Question on Infant Baptism - 02/26/2005

Ben and Jennifer,
 
First of all I would like to Thank You for your time and effort on the Contender Ministries web site. I often use it as a reference and it has also educated me to Contend for the faith. God Bless you both.
 
I am writing to see if you can direct me to any information on infant baptism. My wife and I are expecting here in the next few weeks (July 11) and I am expecting pressure from my catholic family to have the baby baptized. Our stand is that infant baptism is a tradition within the catholic church (and others) and does not impart grace on the child as they would lead one to believe. Our church has a ceremony, where babies are brought before the congregation and dedicated by the senior pastor. I was wondering what your thoughts might be on this subject. I have purchased the book "The Gospel According to Rome" and it appears to be comprehensive on this subject. I want to be able to discuss this with my family in a loving manner. It could easily turn into an argument.
 
Thank You in Advance,
Sincerely,
Tom





CONTENDER MINISTRIES RESPONSE:


Hi Tom.  I'm sorry it has taken so long to respond to your email, and at this point our counsel will have come after the fact.  We hope the birth of your child went well, and pray that all are healthy and happy. 
 
With regards to infant baptism, there are various views, even among Protestant denominations.  My parents were Lutherans, and so I was the recipient of an infant baptism.  However, they viewed my baptism as more akin to a baby dedication -- a sign between God and them that they would raise me with the knowledge of the Lord and His gospel.  I also received baptism as an adult, as a personal decision of mine, and a symbol of my conscious choice to follow Christ.  The "pedo-baptist" view is that since circumcision was a sign of the Old Covenant, and was performed on infants, so baptism, a sign of the New Covenant, should also be performed on infants.  The baptist view (not to be strictly aligned with the Baptist denomination) is that baptism as a sign of conversion should be the conscious choice and decision of the person being baptized, as an outward profession of his or her faith. 
 
The issue of baptism and pedo-baptism is not one essential to salvation, so there is certainly room for disagreement.  Christian Research Institute has a good position statement on baptism, including pedo-baptism, and I encourage you to check it out here: http://www.equip.org/free/CP0708.htm.  Thank you so much for your words of encouragement, and we ask the Lord's blessings on you and your family.
 
In Christ,
 
Ben and Jennifer Rast
Contender Ministries