The biblical and Reformed view can be stated quite simply: God promised to be a God to believers and to their children. He gave a sign to Abraham to illustrate that promise and he repeated the promise in the New Testament and gave a new sign to illustrate that promise. That is fifty-two words. Why then did it take fifteen-podcast episodes to explain it?
Yesterday someone commented on one of the BigSocialMedia platforms that the Heidelcast series, “I Will Be A God To You And To Your Children” helped them to understand and accept infant baptism (paedobaptism) as the biblical position. Someone else objected, in effect, that any position that requires such an extensive defense is probably not true. In North America (and perhaps in other contexts) it does take some time to explain and defend the biblical and historic Reformed theology, piety, and practice of infant baptism. The Heidelcast series is in fifteen parts. Why does it take so long to explain and defend infant baptism? If it is true, should we not be able to explain and defend it more briefly?
In fact, the biblical and Reformed view can be stated quite simply:
God promised to be a God to believers and to their children. He gave a sign to Abraham to illustrate that promise and he repeated the promise in the New Testament and gave a new sign to illustrate that promise.
That is fifty-two words. Why then did it take fifteen-podcast episodes to explain it? We should ask those who have listened to the series two and three times. Why was it necessary for them to hear repeatedly such a simple view explained? Because most evangelical Christians in North America (especially in the USA) come from a background which does not accept the premise that the promise God made to Abraham in Genesis 17:7 is still in effect and that therefore the signs that God gave (circumcision and baptism) illustrate the same promise. They have been taught a completely different story and way to understand the Scriptures.
The Discontinuity Stories
Many Christians have been taught that there were seven different dispensations in the history of salvation. Some who have been taught that have even been taught there were different ways of salvation under each dispensation. Others have been taught that the Old Testament and the Old Covenant are the same thing, that Moses and Abraham are essentially identical periods in every respect so that when the Mosaic types and shadows were fulfilled at the cross and done away with so too all the promises given to Abraham expired as well. In short, most American evangelicals have been taught that the Old Testament was entirely then and the New Testament is now and the two have very little to do with each other. A fair percentage of those evangelicals are likely unaware that God made a promise to Abraham to be a God to believers and to their children nor are they aware that the Apostle Peter repeated that promise in Acts 2:39. They are mostly unaware that the Apostle Paul teaches explicitly in Romans 4 that New Testament believers are Abraham’s children (even though they may have sung the Sunday School song, “Father Abraham had many sons”).