Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Children of promise

I've struggled for years to succinctly describe how the reformed faith views covenant children. Some misunderstand us to think that by baptizing our infants we must think they are saved. Others think that we should consider them lost until we hear a profession of faith. Still others misunderstand the efficacy of baptism itself, thinking that it regenerates them.

Here is the best short summary of the reformed view of covenant children that I've seen.

There is no ground in the promise of the covenant either for presumption that all baptized children are regenerate (or united to Christ) or for the presumption that covenant children are reprobates until they prove otherwise. We are to treat our children as baptized persons, to whom promises have been made. We should expect our covenant children to take up Christ's benefits for themselves, sola fide. We must catechize them faithfully and encourage them to make profession of faith and to come to the Lord's Table, and if they do not, they should face ecclesiastical discipline.

Baptism and the Benefits of Christ, R. Scott Clark, published in The Confessional Presbyterian, 2006


R. Scott Clark said...

Hi Tim,

Thanks for this.

There is also a popular booklet that goes through some of the same material:



heidelblog said...

Link didn't work. It's available at the WSC Bookstore:

Baptism, Election, and the Covenant of Grace


Tim said...

Thanks, Dr Clark, for the link.

This article also helped me better understand baptism as a seal; I appreciate that.