Tuesday, July 15, 2008

To Baptize or not baptize babies?

"Pastor, the church is basically the same, they just wait longer to baptize, like 12 or 13."

I never thought that I would hear this from someone who grew up Lutheran and was catechized relatively well! However, growing up during this "emergent" culture, I understand more of what the Lutheran reformers were dealing with when the Augsburg Confession (The first full Lutheran document written by Philip Melancthon) was written in the 16th century. Here is the 4th article concerning Baptism.

Concerning Baptism, our churches teach that Baptism is necessary for salvation and that God's grace is offered through Baptism. They teach that children are to be baptized. Being offered to God, through Baptism they are received into God's grace. Our churches condemn the Anabaptists, who reject the Baptism of children, and say that children are saved without Baptism.
(Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, AC Article IX.)

Why Baptize babies? Simply put, they are terrible sinners like you and me (Psalm 51). Actually, for anyone to confess Jesus as Lord (1 minute old or 99) they must have the Holy Spirit. And when one is baptized as a child it is just as much of a miracle as a 13 year old. Figure it this way, here is a little baby who doesn't do anything but mess their diapers, cry, and keep you up at night, but through Baptism and the power of the Holy Spirit this child can have faith? How UNAMERICAN!

If one goes to a church that "waits" to baptize individuals, simply put, there are major differences in the churches that go beyond the simple act of Baptism. It is a difference on believing on how faith comes. If you baptize infants, you truly believe that faith comes by God through the Word (Romans 10:17). If you wait, then you believe that we have something to do with belief.

My suggestion, stay at a church that baptizes infants. If the church doesn't, they are good Americans (I do it all by myself), but they have major differences with what Scripture tells us. If you have any questions on this, drop me a comment!

Chief of Sinners though I be, Jesus Shed His Blood for me


josh said...

Pastor Finnern,

Excellent blog! Thanks for inviting me to into your readership. I think you hit the nail on the head with this post. Churches that don't allow infant baptism are pelagian in one way or another. They don't fully buy into what paul says about faith itself being a gift from God. All this serves to disembowel "grace alone" by injecting some form or human will into the picture. You could explore in more detail how baptism grows out of Article II of the Augustana. Great blog so far. Keep up the good thought.

Aaron Koch said...

Isn't a difference between infant and adult baptism? I know they both use water and word, but it seems they are apples and oranges. When I was teaching in Washington I had two students get baptized while they were in sixth and seventh grade. I went to the baptism and heard their witness of faith. It was not the same thing as what happened last December with my son Sam.
I'm not questioning the way the Holy Spirit moves or that He did not move in these two girls, but I believe they had already recieved this gift. What they did was more a public statement of faith that the Holy Spirit had already given to them.
It saddens me that many youth and youth people who are baptized by thier choice are alot more active in thier faith, at least outwardly. I wish there was a way for good infant baptized Christians to make their statement of faith. Not because they need to, or because it will make them "better" with God. But because the Holy Spirit has crated a faith of Salvation through Christ and now they want to share it.