Friday, 20 March 2009

Quote of the day: dogmatism

"If it comes to human testimony, there is a choking cataract of human testimony in favour of the supernatural. If you reject it, you can only mean one of two things. You reject the peasant's story about the ghost either because the man is a peasant or because the story is a ghost story. That is, you either deny the main principle of democracy, or you affirm the main principle of materialism - the abstract impossibility of miracle. You have a perfect right to do so; but in that case you are the dogmatist. It is we Christians who accept all actual evidence - it is you rationalists who refuse actual evidence being constrained to do so by your creed."

- G K Chesterton, Authority and the Adventurer, in Orthodoxy.


RobHu said...

Have you seen the paedobaptist posts on the 9 Marks blog?

étrangère said...

Ta Rob, I hadn't seen them, though someone on made mention of Dever's recent statement. What do you think of it? I see that logically he must say that a paedobaptist is in sin, albeit unintentionally, and I would say the same of Christian parents witholding baptism from their children. My issue is more over the barring of such from the Lord's table. I can see it logically, for church discipline, but it's a luxury afforded in very very few places in the world, to not fellowship because of such a thing. The main thing shocking about Dever's statement, then, was that paedobaptism is one of the 3 (only 3!!) things he can't abide in a church, along with universalism and racism. It just seems his weighing scales are a little unbalanced.

RobHu said...

I should point out that I made the initial comment because I was discussing the post (or you... I can't remember which way around it went) with Jonathan (as I was visiting him yesterday) and he mentioned your interest in the paedobaptist issue, so It hought I'd leave a comment.

I don't have an opinion on paedobaptism. I've been entirely persuaded by powerful arguments on both sides, which tells me that I don't know enough about it - and that heavyweights have what (to me) seem convincing proofs for both positions.

I did think it was rather out of order to elevate the importance of (the supposed sin of) paedobaptism to be equivalent to universalism and racism!

Then again Dever likes to provoke controversy (I find his style when interviewing to be quite amusing).

I was for a while courting the idea of moving to Eden Baptist in Cambridge, and I noted that the term 'paedobaptist' came up a few times in the sermons. I discussed this with a Presbyterian friend of mine - who explained the dilemma that paedobaptists can face with baptists - such as if you were baptised as a child and don't believe it is right to be baptised again it prevents you from being a member of a baptist church.

I must say I have no idea how important issues like this really are from God's perspective, but I suspect that if it prevents a believer from in good conscience becoming a member of their local church then perhaps exceptions ought to be made. On the other hand, a situation where there is only a baptist church that such a person could attend is probably quite rare.

étrangère said...

Haha, yes I thought it was slightly random but JB said last night that you'd been staying with him so that made more sense!

I know Stephen - and I'm sure he's mentioned to you that you could always move to Cambridge Presby rather than Eden ;-) But I've good friends in both and appreciate their ministries.

Actually I'd say that in most places in the world, people don't have a choice of church between baptist and reformed paedobaptist. But I know what you mean about being persuaded by powerful arguments both ways: the more I've studied it, the more understanding both, the less clear it's got in some ways. I did find monergism's articles helpful, as they're all from a reformed perspective, but with one page for paedobaptism and one page anti-paedobaptist. The most helpful were from those who'd got articles on both pages - they'd changed their views. They tend to interact better with their former views.

RobHu said...

Stephen was one of men I looked up to at the church I attended in Derby (where I became a Christian - although in the CU, not in the church).

Stephen did mention going to Cambridge Presby to me, but I have a long history with Eden that is slightly difficult to explain in a short space. Essentially I heard Julian Hardyman speak at Word Alive many years ago, and found his exposition God's word to be so clear and insightful that I decided that one of my possible life goals would be to go to Eden (at the time I didn't live in Cambridge) so that I could learn from him (and presumably the rest of the preachers at the church).

Since then I've moved to Cambridge, recommitted my life, and found myself at an Evangelical Anglican church (by virtue of a friend encouraging me to come to her church). I had planned to move to Eden in the next few months, but in the last two months I met a girl who is very committed to her New Frontiers church. She has told me that apart from not wanting to leave her church, she doesn't feel she would like being at Eden, and so - as I intend to propose to her reasonably soon I've more or less decided to bite the bullet and go to her church instead. At least I can listen to the Eden sermons online.

Arggh! The list of links on Mongerism looks a bit scary! I wish I had the time to go through all those things. At the moment I'm pouring my time in to my own pet interest.