Reformed Baptist Fellowship

An Orthodox Catechism: Being the Sum of Christian Religion, Contained in the Law and Gospel

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on July 13, 2012 at 9:55 am


 For Preventing the Canker and Poison of Heresy and Error.


Search the Scriptures. John 14.29.

The Words that I have spoken, the same shall judge you in the Last day. John 12.48.


Printed in the Year, 1680.



Q. 69 What is Baptism?

A. Immersion or dipping of the Person in Water in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, by such who are duly qualified by Christ.1

1 Mat. 3.16. John 3.23. Acts 8.38, 39. Rom. 6.4.

Q. 70 Who are the proper Subjects of this Ordinance?

A. Those who do actually profess Repentance towards God, Faith in, and Obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ.1

1Acts 2.38. Acts 8.36, 37.

Q. 71 Should infants, too, be baptized?

A. No, for we have neither Precept nor Example for that Practice in all the Book of God.

Q. 72 Does the Scriptures forbid the Baptism of Infants?

A. It is sufficient that the Divine Oracles commands the baptizing of Believers, unless we will make ourselves wiser than what is written. Nadab and Abihu were not forbidden to offer strange Fire, yet for doing so they incurred God’s Wrath, because they were commanded to take Fire from the Altar.1

1 Mat. 28.18, 19. Mark 16.16. Lev 9.24. 10.16.

Q. 73 May not the infant children of believers under the Gospel be baptized since the infant descendants of Abraham were circumcised under the Law?

A. No. Abraham had a command from God to circumcise his infant descendants, but believers have no command to baptize their infant children under the Gospel.1

1 Gen. 17.9, 10, 11, 12.

Q. 74 If the infant children of believers are in the Covenant of Grace with their parents, as some say, why may they not be baptized under the Gospel, as well as Abraham’s infant descendants were circumcised under the Law?

A. By the infant children of Believers being in the Covenant of Grace, it must either be meant of the Covenant of Grace absolutely considered, and if so, then there can be no total and final falling away of any infant children of believers from the Covenant, but all must be saved.1

1 Jer. 32.38, 39, 40. Joh. 10.28.

Or, 2. They must mean conditionally, on consideration that when they come to an age of maturity, they by true faith, love, and holiness of life, taking hold of God’s Covenant of Grace, shall have the privileges of it. This being their sense, I then ask what real spiritual privilege the infant children of believers have more than the infant children of unbelievers, if they live also to years of maturity, and by true faith and love take hold God’s Covenant? I further demand, whether the Seal of the Covenant does not belong as much to the children of unbelievers as to the children of believers? and more too, since some infant children of unbelievers take hold of God’s Covenant, and some infant children of believers do not2; as this often occurs to the sorrow of many godly parents. 2Isa. 56.3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Acts 10.34, 35. John 3.16.

3. Suppose all the infant children of believers are absolutely in the Covenant of Grace; believers under the Gospel should not baptize their infant children any more than Lot had warrant to circumcise himself or his infant children, although he was closely related to Abraham, a believer, and in the Covenant of Grace too: since circumcision was limited to Abraham and to his family. Also by the same rule we should bring infants to the Lord’s Table, since the same qualifications are

3required for the proper administration of Baptism as for the Lord’s Supper.

3Acts 2.41, 42.

4. We must know the covenant made with Abraham had two parts: first, a spiritual, which consisted in God’s promising to be a God to4 Abraham, and5 all his spiritual descendants in a particular manner, whether they were circumcised or uncircumcised, who believed as Abraham the Father of the Faithful did. This was signified by God’s accepting them as his people who were not descended6 from Abraham, but through Jesus Christ, the Gentiles, the uncircumcised who believed, should have their faith counted for Righteousness, as Abraham’s was before he was circumcised.7

4Gen. 17.19, 21. Gen. 21.10. Gal. 4.30.

5Acts 2.39. Rom. 9.7, 8, &c.

6Gal. 3.16, 28, 29.

7Rom. 4.9-14.

5. This promise consisted of temporal good: so God promised Abraham’s Seed should enjoy the8 land of Canaan, and have plenty of outward blessings, and sealed this promise by circumcision. It was also a distinguishing character of the Jews being God’s people from all the Nations of the Gentiles, who were not yet the spiritual descendants of Abraham: but when the Gentiles came to believe, and by faith became the people of God as well as the Jews, then9 Circumcision, that distinguishing mark, ceased. The character of being the children of God now is faith in Christ and circumcision of the Heart. Whatever reason may be given for the Infants of Believers to be Baptized first, as their being the children of believers; or secondly, their being in the Covenant; or thirdly, that the infant descendants of Abraham a believer, were circumcised; all this you see avails nothing: for circumcision was limited to the family of Abraham and all others, though believers, were excluded. It was also limited to a particular day, the eighth day, and whatever reason might be given, it was not to be done before or after. It was limited to male and did not include female; if Baptism came in the place of circumcision, and is the seal of the Covenant under the Gospel as circumcision was under the Law, none but the males must be baptized, because none but the Males were Circumcised. But as the Law regulated circumcision, now the Gospel regulates Baptism, and it depends purely upon the will of the Law-giver, at what periods of time, upon what Persons and terms Baptism is to be administered. We will do well, then, to heed what is declared in Scripture, especially Acts 3.22.

8Gen. 15.18. Gen. 17.8, 9, 10, 11. Gen. 12.6, 7. Gen. 13.15, 16, 17. Gen. 15.16.

9John 1.12. Rom. 2.28, 29. Phil. 3.3. Gal. 3.26, 27, 28.

  1. The allusion to Gods wrath in Q 72 is a bit reaching. Perhaps we should stop quoting Calvin, beza turretin Watson Burroughs Sibbes Henry Edwards Owen Whitfield hodge Wakefield dabney thornwell bonar mccheyenne erskine Gillespie vos bavink ridderbos chalmers newton wilberforce machen vantil gaffin Kline horton ferguson clowney sproul gerstner fesko Godfrey pipa beeke. Just to name a scant few All these men surely must be invoking the wrath of God. I mean how many saints in the ot church quoted nadab and abihu? Ridiculous

  2. Michial, the point in Q72 is not God’s wrath. Collins was simply using Nadab and Abihu as examples of the point he is actually making in Q72: just because infant baptism isn’t explicitly forbidden in the Scriptures (just as Nadab and Abihu weren’t explicitly forbidden to offer strange fire) doesn’t mean that infant baptism is a valid biblical practice. In other words, the simple fact that baptism of believers is both taught and exemplified in the Scriptures, should be evidence enough to forbid the act of infant baptism. We can’t carry Collins’ example of Nadab and Abihu beyond the point of the question.

  3. There is no escaping the imitation of the reference in the question. It is just such statements that hinder rather than aid the unity of the church. Whether one agrees with The reformed paedo argument or not, the argument is a reasonable implication from the associated scriptural texts re ecclesiology, covenants and their relationships from the whole of the bible, it is no strange fire, and such a pericope shouldn’t be referenced and is irresponsible.

  4. “It is sufficient that the Divine Oracles commands the baptizing of Believers, unless we will make ourselves wiser than what is written.” Well said. I think the language used here is excellent. I just begun putting this catechism to memory last week so I pray it will not just be of benifit to myself but to my family as well.

  5. Our opponents call upon us to prove by express Scripture that infants are in the covenant; but certainly, having proved even to demonstration that they were in the covenant, it lies upon them to show where and when they were thrown out of the covenant; which they were never yet able to prove, no, not by the least footstep of a consequence. It is as clear as the sun at noon-day that the seed of believers had a right to the initiating seal of the covenant; and how came they to lose that right? If the seed of believers who were taken into the covenant, and had a right to the intiating seal under the Old Testament, are now turned out of the covenant, and deprived of that right, then the times of the law were more full of grace than the times of the gospel; which is absurd. Can it be imagined that the Gentiles are, in respect of their children, in a worse state than they were under the [Old Testament]? Then, if a Gentile was proselytised and taken into the covenant, his seed was taken in with him; and is that privilege denied now? Is the seed of Abraham’s faith in a worse condition than the seed of Abraham’s flesh?

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