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Kawa4Christ

Paedobaptism, or infant baptism, what do you think?

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During the Reformation many different ideas were brought up in regards to Catholic beliefs on many issues. John Calvin and Martin Luther were two of the main figures during this time. Both went in different directions in a sense. Growing up in a Baptist context, what I found interesting when reading The Institutes of the Christian Religion by Calvin was that he believed that the Anabaptists were wrong in urging against Paedobaptism, or infant baptism. What did he mean? What is biblical?

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Infant baptism arose early in the church's history. The earliest clear records are from the second or third centuries, though paedobaptists believe it was performed by the apostolic church. Some credobaptists, especially more cynical ones, suggest that the practice originated for political reasons once Christianity was institutionalized. Regardless of its origin, it has been the practice of the Catholic Church since early times and eventually became a part of the Reformation, though as time progressed more Protestants abandoned the practice. Its theological basis in the Protestant community is covenant theology. In this theology, the New Covenant makes the Church the true Israel, continuing the promise to Abraham. This context then assumes baptism replaces circumcision as the sign of the covenant. Since infants were circumcised, paedobaptists argue, infants should also be baptized. They say that, like circumcision, baptism does not save but makes the baptized person a member of the covenant community, subject to its various blessings and curses. The primary Biblical support lies in support for covenant theology in general, and the mentions of household baptisms in Acts. Paedobaptists argue that household baptisms naturally included infants.

In contrast to the Protestant view, Catholics believe that baptism washes away original sin and is necessary for salvation (not considering here baptism of blood or baptism of desire). Therefore they baptize children for that purpose.

Personally, I am a credobaptist, and I mainly reject infant baptism because I find the covenant theology position that baptism replaces circumcision without any Biblical support, and because I find no clear instance in Scripture of baptism being prescribed apart from faith.

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I've had to put this is 2 parts, as it's long. Hope it clears some stuff up. Note, these are my opinions. I'm not here to make a song and dance about it, I'm here to answer the OP.

I'm a baby dipper, born and bred. I was christened as an infant, and will do the same with any children I have. It's a tradition of my denomination (along with the other Catholic churches), and one that I believe is firmly rooted in Scripture. My answers to the following questions are from a strongly traditional Anglican view point, just to add.

Do I believe a child is saved through infant baptism, and if not, what is its purpose?

Short answer: No. Its purpose is about beginning a journey.

Long answer: The Bible teaches 4 things on salvation: faith, repentance, baptism in the Holy Spirit, and baptism in water. Infant baptism makes up a part of the journey to salvation, but is not in and of itself the key to Heaven's gates. So then, what is its purpose?

Baptism is what the Anglican church calls a sacrament - an outward sign of inward grace. The cleansing on the outside is representative of the cleansing of the soul. Article 25 of the 39 Articles describes the sacraments as "not only badges or tokens of the profession of Christians but are also sure witnesses and effectual signs of God's grace".

So, what about the sacrament of infant baptism? The Articles state that baptism is "a sign of regeneration or new birth, through which, as through an instrument those who receive baptism in the right manner are grafted into the church". So, when we baptise infants, we are grafting them to the church. To graft is to unite a shoot to a bigger plant so that it might derive nutrients and water in order to grow. Is that not just the most beautiful image? When we baptise infants, we graft them to the church so that they might derive spiritual nutrients and living water from us. Christ is with His church, so when we graft to the church, we graft to God.

Infant baptism is often described as simply welcoming a child into the church. It is so much more than that! At an infant baptism, the priest addresses the entire congregation, and, as a a congregation, we promise, with God's help, to welcome a child to the church, and uphold them in their life in Christ. That means praying for them, teaching them, loving them as our own and as ourselves, taking care of them etc. It means building them up in Christ Jesus.

However, it is not just the congregation that makes promises to God over the child. Parents and godparents (who will fulfil the role of the parent if something happens to them) are asked to make promises similar, if more personal, to those made by the congregation. These promises are not taken lightly; they are serious vows made before God.

However, one thing is key to note here. As I mentioned earlier, the Articles talk about receiving sacraments in "the right manner". As Anglicans, we agree with Rome and the Orthodox church than one must have the right attitude when it comes to Sacraments. Take an example from my life: my brother and I were both christened as babies. I am a Christian, he is an atheist. My baptism is fully effectual because I have faith, have repented (and still do regularly) and was baptised in the Holy Spirit when I dedicated my life to Christ. My brother's baptism is nothing but a nice occasion, and will continue to be null and void until the point when he has faith, repents, and is baptised in the Holy Spirit by dedicating his life to Christ. An infant baptism means nothing if the rest of a person's life is lived away from God.

So, to sum up, what is the purpose of infant baptism if it doesn't save? It's purpose is to set up a child for life within the church, to graft it to the church, and so that parents, godparents and the congregation can promise to bring up the child as a Christian. It is the first step on the road to salvation.

If it does not save, is infant baptism Biblically sound?

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Let's be honest, the NT is pretty silent when it comes to conclusive, explicit evidence that paedobaptism is wrong, or that paedobaptism is right. So, here's my honest take on it.

As John Murray puts it (his article is here), "baptism in the one name of the triune God means baptism into subjection and devotion to the one living and true God." As already explained, Baptism is about the first step onto the path to salvation, the first foothold on the difficult journey through life, in subjection and devotion to God. In my view, paedobaptism is Biblical. I don't doubt there's a hundred and one members on this forum who will disagree with me, but I've prayerfully considered this, and that's the standpoint I continue to hold.

Psalm 92 is my first starting point. 92:12-15 read as this:

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,

they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;

planted in the house of the Lord,

they will flourish in the courts of our God.

They will still bear fruit in old age,

they will stay fresh and green,

proclaiming, “The Lord is upright;

he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”

I highlighted "planted" for a reason. I've already mentioned grafting a child to the church - do you see the resemblance? We plant the children in the Lord, so that they might flourish. Baptism as an infant should not be the single experience of Christ a child has growing up. None of the flourishing or bearing of fruit in this psalm would occur if the planting had not occurred. Surely its best to plant as soon as possible, no?

So, there's OT evidence for the inclusion of children in the church through baptism. What about the NT?

Genesis 17:10 states that "This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised."

Now, flip to the NT. 1 Corinthians 7:18-19 tells us that "Was a man already circumcised when he was called? He should not become uncircumcised. Was a man uncircumcised when he was called? He should not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts." So, we know that the OT commanded circumcision as the outward sign of a covenant (I hate to be annoying, but doesn't that sound a little bit like what a sacrament is, the outward sign of inward grace?). The NT now says to do away with circumcision, because it doesn't matter - keeping God's commands is more important.

However, being baptised is one of God's commands. Both Mark 16:16 and Acts 2:38-9 demonstrate that belief, repentance and baptism are necessary. However, the verse from Acts also mentions how it is appropriate for "you and your children.", just like the old covenant was for "you and your descendants".

So, the old covenant was shown by circumcision as a child. The new covenant gets rid of circumcision, and tells us God's commands are more important. God commands us to be baptised, applicable to "you and your children" just as the old covenant was applicable to "you and your descendants". Where as the old covenant was for "every male", the new covenant is for both male and female (as we are all equal in Christ Jesus, as per Galatians). Circumcision occurred as a baby, and I believe baptism should also occur as a baby, where possible.

As the Articles put it, "The baptism of young children is undoubtedly to be retained in the church as that which agrees best with Christ's institution."

This is just one reason I have as to why I believe infant baptism is Scriptural. However, I'm going to bore you. Let me know if you'd like to hear more.

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Part 2:

Is it paedobaptist vs. credobaptist?

Short answer: No.

Long answer: Of course not! It's not as though we Anglicans don't also baptise adults in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Infant baptism is simply one part of our church, and by no means the only way to be a Christian. Being a Christian is receiving grace, through faith. That is enough.

However, as mentioned before, Jesus commanded that we be baptised. Mark 16:16 states that Jesus said "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned." Many people say this is baptism in the Holy Spirit, not in water. This may be true, but I believe that as a sacrament (an outward sign of inward grace, remember?) it should be received. Your baptism is the demonstration of God's working in you, even if it simply the demonstration of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Some, like me, believe in baptising children and then teaching them to believe. Once that is done, the sacrament of Confirmation is received (see next section). However, others believe that one must believe first, and then be baptised. I'd argue it doesn't matter which way round it is, as long as baptism is received when possible. Obviously, there's going to be times when baptism isn't possible. But, if possible, it should be done. Baptism is a Scriptural command, a sacrament and a gift. It is precious.

What happens after infant baptism?

Short answer: Confirmation.

Long answer: Well, as an Anglican, it's Confirmation, and even within Anglicanism, there is still debate on this topic. In your teenage years, at some point, an Anglican will consider Confirmation. Confirmation is the next step. It is the point where you have received baptism as an infant, have come to understand the Gospel message, the requirements for salvation and church doctrine, and now want to profess faith and to live as an Anglican Christian.

Before Confirmation, an Anglican child should not receive Holy Communion (and I say should not coming from a particular standpoint. Others may disagree). Instead, they go to the altar rail and receive a blessing from the priest. I believe this is important for one reason. This is that a child of 3 or 4 or 5 is unlikely to understand the true nature of the Blessed Eucharist. Yes, they might understand that it is supposed to represent the blood and body of Jesus, but are they likely to understand the wider implications of that? I would argue not. Therefore, to give Holy Communion to a child who does not understand it is to water down its meaning. It becomes about the ritual of taking the sacrament, rather than what the sacrament represents (outward sign of inward grace is back again). It always amuses me that Catholics, and many Anglicans are accused of being too ritualistic in having Baptism and Confirmation and so on, when the purpose of such sacraments is to prevent the degrading of something holy into some earthly ritual.

If you're interested, a fantastically well-written and well-researched paper on the subject of children taking communion before the sacrament of Confirmation can be found here. It didn't alter my view, but it is food for thought indeed.

If you'd like to read the service for Baptism and Confirmation, it is available here. You are able to see what happens in both infant baptism and baptism of those able to answer for themselves.

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I do not agree. I believe the Baptism is a willing formation of a New Covenant with God before man. I do not believe that infants can make such a momentous decision, in fact, I wouldn't agree with a Baptism until one could say in and of themselves what they were doing and why. Until then, the act is utterly meaningless.

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I was baptised as a baby.

Personally, I believe in dedication as a baby, but that baptism should be withheld until the child make that decision themselves. At an age when they can understand God and the Bible and the Covenant they are making.

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I was baptised as a baby.

Personally' date=' I believe in dedication as a baby, but that baptism should be withheld until the child make that decision themselves. At an age when they can understand God and the Bible and the Covenant they are making.[/quote']

Agreed. The dedication and Baptism are two distinct rituals in my belief, but I suppose some denominations treat them as one and the same, or as a "confirmation" to set the "beginning of one's journey."

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Katy, fantastic posts. They explained quite a bit, very well thought out.

However, I must completely disagree with you on the fact that baptizing infants is scriptural.

Most of the verses you use to promote infant baptism, I use to promote infant dedication. Should a child be grafted into the church? Absolutely! Is baptism the only way to do that for an infant? No, I don't believe so. The intentions of baptism as you described Katy sound much like the intentions of churches who dedicate infants. That is, the church prays for the child and help dedicate to being their for the child spiritually and the parents dedicate the child's life to God in that they will strive to the best of their abilities to raise them in church and by Godly standards. Basically the same except for 2 things: 1) no water & 2) it's optional instead of required by the church.

My whole thing with infant baptism is that the Bible doesn't speak of it. While it doesn't specifically say "Thou shalt not baptize anyone who is an infant or child!" it never says it's ok either. Anytime baptism is spoken of, it's always a believer. First they believed, then they were baptized. We don't know, and have no way of knowing for certain, if an infant can believe. I would say no, because an infant can't understand the significance of salvation. They don't know right from wrong. Everyone who was baptized in scripture did so of their own free will after they had accepted Christ.

So do I believe in infant baptism? No. Do I believe in infant dedication? Yes and I'll have any of my kids dedicated. But I believe that baptism is only scriptural (and thus effective) if done by someone who is:

  1. Able to profess that they believe in Jesus Christ
  2. Must have accepted Jesus Christ as their savior
  3. Able to make the decision to be baptized based on their profession of personal salvation and desire to follow Christ's command of baptism
  4. Able to understand the significance and the symbolism of baptism

If those 4 things can't be met, then the person isn't ready to be baptized. Be it a newborn baby or a 100+ year old person.

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Most of the verses you use to promote infant baptism, I use to promote infant dedication. Should a child be grafted into the church? Absolutely! Is baptism the only way to do that for an infant? No, I don't believe so. The intentions of baptism as you described Katy sound much like the intentions of churches who dedicate infants. That is, the church prays for the child and help dedicate to being their for the child spiritually and the parents dedicate the child's life to God in that they will strive to the best of their abilities to raise them in church and by Godly standards. Basically the same except for 2 things: 1) no water & 2) it's optional instead of required by the church.

  1. Able to profess that they believe in Jesus Christ
  2. Must have accepted Jesus Christ as their savior
  3. Able to make the decision to be baptized based on their profession of personal salvation and desire to follow Christ's command of baptism
  4. Able to understand the significance and the symbolism of baptism

If those 4 things can't be met, then the person isn't ready to be baptized. Be it a newborn baby or a 100+ year old person.

I am not sure Katy explained the sacramental aspects of infant baptism quite as well as she should have. I am not quite sure non-Anglican protestant churches have anything like it, so it is an unusual concept, perhaps. A sacrament is not merely a symbol. It is not about dedicating children to the Church. We believe that sacraments dispense the Grace of God. The sacraments are physical signs that bestow God's Grace which sanctifies us. That is, we believe the sacrament of baptism sanctifies the infant against original sin. When we consume the Eucharist, we believe it fills us with God's Grace, not in a metaphorical way, but in a quite literal way.

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I love stirring up a thread :lol:

Right, time to start the mammoth response.

I'll start with Haley (btw I've missed your presence in debates. RETURN, ma cherie.)

Katy, fantastic posts. They explained quite a bit, very well thought out.

Glad they were of some help. I tried not to make them too long, because CTF was getting angry about the amount of characters :baghead:

However, I must completely disagree with you on the fact that baptizing infants is scriptural.

Most of the verses you use to promote infant baptism, I use to promote infant dedication. Should a child be grafted into the church? Absolutely! Is baptism the only way to do that for an infant? No, I don't believe so. The intentions of baptism as you described Katy sound much like the intentions of churches who dedicate infants. That is, the church prays for the child and help dedicate to being their for the child spiritually and the parents dedicate the child's life to God in that they will strive to the best of their abilities to raise them in church and by Godly standards. Basically the same except for 2 things: 1) no water & 2) it's optional instead of required by the church.

So, last night, I did a foolish thing. I mentioned the word sacrament, failed to explain what it is, and then went into great detail on the parts of infant baptism that are surplus, if you will.

"Baptism is what the Anglican church calls a sacrament - an outward sign of inward grace. The cleansing on the outside is representative of the cleansing of the soul. Article 25 of the 39 Articles describes the sacraments as "not only badges or tokens of the profession of Christians but are also sure witnesses and effectual signs of God's grace"."

Ok, so this is my paragraph from last night. Let me expand:

A sacrament to an Anglican is not just a symbol or a representation (well, it is, but it isn't. Confusing, I know. Hang in there.), but an outward sign of inward grace. That means that literally, at the point of baptism, God's grace is imparted to the one being baptised. Not symbolically, or as a token sign, but the full and physical grace of God Almighty is given. I believe, wholeheartedly, in this.

That's why the water is required. I don't (no offence to anyone) give much standing to a baby dedication service. With a baptism, it's part and parcel of the event. A baby is cleansed, and a baby is grafted. But, the most important part is not the grafting, but the cleansing.

So…

My whole thing with infant baptism is that the Bible doesn't speak of it. While it doesn't specifically say "Thou shalt not baptize anyone who is an infant or child!" it never says it's ok either. Anytime baptism is spoken of, it's always a believer. First they believed, then they were baptized. We don't know, and have no way of knowing for certain, if an infant can believe. I would say no, because an infant can't understand the significance of salvation. They don't know right from wrong. Everyone who was baptized in scripture did so of their own free will after they had accepted Christ.

So, no, as you say the Bible doesn’t give explicit commands for or against infant baptism. But, if you're viewing baptism as sacramental, a baby doesn't have to be aware of the significance of salvation at this point. God is gracious and merciful to believers and non-believers alike; that's obvious from the world around us, where we see Christians suffering and non-Christians thriving. God can impart His grace to whoever He so pleases, because He's God. However, He promises that grace is imparted at baptism, and He doesn't break promises. This argument, I think, seems to hinge on sacramental baptism vs. testimonial baptism. More on that later.

On the topic of whether baptism can occur before belief, from the mouth of Christ the King himself, came this command:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. (Matt 28:19-20)

Note how the baptising comes first, before the teaching to obey Jesus’ commands. Now, yes, you could mention how it says make disciples first, then baptise, then teach. This is where it gets interesting.

Disciple comes from the Latin word meaning “learner”. Now forgive me if I’m wrong, but how is one a learner when one is not learning? Because it’s very explicit in that the baptising comes before the teaching. What are the learners learning before they’re being taught anything? It makes no sense to suggest that one must become a disciple (a learner), then be baptised, then be taught. A learner is an active label – unlike, for example, being labelled a sister. I do not have to do anything special to be my brother’s sister; I fulfil that in my very existence. However, “learner” is something fulfilled by action. One cannot be a learner if one is not… learning.

What’s my point? Jesus commands us to baptise, then teach. A disciple is made when both have occurred.

The baptisms of the NT are of course going to document adult baptisms, because they were who were being converted. Christianity was not an established religion; it wasn't the norm. You had to convert the father or mother first, because they weren't exactly going to let you run off with their baby and baptise it, were they? But, there are instances in the NT of "households" being baptised. Think Cornelius - he converted, and his household was baptised. Does that not include young and old? There's no parameters given on who qualifies as "household".

But anyway, just to add this lil bit...

So do I believe in infant baptism? No. Do I believe in infant dedication? Yes and I'll have any of my kids dedicated. But I believe that baptism is only scriptural (and thus effective) if done by someone who is:

  1. Able to profess that they believe in Jesus Christ
  2. Must have accepted Jesus Christ as their savior
  3. Able to make the decision to be baptized based on their profession of personal salvation and desire to follow Christ's command of baptism
  4. Able to understand the significance and the symbolism of baptism

If those 4 things can't be met, then the person isn't ready to be baptized. Be it a newborn baby or a 100+ year old person.

This causes a problem for me. Those who are adherents to believer's baptism are certain that my view of baptism is not correct - in fact, it's not baptism at all. However, as you show here, this is because it is a completely different view of baptism to sacramental baptism. Essentially, what you describe is a testimonial baptism; it is a belief that baptism is the representation of the cleansing of the soul after belief. Seeing as infants can't give a testimony of faith, I understand where you're coming from.

All well and good, and if that's the case, I would agree with your points. But, I have a very different view on baptism. As mentioned before, I believe in sacramental baptism; the imparting of God's grace to someone. I think this is really the issue here. If it turns out that baptism isn't a sacrament, then I'd be believing like you in an instant. But, if baptism's a sacrament, then the criteria you've set out (no offence) are not universal, because God's grace can be given to anyone.

I guess that's a different debate for a different time though. My brain is starting to ache.

---------- Post added at 06:46 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:40 PM ----------

Part 2:

Agreed. The dedication and Baptism are two distinct rituals in my belief, but I suppose some denominations treat them as one and the same, or as a "confirmation" to set the "beginning of one's journey."

Do I detect a little snideness in this response?

Without sounding like I'm being sarcastic (and seriously, this is one of the few times in life when I'm not being sarcastic), infant baptism isn't a confirmation of anything. Our sacrament of Confirmation is, rather obviously, for confirmation. But, it's the confirmation of the grafting in baptism, not its sacramental aspect.

I am not sure Katy explained the sacramental aspects of infant baptism quite as well as she should have. I am not quite sure non-Anglican protestant churches have anything like it, so it is an unusual concept, perhaps. A sacrament is not merely a symbol. It is not about dedicating children to the Church. We believe that sacraments dispense the Grace of God. The sacraments are physical signs that bestow God's Grace which sanctifies us. That is, we believe the sacrament of baptism sanctifies the infant against original sin. When we consume the Eucharist, we believe it fills us with God's Grace, not in a metaphorical way, but in a quite literal way.

Yeah, it was late, and I made an assumption that sacraments were understood. Thanks for clearing this up, John :)

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Do I detect a little snideness in this response?

It wasn't intended, but honestly I detect a little snideness in many of these threads that turn into Protestant v. Catholic/COE/Orthodox debates.

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It wasn't intended, but honestly I detect a little snideness in many of these threads that turn into Protestant v. Catholic/COE/Orthodox debates.

I apologise if that's been the case in any of my responses; like you, that was utterly unintended.

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First off, THANK YOU JESUS for the Auto-Save feature. I wrote this out and then CTF derped and didn't post it so I thought it was lost. Nope, thanks to

Auto-Save, it saved every bit of it!! :) YAY TECHNOLOGY!!

I'll start with Haley (btw I've missed your presence in debates. RETURN, ma cherie.)

Thanks lol. Yes I have returned!! Mwahahahahaha! Fear me! *clears throat* :mellow:

"Baptism is what the Anglican church calls a sacrament - an outward sign of inward grace. The cleansing on the outside is representative of the cleansing of the soul. Article 25 of the 39 Articles describes the sacraments as "not only badges or tokens of the profession of Christians but are also sure witnesses and effectual signs of God's grace"."

And this is why there is never agreeance on the subject lol. Some, such as yourself, view it as an outward sign of inward grace. Some, such as myself, view it as a following of God's command to be baptized, but that it's symbolic to us being crucified with Christ, buried with Christ, and raised up a new person in Christ (Romans 6:3-6). If the first is the case, then infant baptism is acceptable, because God's grace can be extended to all regardless of age. If it is the second case, then the person would need to acknowledge that they understood the symbolism behind it and that were being baptized because of a desire to express their faith before the church. An outward expression of an inward change, if you will. If the second interpretation of baptism is correct, then that would mean that infant baptism is not scripturally correct, because an infant cannot confirm whether or not they believe or want to walk with Christ.

That means that literally, at the point of baptism, God's grace is imparted to the one being baptised. Not symbolically, or as a token sign, but the full and physical grace of God Almighty is given. I believe, wholeheartedly, in this.

I disagree, but this is because I believe that what you're describing comes with salvation not baptism. I believe that grace is imparted at salvation, and baptism is simply... well, like Confirmation to a Catholic (or Anglican in your case Katy :)). It's the outward expression of an inward change, you're confirming to the church that you have already chosen to follow Christ, and now you make a public expression of it in choosing to be symbolically crucified, buried, and resurrected with Christ in baptism as the Bible says to do. So to someone who believes like you, baptism and confirmation are two totally distinct sacraments. But to someone who believes like me, they are, in a way, the same thing because for us Baptism is a confirmation of our faith before the church. Am I making sense??

I don't (no offence to anyone) give much standing to a baby dedication service.

No offense taken, but to a Protestant who practices infant dedication, it's really the same thing taking place that you describe happens at infant baptism. We just come out of it with a less soggy infant lol. But seriously, you say at an infant baptism the infant is cleansed and grafted. But this goes back to us seeing baptism as having different significance's. We don't view the water as cleansing anything spiritually, and the baby is clean physically when it gets there. So since we don't view the water as cleansing anything, we simply lay hands on the child (some anoint with oil, some don't) and pray for the child and the parents as a church. We thank God for the babies life to that point (some babies aren't dedicated till they are a year old, some are done as newborns, and most fall between newborn and a year old) and then we ask God to help the child physically and spiritually as it grows, pray for it's salvation when it's older, and pray that the parents as well as us as people of the church can lead and guide it into a Christian walk in the standards of Christ.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. (Matt 28:19-20)

Disciple comes from the Latin word meaning “learner”. Now forgive me if I’m wrong, but how is one a learner when one is not learning? Because it’s very explicit in that the baptising comes before the teaching. What are the learners learning before they’re being taught anything? It makes no sense to suggest that one must become a disciple (a learner), then be baptised, then be taught. A learner is an active label – unlike, for example, being labelled a sister. I do not have to do anything special to be my brother’s sister; I fulfil that in my very existence. However, “learner” is something fulfilled by action. One cannot be a learner if one is not… learning.

My Bible (KJV) says: "Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:..."

So from what my Bible says, it says teach them, then baptize them, then continue to teach them and make disciples of them. Which would be consistent with teach them about God first, baptism second after they receive the word, discipleship training later so that they can fulfill the great commission.

Think Cornelius - he converted, and his household was baptised. Does that not include young and old? There's no parameters given on who qualifies as "household".

You're right, it doesn't state the parameters of the household. Which means when we talk about infants, it's speculation either way. Of course, it would be speculation to say that grandma was baptized too, because we don't know if everyone besides Cornelius and his wife were children. So anything on age is speculation.

This causes a problem for me. Those who are adherents to believer's baptism are certain that my view of baptism is not correct - in fact, it's not baptism at all. However, as you show here, this is because it is a completely different view of baptism to sacramental baptism. Essentially, what you describe is a testimonial baptism; it is a belief that baptism is the representation of the cleansing of the soul after belief. Seeing as infants can't give a testimony of faith, I understand where you're coming from.

All well and good, and if that's the case, I would agree with your points. But, I have a very different view on baptism. As mentioned before, I believe in sacramental baptism; the imparting of God's grace to someone. I think this is really the issue here. If it turns out that baptism isn't a sacrament, then I'd be believing like you in an instant. But, if baptism's a sacrament, then the criteria you've set out (no offence) are not universal, because God's grace can be given to anyone.

Exactly. First it would have to be established for certain what baptism is. Is it sacramental or testimonial? If it's sacramental, your points stand. If it's testimonial, my points stand. But because we interpret scripture differently, and our church doctrine is different, then we're really comparing apples to oranges, because sacramental and testimonial baptism are in two totally different ball parks (or eh... fruit trees to keep with the apple/orange theme). :P

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First off, THANK YOU JESUS for the Auto-Save feature. I wrote this out and then CTF derped and didn't post it so I thought it was lost. Nope, thanks to

Auto-Save, it saved every bit of it!! :) YAY TECHNOLOGY!!

Thanks lol. Yes I have returned!! Mwahahahahaha! Fear me! *clears throat* :mellow:

And this is why there is never agreeance on the subject lol. Some, such as yourself, view it as an outward sign of inward grace. Some, such as myself, view it as a following of God's command to be baptized, but that it's symbolic to us being crucified with Christ, buried with Christ, and raised up a new person in Christ (Romans 6:3-6). If the first is the case, then infant baptism is acceptable, because God's grace can be extended to all regardless of age. If it is the second case, then the person would need to acknowledge that they understood the symbolism behind it and that were being baptized because of a desire to express their faith before the church. An outward expression of an inward change, if you will. If the second interpretation of baptism is correct, then that would mean that infant baptism is not scripturally correct, because an infant cannot confirm whether or not they believe or want to walk with Christ.

I disagree, but this is because I believe that what you're describing comes with salvation not baptism. I believe that grace is imparted at salvation, and baptism is simply... well, like Confirmation to a Catholic (or Anglican in your case Katy :)). It's the outward expression of an inward change, you're confirming to the church that you have already chosen to follow Christ, and now you make a public expression of it in choosing to be symbolically crucified, buried, and resurrected with Christ in baptism as the Bible says to do. So to someone who believes like you, baptism and confirmation are two totally distinct sacraments. But to someone who believes like me, they are, in a way, the same thing because for us Baptism is a confirmation of our faith before the church. Am I making sense??

No offense taken, but to a Protestant who practices infant dedication, it's really the same thing taking place that you describe happens at infant baptism. We just come out of it with a less soggy infant lol. But seriously, you say at an infant baptism the infant is cleansed and grafted. But this goes back to us seeing baptism as having different significance's. We don't view the water as cleansing anything spiritually, and the baby is clean physically when it gets there. So since we don't view the water as cleansing anything, we simply lay hands on the child (some anoint with oil, some don't) and pray for the child and the parents as a church. We thank God for the babies life to that point (some babies aren't dedicated till they are a year old, some are done as newborns, and most fall between newborn and a year old) and then we ask God to help the child physically and spiritually as it grows, pray for it's salvation when it's older, and pray that the parents as well as us as people of the church can lead and guide it into a Christian walk in the standards of Christ.

My Bible (KJV) says: "Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:..."

So from what my Bible says, it says teach them, then baptize them, then continue to teach them and make disciples of them. Which would be consistent with teach them about God first, baptism second after they receive the word, discipleship training later so that they can fulfill the great commission.

You're right, it doesn't state the parameters of the household. Which means when we talk about infants, it's speculation either way. Of course, it would be speculation to say that grandma was baptized too, because we don't know if everyone besides Cornelius and his wife were children. So anything on age is speculation.

Exactly. First it would have to be established for certain what baptism is. Is it sacramental or testimonial? If it's sacramental, your points stand. If it's testimonial, my points stand. But because we interpret scripture differently, and our church doctrine is different, then we're really comparing apples to oranges, because sacramental and testimonial baptism are in two totally different ball parks (or eh... fruit trees to keep with the apple/orange theme). :P

Effectively, I feel we've reached a natural end - it is the nature of baptism that is essentially what we're discussing, and I'm pretty sure neither of us will budge all that much on our current belief. So, I suppose I shall say it's been fun debating this with you :)

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Effectively, I feel we've reached a natural end - it is the nature of baptism that is essentially what we're discussing, and I'm pretty sure neither of us will budge all that much on our current belief. So, I suppose I shall say it's been fun debating this with you :)

I agree and same to you :)

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I believe babies should be dedicated, but that baptism should be withheld until the child chooses to go through with it and understands Jesus and what he's all about... basically, when they're old enough to make the conscious decision to give their lives to God.

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I was baptized at 9 days old as a Roman Catholic. I'm grateful my parents chose to do such as it has afforded me many graces from such a young age.

As a 7th grader I was given the choice to be confirmed in the Church by my own accord.

As a true follower of Christ, I would say it occurred about 7 years ago when I was humbled by my disobedience and arrogance.

Now I truly see.

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