As my wife and I get ready to meet and baptize our soon coming little boy, these are some of the thoughts rolling around in my head. We are pedobaptist. We baptize our children as infants, welcoming them into the covenant. I do this because I believe Biblically they are to be counted as members of the body of Christ with us their parents, members of the covenant community of faith. I believe I am to disciple them according to the standard that has always applied to God’s people, because they are. I teach my children to pray like Christians. I teach them that because of what Christ has done for them, because of the regenerative work of the Holy Spirit, they are going to glorify and enjoy Jesus forever. That their only hope in life and in death is that they belong to God. And I teach them that they, along with their infant sibling and elderly great-grandparents, really do. Now plenty of Christians disagree with this stance but I would love to help change that.
Why is it that if my infant child were to die, every credobaptist I know would believe they went to Christ in Heaven, the same way every one of us gets to Heaven, regenerated by grace through faith? And yet when my infant child is baptized, all of those credobaptist refuse to believe he is joined to Christ? At best they look squinty eyed at the child and say, “We can’t know if they are saved.” Does the Bible imply that we should look at physical death as a more sure indicator of the state of a man’s soul over and above baptism which is itself a kind of death (Romans 6)?
Is it just me, or does it seem funny (and a little scary) when credobaptists say little children must become more like us adults (i.e. understanding and articulation of faith) to enter into the kingdom, when Jesus said the adults must become more like the little children?
I don’t pretend to possess God’s secret knowledge of who the elect are. And yet, with absolute confidence I would bet my life that my wife was a Christian, and my pastor, and plenty of other folks in our congregation. And I know plenty of credobaptists who would do the same without ever drawing the charge of presumption. Should we or shouldn’t we be able to have that same rock-solid confidence when it comes to our children without it being presumptuous? Couldn’t this confidence be faith? Faith in God’s promises regarding our children, that are ours in Christ, just as these promises were Abraham’s, Isaac’s, and Jacob’s?
The question really isn’t first, should or shouldn’t we baptize infants. The question really is can an infant be a Christian? Where do our children stand when it comes to God’s covenant? Read nearly anywhere in the Old Testament and we clearly see (and agree) that children were counted among God’s people. Are they excluded now in the new covenant? Where in the New Testament does it seem to indicate that where before our children were numbered among us, now they are excluded? Until… what? When? They profess faith? But then why are all of these good credobaptists going to believe that infants who die (baptized or not) are going to Christ in Heaven? Why does physical death evoke such confidence of an infant’s salvation in the credobaptist but baptism doesn’t?
I would love to have more conversations about this important topic. And while I certainly welcome and look forward to those conversations, I am not going to pretend to be some kind of expert. So for those of you who are interested, here are some good resources.