Interview #20: Jeff Johnson – The Fatal Flaw of the Theology Behind Infant Baptism (2 of 2) + More


On episode 20 of our podcast, we got Brandon Adams to interview Jeff Johnson about his book The Fatal Flaw of the Theology Behind Infant BaptismThis is part two of a two part interview (here is part 1.)

After that, we have Dr. James Renihan on our “Ask a Reformed Baptist” segment. We talk about some Reformed Baptist headlines (with our SPECIAL GUEST!) and give you a preview of next week’s episode featuring Richard Barcellos telling us about Reformed Baptist Academic Press.


The Fatal Flaw

THE FATAL FLAW of the Theology Behind Infant Baptism
by Jeffrey Johnson
[Book currently 50% off at Solid Ground!]

Books & Sites Mentioned:

Headlines Mentioned:

Sponsor: – A wiki dedicated to the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith, commonly called the 1689, and theology in accordance with the doctrines contained therein.

Post-Interview Music:

Not What My Hands Have Done on For All The Saints by Indelible Grace Music [Taylor Sorensen]

  • Jason Delgado

    So there is a spectrum even withing “1689 Federlism”? (i.e. what the Mosaic Covenant promised… temporal or eternal life?)

    • Patrick T. McWilliams

      Spoilers! I just started listening! :P

      • Jason Delgado

        haha oops!

    • Rich Barcellos

      Jason, what do you mean by 1689 Federalism? The site (i.e., its contributors)? The PBs of the late 17th century? Other?

      • Jason Delgado

        All the above, including Jeff Johnson

        • Rich Barcellos

          as to 1. the site contributors we are one with Owen; 2. as to the 17th century PBs, ask Sam. 3. as to other, ask them
          The covenant of works was made with Adam as a public person (i.e., a federal head) and sinless image bearer. Our only hope is for another Adam. Christ is another Adam. Ergo, Christ is our only hope. The promise of eschatological life upon obedience is for a sinless federal head to attain for others. There is no other way.

          • Jeffrey Johnson

            I agree with this above statement by Richard. The Mosaic Covenant was not intended to provide eternal life (by the works of the law) for the fallen sinners. But, our federal head (Christ Jesus) did obey the Law of Moses and brought eternal life for all who believe. For Old Testament Israel, the Mosaic Covenant was merely temporal and typological, but Christ, who fulfilled the Mosaic Covenant, brought the eternal and spiritual promises to all who believe.

    • Brandon Adams

      Sam comments on this in the republication post from a couple of weeks ago:

      While the majority of Particular Baptists agree that the Mosaic Covenant is a Covenant of Works, how it relates to the original Covenant of Works varies in their thought. Some state in the strongest terms that it IS the original Covenant of Works reapplied to Israel. That would make eternal life possible through the Mosaic Covenant itself, a point that Coxe and Owen would have disagreed with (and I disagree there too). Coxe makes a brief but helpful comment here:

      I’m writing up some notes to perhaps clarify…

      • Jason Delgado

        Look forward to it… I’m very glad we decided to get you on as host for this one… you plus Jeff Johnson on this stuff was very helpful to me in a lot of areas. On that note, been a group of guys that have become interested in this topic and want to read through the Coxe/Owen volume together… do you know any resources that may help us on that. From what I’ve heard of the book I with there was a study guide of some sort :D

        • Brandon Adams

          Thanks for the opportunity Jason – I really enjoyed it and am very thankful for Jeff’s thoughts.

          As for resources for Coxe/Owen, the only thing I can suggest is this outline for Owen:

          I started doing the same thing for Coxe, but I don’t know how soon I’ll be able to finish that

          • Rich Barcellos

            there is a brief outline of Coxe in the Coxe/Owen book

    • Brandon Adams
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  • 1689reformedbaptist

    Great podcast, I appreciate all of the resources that have been mentioned in the last few podcasts such as Petto and others; I still have a lot of reading to do to in understanding the various nuanced views of covenant theology. I look forward to reading Jeffrey Johnson’s book when it comes out to see a reformed baptist biblical theology, and how the covenant motif within the framework of a confessional 1689 view rather than paedobaptist view can address the synchronic vs. diachronic issue in developing a biblical theology and respond to the common objection that utilizing covenant as a motif for biblical theology assumes a synchronic approach to biblical theology. Also thanks for recommending my blog.

  • Brandon Adams

    I forgot to mention it in the podcast, but Mark Karlberg (a paedobaptist) notes:

    Murray’s interpretation of the Mosaic covenant marks a dead-end, the end of the line in English-Puritan interpretation. His position is exegetically and theologically untenable.

    In other words, he believes Murray brought the WCF line of thinking of the Mosaic Covenant to its logical conclusion, and it is a dead-end.

    • Jason Delgado

      That part is in there (around the 31:40 mark)

      • Rich Barcellos

        I agree with Jason.

        • Brandon Adams

          How could I have known that if I’ve only made it to 30:06? Maybe I shouldn’t be doing this while I’m sick

          • Jason Delgado

            oh you’ve only made it that far… well you are in for some surprises :D

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  • Jonathan Tomes

    Both episodes on this subject were incredibly helpful. I do wonder about Johnson’s position on the Exile. He wants to say more than that the Mosaic Covenant was only temporal in orientation. How does this work with the presence of visible Saints who were carried off into exile? The mixed nature of Israel and the corporate nature of the curses leads me to the position that the Mosaic Covenant is only temporal and typological. Or at least that it is temporal for Israel, and for Jesus it is physical and spiritual. In that regard, the Mosaic Covenant is temporal and parenthetical.