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Infant baptism...is it right?

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  • #61
    Then my friend, you have stumbled on the greatest theological debates of our time.

    When I was studying church history, it was unbelievable on all the 'thinking' that was done about God's Word. It is no doubt this was the reasoning why Christ chose simpler men to be His first Apostles. We have over thought His Word to the point that we cannot seem to agree on basic principles and furthermore the same passages that one denomination brings up concerning one thing another will counter with scripture to the contrary.

    Man has gone off and created faith as he sees fit. Any time he did not like something that was happening he would split off the branch, establish new rules and call himself something different. Luther, Calvin, Wesley to name a few, all had different approaches to salvation and the way the Word should be preached.

    That was not the first split however. We started fighting about what was God's intentions right after the Apostles died. The Greek Orthodox church was the first to split off for a difference in opinion. (I am simplifying)

    Catholics have a view point that is different yet. Where would you like to start. Who would you like to take on first? I am a member on several bible study sites and have witnessed near bloodshed between members of various denominations on these vary issues. One person brings up a scripture to back up their claim, the other person counters. The next thing you know people are calling people terrible Christians or worse...

    Which denomination would you like to call correct? They all claim to be right and they all can defend themselves with God's Word. Do you see why it is best to leave sleeping dogs lie?

    It is best to direct people back to their governing bodies for this sort of discussion.

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    • #62
      infant baptism...a viable minority in evangelicalism

      There is a lot of solid Scriptural support for infant baptism. I understand that this forum is largely filled with evangelicals (of which I am one), and that evangelicalism's majority heritage in the US has been credo-baptistic (believers'/adult) baptism, but I'd encourage the thinkers in this thread to, even if you disagree, realize that there's strong, viable exegetical and historical reasons why other evangelicals are paedo-baptists. I used to believe in believer's baptism, and was convinced, by Scripture, to change my position. Some books I might recommend for some entry-points:

      Christian Baptism, by John Murray
      The Christ of the Covenants, by O. Palmer Robertson

      I'm not necessarily convinced that those two are the best, but they are the ones that exposed the Scriptures to me personally, leading to my change.

      I'm really not trying to be contentious, but I am trying to point out that infant baptism is a viable and biblical option. Thanks!

      Zac

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      • #63
        Zac, perhaps, if you listed several of the scriptures you are referring to it would be more useful. Most of us do not have the time or energy to go find these books and read them. But you who has read from them, you could enlighten us to their evidences. Thanks.

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        • #64
          thanks

          Thanks, Mathew.

          My purpose wasn't to go into it, really. If you're curious and DO have the time and energy, a google search would get you a lot of the basic passages and arguments that accompany infant baptism.

          My main purpose was to provide balance to the discussion, because it seemed as though infant baptism was being at least partially painted as foreign and incompatible with biblical thought.

          I AM encouraged to see discussions of things such as these on WORSHIP forums, because for too long "worship" has been relegated to music. Worship leaders are, ideally, folks who understand the theological issues surrounding everything that takes place within the corporate worship setting...it should fall under their purview. Unfortunatley, we've abdicated our pastoral role, and it needs to be reclaimed. This, in turn, means that worship leaders should be eager to hit the books and go deep in their understanding of the Scriptures. I recently blogged about this very topic:

          Zac Hicks - Old Hymns, New Music, Ancient Liturgy, Modern Worship - Zac Hicks Blog - Passion for God Means Passion forTheology

          But now I've expanded the discussion beyond its starting point. Sorry! Thanks for responding.

          Zac

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          • #65
            I am a Lutheran, of the same denomination as Lance is. Infant baptism has always been a sticking point for many. As one who has studied theology, and spent time trying to figure out what other church bodies do and why, the whole thing of infant baptism comes down to two things, in my estimation. First, what is baptism? Is it an outward symbol, or response? Or is it something more, marking you as one of Christ saved children, giving you eternal life and salvation? Secondly, it comes down to the state of infants. Are they sinless? I have a 14 month old daughter, and while I know she isn't going to lie to me, the state of her being is corrupt and sinful. Therefore, she needs a change in state. That's why she has been baptized. And a corollary to that point, it's a matter if whether or not you believe that you play an active or passive role in salvation. If you play an active role in salvation, then you have to be able to reason and accept God as part of your salvation. If you play a passive role in salvation, God is the one doing the work. Remember, "For while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Just my two cents.
            Last edited by CraigHarmann; 06-21-2010, 08:12 AM.

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            • #66
              Baptism

              At the risk of extending the debate, I enter the ring as a Baptist, raised as a Presbyterian, married to a former Catholic (in the Presbyterian Church). I was sprinkled as an infant, and chose believer's baptism as a public profession of faith as an adult. My wife did the same, and we have had both our children baptized as infants. One chose to be baptized as a teen, the other never did. As a young parent, we chose infant baptism largely because "that is the custom" in our family. I'm not sure we thought much about it.

              In my Baptist congregation today, we do not do infant baptism, but do a dedication. When I read the words of both ceremonies, there really is no difference other than a bit of water. The key to both is the public profession by both the parents and congregation to raise that child in the light of God, and dedicating that child to Him. Whether there is H2O or not, the important thing is the dedication to God.

              To me, the believer's baptism was one of the most memorable things I have ever done, and was the start of coming to real faith in Christ. Sure I was raised as a Christian, but considered it more a way of life, and took a lot for granted. Over time, the act of coming to a decision to be baptized as an adult, required me to reconsider what it really meant. I had to accept both the fact that I am fundamentally faulty, and that God loves me anyways. Humility had to enter into my being in a real way, maybe for the first time. A public profession of faith is an act of coming off your high horse, and kneeling at the foot of the risen Savior. It is a conscious act of contrition, humility, and joy. Having been baptized both ways, I would have to say that the act of choice was far more important than either ceremony.

              In terms of whether one or the other is better, or more scriptural, or more correct, I think the argument is irrelevant. Jesus was taken to the Temple as an infant, and the custom of the day involved some form of dedication. Jesus chose as a man to be baptized by John the Baptist, and God responded that He was very pleased with His Son. Jesus encouraged baptism, but stressed baptism of the heart.

              Last Sunday, our Pastor talked about the tower of Babel, and how it divided the world until the Holy Spirit came and suddenly the believers were able to speak so that everyone could understand. To some extent, this debate is just another example of Babel. We worship the risen Savior, who came to unite us. We sure seem to spend a lot of time in confused argument over form not substance.

              As for me and my house, while we would seem to have the bases covered quite nicely with both forms of baptism, the real ongoing debate is over who we believe in, and how we respond. I have two wonderful sons, who have been raised in the Church, but who still do not entirely know Christ. I would certainly give back any and all of the baptism ceremonies to know that they both have found their Savior. Please pray for us all as we struggle with these very real things.

              Blessings to all...
              Dave

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              • #67
                I recently had a wise person tell me that infant baptism was much like giving a person a 'learner' permit, if you will. This learner's permit is a placeholder that is placed on the infant but is entrusted to the parents and the church to uphold until the child reaches an age that they can take responsibility for their own actions. This usually comes in the form of a confirmation.

                None of these baptisms are even a point of discussion if the person in question never decides to repent his or her sins and come to know Christ personally. Baptism does not take the place of that relationship and perhaps we get this confused all the time. I know that many folks believe baptisms are all one needs to get to heaven. If that were the case, we could simply open bath houses and close our sanctuaries.

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