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Infant Baptism...your views? - Page 2

post #21 of 72
Thread Starter 
This post will be LONG because there are so many things I want to comment on...I'll edit the quoted posts to pull out the points I'm discussing...

Quote:
Originally Posted by brightonwoman View Post
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.
That's what I tried to explain to my dad. I'm fine with a dedication where I give an outward showing that I plan to raise my son in Christ.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
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.
First of all, thank you for explaining so thoroughly the views of your church. My dad is the pastor and I didn't get the same kind of explanation...

I was just about to type "It's not that they're worried" but I'm not sure I believe that. They've made comments in the past linking my DH with the devil (yes, I'm serious. It's why we didn't have ANY relationship for many years) and I'm not sure they think that we, as a family, are Christ centered. So, they might be afraid that we'll never go to church and never get our children baptized...
I considered just "letting him do it" but, for me, it comes down to this is OUR child and OUR choice and if we don't agree with it I'm not going to buckle just to please my parents...selfish, I know. But it's a fight I've been fighting for years now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllyRae View Post
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.
In the AoG church baptism is just the outward sign. You don't HAVE to be baptized (I don't think...I'll ask) but they prefer it for the individual. We don't do confirmation and communion is given to everyone. There are specific requirements for membership (mainly a class) but as far as "being saved" that's your personal choice and you take it up with God.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NicaG View Post
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.
Bolding mine for emphasis
That's what my dad was getting at. But again, the churches I've attended have never had a "class" system of baptized or saved or unsaved or whatever. Everyone has always been welcome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MCatLvrMom2A&X View Post
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.
I agree. Baptism is only the outward showing of the inward choice. If you've made that inward choice and you and God know that...then you're saved IMO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SquishyBuggles View Post
Spin-off question - Do you think Baptism by immersion is more valid or important than sprinkling of water? Why or why not?
I don't have my Bible in front of me...but Jesus baptized by immersion (and was baptized that way) so, to me, that follows the biblical teachings a little more. Some churches (my dad) believe that just having water present is enough...When I finished confirmation class (a requirement in the methodist church) I didn't have to be baptized again for membership because I had been baptized a different denomination as a child. However, there was water present and he referenced it during the service.
But personally? I'm an immersion person.
post #22 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?
It is very common here to have baptisim in the winter when the temp is near freezing. They even break the ice in some instances. The thing about it though is if you ask the preacher doing the baptisim and the one being baptised they will tell you the water is nice and warm and I have never in all my 36+ years heard of anyone getting sick from being in freezing water or complain about the water being cold

Any time baptisim is discussed it always reminds me of an old joke.

A man named Bill married a woman who was baptised by sprinkling. Bill's father wanted her baptised proper. Bill goes to his father and says

Bill "What if she walks out into the water up to her knees and then the preacher sprinkles her with water?"
Dad "NO! NO! that aint proper!"
Bill "OK dad what if she walks out up to her chest...?"
Dad "NO that aint proper"
Bill "Well what if she walk out until the water is up to her nose"
Dad "NO! NO! That aint proper!"
Bill "I knew it, its only the top of your head that counts anyhow!"

it is so funny put to words the way it is meant to be.

Like I said in my pp sprinkling in some instances is needed for someone who cannot get out into the water but if you can get out in there then you should the way Jesus was baptised and be submerged all the way under from foot to top of the head.
post #23 of 72
To answer my own question, I don't think Baptism by immersion is necessary. Then again, I'm not a literal Bible purist, so I think that a representation is fine. You and God know what is in your heart, I don't think that God really cares if you're immersed in water or not.

Not knocking you if you DO think immersion is necessary, this is just my opinion.
post #24 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by delicate_sunshine View Post
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.
Yes, this.

I used to not believe in infant baptism. I began studying Christian history and theology a little more in depth and not only was the tradition of infant baptism begun in the very young Church, there are sound theological arguments for it.

http://www.catholic.com/library/Infant_Baptism.asp
post #25 of 72
Nowhere in the Bible does it say you have to be old enough to choose baptism. All it says is that all members of the house were baptized which to me would include the children.

also this has been the practice of the church since early times and only recently (in terms of church history) did people start waiting.

I figure i would rather have my children choose to walk away than hold back blessings while waiting for them to choose to take hold of them.

I also believe baptism is more than a symbol. I believe there is supernatural stuff there we do not fully grasp in this life. I believe there is a real purpose and reason and blessing to baptism.

age of accountability doesn't really work for me because that involves you judging when someone is Christian enough and when their belief is good enough for baptism. yikes! Also there are some people who's minds never really reach that point of accountability.

and I think immersion is important because thats what has always been done in the early church and what was done to Christ.
post #26 of 72
This book, which ironically was written by paedobaptists, gives a good look at the 'infant baptism was practiced by the early church' claim. It's worth a read.

Quote:
Nowhere in the Bible does it say you have to be old enough to choose baptism.
Nowhere in the Bible does it say you don't have to be old enough to choose baptism. What it does say is that baptism is the sign of the New Covenant, which in sharp contradistinction to the Old is written on hearts, not flesh; which is an internal, not external covenant; and which is given to individuals based on faith and God's plan, not to families/tribes/a nation based on the faith of their forebears. You're not automatically part of the New Covenant just because your parents are; becoming a Christian is by salvation, not default. Hence, while infant baptism is at first glance a minor issue, it actually has huge implications for covenant theology and the nature of salvation. Hebrews addresses this in some detail, precisely because it's important.
Quote:
All it says is that all members of the house were baptized which to me would include the children.
Not if the very nature of baptism precluded children from doing it. "My whole house came down with the 'flu" probably does mean every human member of the household; "My whole family loved reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder books you lent us" presumably excludes the three-month-old. In the context of baptism, which is a command given to believers on the occasion of their repentance from sin, babies would be excluded from the 'household' out of common sense (along with, presumably, the family goldfish).
Quote:
age of accountability doesn't really work for me because that involves you judging when someone is Christian enough and when their belief is good enough for baptism. yikes!
What's yikes about that? Belief that's 'good enough' for baptism isn't rocket surgery. If someone can't articulate "Christ died for my sins", there's a problem. I don't believe in an 'age of accountability' per se, in that I don't believe people are born innocent; but that people's minds develop as they get older is obvious. I wouldn't let my daughter join Girl Guides if I didn't think she knew what it entailed; so why would I let her make a public profession of faith if it was clear her mind wasn't developed enough to have that faith? And why would I give her the lie by making it for her when she was too young to have any say in the matter?

Not picking on you in particular, your post just neatly summarises some of the arguments made on this thread.
post #27 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
[URL="http://www.amazon.com/Baptism-Early-Church-H-Stander/dp/0952791315"]



so why would I let her make a public profession of faith if it was clear her mind wasn't developed enough to have that faith?
Ah, but is that the main point of baptism?

As far as immersion - we Anglicans are quite wishy-washy about the whole thing We say lots of water is more appropriate, but don't really get all that specific about it. Most Anglican Baptisms are done inside at a font, and there are some really lovely ones; my college chaple had one made from a ship's bell.

The Roman Catholics are quite exact about most things and say that the water has to "flow" on the person, so you must at least pour it. I suppose you could perhaps swish the babies head? I believe they allaso allow you to use saliva in an emergency, but it must require quite a large gob if it's going to flow
post #28 of 72
The Orthodox Church does baptize infants, and by immersion - three immersions, in fact. As mentioned by PPs, it was something practiced by the early Church. It is understood to be the NT form of reception into the Church, replacing circumcision, which was also performed on infants.

I am not sure why intellectual understanding of baptism, or of other theological concepts, would be a requirement.
First, because a baby has a soul, and can receive blessings without being able to understand them. We also give babies Communion once they have been baptized, and that is something they could live a hundred years without really understanding - yet it benefits them spiritually.
Second, because this requirement would mean that nobody who is developmentally disabled could ever be received into the church.
Christ advised us to become like little children. There is nothing wrong with scholarly study of theology, but we should not give it more importance than it deserves.
Of course, if baptism is viewed not as a sacrament but as a sort of contract, it makes sense to require the person to be an adult.
post #29 of 72
BTW i love this thread.. its thought provoking and everyone is being respectful...

Spin off question: Do you (general you) that faith is a prerequisite for baptism? or better yet Do faith and baptism go together? (does that make sense)
post #30 of 72
We are protestant non-denominational and we baptize our children. This is our reasoning:
In the old testament when the articles being made for God to go into the temple the priests anointed them with water and/or oil. This wasn't because the object had made a decision but because they were setting aside the object for the Lord. In much the same way we baptized our children as a ceremony of setting them aside, a spiritual and physical anointing, for the Lord. With a view to our commitment to God and to them to raise them in the ways of the Lord. As they get older and make their own decision for Christ, they will enter into personal baptism as a sign of their personal decision.

Hope that helps.
post #31 of 72
I think kids should be baptized when they are old enough to understand what it means. It should be something they come to freely and of their own will.

The whole "parents acting in a child's stead thing" creeps me out. Isn't that the argument we hear so much for RIC? Isn't that what child abusers tell their victims..."I know what's best for you". Why is religion put into a different category?

Philomom, who suffered at the hands of fundamentalist parents because she declared herself an atheist at age three
post #32 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by tricia80 View Post
BTW i love this thread.. its thought provoking and everyone is being respectful...

Spin off question: Do you (general you) that faith is a prerequisite for baptism? or better yet Do faith and baptism go together? (does that make sense)
Well, I am going to edit my answer. I said:
No, I don't think that faith is a requirement for baptism, necessarily. I think that God will not force himself on people against their will though. But God can act on us directly or through the faith of others or the church as a whole.

But I am going to clarify: that there must be faith for an adult to be baptized. A child 'borrows" the faith of the godparents and parents.

I think that baptism can be an aid to producing faith in children as they grow. I should probably say that I don't think children are born innocent, though they obviously don't commit sins themselves. If they were innocent and only lost their innocence when they actually sinned, then I don't think it would be necessary to baptize them.
post #33 of 72
At least for me, I would say that faith is required to be baptized. Baptism (in my belief) is a conformation of faith, in a way. Once a person has received the Lord Jesus as Savior, they are saved. Acts 2:21 ( from the New American Standard Bible) "And it shall be the everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved". However, baptism is still needed. Baptism signifies being freed from the world. When believers are immersed, this is a burial. When they are brought back up, it is a resurrection, just as Christ died and was resurrected. So, the act of baptism cannot, in my belief, be inwardly correct if a person has not accepted Jesus into their hearts.

I am pleased with the way this discussion is going; everyone is sharing their views while remaining respectful to others' differing views.
post #34 of 72
On being helped/brought by the faith of others:

See the healing of the paralytic in the Synoptic Gospels. In Mark (2:1-12) and Luke (5:17-26), since the house where Christ is staying is so crowded and they can't get in, the folks carrying the paralytic's bed got up on the roof, removed tiles/turf on top, and let him down through the roof. In Matthew (9:1-8), the paralytic is still brough to Christ by others.

More than one Orthodox priest (I'm an Orthodox Christian) has preached sermons I've heard (in person) that Christ healed the paralytic at least in part due to the faith of the folks who carried him to Christ to be healed.
post #35 of 72
I think denominations that encourage infant baptism usually also encourage members to make an adult commitment to their faith (confirmation)if they were baptized as infants. Is there such a thing in churches that only baptize adults?
post #36 of 72
Quote:
First, because a baby has a soul, and can receive blessings without being able to understand them. We also give babies Communion once they have been baptized, and that is something they could live a hundred years without really understanding - yet it benefits them spiritually.
I believe baptism is a blessing (as indeed is following any of God's commands), but only tangentially - first and foremost it's a command. And it's a command directed to believers, or to unbelievers with the logically prior command of "Repent and...". A baby who is baptised is not 'obeying' the command, so I don't see that he would receive any blessings (just as you don't get props for noble self-sacrifice if someone shoots you in the back... sorry, I don't know what's with my analogies these days!). Obviously there are 'common grace' blessings to being brought up in a Christian household - hearing the Scriptures read, being part of Christian fellowship - but again I think Hebrews is important here. The whole tenor of the New Testament is on individual salvation and responsibility, and an invisible covenant rather than a hereditary one.
Quote:
Second, because this requirement would mean that nobody who is developmentally disabled could ever be received into the church.
So? God is under no obligation to save all people. There's no Biblical evidence that infants and mentally disabled people are saved; if they are, through some means other than the only stated means of salvation in the Bible, it's not something we can determine. As a result, it would be inappropriate to baptise people who do not request it. But if they are saved, they will be part of the church regardless; it's salvation, not baptism, that makes you part of the church.

Quote:
Christ advised us to become like little children. There is nothing wrong with scholarly study of theology, but we should not give it more importance than it deserves.
I agree. But I think it deserves a heck of a lot of importance, because one can't love Christ without knowing who He is and what He did... ie, theology! We are told to love Christ with our whole hearts, minds, souls and strength, and to be 'always ready' to give an answer to those who question our faith. But at any rate, it doesn't take an M Div to understand "Christ died for my sins", which I think is the bare minimum of knowledge necessary to making a public declaration of giving your life to Christ. The alternative is like saying "Marriage is all about love, not psychology and head-knowledge; so even though she's too young to recognise the groom and doesn't know what marriage is or show any indication of wanting to be married, we should marry them". Such a marriage would be annulled in a heartbeat... er, hopefully.

Quote:
Of course, if baptism is viewed not as a sacrament but as a sort of contract, it makes sense to require the person to be an adult.
Nope, I believe it's a sacrament. Although actually I'm a bit fuzzy on sacraments - my church believes we only have two, baptism and the Lord's Supper. I think the definition is "instituted by Christ for the good of His church", which is why we don't include things like marriage (ie, we think it's a Good Thing, just that it wasn't instituted by Christ specifically)... I don't really see the distinctions have a major point, but I may be wrong! Anyway I certainly wouldn't call it a contract. I'd call it obedience to a command, and the visible identifying of oneself with Christ, symbolising death to sin and being raised to new life.
Quote:
But I am going to clarify: that there must be faith for an adult to be baptized. A child 'borrows" the faith of the godparents and parents.
Can I ask where you exegete this?

Quote:
In the old testament when the articles being made for God to go into the temple the priests anointed them with water and/or oil. This wasn't because the object had made a decision but because they were setting aside the object for the Lord. In much the same way we baptized our children as a ceremony of setting them aside, a spiritual and physical anointing, for the Lord.
See, I like that. I'd call it a dedication rather than a baptism, but it's a nice idea. I would have kinda liked a dedication for Rowan, but I think several members of my church would have fainted in horror and thought I was treading the perilous waters of heresy, so ach well.


Quote:
See the healing of the paralytic in the Synoptic Gospels. In Mark (2:1-12) and Luke (5:17-26), since the house where Christ is staying is so crowded and they can't get in, the folks carrying the paralytic's bed got up on the roof, removed tiles/turf on top, and let him down through the roof. In Matthew (9:1-8), the paralytic is still brough to Christ by others.
Er, I think there's a distinct difference between being physically brought to Christ and having the faith of others imputed to you. The text doesn't state why Christ healed the man, but it would seem to run counter to the NT message of individual faith to suggest that it was due to the faith of others.

Isn't there one denomination that baptises using a shell? I'm trying to think of all the methods... there's adult baptism by immersion once. adult baptism by immersion three times, adult baptism by sprinkling, adult baptism by pouring, and then infant versions of all those again. Did I miss something? Do some versions sprinkle or pour three times? And then there's the oil and water thing. That's a lot of variations! More if you count the distinction between 'living' and still water as signficant. (I've been to one beach baptism, but we tend to do them indoors here in freezing New Zealand).

DH actually struggled with this baptism issue a few years back. He'd been baptised as a baby in the Catholic church, became an atheist as a teenager, and years later became a Reformed Christian, after which he wanted to fulfil the command to get baptised. He debated for a long time whether his infant baptism was valid, eventually decided it wasn't and was baptised (or rebaptised, depending on your point of view!). His parents weren't exactly thrilled and didn't come to the baptism, but he felt it was the right thing to do (and actually we both respected his parents for standing up for their beliefs, so there were no hard feelings).

I guess that's another thing to bear in mind when deciding whether or not to baptise your baby, though. If they come to faith later they might decide to be baptised again: would you be OK with that? I know quite a few Christians who have struggled with it after coming to the believers'-baptism point of view, because they feel they haven't fulfilled God's command to repent and be baptised, but they don't want to rock the boat with their families.
Quote:
I think denominations that encourage infant baptism usually also encourage members to make an adult commitment to their faith (confirmation)if they were baptized as infants. Is there such a thing in churches that only baptize adults?
Just saw this. In my church (Reformed Baptist) we don't have 'confirmation' by that name, but adult 'baptisees' usually give their testimony before the dunking, and they reply to a little formula the pastor says ("Do you accept...", "Do you believe...", I can't quite remember the wording). So in that sense it doubles as a confirmation. I don't think a verbal profession of faith is a necessary component of baptism itself, though.

Incidentally, very few churches only baptise adults. Believers' baptism, not adult baptism, is the point. Even fairly young children can have saving faith.
post #37 of 72
We have baptized all our babies and plan to baptize any more.

The reasons are:
1. Baptism is a sign of a covenant, not a sign of faith (IMO). Circumcison was a sign of the old covenant, and God clearly asked the Jews to circ their sons, though their sons were not able to choose anything. I don't see faith as a choice (I am a Calvinist), I see it as something God chooses or ordains for us, and our baptism of our children is simply including them in His people. We are a People just like the Jews were/are a People, and our children are included in the covenant with Him.

2. The bible says to baptize an entire household, not just the adults.

3. I don't see baptism anywhere in the Bible being called a sign of faith.

It seems very modern and very American, to me, the whole (independent, almost narcisstic) idea of choosing faith, or having to be of a certain age to be included in a people group. God makes his covenants with his People, not with persons, IMO.
post #38 of 72
Oh, and the BIble is quite clear that you should never be baptized more than once.
post #39 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by NicaG View Post
I think denominations that encourage infant baptism usually also encourage members to make an adult commitment to their faith (confirmation)if they were baptized as infants. Is there such a thing in churches that only baptize adults?
In my faith (LDS/Mormon) we only baptize 8 and up but our infants are given a blessing at the beginning of their lives.
post #40 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissinNYC View Post
Oh, and the BIble is quite clear that you should never be baptized more than once.
It is? Where? Not being snarky, I'd really like to know. I don't recall reading that but it has been a while.
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