We all like new beginnings. We found this beautiful dove in our yard shortly after our move from Utah to West Tennessee and it reminds us of our own new beginnings. In our previous post, Planting and Watering, we shared our desire to plant a church that is centered on The Bible. We want to be the most Biblical church in our community. For us, that means planting a confessional reformed church that upholds the Word of God. We want to be people who "listen" and "follow" (Psalm 81). So what does it mean to be confessional or reformed? It means we want to be Christ centered, we want to be biblical. We live in a time in America where the focus on church planting and church growth has been placed on adapting to popular culture, but we want to be faithful to the Word of God by spreading seeds in the same way that the Apostles did- through preaching, fellowship, the sacraments, and prayer (Acts 2:42). Pastor Mark Winder from Wolf River Presbyterian Church in Collierville, TN has been helping us understand the things that make us different from the other churches in our area, the things that make us reformed.
This past Sunday Pastor Mark preached on infant baptism and taught a Sunday school lesson on predestination, election, and free will. In the coming months (Lord willing) Pastor Mark will be preaching and teaching on covenant theology. Why covenant theology? Because covenant theology must be understood in order to fully understand infant baptism.
For several people in our family, August is baptism anniversary month, a fitting time for us to-
"REMEMBER YOUR BAPTISM!"
Remember what God has done for his people, remember the gospel- "By the Grace of God".
2 Corinthians 5:17 (Berean Study Bible) "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come!"
Our sons were given a baptistic "believers baptism" but we are praying that our sons will present their future babies to God, that they will be given the sign of the covenant as God commanded.
Pastor Mark preached one of the most compelling sermons on infant baptism that we have ever heard. It was compelling because it was biblical, because scripture was used to interpret scripture. It was convicting because the word of God is living and active and it cuts (Hebrews 4:12). If there were any doubts in our minds about the validity of baptizing infants, there are no longer any at all. We can now see that God takes baptism more seriously than we were ever taught in most of the other churches we have attended before, and we now understand why God was so angry with Moses for not giving his son the covenant sign (Exodus 4:24-25, Genesis 17:14).
If you are a good Berean (Acts 17:11), you might be wondering if Pastor Mark just made this stuff about baptism up, but we do have documentation that infant baptism has been the practice of Reformed Protestant Christians for quite some time now i.e.
Heidelberg Catechism, 1563 (with Bible proof texts), for instructing the youth and for guiding pastors and teachers
74. Q. Should infants, too, be baptized?
A. Yes. Infants as well as adults belong to God's covenant and congregation. Through Christ's blood the redemption from sin and the Holy Spirit, who works faith, are promised to them no less than to adults. Therefore, by baptism, as sign of the covenant, they must be grafted into the Christian church and distinguished from the children of unbelievers. This was done in the old covenant by circumcision, in place of which baptism was instituted in the new covenant.
 Gen. 17:7; Matt. 19:14.  Ps. 22:11; Is. 44:1-3; Acts 2:38, 39; 16:31.  Acts 10:47; I Cor. 7:14.  Gen. 17:9-14.  Col. 2: 11-13.
So then, is infant baptism a ludicrous leftover thing from Roman Catholicism? No! We are Reformed Christians. The Protestant Reformers worked very hard to distance themselves from Rome and did so at great cost. We do not believe in baptismal regeneration. Justification is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone for God's glory alone. Maybe a more fitting statement than "Remember Your Baptism" would be: Remember What God Has Commanded on Baptism!
Please study, pray, and then be led by your conscience because the Lord is lord of the conscience. Our view of the Bible and of baptism matters. It's important to know what we believe and why we believe it. If your conscience is leading you, we would love to have you join us for worship and Bible study. If not, please consider partnering with us in prayer. We are in need of committed families to join our church planting efforts, we are in need of a church planting pastor with a heart for the lost, and an evangelistic zeal, who would be willing and able to work another job while also planting here. Join us in praising God for all he has provided so far- the desire to plant, a place to meet, funds for advertising, and for Pastor Mark and the help of the OPC.
We meet for Bible study on Sunday (5pm) and Wednesday (7pm). Contact us for meeting location details and please pray that the Lord would bless our Bible study, that it would grow into a true church. If you are looking for a good church home, we would like to be a good church home- May God provide the increase (1Corinthians 1:3-6)! In the mean time, you are more than welcome to join us for worship at Wolf River Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Collierville, TN.
For further study on infant baptism, predestination, election, and free will see the following resources:
The True Presbyterian • Episode 15 Baptism and Reformed Piety
A conversation about baptism with Dr. John V. Fesko of Reformed Theological Seminary
Pastor Mark's Sermon: "For You and Your Children"
Infant Baptism: Why do Reformed Presbyterians baptize their children? Because God commands it.
Dr. Ligon Duncan teaches on infant baptism
Paul Flynn, The Biblical Case for Infant Baptism (Full Documentary Film)
Gensesis 17:15-27 Ishmael Receives the Sign of Faith
Why Does the Orthodox Presbyterian Church Baptize Infants?
A Contemporary Reformed Defense of Infant Baptism
Jesus Loves the Little Children: Why We Baptize Children By Daniel R Hyde
Pastor Mark's Sunday School Lesson (Predestination, Election, and Free Will):
Dr. Cornelis Venema speaks about the doctrine of election.
The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination by Loraine Boettner
Do Calvinists Believe in Free Will? by RC Sproul
West Tennessee Reformed is a biblically conservative Presbyterian church planting effort where Christ is preached consistently and where God speaks powerfully through his written word, The Holy Bible.
* We are not an independent Bible study, for more information about us see: https://chmce.org/mission-work/adamsville-tn/