Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Infant Baptism

On Pentecost Sunday, May 27, 2007, Meghan and I gave our twin girls, Brenna Munro & Brooklyn Gwen, for infant baptism. Click here for all the pictures. It was a beautiful gathering.

Our son Brayden Wesley was also baptized as an infant on Christmas Sunday, December 25, 2005. We have just the one picture you see here. This one was special because his cousin, Karter Landen Kern, was dedicated at the very same time.

For all three of our children, we were blessed to have their grandfathers - both elders in the Church of the Nazarene - present and overseeing. Our families were well-represented (with all the Parkers present for Brayden's baptism and most of the Scotts present for the twins' baptism).

These were important events for the Scott family. Meghan and I "dedicated" our children to God the day we knew they existed. We chose infant baptism for all three for a number of reasons. Baptism is many things. Perhaps at the forefront for us, it is the public entrance (welcoming!) of an individual into the Christian community of faith. In my own experience (and in Meghan's), we were both born "into" the Church. We've never known life outside of the Church. While we've had our fallings and shortcomings, we've really always been a part of the Church. We want the same for our children.

So yes, we made that decision for our children. They can choose to accept or reject that decision at an appropriate age - as they can and will with all the decisions we'll make for them throughout their early lives. It's obviously our hope and prayer that we raise them in ways that are most conducive to them making the choice to follow Christ.

What happened at their baptism was a sign of and to something, not an end. I believe that this is true for all baptisms. Baptism is a sign and symbol of what happens in one's life.

One thing that was beautiful about the gathering for Brooklyn and Brenna's baptism is that our community of faith got to recognize the affirmation of a little girl's own infant baptism. Just the week before, a girl in the church prayed to acknowledge Christ. For her, it was the "confirmation" of her own infant baptism that her parents had initiated when she was a baby. It's good to see it come full circle! It's to this end that Meghan and I pray.

The last thing I'd add for now is that it's important to us that this happen within our local church community. As a reception into the community of faith, these children become a part of the Church through this local church. North Street had already been so supportive of the kids in every way, but it's important to me (as Dad and as Pastor) that the community be reminded that these children are theirs.

Meghan and I get the unbelievable privilege, joy, and responsibility of taking care of these three kids for a few years. What we do will shape them tremendously. This is an awesome responsibility and one we don't take lightly. I'm not sure there's anything more important in our lives for which we can be so directly responsible. This is it.

By the way, we don't hold infant baptism as prescriptive for anyone (though I'll recommend it in my own community). We just chose it as we saw it best for our kids.

For Brenna & Brooklyn's baptisms, we used about 90% of the order of service that Dennis Bratcher provides at the Christian Resource Institute (click here to see it).

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this. infant baptism is cool with me; though I treasure my baptism experience that I was old enough to remember. This doesn’t mean that I hold a prescriptive view of waiting for a certain age either. I honestly think that BOTH are good and have value; I think as a Pastor perhaps the best I can do is lay out all the options and let the families and individuals decide for themselves. Thanks for posting your experience that helps us see the benefits of infant baptism.

    Peace,

    James

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  2. Jeremy - Just wanted you to know that you've been tagged to list the first ten songs that come up on your iPod or Mp3 player when you hit "shuffle". Hope everything is going great for you guys back in the North East. Blessings in Christ ~ Richard

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  3. Jeremey and Meghan --
    Congrats! I had no idea you all had twins....how great is that!? I was checking out my "myspace" (which I haven't done in ages), and thought I'd see how you all are doing. Check mine out for photo updates...and just know that I am with the most wonderful man I've ever met. And, he's recently been called to ministry...it's pretty unclear to him in what form, but we're up for the challenge...and maybe even a wedding next year! Talk to you soon...
    Heather Beckley

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  4. Baptists and evangelicals are absolutely correct...there is no SPECIFIC mention in the New Testament that the Apostles baptized infants. There are references to entire households being converted and baptized, but we orthodox cannot prove, just from Scripture, that these households had infants, and neither can Baptists and evangelicals prove, just from Scripture, that they did not.

    One interesting point that Baptists/evangelicals should note is that although there is no specific mention of infant baptism in the Bible...neither is there a prohibition of infant baptism in the Bible. Christians are commanded by Christ to go into all the world and preach the Gospel and to baptize all nations. No age restrictions are mentioned. If Christ had intended his followers to understand that infants could not be baptized in the New Covenant, in a household conversion process as was the practice of the Jews of Christ's day in converting Gentile households to the Covenant of Abraham, it is strange that no mention is made of this prohibition.

    So, the only real way to find out if Infant Baptism was practiced by the Apostles is to look at the writings of the early Christians, some of whom were disciples of the Apostles, such as Polycarp, and see what they said on this issue.

    And here is a key point: Infant Baptism makes absolutely no sense if you believe that sinners can and must make an informed, mature decision to believe in order to be saved. Infants cannot make informed, mature decisions, so if this is the correct Doctrine of Justification/Salvation, Infant Baptism is clearly false teaching. But the (arminian) Baptist/evangelical Doctrine of Justification/Salvation is unscriptural. Being forced to make a decision to obtain a gift, makes the gift no longer free. This is salvation by works!

    Baptism is a command of God. It is not a work of man. God says in plain, simple language, in multiple locations in the Bible, that he saves/forgives sins in Baptism. We orthodox Christians accept God's literal Word. We take our infants to be baptized because God says to do it. Our infants are not saved because we perform the act of bringing them to the baptismal font...they are saved by the power of God's Word pronounced at the time of the Baptism. Christians have believed this for 2,000 years!

    There is no evidence that any Christian in the early Church believed that sinners are saved by making a free will decision and then are baptized solely as a public profession of faith. None.

    Gary
    Luther, Baptists, and Evangelicals
    http://www.lutherwasnotbornagain.com/2013/06/the-origen-of-baptistevangelical.html

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