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The Baptism of Disciples Alone: A Covenantal…
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The Baptism of Disciples Alone: A Covenantal Argument for Credobaptism… (edició 2003)

de Fred A. Malone

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A Covenantal argument for believer's baptism versus paedobaptism.
Títol:The Baptism of Disciples Alone: A Covenantal Argument for Credobaptism Versus Paedobaptism
Autors:Fred A. Malone
Informació:Founders Press (2003), Hardcover
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Etiquetes:theology, ecclesiology, sacraments

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The Baptism of Disciples Alone: A Covenantal Argument for Credobaptism Versus Paedobaptism de Fred A. Malone

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This is from my review here:

Christians live in the constant tension of being in the world but not of it. As a result, the Christian life is an embattled existence. The need to fight against the principalities and rulers of this age can have a wearying effect, and so when Christians are confronted with controversy within the church, it can be easy to become disengaged and disheartened – hence the common, though false, notion that “doctrine divides.” This is why intramural discussions must be conducted in a spirit of love and care, both for truth and for the person on the other side of an issue. Fred Malone, in his book The Baptism of Disciples Alone, is a model for Christians to imitate on how to disagree with brothers and sisters in Christ while maintaining charity and compassion. This book is an encouragement first of all to Baptists who are reminded that to adopt the nomenclature “Reformed” is not a contradiction and it is an encouragement to Christians everywhere who are given the opportunity to catch a vision of what it means to speak the truth in love.

Fred Malone is uniquely gifted to write this book. His journey has been famously catalogued in the little booklet A String of Pearls Unstrung. His newer, fuller work, The Baptism of Disciples Alone, is divided into two main sections of fourteen chapters and four appendices. In the first section Malone evaluates the hermeneutical presuppositions of paedobaptists using Professor John Murray as a test case relating Murray’s teaching on the Lord’s Supper to baptism. He notes commonalities between credobaptist (i.e. believer’s baptism) and paedobaptist (i.e. infant baptism) principles of interpretation and points out certain inconsistencies in the latter. Probably the most significant of Malone’s arguments in this section has to do with the error held in common by dispensationalists, paedocommunionists, “normative worshippers” and theonomists: namely that the Old Testament has priority over the New when determining Christian doctrine. The latter sections of the second chapter deal decisively with the need to interpret the Old Testament in light of the New. If this principle is followed consistently, then a better foundation is laid for understanding baptism.

The second section moves from hermeneutics to theology and exegesis. Chapters three and four form two parts of one argument regarding covenant theology. As a classic Reformed Baptist, Malone agrees with much of confessional covenant theology. In these chapters he compares credobaptist views of covenant theology with those of paedobaptists and relates a proper understanding of the newness of the new covenant to the Mosaic covenant. Although there are debates within Baptist circles over so-called “New Covenant Theology,” proponents of both views will benefit from Malone’s discussion. He strongly emphasises that the New Covenant is exactly that – “new” – (kainae) and as a result, the Mosaic administration is obsolete (it is strange, however, that at this junction there is no direct discussion of Hebrews 8:13). The blessings of Jeremiah 31:31-34 are “realized blessings,” rendering the practice of baptizing infants ineffectual. This is the crux of the matter between credobaptist and paedobaptist brethren, which Malone understands. He does a good job in defending the Baptist view.

Chapters five through twelve deal with the logical conclusions of the “covenantal Baptist” position as they apply to theological issues such as the relationship between circumcision and baptism, and household baptisms. Malone also answers paedobaptist proof-texts like Acts 2:38-39, 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 and 1 Corinthians 10:1-14. In each case he clearly lays out the paedobaptist position and then offers a credobaptist corrective that this reviewer finds convincing. Broader issues follow these discussions, such as how Jesus viewed children and the relationship between John’s baptism to the baptism Jesus enacted.

Probably the most significant chapter of the whole book is chapter ten, which deals with precepts, arguments from silence and the regulative principle of worship. It is this last point of discussion, the regulative principle, that deals most effectively with the paedobaptist position. As a Reformed Baptist who adheres to the Second London Confession of Faith (1689), Malone shares in the conviction that the only forms of worship that are to be practiced in Christian churches are those that are in accord with what the Scriptures actually teach. It is this “regulative principle,” shared with confessional paedobaptists, that demonstrates the most glaring inconsistency amongst the latter view. Paedobaptism is not prescribed in the New Testament, but if churches are to follow the regulative principle – that teaches that only those things prescribed in the bible are valid forms of worship – then paedobaptism is necessarily excluded. God specifically instituted circumcision in the Old Testament, but only logical inference – which Malone argues is neither “good” or “necessary” – assumes that circumcision is the equivalent to new covenant infant baptism. In Malone’s words: “According to the regulative principle, the only subjects of baptism instituted by Christ and prescribed in Holy Scripture are disciples alone."

Chapter eleven examines the argument of “expanded blessings” to covenant children and chapter twelve is historical, evaluating the Christian tradition and history’s argument from silence. While everything that Malone says regarding history is true, this chapter is a little weak and could be greatly expanded upon. Early church history speaks very clearly to the fact that credobaptism was the dominant and at times only view practiced. For more on this subject, the writings of David F. Wright and Everett Ferguson should be consulted to fill out the picture painted by Malone. It is understandable, in a book that deals with so much, that such topics will be short. But history is important and much more could be said.

Finally, chapters thirteen and fourteen apply what has been discussed to today’s church scene. Malone offers seven reasons why credobaptism is important today, each dealing with the new covenant make-up of the church. He concludes with a postlude on the need to build Baptist churches.

The four appendices are: 1) a reprint of Spurgeon’s chapter on baptism that the great preacher initially appended to Thomas Watson’s A Body of Divinity; 2) a short discussion on the mode of baptism, something not dealt with in the body of the book; 3) a book review of paedobaptist Pierre Marcel’s The Biblical Doctrine of Infant Baptism; and 4) the original, although modernized, version of the Second London Confession’s appendix on baptism published in 1677.

Dr. Malone is to be thanked for the charitable tone that he maintains throughout this book and for the solid biblical and theological arguments that he provides, bolstering the credobaptist cause. Any serious work on baptism must necessarily consult Malone’s work as it resolutely establishes that baptism is for Christ’s disciples alone.

The newest edition can be purchased from Founders Press directly. ( )
  ianclary | Feb 15, 2006 |
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