I think both of your statements are incorrect, and I'll try and demonstrate why...
The reformed position (consult the confessions if you wish) is that elect infants enter heaven. It has nothing to do with if they were baptized or not. This is an entirely different discussion, but I just wanted to relay to you the confessional reformed position (according to the Westminster Standards).
I'm not sure what you mean by "Reformed state churches" - none of the reformed churches in America are state churches. And, the historic Presbyterians could deny someone church membership for living an observably ungodly life.
But, referring to your original question - "why do churches perform paedobaptism" - for which you provided your opinions, the reformed churches I have personally had experience in perform paedobaptism for convenantal reasons. They believe that baptism introduces people into the [b]visible[/b] church, which doesn't necessarily mean they are elect, but does carry certain covenant privileges (Word preached, nurture of other Christians, etc.) Since the reformed churches believe that infants of believing parents are members of the church, as believers in the Old Covenant were members of the covenant community, they baptize them as such.
[b]All - Regarding Scripture being the final authority:[/b] the paedobaptists completely agree. If you read their works, they provide sweeping Scriptural exegesis for their position, both from the Old and New Testament, and it is more than just "see - it says household".
Like I said, I'm not a convinced paedobaptist. I attend a credobaptist church. However, at the same time, Jonathan Edwards, J.C. Ryle, Thomas Watson, Thomas Manton, Jeremiah Burroughs, John Owen, etc. were not dumb men. They didn't just blindly follow the traditions of men - they had strong reasons for why they did what they did, and they all practiced paedobaptism. So, I only say that to discourage quick prejudice against paedobaptists as not knowing anything about their Bibles.
Grace to you,
| 2008/12/9 18:10||Profile|
I am from Germany, the motherland of the reformation were we have the protestant Lutheran and Catholic state churches that both perform infant baptism. In the times past, you were by birth eihter Catholic or Lutheran. In the UK where I live now, things are somewhat similar to Germany.
I admit that the reformed churches in UK and Germany did not believe that baptism spares infants from hell, nevertheless as far as Germany is concerned there is still much leaning towards the catholic mindset which uses infant baptism is an instrument to bind their subjects to their unholy state-church entity.
That is definitely different from the situation in the US.
I still wonder how one can preach election and salvation by faith and nullify it by practising infant baptism - but that is another blog.
| 2008/12/9 19:09||Profile|
Gotcha. I didn't consider the Lutheran churches, as those are usually not included in one speaks of "reformed" churches. Reformed meaning the church subscribes to the Westminster Standards or Three Forms of Unity. I don't know much about the Lutheran churches.
Grace to you,
| 2008/12/9 19:37||Profile|
Not a reply, just adding to the thread
Found the following [url=http://www.gotquestions.org/infant-baptism.html]here[/url]:
There is much confusion about baptism in the various Christian denominations. However, this is not a result of the Bible presenting a confusing message on baptism. The Bible is abundantly clear of what baptism is, who it is for, and what it accomplishes. In the Bible, only believers who had placed their faith in Christ were baptized - as a public testimony of their faith and identification with Him (Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3-4). Water baptism by immersion is a step of obedience after faith in Christ. It is a proclamation of faith in Christ, a statement of submission to Him, and an identification with His death, burial, and resurrection.
With this in view, infant baptism is not a Biblical practice. An infant cannot place his or her faith in Christ. An infant cannot make a conscious decision to obey Christ. An infant cannot understand what water baptism symbolizes. The Bible does not record any infants being baptized. Infant baptism is the origin of the sprinkling and pouring methods of baptism - as it is unwise and unsafe to immerse an infant under water. Even the method of infant baptism fails to agree with the Bible. How does pouring or sprinkling illustrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ?
Many Christians who practice infant baptism do so because they understand infant baptism as the new covenant equivalent of circumcision. In this view, just as circumcision joined a Hebrew to the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants, so baptism joined a person to the New Covenant of salvation through Jesus Christ. This view is unbiblical. The New Testament nowhere describes baptism as the New Covenant replacement for Old Covenant circumcision. The New Testament nowhere describes baptism as a sign of the New Covenant. It is faith in Jesus Christ that enables a person to enjoy the blessings of the New Covenant (1 Corinthians 11:25; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Hebrews 9:15).
Baptism does not save a person. It does not matter if you were baptized by immersion, pouring, or sprinkling - if you have not first trusted in Christ for salvation, baptism (no matter the method) is meaningless and useless. Water baptism by immersion is a step of obedience to be done after salvation as a public profession of faith in Christ and identification with Him. Infant baptism does not fit the Biblical definition of baptism or the Biblical method of baptism. If Christian parents wish to dedicate their child to Christ, then a baby dedication service is entirely appropriate. However, even if infants are dedicated to the Lord, when they grow up they will still have to make a personal decision to believe in Jesus Christ in order to be saved.
| 2008/12/9 21:03||Profile|
| Re: sozo|
"But when the High Priests and the Scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done and the children who were crying aloud in the Temple, "GOD SAVE THE SON OF DAVID," they were filled with indignation. "Do you hear," they asked Him, "what these children are saying?" "Yes," He replied; "have you never read, 'OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF INFANTS AND OF BABES AT THE BREAST THOU HAST BROUGHT FORTH THE PRAISE WHICH IS DUE'?"" (Matt. 21:15,16)
Infants may and do praise their God, as well as adults, according to His Word, not man's tradition nor rationale.
And it happened, as Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the babe in her womb leaped, and Elizabeth was filled of the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice and said, You are being blessed among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this to me that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For behold, as the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped in exultation. And blessed is she believing, because there will be a completion to the things spoken to her from the Lord. And Mary said, My soul magnifies the Lord,and my spirit exulted in God My Savior. (Lk.1:41-47)
The spirit of both infant and adult may exult in God as Savior, or Yeshua God's Salvation, according to His Word, not man's tradition nor rationale.
We see in this passage [Luke 1:39-44] that infants are capable both passively of being filled with the Holy Ghost and actively of responding with joy to the presence of Christ (Revealed to Babes)
"The most mature believer does not so much apprehend Christ as he is apprehended by Christ (Philippians 3:12). It is not as important to the child of God what he knows of God as the fact that God knows him (Galatians 4:9). A covenant child is as capable of being apprehended and being known as is an adult." (Revealed to Babes)
Adults nor infants are capable of changing their own hearts...
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the intense love which He bestowed on us, caused us, dead though we were through our offences, to live with Christ--it is by grace that you have been saved-- raised us with Him from the dead, and enthroned us with Him in the heavenly realms as being in Christ Jesus, in order that, by His goodness to us in Christ Jesus, He might display in the Ages to come the transcendent riches of His grace. (Eph. 2:4-7)
1Co 7:14 "for the unbelieving husband hath been sanctified in the wife, and the unbelieving wife hath been sanctified in the husband; otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.
Children of believers are baptized not that they may become holy but because they are holy."
In 1 Cor 7:14 the word holy which is used to describe the children of believers is the greek word hagios.
From Strongs ; sacred (physically pure, morally blameless or religious, ceremonially consecrated): - (most) holy (one, thing), saint.
It is used 231 times in the N.T. Translated 'holy' 168 times, 'saints' 60 times, 'most holy' once, 'saint' once, and saints' (plural posessive) once.
Children of believers are baptized in faith. That faith is in God, His Grace, His Salvation, His Promise. Act 2:39 "For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all those afar off whom God will call."
Heb 11:1 Now faith is the persuasion of the things that are in hope, as if they were in act; and [it is] the manifestness of the things not seen.
Eph 2:8-10 For by grace you are saved, through faith, and this not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, that not anyone should boast; for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God before prepared that we should walk in them.
God's salvation is by God's Grace, and the faith of God's elect is His gift and not by decisional nor baptismal regeneration.
Quote from 'gotquestions' article, "If Christian parents wish to dedicate their child to Christ, then a baby dedication service is entirely appropriate."
Baby dedication as practiced today has no warrant from the Word. It is but man's substitute for God's ordinance of baptism.
| 2008/12/10 1:02||Profile|
I was baptized as an infant in the Reformed Church of America. As I grew up, I was in and out of different churches and really never thought anything more about baptism.
A few years ago, after I started attending church on a regular basis, I was helping the Pastor with some graphics for his sermon and as I read his sermon on baptism (it was a Baptist church) I became aware that there were different kinds of baptism. As we talked back and forth I rejected the idea of being baptized again as foolishness, but when he quoted me a Bible verse, and the next morning I opened my Bible to that very verse to continue my daily reading, I realized that the Lord would have me to be baptized. The very next Sunday I obeyed.
Within 30 days the Lord had me off of alcohol and nicotine. This is not something that I set out to do, but rather something that the Lord pressed upon me by taking away my ability to pray - this within a few days of showing me that there was power in prayer. With Him, I was able to quit both smoking and drinking, cold turkey, with no relapses or continuing cravings.
Only later did I make the connection between my baptism and the falling away of my sins. My profession of faith along with the baptism was a turning point. I am a new creation. Old things have passed away and all things have become new.
| 2008/12/10 2:08||Profile|
One interesting feature of Infant Baptism is that the Reformed folk usually like to claim a family link with Augustine but he regarded Infant Baptism as a cure for Original Sin. Modern Reform seems to reject the Sacramentalism of Augustine but clings to his Monergism.
I think both are fatally flawed.
| 2008/12/10 8:19||Profile|
These were the Bible verses that I read that morning:
And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." And he said, "Into what then were you baptized?" They said, "Into Johns baptism." And Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus." On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. There were about twelve men in all.
- Acts 19:1-7 (ESV)
| 2008/12/10 10:51||Profile|
I am from Germany, the motherland of the reformation were we have the protestant Lutheran and Catholic state churches that both perform infant baptism. In the times past, you were by birth eihter Catholic or Lutheran.
Recently I was listening to Chris Rosebrough over at Fighting For the Faith (fightingforthefaith.com). If you are not familiar with Chris and Pirate Christian Radio, they are definetely worth checking out -Chris' testimony has him going from being a Nazarene to being a Baptist to being a Lutheran. He seems very content with Lutheran doctrine, and for the most part has a strong biblical foundation -recently he did two programs defending infant baptism.
While his arguments in defense of infant baptism were compelling, there were still some holes. Namely, the fruit of infant baptism.
I studied history in college, and it doesn't take a history degree to say that some bad things happened in Germany in the 20th century. Even though the majority of the population was baptized as either Catholic or Lutheran, they still went on to support a fascist dictator and kill over 8 million Jews.
George Muller in the 19th Century recognized the error of infant baptism after confronted with the topic by a friend, the friend told him simply to see what the bible said about the topic, after reading Mr. Muller was convinced that he himself must be baptized as a believer! He went on to convince countless others from Lutheran, Presbyterian and Anglican backgrounds to have a believer's baptism!
George Muller, although not voiced directly in his biography made a link between the shallowness of the church in Germany and infant baptism... and you can see the fruits of it in 1914 and 1939.
| 2008/12/10 10:58||Profile|
I have my own story along these lines...
As a young man I was heading for the Anglican ministry. The Anglicans practise infant baptism and I had been 'baptized' as a baby. I had a long association with many Pentecostals who were constantly encouraging me to be water baptized. One godly pastor said 'I don't see how God can open your eyes to Spirit baptism and not water baptism. In the end I said 'when I am sure that God is speaking to me personally about the issue I will be baptized even though it puts my future career at stake.'
Some months later, with my fiance, I visited a 92 year old Plymouth Brother. We spent two weeks going through scriptures on a number of topics. I sometimes say I learned more in two week with him than 3 years later at Bible College.
One day he was agitated and began a study on the 'households' who were baptized in the Acts showing the faith of all those in the households. He concluded by saying he hoped it would not interfere with our fellowship.
I laughed and explained.. "Some time ago I said I would be baptized when God spoke to me personally about the issue. There are 3 people in this room and 2 have already been baptized in water... it is not hard to work out who God is speaking to."
A couple of months later I was baptized in water.
| 2008/12/10 11:27||Profile|