Wednesday, January 16, 2008

From The Suggestion Box

Elder Eric suggested I do a post on infant baptism as he is a Baptist and would like to hear the perspective of someone who actually supports the practice, rather than the characterization he has received from his fellow Baptists. Wow, what an undertaking. This is THE issue separating many Christians, and as I spent ten years in a believer's baptism church, I will take up this challenge. I must say up front, I will rely heavily on sources for this one, but I will also put in what I consider the most compelling arguments in my journey from baptism by belief into covenantal baptism. I have avoided this topic until now, but this must surely be providential that Eric has asked this. I have not avoided it because of any doubts I have—I have none—I have avoided it because it is a heated topic of which not many are convinced to change their mind by argumentation. So, I undertake this task prayerfully, asking the Lord to be generous with us, to help keep our minds open, and to lead us wherever the text may take us—in context of course.

5 comments:

Rhea said...

Alan,

I'm REALLY excited that you're going to be writing on infant baptism. It's something that I've "flip-flopped" on a lot since I've been a Christian. While I tend to be in the believer's baptism camp, I can see, in Scripture, reasons that seem to support the idea of infant baptism (what I mean by this is that I can see the Scriptural support for it, or perhaps better stated, I can see how someone could read Scripture and come to the conclusion that infant baptism is good...I just wanted to make clear that I'm not one of those who believes in "believer's baptism" and thinks that if you believe and/or practice infant baptism you're some sort of heretic). Anyway, I'm really looking forward to what you have to say on the subject. The congregation that I'm a part of practices believer's baptism, but we also have what we call "baby dedications" at church, that I imagine, in many ways, would mirror an infant baptism ceremony in many other churches.

Ebenezer Erskine said...

I'd like to hear some more on Infant Baptism. While it would not be a subject for United Presbyterians it is still something we should be aware of...

John D. Chitty said...

I was raised Independent Baptist, and they are naturally very strident in defense of believer's baptism. Nowadays my theology is thoroughly Reformed, including the belief in paedobaptism, yet by God's wise and good yet mysterious providence, I remain in a Southern Baptist church (that's called meeting in the middle with those I love).

While here, I'm looking here and there for material from a bit more scholarly point of view in defense of believer's baptism, but that which I'm finding is confirming its (to me) dubious origins in the radical reformation. I'm glad to learn that the Reformed Baptists (Particular Baptists, back in the day) do have a better defense of it, relying on the emphasis of the newness and discontinuity of the covenant, as well as a hearty and unrelenting focus on the regulative principle of worship as it relates to the issue of baptism. However, I have yet to get past the clean break on their part in the communion of saints past and present which seems to border on the schismatic. This keeps me in the paedobaptist camp. The question that nags at me and keeps the credobaptist view suspect in my opinion, is if the original Baptists were so thoroughly Reformed, and agreed with paedobaptists on just about everything but baptism--so much so that their great historic confession is a condensing of the Presbyterian Westminster Confession, revising the statement on baptism--then what makes those British Baptists think the paedobaptist view of the continental Reformed theology is so wrong?

Eric said...

Alan,

Thank you for being willing to tackle this subject. I'm looking forward to reading what you have to say.

In my experience, when this topic is brought up, members of the infant baptism and believer's baptism "camps" tend to talk past one another without really communicating. Unfortunately, those discussions often end up heated, with the people not even treating each other like brothers and sisters in Christ.

I hope we will all benefit from this discussion and be stretched to know why we believe what we believe. It is also encouraging to me that we are all followers of Jesus Christ, and therefore have much more in common than we have in disagreement.

Eric

ScottR said...

I look forward to it, Alan.