If anyone wants to understand on a historical level where we have come since the Reformation, in particular with regard to baptism, then I would greatly encourage the reading of Lewis Bevens Schenck’s book The Presbyterian Doctrine of Children in the Covenant. Schenck does a historical study beginning at the Reformation and ending in the early 1900s showing the devolution of the biblical doctrine of children in covenant. Reading it one can easily see that many presbyterians, and of course all baptists, have abandoned the reformers’ view of children in the covenant. Much of the current Federal Vision controversy is explained by this book. Over the next couple of weeks I will be posting some of the quotes I liked. Here is the first.
“To John Calvin then ‘baptism’ signifies the forgivness of sins. This means in the legal language of theology that those baptized presumably stand in the sight of God as justified, that is, with the guilt and punishment of sin removed by the mercy of God. He accepts them no longer as sinners, but as heirs, ‘heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.’ And this adoptive act of God finds expression in the second meaning of baptism, ‘regeneration.’ (p. 8 )