Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Green On Infant Baptism Pt. 7

"7. Infant Baptism Stresses the Initiative of God in Salvation

All agree that baptism is the seal on the covenant between God’s grace and our response. But you have to administer this sacrament at some time or other. Should it be attached primarily to man’s response, or to God’s initiative? That is the heart of the question. It is here the paedobaptists (i.e. those who baptise children) and Baptists take different roads. The Baptist believes baptism is improper until a person believes, because he attaches the covenant seal primarily to man’s response. The paedobaptist position, which has been the mainstream of Christian thought, takes a different view. Yes, response is important, vitally important. Room must be made for that, in some such sacramental act as confirmation. But, supremely, baptism is the mark of God’s prior love to us which antedates our response and calls it forth. For the Baptist, baptism primarily bears witness to what we do in responding to the grace of God. For the paedobaptist, it primarily bears witness to what God has done to make it all possible."

Michael Green, Baptism: Its Purpose, Practice and Power, 55 (Milton Keynes, UK: Paternoster, 1987).

1 comment:

Rhea said...

To me this is the issue of baptism in a nutshell. Depending on how you view baptism (it's purpose and symbolism) will determine if you're paedeobaptist or baptist.