Volume 16, Issue 4: Meander
There is no area of our lives where we can go stand and be free from the authority and direction of Scripture.
Landscaping, chemistry, physics, medicine, changing diapers, law, thumb-twiddling, etc. all fall under the lordship of Christ. The kingdom of God is not like a poor cell phone plan that gives you places to go where you don't have coverage.
In their recent book, Not Reformed At All, John Robbins and Sean Gerety ask the following, somewhat rhetorically.
"Is Wilson suggesting that because parents are Christians, their baptized children also are Christians?"
No, not at all. Baptism is not necessary. The unbaptized children of Christians are Christians. That's why we
baptize them. But I do wonder why John Robbins thinks we should baptize them. I also wonder why he thinks I am out
of conformity with the Westminster position, and he is not, for which, see the following: "Before baptism, the minister is to use some words of instruction, touching the institution, nature, use, and ends of this sacrament, shewing . . . that
they [children] are Christians, and federally holy before baptism, and therefore are they baptized"
(Westminster Directory for the Publick Worship of God, emphasis mine).
Always remember that the sooner you get behind, the more time you have available for catching up.
What was the ecumenical position of Mr. A. A. Hodge? "All who are baptized into the name of the Father, and of
the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, recognizing the Trinity of Persons in the Godhead, the incarnation of the Son and
his priestly sacrifice, whether they be Greeks, or Arminians, or Romanists, or Lutherans, or Calvinists, or the simple
souls who do not know what to call themselves, are our brethren. Baptism is our common countersign. It is the
common rallying standard at the head of our several columns." He said this in his Evangelical Theology (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1976), and he did it in the plain light of day on p. 338. Now look at the publisher. Can anyone explain to us what the good folks in Carlisle think on these issues?
In order to understand our responsibilities in the world, the place to begin is with what God has told us to do.
This instruction from God is found in Genesis, in what has come to be called the cultural mandate. "And God blessed
them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over
the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth" (Gen. 1:28).
The same mandate is repeated later to Noah, showing that the unfortunate intrusion of sin and rebellion did not abrogate
that mandate. "And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the
earth" (Gen. 9:1). The reality of sin and the resultant curse did, however, affect our ability to obey. This ability was not restored until the salvation that was brought by Jesus Christ.
And this is why we should begin our meditation on this subject by considering childbirth and fields full of
weeds. The principal impact of the curse fell in a two-fold way on men and women respectively. Just as the cultural
mandate was first given immediately after God said "male and female created he them" (Gen. 1:27), so the curse for sin fell on male and female respectively. The curse for the man involved weeds, great sorrow in tilling the soil. The curse for the woman involved great sorrow in childbearing (Gen. 3:16). In fact, God says that He will multiply sorrows for the woman in childbearing, and the word used for multiply is the same word used in the cultural mandate. Before the Fall, children were to multiply. After the Fall, the children still come, but it is the sorrows that are multiplied.
Our first duty in understanding dominion is therefore to remember the pattern of the gospelcreation, fall, redemption. To assert that childbearing should be easy, or that weeds are a natural part of the ecological system, is fundamentally un-Christian. In a day when many products are hawked with the glowing description of "all-natural," we must remember that nature is not the standard. Nature is fallen. Christ is the standard because Christ is the future of nature.
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