Viola - That is a very interesting question and one have never given any thought to. Thanks for asking it! I would say I would definitely consider all of them to be an 'infant" baptism, just late, although if they had refused i would not have forced them and neither would my priest. it was less her choice than mine. I asked them if they wanted to do it and they said yes. My oldest had been asking to be baptized for a while but she had never really been exposed to anything else and in her mind the options were now or later....not now or never. It hadn't crossed her mind that one day she might grow up and not want to be a part of the church. It hadn't crossed her mind that anyone would grow up and not be a part of the church. For now she loved God and accepted my teaching and the churches teaching and wanted to be a part of the church like everyone else. Choice or not, even as an adult we are presented by our sponsors. They vouche for our sincere desire to be a part of the church. Even with newborns (you can baptize a baby on the 41st day but most people wait until the they are eating solids since communion is given immediately after baptism. Even though it is only a tiny amount we believe in the real Body and Blood of Christ and wouldn't want a baby to spit it out.) they are "confirmed" (Chrismated) immediately after baptism. It is not a separate rite. The only instance when it is a separate sacrament is when someone has been baptized properly (In the name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit) but outside the Church. You do not need to be re-baptized, only submit to the teachings, doctrines and athourity of the Church. This is how I was received. Another reason this would be done is if someone intentionally excommunicates them self, they would not need to be baptized again but would have to rejoin the community of believers as if they were converting from another faith. So there is not a point at which my children will have to choose to accept Christ. Their only option is to walk away from Christ and His Church. Just like they have no choice about being in our family but once they are older they can choose ton walk away from it and not speak to us again. At baptism they are born into the family of God. We see it as a really big deal. It is not magical though and does not seal the deal for eternity. that is a daily decision to walk with Christ. But baptism is a gift of Gods grace that cannot be taken away even if you choose to walk away from God at some point. And I believe that that gift will continue to work in a persons life even after they walk away.
Their dads church doesn't really have a doctrine on baptism. They are intentionally (.I am not judging them, they would proudly say this of themselves. They see it as a benefit). wishy washy on all things doctrinal and theological. They are officially reformed but try to hide it. (seriously...they are covert reformed. It is a program of this branch of the reformed church...RCA I think.) So they baptize babies and this is the pastors preference or they will dedicate or you can wait it doesn't really matter. and they do not make a big deal about communion so anyone can take it even the unbaptized so there is no rush with the baptism.....and the take a semi-sacramental approach to baptism officially, but my xh sees it as nothing more than a symbol and something un-need but symbolic and fun. It usually only takes a few seconds and is generally not a huge deal.
Genifer - I am not saying kids do not genuinely love God or believe in Him. But if they know no different, if believing in Him and loving Him is all they have ever been taught how can they not? if they have not been presented with options, they are not really making a choice. They are just going with the flow just as much as someone who was baptized as an infant. Its just a different norm.
You mentioned communion. Did you wait for your kids to be baptized before allowing them to receive communion. How does your church view communion? How does that compare to how they view baptism. Are the two linked at all? why or why not? What was your kids understanding of these two things when they received them for the first time or did they have an understanding of their significance and meaning?
In the churches I grew up in there was little to no meaning to either. They were both just symbolic rituals. A reflection point. So the two were not at all tied together and indeed most people were taking communion long before they were baptized. Since it was just a symbol, obedience, or thinking point it was easy for a child to have a grasp on these things.
Edited by lilyka - 8/24/11 at 2:55pm