There are numerous typological dimensions of Old Testament echoes at play in each of the Gospel accounts of Christ’s baptism (Creation, Noah’s dove coming to rest, Israel’s Red Sea and Jordan crossings, Levitical priestly washing, Day of Atonement, David’s anointing as King, Elijah’s anointing of Elijah, etc.) Another possible dimension I’ve recently noticed in Mark’s account of this incident, particularly Christ’s subsequent time in the wilderness, is its parallels with Nebuchadnezzar’s humiliation described in Daniel 4. Mark 1:12 says that “the Spirit immediately drove [Jesus] out into the wilderness.” Daniel 4:33 says that Nebuchadnezzar was “immediately . . . driven from among men.” Mark 4:13 says that Jesus “was with the wild animals.” Daniel 4:32 says that Nebuchadnezzar is made to dwell “with the beasts of the field.” Jesus comes back from the wilderness proclaiming the Gospel of God’s Kingdom. (Mark 1:14-15). So does Nebuchadnezzar. (Daniel 4:34). A more tenuous connection may be in the angels who ministered to Jesus and the “watchers” mentioned in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream earlier in Daniel 4. Is this connection between Christ and Nebuchadnezzar meaningful? If so, what are we to make of it?
Over this past weekend, I had the privilege of spending a few days with Cornerstone Reformed Church in Carbondale, IL, where I explored the subject of Pentecost for their 2019 Easter Conference, in preparation for the coming season. You can listen to the five talks, a sermon, and a Q&A session here:
Wondering whether or not you see a tight connection between baptism and circumcision? If yes, why no mention of it in Galatians/Romans? If no, what’s going on with Colossians 2:11-12?
As you have shared in several places, you came from a Reformed Baptist theological background and later moved to an Anglican setting. I am in a similar situation where most of my theological background and education has been in a Reformed Baptist context, yet I have been on the edge of embracing infant baptism for several years now.
Could you speak to what pushed you over the edge on the issue of infant baptism? Did you switch to that view quite easily? Or was it a long journey?
I want to give some background as to where I am in thinking through this: The basic Presbyterian arguments don’t fully persuade me, though they are compelling. I also don’t want to put all my theological chips in the scant references to infant faith, as some in the Lutheran circles might. I have followed Peter Leithart for some time now, and he and Leonard Vander Zee have been perhaps the most helpful and persuasive in this conversation. In many ways Leithart’s Baptized Body has ruined me for thinking about the covenant community as made up of those who are half way in and those who are fully in, which goes against typical Presbyterian view. Yet, I am also cautious to embrace Leithart’s position full on, because I don’t think I can get on board with predestined real apostasy, as he seems to hold in that book. Yet, the Baptist demand that the church be a regenerate covenant community and their insistence on a link between repentance and baptism hold me back from embracing paedobaptism entirely.
I imagine that you’d find yourself near Leithart’s views in some ways, but I would love to hear from you some of the biblical support for infant baptism that original compelled you to embrace the position and also how your views have developed since then. Also, how, in your view, does your position on paedobaptism relate to paedo-communion? And if you could recommend some books that depict your general position well.