You did what to your baby?

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I remember the day well.  It was a Friday night, November 2001, the night before Michigan was to play the evil Ohio State Buckeyes.  Ethan, our firstborn, was reclining in the stroller and I was chatting it up with other college missionaries. Then it slipped (well it did not actually slip, I was waiting for just right the time), we had baptized Ethan, AS AN INFANT!  It was pretty funny when almost everyone within about a 30 foot radius (maybe I said it a little louder than I anticipated) stopped talking and stared at me with a dumbfounded look. I think it might have been a world record for chins on the ground at one time.

In the world of parachurch ministries the idea of infant is relatively foreign. It is akin to saying that you are going to sew a third arm to your baby.  Why? I think it’s because the dispensational and baptist movement has become quite pervasive in many parts of American Christendom.  Presbyterianism, Methodism, Lutheranism, and other American denominations that practiced the historic sacrament of infant baptism moved toward liberalism and removed themselves from the public life of the church. Their conservative counterparts are small and as a result lost influence in the general Christian world.

This has resulted in a loss of covenantal theology and the biblical doctrine of infant baptism. This is one of the great tragedies that the church has faced. This loss is tragic is because it means that there is a loss of vision for the emerging generations.  They have simply become a missionary object as opposed to valued members of the community who need to be discipled and cared for.

Why did we baptise our kids?  We baptized them because they are members of the community of faith.  We baptized them because we believe that God is going to draw them to himself. We baptized them because we believe that this promise is visionary for their life.  We baptized them because we believe that the people of God are part of our family and that they have a responsibility to be a part of these kids lives.

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