Next Sunday at SPC we will have our first baptism, and it’s the baptism of a new baby born to one of our member couples. It is a significant time for our church, and a significant time for me. It will be the first time I will have performed a baptism. I’m looking forward to it.
I am aware that there are lots of views on infant baptism, including rejection by credobaptists, superstition, “it’s tradition”, and biblical. We have all of these amongst our fledgling congregation. So, in order for the event not to be a surprise or shock, I have sought over the last couple of weeks since coming back from holiday, to do some groundwork. Two weeks ago we looked at the six great post-Fall covenants in the Bible. (Can you name them?) Then last week we looked at infant inclusion in the covenant dispensations and hence the reasons for baptising infants. All the time I have sought to show the biblical rationale, to show that it is not just tradition or out of superstition, while at the same time addressing some Baptist objections. That has been a tall order! I think if I were to do this again I would take longer over it. There were far too many loose ends left hanging, too many concepts to take in. It has shown to me clearly that teaching a congregation is a long term project!
However the reaction has been interesting, stronger than any other I have had, from the extremely positive, to the somewhat agitated rejection. It has been a little tricky to deal with these negative responses in a way that is helpful yet without compromise.
The whole process has been helpful for Susan and me. Before coming to SPC we were members of a baptistic church for ten years, a church we love. We promised to them never to raise the issue of baptism with members for the sake of the peace of the church. We were happy to do this. We know the score: if one choses to join a church one must be submissive on the issues one disagrees with by keeping one’s mouth shut, or find a new church. However, having made that decision, for me there has been little opportunity to thrash out issues and objections to infant baptism. I have been able to do that now. It has also been true for Susan. Susan was baptised in a church where there was not much of the gospel. As a result, the understanding she has been left with of infant baptism has ben a bit muddled. It has been helpful to work through some of the issues with her.
So pray for us on Sunday, for the family, the child. Pray that the peace of the gospel would prevail in our midst.
3 thoughts on “First Baptism”
Hi Stephen – hope it goes well for you. One of the ways I try to explain the concept is to use the children of my closest friends, and say
“Do you see their children, they mean nothing to me in terms of what they have contributed to my life. But because of who their parents are they mean everything to me. Because their parents mean everything to me, their children automatically get included in my care. In the same way because Christians are God’s ‘friends’ he is not indifferent to our children.”
Also Ted Donnelly has a set of talks on Baptism that you might find useful – you’ll find them on sermon Audio.
Amen! Praying it’ll be a blessed time and that the church support it, even if some aren’t sure on the covenant theology.
Found myself awake for most of Saturday night and prayed that all would be blessed as you welcome your newest member to the family of believers.
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