I don’t remember the exact moment or day, but there was a period when I was in seminary (a Southern Baptist seminary) in which I considered becoming a Presbyterian. I had grown up in Assembly of God and Foursquare circles, and had only recently been in Baptist circles. All of those streams, however, are baptistic (those who believe baptism is exclusively for believers). I learned about many great gospel preachers who baptized infants, like Luther, Calvin, Owen, Edwards, Whitfield, Lloyd-Jones, and many more. I had no idea that infant baptism could mean anything but the belief that your child was saved through the act. I was naive, which meant I was in no position to say “how could someone baptize their infant?” As I learned about their arguments, I began to wonder, “have we (Baptists) got it all wrong?” I considered it, and occasionally have my moments still, but I instead became a much more convictional Baptist.
My experience is limited, but here is a trend I have noticed: many baptistic Christians have grown up that way, and are ignorant of Presbyterian theology. As Reformed theology becomes more and more popular again, many are being introduced to many of the great paedobaptist preachers of the last 500 years. Then I see two things happen: Many become Presbyterians (it seems there’s about a 10-1 ratio of former-Baptists to former-Presbyterians, am I wrong?). The rest continue to use naive arguments to remain baptistic. I would prefer neither to happen. In fact, I think the latter feeds the former.
My contention in the next few posts is that if you are baptistic, you should (if you haven’t already) consider becoming Presbyterian. If you don’t ever consider it, you don’t understand their arguments. They are strong. But after you consider it, then you should consider the Baptist counter-arguments, and remain baptistic. Though these are bonafide secondary issues, I do believe these are primary issues for the local church. So I do believe there are missional implications, and that God is glorified in these conversations.