Here is a list of questions that are frequently asked at Westmount. They range from theological questions to those of ministerial practice. We hope the answers to these questions will be profitable as you think through issues biblically.
Many churches which don’t baptize infants have “baby dedications.” Why doesn’t Westmount dedicate infants?
There are some ‘believers’ baptism’ churches that practice child dedications. They may do this for a variety of reasons, such as (1) they feel they need to so something once a baby is born, or (2) there is a tradition of doing something for infants in the church.
There is something that should be done when an infant is born. This is the thrust of Deuteronomy 6:7-9. We need to teach and disciple out children from the earliest age – and that primarily happens in the home. As such, the local church comes alongside the family to support that biblical end. That is why the community of the local church body is so important and is one reason church membership is so vital. In this way, by virtue of the family being in membership (committed) to the local church, there is already the pledge of the local church family/community to help support the young parents in their commitment to raising the child in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Baby dedication would, if nothing else, be redundant because we have already committed at Westmount to support families in raising children to know and love the Lord.
In this way, the tradition of the church recognizing infants is also considered. The church does not base its practice strictly on tradition – this is why a church would not baptize infants despite the tradition of infant baptism over a large part of the church’s history. Ultimately, Scripture governs the church’s actions. Yet, it is helpful to consider what the saints of old have done. Saints of old have recognized a clear covenant community (i.e., the local church) and have sought to raise children in the fear and admonition of the Lord through the family as part of that covenant community. In this way, Westmount aligns with the church tradition of raising children in the covenant community as well as the early church tradition of baptizing only believers. Baby dedication, in and of itself, is not a longstanding church tradition (unlike infant baptism) – in fact, it is a modern tradition that flows out of a neglect of a robust church membership process.
Should we still be keeping the Sabbath commandment?
If we should still be keeping the Sabbath strictly because of the fact that it appears in the Mosaic Law, then we should be keeping all 300+ of the laws we see in the Mosaic Law. While few today would say that we should be keeping all 300+ of those laws, and there are many other reasons for Sabbath-keeping, such a reminder none the less points us to the fact that the Mosaic Law was given in a particular time and a place for a particular people in that time and at that place. The Mosaic Law is simply an administration and communication of the greater “Law of God,” that Law which is His perfect standard transcending time, place, and people. Mosaic Laws directly reflective of God’s Law are transcendent, carrying over into the New Testament. In some way, for example, nine of the Ten Commandments are clearly expressed in the New Testament. The Sabbath, though, lacks a direct re-affirmation. So, how does it still apply?
What we see, not in the New Testament only, but since the creation of the world (thus outstripping the Mosaic Law), is a day of rest. Particularly, there is a day set aside and dedicated to the Lord. In the Mosaic Law, this consecrated day was the Sabbath. In the New Testament, this becomes the first day of the week (Acts 20:7) – Sunday, which is also the day of our Lord’s resurrection (Luke 24:1). The transcendent principle in God’s Law, built into creation, that there is to be a day dedicated and consecrated to the Lord does carry over from the Old Testament. The day of the week, however, changes, and so does the activity we see happening on it. Now, that day is set aside especially for fellowship (i.e., breaking of bread). This administration of God’s Law is new with the coming of Christ and His bringing of the New Covenant.
For further reference:
“Proper Days.” A sermon on Exodus 20:8-11, June 13, 2021: https://westmountbiblechapel.ca/exodus/
Why does my translation have some verses missing?
Some verses are, indeed, omitted from the ESV (and other versions). Examples include Matthew 17:21, John 5:4, and Acts 8:37. The simplest explanation is that those verses generally do not appear in the earliest and best attested manuscripts. Over time – especially since the KJV was translated in 1611 – we have access to many more manuscripts that attest to the text. Some of these manuscripts are old and close to the original writing of Scripture, thus, they may be more indicative of what the original text of Scripture said.
At first hearing, the fact that different manuscripts record different texts may sound disconcerting. In this, however, we must remember that God has still preserved His Word, even if it be through fallible men prone to copying errors. We can say with confidence that we do possess the Word of God. What we also need to keep in mind is that in every case where we see “missing” verses, there is nothing significantly altered with the meaning of the passage/text (sometimes, for example, there is simply an addition or repetition. See Mark 9:44, 46, which repeat 9:48).
In many versions, these omitted verses can also be found in the footnotes. Thus, the translation of these verses is still accessible to us today.
Some translations, such as the KJV, do not omit these verses. This is one reason many people – including whole denominations – prefer to stick with that version. While the KJV is certainly a good translation, it is not the only translation.