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Doctrines of Grace and Infant Baptism

Mr. Bluedorn,

We are Christians who plan on homeschooling our three children. We are enjoying your book Teaching the Trivium tremendously. At the same time, we are trying to settle into a church since moving to Minnesota. We go to a fine presbyterian church because of the doctrines of grace, but are not sold on infant baptism. Your twitter page states you endorse the doctrines of grace, but this clip below from your doctrine page seems much different. Can you explain?

“10. Sanctification and Assurance
Those who are surely saved are also surely sanctified and eventually become fruitful in the knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord. Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone apart from self-generated or meritorious works, yet genuine saving faith is never alone, but is always accompanied by productive or fruitful works. Though works are never a cause of boast or merit before God, yet before man, faith is dead if it is not accompanied by corroborating works. Assurance of salvation comes only in the way of an obedient response to and a continuous walk in the particular call and command of the Gospel – let those who hunger and thirst for righteousness come to Christ and be satisfied. No man can have assurance of his own salvation, and others can have no assurance of that man’s salvation, if that man walks steadily in the way of outward and observable sin and without the Lord’s chastisement and correction.”

Lastly, will you share your denomination affiliation, if any, and why?

Thankful for your labors-

J. R.

Dear Mrs R..,

Yes, we agree fully with all five points of the doctrine of grace. (If we use the singular “doctrine” we stress that it is all one doctrine not five.) The clip you quote is more about sanctification and assurance, and it is standard “Reformed” “Calvinistic” or “Sovereign Grace” doctrine.

Perhaps if I restate things a different way it will help remove whatever difficulty you might find in the paragraph.

Salvation is the gift of God. Nobody gains salvation by his own works — not even the works of repentance and faith, because these also are gifts which God grants only to those whom He saves — you could say these gifts come in the way of their salvation. They are given faith to believe in the salvation which has been provided for them in Christ

When God regenerates a person, his renewed heart, enlightened mind, and awakened conscience cause him to begin to see everything differently. He is irresistiably and inevitably driven and drawn toward faith and repentance, and eventually this faith and repentance emerges in the form of a full conversion. Regeneration is immediate – we are given a new nature, a new heart. Conversion is a process — the new nature works to break through the the old nature. Nobody knows the time span between initial regeneration and full conversion. With some, their conversion is so sudden that it seems like the time span must have been almost instantaneous. With others, the time span may be long. If Paul’s kicking against the goads was during the time span of conversion, then he apparently was still delivering Christians to death while his carnal nature was resisting against his renewed nature. A special intervention by the Lord Himself was used to bring Paul’s regeneration to the point of full conversion — and even then, he was not baptized for several days.

When we reach a point of full conversion — open confession of sin, repentance, and faith — this growth in grace does not just freeze at this point, but it continues to grow, and this is called sanctification. Many persons make a false profession of faith, and sustain this profession by going through motions which mimic repentance and faith, but a false profession of faith cannot be sustained indefinitely, particularly when brought under strong and repeated testing. We all have our moments of stumbling when being tested, but those with genuine faith eventually pull through and they continue on purer and stronger in the faith because of the testing.

Assurance of salvation comes only on the path of continuing repentance and faith. We may for many reasons stumble off that path for a moment or even for a time, but if our faith is genuine, then we will return to that path purer and stronger. While we are off that path, there is reason to doubt what path we belong on. If we are genuinely saved, we cannot lose our salvation, but we can lose our assurance of it. If our faith is genuine, we cannot stay off that path, but we are always driven and drawn back to the only path which brings us comfort, hope, and peace.

Psalm 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.

John 6:68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

We do not affiliate with any denomination. We would agree with much (though not all) of the stuff on this website — not that we follow them, but that we have independently arrived at similar positions.

Nobody ever proves Infant baptism from Scripture, but always from presuppositions. If we accept the presuppositions, then we are driven to accept the conclusion hidden within the presuppositions.

We do not believe the presuppositions of infant baptism are Biblical.

You have probably seen a dot-to-dot drawing where you draw lines between the dots to make a picture. Imagine a page of dots. One person can connect the dots according to a presupposed picture in his mind. Someone else can connect the same dots according to a different presupposed picture in his mind. The dots are real — nobody doubts the dots. It’s the connections which are in question. Which of the pictures is correct? Do we choose according to which picture we prefer? No, we rigorously discern the numbers and trace out the picture. When we did this, we found ourselves disagreeing with the picture (presuppositions) of covenant theology and infant baptism.

I hope this helps you in some way. Feel free to write again if you need more clarification.


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