Monday, January 14, 2008

Should be children be taught to pray?

This is an interesting set of reflections from John Piper. They actually strike me as providing a pretty strong case for applying the sign of the covenant (baptism) to a child.

After all, if you are going to 1) admit that you cannot know when a child is regenerate; and 2) treat the child as though they have covenant responsibilities which arise from belonging to a Christian family (or in Piper's language "treat them as a believer"); then 3) applying the sign of entrance into the covenant community (i.e. baptism), a sign that authenticates (or "seals") God's gospel promises for him and invites him to respond by faith, makes a whole lot of biblical sense.

7 comments:

Vitamin Z said...

Interesting take Sean. I'm still a baptist, but I can see how you see that.

I just won't let you near my 8 month old and a body of water.... :)

uberkermit said...

> I just won't let you near my 8 month old and a body of water.... :)

You don't need a body of water, just a basin with some water in it. ;)

J. K. Jones said...

But what does it take to be a ‘child of the covenant.’ To have the law of God put “into their minds” and written “on their hearts.” To have God as their god. To be God’s people. To be among those who “all know [God], from the least of them to the greatest.” To have God “remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8)

Don’t count out believer’s baptism!

Travis said...

Dr. Lucas,

Contrary to where some of the above comments might head I'm tempted to ask why your three points don't apply to a right practice of paedocommunion. Now that's not me actually asking, just saying that I'm tempted. ;-)

We need to hit the Eat Rite Diner soon. Do you have any time before classes start?

Anonymous said...

Hey there, Sean! I won't waste your time by making two comments so I'll combine them into this one.

First, my whole family is heartsick about the trading away of our favorite contemporary ballplayer! We are now bigtime Toronto Blue Jay fans.

Second, Piper's comments are very helpful. When he attended worship with us this past summer we happened to have a family baptism of three young boys that Sunday, and Donnie did a good job teaching and explaining the significance of the household baptism, from what I can remember.

Meanwhile, a godly Southern Baptist pastor and his wife just joined our church, and, without any direct prompting from us, also decided to bring their infant son for baptism. That caught me by surprise (and delighted me, obviously)!

And just now I got a phone message from ANOTHER godly Southern Baptist pastor who has been attending with his wife and infant son, and they too want to join, AND they too want to bring their infant son to be baptized!

I think this is a sign of the End Times.

Jeff Hutchinson

Sean Michael Lucas said...

Hi, Travis:

Actually, I do think that Piper's post could provide a good argument for paedocommunion; many of my friends who hold that position talk in terms of "treating a child as a believer." However, if you read what I wrote, I specifically nuanced my three points in ways different from Piper.FWIW.

Yes, we need to get out to the Diner...I'm pretty open right now next Wednesday and Thursday. sml

Sean Michael Lucas said...

Hi, Jeff: yes, we are mutually sad about Rolen. I was at that service when Donnie baptized those children and remember how well he did. Hope to see you sometime--if not at GA, then we'll be out in July for our annual vacation, dv. sml