SermonIndex Audio Sermons
Image Map
Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Infant baptism? Some thoughts...

Print Thread (PDF)

PosterThread
theopenlife
Member



Joined: 2007/1/30
Posts: 926


 Infant baptism? Some thoughts...

Question regarding external covenants... I read an article tonight that got me thinking outside of the religion-I-was-raised-with box.

Romans 4:14 states that Abraham "received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also."

Circumcision was given as an outward sign of an inward, sovereign act of God; the cutting-off the old man and the giving of faith. Inward circumcision was and is only possible through election and regeneration. Though circumcision of the body did not guarantee circumcision of the heart, God never-the-less commanded Abraham to circumcise all who were in his household, including infants and children too young to understand what was being done to them. Consider it again: Children that had made no commitment to Abraham's God were given the external "seal of righteousness of faith" while they were "yet uncircumcised" in heart and without faith.

Unavoidably, some of those who were circumcised in the flesh by Abraham and his descendants were reprobates. For some reason, God commanded the elect and non-elect together to be circumcised into a community who had that sign in common. Why? This sign of circumcision, to my estimation, functioned in several ways to help the society of Israel. First, the sign of circumcision established a certain visible "boundary" of Israel, within which the true and invisible Israel was generally contained. This allowed the institution of laws necessitating faith to be more freely given to all people in that group. I can explain that more fully, but will move on.

More importantly, through circumcision a man received a promise from his youngest years that God imputes righteousness to all who believe, as Abraham did. Though he was born estranged from God by sin, in another sense he had upon him a promise - that Abraham, his father by blood, might also be his father in faith if God should grant him grace to believe and be "cut off" in the heart. In this way God's visible covenant people had a gracious sign commending God's favor upon them as a group. Circumcision was a testimony to the young men that "though they be not circumcised [in heart]... righteousness might be imputed unto them also [if God should grant them repentance and faith]." As the men matured they could read the scriptures and identify whether or not they had been born again.

In what way does this differ from the practice of infant baptism, which is also given to both the elect and non-elect in order to establish the boundary of the visible church, within which is generally the invisible? I find the arguments used against infant baptism come directly against God's command of infant circumcision for the Jews. Peter writes that the baptism which saves is not the external washing of the flesh, but the inward cleansing. Therefore the command to be baptized extends primarily to regeneration, which is to be buried and raised with Christ. In this way even the thief on the cross was baptized!

This same Peter writes regarding baptism, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call." Therefore I am considering that perhaps the commandment of baptism may be fully a New Testament version of Old Testament circumcision - infants may receive the external sign as a testimony of grace extended to a family, just as the "households" of Abraham, Cornelius, and the Philippian jailer were grouped together under family headship - so long as they are taught that the baptism which saves is internal and sovereignly dispensed. This enables children to grow up with an understanding that God's covenant of grace often continues from parents to children, though sometimes skipping to those "afar off", and that God's free offer of grace is made to them especially.

Dennis Johnson of Westminster Seminary described the differences between "infant dedication" and "infant baptism" in terms of what a child is told by his or her parents about the experience:

"As "infant baptist" parents look back on the day of their child's baptism, they say to her, "On that day long ago, the Lord Jesus promised to you that if you trust him he will wash away your sins and give you a heart to love and serve him by the power of his Spirit. Just as the water 'cleansed' your baby skin, so the Holy Spirit will make your heart clean if you trust in Jesus, because Jesus died for the sins of everybody who trusts in him." You can see the difference. Both sets of parents are calling their kids to respond in faith and both sets do so by teaching the Gospel about what Jesus did for us in his sacrifice on the cross, but children baptized as infants have received a sign/symbol that points directly to that gift of God's grace."

Anyways, I'm not close to decided on this point, but interested in your perceptions and insight. Did our Puritan grandfathers understand something lost by our Baptist uncles?
- Mike:.

Here's the article I read.. a bit lengthy, but useful if you're interested in some of the arguments and verses used by this camp, coming from someone who was on both sides.

http://www.wscal.edu/clark/dejbaptism.php

 2007/10/10 0:15Profile









 Re: Infant baptism? Some thoughts...

All (the men) who were first baptized as believers in Jesus were Jews, so had been circumcised [i]as well[/i]. Many had also been baptised by John the Baptist.

I don't think there is any Jewish custom of baptising infants, but in Orthodox Judaism I understand that baptism is still a common practice. People often get baptised more than once - maybe as a way of reaffirming their faith or reconsecrating themselves to God.


How does that fit with the article?

Just a thought


Blessings


Jeannette

 2007/10/11 20:03
roaringlamb
Member



Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 1519
Santa Cruz California

 Re:

This is a very good read on this issue-

[url=http://www.geocities.com/resourcesforlutherans/infantbaptism.htm]Scriptural Baptsim[/url]

At the moment, I would say that the children born into Israel were circumcised as a means of belonging to the community, yet still needed to posses their own personal faith.

In the same way, in the new Israel, children are baptised into the community of believers as those who will hear the gospel, and partake of the blessings of being within this body of believers. Yet they too must posses their own faith to be saved.


_________________
patrick heaviside

 2007/10/11 20:56Profile
Miccah
Member



Joined: 2007/9/13
Posts: 1752
Wisconsin

 Re:

Not nessessary. In fact, I think that when people baptize infants, it gives the parents a false sense of "spiritual security". Lets face it, we baptize the children because it makes us (the adults who get the child baptized) feel secure. When in fact, this may lead down a dangerous path of "well, you were baptized as a child, so you must be saved" senario.

Did this child make the choice to follow The Lord? no. Did this child repent from sins? no. Did this child make any decision about his/her walk with Christ? no.

If you think that child baptism is needed, go for it. I would caution anyone to make sure that they teach that child (that was infant baptized) about making the choice to follow Christ when he/she is older. If not...

Miccah


_________________
Christiaan

 2007/10/11 21:44Profile









 Re:

Quote:

Miccah wrote:
Not nessessary. In fact, I think that when people baptize infants, it gives the parents a false sense of "spiritual security". Lets face it, we baptize the children because it makes us (the adults who get the child baptized) feel secure. When in fact, this may lead down a dangerous path of "well, you were baptized as a child, so you must be saved" senario.

Did this child make the choice to follow The Lord? no. Did this child repent from sins? no. Did this child make any decision about his/her walk with Christ? no.

If you think that child baptism is needed, go for it. I would caution anyone to make sure that they teach that child (that was infant baptized) about making the choice to follow Christ when he/she is older. If not...

Miccah

Maybe this is the real problem with infant baptism, rather than what it may or may not be a sign of. To many, even these days, it is still seen as a "sacrament" that brings a child a special blessing from God, or even makes them a Christian - whether or not they know Him.

There's also the hisorical rubbish that comes with the misuse of baptism (from I suppose, the time of Constantine). When Christianity became respectable there were many "baptised pagans", who were either forced to "convert" because they had been conquered by Rome, or decided that was the best way to keep in favour with the authorities. As "Christians" they would probably have found it easier to get jobs for example.

And when the "Church" began to really wield power it controlled the population through baptism - which was supposed to make a person a Christian - and the threat of excommunication if they didn't do as they were told.

Blessings

Jeannette

 2007/10/12 14:41
osasbright
Member



Joined: 2007/10/2
Posts: 29
Nigeria

 Re: Infant baptism? Some thoughts...

Grace and peace be multiplied unto you from the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ!

I strongly believe that a man has to repent before he is baptized.When John the Baptist started his ministry, he commanded men to repent and afterward be baptized.

Also when peter was in the house of cornelius,it was after the Holy Ghost fell on cornelius's household-after they had repented,that he called for water for their baptism.

Repenting is a personal decision that comes into play when a person has come to himself and then decide to turn from his old ways.

A baby who does not yet know anything cannot repent of anything.It is a personal decision and does not need to be taken on behalf of somebody.

All of those who where baptized in the Bible where those who had earlier repented.

To 'baptize' is a Greek word, meaning to submerge,that is why Paul said we are buried with Christ in baptism.That is, the old man is buried and the new man begins to live


_________________
Igbinoba Bright

 2007/10/12 14:57Profile
theopenlife
Member



Joined: 2007/1/30
Posts: 926


 Re:

I generally agree that, to my understanding, baptism is intended for those who have experientially believed the gospel for themselves and who have reasonably identified, to some degree, with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.

What is new for me is to have some understanding of why others hold the infant baptism view. Consider innumerable Puritans who staunchly opposed the false notion of "baptismal regeneration" yet believed that water baptism was a seal of God's universal offer of the gospel made especially to those children of believers. "This promise is to you, and your children... even as many as the LORD our God shall call." [Acts 2]

Thus, they reminded their children, "you were baptised with water as a sign from youngest age that God offers salvation to all those He has called, and that salvation is through inward washing. Now you must make your calling and election sure; go to the Lord in humble sorrow for your sin and request His grace to be given freely to you on account of Christ's death. Ask Him to wash you in the saving baptism of new birth."

I don't agree with this formula, but I can now sympathize with those who hold it, seeing as it is, in practice, so similar to the circumcision - which is also a sign of faith, and yet was given to infants.

 2007/10/12 16:35Profile





©2002-2020 SermonIndex.net
Promoting Genuine Biblical Revival.
Privacy Policy