You should consider becoming a Presbyterian, part 9

I think this series has gone on long enough. I will just address these last two issues briefly:

History is on the side of Presbyterians

You will hear Presbyterians say that the Reformers, the Puritans, and all the greatest preachers in history up to today baptize infants. You might even hear them say that infant baptism has been the dominant practice from the time of the Apostles all the way up until Baptists came around in the late 1600’s.

There are elements of truth in that. HOWEVER, let us be clear that Catholic infant baptism is worlds apart from Presbyterian infant baptism. Presbyterians do not believe that baptism regenerates their child! So we are all relatively new in that sense. Also, there is strong evidence that Ulrich Zwingli (contemporary of Martin Luther) was personally Baptist, but simply did not want to practice it for a number of reasons. Lastly, Presbyterian ecclesiology is not fully worked out until Westminster (1640’s), at the same time the 1st London Baptist Confession of Faith came out. And if you want to argue that 2nd London Baptist (1689) is really when Reformed Baptist ecclesiology was fully worked out, fine. You beat us by 40 years.

Still, the most that all tells us is that there have been more Presbyterians than Baptists over the years. It does not tell us who got the Bible right on the issue of infant baptism.

Practical reasons to become Presbyterian

There are many aspects to Presbyterianism that are attractive: no need to worry about “re-baptisms”, being governed by sessions and presbyteries rather than voting congregationally on everything, becoming a part of the same camp as Ligon Duncan! Etc.

However, there are difficult questions practically that make it easier to be a Baptist: What if a 12 year old resists baptism? What if a 15 year old falls away from the faith for 20 years, then comes to Christ, seemingly for the first time as an adult? Why sprinkle infants and sprinkle adults, OR, why sprinkle infants and immerse adults? Why do we withhold the Lord’s Supper from a child who has the New Covenant sign of baptism? Etc.

My point– these are never reasons to make a decision on what you believe.

Conclusion

If you have never considered Presbyterian theology, educate yourself. Thank God for the rich tradition that finds its roots in John Calvin and John Knox and continues to this day in men like R.C. Sproul and Kevin DeYoung. But also thank God for the rich Baptist tradition that also finds its roots in the Reformers (we are all Protestants!!!) and continues to this day in men like John Piper and David Platt. Praise God for the gospel. We will all stand before the Judgment Seat one day and all these debates will be sorted out. And let us pray for greater unity in all things as we move closer to that day.

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