Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Paedobaptism and Pentecostal Presumptions

As I was going over the Order for Holy Baptism with an adult who has come to faith, I was struck at how presumptuous the service is for children. The covenant vows that are taken (resisting evil, seeking obedience to God's law, etc.) are big enough as it is. But afterward, we apply water in the name of the Triune Godhead.

THEN, we pray this prayer:
Heavenly Father, we thank you that by water and the Holy Spirit you have bestowed upon these your servants the forgiveness of sin, and have raised them to the new life of grace. Sustain them, O Lord, in your Holy Spirit. Give them an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and to love you, and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works. Amen.
Now some people get their dander up about baptismal regeneration (which, as a good Reformed Evangelical Catholic, i.e., an Anglican, I WHOLLY REJECT). But think about what we're doing. We're claiming God's real promises before they break into reality.

I was struck by how this shares at least some similarity with the pentecostal faith of my childhood: Name It and Claim It!

Those of us who hold to covenant baptism believe that God will be faithful to himself and his promises, and so we speak and act as though those promises were as realized as they are real.

What think you? Have you claimed the Name of him who claimed you?


Dave Moody said...

Honestly, this has always bothered me. I'm down with the real presence in communion, a la Calvin. But, infant baptism has caused me to scratch my head. I do it, b/c of the OT analogue of circumcision- but always I acknowledge that the child will one day need to profess Jesus Christ as Lord. We claim the promises of God for our children, but the charge is for the parents and congregation to love, teach, nurture the child so that s/he would profess and follow Christ one day. Thats the ideal.

The reality is 65% of the time, we never see the parents or child again, save Christmas and Easter.

Rev'd Chris Larimer said...

Barth argued that we should stop infant baptism until such time as a covenantal framework (both blessings and burdens, opportunities and obligations) had been restored. It was one of his saner thoughts....

will said...

I have trouble with this too. I think Barth is right.

(Not a sentence I often find myself typing...)