Infant morality

Birth Born Newborn Baby Child Healthy Baby Infant

Christians who don’t believe in baptizing infants generally hold to the notion of “the age of accountability.”  This means that children below a certain age (which varies) do not really sin because they don’t know what they are doing and therefore are not accountable.   After they reach that point, they can understand their sinfulness, repent, and make a “decision” for Christ.

An article in the evangelical publication Christianity Today recounts some fascinating experiments that show that infants do, in fact, have a moral sensibility.

I don’t know that these experiments can address the question of “accountability,” but they do show that infants are not blank slates, to be programmed as we will.  Rather, they are complex human beings with an innate sense of right and wrong.

And thus, we Lutherans say, they are good candidates for baptism.

FURTHER THOUGHT:  These experiments also provide evidence that the Law is “written on the heart” (Romans 2:15), rather than morality simply being a social construction, as is often assumed today.

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Conversion as sacrament

The-dew-638110BreakPoint editor G. Shane Morris, who now believes in infant baptism, explains why most of his fellow evangelicals don’t.  He says that the reason is not so much differences in Biblical interpretation, but rather the tendency to understand a conversion experience in sacramental terms.  Thus the sacrament of conversion replaces the sacrament of baptism as the rite of Christian initiation.  He goes on to discuss the difficulties with that.

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Vipers in Diapers?

An online discussion has been going on about whether Christian parents should view their children as unbelievers.  Principles are emerging such as the way you know your child has faith is to see “fruit they have never produced before.”  After the jump, a Lutheran pastor, Rev. Jordan Cooper, responds.

Read the whole thing, including the comments, which includes someone recalling the term “vipers in diapers.”  Rev. Cooper also includes this anecdote:

I’m reminded of a time in which I saw a woman with her five year old daughter who was in a conversation about her Christian faith. This little girl said to her mom: “I love Jesus,” and the mother replied: “No you don’t. You’re not old enough.”

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Baptists who baptize infants

A Baptist minister has stirred controversy within his tradition by baptizing an infant.  Yet it has become a common practice to baptize children 5 years old, or even younger.  This all seems to be in the context of reconsidering what baptism is, that it is more than just a symbol.  (To be sure, one might think, “well, it’s just a symbol,” so what difference does it make?  But this seems to be something more, which we Lutherans can appreciate.)

After the jump, read the account of the pastor baptizing the baby, then read  a seminary president’s response. [Read more…]