Thursday, January 11, 2007

Whole Family Baptism, Part 8: Embracing Paedobaptism

So, now that my most pertinent questions have been answered, I am gladly embracing whole family baptism. Karis, Isaiah, Gloria, and Abigail will be baptized in just over a week. But what’s the point? Why not just wait now until the children are old enough to make a profession of faith themselves.

In a sense, this falls under the other major objection that I had to infant baptism, where I saw baptism as a kind visual profession of faith. When viewed from a individualistic (i.e., Baptistic) point of view, baptism does seem to be a way for an individual to demonstrate their new found faith.

However, from the covenantal perspective, baptism is seen as a step of obedience, taken by the new believer and taken on behalf of his whole family. In this way, the new believer marks not only himself out as a new member of the body of Christ, but he also says, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

"Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
Joshua 24:14-15 ESV

So I am now declaring, through the baptizing of my children, that I wholeheartedly embrace God’s promise to bless me and my house. We will fear him and serve him with sincerity and faithfulness. As my father before me, I will pour out my life and prayers on behalf of my children, so that they will come to embrace the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And though I work harder than ever, I rest in this; it is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom and the kingdom is made up of parents, yes, but also the little children.

Am I being presumptuous? No, for God has not only promised, but he has provided everything we need for life and godliness through the amazing work of his son’s death and resurrection. He has redeemed us and we are his. This work allows him to pour out his powerful Spirit upon his sons in order to transform us into his image.

Yes Lord, do it, in me and my wife and my children!


Steven, said...

Hello. I read the series and enjoyed it tremendously. This is a question I have been trying to understand myself.

I came to a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus 5 years ago. My approach to scripture led me to believer baptism, and so I was baptized. I have been trying to come to a good understanding of this...and it has not yet occurred.

I enjoyed the series. Thanks!

Christopher said...

Hello Steven. Glad you enjoyed it. I should add that even though I’ve settled the issue in my mind, I still have a lot of work to do in this area. Now that I’ve got a basic framework within which to work, it will be fun to develop a through biblical theology around it.

Interestingly, I’ve recently gone back and reviewed what Berkhof wrote in his Systematic Theology on infant baptism. It makes sense now. I find this fascinating since the first time I read through it (9 years ago), I thought he was just way off base.

Chuck said...

Excellent job. Well reasoned, well expressed. I found your blog by accident as I was reading your comment on Justin Taylor's (any relation?) blog.

Christopher said...

Hello Chuck,

No relationship, haven't even met Justin, though I do find his blog helpful and often insightful.