Saturday, May 15, 2021

Believer's Baptism, Infant Baptism, or Both?

Infant baptism, believer's baptism, or both?

Theology talk and a long post ahead.

Today, a door to door evangelist came over. He was an open-carry kind of guy - openly carrying his Bible. 😉 I noticed a Gideon's Logo on the Bible. We happened to be outside when he came over and he approached me. He introduced himself as Gary and I introduced myself and told him I was the pastor of the church behind me. He asked me if I knew I was going to heaven or not when I died. I asked him if he knew how to bring heaven to earth as Jesus taught us to pray. ("Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.") He said something to the effect of taking Jesus to everyone so they will convert. Agreeing, I wished him a good day, hoping to send him on his way.

He then changed the subject and asked me if I did infant baptism, knowing how I would answer. (FYI, this is not the first time this entire scenario has happened in my life.) I, of course, said "Yes."

He then proceeded to ask me to show him in the Bible were infants were baptized. I mentioned Cornelius' family in Acts 10 (verses 47 & 48). He said there no babies were mentioned, that Paul said "How are people to believe if there is no one to teach them?" and that we can't teach babies the Gospel and therefore they can't be baptized. I mentioned that we are to raise our children up in faith, that baptism was God's gift, and the text doesn't say babies in the household weren't there. (Is that a double negative?)

I also mentioned that the vast majority of Christians for 2,000 years practice infant baptism. The church in the 100's and 200's was baptizing children and they would have received that tradition from the apostles. The Orthodox Church, the Catholic Church, and 3 of the 4 branches of Reformation Protestantism (Lutherans, Calvanist, and Church of England) practice infant baptism. (The exception is the Anabaptist churches which became the Baptist churches (???), the Amish, the Mennonite, and the Church of the Brethren.)

I then wished him a good day and he, getting no where with me, said that we will have to disagree and walked off.

Now, don't get me wrong. I have nothing against "Believers Baptism". I was baptized in the Disciples of Christ denomination in 7th grade after confessing my faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I became a Methodist in 1980 and fully embrace the Grace and Gift of God in baptism of all people, infants included. The service of baptism includes a covenant where parents, sponsors, and the church promise to raise the child in faith so that they in turn will take the baptismal convent on for themselves.

In 21 years of ministry, I have also done baptisms for teenagers and adults. So, in other words, I have done both.

I have many friends on Facebook who are clergy. They are mostly United Methodist and Lutherans. Some, however, are clergy in churches that espouse "Believers Baptism". I am anxious to hear from everyone about this experience. ✝️

No comments:

Post a Comment