In Problems in Bible Interpretation: Why Do Christians Disagree on Baptism? (BI172), Dr. Michael Heiser highlights the fundamental areas of debate concerning an important rite of the church. Then he identifies a common cause for these disagreements—namely, unclear language regarding the relationship between baptism and salvation. He examines three of the most prominent historic confessions of the Reformed tradition in order to understand where the confusion originates from. To help us sort through these issues, Dr. Heiser offers a key hermeneutical principle, which can enable us to better articulate a clear and biblical defense of baptism (infant or adult) as well as justify a particular mode of baptism—whether sprinkling, pouring, or immersion—without violating the purity of the gospel of Jesus.
Introducing the Speaker and the Course
Issues Related to the Recipients
Reasons for Disagreements
Infant Baptism in the Reformed Tradition
Problems with the Reformed View of Baptism
The Belgic Confession, Part 1: Christ Alone
The Belgic Confession, Part 2: Then Why Baptism?
The Belgic Confession, Part 3: Avails Us?
The Heidelberg Catechism, Part 1: Faith from the Holy Ghost
The Heidelberg Catechism, Part 2: Sacraments as Sign and Seal
The Heidelberg Catechism, Part 3: Problematic Proof Texts
The Westminster Confession: Equating Circumcision and Baptism
Solutions to the Problems of Recipient and Rationale
Framing the Discussion in Light of Colossians 2:8–12
The Fundamental Question
What Circumcision Did Not Accomplish
What Circumcision Did Accomplish
Membership in the Covenant Community
Implications of Recipients and Rationale for the Church