I’ve been asked a number of times about the Baptist view of baptism and infant baptism (frequently called “paedobaptism,” from the Greek word for infant) and its relationship to covenant theology. I appreciate these important questions. The strongest argument (and if I may say gently but sincerely, the only argument) for infant baptism arises from the Reformed / Presbyterian view of covenant theology. That view of covenant theology has a long history and is well-documented
What’s not as well known nor as well-documented but has an equally long history is the Baptist view of covenant theology. In the last couple of decades, historical writings are being rediscovered; and new books are being written explaining this view.
In lieu of a special series or workshop on the topic (much as I’d love to do that), I want to provide information on easily-accessible resources you can reference to study this wonderful subject further. I’ll provide links to podcasts, popular-level books, and academic books.
Laymen’s Cup Podcast, Episodes 165-170
These are very accessible podcasts led by a Baptist pastor, answering the question, “Why do Baptists believe what they believe about infant baptism?” The series begins with a history of the English Particular Baptists and then moves into the Biblical covenants.
The folks at Laymen’s Cup generously shared their show notes. They’re extensive and have all or nearly all of the Scripture references from these episodes.
From Paedo to Credo (3 episodes)
The first episode presents the Presbyterian / Reformed covenantal case for infant baptism. The second episode addresses those arguments. The third episode presents the positive case for believers baptism.
Reformed Northwest, Episodes 24-28
This is a slightly more academic presentation of Baptist covenant theology, a.k.a. “1689 Federalism.”
The Baptism of Disciples Alone (Fred Malone) – written by a former paedobaptist.
From Paedobaptism to Credobaptism (W. Gary Crampton) – also by a former paedobaptist.
Believers Baptism – especially chapter 4 by Stephen Wellum on Baptism and the Relationship between the Covenants.
The Fatal Flaw of the Theology behind Infant Baptism (Jeffrey Johnson) – Explains the two natures of the Abrahamic covenant and how that impacts the usual “2 administrations of one covenant of grace” argument for infant baptism.
The Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology (Pascal Denault) – A presentation of the historic theology behind Baptist covenant theology.
Covenant Theology from Adam to Christ (Nehemiah Coxe and John Owen) – Reprints of historical books by these two men.
From Shadow to Substance (Samuel Renihan) – Traces the historical development of Baptist covenant theology in the years 1642-1704.
Recovering a Covenantal Heritage (several authors) – A collection of essays on Baptists and the recovery of their covenantal heritage.