Why did Calvin/Luther not reject Infant Baptism?

Discussion in 'Credo-Baptism Answers' started by hammondjones, Jul 10, 2012.

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  1. hammondjones

    hammondjones Puritan Board Sophomore

    I’m wondering what the general feeling is among Reformed Baptists as to why, during the early years of the reformation, both the Lutheran and Reformed movements retained infant baptism, while rejecting so much else. I could guess that in the case of Luther, it would be possible to say that his view of all the sacraments was deficient, considering his positions on the Eucharist (and confession). But as far as Calvin goes, what is the general RB explanation as to why he did not abandon infant baptism?
  2. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    As a PB, I could just say about Calvin -- because he thought it was biblical. :) Seriously, he does discuss all this in the Institutes.

    However, you are asking for a RB response; therefore, this has been moved to Credo-Baptist Answers. Only RBs should respond; other responses will be removed.
  3. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    This is a CB only forum. Please follow rules.
  4. rbcbob

    rbcbob Puritan Board Graduate

    Brandon, I generally dread the many Paedo-Credo threads inasmuch as they often generate such passions and heat. But your question is a fair one and as a Reformed Baptist I will offer an answer. This is not at all intended or expected to be satisfying to my Paedobaptist brethern; it is merely an attempt to give an honest answer to a specific question.

    An early struggle among the Reformers on the Continent was how to understand the identity of the Church. These Reformers (monks, priests, and scholars) separated from Rome over Soteriology but initially did not attempt to reform Ecclesiology. Therefore infants were baptized and brought into the church as before. A non-negotiable line of demarcation and departure from Rome over Soteriology separated Luther, Melanchthon, Zwingli and Calvin. Personal salvation was individually received via repentance and faith.

    But how to understand the composition and identity of those congregations now under their care was problematic. Luther, in private letters, revealed that in the earliest years of the Reformation he longed for a congregation whose members (distinct from those not yet converted but who attended services) were true believers only. He even mused that as an interim or stop-gap measure he could call the true believers apart for prayer at least.

    The struggle to find a solution was shared by others in leadership roles of the Reformation. It was commonly held that the Church (not Rome) was a two-dimensional entity. There was a church-within-a-church; a corpus permixtum which included both believers and unbelievers. Melanchthon later differed from this model.

    The Baptists (not to be confused with the Continental Anabaptists), as they were formed in England during the 1640’s, gave themselves to intense study as they sought to work out what they believed to be a more biblical ecclesiology.

    This labor eventually resulted in the 1689 London Baptist Confession of faith. The 1689 LBCF took as its template the Savoy Declaration and the Westminster Confession. The most conspicuous departures from these two excellent documents is in the defining of the Church.
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