[Rector]

Baptism

 

Ever got in a debate over Baptism? For some reason or other the business of sprinkling, dipping, dunking, drowning and the exact time it should be done, is one of those issues that can generate no end of heat.

Baptism in the Christian faith is a subject where we tend to take up different positions. There are those who believe that a child should wait until they are old enough to make up their own mind. On the other hand, there are those who believe that the children of parents who love Jesus are "blessed" of God and therefore should be baptized when they are infants.

So you see, there are two major positions in the Christian Church. There is Believers Baptism - the person is baptized after they believe in Jesus. (Depending on the church, this could be any age from 6/7 upward). Then there is Family Baptism - the child is baptized on the basis of the parents' faith.

With infant (Family) baptism there is again different positions taken by the various churches. Some see it as an act of faith by the parents. ie. They believe that their child will one day be Jesus' friend and they therefore pray this for the child with the sure hope that their prayer will be answered. Others are less confident that there is a promise of salvation for the children of a Christian home and so use baptism as a prayer for blessing, a naming of the child, and an expression of responsibility in raising the child in a Christian home. Again, others actually see it as a means of bringing the child into a special relationship with God. This is what we would call a sacramental view.

All this is very confusing, and the reason for the confusion is that the Bible doesn't say very much on the issue. So, churches tend to make their own decisions as to the best way of regulating Baptism. I doubt that God is overly concerned with it all. Human frailty will always have its way, and thankfully our Lord "winks" at our failings. What God wants from us is to seek after him, come to know and love him in the person of Jesus Christ, and do our best to raise our children with those same desires. What we might do at church in a Baptism service will always take a back seat to such a desire.

We should always remember, Jesus baptizes "with the Holy Spirit and with fire."