Anko Scholtens: Lay Leader of Reformational Movement (4)

Herewith I continue my translation of Anko Scholtens’ booklet, Verbond and Kenmerken Prediking (1936). . . . “In our formulary for baptism it says so clearly that through baptism the Triune God signifies and seals that the Father adopts as His children and heirs, that the Son washes us of all our sins in His blood and that the Holy Spirit desires to live in our hearts and sanctify us as members of Christ.

Baptism, therefore, is not about what is in that child, or whether that child is regenerate, but about what God says about that child, what He has signified and sealed. I believe that much of the debate over “presumptive regeneration” could have been avoided if baptism had been seen in this light.

We must understand this now in terms of preaching. We are of course all convinced that God means what He says and that His promise is firm. This must be our starting point and thus we must embrace this covenant-promise in its full and rich meaning as the background of preaching.

The covenant of God, one-sided in its origin, is two-sided in its outworking. We are therefore required to acknowledge God’s covenant rights, accept his covenant promises and live according to his covenant demands. And the first of these covenant demands is the embrace of God’s promises, saying ‘Amen’ to what God promises, and therefore faith, true faith. That is the first of these covenant demands which must be proclaimed; this must also be proclaimed in preaching as the beginning of covenant obedience. “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent” (John 6:29). “And this is his command, to believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ” (1 John 3:23).

Of course it must always be stated that what does not embrace what God promises is unbelief. Unbelief is thus all worrying about and doubting about our state before God. God’s children must first of all say ‘amen’ to what God says, to his covenant promises as well as his covenant threats. In this way the demand of the covenant is automatically included—namely, to walk in all of life as obedient children.”

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