Baptise those Babies!

Craig Schwarze

...and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. (Acts 16:33)

Sometimes I feel like more of an Anglican than the men in white robes (Anglican presbyters I mean, not the KKK). On more than one occasion I’ve heard ordained Anglicans murmer that believers baptism is more biblical than infant baptism, and I’ve even seen some Anglican churches “dedicating” rather than baptising infants.

The baptism debate - troubled waters within Christianity. Plenty of ink has already been spilled over the exegetical arguments, so I don’t plan to revisit those. Instead, I want to draw your attention to a couple of the theological implications of infant baptism, implications which are very practical.

First, infant baptism says that salvation is about what God has done, rather than what we have done. For those who insist on adult baptism, the key element seems to be the free will “decision” one has made to follow God. By contrast, infant baptism testifies clearly to God’s sovereign work in salvation and regeneration, and His faithfulness to His promises.

Second, infant baptism testifies that our children are real, genuine members of God’s kingdom. They are not little pagans that need converting - rather, we can bring them up as Christians, and safely presume that they are saved until (God forbid) they give clear evidence otherwise. Such a doctrine is enormously practical, and can give a great deal of comfort to anxious parents.

I really don’t believe that Anglican leaders have any liberty in this area, as infant baptism is plainly taught in Article 27. Beyond that, I happen to think the practice is perfectly scriptural.

I hope the trend towards “dedications” stops, and I hope that younger clergy will grasp and apply this important doctrine with conviction. Baptise those babies!