Theology: May 2005 Archives

I just realized a very interesting consequence of two theses that I'm sure many people hold. The first thesis is the Reformed version of infant baptism. I don't think the Catholic version has this result. Protestant paedobaptists believe that baptism does not save, nor remove original sin. It does indicate parents' trust that their child, being in the covenant community, will eventually develop personal faith and serve Christ as Lord. In other words, the content is pretty much what other parents express when they dedicate their children in hope of baptism when they express faith at an old enough age to be recognized as genuine. The biggest difference is that paedobaptists use the term 'baptism' and treat their children as part of the covenant itself rather than simply as benefiting from being part of the more general covenant community. As a credobaptist I disagree with this view, but it's quite common among the Reformed.

The second thesis is the main idea behind retroactive prayer. I've already argued for the possibility of legitimately retroactive prayer, so I won't do all that again. I'll simply say that if you accept that God has perfect knowledge of what's future to us (whether because he's outside time or some other reason), there's no reason for us not to pray about things that have already happened when we don't know the outcome. If God can foresee my prayer beforehand, then there's nothing to stop God from answering what I will later pray. The key idea here is foreknowledge, which all Reformed accept.

Now if you put these two things together, you get a very surprising result. The same things that justify these two views, when combined, will open up the possibility of baptism for the dead.

Jesus' Reasoning

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Joe Carter hosted a project I call Jesus' Reasoning a little while ago, and I never managed to put together a post with links to all the entries I contributed. Here is that post. Joe explains the project here, and the entries are all here.

In Jesus the Logician? I express why I don't like Joe's name and insist on calling it Jesus' Reasoning. Since Joe organizes the posts by passage, I'll put them in the order I wrote them:

1. John 9:1-3
2. Mark 7:1-23
3. Matthew 10:40-42
4. Luke 21:1-4
5. Mark 11:27-33; Matt 21:23-27; Luke 20:1-8
6. Matthew 21:28-32
7. Mark 12:18-27; Matt 22:23-34; Luke 20:27-40

Dory of Wittenberg Gate has started a new blog Evangelical Diablog. Check it out to see a place for evangelicals to discuss matters in real dialogue rather than unfair mischaracterizations and an unwillingness to listen. One of her posts asks people to discuss how their eschatological views (i.e. views regarding the end times) affect how they live their life. I responded that it shouldn't. At least what we commonly think of eschatological views shouldn't affect how we live. Sometimes those views do affect how people live, but they shouldn't. There is a central Christian eschatology to all the views, and that should affect Christian life, but those things can be common to all the disputed views. This post expands on my comment.

What do John Paul II and Campus Crusade for Christ have in common? If you don't know the answer to that, you might be interested in reading about the very evangelical-like revival in Poland in the 1970s in the latest Christianity Today. [Hat tip: McRyanMac] As an undergraduate, I questioned the Crusade stance on Catholicism when I first encountered it, thinking they were smoothing over some truly important theological distinctives, but over the years I've gradually come to agree with them, though that agreement has come in stages. See my posts here, here, here, and here for some of my justification for this (no pun intended). I'm still working on a post dealing with issues besides justification, which I made some progress on yesterday after not touching for a week or two. I keep saying I'll be getting to it, and I have been working on it.

While I'm on the subject, one more little tidbit on the relation between Cardinal Ratzinger (now Benedict XVI) and the Joint Declaration with the Lutherans has been brought to my attention.

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