Originally Posted by Vizion
***I just had this discussion with a friend who doesn't believe infant baptism counts as real baptism. In a nutshell this is what I said. Please help me figure out if I'm on or off base here*** NateR, ChrisF, anyone else this please weigh in ...
There's no explicit command to withhold baptism from infants anywhere in the Bible, and I look to what baptism is doing. It is - I guess to use some sort of stative tense of the verb "doing" creating a covenant between man and God. Now, waaaay back when Abraham was around God ordered him to circumcise 8 day old baby boys. Why? As a ratification of this covenant.
God used Abraham's own hand to bring these boys into his covenant the same way he uses our own mother/father to bring us into the covenant. That is not to say we are saved, bc it doesn't guarantee salvation at all, it only flags us as a "sign" to God that we are in his covenant - brought forth by faithful parents who elected to obey his command to honor that same covenant themselves. In summary - interpretive prudence shows no explicit command to or not to baptize babies, so therefore we must look for precedence in the previous covenant. If we interpret baptism (infant or adult "believer baptism") as a "sign" then we must seek continuity between the old and new covenant signs ... but there exist none so we must defer then to the old as a biblical basis for it. I hope this makes sense, I'm not as sharp as normal at 2am.
If baptism is only for the elected then Paul would not have baptized entire households when only one member was a believer - I seem to recall that being done. Adult baptism is valid, but so is infant as far as my hermeneutical understading goes ... I also see children as innocent before God. In their innocence they lack faith, but only because they do not understand it.
In any event Satan has used doctrinal issues to divide the church for centuries ... sadly, we allow that to happen, but at the same time we have to stand up for the Truth and if that costs us a church then so be it, but Christians must stay united on the salvational issues always.
I agree with your statement! However, it has always been my understanding that baptism is a believers outward expression to the world of their inward spiritual rebirth. So I'm not sure a parent can make that expression for his/her infant. I'm no Theologian or Pastor, though. To be honest, I have never really thought much about the subject. I can only speak from my experience. My mom and dad had me "so-called" baptized when I was an infant in the Presbyterian Church. My mom explained to me that the Presbyterian Church called it baptism, but viewed it more like a dedication.
The ironic thing is though, I ended up living like the devil the first 22 years of my life. The Lord saved me when I was 23. I then took the next step in obedience and was baptized. At the time,which I still believe to be true..............I was told that baptism is my outward expression of my spiritual union with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. So I guess my question would be if an infant cannot comprehend such things, what is the point of infant baptism?