Scary stories from a lovely place

Baptism of silence

Silas is 7.5 months old. Since reading Ellie’s post on Sunday I realised that to date not one person has spoken to Stephen or I about our plans for baptising him (or not). We know a lot of ministers, people with theological degrees and well-read Christians but no one has expressed to us what they think about baptism or sought to give us counsel either way. I think that’s an indictment on the theological or pastoral education these people have received. I know it’s a secondary issue – not of gospel significance, but it’s still an important, biblical one I would have thought.

We don’t really know what we think. We have only just started to think about it. I’ve always thought it didn’t matter – even adult baptism. But maybe it does, as a symbol, a very beautiful symbol. Obviously it’s a secondary issue. I’m not under some mystical misconception that such an act would contribute to someone’s eternity.

I’m only just starting to think and read but I’ve found the following interesting.

This blog post is written by Kevin deYoung who also wrote the great book ‘Just do Something’. I wrote a post about guidance back in February last year which prompted me to read deYoung’s book. This post is specifically about baptising babies.

This article is more generally about why baptism is a good symbol. And it’s called ‘The water of Death’ which is a pretty sweet name.


4 comments on “Baptism of silence

  1. Malvina
    January 12, 2011

    My thoughts were that we baptized our children and made promises to God that we’d bring them up to know Him. The church also promised to pray for them. I thought that was rather lovely. I figured they could make their own promises when it came time for confirmation.

  2. Tim V
    January 12, 2011

    These posts are quite topical as Bec & I were discussing this issue over the weekend – a family in our church had a dedication for their son, which was almost going to be a baptism, but was turned into a dedication a few days before it happened.

    As Bec said under Ellie’s post I’m a believer in infant baptism, but I’m much more a believer in having real, meaningful baptisms (whether infant or adult), and I think all the churches I have been part of fail on that point.

    While I don’t share the baptist church’s view on age of baptism, I am very much a supporter of their faithfulness towards the scriptural call to baptism of the members of the Christian body.

    Too many paedobaptist churches operate under the view that everyone was baptised as a child, and we don’t really need to think about baptism after that.
    When I was 11 I asked to be baptised, and my minister told me to just wait until I was old enough to be confirmed and get it done then. So (to my disappointment, both then and now) I waited and a week before my confirmation I had a sprinkling – which should have been a great occasion, but was actually pretty non-eventful, and was mostly seen as a way of making confirmation “work”.

    Because infant baptism has become rare in our church (which is not the one I was confirmed at), we now has quite a number of 1-10 year olds who were dedicated not baptised. That’s all fine (although it’s not my belief) but some of those kids are now at the age where I think they are (or are about to be) capable of making decisions on their own, and I don’t think we have a plan about how and when to baptise them.
    If we were a baptist church with a little pool up the front, then it would be much more obvious – baptism would be an integrated right of passage into becoming a believing “full” member of the church, and we would have processes and (more importantly) a culture that encouraged and celebrated baptism.

    Baptism is an important symbol, and also a command, and I think all Christian churches – whether paedobaptist or credobaptist – need to treat it as such. Unfortunately, as you have noted, too many churches (and Christians) don’t give it that importance.

    For me, the significance of baptism is an important, but secondary, “non-gospel” issue.
    The age of baptism is a tertiary issue (or perhaps lower)

    • kimlovesjozi
      January 12, 2011

      I agree with you Tim and I’m excited that you guys are also thinking about this. It would be cool to talk face to face. I too wish that baptism as a symbol was taken more seriously, or reverently, and most of my church experience hasn’t done that. I guess that’s where the whole dedication thing emerged – people were annoyed that baptism wasn’t taken seriously, or people were being baptised or baptising kids who weren’t themselves Christians so people wanted a less symbolic but still significant gesture.

      I don’t like dedications though, to me it seems pointless. Either baptise or don’t do anything. Don’t go halfway.

      I also don’t really see the point of the confirmations (at least as I have seen it in the Anglican church). I didn’t bother with it because lots of people were doing it who I knew weren’t actually Christians. And the week before those who hadn’t been baptised were sprinkled so they could then be confirmed, which sounds like your experience.

      I don’t think that having a tank up the front would necessarily make baptism all the more meaningful. Baptist churches seem to be as fraught about all of this as anyone else.

      I too am on the side of infant baptism, I have decided. I like it as a symbol and I like the notion that I want to bring my child to my church family and signify his inclusion and ask that they support me in raising him. That’s also why it was so important to me to be married in front of my church family – because I wanted their help. But it doesn’t really feel like I’m being met halfway.

  3. Tim V
    January 12, 2011

    Because I’m a pedant, I feel the need to correct myself: Obviously I meant “rite of passage” (not “right”)

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This entry was posted on January 11, 2011 by in Baby, Beefs, Being a christian and tagged , , , , .
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