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children -the saved church. Once this is understood, the confusion disappears.

The language in the baptism form does not refer to every child being baptized as being saved any more than the marriage form means that all those who are married are saved when it states, "considering that ye are joint heirs of the grace of life, that your prayers be not hindered"; or that the Form of Excommunication means that all church members are saved persons because it declares, "In the meantime let everyone take warning by this and such like examples; to fear the Lord, and diligently take heed unto himself, If he thinketh he standeth, lest he fall; but having true fellowship with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, together with all faithful Christians, remain steadfast therein to the end, and so obtain eternal salvation"; or that all who hear the Heidelberg Catechism preached are saved because it begins, "What is thy only comfort in life and death? That I with my body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ." All of the Reformed church forms, including the baptism form, use Church Invisible language.

    The baptism form is divided into three sections:

      a. Introduction

      b. Infant baptism section

      c. Adult baptism section

The introduction informs us that no one other than the regenerated can experience the communion testified of further in the form when it states in its opening words, "The principal parts of the doctrine of Holy Baptism are these three: First. That we with our children are conceived and born in sin, and therefore are children of wrath, in so much that we cannot enter into the kingdom of God, except we are born again."

Further, the introduction's "three principal parts of the doctrine of Holy Baptism"that are listed and explained are misery, deliverance, and thankfulness -the three scriptural marks experienced in true conversion.

After understanding that the language used in the baptism form is from the essence of God's Church and covenant, a person might still ask, "Why is this form read then when every child is baptized in the Church Visible, for not every child belongs, or will belong to, the Church Invisible?"

Why is it wise to have official church language reflect the Church Invisible rather than Visible?




Read the language Paul uses when addressings his epistles to the various congregations. Does he use Church Visible or Church Invisible language? Does this support or contradict our forefather's use of language when writing our doctrinal standards and liturgical forms? Why?


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