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Page 424


  • Dilemma -A contradiction with seemingly equal difficulties on either side


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    And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
    And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

    -Matthew 3:9-10

    And I will establish My covenant between Me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.

    . -Genesis 17:7

    For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

    -Acts 2:39

     

      contradict the truth of God's preservation of His saints. This dilemma is produced by the attempt to view baptism, the covenant, and the church only from its internal aspect. In actuality, this view is not possible, for to remain in the inward, saving covenant by faith is impossible for the unregenerate because they are not in a saving relationship with God; and to fall away is impossible for the saved because those in a saving relationship will be preserved in it forever by God Himself. (Acts 16:14-15).

      Finally, this view ascribes remaining in a saving covenant relationship with God to a person's faith instead of God's grace.

    4. Presumptive regenerational baptism -This view believes that children of believers are to be baptized on presupposed grounds of their personal regeneration, presuming that the personal fulfillment of God's promise has taken place in their lives. This belief can be stated as follows: "Whether the children presented for baptism are definitely regenerated. or not no one knows, but since God's covenant continues in the generations, and since God's election generally follows the line of the covenant, one may suppose the children presented for baptism to be regenerated, and on this ground baptize them." The Conclusions of Utrecht (1908), states: "And, finally, as far as the fourth point, that of presumptive regeneration, is concerned, Synod declares that, according to the confession of our churches, the seed of the covenant must, in virtue of the promise of God, be presumed to be regenerated and sanctified in Christ until, as they grow up, the contrary appears from their life and doctrine."

      This view contradicts the following scriptural teachings:

      Persons are not to be viewed as, or presumed to be, regenerate without evidencing the internal-working marks (misery, deliverance, and thankfulness) and the outwardworking fruits (love toward God and others) necessitated by Scripture (Matthew 3:9-10).

      The grounds for baptism is shifted from God to the person being baptized -from God's promise to its presumed fulfill-" ment in the life of the baptized (Genesis 17:7).


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