In his book, To a Thousand Generations, Douglas Wilson starts off in the preface talking about how within his church they receive into membership those who baptize their infants and those who believe one must wait until a profession of faith. He mentions how this book doesn’t represent his church as a whole but that its a book that the elders of their church has allowed for publication as they wrestled with the issues.
Central to their churches understand of this, they allow both kinds of families into membership because they consider membership by family and not by individuals within that family.
This is a quote from the preface:
“As a part of this cooperationa greement, we have stated the following in our Constitution: “Because of our commitment to the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3), and because of our shared commitment to the practice of household membership as outlined in our Constitution, these differences have been procedurally resolved between us. We have agreed to work together in this way until such a time as the Lord brings us to one mind on the subject of baptism.” Our assumption is that we are to strive for likemindedness. The cooperation is not based upon an uneasy silence, but rather on a frank and charitable discussion.” -Douglas Wilson, Preface of To a Thousand Generations
I want to comment on this in the spirit of being frank. Frankly, I like and agree wholeheartedly with this. We should be striving within the church to be of one mind. We should be fully convinced in our own minds while also being able to discuss and dialogue about all kinds of issues, always keeping the centrals of the faith central. If we run or hide from discussing these matters then we are merely being lazy or waiting for worse things to happen.
It is a sign of courage when someone can listen to another argument without getting defensive or emotional. To reason back and listen and understand the issues is one of great work but worthwhile work. We need more of this. We need more listening and dialogue. We need to strive to be of one mind on all sorts of issues, and we must be willing to be wrong, as well as being willing stand up if we are right.
We stand on God’s word. So we aren’t striving to just follow someone with better arguments. We are striving to know and understand God’s word better. We are striving to follow it and listen to it. So if someone demonstrates something Biblical to us, we must be willing to submit ourselves to God’s voice through his word.
Part of striving to be of one mind means we can’t just hold onto something because we like it or don’t like the other side. We must prove it Biblically. We must reason with Scripture. Our lives must be conducted in this light.
So my task won’t be to tear down arguments, but also build up my case as well. For that is striving to be fully convinced in our own minds as well as striving with one another to be of likemindedness.
May God grant us grace in this endeavor.
Note: As I continue to read, I also am seeing that this task of trying to write daily, while studying the issues more in depth, and then commenting and wrestling, will be difficult. I may not have much to say at times, and may not talk about the issue for a while. This is because I want to prayerfully work through this and not rush through it. So, as a way of preparing anyone who may read this, and as a way of not giving myself too much of a burden, I may work through this much slower, and perhaps take a few months or a year. But I pray it will be a blessing, mostly for myself and my family, but to anyone else who may read.