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Infant or Believer's baptism?

Discussion in 'Covenant Theology' started by rturner76, Sep 2, 2011.

  1. rturner76

    rturner76 Senior Veteran Supporter

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    In the Methodist tradition, I understand infant AND believer's baptism are practiced. I will be asking about this in RCIA when it comes up or something like it.

    I personally am convinced believer's baptism should be practiced. I remember feeling so proud and happy when I was 13. I chose baptism over being confirmed in Luther's Church (PM me if you want to know why).

    My question for anyone in any denomination is: Is baptism a two-way covenant? Meaning, are we required to give ourselves to God in baptism? Are we allowed to become members of God's family through our parent's decision to have us baptized as infants?
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2011
  2. bbbbbbb

    bbbbbbb Guest

    Most assuredly, God does not convert anyone by proxy. I have always been puzzled by Lutheran theology that strongly stresses salvation by faith alone in Christ alone and then turns around and stresses salvation by faith through baptism as a method of transferring faith from adults to infants. Is it no wonder that many of these infants grow up to be heathens?
     
  3. heymikey80

    heymikey80 Quidquid Latine dictum sit, altum viditur

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    No, God doesn't save someone by proxy. Neither does God save someone by simply signing up to the covenant. Signing up to the covenant is not the same thing as receiving salvation. Bringing believers into the covenant is sort of a "it's high-time" event for people who have been near to faith and learning from Christ Jesus as disciples, prior to faith.

    Baptism definitely involves a 2-way covenant. And your parents can indeed sign you up for a covenant as a child with expectations that you consider God your God, being representatives for you.

    For thousands of years western and ancient cultures had this view of covenants being familial. The New Covenant is no exception -- "the house of xx" being baptized appears no less than four times in Scripture due to a family head converting. Genesis 17 points out that the Abrahamic covenant is instituted from the words of God in this way.

    The New Covenant involves disciples and believers in the faith. It's quite clear that the personal faith of the disciple is hugely important in the New Covenant -- however, a disciple is not always a believer, and the gospels and letters reflect or assume that distinction a number of times as well.

    Historically, the American experience has chipped away at this idea. The only covenant left which can marginally indenture its members is the family covenant. Other indentureship contracts (outside military service) are not legal in the USA after the Civil War. Family bonds themselves are coming apart.

    So it's easy to conclude that people raised so far distant from a world in which it was normal -- even survival -- to bind oneself to a family unit, won't find it sensible or consistent to do so.
     
  4. rturner76

    rturner76 Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Very insightful post. I must admit I did not discern the answer yet to the questions. I don't know that there is a concrete answer or more just opinions about the subject
     
  5. triplet347

    triplet347 Newbie

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    This is a great question and one I have thought about at length. Let me ask you guys a question? What was the requirement for God's chosen people to enter into the old covenant?
     
  6. brittany111

    brittany111 Newbie

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    Faith in Christ is the only way of salvation. Baptism is done after we have comitted to Christ. Therefore Baptism in itself cannot save you and cannot be transfered to infants.
     
  7. triplet347

    triplet347 Newbie

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    Where is this taught in the scriptures? What was required in the OT in order for someone to be part of the old covenant? What about what Peter states a matter of factly in 1 Pet 3:21?

    Circumcision was required of the Jews in order to be in the family of God. Infants were circumcised. Baptism replaces circumcision in the new covenant Jesus established. Read Paul in Romans where he makes this point and doesn't argue it. He assumes it.

    God bless,
     
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  8. tz620q

    tz620q Regular Member

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    Here's another quote from the Bible outlining the importance of being within the Covenant family. God had appeared to Moses and told him to go to Egypt and free his people. Moses takes his family and starts to travel from Midian to Egypt.

    Exodus, 4:24-26
    24 On the journey, at a place where they spent the night, the LORD came upon Moses and sought to put him to death. But Zipporah took a piece of flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and, touching his feet, she said, “Surely you are a spouse of blood to me.” So God let Moses alone. At that time she said, “A spouse of blood,” in regard to the circumcision.

    Zipporah was a Midianite and their custom was to circumcise their children at age 13. Moses had followed the way of Abraham on his first son and had him circumcised at 8 days; but had yielded to his wife and not circumcised his second son yet. God was wrathful that Moses had not been obedient to the Covenant given to Abraham, so wrathful that he was going to kill his servant right after appointing him as his prophet to the Hebrews in Egypt.
     
  9. Another Sojourner

    Another Sojourner Newbie

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    Speaking conventionally, baptism is the Sign and Seal of the Covenant of Grace. This would make it a unilateral in nature, see Abraham in Genesis. We are covenant breakers, God is the covenant keeper. I will not put any stock into my covenanting with God. That will only end in destruction. See Israel and Sinai.

    Did Abraham's descendants have any say on their entrance into the nation of Israel? Where they not circumcised as infants? God's chosen people were set apart by His choosing. They bore the sign of God's choosing as an act of obedience.
     
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  10. ReformedPharisee

    ReformedPharisee Messenger of the New Covenant

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    Baptism is how we enter into the Covenant with God under the New Covenant principles...

    John 3:5
    Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God."

    Being "born of water" is water baptism, and an infant can no sooner sign on the dotted line of a contract than a dog can, so according to scripture, baptism is of no good to a person not old enough to understand what they are doing. We enter into the Kingdom of God by receiving baptism, it must be a conscious decision by one who has at least reached the age of accountability.
     
  11. ReformedPharisee

    ReformedPharisee Messenger of the New Covenant

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    Actually, baptism is not a seal, and the new covenant is not a covenant of grace, it is the covenant of reconciliation. Grace was as much a part of the old covenant as it is in the new, if it wasn't, then there would not have been the establishment of the atonement for the sins of the people - that was a manifestation of God's grace.

    As for the highlighted part in blue, according to this then you cannot enter into relationship with God, and if you do not enter into relationship with God, you have no eternal life. Eternal life is only found in the Covenant with God, it is a covenant promise, it is not a part of the atonement.
     
  12. Dale

    Dale Senior Veteran

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    I've seen infant baptism in a Methodist church. To me, the most meaningful part of the ceremony is when the congregation joins in and says, “We promise to so order our lives that this child will grow up surrounded by Christian love ...”




    Here's one strange thing about infant baptism. Suppose that you were baptized as an infant. On one hand, your pastor tells you that baptism is needed for salvation, that the unbaptized are spiritually lost, outisde of God's kingdom. At the same time, you have no memory of being baptized. Your parents may have told that you were baptized, and the church may have some bureauratic record that you were, but you don't remember it. How do you know for certain that you were baptized?




    I was baptized in a Baptist church when I was nine years old. I can remember exactly when and where it happened, who else was baptized at the same service and I remember the pastor who conducted the baptism. I remember that it was in September at an evening service. I don't need a record in the church office to tell me that I was baptized. This is something you don't get with infant baptism.




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  13. ebia

    ebia Senior Contributor

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    So what. I don't remember being born either; but its happened just as effectively nonetheless.
     
  14. Dale

    Dale Senior Veteran

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    Ebia,

    Let me get this straight. Conversion and baptism are the most important things that happen to a Christian, in this world, until you go to heaven. Baptism is certainly the most important ceremony. Yet you don't want to remember it?


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  15. ebia

    ebia Senior Contributor

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    Actually, being born is arguably the most important thing, but I don't remember it.
     
  16. Chany

    Chany Imperfect Perfectionist

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    To Dale:

    Your baptism age brings up a problem with the believer's baptism: what age can one actually and truly give consent to believe in Christ? It can be easily argued that nine is not old enough to properly understand what it means to be baptized, to follow Christ, etc. However, you consider your baptism valid.
     
  17. JLB777

    JLB777 Newbie

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    You wrote - Being "born of water" is water baptism.

    Being born of water has nothing to do with baptism.

    John 3:5 has nothing to do with Baptism.

    3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." 4 Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" 5 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

    Baptism is not mentioned in this conversation.

    This conversation is about "birth",

    Natural birth and Spiritual birth.

    Born of water refers to natural birth - for flesh gives birth to flesh.

    Born of the Spirit refers to spiritual birth - For Spirit gives birth to spirit.


    Baptism is about death not birth.

    Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Romans 6:3

    JLB

    God bless you as you seek Him!
     
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