Wednesday, July 30, 2014

why we baptize children

Sometimes people ask why we baptize children.  One reason that people ask this is because they have  been indoctrinated by pastors and churches that teach that baptizing children is a terrible thing.

There is a lot of information to consider when deciding on what to believe about this, and who shouts the loudest and who uses the most guilt should not affect your decisions.

Consider this:

1.  There is the weight of scripture.  The early church baptized children.  The Philippian jailer was baptized and his household.

2.  There is the witness of history.  Adult only baptism did not show up until the reformation.  For 1500 years the church baptized people of all ages.

3.  There is the practice of culture.  Children were baptized because their parents decided for them.  In the ancient world, individual decision was not valued in the way that it is today.  Fathers decided for their families.  It was a patriarchal society.  Parents decided what children would wear, what school they would attend, and what religion they would be.  Children were baptized.

4.  There is no evidence in the New Testament of children waiting until a later age to be baptized.  With the New Testament being written decades after Jesus' death and resurrection, there was plenty of time to see young people grow older and then be baptized when they could decide for themselves, but  there is absolutely no evidence of this in the Scriptures.

5.  Baptism is about God's action in the life of the believer.  The reformation tried to make baptism about your decision.  If you are old enough to decide, we want you to make a decision, but the big story of baptism is God choosing you, and God chooses everyone, not just adults.  Jesus said, make disciples of all nations and baptize them.  It is never qualified for adults only- God's grace and promise goes out to all people of all races, genders and ages.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

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