The doctrine of infant baptism perfectly fits in other related doctrines: the doctrine of circumcision, the doctrine of faith, the doctrine of repentance, the doctrine of forgiveness and the doctrine of resurrection. In preparing children for the responsibilities of marriage we would encourage them to learn how to have appropriate and healthy relationships with members of the opposite sex. A better way is to let Scripture interpret Scripture—that is, to interpret texts in light of their immediate setting, ... Further—and this is significant, too—there's not one example in the whole New Testament of the "believer's baptism" of someone who grew up in a Christian home. Baptism is important because it removes the stain of original sin (and because the Bible commands it). Some esteem it to be an indispensable condition for one’s salvation. Again, all credobaptists agree. The new covenant era and the new covenant sign are better than the old, so it would be a shocking letdown if the God who included children of believers in the old era excluded them in the new era. Many Christians believe that baptism is important because Jesus was baptised, and after his resurrection he told his disciples that they should be baptised too. The Didache is the earliest church order that we have, dated to c. AD 100. At first term “baptism” meant the provision of cultic purity, and then in the NT it was extended to express the complete renewal of human existence. It forbids them the sense of belonging to the family of God, even though they do in fact belong to Christ. Baptism of new converts to the faith, as well as infant baptism, has been a common practice among Christians since the third century. These are all good things we should all prepare our children for, whilst rightly holding them back from them. Here is one simple way to explain baptism: Baptism is a symbol. Love and authority are to be experienced by children from their parents, not only where discipline is necessary, but in through every area of childhood. Her argument is that we are all God’s children and there is no need to wait to become a real Christian. The rite of baptism with water as a symbol of entry into the Christian community was practiced from the day of Pentecost. The Scripture also says that we are baptized in Jesus Christ. If the purity of the church is undermined, then so also is her witness to every generation of children. Often God added a testimony of his approbation, by communicating some extraordinary influence on the Holy Spirit. It is altogether a misrepresentation to allege, as is sometimes done by Baptists, that their doctrine is "believers' baptism," Every instance of adult baptism, or of "believers' baptism," recorded in the New Testament (Acts 2:41; 8:37; 9:17, 18; 10:47; 16:15; 19:5, etc.) Infants cannot and do not believe. Baptism is to be done in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit—this is what makes it “Christian” baptism. We believe that all people are born with the stain of original sin. Who but the most hardened allegorist can read Song of Solomon and not see the Lord’s blessing upon sexual love? It is appropriate to give growing responsibilities and opportunities for service without the weighty responsibilities or holding the power of the keys, or even drinking judgment upon oneself. Baptismal ages begin to drop rapidly, however, through the twentieth century, just as growing affluence in the West means that the ages of employment and marriage are increasing. This better sign of baptism is not limited to males (as circumcision was) but is applied to females as well. There will be expectations from other young people, other parents and the congregation at large that if the last three teenagers within the church were baptised around their 13th birthday: isn’t it about time that Linda is baptised now she has turned 13? Yet Baptists have recognised that it is very difficult to discern with young children whether a profession of faith is more than a repetition of the faith of their parents. For some, we should baptise young children as soon as they are capable of professing faith. Moreover, I’m thankful to my parents for their decision to baptize me as an infant, as I lived my entire life with the Christian living in my mind. The command to baptize falls of necessity in the resurrection era, when redemption has been achieved, universal authority accorded to the risen Lord, and the mission of the church to the world begun (The Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 1989). We've received widespread press coverage since 2003, Your UKEssays purchase is secure and we're rated 4.4/5 on reviews.co.uk. Christian baptism has a deeper significance. The age at which to baptise believers upon their own profession of faith is simple neither in principle nor in pastoral practice. For elders considering whether a teenager is mature enough for the responsibilities of baptism and church membership, they would do well to ask themselves what they would be saying if the same person was asking advice on whether the elders considered them mature enough to take on other responsibilities such as leaving full-time education to get a job, leaving home, or even getting married. When such a seemingly comprehensive survey of pastoral responsibility is outlined in these chapters, it would seem very strange if children under Timothy and Titus’ pastoral care would be so absent. Infants should be baptized as soon as possible, as their salvation depends on it. As one blogger has put it, Refusal of baptism is a sin. But saving faith is distinct from baptism, and it is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that saves, not baptism. It is a promise of repentance, faithfulness, and discipleship. Many evangelical, Bible-believing Christians believe that baptism should be reserved for those who make a profession of faith.They point to the clear teaching in the Bible that converts should be baptized (see, for example, Matt. It should be referred to as Christening or Dedication. For example, Henry Dunster, the first president of Harvard University, was forced not only from his office but banished from Cambridge for refusing to have his infant children baptized in the state-supported church. Believers come into the local church and profess their faith through baptism. “Remember leaving school? Moreover, Luke 18:15-16 proves that Jesus Christ allowed infant baptism, by calling the infants to approach Him. In order to have reasonable evidence that someone has genuine faith, and is therefore good soil, we need also to have reasonable evidence that they are not thorny or rocky soil, that is, they are not those whose profession of faith will cave under the pressures of persecution and worldliness (Mark 4:13-20). In the Middle … We baptize infants because they are covenant children and should receive the sign of the covenant. Will respect for parents be able to be well communicated, even as faith in Christ is being publically professed in baptism? It doesn’t really contradict with any of these doctrines. But first I shall clarify two key assumptions that I shall be making. A positive vision for that time of growth towards maturity must be held out. An even more pressing pastoral responsibility towards the whole church that the pastor must take into consideration is the impact of admitting younger members into the church upon the purity of the church. Proposer : BigBlueFish 19:00, 2 April 2006 (UTC) Survey and discussion. As the pastor and candidate entered the baptistry at the beginning of the service, the pastor was caught up in the spiritual euphoria of the moment. Disclaimer: This is an example of a student written essay.Click here for sample essays written by our professional writers. As Mark Dever once said in a sermon to which I am much indebted in this paper, “Such pressures for baptising younger and younger believers could only be resisted by pastors who are convinced that there are clearly biblical reasons for not doing this.” [7], There is not space in this paper to advise how to negotiate such conversations, but I am painfully aware that they will certainly come and require much wisdom, gentleness and patience. It forbids them the Lord’s Table. Jimmy Carter was baptized at 11 in 1935 (or 1936) in Plains, Georgia. For example, though Charles Spurgeon himself wasn’t baptised until 6 months after his very clear conversion at 16, and didn’t baptise his sons until they were 18 despite being involved in evangelistic ministry for some years prior to that, he did argue for baptising children much younger, and is known to have baptised 12, 11 and even 10 year olds. We baptize infants not out of superstition or tradition or because we like cute babies. Though paedobaptists have held back certain responsibilities [16] from children who have been baptised but not yet entered into communicant membership, no such division is consistent with credobaptism. Such a negative vision is insufficient, just as in other realms of growth. Why is getting baptized important? I was baptized, when I was an infant. According to Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, credobaptism is the practice of baptizing only those who are able to make a profession of faith. The first explicit reference to infant baptism in Christian history is that made by Irenaeus, about A.D. 180, who speaks of “all who through Christ are born again to God, infants and children and boys and youths and old men”, “born again to God” being a technical phrase meaning baptism (Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 1989). Six? Company Registration No: 4964706. These ages were typical throughout the eighteenth century. But he never tried to make disciples out of them! Again, if Christian baptism were meant by our Lord here as a condition for salvation, it is very strange that this is the only time in all John’s gospel where it is so stated as a requirement. Why is infant baptism important to Catholics? I have been a member of one Baptist church with unbaptised (not even infant baptised) members, and of another where parents made the decision when a child was ready for the Lord’s Supper, not the church, sometimes a decade before their baptism. [31]. We should teach children what it means to follow Jesus, and how to find full assurance of salvation in him without declaring their faith real in baptism. Why Believers’ Baptism Should Usually Be Adult Baptism Mike Gilbart-Smith [1] Though Baptists agree on the necessity of a profession of faith for Christian baptism, there is considerable disagreement as to whether baptism should be restricted to those of a particular age. Because of the need for some Christian spiritual oversight, it does mean that I might cautiously suggest a lower baptismal age for those professing faith from a non-Christian background. Interestingly, both in Titus 2, and in 1 Tim 5-6 Paul instructs Timothy and Titus to discharge pastoral responsibility towards older men, younger men, older women, younger women, elders, slaves and masters, but never children. Actually, everybody in my family was baptized in the early childhood. Those being baptized in the Jordan were not being baptized for the first time, and they were not surprised by baptism nor did they view it as a new and unique observance. In the Old Testament, if a man wanted to become a Jew, he had to believe in the God of Israel and be circumcised. Yes, we are! The Bible first mentions Christian baptism in its accounts of John the Baptist. In your baptism, the Lord says to you, "My child, you belong to me. It’s meant to show the world that that you love, trust and have put your hope in Christ. The proof for such an assumption can be seen in Romans 6:3-4: “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? When we are saved, we are “baptized” by the Spirit into the Body of Christ, which is the church. The baptism of young children is not good for them, or for their peers. The direct responsibilities of water baptism. Believer’s baptism view in based on the assumption that baptism should be given: 1) to all those who have learned repentance and amendment of life; 2) who believe truly that their sins are taken away by Christ; 3) to all those who walk in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and wish to be buried with him in death, so that they may be resurrected with him; 4) to all those who with this significance request baptism of us and demand it for themselves (Baptist Roots: a Reader in the Theology of a Christian People, 1999.). Rather we should allow children to profess faith within the nurturing environment of the family home until such time as childhood is left behind, and a credible profession of faith is possible. I shall therefore not even attempt to interact with the objections that would most certainly arise against the conclusions of this paper from the parallel to circumcision, baptismal regeneration, infant faith or any other arguments that would be used to deem a profession of faith to be unnecessary for baptism. It is a real challenge for a pre-teenager or younger teenager to recognise that discipline can be an act of love even when it comes from his or her parents. To continue along this line, Believer's Baptism fails to say why the New Testament does not provide an explanation concerning the dramatic reduction in the reach of the New Covenant. Unless one concludes that there is a definite age at which one may baptise, (e.g. However, this argument is disproved, as the Scripture refers infants to the children, who should be carried in the arms. Might there be ways to give a clearer pastoral oversight of such children without giving them the burden of church membership? Infant baptism should be undertaken in order to foster love for God, faith, repentance and living by Ten Commandments in children since early childhood. office@affinity.org.uk, http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2011/02/23/should-we-baptize-small-children-yes/, http://www.9marks.org/blog/when-did-baptists-become-paedobaptists-9-reasons-why-we-shouldnt-baptise-young-children-even-if, http://www.capitolhillbaptist.org/2002/04/at-what-age-should-believers-be-baptized/, http://www.9marks.org/audio/roundtable-discussion-church, http://www.spurgeongems.org/vols13-15/chs840.pdf, http://praisegod barebones.blogspot.co.uk/2009/04/on-mandatory-age-thresholds-for.html, http://www.hbcowensboro.org/mediafiles/forbid-them-not-pdf.pdf. Why do some Christians decide to be baptised as believers? For example, we would be foolish to tell a teenager struggling with a growing sex drive only to abstain from sex until they are old enough to get married. Is the lowering of the age of baptism and church membership in fact a recipe for undermining the responsibilities of parents in bringing up their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, for they see, functionally at least, that this has now become the church’s job and no longer theirs? It was not intended for people too young to be taught and to personally decide whether or not they want to obey all that Jesus commanded. This may be the case compared to the 1950s in terms of exposure to the world. One of the most commonly confusing topics for Christians is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Baptism: While some Christian faiths perform Baptism on infants, for Baptists this ritual is only performed after a person professes Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. So, the circumcision is the same as baptism, as they both include the promise of the forgiveness of sins and the resurrection after the death. It is good to instruct parents that it is not their role as parents to lead their children to “pray the sinners’ prayer”; there are plenty of children who have prayed the sinner’s prayer with well-meaning parents, and place their assurance of salvation firmly in the fact that they can “name the day” when they prayed it, but whose assurance proves tragically false in due time. Assumption 1: We should not baptise infants. [35] In both cases, the reason they should wait is because of the need to grow in maturity. VAT Registration No: 842417633. If they had been in the habit of baptizing infants, would they have rebuked the parents for bringing them? The Lord demands the circumcision of the infants in Genesis 17:12: “For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner-those who are not your offspring.” So, thanks to the established relationship between circumcision and baptism it is reasonable to suggest, that the circumcision of the infants relate to infant baptism. This refusal has resulted in persecution. This rite has been long practiced among Christians, when persons are appointed to any sacred office. We need to understand the doctrine of baptism in order to live a faithful Christian life. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UKEssays.com. All professions and evidences of faith should be met with encouragement and prayer, without parents feeling that it is their responsibility to tell their children that they are most certainly credible. [25] But without a principled argument to delay baptism, the pressure upon the age of baptism will remain downwards. [4] For others, we should find an “age of accountability”, which I shall argue is rather more difficult to pinpoint than some seem to suggest. Another argument against infant baptism is that Luke 18:15-16 says that the kingdom of God belongs to “such as these (infants)” but not to “these (infants)”. The church has been given the power of the keys to the visible church (Matt 18:18), and to a large extent these are administered by pastors holding conversations with potential church members. Just as faith-producing Spirit baptism is the door to membership of the invisible body of Christ, so public water baptism is the door to the visible church. However, in terms of responsibility, children are caused to grow up less quickly, particularly in the West, than their Victorian forebears. Without ever questioning the sincerity of a child’s profession of faith, we would be unwise to underline it in baptism until sufficient evidence is given that this is a faith that is owned by the child. Baptism is also the individual’s public affirmation of trust in those very promises and a declaration that they are a new creation. Fifth, baptism is an expression of faith and therefore only for believers. It will be the path of least resistance for a pastor to decide to baptise anyone who requests baptism. Yet, having taken a young person into membership, a seemingly gentle refusal to practise church discipline may be worse for their soul even than discipline at a young age, as they would then be taught by the church continuing to allow them membership and the Lord’s Supper, that serious unrepentant sin should not cause them to doubt their salvation. 5. So, we do not think that “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat” (2 Thess 3:10) applies to ten year olds! [10] The fact that Tertullian both mentions infant baptism and opposes it makes it clear that for at least 1800 years the practice has been debated. But we also do not wish to casually name as sheep those who as yet show only fledgling evidence. The passage of Luke 18:15-17 is crucial to the understanding of infant baptism. Baptism does not make us Christians, but it is a very important response to God’s call to obedience. And only those over twenty died in the wilderness as a result of God’s judgment upon their unbelief (Num 14:29). These doctrines are best understood and learned, when taught since childhood. So why should we suppose he would approve of baptizing them? Christ Calls All to Baptism. The origin of Christian baptism is to be found within Judaism, and it is improbable to suggest the derivation of the Christian rite from the mystery cults. We should not deny all responsibilities from younger teenagers, and even pre-teens. Personally for me, baptism is a very intimate topic. Baptism is an act of witness. How many of the 12 year olds baptised by Spurgeon would have been in full-time employment, for example? Are we to give children a share in this responsibility? One should also have a conversation with the child to ensure that they realise that baptism is necessary neither for faith, nor for assurance of faith. *You can also browse our support articles here >. When John came preaching and baptizing, baptism was not a new observance. It is natural for children to believe what their parents tell them. What is Christian baptism? Baptism is an act in which a Christian is immersed in water to symbolize the end of an old way of living, and a new start. Proposer : BigBlueFish 19:00, 2 April 2006 (UTC) Survey and discussion. Believer’s baptism is clearly taught in Acts 2. Each generation of believers in every nation must come to repent and be baptised. My assumption is that baptism and church membership come together, or, more precisely that baptism is the Christian entry ritual into public identification with Jesus Christ (Rom 6:3) and with his body the church (1 Cor 12:13). The fullest NT exposition of the meaning of baptism is to be found in the Pauline letters. Why should I get baptized? Rather, the appropriate locus of their discipleship ought to be the family, rather than the church. Teenagers and younger children have helped serve within the corporate gathering of the church in many ways from serving refreshments afterwards, to helping with the public address system, to playing a musical instrument, to helping with childcare. We should not look for an “age of accountability”. The Lord’s Supper before baptism is like sex before marriage. Hi Steve, Jesus’s baptism in Mark 10:38, as some commentators point out, is perhaps a reference to his baptism of suffering on the cross. And it is a call only believers can answer. Believers come into the local church and profess their faith through baptism. SPECIAL: Prayer Changes Your Brain in 4 Amazing Ways 1. If I refuse to baptize a genuinely converted child, I am forcing them not to do what Jesus has commanded them to do. And so he preached: Brothers and Sisters, it would be very greatly sinning against children if the moment their little susceptible minds were made to feel terror on account of sin, we should put that down as repentance. Sometimes it is an even harder conversation to have with her parents. The answer is not to send children out like sheep amongst wolves so that they will show earlier evidence of regeneration, but to recognise the huge opportunities that the safety of childhood gives for instruction, for patience, and for preparation for a lifetime of discipleship that we pray they will have. Infant baptism - it does not exist, its a misnomer. The significance of the doctrine of infant baptism is the removal of the original sin from the infants. It may be of some minor use to paedobaptists in questions regarding the age of communicant membership, and in understanding a baptistic position more clearly, but it is written primarily for those who have already agreed that Christians should only be baptised upon profession of their own faith rather than that of their parents or other sponsors. Moreover, baptism is seal with which we witness that the Lord is our God and that we are His people. Other evidence could also be mounted from Acts to suggest that baptism was fairly immediate upon profession of faith. When you get baptized it is a testimony to God and people that you, by faith, will live a new life as an overcomer. This verse should be interpreted as “… for the kingdom of God belongs to these and such as these”. It is very clear, Dear Friends, that these young children were not brought to Jesus Christ by their friends to be baptized. Baptists have tended to follow suit through the centuries, waiting at least until young people have some other independence, such as a jobs of their own, before admitting them to baptism. This paper is written unapologetically from within a baptistic framework. Where Baptists have differed from paedobaptists in this is that Baptists have made no subdivision of members into full, adult, communicant members, and child, non-communicant membership. This is not to suggest that even very young children cannot be genuine disciples. Let us judge them righteously, but let us not judge them censoriously. All in all Jesus’ words about little children provide an example of the attitude essential for receiving God’s grace. And, by definition, credobaptists will not baptise on the basis of parental faith that has not yet also become their own. Ought they to be ready for that in the case of a 10, 12 or 14 year old? We see baptism, church membership and the Lord’s Supper as means of grace, that the Lord has given his church for her blessing and edification. Though, as we have seen, there are direct responsibilities associated with being baptised, the warnings associated with coming to the Lord’s Table are far clearer. The question therefore is not whether to delay, but how long to delay. Moreover, Jesus’s emphasis on the big part of the kingdom of God composed of such should be taken literally; and only those who resemble little children should be received into it. We have a responsibility towards parents to disciple them into understanding their responsibility as parents. Many believe it’s the place where Jesus was baptized by John, where the children of Israel crossed over into the Promised Land and where the prophet Elijah was caught up to heaven. Agreeable if they are experienced prematurely not immediately certified by baptism, as I see type. 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