Critics of 1689 Federalism often caricature baptists as claiming to know who the elect are. This does not follow from any 1689 Federalism belief. We agree with the reformed “judgment of charity.” Based upon a credible profession of faith, we judge (with charity) a person to be saved. The only difference is that we do not believe that being born to a professing parent is sufficient warrant to charitably judge a person to be saved.
The following is a rather revealing Twitter conversation demonstrating 1) that there is nothing radical about baptists on this point, and 2) that some (many?) paedobaptists haven’t really thought through this issue.
AKA: Why I am not a baptist.
Notice in the final row where Denault explains the need to discern who is in the invis church to identify the visible. This isn’t a strawman
The chart says that the visible church is identified by a credible profession of faith, that’s not how reformed identify the visible church.
Maybe you can tell me what you aren’t getting.
Everything you’ve said in the above replies. How do you think the reformed identify the visible church?
via baptism, WCF 28.1 “Baptism is …not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible church”
How do you understand WCF 25.2?
I’d have to look at what they intended by it, but I assume “professing christian” would include baptised.
What role does a credible profession of faith play, in your understanding?
It wouldn’t make sense to baptize someone into the church who has no real interest in joining.
So credible profession just means “Wants to join the church”?
“just means” sounds like it’s trying to make church membership into a small thing.
What is required for someone to be a communicant member?
For someone to be made a communicant member they have to publicly profess their faith and be baptized.
OPC DPW IV.B.1 says they must “give evidence of conscious saving faith in Christ.” Do you agree?
Ah, you’re talking about someone who is already a member. Yes, but this wouldn’t make them any less a church member.
It’s a protection against judgement for misusing the supper.
How does it protect? What would be misuse?
Eating or drinking without discerning the body, because of sin.
Sin in this instance would be lack of saving faith?
that could be an example, though I don’t think it’s the only one.
Does the public reception into full communion entail a judgment of charity that the person has “conscious saving faith in Christ”?
I think that’s fair, otherwise, what’s the point of fencing the table
Does making said judgment of charity require “regeneration goggles”?
non communicant members are still church members, the assumption is still that they are church members…
…but that they have some sin that requires repentance. The Q isn’t about regeneration. The only time it /might/ be is excommunication.
Does judging a person to have saving faith mean judging that they are regenerate?
It seems to me this is exactly the problem I was pointing out, you really want this to be about something invisible, and behind the scenes.
I’m saying that it isn’t, and a judgment of charity is exactly the kind of thing you use when you *don’t* know.
Ben, I honestly think you’re unnecessarily pushing yourself into a weird corner in this thread, becoming a polar opposite without good cause
Maybe so, my original point was, and remains that trying to ‘see’ the invisible church to identify the visible isn’t helpful.
I guess I’d just say I find that argument (baps try to see invis church) a straw man, realizing you wouldn’t agree.
Reconstructing the vis kirk w/ infant inclusion as primary deconstructs the system & is source of unnecessary polarizing to ur own hurt.
Would you say that Ref/Pres do the same thing, but just with different standards for ‘reason to believe’?
I received no reply to the last question, so I asked it again 2 days later.
I received no reply, so I asked again 2 days later. And again 2 days after that. I asked 4 times over the course of a week and was never given a reply.
Note this statement from an 1857 issue of the Princeton Review
And this statement from Hodge in an 1858 Princeton Review.
In sum, there is nothing radical about 1689 Federalism’s view of church membership.
For more on this, see
- The Evolution of Reformed Paedobaptism explains changing views amongst Presbyterians on what membership in the visible church implies
- Church Membership: De Jure or De Facto? explains the 1689 Federalism view of the visible church in detail
- Who Should Be Baptized – Professors or Believers?