No Proof of Paedobaptism: An Evaluation of Jared Oliphint’s post “Not Your Average Paedobaptism”

Over at Founders Ministries’ THE BLOG, Pastor Tom Hicks writes:

Pastor Tom Hicks
Pastor Tom Hicks

Jared Oliphint recently wrote an article for the Gospel Coalition in which he made a case for infant baptism on the basis of the distinction between the internal and external aspects of the covenant (Berkhof calls this the “dual aspect” of the covenant of grace). Oliphint argues that the new covenant is breakable, and that understanding the allegedly breakable nature of the new covenant helps make sense of infant baptism. I’m going to show you why Oliphint’s argument is unconvincing to this Reformed Baptist.

1. Oliphint says the new covenant is a mixed body.

The bulk of Oliphint’s case for infant baptism rests on the argument that the new covenant is a mixed body of believers and unbelievers. He makes this argument from Hebrews 10:26-30 and John 15:1-6…

2. I say the new covenant is a pure believers covenant.

Though theoretically a Reformed Baptist might grant Oliphint’s point about the mixed nature of the new covenant, that is not my position, nor is it the historic Baptist position. The reason is purely exegetical. Let’s look a little more closely at the two passages Oliphint provides in support of his position…

[K]ey to Oliphint’s argument for a mixed new covenant of believers and unbelievers is found in Hebrews 10:29, “How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified and has outraged the Spirit of grace.” Oliphint argues that this describes someone who was truly in the new covenant, sanctified by its blood, but who later fell away from the covenant, rejected Christ and came under His wrath

infant paedo baptismThere are two serious problems with Oliphint’s interpretation:

1. It proves too much. Does Oliphint really believe that all baptized infants and unbelievers in the covenant are “sanctified” (v. 29) by the blood of the covenant? What about the Reformed doctrine of definite/effectual atonement? Does Christ’s blood sanctify unbelievers? Is Oliphint advocating a kind of limited Arminianism? What about the teaching in the book of Hebrews, just one chapter earlier, that Christ’s blood is effectual to save? It says that Jesus died, “securing an eternal redemption” (Heb 9:12). His blood “secures” or renders certain, an “eternal,” permanent, “redemption” by which Christ has bought liberty for all His covenant people. Hebrews also says, “A death has occurred that redeems” (Heb 9:15). This doesn’t say His blood potentially redeems, or makes redemption possible. It says that Christ’s blood actually redeems! Hebrews tells us that Jesus “sat down” in the courts of heaven because there is no more work for Him to do! His blood made complete “purification for sins” (Heb 1:3), securing perfect redemption. Oliphint’s exegesis seems to entail a weakening of the nature of the atonement and a broadening of the extent of the atonement.

2. It assumes too much…

3. The lack of a case for infant baptism

Read “No Proof of Paedobaptism: An Evaluation of Jared Oliphint’s post “Not Your Average Paedobaptism”.

You may also be interested in Brandon Adams’ response to the same post.

One Reply to “No Proof of Paedobaptism: An Evaluation of Jared Oliphint’s post “Not Your Average Paedobaptism””

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *