The Legitimacy of Inferences

In the infamous debate between Dr. John MacArthur and Dr. R.C. Sproul on the issue of infant baptism the most significant argument Mac Arthur advanced was that "Scripture nowhere advocates, commands, records any instance of infant baptism." If Scripture does not command it, MacArthur concluded, it is forbidden. Because of its simplicity, this argument sounds very attractive initially. It’s as simple and attractive as:

(a) the Jehovah Witness argument that there is no Triune God because the Scriptures repeatedly say: "The Lord our God is one."
(b) the Arian argument that Jesus isn’t God because the Scriptures repeatedly talk about Jesus being "seated at the right hand of God."
(c) the Open Theist argument that God doesn’t know the future and keeps changing his mind because the Scriptures say repeatedly, "God relented of what he had done."
(d) the Roman Catholic argument that Christ is bodily present in the elements of the Lord’s Supper because Jesus, holding the bread in his hand, says, "This is my body."

All of these arguments are initially attractive because of their simplicity. Obviously, simplicity is not the criterion for truth.

In fact, if one were to employ MacArthur’s argument that what is not explicitly commanded is forbidden we would have to forbid women from participation in the Lord’s Supper. Scripture nowhere advocates, commands, records any instance of female participation in the Lord’s Supper. It is very implicit, but only as implicit as infant baptism. Here we have established the legitimacy of inferences.

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