Philippian jailer, Stephanas, and Crispus.

Cornelius' Household (Acts 10:22; 11:12,14)
The account of Peter's preaching the gospel to Cornelius' household does not support infant baptism. Peter did preach the gospel to the whole household, and "all" the household was saved. How do we know that? Acts 10:44 and 11:15 state as much. The Holy Spirit fell upon them "all" and led them to repentance and faith (11:17,18). In fact, Peter explicitly stated in 10:47 that he baptized only those who "received the Holy Spirit as we did." This extension of Pentecost to the Gentiles clearly defined who was baptized. There is no mention of infants in the household, but only those who were "listening to the message" (10:44). Infants are capable of being regenerated by God (e.g., John the Baptist), and some may have been present. But they are not able to listen to the gospel and to "speak with tongues and magnify God" (Acts 10:46). Only the people who did this received baptism as a sign of the Abrahamic "promise" of the Spirit (Gal. 3:14). I conclude that the episode in Cornelius' household not only does not support infant baptism but is also a strong indicator for disciples'/confessors' baptism.

Lydia's Household (Acts 16:15)
The case of Lydia is inconclusive. Where was Lydia's husband? She may not have been married at all. Only women are mentioned at the riverbank. And it appears that she and her household were baptized at the river before she took Paul back to her house. This opens the probability that only women were in her household (every member of which was probably at the riverbank with her) and that she was an unmarried or widowed businesswoman. Even if this is not entirely accurate, there is no mention of infants or older children in her household. Even many paedobaptists hold this instance of household baptism as inconclusive for their position.

Philippian Jailer's Household (Acts 16:30-34)
The account of the Philippian jailer is probably the best possibility for including infants in the household baptism. All his household was baptized, but it is wrong to apply the promise of verse 31 to the "covenantal baptism" of the household based upon the jailer's faith. This is clearly demonstrated in the following verses, where it is recorded that Paul and Silas preached the gospel to "all who were in his house" (v. 32) and that "all his household" (v. 34) believed in God with him.
There is a translation problem with this text that needs to be examined. J. A. Alexander (Acts) agrees that v. 31 is simply a promise of salvation by faith to the jailer and his household upon belief by both. Verse 34 is more complicated. The NASB, NIV, KJV, Williams, and Beck translations indicate that the faith which was shared by his whole household was the basis for their rejoicing: "having believed in God with his whole household." However, the participle is masculine, singular and seems to describe the faith of the jailer: "He greatly rejoiced with his whole household, having believed [that is, the jailer] in God." The emphasis seems to be that the household rejoiced with him because he had found faith (RSV, NEB).
Even if the latter interpretation is correct, we still have the problem of infants rejoicing. It is true that infants can detect and participate in joy in a household. But can infants rejoice because they realize their father has found faith in God? This may well be the basis for the whole household's rejoicing. However, because of the context in preaching the Word to all in the house and because all were resultingly baptized, I believe their rejoicing was the same as the jailer's rejoicing–the evidence of a new-found faith and redemption expressed in the joy of the Holy Spirit's regeneration. Because they all heard the gospel, were baptized, and rejoiced, it is a legitimate conclusion that they all believed. He and his "whole household" were baptized because they all believed. Can infants hear the Word and respond in faith? No. If infants were present, for which there is no proof, the context denies that they were baptized. In fact, the context suggests that no infants were present. This case of household baptism actually lends support to confessors' baptism.

Crispus' Household (Acts 18:8)
A related case which supports the same conclusion concerns the household of Crispus. Here is a definite account concerning baptism in which the whole household, along with Crispus, believed in the Lord. It should also be noted that in the same verse, the other Corinthians who were baptized had first believed. It seems clear that the whole household first believed and then were baptized. This case also positively supports confessors' baptism within households.

Stephanas' Household (1 Cor. 1:16)
The last household baptism mentioned in the New Testament is that of Stephanas by Paul. The thrust of this text is that the baptized believers were in division and controversy over who baptized them. It seems they were capable of knowing who baptized them, thus excluding infants. Further, 1 Cor. 16:15 describes the "household of Stephanas" as having devoted themselves for ministry to the saints. Infants cannot self-consciously devote themselves in such a way. Yet even if this does not prohibit infants in the household of Stephanas, the most that can be said is that we do not know if infants were present. At best, this account is inconclusive for infant baptism.
In summary, the accounts of Lydia's and Stephanas' households are inconclusive, while the accounts of Cornelius', Crispus', and the jailer's households actually point to conscious belief and regeneration before baptism. Therefore, I conclude that the weight of the household baptisms leans toward confessors' baptism.

I would recommend reading Fred A. Malone's whole article on Baptism. It is a very good and insightful read regardless of the position you hold to. So i encourage you all to get your bibles about and go through this article.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

To be or not to be baptized? That is the question!

When I came to faith a year and a half ago, I was lead to the doctrines of grace by my Reformed Baptist church home. Well I now attend a reformed christian college that has the majority of the students hold the position of paedo-baptism (infant baptism). Now that I am in my second year, the topic of baptism has sprung up a number of times. Well I am now going to study what i believe (credo-baptist, believers baptism), why, and take a look at both sides. Im going to be reading a few books and will be giving a summery of what i have been learning. So stay tuned and may God be glorified through this process.

P.S. I want all of your guys' critiques on what im saying so i can further my study and held defend what I believe!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Christianity and Facebook?!?

As i started off my first year of bible college I realized that it is very time consuming. In took up 98% of my time. I began to catch myself on facebook instead of reading or doing my Greek vocabulary. I fought the urge and decided to delete my account. I was not using all my time for the glory of God and was not using the time God has given me for school and it defiantly took tole on me during exams. So i decided to delete my account. As I began to bring up my studying and grades, I no longer had a cell phone. This became a problem when i could not keep in touch with people from back home. I ended up getting my account back and became a lot more accountable. I came across this article by Dr. Sproul. Some of the things he say is very interesting. Read the latter and give your opinions on what you think about Dr. Sproul's article. 

Should Christians Be on Facebook? from R.C. Sproul Jr.

Should Christians be on Facebook? What about all the privacy issues that are in the news these days?

I sometimes wonder if the devil doesn’t take great pleasure in irony, in watching us turn ourselves inside out while missing the point. While I am on Facebook, and therefore at least hold to a tentative conviction that such is allowable for Christians, there are any number of reasons to raise concerns over it. Privacy and the lack thereof, however, would likely be the last one I would raise. With Facebook’s very public and controversial announcement of its change in policy with respect to privacy, that, however, is what has many Christians concerned. How, I wonder, can a person take a technology that exists to say to the watching world, “Here I am. Come see about me” complain that the world is coming to see about them? Anyone who wishes more privacy can find such easily enough. Don’t use Facebook. If you already do, stop. We are in a moral uproar for all the wrong reasons. We are aghast at the owners of Facebook for daring to change their policy (which, remember, the original policy held out as at their discretion) rather than being appalled at ourselves for implicitly breaking the 8th Commandment. We think because we are a user of Facebook that such makes us an owner of Facebook, and so demand this and demand that from the real owners.
That said, here are some very real concerns I have about Facebook. First, has it become a god to us? When God commands that we have no other god’s before Him He doesn’t mean ranked higher than Him, but rather He means in His presence. If Facebook is too needful for you, you may need to stop. Second, has it become a graven image? Have you confused its reality with real reality? Do you really think you have 200 friends? Third, have you taken the Lord’s name in vain? That is, have you, in weaker moments, put a bad face publicly on your Christian witness? Are you laughing at your old sins with that old buddy from college or high school?
Fourth, is Facebook giving me the peace of the Lord, or agitating me? (And please note the very real difference between that peace that passes understanding and that “peace” we receive when we feed a habit, when we get a fix.) Am I jumpy when I don’t get to log on? Am I more keyed up after I’ve logged off? Fifth, am I honoring those in authority over me? Wives, are you failing to honor your husbands because you’re too busy reading about your friends? Children, are you failing to honor your parents because you’re too busy sending flair?
Sixth, is this technology honoring to life? The cyberworld can be a barren wasteland, not because it is filled with pornography and gambling, but because it isn’t real, because it is Gnostic. Seventh, are you loving your spouse on Facebook? Is the rush of nostalgia from finding long lost friends encouraging you to be dissatisfied? Are you secretly looking for that old girlfriend? Are you already caught up in adultery simply by wishing you could be sixteen again? Or do you not know that Facebook can all too easily devolve into relational pornography? The allure of porn is that you think you can have the joys of the sexual union without having to have a real relationship with a real person. The allure of Facebook is much the same. Eighth, are you stealing from your employer by not giving a full days work because you are moonlighting at Farmville, or as a Mafia Don? Or, simply because you are spending your hours at work at play?
Ninth, are you lying? That is, is the you you present on Facebook the real you? This technology has an insidious capacity to both hide reality and fool us into thinking we are both showing and seeing it. Why are our updates all about our victories- I just made cookies for the family; My son just hit the game winning home run; rather than our failures- I just shouted at my little girl; I left my computer on the airplane and it’s gone? Keep a particularly close eye on this one. And tenth, is Facebook encouraging contentment or resentment? Are you coveting your neighbor’s friend count? Are you jealous of how many “likes” there are for his posts compared to yours? And are you content with the real life you are shutting out while hunched over your keyboard?
Please don’t misunderstand this little thought experiment. I suspect we could walk through the Ten Commandments in light of our church, and find many of the same temptations. That doesn’t mean you should stay away from church. It does mean we ought to be deliberate enough to know what we are doing, and why we are doing it. And deliberate begins by affirming that our own hearts are not just desperately wicked, but deceitful as well. We don’t need to protect our privacy. We need instead to expose our sins to the light, the light of Scripture that we might repent and believe, that His face might shine upon us.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Christ Forsaken by Joel Beeke

“Ay, ay, d’ye know what it was—dying on the cross,
forsaken by His Father — d’ye know what it was?…
It was damnation — and damnation taken lovingly.”
— John “Rabbi” Duncan (1796–1870)

“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46, KJV).

It is noon, and Jesus has been on the cross for three pain-filled hours. Suddenly, darkness falls on Calvary and “over all the land” (v. 45). By a miraculous act of Almighty God, midday becomes midnight.

This supernatural darkness is a symbol of God’s judgment on sin. The physical darkness signals a deeper and more fearsome darkness.

The great High Priest enters Golgotha’s Holy of Holies without friends or enemies. The Son of God is alone on the cross for three final hours, enduring what defies our imagination. Experiencing the full brunt of His Father’s wrath, Jesus cannot stay silent. He cries out: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

This phrase represents the nadir, the lowest point, of Jesus’ sufferings. Here Jesus descends into the essence of hell, the most extreme suffering ever experienced. It is a time so compacted, so infinite, so horrendous as to be incomprehensible and, seemingly, unsustainable.

Jesus’ cry does not in any way diminish His deity. Jesus does not cease being God before, during, or after this. Jesus’ cry does not divide His human nature from His divine person or destroy the Trinity. Nor does it detach Him from the Holy Spirit. The Son lacks the comforts of the Spirit, but He does not lose the holiness of the Spirit. And finally, it does not cause Him to disavow His mission. Both the Father and Son knew from all eternity that Jesus would become the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world (Acts 15:18). It is unthinkable that the Son of God might question what is happening or be perplexed when His Father’s loving presence departs.

Jesus is expressing the agony of unanswered supplication (Ps. 22:1–2). Unanswered, Jesus feels forgotten of God. He is also expressing the agony of unbearable stress. It is the kind of “roaring” mentioned in Psalm 22: the roar of desperate agony without rebellion. It is the hellish cry uttered when the undiluted wrath of God overwhelms the soul. It is heart-piercing, heaven-piercing, and hell-piercing. Further, Jesus is expressing the agony of unmitigated sin. All the sins of the elect, and the hell that they deserve for eternity, are laid upon Him. And Jesus is expressing the agony of unassisted solitariness. In His hour of greatest need comes a pain unlike anything the Son has ever experienced: His Father’s abandonment. When Jesus most needs encouragement, no voice cries from heaven, “This is my beloved Son.” No angel is sent to strengthen Him; no “well done, thou good and faithful servant” resounds in His ears. The women who supported Him are silent. The disciples, cowardly and terrified, have fled. Feeling disowned by all, Jesus endures the way of suffering alone, deserted, and forsaken in utter darkness. Every detail of this horrific abandonment declares the heinous character of our sins!

But why would God bruise His own Son (Isa. 53:10)? The Father is not capricious, malicious, or being merely didactic. The real purpose is penal; it is the just punishment for the sin of Christ’s people. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor. 5:21).

Christ was made sin for us, dear believers. Among all the mysteries of salvation, this little word “for” exceeds all. This small word illuminates our darkness and unites Jesus Christ with sinners. Christ was acting on behalf of His people as their representative and for their benefit.

With Jesus as our substitute, God’s wrath is satisfied and God can justify those who believe in Jesus (Rom. 3:26). Christ’s penal suffering, therefore, is vicarious — He suffered on our behalf. He did not simply share our forsakenness, but He saved us from it. He endured it for us, not with us. You are immune to condemnation (Rom. 8:1) and to God’s anathema (Gal. 3:13) because Christ bore it for you in that outer darkness. Golgotha secured our immunity, not mere sympathy.

This explains the hours of darkness and the roar of dereliction. God’s people experience just a taste of this when they are brought by the Holy Spirit before the Judge of heaven and earth, only to experience that they are not consumed for Christ’s sake. They come out of darkness, confessing, “Because Immanuel has descended into the lowest hell for us, God is with us in the darkness, under the darkness, through the darkness — and we are not consumed!”

How stupendous is the love of God! Indeed, our hearts so overflow with love that we respond, “We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

Friday, June 4, 2010

Sola Scriptura!

"The Church is to be judged by the Scriptures, not the Scriptures by the Church."  - John Wesley

What is “Sola Scriptura?”
Sola Scriptura is from the Latin: Sola having the idea of “alone,” “ground,” or “base;” and the word Scriptura meaning “Writings” – Referring to γραφὴ, meaning “Scripture.”

This is the teaching that Scripture is the Church's only infallible and sufficient rule for deciding issues of faith and practices that involve doctrines. This is not stating that the church is not important and that we cannot learn anything from other sources, but it is saying at the Scripture is the final authority and test all things and hold what is good. (1 Thessalonians 5.21). The Scriptures always speak in the name of God, and command faith and obedience. Christ and his apostles always refer to the written Scriptures, then existing, as authority, and to no other rule of faith whatsoever.--Luke 16:29; 10:26; John 5:39; Rom. 4:3;2 Tim. 3:15. The Bereans are commended for bringing all questions, even apostolic teaching, to this test.--Acts 17:11; see also Isa. 8:16. Also, Christ rebukes the Pharisees for adding to and perverting the Scriptures.--Matt. 15:7-9; Mark 7:5-8; see also Rev. 22:18, 19, and Deut. 4:2; 12:32; Josh. 1:7.

In 1.6 of the Westminster Confession explains Sola Scriptura as:

The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word: and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.1

            It is very important that you see the history behind Sola Scriptura and it will give you the understanding of how important this doctrine is, not only for the church to hold onto, but for every person who professes faith in Christ. This all started in the 16th Century Protestant Reformation. The main issue Martin Luther was arguing for was Sola Fide (Justification by faith alone), which we will get to soon, but what is often overlooked is Sola Scriptura that is equally important during this time period. Martin Luther had two debates with the leading Roman Catholic theologians of his day (Martin Ek and Cardinal Cajerton). As Ek and Cajerton debated the subject of justification, they pointed out that Luther's views differed significantly from the official position of the Church. For the Roman Catholic Church, both the former Church councils and the Papal declarations were binding upon all those in the Church. These men were able to demonstrate that Luther was in disagreement with both Church Councils and the Pope himself. Martin Luther was perceived by many as being the most arrogant and pompous individual imaginable. They could not understand how one man could do as Luther was doing.2

            Luther stood against the Pope and the Councils and in result of this, they considered him blasphemous. Luther admitted that indeed he stood against them. In his opinion, Church Councils could err as well the Pope himself. Of course, this was hugely disturbing and even considered blasphemous. Luther was quickly likened to the Bohemian John Hus, who had, around a hundred years earlier, made similar statements to Luther's, and was burnt at the stake as a heretic. Luther left the Diet of Worms, riding off into the night. On his way home he was kidnapped by his own people, transferred to the Wartburg Castle where he translated the Bible into German, the vernacular of the people. The Reformation sparked by Luther swept most of the countries of Europe.3

            Dr. James White has written a book called The Roman Catholic Controversy and in this book he has provided a very helpful list of what IS and IS NOT Sola Scriptura.


1. First and foremost, sola scriptura is not a claim that the Bible contains all knowledge. The Bible is not a scientific textbook, a manual on governmental procedures, or a catalog of automobile engine parts. The Bible does not claim to give us every bit of knowledge that we could ever obtain.

2. Sola scriptura is not a claim that the Bible is an exhaustive catalog of all religious knowledge. The Bible itself asserts that it is not exhaustive in detail (John 21:25). It is obvious that the Bible does not have to be exhaustive to be sufficient as our source of divine truth.

3. Sola scriptura is not a denial of the authority of the Church to teach God's truth.

4. Sola scriptura is not a denial that the Word of God has, at times, been spoken. Rather, it refers to the Scriptures as serving the Church as God's final and full revelation.

5. Sola scriptura does not entail the rejection of every kind or form of Church "tradition." There are some traditions that are God-honoring and useful in the Church. Sola scriptura simply means that any tradition, no matter how ancient or venerable it might seem to us, must be tested by a higher authority, and that authority is the Bible.

6. Sola scriptura is not a denial of the role of the Holy Spirit in guiding and enlightening the Church.


1. The doctrine of sola scriptura, simply stated, is that the Scriptures alone are sufficient to function as the regula fidei, the infallible rule of faith for the Church.

2. All that one must believe to be a Christian is found in Scripture, and in no other source. This is not to say that the necessary beliefs of the faith could not be summarized in a shorter form. However, there is no necessary belief, doctrine, or dogma absolutely required of a person for entrance into the kingdom of heaven that is not found in the pages of Scripture.

3. That which is not found in the Scripture  either directly or by necessary implication  is not binding upon the Christian.

4. Scripture reveals those things necessary for salvation (2 Tim. 3:14-17).

5. All traditions are subject to the higher authority of Scripture (Matt. 15:1-9). There can be no understanding of the sufficiency of Scripture apart from an understanding of the true origin and the resultant nature of Scripture. The Reformers had the highest view of the Bible, and therefore had a solid foundation on which to stand in defending the sufficiency of the Scriptures. 4

            This is so important that we hold to this doctrine because it is the foundation of our faith. This is also very important for sharing our faith. We are able to have full confidence in using Gods word because it does not come back void (Isaiah 55.11).  Therefore if we share the gospel faithfully, it is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1.16) A.A. Hodge says it well concerning the infallible rule of faith and practice, “Whatever God teaches or commands is of sovereign authority. Whatever conveys to us an infallible knowledge of his teachings and commands is an infallible rule. The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the only organs through which, during the present dispensation, God conveys to us a knowledge of his will about what we are to believe concerning himself, and what duties he requires of us.”5

            Praise God that he has given us his word and opens our eyes to the way, truth, and light. We can have faith and full assurance in the Word of God in what it says and teachings. What a blessing it is.

1 “Westminster Confession of Faith,” n.d.,
3 Ibid.
4 James R. White, Roman Catholic Controversy, The (Bethany House, 1996).
5 A. A. Hodge, Outlines of Theology (Banner of Truth, 1972), Chapter 5.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The 5 Solas!

As I am starting off, I have decided to to do a series and it is going to be on the 5 Solas. It has been something that has been on my mind for a long time and i have decided to do this study and share what I come up with with all of you guys. May the Lord bless this research and I pray that you all may benefit from this!