Over at Beggars All, I'm discussing a bit with one Brigitte, who is a conservative Lutheran. She is apparently of the persuasion that Baptism is Gospel. "God is favorably disposed towards you."
I beg to differ, to be sure. I paste here our conversation so far.
All my children and god-children learned to sing this short verse from little up: "I was baptized happy day. All my sins were washed away. God looked down on me and smiled. I became his own dear child." Which is a proclamation of good news to each every time. Romans 1:16. This is most certainly true.
Unless of course they aren't believers, in which case their sins are very much on them. And that song becomes a terrible curse.
What a wonderful thing to tell little children in your care about Jesus.
Tbh, I'd prefer just to tell them the Law and the Gospel. Not false hope.
Baptism is Gospel. "God is favorably disposed towards you." Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them. It is so simple. How shall they believe if they have not heard.
Gospel is Gospel. Baptism is baptism. It honestly really scares me when people talk like you're talking.
Baptism does not communicate that God is favorably disposed toward anyone. Regeneration does. They are not the same, and one can be present without the other.
Rhology, this is a very important question. Is what I say scary or what you say scary? And does God want you to trust him or not?
He does want you to trust him and this is the most important thing in the world. He is our good Father in heaven. Baptism is one more way he tells us. A pledge and promise and seal to his word. It would be immeasurably wrong to doubt him.
What is the worst thing that could happen if someone believed that God is favorably disposed to them? They might believe.
What you say is scary, because you're equating something one does (baptism) with the Gospel. Doesn't get a whole lot scarier than that.
Yes, God wants me to trust Him. The regenerate man can trust Him to bring him safely to glory. The unregenerate man needs the Law and the Gospel, not false talk about how baptism did something for him.
Baptism is one way He tells US, yes, but not the unregenerate. So the focus needs to be on the SOUL, not the BAPTISM.
No, the worst thing that could happen to someone falsely believing that God is favorably disposed toward them is that they may well go to Hell and be sorta surprised when they get there. Kind of like a huge horde of "good people" Americans. Preach the Gospel to your godchildren! Not baptism; baptism is for later.
Rhology, can you tell me how you would word the Gospel, as not to mislead anyone into believing that God is favorably disposed toward them when he is really proposing to damn them? What would you actually say to them?
And what would you tell them about their baptism, past or future? What would you actually say? How is anyone supposed to believe that God is good? How would you inculcate this message? How would you teach a child that God is their dear Father in heaven of whom they should ask all things that they need?
can you tell me how you would word the Gospel, as not to mislead anyone into believing that God is favorably disposed toward them when he is really proposing to damn them?
Strictly speaking, the Gospel isn't exactly that which is the persuasive power pertaining to God being DISfavorably disposed to the unregenerate - that's the Law.
So I share the Law AND the Gospel, the Law being a measurement of the person up against the 2 greatest commandments and getting into specific outgrowths thereof, and the Gospel being 1 Cor 15:
3For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 7then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; 8and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.
The "died for our sins" is very important and usually needs to be unpacked so that it's not misunderstood. That means that Jesus took the punishment you deserve b/c of your sin. It means He gives you His righteousness, by virtue of His sinless birth and sinless life and His divine nature. It means God sees you as He sees Jesus, that you're clothed in an alien righteousness. And by virtue of His rising from the dead, He grants eternal life.
All this is obtained by repentance and faith. Adding any work to it (circumcision, baptism, penance, Mass) empties it of its power and results in trust in something other than Christ alone for salvation from sin and death.
what would you tell them about their baptism, past or future?
I suspect I may differ with my Presbyterian brethren here, so with that understood, I'd tell them that any past baptism was performed on an enemy of God and that disciples of Jesus need to be baptised. It's not optional; true believers get baptised.
It's the same thing Jesus said in Matthew 28:19-20 - go into all the world and make disciples, baptising them. When I meet a disciple or someone gets saved (thus becoming a Christian and becoming a ready-to-be-discipled disciple), I tell them that pretty much the 1st step of obedience to Jesus is baptism. After all, Jesus didn't say "go into all the world and baptise people and then pray that they become disciples later on".
How is anyone supposed to believe that God is good?
I'm sorry, but I think there is some disconnect here, or perhaps you're really really emotionally involved in this baptism question.
You really think it's in question how a Reformed Baptist would be able to consistently tell someone how God is good? Creation, the giving of Jesus Christ, His death on the cross, eternal life offered as a free gift, the Holy Spirit' indwelling, none of that has any bearing on whether God is good if it's not true that we can tell children that God is favorably disposed to them b/c they were dipped in water as babies? Really?
How would you teach a child that God is their dear Father in heaven of whom they should ask all things that they need?
I know for certain that giving them false assurance that getting dipped in water as a baby somehow nullifies the fact that they were born into sin and the Fall and that they actively live as active enemies of God.
What I *would* teach them (and indeed, what I *do* teach my kids) is that Jesus died for sin, the just for the unjust, in order to bring us to God. That they are sinners. That Jesus will forgive and give eternal life and that they must trust Him alone for such.
How is your formula superior to this, the pure and unmixed Gospel?