I wrote several months ago about John Piper’s support for a proposal to recognize some paedobaptisms as valid baptisms for members of his church (read here and here). Piper and the other elders of Bethlehem Baptist Church have recommended to the church that they allow
the possibility that a person may become a member who has not been baptized by immersion as a believer but who regards the baptismal ritual he received in infancy not as regenerating, but nevertheless (as with most Presbyterians) in such a way that it would violate his conscience to be baptized as a believer. The elders are proposing that under certain conditions such persons be admitted to full membership (“What the Elders Are Proposing“).
In effect, the new policy being proposed by the elders is that under certain conditions members need not be baptized by immersion after coming to faith. Of course, the change would have to be approved by the congregation before the policy would go into effect.
I totally disagree with this proposal. Yet I understand the desire to have unity with evangelical brothers who are not Baptists. Nevertheless, this proposal seems to me to be without scriptural foundation.
My doctoral supervisor, Tom Schreiner, is the pastor at Clifton Baptist Church in Louisville, KY. He and the elders of his church have sent a letter to the elders of Bethlehem Baptist Church urging them to withdraw this proposed change to Bethlehem Baptist Church’s membership policy. I am in agreement with what Clifton’s elders have written, and I commend the letter to you also for your careful consideration.
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