“From Circumcision to Baptism: A Baptist Covenantal Rejoinder to John Calvin” by Greg Welty [PDF]

This is the PDF booklet that Junior mentioned on yesterday’s Dunker Bunker. Below is the Intro and outline:

“From Circumcision to Baptism: A Baptist Covenantal Rejoinder to John Calvin,”

A White Paper Published by the Center for Theological Research (June 2006), Malcolm B. Yarnell, Director.

Greg Welty
Greg Welty


Calvin’s argument for infant baptism (which has become the standard justification for the practice in Reformed paedobaptist churches) applies to the church God’s command that Abraham circumcise his household, and appeals to the New Testament  analogy between circumcision and baptism as a strong confirmation of this application.  


In this paper I argue that Calvin (and his Reformed paedobaptist heirs) misapplies the command and misconstrues the analogy. In fact, the biblical material to which Calvin appeals provides significant reason to reject infant baptism and embrace its alternative: believers’ baptism. I close by noting some advantages of the believers’ baptism view.


  • I. Calvin’s Two Main Assumptions 
    • A. The baptism/circumcision analogy
    • B. The command to Abraham
  • II. Calvin’s First Assumption Examined: The Baptism/Circumcision Analogy
    • A. Even paedobaptists recognize that fundamental continuity is compatible with
      significant discontinuity
    • B. Romans 4:11 does not teach what paedobaptists want it to teach
    • C. A refutation from logical analogy: even if baptism and circumcision do
      overlap in meaning, this offers no safe inference to paedobaptism
  • III. Calvin’s Second Assumption Examined: The Command to Abraham
    • A. The continuity with the Abrahamic Covenant
    • B. The obsolescence of the Abrahamic command
    • C. Calvin’s reply considered
  • IV. Some Advantages of the Believers’ Baptism View
    • A. Believers’ baptism is supported by a proper construal of the parallel between circumcision and baptism
    • B. Believers’ baptism explains why there was a transition from circumcision to baptism at all, whereas the paedobaptist view leaves this a complete mystery
  • V. Conclusion

21 Page PDF [alt | alt]:

Download (PDF, 227KB)


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