Sunday, December 16, 2007

Baptism, NCT, and a Spurgeonesque Sermon

1. Recently began reading through Steve Wellum's chapter on the relationship between the biblical covenants in the new baptism book put out by B&H. This really long chapter is a feast for anyone at all interested in this vitally important topic - that of how the Old Covenant and New Covenant relate. Wellum is mostly NCT (see this post) in his perspective. This essay is an excellent introduction to NCT "fleshed-out" in a practical issue like baptism.

2. Was tremendously blessed to sit under a great sermon this morning on Joshua 8, preached by our pastor, Ryan Fullerton. This sermon is, in my opinion, "vintage" Ryan Fullerton, a man of great preaching abilities who is first and foremost a pastor with a large heart. I encourage anyone to give a listen to this message that you will NOT regret devoting the time to. May the Lord encourage you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey John,

I've been working through the same chapter. I have some questions about what Wellum is saying about Abraham as "mediator." He seems to say that Abraham and Noah are mediators, and in the same way Jesus a mediator of the New Covenant. But I think this perhaps suffers from some problems. One of the more salient features of Wellum's explanation revolves around this issue of Abraham being a "mediator" of a covenant. My question was mainly about Wellum wanting to sort of equate Abraham's so-called "mediatory" role with Christ as our mediator. I understand what he is saying about Christ as sort of being a second-Adam, etc. But in what sense was Abraham a mediator? It seems like a weird distinction to want to make, since Abraham was presumably not the mediator of the Abrahamic covenant. Abraham didn't intervene to bring reconciliation between God and humanity. I mean, I suppose that 'to mediate' could be used transitively to convey that there is a link between Abraham and the conditions of the covenant, but this same meaning is not what I think Wellum means when he speaks of the mediatory ministry of Christ. Christ is not only the link but also the intervening party who initiates the reconciliation. To be really specific, it seems like the overall gist of the Bible is that only God is the mediator between himself and humanity and that he uses certain specific human agents. I don't think Wellum would disagree with this, but I see him lumping two different senses of what it means 'to mediate.' This is just a key part of his argument, because Abraham's mediatory role is surpassed by Christ, etc., and paedobaptists supposedly want to say that the Abrahamic Covenant is equivalent w/the New Covenant. It was funny because all the while reading it I tried to reason like a paedobaptist, and even anticipated some of the arguments. I've always looked at the covenants like one of those plastic fold-up cups. The Noahaic Covenant is on the bottom supporting the Abrahamic Covenant and the Abrahamic Covenant is supporting the New Covenant. One major covenant is missing: The Mosaic. Where does this all fit in? I don't know for sure. But one thing is for sure, it seemed like Wellum was equating circumcision and the Abrahamic covenant with the Law, or, Mosaic Law. In any case, if Wellum's designation of Abraham as simply a mediator like Christ is falsified, and the two different senses that are being used with the verb 'to mediate' are correct, then it could perhaps pose significant problems with his argument, or at least a part of it. It would be tantamount to equivocation of a term, using the same word in two different ways. Then again, I did read some portions of it really quickly, so maybe I missed something.

Just some thoughts. Good article though.

Scott P