A friend sent me a link to this clip, which is making the rounds. I know next to nothing about Mark Dever, but I do want to give a quick threefold response to his claims about baptism.

First, Dever claims that paedobaptism and baptismal regeneration have historically gone together. On that point, he is exactly right. And wrong. He is right that historically, a high view of baptismal efficacy has been integral to the doctrine and practice of baptism. In that sense, paedobaptists must be baptismal regenerationalists in order to be consistent. Infant baptism only makes sense if baptism is God's act, not man's. At the same time, Dever is undoubtedly wrong in how he understands what baptismal regeneration means. Cue the "you keep using that word, but it does not mean what you think it means" meme.

I will grant Dever some grace on this first point since most of the paedobaptists he is familiar with are probably in the PCA, and the PCA is notoriously deficient (and subconfessional) on the sacraments. If I had a dime for every PCA pastor who baptizes a baby after giving a long and useless explanation of what baptism does not do, I’d probably be on a beach somewhere rather than writing this blogpost. If infant baptism is not going to make any difference in how we reckon and regard the infant, then, sure, drop the practice. Far too many PCAers are functional baptists who practice a wet dedication in the hope that someday the child will have a conversion experience and become a Christian. This is not the teaching of Calvin or the Westminster standards.
Second, Dever identifies a very real problem — nominalism — but proposes the wrong solution. Dever no doubt sees state churches in Europe filled with paedobaptized-but-obviously-unfaithful-people and concludes that paedobaptism is the problem. But this actually puts the issue on the wrong end. The real reason nominalism crops up is not because paedobaptism is practiced but because church discipline is not  I admit: infant baptism divorced from parental nurture, pastoral oversight, and the exercise of the keys by qualified elders is hugely problematic. That’s why in my church (and in most faithful paedobaptist churches) parents take vows to nurture the baptized child in the faith. We do not baptize a baby who will not be nutured in the faith. Baptism is the beginning of the child’s life of dicipleship. He will be considered a Christian until and unless he proves otherwise by rejecting the faith. And if and when that happens, the church will ratify his rejection of the faith with excommunication. Children who enter the covenant in baptism must be expelled from the covenant if/when they break the covenant — and the same holds true for those who enter the covenant as adults, of course. The faithful application of church discipline eliminates the problem of nominalism.
Quick sidenote: Baptists rejected paedobaptism in hopes of creating a church composed only of regenerate people. That’s what Dever wants. But (as life in the Deep South repeatedly proves) Baptists have not solved the problem of nominalism. The South is full of nominal Baptists; indeed the Bible Belt probably has as many nominal Baptists as New York city has nominal Roman Catholics. Again, Dever’s argument here fails.
Third, I think Dever is failing to give credit where credit is due. It is true that paedobaptsist churches today are often full of apostates. But historically, the picture is much different. Paedobaptists created Western civilization, aka Christendom. Virtually everything that is good and beautiful in our Western heritage comes from paedobaptist Christians — the music, the architecture, the political and economic achievements, the creation of institutions like the hospital and the university, and so much more. When Baptists create a Christian civilization of their own, then they can complain about paedobaptist nominalism. But Baptists have historically functioned as a parasitic group living within and off of a faithful civilization created by paedobaptists. The challenge for Baptists is to show that there are not inherent problems and limitations in their theology that would keep them from ever producing a Christian culture. Can Baptists produce a Christendom of their own? I find it doubtful. They can perhaps play a role in a Christendom created by paedobaptists, but I do not think Baptist theology and practice can ever have the horsepower to Christianize a civilization. The fact that Baptists often divorce the Great Commission from the Creation Mandate, and reduce the Great Commission to the conversion of individuals rather than the discipling of nations, is strong evidence for my view. There are some exceptions to this in the Baptist world, but not many.
Finally, a quick note on Dever’s remarks on church polity (“we need presbyteries and bishops in case anything ever goes wrong at the level of the local congregation” or something to that effect)— I think he misses the point here as well. To be sure: The character of our pastors and elders is far more important than the specifics of the polity; that's why Scripture gives more attention to the qualifications of officers than the form of government that they exercise. Further, nothing objective can guarantee subjective faithfulness. No sacramental administration, no polity, no liturgy, however biblical, can guarantee a church will stay faithful. That’s a lesson we learn from the history of Israel again and again. But that does not make the objective dispensible because God works through his appointed means. Having a biblical polity (what I might call high church presbyterianism, or episcopo-presbyterianism) does not in itself guarantee that we will have faithful pastors and bishops. But that does not mean we should be indifferent to the structures, as the structures are an aid to faithfulness. The church is at her best, her strongest, her most mature when the proper objective means are received and used with subjective faithfulness. When the objective side — things like the liturgy, the polity, the way the sacraments are administered — is unhealthy or not fully biblical in some way, there can still be subjective faith, but it is often hindered and stunted in its growth. I agree that having the right governmental structure will not save us, but, all things being equal, we are better off with it than without it.