On Manuel Araneta Roxas in 2016

This is for journaling my thoughts:
On why Mar Roxas:

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1. Character/Credibility – He is of the Roxas-Araneta clan – a son of the late Gerry Roxas who also suffered during the Martial Law days. Being rich and part of the elite is not a minus -since he is impervious to the temptations of riches.Though part of the elite -in his stint at Congress and Senate -he has been known to fight against pharmaceutical and pre-need big business in order to serve the many. He has never been connected any corruptions issues ( MRT ? Ask Sobrepena and Vitangcol instead) (Nickel Mining -he is transaprent about his friendship wiht the owners of SR Nickel -a legitimate mining firm). Though not a born-again Christian -he is a devout Catholic -which rarely drags the name of God in public -just in order to gain by it. He is following the Christian Democrat political philosophy -that though not a pure free market/minimal government intervention in the market -is better than pure interventionist and socialist philosophy .

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Please see this
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manuel_Roxas
http://www.patheos.com/…/…/10/why-i-am-a-christian-democrat/ or this :https://www.christiandemocraticparty.com.au/…/principles-o…/ or this:http://www.christiandemocratsofamerica.org/ab…/what-is-cdoa/

2. Competence/Confidence – He is a BS Economics graduate of Wharton-Pennsylvania , A national department secretary for 3 Phils president – DTI, DOTC and DILG. Former congressman and senator of the republic. The only candidate who held such national position which was trained by adversary during the many typhoons that passed us -especially Yolanda , and the many crisis in our nation’s history -like Zamboanga siege and Mamasapano debacle . He passed so much bills and ,made so many self-sustaining programs -that affects us citizens -that we even failed to acknowledge his efforts here.

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Please check here : http://blog.marroxas.com/ andhttps://fightformar.wordpress.com/

3. Connections/Creativity – He is once the party chairman of the Liberal party -in a country of turncoats. Though others may think we can run the country as independents -he has not forgotten that we need accountability and discipline in order to reach and focus on national goals and aspirations. He is known to be a team player -even when the situation pressured him to be a one-man committee. His lineage means he knows those people who maybe able to contribute thie gifts, talents and trainings for nationwide building. He has even a wife whose heart is into public service- Ms Korina Sanchez-Roxas.

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4. Courage/Commitment/Compassion -Even with all the garbage and accusations thrown his way -he remains working for the Filipino. Even if he has to go against 2 presidents -he has done it to protect the common good. Even if he has to risk his life in situations -already too near the danger or the conflict (Tacloban and Zamboanga). Even with a job already in New York -he left it to be a part of the new government under the late Pres Cory.

Please see this : http://marroxas.com/

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5. Communication/Critical Thinking -we have seen during the 3 presidential debates -only him has the coherent programs and how-to’s. he has been able to do the counter-arguement when they mobbed him during the 2nd debate. Even though he can speak in English fluently – he strives to communicate his ideas in Tagalog or Visayan dialect.

Third-Presidential-Debate-02-Photo-by-Manila-Bulletin

And lastly -when I read these verses , after the Lord Jesus Christ, -it is only him among the 5 – that I am able to think of -others are deficient in some areas, others are totally contrary to it:

1 Timothy 2: 1-3 (Peaceful,Quiet,Godly and Dignified)
1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,
2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,

Luke 3: 10 ( Compassion, not cheating nor extorting)
10 And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?”
11 And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics <Note:Greek `chiton`, a long garment worn under the cloak next to the skin> is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”
12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?”
13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.”
14 Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”

Romans 13 -whole chapter -( Law-abiding and Minister of God for good)
6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.
7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Philippians 3: (Think about what is good and honorable)
5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;
6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

EDSA 1 -People Power -Sign of Divine Intervention

This is hodge podge of Facebook posts -as answer to a question on comparing Israel’s Exodus in Egypt to what we experience at EDSA Revolt of 1986 as a sign of God’s intervention. Later I will clear the narrative -but for now I will just paste all posts here:

-I think you should be more worried on those who wants to bring back the Martial Law years as the good years -we can become a Singapore.? How old … were you in 1983 ? in 1986?

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But it is an application of Scripture. Will we then narrow our application to something personal or churchly-and leave out what happens to the naked public square ? Maybe Edsa1 was not salvific as in Exodus or At Calvary. but it is a story of historical liberation from bondage . And to our generation -He did intervene in that history -from the salvation of Ninoy, Colson’s influence on Ninoy-to the non-violent liberation of Feb 25, 1986.

I don’t think my analogy is new. Search thru the (news) archives near the event.

Exodus created a nation wherein before Israel is just a <clan> of Jacob…This did not happen to us Filipinos. But I think you should also look into the historical analogies made by Columbus, the Pilgrims, the 17 states for the Independence of US from Great Britain and the US Civil War. It does not speak of salvation -but of liberation.

And also Cromwell against the Anglicans -and Luther against the Papist.

The Lord our God intervenes in history -not as always clear to us – in all of it..but He does …now we have 30 years to look back and discern His hand on it.

I think …  you are 30+ years old and during 1986 -you are just in elementary and thus you don’t have first hand memory on how brutal and Orwellian that dictatorship is.

Except the God who intervenes in history. Unless we don’t believe that God intervened at Edsa 1 anymore. That is more a triumph of Marcossian origin.

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Why now ask the limits in application ? Why ? Is it because I mentioned that those rooting for a Marcos -wannabees like DU30 – is like the Israelites who wants to go back to Egypt and its garlic- affected you ? Maybe it should. Dont worry about Liberation Theology – I am Kuyperian  <Presbyterian/Cromwellian>. The comparison is about bondage ,liberation, Intervention and now those who wants to turn back the time – throwing the gains of freedom and wants the hard taskmasters of Martial Rule.

Like I said …bondage , deliverance by Divine intervention, and then the next generation forgetting this deliverance and wanting to go back to Egypt. Why is it off tangent ? Because the <majority of the> people God used are Catholics? Don’t forget that the period of 1980s was when Born Again Christians boomed…and DZAS was almost chosen as Radyo Bandido and that PCEC Head then Atty. Jun Vencer was much for non-violent protest. I know -I was part of a seminar where the position paper of PCEC was discussed. Evangelicals are weary of politicians with left-leanings are being used by Commnists then-and they should be -i.e. why God used other methods.

Don’t hide your preference for DU30 ….  . You know my preference.. <I am for Mar Roxas> and this is both coloring why you don’t want me to apply that Scripture to this situation -and why I am applying it. And as for Liberation Theology – I am more on the Presbyterian/ Theonomy view of the revolution of the ‘lesser magistrates’ <Calvin’s view in the Institutes> which was used by Cromwell,, the Huguenots, the Americans in their Independence revolution. and Kuyper alliance with Catholics -and Barth’s against Hitler and his Nazis.

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The questioner made a reference to :  Martial Law as being constitutional …Martial rule in the Philippines was backed by U.S. in the context of Cold War….we are not even under forced labor- and another made a response -“Martial Law was not constitutional but also absolute. That is why Marcos was a dictator and his reign was also absolute. The then Pres.Marcos suspended the 1935 Constitution, dissolves the Congress and assumed absolute powers and issued Proclamation 1081 imposing Martial Law.” -this response is correct and to add he created another constitution afterwards to consolidate his constitutional parliamentary authoritarianism -where initially Marcos is both President and Prime Minister (eventually it was the technocrat -Cesar Virata became the Prime Minister)

Another made this response : It is not only oppression but of tortures, extra-judicial killings of thousands victims which are documented and incomparable to succeeding presidents after him and worse than Egypt’s force labor…the imposition of Martial Law was unconstitutional because it was done unilaterally and made to look that situations were already chaotic. As Enrile confesses to fake ambush as prelude to martial law…Actually, there were many law luminaries who challenge its constitutionality that time and what Marcos did was to change the 1935 with the new 1973 to legitimize martial law… that is why we have now the 1987 Constitution as that safeguards us from the repeat of martial law regime. That it cannot be done unilaterally anymore but also by Supreme Court and Congress.

From the official Gazette of the Government : After the declaration and imposition of Martial Law, citizens would still go on to challenge the constitutionality of Proclamation No. 1081. Those arrested filed petitions for habeas corpus with the Supreme Court. But Marcos, who had originally announced that Martial Law would not supersede the 1935 Constitution, engineered the replacement of the constitution with a new one. On March 31, 1973, the Supreme Court issued its final decision in Javellana v. Executive Secretary, which essentially validated the 1973 Constitution. This would be the final legitimizing decision with on the constitutionality of Martial Law: in G.R. No. L-35546 September 17, 1974, the Supreme Court dismissed petitions for habeas corpus by ruling that Martial Law was a political question beyond the jurisdiction of the court; and that, furthermore, the court had already deemed the 1973 Constitution in full force and effect, replacing the 1935 Constitution.

Phillippines 1986

( Tom Gralish / Staff Photographer / The Philadelphia Inquirer ) People Power: The Philippines EDSA Revolution // Jan-Feb 1986 Corazon “Cory” Aquino became president of the Philippines, after millions of Filipinos took to Manila’s streets in support of reformist soldiers who had mutinied against longtime dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

The questioner mentioned something – that I am seeing more than their weak and feeble eyes can see …and he implied that my application is not the faithful reading and application of a text -so my response is – As you can see your analysis also betrays your bias on reading our historical context and the text itself.

And in our FB message – ….  I can back down now. Forget it .politics and hermeneutics are incendiary ingredients. But we do need a framework to use. But i don’t know anyone who has it now . We are too close to the issues. I don’t discuss my political applications n in the pulpit like when in the time of Erap and Eddie Villanueva .I do make it known though in the blogs and social media.I am not a pastor nor an officer in any local church anymore.

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Then I mentioned my rule in applying Scriptures in past concrete historical situation – And I still stand that throughout church history – Christians applied the Exodus deliverance motif to their concrete situation and were rewarded by the intervention of God. Applications does not required that every detail of the original redemptive -historical revelation-event should be there.

It does not mean that every action and motives in the historical situation be legitimate or sacro-sanctum – but it only need to be in consonance to general motif of the original revelation. I don’t believe in agnosticism or conservatism in application to historical situation especially when so many other witnesses or observers points in the historical situation -to be signs of God’s intervention.

 

 

 

 

Why am I am not for the Mayor in the South

I have posted this at my social media page -but through the months I am updating it -as I read and observed this man’s quest for the highest office of the land. The more he speaks his mind -the more I feel the revulsion -considering when in  November,2015 -due to the incessant NP Senator’s wooing him- I tried to assess his viability as president -But I am way pass that. I consider a Binay/Duterte as President and then a Bongbong Marcos VP as a disaster to our country, a retrograde to the past-much more than Erap or GMA combined. Here are my reasons:

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Because he is just a city mayor in the South, who took almost 30 yrs (since 1986) to make things work in his city -he might have murdered criminals without due process (700 to 1700 ) -He is now denying these extra-judicial killings though . He turned down a DILG post because he admitted that he is not qualified. He was in Congress but never passed any laws and he admitted that he was just passing time then.

A self-proclaimed Socialist, a local industry-protectionist that will scare away foreign investors, a Leftist leaning ,and a Muslim and a LGBT sympathizer.His knowledge of macro economics and international relations are too simplistic ( like a national steel mfg and just talking to China or going in a jet ski to solve our West Phil Sea encroachment?).

Not a family man you can point to your children as someone to emulate because of her two wives ( first marriage was annuled -with abortion forced on his 1st wife as per his psychological report in their anulment ) and simultaneous girlfriends and a mouth like Al Pacino who does not even respect the worldwide head of an established religion (the Pope)and even the memory of a female Australian missionary who was raped and killed in August 1989- but easily be lenient to local vote-rich religious group -the INC (who inconvenienced for 3 days the riding public in a major highway-EDSA) and the cult of Quiboloy.

His planned form of government (federalization) may dismember our 7500 islands-nation and will even grant 2 ARMM areas in Mindanao(1 for MNLF, another for MILF) because of supposed righting of a historical wrong we did to the Moros of Mindanao -which did not consider that Islam is basically spread its religion by conquest.

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His parents were local govt officials during Marcos era- which is now influencing his views wrt the Marcoses. He will allow a hero’s burial for an ex-dictator and falsely medalled Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani and is infatuated with Bongbong Marcos -while using the resources of NP Senator as his VP tandem.

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He has his own political dynasty at Davao city. He was ex-President Gloria Arroyo’s consultant on law and order when Human Rights Watch is monitoring the Davao Death Squad -which is related to his announcements of its target for the DDS.

He is threatening to close the Senate and Congress if he is NOT able to get their cooperation once in office. He is not just after one term in Presidential office. He wants a revolution.

So in terms of character, competence and experience. He is 5th on my list after Roxas, Poe,Santiago,and Binay.

The Fall of Preacher-Heroes

Today I am starting to write short blog posts -so that I can put a milestone when I come across something significant . And today I am commenting regarding Pastors Mark Driscoll and C.J. Mahaney -both Calvinists and both disciplined or no longer as esteemed by the church or organization they started.

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I have downloaded a lot of time Mahaney’s guide books on Small Group discipleship and Driscoll’s series messages and I still have it my portable hard disk. Though not accessed as often as it used to.

They were expository and very narrative in their presentations of Scripture. And very relevant and cultural-specific. Their churches were also elder-led too.Though not under the Westminster Standards or the Three Forms of Unity- they are confessional and very orthodox in their Confessions of Faith/Statement of Beliefs. Both are members of the Gospel Coalition and is under its Foundational Statements. So where did they go wrong? i propose the following -where others have already mentioned (I am not original on these):

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  1. Authoritarian style of leadership -leading to arrogant behavior and style.
  2. No functional or organizational accountability to other  body of ministers -other than their local elders.
  3. Blurring of ethics -in the use of lewd language, sinful cultural media, plagiarism and use of church funds to self-promote oneself (more of Driscoll )
  4. Unrestricted continuationist world-view -without the proper reining of the Scriptures and other fellow believers/leaders -leading to prophesies and visions and searching of both inward sins and others as well. I do believe in a Holy Spirit-led ministry -but I am more now cautious in these aspect because the movement is not self-critical of its excesses and weirdness. Nobody can criticize it from wihtin without being branded as as cessasionist.
  5. Calvinist worldview (which is large and deep and exhilarating) -without  a healthy self-doubt and humility. We should have been confident of the Word and the Gospel -but we should be  monitoring and assess ourselves regularly of the tendency to take ourselves as infallible.

And that is why that Driscoll and Mahaney -did not only fall from heir leadership -they also dragged the name of the Lord, His word and the Reformed and Sovereign Baptist or Evangelical churches in dishonor.

God’s Foreknowledge and Man’s Free Will ?

I have read some part of Dave Hunt’s book -” What Love is this” and read  a part where he says that Luther and Calvin posits that man can never be free since God is omniscient and has foreknowledge -and then tries to argue against it.

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See this post on his errors : http://conversationsincalvinism.blogspot.com/2006/08/dave-hunt-man-myth-dishonesty.html

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Though recently deceased -his misrepresentation had affected a lot of people in not considering the truth of God’s eternal election and His subsequent rescue of radically depraved man.

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I have not read those part of Luther and Calvin where they said that -but I can be wrong -but that is not the point. My reason for bringing it now is – does Hunt believes that when God created this world/ universe (which is the only one we know – though God can make multi-verses) -does He not know that Man -with his freedom -will not fall into sin -due to the instigation of the Devil?

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Or was it possible that the angel Lucifer and the Man -Adam -after being created – and with freedom – will still choose -in their lifetimes to remain holy and righteous? This does not mean that God can only create a imperfect creature – based on our perspective …but is it not part of freedom to be always to be wrong and counter against the standard? Yes -this are speculative questions -but it seems that Hunt’s belief is that the perfect -perfect universe is  that no creature will go against his Creator.

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My belief? I believe that God – after making the decision to allow free creatures- fire sees that eventually someone will disobey Him and rebel against Him. It is not a question of if -but of when. So with infinite / multiple simulations in His Mind – He decided that gifting His Son with these people -His Son will make sure that -they will remain in Him until the end -no matter what -so that they will praise His Father -through the Holy Spirit – He -the Son will die for their rebellion -to pay for their sins. This is before time ..and even before the historical creation of Adam at Eden.

Sinner Saved

 

Eventually  -after the first week -Man will always be seen as not totally free- because of the choice of the first Man -Adam -he will always be in bondage to his sin-nature- but still be able to freed by someone like him. Here will the mystery of election and regeneration and effectual calling and perseverance and eternal security comes into the picture. Though free to be a sinner -his hope is in the eternal transaction of love between the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Only love can rescue him – restore him and make him mature as a son to his heavenly Father.

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The devil is not so. Because he was created as an adult/ mature -and with full knowledge -his one time decision fixed his destination to hell. There is no repentance -nor regeneration for him. He will remain as a reminder that freedom and full knowledge is not always to the advantage of the creature. Time and being time-bound is a gift -for us to change and be changed. Asking for something to be like the eternal- is in fact a gift not worth having.

Sovereign Grace and the Teleological Understanding of Election

An answer to this series of posts and a book at > http://www.pastorshearer.net/Bible%20Studies/Calvinism%20studies/tothereadercor.html

His teleological interpretation of predestination -meaning that Paul viewed this doctrine based on what is the intended purpose of election is NOT that we are secured in our destination as Christians and children of God -but that the intended output or plan of God is that there will be a group of people that will be holy and blameless in the end -but God is not determining such people – but only announcing intended output in the end – is pure Arminian , Pelagian understanding of what the universe is all about -about Man as the determining factor in his salvation and in his life.

The doctrines of Sovereign Grace as expounded in the Canons of Dordt does give credit to the nature of man as a free agent and as a responsible creature before God -but that Adam’s fall had corrupted his nature -that every good things in himself is always skewed in the wrong manner- towards himself, the world and the devil. This -is not accepted Arminians or Pelagians – they always rely on that – little something good in man – and act as if this true in this world. They don’t realized that we are not little angels with broken wings -but that we are like a tank filled with water and contaminants -just waiting to be stirred by calamities, sickness or misfortune or even plain discomfort.  

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We must realize that this world -among many – is a gift of love by the Father to His Son through the Holy Spirit -and we His children-are just caught up in this love – and the love of Jesus for his people -which He set His love before time -among so many enemies. And therefore -we must learn to see it from that side -instead of our human side -with all our concerns and myopia. Only then we will understand that – “…we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.” -Ephesians 1: 11-12.

Why Paedobaptism is not a proper Christotelic conclusion

This post is from an answer form these blog> http://nct-blog.ptsco.org/2012/09/03/christotelic-hermeneutics-part-1/. I find the answer so succinct and so I will post it here:

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I will attempt to answer your question regarding the NCT refutation of “the supposed link between circumcision an paedobaptism.” Now at the start, I must say that there is an analogical connection between circumcision and baptism – strictly in the sense that both are analogies of conversion or regeneration/spiritual resurrection or saving faith. For example, Romans 4:11 instructs us that Abraham “received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised.” The New Testament (NT) uses water baptism as a symbol of spiritual resurrection. Consider Romans 6:4: “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” 1 Peter 3:21 also states: “And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you– not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience– through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” However, in saying that there is an analogical connection between circumcision and baptism, I categorically reject the Presbyterian teaching that this connection in any way justifies the practice of paedobaptism.

Although circumcision and baptism are both analogies of conversion or regeneration/spiritual resurrection or saving faith, Scripture posits a vast chasm of difference between the two. First, circumcision also functioned as an ethnic marker, differentiating Jews from Gentiles. However, with the coming of Christ and the establishment of the New Covenant, race, and therefore circumcision also, is now meaningless – as seen in the Apostle Paul’s arguments throughout his epistles (Contra Race: Rom 10:12; Gal 3:28; Col 3:11; Contra Circumcision: 1 Cor 7:18-19; Gal 5:2-6, 6:15). In contradistinction to circumcision, baptism is not an ethnic marker. Second, the NT Scriptures (and the NT must have interpretive priority over the OT) indicate that the true counterpart of bodily circumcision is spiritual circumcision, not water baptism. Colossians 2:11: “in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.” Thus, when the Holy Spirit regenerates individuals and leads them to faith, Christ performs a “a circumcision made without hands” in that He removes “the body of the flesh” – in other words, the believer is given a new heart in fulfillment of Ezekiel 36:25-27, resulting in the reality that not only is the flesh no longer the guiding principle in a believer’s life but also that the person’s heart now craves, thirsts, and seeks after God. Thus, NT baptism parallel circumcision one another analogically, but they are not equivalent to one another. Now, that being said, spiritual circumcision is not a distinctly New Covenant concept, since Moses commands Israel in Deuteronomy 10:16, “Circumcise then your heart, and stiffen your neck no more.” However, this is impossible for unsaved man to accomplish; spiritual circumcision must be performed by God Himself. God did exactly this for the believing remnant of ethnic Israel, as Deuteronomy 30:6, “Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart…to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, in order that you may live.”

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Third, although bodily circumcision guaranteed an ethnic Jew a place among the people of Israel as part of the physical seed of Abraham (cf. Gen 17:14), it did not guarantee any Jew a place among the spiritual seed of Abraham (i.e. the believing ethnic remnant). This is confirmed by the Apostle Paul’s teaching in Romans 9:6-8: “But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; 7 neither are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: ‘through Isaac your descendants will be named.’ 8 That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.” In other words, just because you were ethnically Jewish (and, therefore, circumcised) you were not guaranteed a place among the redeemed, believing remnant of Israel – this honor being bestowed solely by God’s sovereign, distinguishing grace. Thus, we begin to see that Old Testament (OT) Israel was a mixed multitude in that the vast majority was unregenerate with relatively few regenerate Israelites. Hebrews 3:16-4:2 also demonstrates this:

“For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did He swear that they should not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 And so we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief. 4:1 Therefore, let us fear lest, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.”

NewCreation

In other words, the author of the Hebrews warns his readers not to follow the example of the unregenerate Israelites who emerged from Egypt and did not unite what they heard with faith – as a result, they died in the wilderness and did not receive what was promised – entrance into the Promised Land. This is where the radical distinction between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant begins to come into focus – a radical distinction, which traditional Covenant Theology radically undercuts with their theologically-deduced overarching Covenant of Grace.

Fourth, the New Covenant is radically different in nature from the Old Covenant. Both Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Ezekiel 36:25-27 strongly indicate this. The New Covenant is “not like the covenant” (Jer 31:31-32) which God made at Sinai, that is to say, the Old Covenant – that covenant which Israel “broke” (Jer 31:32). So, how is the New Covenant radically different from the Old Covenant? Whereas under the Old Covenant relatively few of the covenant people knew the Lord, under the New Covenant all covenant members shall know the Lord (Jer 31:34). God promises under the New Covenant that all will know the Lord because God will “put” His law “within them” and “write it” on their hearts (Jer 31:33), give them “a new heart” (Ezek 36:26), “put a new spirit” within them (Ezek 36:27), put His Spirit within them (Ezek 36:27), and “cause” them “to walk in My statutes” (Ezek 36:27). What is the result? All true members of the New Covenant “will be careful to observe” the Lord’s ordinances (Ezek 36:27b). Some have erected the straw man that advocates of New Covenant Theology, by saying this, either do not understand or altogether reject the visible versus invisible Church distinction. This accusation is false. In saying that all members of the New Covenant are regenerate, NCT does not advocate or believe that everyone who sits in a church pew or even claims the name of Christ is truly a member of the New Covenant. Only those who are truly regenerate are truly members of the New Covenant. In other words, an individual may be a member of a visible, local church, but he may not be a member of the invisible Church – that is to say the true Church. And, if one is not truly a member of the invisible Church, he or she is not truly a member of the New Covenant. Thus, NCT affirms and maintains the visible versus invisible Church distinction. Furthermore, since all members of the New Covenant are regenerate, the Church, the body formed by the New Covenant, is not a mixed multitude, like Israel, the body formed by the Old Covenant.

This is where the practice of paedobaptism comes into direct conflict with both Biblical teaching, not to mention the Reformed soteriology which has historically characterized Presbyterians. First, recall bodily circumcision in the OT guaranteed an ethnic Jew a place among the people of Israel as part of the physical seed of Abraham (cf. Gen 17:14), but it did not guarantee any Jew a place among the spiritual seed of Abraham (i.e. the believing ethnic remnant; Rom 9:6-8). As a result, OT Israel was a mixed multitude, that is to say, made up of believers and unbelievers. Second, inclusion into the ranks of the elect is bestowed solely by God’s sovereign, distinguishing grace. Third, God promised to establish “a new covenant” where all its true members would be regenerate and know the Lord (Jer 31:31-34; Ezek 36:25-27). Thus, if all members of the New Covenant are regenerate and know the Lord, the true Church (i.e. the Invisible Church) is not a mixed multitude (i.e. a combination of believers and unbelievers), like OT Israel, where the vast majority of the nation was unregenerate. Fourth, not everyone who sits in a church pew or even claims the name of Christ is truly a member of the New Covenant. Therefore, if God promised that all true members of the New Covenant would be regenerate and know Him, and if God alone sovereignly bestows the gift of salvation upon whomever He will, how can advocates of Covenant Theology legitimately claim their children as “covenant children,” that is to say, covenant members – apart from an informed profession of faith (which in itself is not a 100% guarantee that the individual is a regenerate believer) on the part of the children?

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To designate baptized infants as “covenant children” and include them as “members of the New Covenant” has four unfortunate consequences. First, it redefines the Church as a “mixed multitude” (which directly contradicts the New Covenant promises of Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Ezekiel 36:25-27), thus blurring the distinctions between the invisible Church versus visible Church. Second, the Covenant Theologian practice of paedobaptism flattens the radical newness of the New Covenant. The New Covenant is an entirely new covenant – not merely a subsequent administration of the theologically-deduced overarching Covenant of Grace. Logically, how can the Old and New Covenants both be distinct administrations of Covenant Theology’s Covenant of Grace, when God Himself declares that the New Covenant will “not” be like “the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them” (Jer 31:31-32). Third, paedobaptism appears to make salvation dependent upon, or at least influenced by, an ecclesial act performed upon an infant at the behest of his or her parents and the local church. This results in making an individual’s covenant membership within the New Covenant at least partly dependent on who his or her parents were – like it was under the Old Covenant! However, Romans 9 and John 1:12-13 teach with resounding clearness that salvation is not based upon man’s will, man’s effort, his particular people group, his parents, his genetics, and so forth; salvation is and always has been dependent on the sovereign and distinguishing grace of God – “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion” (Rom 9:15). The early seventeenth century Particular (i.e. Calvinistic) Baptists (e.g. John Spilsbery and Thomas Patient) leveled the same argument against their Christian brothers who were advocates of paedobaptism. Fourth, paedobaptism is the result of allowing the Old Testament interpretive priority over the New Testament – in that it allows OT bodily circumcision to define our understanding of NT water baptism. Although there is an analogical connection between OT bodily circumcision and NT water baptism, the former was a socio-ethnic marker for Israel, whereas the latter is not a socio-ethnic marker for the Church – since race is meaningless in the New Covenant. Recall also that Abraham received circumcision as a seal of the faith God gave him; if this is the original intent of circumcision, as the New Testament in Romans 4:11 tells us, should we not likewise on the basis of circumcision’s analogical connection with baptism (in that both are symbols of conversion or regeneration/spiritual resurrection or saving faith) only administer water baptism in the presence of the fulfilled prerequisite of an informed and credible profession of faith? After all, Galatians 3:7 instructs us, “Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.” Furthermore, paedobaptism also comes into conflict with the regulative principle in that there is no explicit command or example of paedobaptism in the entire New Testament (and the New Testament has interpretive priority over the Old Testament).

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As an addendum to my comments above, I must point out that whereas circumcision was the sign of the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen 17:11) and the Sabbath was the sign of the Old Covenant (Exod 31:15-17; Ezek 20:12, 20), water baptism is not the sign of the New Covenant – another point that undermines Covenant Theology’s understanding of the connection between circumcision and baptism. Although water baptism is one of the two ordinances specifically commanded for the Church, the true sign of the New Covenant is the cup of the Lord’s Table. Luke’s account of the Last Supper clearly teaches this: “And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood’” (Luke 22:20). So, if paedobaptism truly incorporates infants as “covenant children” of the New Covenant, should not Covenant Theologians also extend to their infants and young children the Lord’s Table – for the sake of theological consistency? However, the New Testament clearly instructs us that individuals must examine themselves prior to partaking of the Lord’s Table (1 Cor 11:26-31) – something that an infant or an extremely young child cannot do. This is very telling, and the implications are obvious. If one is not able to or should not partake of the true sign of the New Covenant (the Lord’s Table), how can they logically be considered members of the New Covenant or “covenant children” of the New Covenant? In my opinion, they cannot. In the Old Testament, if one did not honor or fulfill the sign of the Abrahamic or Mosaic Covenants, he was cut off from the people with regard to the former (i.e. the Abrahamic – circumcision) or put to death for the latter (i.e. the Mosaic – Sabbath)! Finally, 1 Peter 3:21 defines baptism as “an appeal” or “a pledge” to God for a good conscience (the KJV says “an answer of a good conscience toward”). How can an infant or a young child who does not understand the faith or does not have the mental faculties yet to properly understand or has not been taught the faith or more importantly has not been elected by the sovereign, distinguishing grace of God (which is not up to parents or the local church) make “an answer of a good conscience toward God?” Again, I believe infants to be incapable of this.

Brother Bobby, I hope this answers your question. Thanks again. Soli Deo Gloria.”