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Confusing Baptism with Circumcision in Colossians 2

When looking at baptism, covenantal Reformed types who embrace paedobaptism often employ an argument that ties the covenantal sign of Circumcision to the Covenantal sign of Baptism.

The argument goes something like this:

Covenantal Theological Support

  • Abraham was circumcised as a sign of his faith-before-circumcision: Romans 4:11
  • The Church is the true Israel (Romans 9:6-8), the Israel from above (Gal. 4:26)
  • The Church doesn’t replace Israel, it moves it forward (Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:25)
  • The Church consists then of the true expected sons of Abraham (Rom 4:16; Gal. 3:7, 15-17)
  • So the Church gets circumcised (Col. 2:11) in the sign of faith-before-works which is baptism (Colossians 2:11-12 )
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Who Are You?

From a sermon that I delivered that I thought was stronger as a sermon than a blog post:

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What Sort Of Teacher Am I?

What sort of teacher am I? Every now and then I get in a black funk where I start reexamining my motives or questioning any gift the Lord has granted or checking the barometric pressure of my big head and I sit off to the side, somberly reflecting. Maybe its that I’m tired (two kids plus one newborn can do that) or maybe its that I’m in a new area where my ministry has changed from working with urban minority teens and college age folk to working mostly with rural, white over-sixty year olds that’s causing this reflection. I don’t know what’s causing it but this time I decided to write it down.

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The Measure of Faith in Gentile Hands

This measure of our object of faith finds its power in the fact of the gospel. Christ became a servant in that Gospel so now, as a new humanity with new life, we can be proper God honoring servants. On behalf of God’s truth, Christ become a servant to those of the circumcision to authenticate and make real all of the promises given to the Jewish forefathers so therefore a Gentile believer can be a servant to those of the circumcision on behalf of God’s truth as well. Here’s how.

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The Measure of Faith in Convictions

So continuing this thought of using our measure of faith with those believers who are “weak in faith” we must carefully note how Paul carries out his discussion for there we see how Paul himself defines weakness in faith.

Remember, we’re not saying that the person has less appreciation for their object of Faith (which is God) or that they are unsure of where they stand (which is God’s mercy). This is not a black or white concern where the person is doubting something that is foundational (like the fact that we are justified by God through faith). Rather this weakness is on the person’s own stance (not the ground on which they stand). In other words, it’s on the actions or thought-constructs which they see as God honoring.