Is Infant Baptism a required belief/practice?

Discussion in 'Sacraments, Sacred Rites, and Holy Orders' started by Religious Fanatic, Nov 28, 2017.

  1. JoeLaughon

    JoeLaughon Well-Known Member Anglican

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  2. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    The Depositary of Faith consists of both scripture and tradition. Baptism is a sacrament administered in infancy so that everyone can avail of its God given grace at the earliest opportunity
     
  3. Religious Fanatic

    Religious Fanatic Well-Known Member

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    I never left Anglicanism because I was never Anglican to begin with, but I do sympathize for Anglicans who I believe are indeed fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord. Mind you, I can agree with the majority of Anglican doctrine as outlined in the BCP and its Articles, it's just that I have my share of doubts as well.
     
  4. Khater

    Khater Member

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    It ought to be. It was more or less unanimously believed in the Early Church
     
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  5. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    And this, ironically, is implied by the fact that it is not mentioned specifically in the New Testament. On the day of Pentecost 3000 were baptized. Probably many of those 'souls', were children and infants. It is extremely unlikely that any Jewish parent would accept baptism knowing their infants and children to be excluded from the promises attending this new right and new covenant, (as Baptists appear to believe). Those promises are made clear in Peter's speech. Acts.2:37-41.

    It is also implied tacitly, in the total lack of any Apostolic prohibition against it, anywhere in any place, in the whole of the New Testament.

    For sure most baptisms we have record of in the NT are of adults, but that is not surprising. Most of those, household or individual, recorded baptisms, are also of Gentiles who entered the church as adult proselytes and therefore needed to hear the gospel, understand and confess the faith. Later in the life of the church, those same baptized Gentile believers would have expected the same covenant relationship with them and their offspring, offered to believing Jews, who God had promised under the terms sworn to Abraham, that their children would be entitled to the same promise of salvation and all the benefits of the covenant, until such time as they took responsibility for their own 'walk with God'.

    There is also the fact that there is not a single recorded instance, in NT scripture, of the adult children of a believer being baptized.

    But the doctrine of infant baptism is not resting on NT evidence, though the NT supports it in the ways I have mentioned, plus one or two others. The doctrine is based upon an overview of Old and New Testament Biblical Covenant Theology, and a profound belief that God is entirely responsible for the salvation of mankind, both corporately and individually. Our salvation is entirely of God. Whatever age we might think we get it. 2 Cor.5:18.
     
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  6. Fidei Defensor

    Fidei Defensor Active Member

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    From my studies, infans baptismus was instituted in the Medieval Church due to low infant mortality rates. Plague, famine, disease, and more often claimed the lives of babes.
     
  7. Magistos

    Magistos Active Member Anglican

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  8. JoeLaughon

    JoeLaughon Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The practice starts much earlier than the medieval church. As early as the 2nd century, there is archaeological evidence of infant baptism.
     
  9. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Infant baptism was started in the Old Testament, when the infants were circumcised, and carried into the New Testament where the entire household was baptized when the husband converted
     
  10. Fidei Defensor

    Fidei Defensor Active Member

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    Fascinating, do you have any literature on 2nd Century Infans Baptismus?
     
  11. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Scholars disagree on the date when infant baptism was first practiced. Some believe that 1st-century Christians did not practice it, noting the lack of any explicit evidence of paedobaptism.[6] Others, noting the lack of any explicit evidence of exclusion of paedobaptism, believe that they did,[7] understanding biblical references to individuals "and [her] household" being baptised (Acts 16:15, Acts 16:31–33, 1 Corinthians 1:16) as well as "the promise to you and your children" (Acts 2:39) as including young children.[citation needed]

    The earliest extra-biblical directions for baptism,[8] which occur in the Didache (c. 100),[9] are taken to be about baptism of adults, since they require fasting by the person to be baptised.[10] However, inscriptions dating back to the 2nd century which refer to young children as "children of God" may indicate that Christians customarily baptised infants too.[11] The earliest reference to infant baptism was by Irenaeus (c. 130–202) in his work Against Heresies.[12] Due to its reference to Eleutherus as the current bishop of Rome, the work is usually dated c. 180.[13] Irenaeus speaks of children being "born again to God."[14][15] This reference has been described as "obscure."[12] Three passages by Origen (185–c. 254)[16] mention infant baptism as traditional and customary.[17] While Tertullian writing c. 198–203 advises the postponement of baptism of little children and the unmarried, he mentions that it was customary to baptise infants, with sponsors speaking on their behalf.[18] The Apostolic Tradition, sometimes attributed to Hippolytus of Rome (died 235), describes how to perform the ceremony of baptism; it states that children were baptised first, and if any of them could not answer for themselves, their parents or someone else from their family was to answer for them.[19]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infant_baptism
     
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  12. Fidei Defensor

    Fidei Defensor Active Member

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    Does paedobaptism [Infas Baptismus] get its importance from Jesus’ words? “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” (Matthew 28:19)?

    There is Mark account: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16;16). However, the stress is on believe like in Gospel of John, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. ” (John 3:14-18).

    There is evidence of the importance of Baptism especially in Acts:

    “While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples
    2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
    3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied.
    4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.”
    5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
    6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
    7 There were about twelve men in all.
    ” (Acts 19:1-7)
     
  13. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Simply, no! Matthew 28:19 refers to the baptism of adults and is aimed at ensuring that all Nations are included in the universal benefits of God's Grace. When considered in conjunction with Matthew 28:20, it precludes the possibility of any baptism being permitted for a cognisant adult proselyte, in total ignorance of Christ's teaching. Instruction in the faith must precede baptism for adult converts to Christianity.

    Infant baptism is not administered on any assumption of understanding on the infant's behalf. It is administered on the understanding that the parent of the infant has understanding of the teachings of Christ and is committed to obeying and following them. Hence the questions of parents and godparents before baptism of the infant is administered.

    Based upon the sworn promise of God to Abraham and the Apostolic statement that 'the infants of believers are "Holy"', infants are baptised on the understanding that they will be 'brought up in the fear and nurture of The Lord', and, being already members of the visible church on earth, will, in due course respond to the call of God upon their lives, as they learn about Christ's teaching, authority and ownership of them, under the terms of The New Covenant.

    Infant baptism is the New Testament equivalent of infant circumcision and is administered on the same basis, i.e. that they are already covenant covered and covenant bound to God because their parents have been 'bought with a price' and they are part of what God now 'owns', paid for in blood. They are obliged to respond to God's requirement of them, at some time in their life, to be "Circumcised of Heart'", and thereby become fit and proper vessels of God's Holy Spirit, to be 'entrusted with the message of reconciliation', and 'bear much fruit' to the glory of God and their Savior Jesus Christ.

    The children of unbelievers are not 'Holy', according to scripture, they are 'unclean' and only have the option to enter a covenant relationship with God at some time in their life, by hearing and responding to The Gospel in faith and repentance.

    The children of believers are already 'Holy', already in a covenant relationship at birth. They only have the choice of 'remaining in Christ' or 'being cast away from the true vine' by rejecting Christ's Lordship over their lives, and refusing to be 'circumcised of heart'. This they will find most difficult, because Jesus does not lightly let go of His sheep. John 17:12. John 10:4-5, John 10:27

    Baptism confers nothing on a believer's infant that has not already taken place by birth. It merely publicly pronounces their status as 'Holy' and therefore members of Christ's Church, 'Children of God'. It symbolically emphasises the 'Blessings' already conferred upon them by God by virtue of their parentage. They still however have to fulfil their obligation to seek God and do God's will, which means learning to obey Christ. Matt.28:20, John 15:4-5.
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    Last edited: Mar 23, 2019
  14. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    In contrast to this, the anglican doctrine teaches,



    Screen Shot 2019-03-23 at 1.23.59 PM.png
     
  15. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I was raised RC (25+ years), then I became Protestant (30 years) before angling toward Anglicanism ;) last fall. As such I have a certain mindset about baptism.

    The RCC teaches that the baby cannot be in right relationship with God due to the stain of the Original Sin (of Adam and Eve in the Garden), and were the child to die he/she could not go to heaven. Baptism in the RCC confers actual grace for salvation and turns the baby from a by-default sinful creature into an innocent, sinless one. In this context it made perfect sense to get the baby baptized as quickly as possible.

    Anglicanism sprang out of Roman Catholicism and takes the stance that the Anglican Church has kept what's right but gotten rid of the errors. I am not sure if the early CoE went quite far enough in cleaning up the baptism doctine, though. Simply put, the problem I see with infant baptism is that it contributes to a 'false sense of security' among many (not all) who've grown up in the church (this applies to the RCC as well), in that they can easily fall into the trap of thinking, "I'm a baptized member of the Church, I'm obedient to the Church and in good standing with the Church, and I'm a nice person who does good things, therefore I'm all right with God." In the minds of such people, baptism takes the place of genuine conversion. This is my primary objection to paedobaptism. (And since the CoE was all about distancing itself from RC errors, one of which was RC doctrine of Original Sin's removal and saving grace reception at the infant's baptism, I wish the CoE had created a little more distance from this doctrine by advising against infant baptism.)

    I understand the argument that circumcision and baptism have similarities. Circumcision was performed upon infants, showing by outward sign that they were members of the covenant family Israel, and if they were obedient to the Law they could reap the benefits of the covenant (but if disobedient they were under a curse). Circumcision of the heart was still necessary once the Israelite became old enough to decide for himself (the person had to decide to walk in obedience to God and acknowledge Him and give Him glory). Also, no circumcision meant they were not included in the covenant.

    On the other side of the coin, baptism shows by outward sign that, as we go into the water, we are buried with Christ in baptism. And as we come out of the water, this symbolizes that we are raised together with Him into new life. (Col. 2:12-13). But note the preceding verse 11!
    Col 2:11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
    Col 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
    Col 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

    Verse 11 speaks of the person having a circumcision of the heart (the one "made without hands") which we know is by repentance from sin and acceptance of Christ. It is placed prior to verse 12 regarding baptism. This implies that the correct sequence is for the person to have his heart circumcised by faith first, then to be baptized. Moreover, unlike circumcision, lack of baptism is not an absolute block to eternal life (consider the thief on the cross, and those who live in faraway lands without benefit of full doctrinal teaching).

    1Peter 3:21 says, ...baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: A person who has a "good conscience toward God" is one who can say something to this effect: "My sins have been forgiven and I am made righteous and justified before God by His grace through faith in Jesus my Redeemer." Because a baby cannot have the requisite awareness to form the answer of a good conscience toward God, it could be argued that babies are not ready to receive the benefit of the intended significance of baptism.

    I should make clear that these are my personal feelings on the matter, and I am not trying to be dogmatic or to oppose the existing application of doctrine.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2019
  16. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    On the contrary. The rite only 'outwardly' signifies and symbolises the inward and spiritual grace. This happens as a result of being born of a believing parent, being born 'Holy', being born a 'Child of God', being born into The Visible Church. Regeneration cannot be assumed until Confirmation and even possibly beyond that. To state that regeneration is conferred by baptism of any sort, infant or adult, is to go beyond what scripture states on the matter. 'Circumcision of the heart' is a matter between God and the believer. No humanly performed ceremony can confer it.
    .
     
  17. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Baptism for infants is no longer mandatory, as it was when circumcision was the sign and seal of the Old Covenant. The New Covenant is a better covenant in all respects. The sign and seal is no longer bloody, (Christ's blood suffices), it is no longer for males alone but open to male, female, gentile or Jew, all Nations. It still signifies the obedience of parents to God's Covenant with both themselves and their infants, which belong to God, along with all else that they possess, having been 'bought with a price', namely the blood of Christ. The main obligation under The New Covenant is to believe God's Promises to Christ's Church, i.e. have faith in Jesus Christ. The sequence in adults must always be hearing and responding to The Gospel, followed by baptism. Baptism in the New Testament is more often spoken of as symbolising 'cleansing' than as symbolising death and resurrection. It symbolises both and neither are exclusively the spiritual meaning conveyed in the act of baptism. The sequence in children is of necessity different. The child has to grow and learn that they are covenant covered, privileged and obliged to serve Christ as Lord and Saviour, if they are to continue in relationship with Him. and to deliberately depart from that relationship will involve for them severe detriment to their spiritual well being.

    Assuming the intended significance of baptism is death and resurrection to a regenerate life. But in fact it can be both symbolic of that and also of spiritual cleansing and being set apart in 'Holiness'. In the case of infants that is the primary symbolism and much later on in the life will God lead the 'Child of God' to the deeper understanding of Himself in 'Circumcision of the Heart' and 'Baptism in The Holy Spirit'. This is not an experience which can be 'administered' by any other than The Holy Spirit in Person.
     
  18. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    That’s just your opinion

    I’m sorry that you are in error

    My recommendation would be to repent
     
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  19. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Since my last post I've read the Baptism section (28) in the Westminster Confession. I learned from a footnote that one of the supporting scriptures on this subject is 1Cor 7:14 -- For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. Interesting. I'd never made that connection before.

    It also says, "Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible church, but also to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God through Jesus Christ, to walk in the newness of life..." It strikes me that it isn't saying baptism is (or provides) regeneration and remission of sins, rather it says baptism is a sign and seal of the same. I think this is a significant distinction. And it has occurred to me that babies and very young children do not yet have any sense of right/wrong and are in effect innocent, and if they were to die they would go to heaven, so quite plainly their sins are remitted. Thus, baptism functions as a sign that they are clean in God's sight and that they are a part of the visible church family.

    I'm "feeling my way" through this, somewhat.

    So, is the Westminster Confession a correct expression of Anglican doctrine? Or should I be looking at something else? (If the latter, someone please provide a link or something.)
     
  20. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Somewhat tangentially, let me comment that I have been present at exactly one baptism ceremony in my ACNA Anglican Church, wherein a 13-year-old was baptized. The rector (who is an archdeacon btw) dipped his finger in the water and made the sign of the cross on the girl's forehead while saying the words. I was floored! To me this seemed like even less than a sprinkling. Coming out of churches that insisted upon immersion, my impression of this method of baptism was not entirely favorable. Is this common practice now in Anglicanism?