English: Baptism of Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I’m not sure what’s happened but everywhere I look at the moment someone seems to be talking about credos and paedos.
Yes, I know. People who believe that infants should be baptised have historically been called paedobaptists, and someone somewhere thought it would be a good idea to shorten that to paedos. No points for you. Credobaptists believe that only believers should be baptised. And holding either position requires that you think the others are wrong, plain and simple.
Here’s where the problem comes in; only one of the following is true:
- Baptism is the New Testament version of circumcision in the Old Testament (OT). Children born under the OT were circumcised, so kids born to Christian parents should be baptised.
- Baptism is a required response to demonstrate our faith. Kids aren’t born with a Christian faith, so shouldn’t be baptised.
It can’t be both. If the first is true then Christian parents are being disobedient to God by not having their kids baptised, and if the second is true then having kids baptised is a waste of time at best, and a heretical practice of works righteousness at worst.
A couple of Bible quotes to muddy the waters (no pun intended):
In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. (Colossians 2:11-12)
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (Galatians 3:27)
Baptism, which corresponds to [Noah's Ark], now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:21)
From a biblical perspective baptism seems to be important then! It would appear that it’s through baptism that we’re united by faith in Christ, saved from the wrath of God by his death and raised to new life by his resurrection. It’s not enough to say baptism just represents something (often the stance taken by credobaptists), but it’s very difficult to align these passages with the paedobaptist view seeing as the Bible’s very clear that salvation is by grace, through faith…and newborns don’t have that.
So here’s my twofold conclusion. (1) I think believers’ baptism fits the Bible passages better. (2) Baptism is far more important than it’s often made out to be.