An unusual post...well at least for me. You see I typically do not post about faith matters because, well I just don't. Ryan and I have dove into the study of covenant theology for the past two years. It all started because Ryan's Brother's family are Presbyterians and as we got together little things would come up as we spoke about the Lord. We didn't really understand how to defend ourselves as Baptists if we didn't understand Presbyterians. So we started studying to find out why they believed what they believed and we were almost certain that we would find a great defense for ourselves as Baptists. We thought there would be scripture that would give us one of those "ah-ha" moments. Well actually the opposite happened. We were unable to defend ourselves with the scriptures (as Baptists) and began to see the bible in a different way. Baptist typically separate the bible out, Old and New. Well we began to see the relationship between the two books and how the new was just a continuation of the old. Many things changed, but NOTHING was taken away without something replacing it. We eventually decided to start our search for a reformed Presbyterian Church which brought us to Covenant Presbyterian Church of Oak Ridge. We have gleaned so much from the pastor, people and Sunday schools.
Right now the boys are officially in separate aged classes. Each week they tell us lessons they learned, songs they sung and projects they made. They ALWAYS come home with a project of some sort.
Ryan and I are taking the new members class and have enjoyed learning about the national church, the individual church and their doctrine and theology. This past week we really dove into covenant theology (well I did...Ryan had to do mandatory overtime :( ). It was just such a great lesson and I learned and took LOTS of notes that I shared with Ryan.
An overview of what we have learned of covenant theology is:
1. We believe the church is made up of the believers and their household (including all children in the home). (Gen. 17:9, Jer 3:39, IS 55:1-5, Acts 2:38-39)
2. We believe that the covenant expanded into one another.
(Adamic Covenant, Noahic Covenant, Mosaic Covenant, Abrahamic Covenant & Christ Covenant--Most people admit they see how the first 4 expanded into one another, but draw a line after Abraham, separating that covenant from the last.)
3. We believe the household should be baptised one time only. God keeps his promise whether you make a promise to him before you become a believer or not. Infants are to be baptised because they are part of the household, just as infant boys were circumcised in the Abrahamic Covenant. The sign changed but the meaning did not, just as Christ death replaced animal sacrifice, baptism replaced circumcision.
4. We do not believe that baptism saves a person, but that it is a sign of what God promised to his people...not just to the Israelites.
5. We believe that in the OT circumcision signified membership in the church and in the NT Baptism signies church membership. Consider Ishmael and Esau. (Acts 2:39, 16:14-15)
6. We believe that "sign" means:
Engagement to Christ (Rom 6:1-5)
Symbolical of washing away sins (Acts 2:38-39, 22:16, Titus 3:5)
Regeneration by the Holy Spirit(Titus 3:5)
Relationship to the Church (Matt 28:19-20)
In side notes, the word covenant is used 300+ times in the bible. By baptising our children we signify that we believe God holds to His covenants/promises to His people that one day our children may be followers of Him. If we don't believe in covenant, then we don't believe our children are God's people. God classifies His people two ways, 1) the wicked that He hates and 2) His people He loves. Teaching our children songs such as "Jesus Loves Me" and scripture like the Lord's prayer would be a lie if we didn't believe covenant theology. Jesus does not love the lost or presumed lost and the lost do not consider God their Father in Heaven.
These are just a few of our points and things we have learned. It is very expansive and has taken us nearly 2 years to get where we are and we still have a long was of learning more about this topic. Just wanted to share with those who DO read this (which I am sure are very few) what we believe and why we believe it.