From the Teacher…
Thanks for your questions. Let me respond.
1. Your physical spiritual distinction is not valid. God gave “signs and seals” in the OT, as Paul points out, and circumcision was one. It is true these had a “physical” aspect to them but that is true in the OT as it is in the NT. Adultery was always spiritual and physical. Jesus is teaching the Pharisees this very point. It was not that they were right according to OT and now a NT reality had extended things, but rather that the Pharisees ought to have seen that the Law was spiritual and always extended to the inner reality. Thus your difficulty here is only apparent and not real.
2. On Luke 18.16 where mothers brought infants to be blessed “touched” by Jesus it is plain these were women with faith in Jesus to bless. That is not through any filter of prior belief it is simply there. They came to Jesus. They came with a view of him that meant they BELIEVED HE HAD SOMETHING VALUABLE TO GIVE THEIR INFANTS. So they bring them to him. This is indisputable. It is the picture of believers bringing their infants to Christ for the blessing. Thus again your difficulty is only apparent and not real.
3. You are wrong on your understanding on infants place before God. All infants may not be God’s though there is evidence to suggest that David’s was. You say “all infants, both those of believers and non-believers belong to the kingdom of heaven” and this you say is because they have not “reached an age to consciously rebel against God”. The fact is that all infants and adults deserve no heaven as we all died in Adam. Paul discusses this in Romans 9 where he spells out that God “hated” Esau when he had done no personal wrong. The message there is that God views us all fallen in Adam and so ‘hateful’ until we are viewed in Christ and in him we are accepted. John’s baptism was about repentance and this means that its message was one of cleansing from defilement of sin. This is the message of cleansing of which water baptism speaks. Thus again your difficulty is only apparent and not real.
4. As to immersion as the mode of Christian water baptism I say again this is not the case. There is not a single example of immersion in the Word of God of immersion as the mode of baptism. I showed you before that the Baptist called the event of Pentecost and the giving of the Spirit a baptism AND THERE NO ONE WAS IMMERSED. This is indisputable evidence that the word baptidzo is NOT USED to mean immerse THOUGH ITS ETYMOLOGY is originally this. It is not the meaning of a word that matters so much as HOW HAS GOD USED IT. The Baptist theology is based on ignorance as I said in my last message; and this is so sad.
5. I am not aware that the KJV translators would not translate baptidzo “immerse” due to offending the church of the time. It is unimportant anyway as we can see by biblical examples that the word is NOT USED ALWAYS TO MEAN IMMERSE. That ends the Baptist brethren’s argument.
Oh to have a deeper understanding of these issues! I cannot, no, cannot accept point three without further explanation and discussion. God is just, and yet He is also merciful. If infants cannot be saved until they are “viewed in Christ”, then how does that happen, if there is no claim to regeneration through infant baptism? Surely God would be a monster of the worst kind, if all infants perished simply because they never attained an age to understand saving grace. That can’t be what he means. More things to ask I suppose…….