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Switch to Forum Live View Infant Baptism Beliefs By Denominations
9 years ago  ::  Jun 24, 2009 - 2:18PM #1
Posts: 24

We all are aware that various religious denominations have differing views about infant baptism and whether or not its practice constitutes correct interpretation of the Bible.  The dogma and creeds of these many religious factions and denominations have addressed this practice and many find it necessary to "right thinking" and others consider its practice as heresy.

What I think is interesting is not that many different denominations practice infant baptism but that it seems that each denomination expresses distinct and unique attitudes toward its practice and necessity for salvation.  

First, we can put the Baptist and several other denominations aside as holding that baptism of any form should only be conferred upon "persons professing faith who, given by Christ, upon professing faith ought to be baptised". (London Confession of 1644)

Next, the Roman Catholics, who practice infant baptism feel that "the Church and parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth" (Catechism Of The Catholic Church)

Then the Lutheran denomination states "baptism works forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and gives eternal salvation and that infant baptism is God pleasing because persons so baptised were reborn and sanctified by the Holy Spirit". (Luther Small and Large Catechism)

Now, the Presbyterian denomination has this to say about infant baptism in its Westminster Confession.  "Not only those that do actually profess faith in and obedience to Christ but also infants of one or both believing parents are to be baptised.  The efficacy of Baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered, yet, by the right use of this ordinance the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited and conferred by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongeth unto, according to the counsel of God's own will, in his appointed time."

Thus, our doctrine as Presbyterians is that something happens when an infant is baptised and the grace promised by the Holy Ghost is conferred to the infant.  However, this grace does not come into effect immediately and will actually become effective at some future point in time according to God's own will.  One would assume that this would depend on whether the person whom grace had been conferred on as an infant makes in due time the proper profession of faith. (Chapter 16)

My own uneducated opinion is that infant baptism is certainly not commanded as in "Thou shalt baptise all infants!!".   So I have no problem with those denominations who oppose it.  By the same token, I have no problem with  those denominations who practice it for whatever reason or even those who practice it without a reason.

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9 years ago  ::  Jun 25, 2009 - 3:03PM #2
Posts: 330

Paedo (infant) baptism is not done because of explicit command, but because of clear and necessary consequences (WCF I:6) from the whole of scripture.  The meaning and necessity of circumcision as a sign of the covenant in the Old Testament administration of grace becomes baptism in the New Testament.  Failure to circumcise in the Old Testament, failure to baptize since Christ, constitute sin.

Grace conferred by the Holy Ghost is "to such as that grace belongs" (God's elect).  Baptism itself does not confer or guarantee regeneration or saving faith any more than circumcision did in the Old Testament.

Those insisting the effectiveness of baptism is dependent upon faith (Credo- baptists), presume they can know whether an individual has saving faith or not.  The only thing we can know about another is whether he offers a credible profession of faith, not whether he has true saving faith.

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9 years ago  ::  Jun 26, 2009 - 5:47PM #3
Posts: 959

Cal, it's good to find you here again, or should I say, still here?

I understand that there are many people, and denominations, who consider infant baptism the N. T. version of circumcision. What I do see as strange, is that the same people who consider it a must to baptize infants because in the O. T. infants were circumcised, don't find keeping the 4th commandment binding to us today. When Jesus was baptized, He made it clear that He did it to give us an example to follow. I can see a good reason why God had His people circumcise their infants: that's the sign He chose for His people, but when the procedure is done on adult males, it disables them for a while, and back then, it is obvious that adult males needed to be in shape to take care of the people, and sometimes to go into battle, whereas if done to infants, the procedure heals very quickly, and besides, infants don't have responsibilities.  However, the way I understand baptism, it is meant for people old enough to know the meaning of it, and to make this kind of decision. When Jesus gave the Great Commission, He said to teach, then baptize and disciple.

I'm not trying to start an argument here, just pointing out something that seems illogical to me. Smile But then, you probably remember me, I'm still passionate about obedience in all things.


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9 years ago  ::  Jul 21, 2009 - 3:27PM #4
Posts: 330

People don't choose God; God elects, effectually calls and enables his people to believe and trust in his promises in Jesus.

One of those promises is to be God to the seed of believers after them (Gen. 17:7). God's covenant is not just with adults, but also with their children.  Neglecting to confer the sign of the covenant is a serious sin (Ex. 4:24-26).

Jesus said, "Of such is the kingdom of God" (Mk. 10:14).  What is the Kingdom spoken of here?

Confessional, Reformed Paedo-baptists do not neglect the 4th Commandment.  See the Westminster Confession and Catechisms.  That also is a sign of covenant relationship with God.

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8 years ago  ::  Aug 26, 2010 - 7:38PM #5
Posts: 1

Hello all!  I was raised Baptist but am investigating Presbyterianism.  Can someone explain to me the belief that baptism is the sign of the covenant between God and the children of believers?  I'm sorry; this is all very new to me!  Do you consider it a sin to not baptize your babies?  What Scripture supports this?

Thank you!

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8 years ago  ::  Aug 30, 2010 - 8:34PM #6
Posts: 330

Reformed and Presbyterians see baptism as functioning as circumcision. The Exodus passage cited above shows God’s anger with Moses for neglecting to circumcise his son.

Find the Westminster Standards (Confession of Faith, Larger and Shorter Catechisms), available on line or in print, to find what Presbyterians historically believed about baptism.

Write me privately if I can answer any questions. Or, post them here; but I don’t check this site very often anymore.

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