Southern Baptists are concerned that the number of baptisms is way down. (And yet many of their churches are growing. Is it that converts, new members, and the Millennial generation are unwilling today to be baptized?) But one demographic of Baptists is getting baptized in greater and greater numbers: children five and under.
That is not all that different from what we Lutherans practice as infant baptism. Traditionally, Baptists–who require faith as a precondition of baptism, rather than seeing baptism as a means of grace and the faith that receives it– have insisted that infants and young children cannot have faith. I have never understood that. Of course babies and toddlers can have faith. They have faith–which has to do with trust, a sense of dependency, and relationship and is never just intellectual knowledge–in their parents. Why not in their Heavenly Father? So I salute this trend among Baptists! [Read more...]