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Infant Baptism...your views?

post #1 of 72
Thread Starter 
My dad is a Methodist minister...when I got married we started attending an Assembly of God church and I've come to prefer it over the Methodist church. Basically, I'm much more conservative than I thought I was and AoG is more my style.

Well, my mom goes "I wish you'd let your dad baptize the baby when he gets here." When I mentioned I wasn't sure I agreed with infant baptism they got upset. (It's practiced in the Methodist church and not in AoG) My dad said something along the lines of, "I think that not believing in it diminishes God's power" because he supports that God can save the child throughout his/her life (I think that's what he was getting at). I think that baptism is an outward sign of an inward choice and a baby can't make that choice. It's the whole Age of Accountability thing in my book.

I'd be okay with him doing a dedication...but I DO NOT agree with a baptism as an infant. IF for some reason we did agree to it I would still require that our child get baptized again when he is more knowledgeable about the choice.


What are your views?
post #2 of 72
I think the concept of baptism itself is a tad sketchy as far as biblical requirements, and infant baptism is nowhere whatsoever.

So, ultimately it's your call
HTH
post #3 of 72
Not commanded, not practiced, goes against the Biblically-described purpose and function of baptism.

Give um hell.
post #4 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
Not commanded, not practiced, goes against the Biblically-described purpose and function of baptism.
:

A baby cannot choose to believe in God and follow him until he/she is old enough to understand. I was baptized as an infant in an RC church. I don't feel it helped me be closer to God etc. Now I am being rebaptized in a Mennonite Church because now I understand what I am doing.
post #5 of 72
: to all the above.
post #6 of 72
I agree with all the pp's

Baptism is a covenant and a symbol--imo it makes no sense to baptise someone who cannot choose it for him/herself. That is essentially forcing a covenant on them, and Christ never forces--He invites but then lets us make the choice.
We believe that a person needs to be old enough to choose for him/herself.

I do understand the notion of doing some kind of dedication of the child, choosing godparents or whatever if you do that kind of thing, but baptism, no.

Incidentally, I also believe that the bible supports baptism by immersion, so there again another reason to wait until they're older
post #7 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by AFWife View Post
What are your views?
In my church, we believe in and practice infant baptism and feel it is scripturally sound, but I think what really matters is how you feel about it and what you believe. I actually chose not to get my children batized, because I was not willing to make a commitment to raise them a certain way.
post #8 of 72
No longer christian so i hope you dont mind me barging in

I disagree with infant baptism, at the moment i am dealing with family trying to get me to baptise our baby (catholic) i just dont get infant baptism! the baby has no choice in the matter, and no way of knowing what is going on. I would much rather ny child make thier own mind up when they are older. As it is i have offered to let them take the baby to be blessed and to meet their priest, which i think is generous considering we are pagan, but they think that is not good enough. Sorry to rant lol

We are actually thinking about having a welcoming/ naming ceromony at some point, perhaps for her first birthay. But it is different as we are not doing it into a particualr religeon, just into life if that make sense? Sorry naking
post #9 of 72
Well ,my church has always practiced infant baptism, I can give you a brief sketch of why.

My church (Anglican) believes Baptism is a sacrament, that is "an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace." By which they mean it is something God wants us to do, which involves a sign (the water) and some special action on God's part. For baptism the action is: 1) the washing away of original sin and 2) grafting the member into the body of Christ.

So the question is, can a sacrament be done without the express consent of the person involved? After all, historically babies haven't been given communion in my church. (This is changing, which I have to say I am not totally comfortable with. The Orthodox church has done it for a long time.) That is a sacrament in cases other than baptism is seen as being a meeting between the will of the person receiving the sacrament and the will of God acting on the person.

Usually, in the case of baptism, it is argued that the parents and godparents are acting in the baby's stead, just as if they were making a medical decision for the baby. And that this is not unnatural, but a normal and natural way for human families to operate. The benefit is that the child has a kind of spiritual access to a special kind of help.

Of course, we also use confirmation, where as an adult the person makes the vows for him or her self.

My church also feels that there is good historical precedent for this practice; although initially most people being baptized were adults, soon into the Christian era whole families and babies were more likely to be baptized. The members of the early church (in the West) saw this as an adaptation that was in tune with the purpose and nature of baptism in a new situation.(Lots of children.)

As far as your church goes, you should probably make your own decision. But it might make your parents more comfortable if you explain why to them. What is baptism, it is just a symbolic ceremony or does something happen? What happens to babies who die unbaptized?

If you think it is just symbolic, and your parents are REALLY worried, you could always let your dad do the baptism, and then if your child, as an adult, thinks it was "invalid" she could have it done again. My church wouldn't see it that way, but some wouldn't have a problem with it.
post #10 of 72
I believe in infant baptism (and in fact, even though I was baptized at 19, DS1 was baptized at a month old, DS2 was baptized in an emergency baptism at birth, DD1 was baptized less than a month after her adoption, and DD2 will be baptized at 5 weeks old). But I'm Catholic, and in my church, there are other ways to make the decision throughout the lifetime--in 2nd grade there is reconciliation and first communion, and then confirmation as a teen. So, once the age of accountability hits, children in the Catholic church can still make the choice to continue in their Catholic faith.

Honestly, if the church wasn't set up like that, I wouldn't know what to believe. I don't believe that baptisms can be invalid, but I do believe that somewhere there needs to be a conscious choice by the individual--if not by baptism, then by confirmation or communion.
post #11 of 72
*
post #12 of 72
I believe in infant baptism. Early church fathers baptized infants. For me, it is more like a baby dedication thing, I guess. At least that is the best I can explain it. As the parent you are making a commitment to raise your child in the covenant. It sort of replaces the old covenant of circumcision. The babies under Jewish law didn't (don't) have a choice, it was the parents. Baptism doesn't guarantee salvation in my beliefs. I don't believe that infant baptism is necessary. My dh could explain it better. He's into theology and stuff. Our son actually has not been baptized b/c when we went to a church that did it (ours now doesn't) I wasn't sure about it. Then when I came to the point that even if I didn't know how I felt, I should submit to my husband's spiritual authority on the matter we were in a very anti paedo baptism community. Anyway, I believe it' also okay to let a child wait until they make a commitment. I see both sides.


(That's for my little boy sitting with me, he wanted me to put the green one up.)
post #13 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
Well ,my church has always practiced infant baptism, I can give you a brief sketch of why.

My church (Anglican) believes Baptism is a sacrament, that is "an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace." By which they mean it is something God wants us to do, which involves a sign (the water) and some special action on God's part. For baptism the action is: 1) the washing away of original sin and 2) grafting the member into the body of Christ.

So the question is, can a sacrament be done without the express consent of the person involved? After all, historically babies haven't been given communion in my church. (This is changing, which I have to say I am not totally comfortable with. The Orthodox church has done it for a long time.) That is a sacrament in cases other than baptism is seen as being a meeting between the will of the person receiving the sacrament and the will of God acting on the person.

Usually, in the case of baptism, it is argued that the parents and godparents are acting in the baby's stead, just as if they were making a medical decision for the baby. And that this is not unnatural, but a normal and natural way for human families to operate. The benefit is that the child has a kind of spiritual access to a special kind of help.

Of course, we also use confirmation, where as an adult the person makes the vows for him or her self.

My church also feels that there is good historical precedent for this practice; although initially most people being baptized were adults, soon into the Christian era whole families and babies were more likely to be baptized. The members of the early church (in the West) saw this as an adaptation that was in tune with the purpose and nature of baptism in a new situation.(Lots of children.)

As far as your church goes, you should probably make your own decision. But it might make your parents more comfortable if you explain why to them. What is baptism, it is just a symbolic ceremony or does something happen? What happens to babies who die unbaptized?

If you think it is just symbolic, and your parents are REALLY worried, you could always let your dad do the baptism, and then if your child, as an adult, thinks it was "invalid" she could have it done again. My church wouldn't see it that way, but some wouldn't have a problem with it.
:


I think, too, that in the Episcopal Church it's emphasized that baptism is something God does, not something you do. God is performing the action, and in the sacrament, the baptized person is receiving grace and new life, membership in the community, forgiveness of sins. I was baptized as an adult, and at first I approached it as something that I wanted to do, that I decided to do. But then my understanding of baptism changed, and I came to see it as something God was calling me to do.

I personally feel uncomfortable with the idea of withholding baptism until someone can make an informed choice, etc. etc. To me it implies that some people are worthy of membership in the Church, and others aren't because they can't live up to what God expects of them. If I had waited until I felt worthy, I never would have been baptized. I also think it's strange to have two "classes" of people within a church--those who are baptized and those who, for whatever reason, haven't made that commitment or don't "deserve" God's grace. To me, infant baptism emphasizes that we are all saved through God's grace alone, not by our own merit, even babies and children.
post #14 of 72
Baptism is the outward sign of an inward change... (make sense)

I became a Christian before I asked for Baptism. Baptism for me is to show the congregation that I am committed to being part of Christ's church. I am a Christian with or without Baptism you cannot change that. Being baptized does not change whether i am a true Christian and baptism isn't a ticket into heaven.. What happens to those in other countries where they give their life to the Lord but there is no one there to do an "official baptism".

I do not believe that babies go to hell, purgatory, limbo etc. All babies are innocent and yes they have a sinful nature but they are not inherently evil. A 2 yr old cannot comprehend sin. Heck my 10 yr old is having trouble fully grasping it. Yes she knows lying is wrong but she has no concept that tells her sin and the ramifications (she thinks she is getting to heaven on a bus)...

I hope this makes sense.. if not.. then i blame it on my poor shift work nurses brain...
post #15 of 72
We don't believe that children are born sinful, rather innocent, so there is no need for infant baptism. There is no example of an infant being baptized in the Bible. Only those who are old enough to consent to it and make a commitment to God. We believe that baptism is covenent between yourself and God to dedicate your life to Him and follow His ways. Baby's and children are not capable of making such a committment. And until one is old enough to understand sin and when they are doing it, they remain innocent.
post #16 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by brightonwoman View Post
I agree with all the pp's

Baptism is a covenant and a symbol--imo it makes no sense to baptise someone who cannot choose it for him/herself. That is essentially forcing a covenant on them, and Christ never forces--He invites but then lets us make the choice.
We believe that a person needs to be old enough to choose for him/herself.

I do understand the notion of doing some kind of dedication of the child, choosing godparents or whatever if you do that kind of thing, but baptism, no.

Incidentally, I also believe that the bible supports baptism by immersion, so there again another reason to wait until they're older
Yes, it seems pretty in the Bible that baptism should be performed with the person being baptized requests it and understands fully the meaning and commitment of baptism. Also, baptism does not mean salvation. Salvation is through by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not by baptism. Baptism is something that of course should be done and is needed, but it's not salvation. A person who is not baptized who has received Jesus is still saved.
post #17 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by tricia80 View Post
:

A baby cannot choose to believe in God and follow him until he/she is old enough to understand. I was baptized as an infant in an RC church. I don't feel it helped me be closer to God etc. Now I am being rebaptized in a Mennonite Church because now I understand what I am doing.
I believe when you baptize a baby you as the parent are saying you are going to raise your child to walk with god. That child can again be baptized as an adult
post #18 of 72
I dont believe in it because a infant cannot be saved nor do they need to be since they are still totally innocent and will remain innocent until they reach the age of accountability and know when they are doing something wrong and understand the consequences. Before a child reaches that age they would go to heaven regardless.

But I also believe that as adults you dont have to be baptised only saved to go to heaven. You only have to be baptised to join a church. I have never been baptised even though I have been saved since my teens. I have no need to be as I have never desired to join a church.

Also a sprinkling of water on the head dosnt count as baptisim unless it is in the case of a person who is unable to walk out or be carried out into the water and be fully submurged. Though if they where that sick then baptisim would be totally optional anyway. I am not a big fan of the indoor baptisim either. Though there is nothing forbidding it.

I follow the Seperate Baptist teachings and my dh is Missonary Baptist and they believe the same way.
post #19 of 72
Spin-off question - Do you think Baptism by immersion is more valid or important than sprinkling of water? Why or why not?
post #20 of 72
Quote:
Spin-off question - Do you think Baptism by immersion is more valid or important than sprinkling of water? Why or why not?
Baptism is a transliteration of the Greek word baptisto, "to immerse, to dip, to plunge". If it's sprinkling, it isn't baptism per se. That is, as far as being an outward sign of commitment it is, but it doesn't very effectively symbolise the washing away of sins or the burial/rebirth thing. Pouring is probably in between the two. But the burial thing in particular I think is very vividly symbolised by being lowered into the water and reappearing 'clean'. Death to self, alive in Christ and all that.

The Didache (early NT text) has a cool discussion on how baptism was to be performed in the early church. It included, IIRC, fasting, a sort of catechism and rules about what water to use. 'Living' or running water was considered best, followed by still water or even warm water if necessary. I definitely think that sprinkling/pouring is a valid baptism in terms of intent, and might be necessary in certain situations; but if immersion is possible, I see no reason not to do it that way (although I saw one girl get baptised in her family's pool in winter and she kinda turned blue, so pick your spot!).
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