Monday, October 21, 2013

Infant Baptism, Further Implications, 5

5. Many paedobaptists need to reform their practice to make it more closely reflect their principles.

Why do so many of the baptized youth, in infant-baptizing churches, grow up in ignorance of the faith and religion of their parents? Why do so many of them, when they reach the fringes of adulthood, stray from the faith and wander into systems of error or open wickedness? It's not a sufficient answer to say that our children have a sinful nature and are thus prone to the prevalent errors and foolishness of youth. There is no doubt that this is true, of course. But one never encounters this excuse when a baptized adult turns from the faith to live in open apostasy. It is true that these baptized young people do have a sinful nature, but that is not the whole truth. Much of the fault lies at the doors of the church itself and on the shoulders of their parents.

In a previous post, we mentioned the introduction to the Westminster Confession of Faith, written by the illustrious Thomas Manton. Here are his own words:

“Christian reader, I cannot suppose thee to be such a stranger in England as to be ignorant of the general complaint concerning the decay of the power of godliness, and more especially of the great corruption of youth. Wherever thou goest, thou wilt hear men crying out of bad children and bad servants; whereas indeed the source of the mischief must be sought a little higher: it is bad parents and bad masters that make bad children and bad servants; and we cannot blame so much their untowardness, as our own negligence in their education.”

Too easily the church has forgotten that the seal of baptism is as real to the children as is it is to the parents who receive it. Parents, who spare no effort in providing education for their children, criminally neglect the spiritual education of their children, and this after having solemnly bound themselves to this duty when they presented these children to God for baptism. These children have been shipped off to unbelieving teachers who didn't give a rip about the child's spiritual well-being. Then the same parents act surprised when the children turn from their Christian heritage and upbringing as they grow up. What did they expect? 

There is a great responsibility on the shoulders of Christian parents to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Part of this is firmly implanting in the child's mind the truth that he or she is bound by his or her baptism to be a true follower of Jesus.

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