What is the point of infant baptism??

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by SaggyWoman, Jun 23, 2001.

  1. SaggyWoman

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    In a nutshell, what exactly is the point of infant baptism? Jesus example shows adult baptism.
     
  2. preacher

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    There is no point, less they just need a bath! ;)
     
  3. word_digger

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    No point. It is un-scriptural. Babies should be bathed at home. [​IMG]
     
  4. Chris Temple

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by SaggyWoman:
    In a nutshell, what exactly is the point of infant baptism? Jesus example shows adult baptism.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    While I do not support the practice, Baptists should understand that there is a well-thought out and logical theology behind infant baptism. It extends from covenant theology, which views baptism as the sign of the New Covenant as circumcision was of the Old Covenant.

    Christians and their children are believed to be in the covenant and in the church, as believers and their children were in covenant Israel in the old covenant. This also does not equate with baptismal regeneration, as one is still only saved by grace through faith.

    Being a covenant people for the paedobaptist does not equate with all saved, as was also true in Israel. Salvation is rightly understood as by grace through faith.
     
  5. swaimj

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    Good point Chris. I am curious as to your position on this. If I have understood you correctly, you believe that the Church is spiritual Israel and the OT promises to Israel are fulfilled in the Church. Why do you reject infant baptism as the spiritual equivalent to circumcision?
     
  6. CorpseNoMore

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by SaggyWoman:
    In a nutshell, what exactly is the point of infant baptism? Jesus example shows adult baptism.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Hi SaggyWoman, may I say at the outset that you have the most interesting alias on the BB. I do not mean to be sarcastic but I have to ask, a better question than the one you've asked is... "what is the point of this thread?"

    Have I not addressed the issues that are needed for understanding in the other thread, first at this LINK to page three of that thread and subsequently on page four of it also?

    The Point of Infant Baptism by CorpseNoMore

    cordially, [​IMG]

    CNM
     
  7. Chris Temple

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by swaimj:
    Good point Chris. I am curious as to your position on this. If I have understood you correctly, you believe that the Church is spiritual Israel and the OT promises to Israel are fulfilled in the Church. Why do you reject infant baptism as the spiritual equivalent to circumcision?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Hi Swaimj:

    I reject infant baptism as the spiritual equivalent to circumcision for 2 basic reasons: 1) The NT is clear that baptism is for believers only, and 2)we haved moved from law to grace (Gal 2-4) and NT circumcision is of the heart.

    Romans 2:28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.

    Since all believers are already circumcised in the Spirit, the NT ordinance of baptism cannot be equated.

    This is why a biblical theology is better than a systematic theology, as the system isn't always right! ;)

    [ June 23, 2001: Message edited by: Chris Temple ]
     
  8. rlvaughn

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    One other "point" of infant baptism, especially for Catholics and Anglicans, is that baptism is regenerative. That is, they believe in baptismal regeneration, or at least that baptism contributes to salvation. Of course, there is NO Biblical "point" to infant baptism, because it is not found in the Bible.
     
  9. Chris Temple

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by rlvaughn:
    One other "point" of infant baptism, especially for Catholics and Anglicans, is that baptism is regenerative. That is, they believe in baptismal regeneration, or at least that baptism contributes to salvation. Of course, there is NO Biblical "point" to infant baptism, because it is not found in the Bible.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    That is certainly true of Catholics/Orthodox/Lutheran but one would have to qualify the Anglicans who believe in BR. Certainly evangelicals like J.C. Ryle did not, nor do J.I. Packer nor John Stott.

    The Presbyterian and Reformed do not believe in BR.
     
  10. SaggyWoman

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    Corpse No More:

    The reason I asked this is that the other thread got annoyingly heavy, and I couldn't see the point for all the fluff flying.
     
  11. swaimj

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    Chris, thanks for your earlier reply. [​IMG]
     
  12. Lorelei

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by SaggyWoman:
    Corpse No More:

    The reason I asked this is that the other thread got annoyingly heavy, and I couldn't see the point for all the fluff flying.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


    Amen to that SaggyWoman! And thanks for asking. I tired of trying to find the answers in all that "fluff" myself, but was also curious. [​IMG]

    ~Lorelei
     
  13. rlvaughn

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    Chris: "...one would have to qualify the Anglicans who believe in BR..."

    Yes, I agree there are evangelical Anglicans who do not believe in baptismal regeneration, but, as far as I am informed, this would still be the official doctrine of the Anglican church.
     
  14. Defensor Fidei

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    I have a few questions for the "believer's baptism" crowd here"

    1. Since those who were entering into the New Covenant made in Christ's Blood were Jews, doesn't it seem logical that they would "think Jewish?" Try putting yourself into the time and the feel of the book of Acts. It is not American, it is Jewish. It is not dispensational, it is covenantal. It is not based on individualism ("accepting Jesus") but on corporate identity. If that be the case, then wouldn't the Jews who were becoming believers be thinking covenantally and look to have that covenant continue in a new fashion? If you agree to this, then there must have been an outward sign/seal of the covenant just as in the Old Covenant.

    2. If "believer's baptism" was the norm from the first century on, where did the Early Fathers such as Polycarp, Ignatius, Irenaeus, etc., learn and teach paedobaptism? Who taught it to them?

    3. If circumcision was only a mere sign, then how come the one in Israel who was not circumcized was "cut off" from the people of God. Mere signs do not have such far reaching consequences.

    4. Since we are in the "better covenant which speaks of better things", how then, if circumcision really and truly made one a member of the kingdom of God in the OT and gave one access to the priesthood and sacrifices for sins, along with all other benefits, could baptism do less as a better covenant?

    5. How does one make a covenant with God in the NT without the shedding of blood? Covenants are not made without blood, which blood is, according to Scripture, the very life of the flesh. Since a covenant is the given of persons one to another, the blood of the covenant ritual must be present to accomplish covenant. Where in "accepting Jesus" is this blood?

    6. Since Scripture calls it the "washing of regeneration" in Titus 3:5, how then do you say that it does not wash away sin? Since Scripture in Acts 22:16 issues a command to be baptized into the forgiveness of sins, how then do you say that baptism does not forgive sins? Since Gal. 3:27 says that we are baptized into Christ, how do we say that baptism is but a mere sign of something that has already happened?

    5. If believer's baptism was the norm from day one, where is the Church council to discuss the "heresy" of paedobaptism? In fact, since doctrinal disputes were settled by councils, where is the Church council on "believer's baptism" if there were so many people practicing it in the first, second, and third centuries? Surely if this was the norm and Baptist doctrine went all the way back to the first century, we should have had some great conflict over this which resulted in a council. We see none.

    6. The word "covenant" appears over 280+ times in Scripture, therefore, every doctrine we develope must have the ability to fit into a Biblical covenant as stated by Scripture. If the covenant form of the old administration allowed for infants to make covenant with God through the faith of their covenantal head, the clan patriarch, why would the "better covenant" not allow for the same?

    BTW Chris -- good explanation, albeit not real complete, but nonetheless a fair picture of paedobaptists. The only mistake most of them make is that they sprinkle the infant when the Early Fathers wrote that immersion was the proper method. (Yes, we dip our kids in deep!!).

    CT
     
  15. SaggyWoman

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    Can you start this as a new thread??? This is a non fluff thread.
     
  16. Mark Reid

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    The chief advantage of the Baptist position is that NT examples of baptism are all post-conversion so we don't have to go into any contortions of theology to state our position. Whatever may have happened to baptism subsequently can't take away from this simple fact.

    One thing that does seem clear from history is that infant baptism had appeared by the second century, but that in itself is not a srong enough argument to abandon the witness of the NT. I find it interesting that by the time the NT was translated into Latin, Jerome left the word transliterated as baptism, rather than actually translating it. I suspect by that time baptism was getting an embarrasing word because its meaning did not fit their theology at the time.
     
  17. CorpseNoMore

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by CovenantTheologian:
    I have a few questions for the "believer's baptism" crowd here"

    1. Since those who were entering into the New Covenant made in Christ's Blood were Jews, doesn't it seem logical that they would "think Jewish?" Try putting yourself into the time and the feel of the book of Acts. It is not American, it is Jewish. It is not dispensational, it is covenantal. It is not based on individualism ("accepting Jesus") but on corporate identity. If that be the case, then wouldn't the Jews who were becoming believers be thinking covenantally and look to have that covenant continue in a new fashion? If you agree to this, then there must have been an outward sign/seal of the covenant just as in the Old Covenant.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Hi CT, "thinking Jewish" is what gets them into trouble; the Jews chafe under the message of New Covenant, c.f. I Cor. 1:22-24, Gal. 2:11-21. It is true that one should think "covenantally", but it is equally true that the covenant is NEW, which means it is different in some way, else it's not really "new" at all, is it?

    The argument is "as infants were once circumcised under the old covenant, so they should be baptized under the new." This argument can sound logical on the face of it, if we grant that baptism is the new covenant sign, AND I DO GRANT THAT.

    However, what paedobaptists (of all stripes) do not recognize(for whatever reason) is the primary fundamental discontinuity between the old covenant and the new. Which is this...

    <UL TYPE=SQUARE><LI>The old covenant was primarily: outward, physical, national/ethnic, and typical.

    <LI>The new covenant is primarily: inward, spiritual, universal and real.
    [/list]

    In the Old covenant with its physical/ethnic locus one entered that covenant at the time of physical birth, to covenant parents, through a fleshly gate(birth-canal). One received the fleshly sign, which signified the perpetuity of the physical/ethnic covenant through the progenitors of the covenant-race.

    Conversely, the new covenant has nothing at all to do with our parentage.(John 1:13, I Pet. 1:22-23) But rather the new covenant finds it's fulfillment in the NEW birth, the Spiritual birth, as wrought in a sovereign visitation of the Holy Spirit. (John 3:3-8, John 6:63, Acts 10:44, I Thess. 1:5-6, I Pet. 1:22-23, Hebrews 2:4)

    cordially,

    CNM
     
  18. Cindy

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    I'm reading this thread with much more interest now that it is hitting home in my family.

    My younger brother, who has been raised in a solidly Baptist family, married a Lutheran girl a couple of years ago, and they recently welcomed their first child into their home (my brother has two children from former marriage as well).

    Neither my brother nor his wife are actively practicing either of their faiths at this point...but they are now being pressured by her family to baptize the baby. The Lutheran Grandma has even gone out and bought Baby Girl a 100 dollar christening dress.

    Lapsed though he is in his own Baptist faith, my brother is appalled by the thought of having his child baptized "for the remission of sins," but he doesn't have the courage to take a stand at this point.

    My parents won't be attending the ceremony, and my sister and her husband have refused to stand as godparents at the event.

    How should we as family members view this? Should we, since we believe nothing is really happening to Baby except her getting a little damp, turn a blind eye and just make sure she knows getting sprinkled didn't insure her eternal salvation?

    How would you handle it?

    Elizabeth
     
  19. Briguy

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    This is an interesting problem. Your family is right in either not standing up or even going. At the baptism some very false statements will be made, i.e. The child is marked with the cross of Christ forever. However the main problem is your brother. A man strong in his faith would have boldly and authoritatively said no to this event and would have been listened to. He is either backslidden or not a Christian and that is the issue. He needs to get right with God and this problem will will be able to be dealt with on a much more efficient level. I will pray for your family!!
     
  20. Cindy

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    Interestingly, while this situation is going on with my brother, pretty much the same situation is going on in my parents' small Baptist church.

    In that case, a young man was already married to a Lutheran girl (this is an area with a strong German/Lutheran population) when he became a Christian.(His wife still has not been saved.) Recently his wife gave birth to a baby boy, and the Lutheran segment of the family is exerting enormous pressure to baptize the child. This young man has adamantly put his foot down that no baby of his will be baptized as an infant.

    You're right, my brother is backslidden...I think I did make that clear in my post. I do believe he is a Christian. And I would appreciate any mention of him in your prayers that he will rededicate his life to Christ.

    Elizabeth
     

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