Protesting the Draft

or There Is No Conscription In Christianity, So Stop Picturing It.


I’m not opposed to apparently weird and wonderful ideas from the Bible (anyone who visits this blog knows that), as long as they can be backed up repeatedly from Scripture. This is inevitably typological, and this is why I take issue with infant baptism. As I have written elsewhere here, the entire Old Testament typological freight train is against it, but I just want to hammer one point here, and I have a silver hammer.

Baptism is a response. 

Christ is our circumcision as captain. The church responds voluntarily with baptism as His army.

Circumcision was an initiative of the Father. In the big Bible picture, all Israel pictured the death of the head.

Bapstism is the response of the bride to the now-ascended bridegroom, the response of the body to the head.

The pattern is pre-echoed throughout the Old Testament, Totus Christus, head and body, over and over, thousands of times. This Bible matrix is the very heartbeat of the Scriptures, and one of the earliest appearances is the one that is actually messed up by Adam. If Adam had not sinned, he and Eve would have been clothed with glorious robes of office [1]. Instead, they were covered with death instead of life. Instead of a “resurrection” to greater government (from Garden to Land), they got another death (Adam’s bloody “sleep” was the first). Instead of a baptism they needed another circumcision. If Adam had repeated the law (Deuteronomically, to the bride in the serpenty wilderness), her response, as liturgy, would have been a song of victory, followed by this glorious enrobing by God.

We see this pattern prefigured in the Restoration era also. Baptism pictures the “resurrection” of the army in the wilderness, the valley of dry bones brought back to life to conquer the empire. Just like the cross, baptism is military.[2] The cross was single, but resurrection is always plural (hence Matthew’s report of graves being opened). Resurrection is always plural. The buried seed always results in a harvest—Greater Eve.

“Esther was not a paralytic.”

Daniel is the sacrificial “head”, the young pioneer who dies to himself and ends up a statesman at the right hand of the world power.[3] Jerusalem dies in the Babylonian wilderness and is resurrected. Esther pictures this for us. She is the sacrificial “body” who VOLUNTARILY puts on her best robe and presents herself for possible death or victory before the right hand of the power. The Day of Atonement follows across the empire. As Daniel began this era as head, Esther completed it as body. What Israel began as mediatorial head, the Christian church is completing as body. Esther was not a paralytic.

The Christian church is the warrior bride. She puts on her robes voluntarily. Saying that infant baptism is acceptable because we also baptize our infants voluntarily doesn’t wash. Every circumcision was also voluntary—for the Father. It pleased the Father to bruise the Son. But for the Son, every circumcision was symbolically  involuntary because He would be passive as a lamb in His surrender.

But we present ourselves. Baptism is the response of the Holy Place human government of elders to the Most Holy’s blood. It is a response to the circumcision made without hands. It is the victory song of the resurrected bride post-Red Sea, post-wilderness, post-cross. Every baptism must be voluntary, and this is what we find in the New Testament without exception.

Jesus asks His bride to follow Him. This means following Him through death and resurrection. The first century church did this willingly liturgically in baptism and then literally (Revelation 14). The later epistles are filled with encouragements and warnings to her not to look back. So must we follow him voluntarily, and we must get its liturgy—baptism—right.

“And I saw [something] like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God.”  Revelation 15:2

[1] See  The Dominion Trap by James Jordan. Though he probably wouldn’t like me using it for this argument, I know he is committed to being open minded.
[2] See Military Cross.
[3] See Church and State concerning this “ascension” pattern.

Picture lifted from  Hope that’s OK. It’s a powerful picture.

P.S. Feel free to comment. I have put the hammer away now.

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11 Responses to “Protesting the Draft”

  • Caleb Land Says:

    This is a great post. I’ve been a moderate fan of Peter Leithart and Douglas Wilson for a couple of years but only recently started to “get” a lot of their undergirding theology and philosophy and began digging into James Jordan and even some of Rushdoony.

    I thought that meant I would end up having to buy into infant baptism (I’m a Baptist). I’ve been studying it a lot but am yet to be convinced. Recently stumbled upon your blog and assumed you were a paedobaptist. Good to see otherwise. Keep up the good work.

  • BrentR Says:

    Let me say first off that this (your blog) is the first intelligent argument AGAINST paedobaptism / communion that I think I’ve ever seen. But, from what I can tell you build a good deal of your argument on the relationship of baptism to a corresponding feast / creation-day (with several other references placed into parenthesis with little explanation to the not-so-versed in biblical theology). Knowing only the little that I do know, my first though is that any argument should be set out a little more concretely (even though you’ve probably gone past me, over my head, and done a few circles around me in between).

    Second, it should answer the BIG questions, like:
    – How does fallen man voluntarily respond to God? Can a man trust is own response? If baptism is a ritual response, given the nature of man, though we respond to God multiple times over, should we rely on only one ritual response?
    – How should we raise unbaptized children of Christians? If we grant that they ARE under covenant, why not apply the sign of the covenant? Or Are they under covenant?

    Lastly, in some of your other posts that touch on the subject, your chiasms always start with Sabbath. How did the seventh day become the first feast? From this post do you have a reference that fleshes out this particular pattern as the one that “the entire Bible follows”.


  • Mike Bull Says:

    Caleb – thanks for the encouragement.

    Brent – Here’s the links to some more concrete argumentation that begins at the beginning (although you have read some already):
    and to illustrate the difference between the “pre-wilderness” Covenant sign and the “post-wilderness” Covenant sign as the difference between betrothal and marriage, see here:

    The seven feasts list in Leviticus 23 begins with the weekly Sabbath. So the pattern begins with rest and ends with a greater rest (after testing, maturity and glorification) for the whole body. Good question. The first Sabbath seems to be the ‘call’, the primary word from God. In the prophets, it is the call to the prophet. See the structure of Ezekiel here:

    In the corresponding structure for a worship service, it is the call to worship. In the Tabernacle, it is the Ark (Word).

    Probably search under the “Feasts” tag for more posts on this. You’ll find the basics in my book Totus Christus if you want to go that far. It takes you through most of the Bible and shows how this pattern structures both history and the Scriptures as literature. It was intended to be a short book, but I found the pattern often working at three or more levels. Hopefully soon I will get the shorter Bible Matrix printed which just has the basics and doesn’t weigh over a kg! Shoot me an email and I’ll send you some more details.

    Jesus commands us to follow Him. Baptism should be our first response after obeying the gospel. It is a response to the divine call. For sure, some non-believers will be baptized by mistake, but at least this practice is not ‘playing on the highway’, asking for confusion. When we look back on our baptism, it should be something we remember. Communion is our weekly response to the call.

    We have raised our children so that they eventually ASK for baptism, usually aged around 7 or 8. Before salvation, for sure, they are blessed by the Covenant – which corresponds with the FV statements concerning such ‘umbrella’ blessings. But the New Covenant is not about a helpless people rescued from slavery, but the ‘next generation’ where the previous people comes out of the wilderness as an army. Baptism is a public testimony to faith. Arguing for a sort of ‘corporate’ faith is not a bad idea, but credo-baptism puts the individual into the corporate, the body present as witnesses.

    I could be wrong on all this, but paedobaptism seems to rub the Bible’s fur the wrong way. It’s against the very grain of the childhood to maturity theme.

    Thanks for your comments!

  • Eric Says:

    If our children are simply blest “by the Covenant”, because they are real close to it, then I think your point is right. But if our children are blest because they are “in” the Covenant, then infant baptism seems irresistable.
    “By” verses “In” is a fundamental difference, and one’s understanding of the nature of the covenant and complexities of it is even more fundamental.

    Baptism is a goal, not just a starting point. Our desire is to conform more and more to the death and resurrection of Christ – the very destination to which our baptism is pointing. This is the goal for every Christian, and the goal we desire for our children. Initiating them upon this journey after birth, and encouraging them therein for the rest of their lives, to me, is very consistent with going from childhood to maturity. It’s a childhood within the covenant which anticipates the maturity given through that covenantal community, covenantal promises, and covenantal identity of God’s Israel – the visible church.

    I like your blog.

  • Mike Bull Says:


    I agree with most of what you say, but the New Covenant is not about being born but being born again. That is when the journey starts. It is not about life, but about resurrection life.

    The point about maturity was that human history is at a more mature point after the cross.

    Thanks for the comment!

  • BrentR Says:

    I’ll dig into Totus Cristus. In the mean time, regarding the Sabbath as the first feast, what happens to the feast of unleavened bread as part of the chiasm? Does it become a sub-section of the passover?

    My main hang-up with the Sabbath being first is in the progression is how we then view the Lord’s Day, the eighth day, the new beginning. The new beginning was not a new sabbath, but a new creation, with a sabbath as a yet to be obtained goal (as in the book of Hebrews). Have you dealt with this somewhere?

  • Mike Bull Says:


    Yes – Passover and Unleavened Bread became interchangeable terms for the one event.

    Re the Sabbath, I think there is the idea of the initial Word already being a perfect seven, God’s completed creation week, and this larger feast pattern is its echo in man’s domain, from Garden to Land, or from Most Holy Place to Holy Place. Just some thoughts. It does pan out in the Bible though. For instance, Zechariah’s visions begin with an imperfect rest (stagnation) and end with a grand corporate rest.

  • BrentR Says:

    One thing I’m still struggling with is the placement of Sabbath first and the omission of the feast of unleavened bread. I’m seeing these as separate feasts. Comparing the feasts, in the way I would order them, with Passover first, then Unleavened Bread, it seems to correspond pretty well with the seven creation days. At Passover, there is a progression from dark to light, a birth, a rebirth, and an escape from death to life.

    Following that with unleavened bread, you have a further dividing, a continuation of the separation that started at Passover. The firmament divided the waters above from the waters below. The seven day feast of unleavened bread separated the old bread from the new bread, the Egyptian leaven being left behind, the bread of slavery being replaced.

    Then when you get to the end, you have the feast of booths corresponding directly with the Sabbath of creation week, and the marriage of Adam and Eve in Gen 2, which are both beautiful.

    You’ve obviously studied this more than I have, though, so let me know how we came to put the Sabbath at the top? Is it strictly from Lev 23 putting it at the top, or is there other precedence? Historical precedence from other theologians?

    Thanks. And seeing as we’re on opposite sides of the world, this might be a drawn-out conversation.

  • Mike Bull Says:

    Hi Brent

    Thanks for the reply.

    The big structure does play out in the Bible, so making this shift would sure mess up a lot of things.

    Passover and Unleavened Bread did become interchangeable terms historically, so it seems even the Jews considered them as a single event.

    There is a division in both Day 1 and Day 2, and Day 2 seems to fit with Passover/Unleavened Bread, so a division isn’t the key. There is also a division between Land and Sea on Day 3.

    The big structure matches Passover with Atonement chiastically, so Passover must be step 2.

    The big structure also puts blood and water at Passover (slain firstborn-Red Sea) and water and blood at Atonement (Jordan-Jericho), so Passover must be step 2.

    Perhaps Passover/Unleavened Bread is a bloody Creation week (see Jordan on Leviticus 1 following the Creation week painted in blood: As such it still corresponds with the seven sprinklings of blood towards the Ark at Atonement.

    It’s not just Leviticus 23 that presents this beginning with a Sabbath. The first step is always a Word, a Divine Call (Light), and the second step is God’s man falling down dead. He raises him up at step 3 and gives him a job to do (Firstfruits).

  • Pamela Says:

    “But the New Covenant is not about a helpless people rescued from slavery, but the ‘next generation’ where the previous people comes out of the wilderness as an army. ”

    An argument against Christians hosting Seder meals?

  • Mike Bull Says:

    Hi Pamela
    I think it’s fine to have a Passover event as a teaching aid, but we shouldn’t be turning the Lord’s Supper into Passover. It’s not the saints that are eating the Passover meal as old Israel, it was Jesus, the firstborn, so the argument for paedocommunion falls flat. Jesus transformed Passover into something new: risen bread.
    Thanks for commenting!