“Just as Circumcision made impossible a global corruption,
so paedobaptism makes impossible a global Gospel.”
Part 1 here.
With so many young people leaving the Church, it is no wonder that there is a push to renew an understanding of biblical Covenant. Giving our children a profound sense of their “Covenant identity” is a crucial means of re-establishing the Covenant framework which has been neglected. Unfortunately, those pushing for these things are going about it in entirely the wrong way, because they are re-establishing the wrong Covenant.
“Modern commentators seem to overlook the promise of children in Genesis 1, and how these unmentioned ‘innocents,’ yet in Adam’s loins, are silent but crucial characters in Genesis 3.”
When Paul refers to Abraham as the father of all who believe, the one through whom all nations would be blessed (Romans 4:9-22), we must be prepared to interpret his inspired words through the lens of the House of God, the ever-present architecture of Eden.
The Name of the Father
God’s household in heaven was a tent of servants—the angels—but there was only one Son, through whom came all Creation. This means that the first verses of John’s Gospel, which describe the pre-incarnate Word, can tell us a great deal about God’s intentions for Adam, the incarnate image of God. All that Jesus was in heaven, Adam was to be on earth:
Many of the obscure and apparently obsolete details in the Torah are hints of events later in the Bible. Some of these details are not what is said but what is not said. And some of these unspoken hints are discernible only through identification of common structures. One example is a line missing from Genesis 1.
or Baptism into Baal
Then you shall say to Pharaoh,
‘Thus says the Lord,
Israel is my firstborn son,
and I say to you,
“Let my son go that he may serve me.”
If you refuse to let him go,
I will kill your firstborn son.’”
My Federal Vision friends believe baptism is an important subject, from both theological and pastoral points of view. I agree, but for me it is also an issue of aesthetics. The Bible has a wonderfully consistent internal logic, and paedobaptism crunches the gears at every turn.
Peter Leithart just posted something concerning baptism, and it’s worth answering, not only “because somebody on the internet is wrong,” but also because it is an issue I’ve just finished dealing with in The Shape of Galatians. It should be noted that Trinity House is hosting some lectures on sacraments by a baptist, so Dr Leithart and his colleagues have a spirit that should be imitated by theologians everywhere. My own posts here are always bait in the hope of a bite, a friendly disputatio, so don’t take them the wrong way. If a friend has soup on his tie, or wax in his ear, or a fertility rite in his sacrament, what sort of friend isn’t going to point it out!?
or Semina Divina
And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” (Mark 5:30)
We aren’t told in Genesis 9 what Ham’s intention was when he “uncovered” his father, Noah. Peter Leithart and James Jordan both present some fascinating insights (which differ from each other), but perhaps there is a solution elsewhere in Genesis, which, combined with both these possibilities, offers something new.
Born from Above
I’m currently working hard on Bible Matrix III: The House of God. This third volume is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. It really is. Being so engrossed in the shape and processes of the Bible (yes, even more than usual), it has struck me how foreign the various theological schools’ thinking and speech is to the actual text.
The debates about “Pauline Theology” are the perfect example, especially the focus on narrow (yet important) topics such as justification. An academic divides and redivides the text in the way an expert in any science overspecializes. He ends up knowing everything about nothing. After spending a few hours each day wandering and describing the halls of biblical architecture, I am more convinced than ever that the only way to fully understand Scripture is architecturally. This is because, for our glorious God, architecture is ethics, and ethics is architecture. Divorced from the biblical mud map, the Edenic grid, modern theologians are discussing less than a dim distorted reflection of the book God has given us. They are feeling their way around the house with their eyes shut. Continue reading
And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed… Blessed…”
Part 1 is here.
From the mouth of God, (Initiation)
Adam received a natural breath (Delegation)
that he might tend to natural things. (Presentation – priesthood)
He then received spiritual words (the Law). (Purification – kinghood)
He was to repeat these spiritual words (Transformation – prophethood)
that he might receive spiritual (ethical) breath (Vindication)
and become himself the source of spiritual words. (Representation)
“The Spirit consistently puts earthly Succession to death, dividing families, communities and entire countries, as we see today. To claim otherwise is to work against the Spirit in the world. My heredity, my household, my culture, is the target of my ministry, not its source.”
It’s time to get back into Galatians. To recap, the epistle follows the Covenant structure, but gives the central point, the Ethics, its own Covenant structure. If this thesis is correct, what we should expect in the next “cycle” (Gal. 3:26-4:7) is a discussion of Covenant Succession. Lo and behold, this is exactly what we find.
And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained upon him.” (John 1:32)
“Efficacious paedobaptism is maintained at the tragic cost of the efficacious work of the Spirit…”
Chapter 1 continued
See the Baptism links page for all articles in this series.
Dr Leithart says that the sign of baptism is not merely symbolic of a personal encounter with God, but is actually the personal encounter. I concluded, based on the process of maturity found throughout Scripture, that although his observation is correct as far as it goes, what he has observed goes even deeper. “The sign” is not merely the baptism, but actually includes the human being in personal relationship with God. The one being baptized is the sign, and the sign is ethical maturity.
“The promise and the law are the two goats on the Day of Atonement.”
The Blessings of Abraham and the Curses of Moses
This is the fourth cycle within the “Numbers” section of Galatians. Since the next section concerns the Christians’ identity as sons of Abraham (Succession), this cycle seems to correspond to New Covenant Sanctions. I’ll take a risk and outline the epistle as I see it so far, so you can keep a handle on it. (The headings for the sections we have already covered are links to the relevant blog posts.)