Blonde moment

And the silver spoon.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

On Baptism 2…

I am a Lutheran, though not of Lutheran roots. In other words, my parents raised me in a pietist/revivalist denomination, the Evangelical Free Church of America. The EFCA reflects a lot of what I think is wrong with Evangelicalism today, but my actual arguments against Evangelicalism these days have little to do with my upbringing. Rather, the EFCA reflects most of what I find wrong with Evangelicalism.

So, Anonymous’s arguments regarding the age of accountability and baptism reflect my upbringing, and the strong opinions of my extended family. The heart of Anonymous’s argument is this: what do you tell the parents of a child who died before they could understand sin and repent of it?

Anonymous would say, “Well, your child hasn’t reached the age of accountability so of course they are in Heaven.” This statement ignores two things: one, “I was a sinner from infancy, even from my mother’s womb;” two, “The wages of sin is death.”

My unborn child is a sinner, deserving of eternal damnation in Hell, just as I am a sinner, deserving eternal damnation in Hell. I repeat. My unborn child, with no experience of sexual immorality, disobedience, good, evil, God, Satan, obedience, lying, stealing, deserves eternal damnation as my child is a sinner.

Now, should my child die in my womb or as an infant before baptism can be administered and repentance can be taught, what do I cling to? I cling to the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus, the realization that Christ died for sins once for ALL, and that somehow, God will work His Grace.

Further into the argument that children are not responsible for their sins until they reach the age of accountability is the discipline of loving parents. If a child lies or disobeys his parents or steals gum from the corner store, is it not the parents duty to punish their children? And if so, what right do parents have to punish their children if God would not punish a child?

You see, infant baptism is necessary. First, it provides the true picture of the condition of all of our souls, incapable of doing anything to earn God’s favor or our salvation. Second, it provides a picture of God’s love, such love that forgives sins, even the sins of a person who is completely incapable of verbalizing their repentance, even a sinner who is incapable of doing any good work. Third, it is the means by which God delivers His grace for the forgiveness of Sins.

I also have a problem with this, “Outward expression of an inward condition,” or as we used to say, “Something that we do when we really want to get serious about Jesus.” First, there is an error in Baptism being an act of man. Josh and I will not Baptize Baby, rather Pastor performs the rite and God acts through the rite. The statement sounds like Baptism is a choice or an act of free will. I do not know a single person who reads the Bible literally that cannot say with intellectual honesty, “Baptism is not necessary.”

Furthermore, we are either Christians or we are not. We do not spend our pre-baptism days trying Jesus on for size and if we like him then we get serious about him. No, that is false teaching indeed. You are either a called follower of Jesus or you are not. There is no “I’m not really serious about faith.”

Finally, the above statement leads to self-righteousness. “I was baptized therefore I am a serious follower of Jesus.” You see we cannot look to our good works to measure our sanctification or our level of commitment, because even in our best moments, sinful motivation is part of the picture.

Infant baptism, I believe, teach, and confess, is necessary, not just for my infant, but to teach me what true faith and true grace and true forgiveness really is.

For a round table discussion on the Lutheran teachings on Baptism, visit Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions , Rev. Paul McCain of the Cyberbrethren, and listen to a March 2005 roundtable on Issues Etc .


  • At 9:24 PM , Blogger The Big Stink said...

    Don't confuse man's interpretation of Scripture with God's commands. We are called to His presence through the Spirit, not the letter of the law. That's what Jesus' ministry was all about.

    It is through Grace which we enter. It is not through deeds. The planet is littered with churches who have interpreted the Bible as a roadmap for social justice. It's not. It is a manual for insight and a grasp of the Spirit by which we can grasp that salvation is a gift and not something one earns. If it is a gift for adults, why is it not a gift for small children or "diminished" people who would have no conscious grasp of a Spirit.

  • At 4:06 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Most people I know who were baptised as babies believe that they have their ticket to heaven. Thats the real danger........


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