Thursday, October 17, 2013

Infant Baptism, Further Implications, 4

4. We see how grave and how solemn the situation is of those young people who have been dedicated to God in their infancy by holy baptism.

This is an often neglected point. Generally speaking, ministers do not neglect to remind the parents that they are brought under the weighty obligation of training up their children in the ways of the Lord when they present these children to God in baptism. But one must wonder how effectively the obligation to walk with the Lord is impressed on the mind of that child as he or she grows up. In the children's catechism that my wife and I use, there are the following questions: 

Q. 129. Who are to be baptized?
A. Believers and their children.

Q. 130. Why should infants be baptized?
A. Because they have a sinful nature and need a Savior.

Q. 131. Does Christ care for little children?
A. Yes; for he says, "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the Kingdom of God."

Q. 132. To what does your baptism bind you?
A. To be a true follower of Christ.

This is a point often neglected by young people. They fail to realize that their early reception of the seal of God’s covenant, in consequence of their parents’ faith, places them in circumstances of the most grave and solemn nature. Because we do not treat them as true members of the church, which we profess to believe and ratify in their baptism, they are all too apt to imagine that they are not members of the church until some later date when they decide to make a public profession of faith. They falsely imagine that the making the profession or not making it is simply a matter of choice which they can do or not do. They are left to toy with the idea that the only danger they face is that of making a false, or rather insincere profession. This view, while incredibly common, nevertheless is incredibly criminal. The children of professing Christians are already in the church; they were born members of it. The reason they receive the seal of the covenant is because they were already in the covenant by virtue of their birth. Hence, it is not a question of whether those baptized young people will be members of the church or not; it is a question of whether they will value their birthright or apostatize from the family of faith. This is the only question and it is a serious question! There is a fine line that must be walked here. On one hand, we should never encourage the false profession, but neither should we encourage the refusal to make any profession at all.

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