Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Baptism and the Lord's Supper: What's in Symbol? Part 2 1/2

The ever capable Centuri0n left a comment that I want to deal with for moment. He wrote this:

I also think you mis-characterize the (viable) paedo position about baptism here, btw. They do not administer baptism to infants for the sake of what might happen: they administer the sacrament on the basis of God's promise to the children of believers.

I may be true that I was unfair to some in the paedo baptist camp, and that is not what I am going for here. I want to criticize, and hopefully demolish, your position, but I want to do it with the true position that you hold. Or else I want to be persuaded and join your church.

Let me examine the most important line of the Centuri0n's statement:

they administer the sacrament on the basis of God's promise to the children of believers.

Okay, what promise is it that they are hoping for? Did God promise that the children of believers would be saved? Is that why they baptize them? Does paedo-baptism help to accomplish this? Certainly the 'viable' position would not argue that He promised to regenerate them at baptism. So what are they hoping for?

Once that question is answered, I want to know what this makes baptism a symbol of. Is it a symbol of the parents' faith or the baptized baby's faith? Is it a symbol of promise hoped for or a promise fulfilled? (By that, I mean salvation.) Does it symbolize dying with Christ, being buried with Christ, and being resurrected with Christ, or does it symbolize preparation for that event?

Here is the heart of the matter: What is paedo-baptism symbolizing or doing? If it is administered on the basis of a promise that will (may?) come true, then they are doing something different in baptism than I am when I baptize. I hope that some of you out there will give some input to keep this discussion going.

8 comments:

pilgrim said...

For starters-

Acts 2:38-40 (English Standard Version)

38And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself." 40And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, "Save yourselves from this crooked generation."

Sojourner said...

Pilgrim,

So we should baptize "all who are far off"? Why are we excluding them? Who are the "far off" folks? Are they people who will believe, or should we just walk the far off folks under a baptizing machine?

Further, how does 39 tie in to 38 baptismally, and what do you think that Peter is saying is promised to the children?

ColinM said...

Pilgrim: Should our evangelism strategy change? The opening line should be, "will you let me baptize you?"

Gummby said...

Cool, man! You're asking another question I'd like to see the answer to.

pappy said...

Pilgrim,

You say for starters. Are there any other verses that you find to support your arguement?

brother terry said...

Everyone who has ever tried to defend paedo-baptism to me has done so along the lines of the church community entering into a covenant to raise the child in the fear and admonition of the Lord.

I like that concept, but why through baptism? Couldn't people just have a "Covenant Potluck" and be done with it?

To me a danger is that a misconception can arise from this kind of act that makes the person think they are saved because they are baptised, or that they have to be baptised to be saved.

Couple that with a dubious scriptural basis, and I say: Why take the chance just to make people feel better?

peace,

pilgrim said...

well sojourner did ask-"Okay, what promise is it that they are hoping for?

So the passage from Acts answers that.

"Did God promise that the children of believers would be saved? Is that why they baptize them? Does paedo-baptism help to accomplish this?"
Uh, let's see--no, no & no.
Some misunderstanding I believe.

Then-
ColinM said...
Pilgrim: Should our evangelism strategy change? The opening line should be, "will you let me baptize you?"


I'm sorry, but I fail to see your point. I don't get it...

ColinM said...

The passage states that the promise is for "you, your children, and all who are far off." If you baptize your children based on this promise, which is what Sojourner was asking, why not also baptize all who are far off? Why exclude them? Without a valid distinction between baptizing an unbelieving child and an unbeliever "far off," there is no basis to exclude anyone.

The question is still posed, what do you think the promise refers to in this passage? And, like asked above, how does this relate to baptism?