The very thing they most want this passage [1 Cor.7:14] to yield for the “holy” children, namely, the right to baptism, they must deny to the “consecrated” parent who does not believe. Thus their exposition is plunged into sibylic contortions. The holy children are “so far holy that they are in the fold, not aliens”; they are “in the church classification of believers”; theirs is a holiness “that evinces the operation of the covenant”; they are “in the body of Christ” by a kind of “collective holiness”; they enjoy the advantage of “the baptismal solidarity of the family.” But all these luxuriant theological formulations drop from the discussion when the unbelieving spouse is concerned. He or she is “consecrated,” but not so far as to be “in the fold”: he/she is an alien; he/she is “sanctified,” but not in the church classification of a “believer”: he/she is an unbeliever. The covenant does not “operate” for him/her as it does for the child; the “collective holiness” that gathers in the child leaves him/her uncollected. And though he/she was in the family before the child was, he/she has no part or lot with the child in the “baptismal solidarity” of that family! There is, however, no profound difference between the Greek verb “to make holy,” used of the parent in this verse, and the Greek adjective “holy,” used of the child. Why, then, should the meaning be so different in the one case than in the other? If the sanctifying influence of the believer on the unbelieving spouse carries with it no benefit in the church above that of hearing the Gospel, how may we conclude that the sanctifying influence of the believer on the child implies the right to baptism and church membership? (Infant Baptism & The Covenant of Grace, pp.126-127).
© 2011, Rick Hogaboam. All rights reserved.