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What Has Infant Baptism Done To Baptism?Baptism: encouraging trends

At long last, it seems, infant baptism is being recognised as a major source of problems in the professing church, and the trend is towards baptising those old enough to consciously believe. May the trend continue!

The title of What Has Infant Baptism Done To Baptism? by David F. Wright (Paternoster, 2005, ISBN 1-84227-357-4) is self-explanatory. The writer's arguments carry greater weight in that he comes from a paedobaptist background. But we credo-baptists don't get an easy ride here; he brings some strong challenges to the way we have let baptism loose from its NT moorings.

…the stubborn hauteur displayed towards Baptists and believers' baptism by paedobaptist churches and theologians.  (p4)

The timescale of infant baptism's long reign extends from the early medieval period, from about the sixth century, that is to say, after Augustine of Hippo, who died in 430. It was he who provided the theology that led to infant baptism becoming general practice for the first time in the history of the church, perhaps in the later fifth century, more likely in the 500s or even later.  (p12)

Several of the continental Reformers entertained early doubts about the propriety of baptising babies, and some, including Luther and Calvin, in their first writings on baptism, directed against erroneous Catholic teaching, stressed the necessity of faith for profitable reception, in terms that might even have suggested they were believers-baptists. But the emergence of the Anabaptists' protests posed a much graver challenge, and turned them all into the most uncompromising apologists for paedobaptism.  (p19)

Early Christianity, and here we move beyond the NT into the next four centuries, knew nothing of an unbaptised believer.  (p36)

The Anglican Common Worship (2000) perpetuates the incongruity of questioning babies and extracting answers from them through their sponsors. The RC Church has at last decisively broken with this ventriloquist charade.  (p62)

…the markedly direct terms in which the NT documents attribute the multifaceted reception of God's salvation to the instrumentality of baptism.  (p91)

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