My Story Regarding (Infant) Baptism

As we celebrate two more infant baptisms this Sunday at our local church, I thought you might want to hear my story regarding (infant) baptism. I grew up in a contemporary evangelical tradition that only baptized “believers”—people who were old enough to profess their faith in Christ. There was a strong emphasis on baptism in my tradition, for which I’m thankful. There’s also a strong emphasis in my childhood church on theological education, so when I graduated from high school, I attended Bible college. And then I attended a theological seminary. It was there that I studied the history of the church and its theology in more depth. I was exposed to a broad spectrum of traditions, one of them being the Reformed. Then after earning my graduate degree, we were called to serve a Christian school in Indonesia. During our time overseas we worshiped at a local Lutheran Church. So I was exposed further to Reformed theology. By the end of our time in Indonesia, I was convinced that baptism was not just for older believers, but also for their children. I came to this conclusion based on the doctrine of covenant. God has always made promises to his people. In the Old Testament (OT), God made a covenant with the Israelites, and he made circumcision the sign of the covenant. But in the New Testament (NT), a new covenant was made, the covenant of Christ’s blood. And the sign of that covenant is baptism. Interestingly, Paul links OT circumcision with NT baptism in Colossians 2. And even before that Peter in Acts 2 invites everyone to repent and be baptized. And then he says, “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” As the church grew and as doctrine developed, the church decided that infants as well as adults should be baptized, as they too are part of God’s covenant family. So, as part of God’s covenant family, we baptized our children. To be sure, infant baptism is not something we force people to do, as Scripture doesn’t command people to do it. Rather, we’re commanded to be baptized (mode and timing are secondary). But after careful theological study, we came to believe in both adult and infant baptism.

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2 thoughts on “My Story Regarding (Infant) Baptism

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. I think it important for the church and community to hear this. It also helps me to understand your position. I was raised with infant baptism but trained in the Baptist tradition so it gives me more to think on it giving your statements. I don’t have a problem with infant baptism but it gives me a better understanding of why we do it in our church.

  2. June,
    Thank you for the feedback. I intentionally told more of my story in an effort to personalize a theological conversation. I know there will be some people present tomorrow who didn’t grow up with infant baptism, so I hope this will be a way to advance the conversation re. the Sacrament(s).
    Grace & peace,
    Leon

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