The principle of covenant headship, which entails imposing covenant claims and duties upon those under one's covenant leadership, is still in effect.
The guiding principle of scriptural interpretation is that all of Old Testament commands and principles are still in effect unless they have been positively rescinded in the New Testament (Matthew 5:18, II Timothy 3:16). A principle does not have to be re-stated in the New Testament to still be in effect, as we see in the prohibition against bestiality, for example. The principle of covenant headship- exemplified by Joshua when he said, 'as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord'- has never been rescinded. Rather, Christian parents have always been required to place God's covenant sign on the children under their authority and rear them in the fear of God. Baptism in the New Testament economy, like circumcision in the Old Testament economy, is the visible mark of such service to the Lord (Colossians 2:11-12). Just as the visible people of God of all ages were symbolically baptized when they crossed the Red Sea (I Corinthians 10:2), so the people of all ages today are commanded to be baptized and serve the Lord (Matthew 28:19).
Our Baptist friends wrongly assert that God would never put a sign of being born again and regenerated (which water baptism is) on someone who has not made profession of faith.
Baptists are wrong because it is obvious in scripture that God did this very thing in the case of circumcision. Circumcision in the Old Testament economy was applied not only to believers but also to their infant children. This outward circumcision was a sign or picture of inward circumcision of the heart (Romans 2:28-29). But inward circumcision of the heart is but another way of expressing being born again and regenerated (Deuteronomy 30:6, Deuteronomy 10:16). Therefore, it is simply un-Biblical to assert God would never put a sign of being regenerated on someone unless they evidenced being regenerated by a profession of faith. Of course, we should never confuse the sign (whether circumcision or water baptism) with the thing signified (in this case, regeneration). Esau and Demas are but two of many scriptural examples who received the sign yet later evidenced by their lives that they had not really been born again. God in his sovereignty has determined to put his visible claim and mark of salvation on many who are not elect. We must follow his commands and guidelines regarding the administration of sacramental signs, and not our own faulty human logic.
Our Baptist friends wrongly assert that God would never put a sign of faith (which water baptism is) on someone who has not made profession of faith.
Baptists are wrong because it is obvious in scripture that God did this very thing in the case of circumcision. Circumcision in the Old Testament economy was applied not only to believers but also to their infant children. This outward circumcision was a sign not only of regeneration but also faith. Romans 4:11 calls circumcision a "seal of the righteousness of faith." By seal it means an emblem or outward sign of faith. Thus God in his sovereignty determined to put this emblem or sign of faith on the visible covenant seed who had not yet professed faith, and on many like Esau and Absalom who never would have true saving faith.
Our Baptist friends wrongly assert that profession of faith must in ALL cases precede water baptism because of passages like Mark 16:16 and Acts 2:38.
It is true based upon passages like Mark 16:16 and Acts 2:38 ("he that believes and is baptized shall be saved" and "repent ye and be baptized") that all who profess faith in Christ should be baptized. But it is wrong to deduce from that proposition that in ALL cases baptism should be administered only to those who have already made profession of faith.
There are at least 5 reasons the Baptist conclusion is wrong. First, it involves a logical fallacy. For example, we cannot logically deduce from the proposition that "adults go to bed at night" that "NO children go to bed at night." So we cannot rightly deduce from passages like that "those who profess faith should be baptized" that "NO ONE can ever be baptized who has not professed faith." Second, it is contradicted by the example of Abraham and his descendants. Abraham was circumcised as a sign of the faith he had already professed (Romans 4:11), yet this SAME sign was also administered to infant children who had not already professed faith. Third, it is contradicted by the instances of New Testament household baptisms (I Corinthians 1:16, Acts 16:15, Acts 16:33). Fourth, it contradicts the Biblical principle of covenant headship whereby the members of the covenantal unit are set apart by God (albeit not necessarily saved) when the covenantal head is set apart (I Corinthians 7:14). Finally, it flies in the face of divine preparatory lessons regarding baptism. In order to teach and prepare the New Testament church for the sacrament of baptism, God chose the baptism of Israel in their crossing of the Red Sea (I Corinthians 10:2). This baptism included not only the adult Israelites who had faith to cross the Red Sea, but it also included their children and infants. This instance alone is enough to de-bunk the myth that there is no explicit incident of infant baptism in scripture.
Our Baptist friends wrongly assert that God has used believers’ baptism as his instrument to make a more holy people in the New Covenant administration.
Baptists use passages like Hebrews 8:8-10 ("the days come, saith the
Lord, that I will make a new covenant…I will put my laws into their mind,
and on their heart also will I write them…all shall know me…") to make
this assertion. Baptists are right that Hebrews 8:8-10 is pointing
to a change that has occurred from the Old Covenant economy to the New
Covenant economy. But the problem for the Baptist assertion is that
there is nothing in the verse that implies that believers’ baptism is a
means by which God brings this change about. What is suggested in
Hebrews 8:8-10 as the factor leading to the change? It is the fact
that God will write his law into their hearts. I Corinthians
3:3 suggests a similar idea, when it speaks of "the Spirit of the living
God" writing his law on the "tables that are hearts of flesh." This
would seem to point to the post-Pentecostal out pouring of the Holy Spirit
(Acts 2). Of course, the fullness of the New Covenant promise will
not be realized until the New Heavens and New Earth, for there will always
be tares among the wheat until the Day of Judgment. But the greater
gift of the Holy Spirit is a seal and down payment of that complete fulfillment
to come (Ephesians 1:13-14). The point is, there is nothing to suggest
that passages like Hebrews 8:8-10 are proof of the Baptist position.