All Articles For Approach to Covenant Children

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In the November 1, 1990 Standard Bearer, two representatives of the Netherlands Reformed Congregations (NRC) sketch and defend the view of baptized children held by the NRC. The editorial in that issue describes this view as the view that insists on regarding all the baptized children as unregenerated and outside of Jesus Christ. If, in later years, some of these baptized children experience “inward-working graces” and give evidence of “outward-working fruits,” they may be viewed as saved children of God. But this does not take place until some years after their baptism. It is fair to say that, according to the...

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The Netherlands Reformed Congregations (NRC) view their baptized children as unregenerated. This is their view of their children because the baptism of the children means nothing more than that the children are brought into an outward connection with the covenant. Baptism is not a sign of the living, spiritual ingrafting of the children into Jesus Christ. The baptized children remain outside of Christ, lifeless and unholy, until such time as they may be converted through the gospel. It is not only the NRC that hold this covenant conception. Other Reformed and Presbyterian churches maintain this view as well. In a...

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From the teaching that covenant children are to be viewed as unregenerate until they are converted comes the practice of confession of faith by the unconverted (cf. the December 1 issue of The Standard Bearer). The result of this practice for a Reformed church is that it becomes full of adult members who are unbelievers. By their confession of faith, these unbelievers enjoy a full membership in the congregation. It is very well possible that these unbelieving members are in the majority in the church. They freely acknowledge themselves to be unconverted and unbelieving. The church recognizes them as unbelieving. But...

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In response to a letter from a theologian and a Christian educator in the Netherlands Reformed Congregations (The Standard Bearer, Nov. 1, 1990), I have examined the covenant conception that views baptized children as unregenerated until such time as they are converted by the gospel. I have judged this conception to be biblically and creedally unreformed. A main criticism is that it makes good, healthy child-rearing impossible, practically. It remains to explain and defend the Protestant Reformed approach to the baptized children as elect and regenerated. This must be done in light of the fear, or charge, that the view...

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The distinctive approach to covenant children taken by the Protestant Reformed does not involve us in “dormant regeneration” (cf. the editorial in the January 1, 1991 issue of theStandard Bearer). But is the view of the baptized children that underlies this approach in reality the notion of “presumptive regeneration”? This was the question of Mr. Paul Wiersma in a letter in the November 15, 1990 issue of the SB. Dr. J. R. Beeke and Elder J. W. Beeke of the Netherlands Reformed Congregations (NRC) charged that this is indeed the covenant conception of the PRC in a letter that appeared in...

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