Baptism: Infant vs. Child Baptism among Baptists

Baptism: Infant vs. Child Baptism among Baptists May 8, 2015

Jason K. Allen:

Associated Baptist Press recently reported that Rodney Kennedy, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dayton, Ohio, sprinkled an infant. The event was newsworthy because, by definition, a Baptist church does not baptize infants. To practice the latter is to forfeit being the former. Or at least it used to.

The article read as a congratulatory piece, as though it was one small step for a church, but one giant leap forward for Baptists everywhere—no doubt a leap away from draconian biblical and confessional markers of Baptist identity.

But one need not look to a CBF Baptist church to find believer’s baptism being renegotiated. At least a few conservative Baptist churches have adopted—or have flirted with adopting—some form of dual baptism.

While I have been blessed by the writings of many who practice pedobaptism, as one who is wholeheartedly Baptist, sprinkling infants—especially in erstwhile Baptist congregations—concerns me.

Closer to Home

What concerns me most, however, is not the rare “Baptist” church that occasionally sprinkles an infant; it is what’s increasingly passing as credo-baptism, or believer’s baptism, these days. Within Southern Baptist life, we have been on a steady march towards infant baptism, routinely baptizing children younger and younger in age.

As the Southern Baptist Task Force on Baptism reported, Southern Baptists continue to baptize a remarkably large number of young children, including those age five and under. This trend should prompt careful reflection, and should remind us of some of the potential dangers associated with baptizing young children.

As a convictional Baptist, it is hard for me to admit this, but when we baptize children too young to grasp the gospel and, as a result, whose hearts haven’t been affected by it, it is more troubling than a sprinkling an infant.

Why is this? Because when Presbyterians, for example, sprinkle infants, they anticipate the child will one day be converted. When we baptize young children we are testifying they have been converted.

– See more at: http://jasonkallen.com/2015/05/sprinkling-infants-baptizing-children-recovering-regenerate-church-membership/#sthash.Po4FCMNr.MarlHBYi.dpuf

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