Our Theological Vision – Core Values: Nurture & Equipping of Covenant Children

“Our Theological Vision:

Core Values: Nurture & Equipping of Covenant Children

Various Texts

April 3, 2022

Faith Presbyterian Church – Morning Service

Pastor Nicoletti

The Reading of the Word

This morning, we come to the fifth Sunday of eight in which we are discussing our theological vision as a congregation.

On our first Sunday, we talked about our core purpose, and we said that Faith Presbyterian Church exists to be God’s instrument in making, maintaining, and maturing disciples for Jesus Christ.

Over the last three Sundays we have talked about three of our historic core values:

  • the deep exposition of Holy Scripture,
  • thoughtful and robust liturgical worship, and
  • a culture of Reformed catholicity

Today we come to our fourth and final core value: Nurture and Equipping of Covenant Children.

Now, for the past four weeks, we have done two sermons on each theme. But this week we are only doing one. This is in part because the Murphrees are in town, and we were excited to be able to hear from Daniel two Sunday evenings in a row. But it was also because, providentially, back in February, Pastor Rayburn preached on the exact topic I had planned to speak about this evening. And so, rather than simply repeating what he said so well and so recently, I’ll instead strongly encourage you, if you haven’t heard it already, to go to the website this week and listen to his February 6, 2022, sermon “Infant Faith” from Luke 1:39-45.

That said, our focus this morning is on the Church’s call to nurture and equip covenant children – children who are born into the Church, to at least one believing parent.

We have an unusual number of Scripture passages before us this morning, though we will not be reading the entirety of each passage as it appears in the bulletin. Still, each text relates to our theme.

With all that in mind, please do listen carefully, for this is God’s word for us this morning.

First, from Genesis 17, starting in verse 7. God said to Abraham:

And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”

And God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. 10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised.

Next, from, Acts 2, as the Apostle Peter speaks to the crowd in Jerusalem, on Pentecost. He says:

36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

From Psalm 58:3:

The wicked are estranged from the womb;
    they go astray from birth, speaking lies.

From Psalm 51:5:

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
    and in sin did my mother conceive me.

From Deuteronomy 6, starting in verse 4. After exhorting God’s covenant people to keep God’s commandments, Moses says to them:

“Hear, O Israel: Yahweh our God, Yahweh is one. You shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

[…]

20 “When your son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that Yahweh our God has commanded you?’ 21 then you shall say to your son, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. And Yahweh brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 And Yahweh showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes. 23 And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers. 24 And Yahweh commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear Yahweh our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day. 25 And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before Yahweh our God, as he has commanded us.’

From Mark 10:

13 And they were bringing children to him [that is, Jesus] that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.

And finally, from Psalm 8:

O Yahweh, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
    Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
    to still the enemy and the avenger.

This is the word of the Lord.  (Thanks be to God.)

“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” [1 Peter 1:24-25]

Let’s pray …

Prayer of Illumination

Lord,

When we think of the direction you give us through your ancient word,

we take comfort, Lord.

Let your word be now our joy and delight,

as we attend to it here in your house,

so that we would remember your revelation as we go from here, day and night,

that we may cling to it and follow it.

Give us that great blessing,

of walking in your ways, by the power of your Spirit

Grant this, we ask, in Jesus’s name. Amen

[Based on Psalm 119:52, 54-56]

Our Children Are Included in the Covenant

There is so much to consider in these texts, but we are going to try to keep things big-picture this morning. If you’d like to dig a bit deeper, there are a few more resources listed at the end of the sermon manuscript available in the narthex

In any case, the place we have to start this morning – the foundation for what we will consider this morning – is that as Christians, our children are included in the covenant of grace.

We see that right in our text from Genesis 17. God is speaking here of his covenant with Abraham. But God is clear that this covenant is not just with Abraham, but with his offspring. We read in verse seven: “And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.”

And lest we think that God is speaking of Abraham’s offspring only after they reach maturity, God tells Abraham in verse twelve that the covenant sign of circumcision should be applied to every male among God’s people, from the age of eight-days-old and up. Females, it should be noted, were counted as members of the covenant even without that sign.

From at least eight days old and up, Abraham’s descendants were to be publicly regarded as members of the covenant that God was making with Abraham.

And that pattern was not altered with the coming of Christ.

Because, as the Apostle Paul pointed out, all who belong to Christ are Abraham’s spiritual offspring [Galatians 3:29; Romans 4:16] – we are part of the covenant that God made with Abraham. And, as the early Church noted, the coming of Christ did not restrict that grace, or revoke it from our children. Which is why, from early on, we see Christians applying the covenant sign of baptism to their children. [See Lane, “Did the Apostolic Church Baptize Babies?: A Seismological Approach” (link below)] In fact, so far from ordering that baptism should be delayed later than circumcision, an early council decided that it could be applied earlier than circumcision was. [Cyprian, ANF, 5:353]

Now, in our culture, infant baptism and the idea of the full inclusion of infants in the religion of their parents often feels like an oddity. But I would argue that this sense of uneasiness grows largely out of ways that we have internalized the radical individualism of our culture, as well as its high value on autonomy and choice. But the ancient world did not assume those same values. Which is why, as much as the Bible does in fact speak to the full covenant membership of the children of believers, at so many other times it simply assumes it: because the original audience it was written to assumed it as well. [For more on this, see Nicoletti, “Infant Baptism in the First-Century Presupposition Pool” (link below)]

In any case, we believe that as Christians – as disciples of Jesus Christ – our children are part of the covenant of grace.

And what is the covenant of grace? Well, as we have said before, the covenant, in many ways, is the formal structure of God’s relationship to his people in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

And the covenant of grace follows, as we discussed a couple weeks ago, a pattern. It is the pattern of the gospel. In the covenant, the Lord calls his people, he cleanses his people, he converses with his people, he communes with his people, and he commissions his people. This is the five-fold gospel pattern of the covenant.

And if our children belong to the covenant, then this pattern applies to them as well.

And that, in fact, is what we will consider for the rest of our time this morning.

What we will see together is that God, in his word, applies this five-fold pattern of the covenant of redemption to our children. And because that is true, we, the Church, should seek to cooperate as God’s instruments in that process.

Now, before we dive into that five-fold pattern, there is one more thing we need to acknowledge.

We are describing here what should ordinarily be the results of our children’s membership in the covenant. But we know that often it is not the result. While our children are, by birth, members of the covenant and part of the covenant community, not all of them will embrace the covenant from the heart. In such cases, they will not experience the true blessings or salvation of the covenant. And so, there can be a disconnect between their external standing in the covenant as members of the visible church, and the true state of their hearts.

And that can happen for a few reasons.

First, we, as God’s people, do not always fulfill our calling to act as God’s instrument in forming covenant children as disciples of Christ. We have a role in all this, which the Lord calls us to. But God’s people do not always pass on the essentials of the gospel or the Christian life as they are called to.

Second, our covenant children are, in fact, individuals, and they must make choices in all this as well. While they have a special place in the covenant, and while they do receive the benefits of that, they still must themselves, with the help of God, embrace the covenant from the heart. They’re role in all this is not insignificant.

Third, God himself is sometimes very mysterious in his providence. We might call this the “Ecclesiastes factor.” Sometimes all the most important external factors would seem to point to a certain outcome – such as the heart-felt faith of a covenant child – but it doesn’t. And we are reminded that God has his own purposes, beyond what we know and understand.

All these things may play out in the lives of a covenant child. Some of you have seen that very close to home. And we do not deny that reality. [For more on this, see Rayburn & Nicoletti, “An Elder Must Have Believing Children” (link below)]

Rather, we are speaking this morning of what is offered to every covenant child in the external realities of their covenant membership. We are speaking about what we are called to as the church and as Christian parents: to be God’s instrument in shaping covenant children as his disciples. And we are speaking of what the Bible encourages us to see as the ordinary (though not universal) outcome of Christian covenant nurture in the hearts and lives of covenant children.

With all that said, let’s consider together: what does the five-fold covenantal work of the Lord look like, and what is our role in it?

The Lord Calls Our Children, and We Are to Be His Instrument

The first thing we see is that the Lord calls our children, and we are to be his instruments as he does.

We see this in our passage from Acts 2. The Apostle Peter calls the people to the Lord in verse 38. And then he adds: “For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

Now, some, again, tend to assume that the “for your children” portion refers to their older children, or their children later on in life. But two things press against this interpretation.

First, the words of Peter in this verse that speak to the role of their children seem to be an intentional reference to Deuteronomy 29:28, which is itself rooted in the covenant with Abraham, which we’ve just heard of in Genesis 17. [Collins, Part 2, 94]

But second, when speaking of their children in Acts 2, it would seem that in many cases Peter was referring to his audience’s young children who were actually right there with them. After all, among three thousand first-century Jews, gathered in Jerusalem for a major festival, it seems unimaginable that there would not be many children present. [Lane, 111]

In such a context, with Genesis 17 lurking in the background, the most natural understanding of Peter’s words then and there was that that very day, the call of the gospel was indeed both for the adult Jews who heard Peter’s words, and their children as he says in verse thirty-nine.

The Lord calls our children – the children of believers – to himself. This is why, in Psalm 22, David could say to God:

Yet you are he who took me from the womb;

    you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.

On you was I cast from my birth,

    and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

It’s why, in Psalm 71, the psalmist could say:

For you, O Yahweh, are my hope,
    my trust, O Yahweh, from my youth.
Upon you I have leaned from before my birth;
    you are he who took me from my mother’s womb.
My praise is continually of you.

It’s why, in Luke 1, Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, could observe that the unborn baby in her womb leaped for joy at the presence of Christ [1:41-44] and why the angel could tell Zechariah that that same baby would be “filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.” [Luke 1:15]

All of these passages describe real, saving, covenantal relationships with the Lord. And we know that it is the Lord, not us, who initiates such relationships. Which means that the Lord himself calls covenant children into relationship with him – and he often calls them as children (even unborn children).

And as the Lord does that work, we are to be his instruments.

Sometimes our role is more indirect. We can pray for our children, even before they are born, and for the Lord to call them internally.

But even when they are little, we quickly become important instruments of God’s work, both extending his call to them, and affirm to them that the Lord has in fact called them.

That means a few things. First, it means taking the spiritual lives of our little ones seriously. By which I mean that we are to take seriously the fact that, not as little adults, but as children and infants, they are spiritual beings.

Second, it means that we affirm and remind them that they are already called into covenant with God. We do not teach them that they are outsiders to the covenant or the covenant people of God, who need to convert, but rather that they are rightful heirs of the covenant, who are already part of God’s people, and must embrace and live out that given identity out from the heart.

In other words, we tell them that the Lord has already extended his call to them specifically: They were born into the covenant, and they have had his triune name placed on them in baptism, because the Lord has called them specifically to be his children. We are to remind them and teach them that he sought them before they ever sought him. They are already part of God’s people.

And so, third, we are to extend God’s call to them to acknowledge and live out their identity in Christ: to understand themselves that way … to think, and speak and live as such. To be his disciples.

We are to be God’s instrument as Christian parents and grandparents. But we are to be God’s instruments as a congregation as well – in our children’s ministries, our Sunday school teaching, and our worship service, where we include our covenant children along with us.

And so the first step we see in the covenantal work of the Lord is that the Lord calls our children, and we are to be his instruments as he does.

The Lord Cleanses Our Children, and We Are to Be His Instrument

Second, the Lord cleanses our children, and we are to be his instruments as he does that too.

We have already said that the Lord calls our children to himself. But our children are sinful.

We see that in our two texts from the psalms this morning.

Psalm 58 tells us:

The wicked are estranged from the womb;
    they go astray from birth, speaking lies.

There is an important concept in such a statement. It is true that infants cannot carry out sins the same way an adult can. But what keeps them from it is not their lack of a sinful nature, but their lack of capacity to act.

It’s true, they cannot speak lies at two days old. But that inability is not because they lack the sinful bent to tell lies – for David tells us that they are estranged from God even from the womb. And so their inability to tell lies comes from a lack of cognitive and physical abilities – not a lack of a sinful heart.

And lest we restrict this sinful nature from the womb to other children – maybe to those outside of the covenant – in Psalm 51 King David, very much a covenant child himself, confesses:

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
    and in sin did my mother conceive me.

David acknowledges that he had a heart of iniquity from birth, and a sinful nature from conception.

Now, of course, all children also bear God’s image. That is an important thing we must affirm. But that image has been marred by sin. And even our covenant children are sinful from their conception.

And yet, the Lord calls them to himself. And he brings many into a right relationship with him, as we have heard from several texts. And such a relationship with him is not possible without cleansing from their sin. And so, if the Lord calls our sinful children, then he must also offer them his cleansing, just as he does us.

There is no stage of life that is excluded from the redemption and cleansing work of Jesus Christ.

As the second-century church father Irenaeus put it, Jesus passed through every stage of human development, so that he himself might “sanctify every age” of human life, thus making his cleansing redemption available to people of every age. [Irenaeus, Against Heresies 2.22.4]

Now, with what kind of faith an infant or young child receives such cleansing may be, in many ways, a mystery to us – and I’d encourage you to listen to that sermon on infant faith by Pastor Rayburn if you haven’t already. But the bottom line is that we cannot deny that Christ’s redemption and cleansing is offered to all, and certainly to all within his covenant of grace.

And we are to be his instruments in that.

That means that we too, must emphasize and reiterate, that reality to our children. We must repeatedly point them to the forgiveness of their sins. We must assure them, over and over (just as the Lord assures us), that as they trust in Jesus, he really does forgive them. We must, direct them, again and again, to go to Jesus, confessing and seeking his cleansing once again, when they sin.

As we see in Acts 2:28, the very first promise of the gospel is forgiveness and cleansing for our sins. And as verse 39 reminds us, that promise is not just for us, but also for our children.

So we need to ask ourselves: as parents of covenant children, or as grandparents of covenant children, or as church volunteers working with covenant children, or just as fellow church-members of covenant children: are we leading with the grace of the gospel as we seek to disciple them? Are we leading with the cleansing promised in the covenant: the forgiveness of sins Jesus offers them?

That is where the gospel begins. That is where the blessings of the covenant begins. And so that is where we must begin with them as well.

There is, to be sure, much other instruction, and direction, and discipline involved in raising and discipling covenant children, and that is important. But as with us, the starting point must be the grace of the gospel and the cleansing blood of Jesus. That is where we need to start.

The Lord cleanses our children, and we are to be his instruments as he does.

The Lord Converses with Our Children, and We Are to Be His Instrument

Third, the Lord converses with our children, and we are to be his instruments in that.

God speaks to his people in his word, and he hears their response as they pray. And that is a covenant blessing not just for us, but also for our children.

We see that in our text from Deuteronomy 6 this morning. There God lays out his calling on his people in the covenant, and he emphasize the importance of his word to them. And then he says, of his commands, in verse seven: “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” He adds, in verses twenty and following that when their children ask them about how they live, then they are to remind their children of the stories of what God has done for them in history.

There are a few things to note here. First, God’s word is to permeate our lives as we relate to covenant children. Verse seven speaks of a life in which the reality of God and his word comes up in all sorts of places and in all sorts of ways – because the adults are intentional about bringing it up in all sorts of places and all sorts of ways.

And verse twenty speaks of a situation where a covenant child sees the rules and testimonies that the adults before him are living by, and ask questions – questions about the reasons and meaning behind what they do. And in verse twenty-one such questions are welcomed, and they lead to a story: the story given to us in Scripture.

God’s word is for his people. And that includes our covenant children. And we are to be instruments of that as a congregation – we are to work at describing the works of God and commands of God, in language they can grasp, just as described in Deuteronomy 6. We are also to live that word out before them, as individuals and as a church community, and to answer their questions as we do. We are all called to that, and parents and grandparents are called to it in an even more intense way. There is a lot to reflect on in Deuteronomy 6.

And as we share God’s word with our covenant children, we are to help them respond to it – both in their actions, through instruction and example and discipline, but also in their words: in prayer. They are to speak back to God, thanking him, asking for his help, confessing their sin. And we are to encourage them that God himself really does want to hear from them.

The Lord really does want to converse with our children. And we are to be his instruments in that.

The Lord Communes with Our Children, and We Are to Be His Instrument

Fourth, the Lord communes with our children, and we are to be his instruments in that too.

We see that in our passage from Mark 10. As the people brough children – including, we read in Luke’s account, infants – Jesus wanted to take them in his arms, and bless them, and be with them.

That is how the Lord feels about our covenant children. He wants them to be with him. He delights in them. He wants to commune with them – as people made in his image, but also specifically as children.

And we need to make that clear to our children. We need them to know that in the gospel – in the covenant of grace – the Lord delights in them. He wants to be with them and bless them. He doesn’t begrudge their presence, but he welcomes it.

And if we say or imply something different, the Lord will be indignant with us, just as he was with his disciples. “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”

As a church, we must make the heart of Jesus towards our covenant children clear, as we teach them. We must reflect that heart in how we welcome children in our worship service – not begrudging them for being children, but knowing (and expressing the fact) that God himself wants them here, and so we better not respond to their needs or their noises in ways that would imply otherwise. We must be hospitable to them in our worship service, and not like the disciples who drove them away.

And as they grow and are able, we encourage them to participate in the worship service in whatever ways they can. To sing, to stand, to raise their hands.

As soon as they are able to profess their faith in a credible, age-appropriate way, we invite them to the Lord’s Table. I, personally, along with Pastor Rayburn, and many of our elders, would invite them even earlier, based on our own convictions about the Lord’s Supper. But in a spirit of Reformed catholicity and in humble submission to our denomination, we wait until they can have an informal meeting with a couple of elders and express their sincere faith to them. And then we happily welcome them to the Table. Because the Lord wants them here. [For more on this, see Rayburn, “Minority Report,” on Paedocommunion (link below)]

In our life as a church, and in our individual families, we want our children to know that the Lord welcomes them into his presence, and delights to commune with them.

In fact, our goal, in many ways, as a church and as Christian parents, is to give our covenant children enough of a taste of the joy of God’s welcoming presence that they would long to be in his presence forever – not just now, but for all eternity, in the new heavens and the new earth.

The Lord delights to commune with our children, and we are to be his instruments in communicating that to them.

The Lord Commissions Our Children, and We Are to Be His Instrument

The Lord calls, cleanses, converses with, and communes with our covenant children.

Fifth and finally, the Lord commissions our children. And we are to be his instrument in that as well.

The Lord commissions our covenant children for his battles in this world. We see that in our text from Psalm 8:

O Yahweh, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
    Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
    to still the enemy and the avenger.

The Lord, in some mysterious way, intends to use our covenant children in his work and conquest in this world – even to defeat the enemies of his kingdom.

And that means at least two things. First, it means we must work to equip our covenant children for the Lord’s calling in their future. And second, it means we must have eyes to see the fact that the Lord is already using them in those ways right now.

So first, we must work to equip our covenant children for the Lord’s calling in their future.

Our goal in raising our children in the faith, as disciples for Jesus Christ, is not to raise them to be people who know how to live in a spiritual fortress, but rather, to train them to be soldiers who know both how to build their home-base in the church, while also daily venturing out into a spiritually hostile world to carry out the mission of God there.

Of course, as children, they may need more guarding, given their immaturity and young age. But they are not to remain that way forever. And that truth must shape how we equip them.

Because we want to equip them to think God’s truth in the midst of scoffers, to walk in God’s ways in the midst of temptations, and to apply God’s word to every area of life in God’s world. That is one reason why we so value Christian education.

And so, in all we do – in how we train, and disciple, and educate Christian children – we must be mindful that we are called to equip them for the commission the Lord will place on them in this world as they grow and mature.

But along with that, we must have eyes to see the fact that the Lord has already commissioned and is already using our covenant children to do his work in us and around us right now.

For the Lord uses, and works through, covenant children in the church, often through their very needs.

Mark Searle reflects on this fact. He writes: “Children will test the sacrificial self-commitment, the self-delusions, and the spurious faith of those with whom they come in contact for any length of time. They summon parents particularly to a deeper understanding of the mystery of grace and of the limitations of human abilities. … All this is merely to suggest that in their own way children in fact play an extremely active, even prophetic, role in the household of faith.” [Searle, quoted in Leithart, Priesthood, 153]

The Lord has already commissioned, and is already working through our covenant children, in the life of the church.

We may not reflect on that often theologically, but many of us have experienced it. We have felt our selfishness was exposed and found ourselves called to greater acts of love, and sacrifice, and faith, not by the wise and inspiring words of someone obviously greater than us, but by the needs of a covenant child who was obviously weaker than us.

The Lord has already commissioned our children to be his instruments in the covenant community. And we are to receive that. Which is one more reason for us to value their presence, not only in our households, but in our church gatherings, in our worship, in our activities as the people of God.

Conclusion

The Lord calls and cleanses our children. The Lord converses and communes with our children. And the Lord commissions our children. Because they are part of his covenant of grace, members of his kingdom. And we, as a church, are called to be God’s instrument as he works in their lives – as he grows and matures them as disciples.

That is our calling as the church.

And that is why we so value the nurture and equipping of covenant children.

Amen.

Some Relevant Sources & Resources

Further Reading on Covenant Nurture:

If you are looking for further reading on covenant nurture, you might consider:

  • The Duties of Parents by J.C. Ryle
  • Parenting is Heart Work by Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller
  • “Passing on the Covenant to Our Children – Deuteronomy 4:9-14” Steven Nicoletti. November 21, 2021. Faith Presbyterian Church. https://www.faithtacoma.org/deuteronomy-nicoletti/passing-on-the-covenant-to-our-children-deuteronomy-49-14
  • Belz, Joel. “A Father’s Perspective: Covenant Succession by Grace through Faith.” In To You and Your Children: Examining the Biblical Doctrine of Covenant Succession. Edited by Benjamin K. Wikner. Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2005.

On infant baptism:

Collins, C. John. “What Does Baptism Do for Anyone? Part 1.” Presbyterion 38.1. Spring 2012. Pages 1-33. https://www.academia.edu/5292949/_What_does_baptism_do_for_anyone_Part_1_

Collins, C. John. “What Does Baptism Do for Anyone? Part 2.” Presbyterion 38.2. Fall 2012. Pages 74-98. https://www.academia.edu/5292952/_What_does_baptism_do_for_anyone_Part_2_

Lane, Anthony N.S. “Did the Apostolic Church Baptize Babies?: A Seismological Approach.” Tyndale Bulletin 55.1, 2004 (109-130) https://tyndalebulletin.org/article/29167-did-the-apostolic-church-baptise-babies-a-seismological-approach

Nicoletti, Steven. “Infant Baptism in the First-Century Presupposition Pool.” Tyndale Bulletin 66.2, 2015 (271-292) https://tyndalebulletin.org/article/29399

Leithart, Peter J. The Baptized Body. Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2007.

Strange, W.A. Children in the Early Church. Eugene, OR: Wifp and Stock, 2004 (Previously published 1996)

On infant faith:

Rayburn, Robert S. “Infant Faith, Luke 1:39-45” Faith Presbyterian Church. February 6, 2022. https://www.faithtacoma.org/none/infant-faith-luke-139-45

Lusk, Rich. Paedofaith. Monroe, AL: Athanasius Press, 2005.

On paedocommunion:

Rayburn, Robert S. “Minority Report” of Report of the Ad-Interim Committee to Study the Question of Paedocommunion. 2003. Pages 503-515 of: https://pcahistory.org/pca/digest/studies/2-498.pdf

Nicoletti, Steven S. “A History of Credocommunion: From the Early Church Until 1500.” In The Bantam Review: Journal of the Covenant Seminary Theological Society. 2012. Pages 19-39.

On the reality that some covenant children reject the covenant:

Rayburn, Robert S. and Steven A Nicoletti. “An Elder Must Have believing Children: Titus 1:6 and a Neglected Case of Conscience.” Presbyterion 43.2. Fall 2017. Pages 69-80. https://www.academia.edu/35440413/An_Elder_Must_Have_Believing_Children_Titus_1_6_and_a_Neglected_Case_of_Conscience

Some of Pastor Rayburn’s writings on covenant succession:

Rayburn, Robert S. “The Presbyterian Doctrine of Covenant Children, Covenant Nurture, and Covenant Succession.” Presbyterion 22/2, 1996, p.76-112.

Rayburn, Robert S. “An Emphasis on the Christian Family, Part 1.” Sermon preached at Faith Presbyterian Church in Tacoma, WA. May 7, 2017. https://www.faithtacoma.org/characteristicsoffaith/an-emphasis-on-the-christian-family-part-1

Rayburn, Robert S. “An Emphasis on the Christian Family, Part 2.” Sermon preached at Faith Presbyterian Church in Tacoma, WA. May 14, 2017. https://www.faithtacoma.org/characteristicsoffaith/an-emphasis-on-the-christian-family-part-2-titus-11-9

Additional materials this sermon drew from:

Cyprian, Epistle LVIII (Oxford ed. Ep. lviv), in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, eds. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1986) 5:353. Leithart, Peter J. The Priesthood of the Plebs. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2003.

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