Baptism Question Spin-off: Validity of Baptism

Discussion in 'Credo-Baptism Answers' started by Douglas P., Jul 15, 2011.

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  1. Douglas P.

    Douglas P. Puritan Board Freshman

    Spin-off question from another thread, post # 13:

    (I am asking this question with the presupposition that infants, at birth, can be in union with Christ.)

    Question to my Baptist brothers: Would a baptism be invalid if administered to an infant who, from birth, was in union with Christ? Does the fact that the child never "actually professed repentance towards God, faith in, and obedience to, our Lord Jesus Christ" disqualify the validity of the baptism?
  2. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    Douglas, would be please elaborate on the part of your post I bolded? I think I know what you mean but I want to make sure.
  3. pianoman

    pianoman Puritan Board Freshman

    Good question. I've been wondering this same question too. :think:
  4. Douglas P.

    Douglas P. Puritan Board Freshman

    On August 1 a child is born. The child is in union with Christ (regenerate, saved, etc) at birth. On August 30 the infant child is baptized. The infant child is in union with Christ at the time of the baptism, is this a valid Christian Baptism?
  5. toddpedlar

    toddpedlar Iron Dramatist Staff Member

    I'm not sure why you would think this would be answered by a credobaptist in any way differently than the generic "is infant baptism valid?" The credo position not only requires union with Christ but a union that is made apparent by profession. Obviously that is not the case in your scenario.
  6. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    Todd, the only caveat I would add is that "union with Christ" is on basis of faith, with profession being the outward sign of that faith.

    P.S. From the Baptist perspective, of course.

    sent from my most excellent Motorola Atrix.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2011
  7. Douglas P.

    Douglas P. Puritan Board Freshman

    The LBC 1689 is quite unclear as to the chronological outworking of baptism.

    Paragraph 2 says nothing whatsoever that the profession must happen chronologically, or temporally before the baptism can be received. It just says that “those who do actually profess…” “…are the only proper subjects…”.

    If the child, now at the eligible age to “actually profess repentant towards God” does in fact profess faith, are they, and where they, not the proper subject for the ordinance? The child of course, can remember no time when they didn’t actually profess repentance towards God. They fit every requirement necessary according to the confession.

    I must be missing something?
  8. athanatos

    athanatos Puritan Board Freshman

    Doug, is it an assumption in the LBC 1689 that no child can be in union with Christ as an infant? If so, is it unfair to have the confession contort to such positions? For I think that it would be most understandable that if your assumption were admitted, that the confession would say otherwise. But currently the infant would not have the requisite justification (i.e. profession), since the only reason a baptist requires a profession is that it is a credible justification for another to perform it. Forgive me if I am not catching the nuance, if there is one. I would think it a more reasonable question as to whether Scripture has assumptions in place one way or the other, or even early church writers (e.g. the Didache).

    ---------- Post added at 11:17 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:10 AM ----------

    Isn't chronology implied, given that it is speaking of present-tense actions? Those who do profess (not "will profess" or subjunctive "would profess") are the only proper subjects (for us to do it, right now, until their status has changed).
  9. Douglas P.

    Douglas P. Puritan Board Freshman

    I would hope not, because that would mean all who die in infancy would go to hell.

    It must be (being as that is how all baptist seem to read it), but i don't see any temporal preposition modifying "those who actually do profess".
  10. steadfast7

    steadfast7 Puritan Board Junior

    This is an impossible scenario, so how can there be a valid answer? It confuses the knowledge that we have and the knowledge that only God can have. Baptists view baptism as primarily an ordinance that is carried out given the correct prerequisites, that being, a credible profession of faith. The precise time of the professor's regeneration, though it could have been in infancy, is not ascertainable by man, nor does God require it of us. What he requires is faith.
  11. Esther W.

    Esther W. Puritan Board Freshman

    Is there a new argument for or against infant baptism? It seems to me, that believers who continually wish to argue so many of these non salvation doctrines with one another, do so from a seeming arrogance, not because they truly want to know God's teaching... There are literally hundreds of books and commentaries written about infant baptism alone, that can provide ample argument for anyone sincerely wrestling with this issue.

    When I became reformed and wished to become a member of the OPC I had to look into infant baptism. I had about 3 months to do so before we were going to be examined for membership, into what was a home missions work. I had 3 young children who had not been baptized-. I could have taken an exception and still been granted membership, but I believed that God had opened before me the right time to seek out and learn what his word had to say about the children of believers- After much reading and discussion I became convinced that there is a biblical argument in favor of infant baptism.

    I imagine for those who have studied God's word and come out on the opposite side, they too, are convinced that there is a biblical argument that excludes children from baptism.

    So, since both sides have committed themselves to God's word for teaching- why the constant arguing, and at times even sniping at one another? As a casual reader of this board I can only conclude it is from a kind of spiritual arrogance and not a real desire to know God's intention for the household of believers.
  12. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    Esther, you've rightly assessed the motivation of some, but not all. Yes,some folks argue about baptism from a leading agenda. However, there are those who truly desire to contend for the truth. We have to take people one at a time.

    sent from my most excellent Motorola Atrix.
  13. Esther W.

    Esther W. Puritan Board Freshman

    To contend for the truth? The truth is that through faith, in the person and work of Christ, we are saved. If a believer has been convinced in scripture that infant baptism is God's intention does that put his salvation in Christ in danger? Or the opposite, if he does not baptize his children, are their immortal lives in danger? I say no to both. I do understand that if someone sincerely wishes to know, because they heretofore have not had a position-but my contention about a seeming spiritual arrogance was for those who continually seek to argue this doctrine, when both sides are already firmly positioned in their respective camps.
  14. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    Esther, one can contend for the truth without being arrogant. For example, if someone misrepresents the Baptist position on baptism (whether inadvertently or on purpose), that error needs to be corrected. It doesn't have to be corrected in a haughty or argumentative spirit, but it would not be arrogance to correct a wrong. On the other hand, if someone simply wants to display how smart they are, or just likes to debate for the sake of debate, there is no edification in the discussion.

    I'll give you a pertinent example. There was a recent thread on the "means of grace." The subject turned to baptism and the disagreement between Baptists and Presbyterians on whether baptism is a sign and a seal. During the discussion I articulated what I thought was the paedobaptist position but was careful to ask my paedobaptist brethren for correction if I misstated their view. Rich was kind enough to explain the paedobaptist position so that I was able to understand it. His explanation didn't change my conviction, but at least it framed the discussion properly. There was no jumping up and down or arrogance; simply two brothers contending for the truth of a biblical doctrine without seeking to be divisive.

    No one is suggesting any such thing. While water baptism is not directly linked to salvation, it is not an unimportant doctrine. Why? Because Scripture commands that every believer be baptized. Therefore it is a worthwhile topic to discuss. But balance is necessary. It's not the only fish in the pond.
  15. JoannaV

    JoannaV Puritan Board Sophomore

    I would guess that the most likely scenario would be that this infant was sprinkled, in which case the general Baptist position would be that he should probably be immersed. Therefore in most such cases the timing of his salvation would be irrelevant. I have not personally heard of babies being immersed (sounds like it could be dangerous?) so this thought experiment probably has limited application.

    ---------- Post added at 01:32 AM ---------- Previous post was at 01:27 AM ----------

    Esther: I am not aware of this question being addressed before, and it could indeed come up as an issue as a matter of church governance. (Although, to be fair, I suspect in practice the matter would not be thought upon so much and it would just be assumed that the person most likely came to faith after baptism: it is not as if this scenario is something that would be readily attested to.)

    A lot of these "minor" issues are useful to be thought upon as they can clarify our thinking on bigger issues. Many Christians may begin their journey along the Reformed path by thinking upon lesser things.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2011
  16. Reformation Monk

    Reformation Monk Puritan Board Freshman

  17. MLCOPE2

    MLCOPE2 Puritan Board Junior

    The EO Church baptizes their babies by immersion, and three times at that! Check it out:

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