So I finally read all the comments in that other thread. Wow. I could never be a Pyromaniac. I do want to tie up some loose ends by responding to a few arguments raised by commenters. Here goes:
1. I’m encouraged to know that I’m seeing this more or less the same way as Dave Doran and Kevin Bauder, at least on the point that we should view paedobaptism as sin. I’m actually a bit embarrassed that I wasn’t aware of their positions and somewhat fearful that I'd heard it and that my memory is failing faster than I thought. So perhaps Minnick's perspective is an outlier. Now, I am a bit skeptical that this represents the mainstream of fundamentalist thought, but perhaps my definition of “fundamentalist thought” is too broad, thus skewing what I understand to be the mainstream. Also, Bauder, at least, agrees that a person’s known, unrepentant sin does not necessarily preclude fellowship, and I'm grateful for his explanation.
2. It seems ironic that I’m in far greater agreement with comments from Keith, the guy I’m calling a sinner (and who quite rationally returns the favor) than with many if not most of the Baptists posting here. Nice catch on the WCF quote, Keith. As for a passage that explicitly teaches the Baptist understanding of baptism, I think it’s Matthew 28—we baptize disciples. I understand that baptizo = immersion isn’t a slam dunk lexically, so I’m not pressing immersion on that text. Personally, I'm not sure someone who's been effused as a believer in a church with an evangelical understanding of baptism doesn't need to be immersed upon joining a Baptist church.
3. Kent, your argument that we should be like God and not fellowship with any sin is at best unsustainable. We’re all sinners, you included. I’m wondering what not fellowshipping with yourself looks like. Frankly, I think your approach is antithetical to the gospel. You’re right in the sense that God doesn’t fellowship with sin. But he killed his Son so he could fellowship with sinners—sinning saints, that is. For you to deny fellowship to any believer because of any sin denies the gospel. And seriously, you don’t live this out in practice. You can't.
4. Chris, concerning your paedobaptism-KJVO analogy, I see a difference between paedobaptist doctrine and KJVO doctrine. Paedobaptism is based on a misunderstanding of Scripture, but there is a rational (though flawed) biblical argumentation behind it. There is no such thing for KJVO. They are teaching as doctrine commandments completely fabricated by men. That's the kind of false doctrine Jesus attacked most vociferously. I feel like there's more to it than that, but that's all I've got right now.
5. Bob, You're right that it's more consistent to be either open or closed in practicing communion. That's undeniable. This may be one of those times when human sin brings fundamental values into conflict so that it's impossible to be consistent and maintain all those values. You’re not exactly correct to imply that my church would bar all paedobaptists from the Lord's Supper. We would merely bar those who have not been baptized as believers, and even then it would ultimately be up to one’s own conscience. We wouldn’t physically withhold it, except perhaps for someone who’s been excommunicated. Now, I think you're making the Lord's Table a more individual ordinance than I would, but I feel the pull of your approach.
My bigger critique of your argument is that you overstate the significance of whether person's sin is known to himself. If you understand the Lord’s Supper to be an ordinance observed within and overseen by a local church (maybe you don’t), then that church's understanding of sin arbitrates its observance. So if MSBC excommunicates a member for practicing what your church understands to be known sin, then MSBC is right to withhold the Lord’s Supper from him, even if he doesn't understand that behavior to be sinful. It seems that you're moving the locus of assessment from the church (where I see it in Matthew 16 and 18) to the individual. So I would respond to you that whether an individual is fit to partake is ultimately God's choice, and the earthly assessor of that fitness is the church, not the individual.
6. James, I’m not sure you’re right that the mainstream of Baptist thought has ever suggested that paedobaptist churches are not true churches. Historically, many Baptists have understood such churches to be true, though irregular. That’s certainly not a unanimous sentiment—perhaps some Landmarkers might not have even recognized all Baptist churches as true churches—but I think it’s more representative of historic Baptist thought, at least back when Baptists thought more.
7. Bobby Mitchell: You are an unproductive presence here. Nothing you have said has advanced the conversation, only destroyed it. Your errors are so numerous that I have no interest in addressing them. So I’m banning you. You may not like that. I don’t care. It’s my blog. If you ever want to comment again, e-mail me your comment first. Otherwise, I’ll delete it immediately.