Azusa Pacific University
Infant baptism has been a deciding theological issue for present denominations and has caused divisions in the church. Salvation and baptism go hand-in-hand in the Christian faith and its importance is evident. So should infants be baptized? I am faced with an important decision by my Presbyterian pastor as he encourages me to baptize my adopted infant. Given my Baptist background I would respond to my pastor with a polite “I think I will wait for my child’s affirmation on this matter” and explain the following to him.
In order to understand any view on infant baptism we must first understand the sacrament of baptism. There are thousands of books on baptism and it would take up the whole paper to explain it so I will only present the point that I believe is relevant to the argument. Baptism, in its simplest form, takes some form of decision. One simply cannot apprehend and baptize a 35 year old atheist against his will and expect the Holy Spirit to descend like a dove, rather you would expect getting arrested, a case of attempted murder and perhaps some jail time. So I think it is agreed that there is a degree of acceptance that comes from the one who is baptized. The baptism would mean nothing spiritually if a man was baptized against his will. Now with regards to infant baptism, it is argued that the believing parents make the decision for the child justifying that as parents they are given the authority to decide this integral part of salvation for their child. Can a parent make the decision of salvation for their child? Can a parent repent and believe for their children? No, of course not! So why are they given the authority to decide whether their child can be baptized? The BE essay explains “that the Bible contains no explicit reference to infant baptism” (p. 224) which I believe is paramount in deciding a parent’s authority on this issue. If there is no evident command or...
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