Baptist Pastor in Ohio Baptises Infant

infant baptism

Unlike Catholics and Orthodox, or Anglicans for that matter, usually Baptists baptise adults, or at least teenagers. It is, for most of them, a mere external sign, kind of a a semiotic devise pointing to the much more important spiritual reality of conversion and new birth.

Because of this conviction, for Baptists, the proper ordo salutis is first new birth, then baptism. That is why most baptists re-baptise as adults people who have been baptised as infants, even if this was done in the name of the Holy Trinity. At the same time, it is true that many Orthodox priests, for instance, re-baptise Baptists and other evangelicals, if they convert to Orthodoxy, although, according to the principles established from Patristic times, baptism performed in the name of the Trinity should be considered as perfectly valid. But, of course, that is not sufficient enough for fundamentalists.

Being a former Baptist, turned Anglican, I am fully comfortable with the covenantal, and sacramental, theology of infant baptism, although I am aware of its limitations, which made, for instance, one of the greatest theologians of the 2oth century, Karl Barth, to prefer adult baptism, in spite of him being a member of the Reformed Church, which practices paedobaptism. At the same time, adult baptism has its own problems, both theologically and practically. No form, however perfect that might be, is safe when touched by human hands.

For many theological and hermeneutic reasons, and in spite of the strong convictions of Baptists, and others, the issue of the proper age for baptism cannot be decided by quoting Bible verses. Nor could such quotations decide the proper form of baptism: by immersion –  a simbol of death to sin, and rebirth for new life in God (strongly advocated by many evangelicals and by the Orthodox), by pouring – symbol of the coming of the Spirit over the disciples at Pentecost, or by sprinkling – symbol of the later rain of the same Spirit over believers.

The Bible simply does not prescribe explicitly a certain age or form of baptism. There are biblical differences even concerning the liturgical formula used for baptism: ‘in the name of Jesus’ (the earlier practice) or ‘in the name of the Trinity’ (as the established later formula in virtually all fully Christian traditions).

These may have been the reasons why, in spite of his own established denominational practice,  a Baptist pastor in Ohio decided to respond positively to the request of a family to baptise their infant.

You may read below this unusual story, as reported by Jeff Brumley for Baptist News Global. Continue reading “Baptist Pastor in Ohio Baptises Infant”

Archbishop Justin Welby on Prince George’s Christening

See more about this event on Archbishop Welby’s website.

Common Agreement on Mutual Recognition of Baptism

In a monumental occasion for ecumenical relations, the U.S. Roman Catholic church and a group of Protestant denominations plan to sign a document on Tuesday evening to formally agree to recognize each other’s baptisms.

Catholic leaders will join representatives from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Christian Reformed Church in North America, Reformed Church in America and United Church of Christ at the ceremony in Austin, Texas, to sign the agreement, which is called the “Common Agreement on Mutual Recognition of Baptism.” The event coincides with the national meeting of Christian Churches Together in the U.S.A.

Currently, the Protestant churches recognize Roman Catholic baptisms, but the Catholic church does not always recognize theirs. The mutual agreement on baptisms, a key sacrament in the churches, has been discussed between denominational leadership for seven years and hinges in part on invoking trinity of the “Father, Son and Holy Spirit” during the baptism.

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Read the whole of this news item on Huffington Post. Religion

A Consensus of Diverity: Proposing A Biblically Faithful and Historically Informed View for Anglican Baptism | Musings of a Hardlining Moderate

A Consensus of Diverity: Proposing A Biblically Faithful and Historically Informed View for Anglican Baptism | Musings of a Hardlining Moderate.

Here is a very well written article concerning the Anglican view on baptism, from Carson Clark, who is, like me, a concert from Evangelicalism, but, unlike me, considers that, in principle, credobaptism is preferable to paedobaptism.

Those Silly Credobaptists & Paedobaptists: They’re Spitting Images of One Another! « Musings of a Hardlining Moderate

Those Silly Credobaptists & Paedobaptists: They’re Spitting Images of One Another! « Musings of a Hardlining Moderate.

Carson gives us a new reason for good reflection on things to which we often give more importance than they deserve.

The Modern Debate about Infant Baptism – An Anglican Perspective

William G. Witt published some time ago on his blog a very informative in-depth discussion of the modern debates around the sacrament of baptist, infant or otherwise. The text in PDF form can be downloaded HERE.

Witt argues that there are at least five factors that contribute to the legitimacy  of reopening the discussion on the meaning of the sacrament of Baptism:

1. The position of the modern church over against a post-Constantinian culture

2. The collapse of the Augustinian doctrine of “original guilt” Continue reading “The Modern Debate about Infant Baptism – An Anglican Perspective”

N.T. Wright – Space, Time, and Sacraments

Continue reading “N.T. Wright – Space, Time, and Sacraments”

What happens when Baptists cannot agree about baptism

The website of the Associated Baptist Press published recently a very consistent article on the present debates about baptism within Baptist communities. The text also provides a number of links to other relevant articles on the same topic. Here is just a short quote.

Continue reading “What happens when Baptists cannot agree about baptism”