Do these churches all follow errant, man-made teaching with
respect to baptism, or does this practice actually go all the way back to New
Testament times? Is there a biblical basis to this practice?
This, of course is the ultimate aspect of this issue.
Baptism is one of a very limited number of sacraments in the
Christian church. Are there any Christians who do not believe baptism is
important? Therefore, it is in fact important to know what the Bible teaches on
this subject. It is important to know what we believe and why we believe
The Scriptures own declaration in this regard is that "All
Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for
correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be
competent, equipped for every good work."
II Timothy 3:15-17 ESV. We will do well to study baptism, this portion of
Scripture, so that we can be competent and equipped in this regard too.
There is considerable joy to be had when we are confident we are
correctly following the will of God with respect to baptism. All of life
must be dedicated to serving the Lord. Each step we take to draw closer to
Him will bring more of His blessings into our lives.
It is hoped that the edification of believers
will be realized through this endeavor by helping Reformed Christians gain a clearer
understanding of why infants are baptized from a Reformed
perspective. Conversely, it is hoped this material will help
eliminate wrong reasons for baptizing infants. Infants should not be
baptized because it is believed their parentsí faith has saved them.
Saving faith must be and always is personal. Infants should not be
baptized because they are presumed to be saved. There is nothing to
be gained by such a presumption. Infants should not be baptized
because of tradition. Tradition can be a tool to aid our understanding
of God, it is not an end unto itself. Infants should not be baptized
because the waters of baptism wash away their (original) sin. The
physical waters of baptism do not save. Infants should not be
baptized if neither of the parents is a Christian.
Infants of believers should be baptized because 1.)
God is reaching out to them through His covenant and desires them to
be saved and 2.) as Creator and Judge of the universe, God
rightfully has a claim on their lives.
hoped that the
unity of Christians will be realized with the Baptist readers
of this material. It is hoped that even though it is highly
unlikely Baptist readers will come to embrace infant baptism, they
will at least see that it is possible to practice the baptism of
infants without destroying the essence of personal saving faith.
Should the material succeed in this goal, then these Baptist readers
will know that Christ has in fact redeemed some of the members of
Paedo-Baptist churches - believing Baptists have brothers and
sisters in Paedo-Baptist fellowships.
Ideally as fellow
believers we would all either decide to follow the
Anabaptists in their
theology and practice, or we would all decide to embrace the
Abrahamic covenant in our understanding of Scripture. Every step that
can be made toward unity in truth is a step well taken. After all, either
Baptists are right in their understanding of baptism or the practice of
baptizing infants is correct. They can't both be Scriptural!
It has been my experience over the last 30 years that I learn the
most when discussing a topic with someone who believes differently than I do.
When discussing something with someone who believes exactly as I do there is a
lot of nodding of heads. However, when I discuss matters with someone who
thinks differently, they are not so quick to rubber stamp statements. They
are quicker to critique what I say, to challenge it's accuracy. They work
harder to keep me on target. That is good. I trust others have
experienced the same thing.
Hopefully the paper posted for discussion will contribute to the
advancement of this topic.
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