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Author Topic: Infant vs. Believer Baptism  (Read 9262 times) Average Rating: 0
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David Young
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« on: March 07, 2012, 08:26:23 AM »

This thread started here: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19312.msg720243.html#msg720243

-PtA




baptism ... is effectual for salvation

Sorry to come back to this again, but it seems to me that it is faith which effects salvation. How can baptism without faith effect salvation? John's baptism was a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins: the repentance was necessary, and was of course joined with baptism (as Christian baptism should join repentance and faith): people showed openly their repentance by being baptised, watched (I believe) by God, angels and men, as today. But without repentance and faith, how do you manage to believe that the baptism in itself is effectual? That is what my mind cannot penetrate about your teaching on the matter.
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« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2012, 08:29:25 AM »

baptism ... is effectual for salvation

Sorry to come back to this again, but it seems to me that it is faith which effects salvation. How can baptism without faith effect salvation? John's baptism was a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins: the repentance was necessary, and was of course joined with baptism (as Christian baptism should join repentance and faith): people showed openly their repentance by being baptised, watched (I believe) by God, angels and men, as today. But without repentance and faith, how do you manage to believe that the baptism in itself is effectual? That is what my mind cannot penetrate about your teaching on the matter.
Baptism of itself is nothing. Baptism for "fire insurance's sake" is nothing. Look in the scriptures, see how many times "Believe and be baptised" is used, in that order, affecting salvation. Even Christ Himself said this more than once.

PP
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« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2012, 11:30:28 AM »

Roman tomb inscriptions and the practice of Christians gathering on the anniversary of someone's martyrdom to pray.

I think you need to be more specific than that. If you can, give us the inscriptions in the original Latin and Greek, with translation, and tell us what they prayed. I have prayed at Dodoni, but I wasn't praying to Zeus.

The tomb inscriptions were infants and small children who were baptized. We've been over this before.

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« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2012, 11:40:22 AM »

The tomb inscriptions were infants and small children who were baptized. We've been over this before.

How do we know that? What do they say? When were they written?

Another question: if, for the sake of argument, we say they were written within a generation of the apostles, and if they specifically state that these children had been baptised before an age at which they might reasonably be expected to have had faith, and if we assume from that that the apostolic church practised infant baptism - to get back to the theme of the thread, would that exclude from being part of "the true church" those who practise baptism only after conversion, which was certainly another (we think, the only) apostolic practice?

We also practise child baptism, if seldom. Indeed, we have a girl of 11 or so being baptised soon, probably the youngest I have ever known in my nearly 50 years as a Christian. But she has faith: there is no problem. We are not discussing child baptism, but infant (baby!) baptism. That is what I find it impossible to justify, if repentance and faith are also a requirement for the correctness of the rite.

But I fear this thread is beginning to diversify into various themes. Mea culpa, perhaps.
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« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2012, 12:06:23 PM »

baptism ... is effectual for salvation

Sorry to come back to this again, but it seems to me that it is faith which effects salvation. How can baptism without faith effect salvation? John's baptism was a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins: the repentance was necessary, and was of course joined with baptism (as Christian baptism should join repentance and faith): people showed openly their repentance by being baptised, watched (I believe) by God, angels and men, as today. But without repentance and faith, how do you manage to believe that the baptism in itself is effectual? That is what my mind cannot penetrate about your teaching on the matter.
Baptism of itself is nothing. Baptism for "fire insurance's sake" is nothing. Look in the scriptures, see how many times "Believe and be baptised" is used, in that order, affecting salvation. Even Christ Himself said this more than once.

PP


Why does the Orthodox Church baptize infants then? Baptism is a necessity for salvation because it washes away your sins. Has sin not entered this world and does it not effect everyone born into it? Without baptism the belief in ancestral sin is rendered mute. Does sin not affect every man until they are of "reasonable" age? Are we capable of being sinless and in no need of the Mysteries of the Church that Christ gave us in that case?


St. Cyprian on the baptism of infants:
Quote
Moreover, belief in divine Scripture declares to us, that among all, whether infants or those who are older, there is the same equality of the divine gift. Elisha, beseeching God, so laid himself upon the infant son of the widow, who was lying dead, that his head was applied to his head, and his face to his face, and the limbs of Elisha were spread over and joined to each of the limbs of the child, and his feet to his feet. If this thing be considered with respect to the inequality of our birth and our body, an infant could not be made equal with a person grown up and mature, nor could its little limbs fit anti be equal to the larger limbs of a man. But in that is expressed the divine and spiritual equality, that all men are like and equal, since they have once been made by God; and our age may have a difference in the increase of our bodies, according to the world, but not according to God; unless that very grace also which is given to the baptized is given either less or more, according to the age of the receivers, whereas the Holy Spirit is not given with measure, but by the love and mercy of the Father alike to all. For God, as He does not accept the person, so does not accept the age; since He shows Himself Father to all with well-weighed equality for the attainment of heavenly grace.
http://synaxis.org/cf/volume05/ECF05THE_EPISTLES_OF_CYPRIAN_00000058.htm

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...and nobody is hindered from baptism and from grace--how much rather ought we to shrink from hindering an infant, who, being lately born, has not sinned, except in that, being born after the flesh according to Adam,[5] he has contracted the contagion of the ancient death at its earliest birth, who approaches the more easily on this very account to the reception of the forgiveness of sins--that to him are remitted, not his own sins, but the sins of another.
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« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2012, 12:13:01 PM »

Baptism  ... washes away your sins.

Then what do you good people say happens to a person who (like me, for my mother was Anglican and my father Methodist) was baptised in early infancy, but one who never turns to the Lord in repentance and faith, and lives and dies without love for God in his heart? Is he saved or lost?
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« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2012, 12:15:30 PM »

Since the Church baptises infants........
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« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2012, 12:33:58 PM »

an age at which they might reasonably be expected to have had faith

What age is that? Where do you find it in Scripture?

We have gone over this many times before and I have provided you with ample evidence that infant baptism was practiced in the early Church and continued to be up until the Anabaptists got so upset about it around 1500 or so. Even your beloved reformers believed in it.
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« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2012, 12:36:48 PM »

Baptism  ... washes away your sins.

Then what do you good people say happens to a person who (like me, for my mother was Anglican and my father Methodist) was baptised in early infancy, but one who never turns to the Lord in repentance and faith, and lives and dies without love for God in his heart? Is he saved or lost?

That would be up to God, who truly knows his heart, not me. Not my call who is lost or saved. What would you say about someone who had followed your prescription (after being baptised at some mythical age of understanding) but who lived and died without love for God in his heart? Is he saved or lost?
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« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2012, 12:40:09 PM »

Baptism  ... washes away your sins.

Then what do you good people say happens to a person who (like me, for my mother was Anglican and my father Methodist) was baptised in early infancy, but one who never turns to the Lord in repentance and faith, and lives and dies without love for God in his heart? Is he saved or lost?

"Jesus answered, 'I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.'"

Salvation is a process and baptism is a part of that process. Not an end all, be all event. We draw toward the Lord by participating in the life of Christ. Its meaning is more than a symbolic act. We are participating in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ whcih baptism is a part of.

Without repentance and faith the process stops. The grace that comes with baptism extends a great deal, but I can't judge the state of a soul whether they are baptised and continued to draw closer to Christ or turned away. (I am unsure if the allegory you stated extended to your parents, but if it did, I will pray for your parents that the Lord have mercy on them.)

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« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2012, 12:55:03 PM »

an age at which they might reasonably be expected to have had faith

What age is that? Where do you find it in Scripture?

We have gone over this many times before

Scripture doesn't say, and neither can I of course; I am no psychologist, but if I were pressed, I would imagine that understanding has dawned by the age of 7 - but do not interpret that as saying it cannot be younger.

Yes we have. Part of the problem is that you dwell in an enclosed system. If I went as far along your line as to say that most people in our churches are baptised from about the age of 14, tailing off sharply to those above 80, and (using your teaching) concluded that at that point their sins were washed away and they became true Christians, you would possibly go on to say that our baptism isn't valid anyway - that it "doesn't work" - because we haven't got priests in apostolic succession. And, as you rightly observe, we go round and round in circles. As GreekChef used to say (where is she?), Orthodoxy is not a cafeteria.
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« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2012, 12:58:45 PM »

What would you say about someone who had followed your prescription (after being baptised at some mythical age of understanding) but who lived and died without love for God in his heart? Is he saved or lost?

I have never known anyone to be baptised at a mythical age, but in the real world I would fear that such a one was lost. Is it not written that without faith, it is impossible to see God? And - worrying thought - is there not a holiness without which no-one will see the Lord?
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« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2012, 01:03:22 PM »

Salvation is a process and baptism is a part of that process. ... Without repentance and faith the process stops.

Thank you. That makes sense.

Quote
(I am unsure if the allegory you stated extended to your parents, but if it did, I will pray for your parents that the Lord have mercy on them.)

Thank you - but I was only giving their denominations to show why I went through infant baptism, which I prefer to call christening. I myself was baptised when I was 18, believing the rite should be linked with faith, which by then, by God's mercy, dwelt in my heart.
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« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2012, 02:17:23 PM »

Salvation is a process and baptism is a part of that process. ... Without repentance and faith the process stops.

Thank you. That makes sense.

Quote
(I am unsure if the allegory you stated extended to your parents, but if it did, I will pray for your parents that the Lord have mercy on them.)

Thank you - but I was only giving their denominations to show why I went through infant baptism, which I prefer to call christening. I myself was baptised when I was 18, believing the rite should be linked with faith, which by then, by God's mercy, dwelt in my heart.

we do not believe that the receiving of God's grace is solely dependant upon our own cognitive awareness...
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« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2012, 02:34:30 PM »

an age at which they might reasonably be expected to have had faith

What age is that? Where do you find it in Scripture?

We have gone over this many times before

Scripture doesn't say, and neither can I of course; I am no psychologist, but if I were pressed, I would imagine that understanding has dawned by the age of 7 - but do not interpret that as saying it cannot be younger.


If you admit that it can be younger, then I have to ask:
at what age do you draw the line, then, and what criteria do you use to decide whether understanding has dawned sufficiently for someone to be baptized?
For example, does your church allow people of limited mental capacity to be baptized?
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« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2012, 05:03:21 PM »

For example, does your church allow people of limited mental capacity to be baptized?
Yes it does. For example, the RCC allows infants to be baptised.
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« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2012, 05:17:22 PM »

For example, does your church allow people of limited mental capacity to be baptized?
Yes it does. For example, the RCC allows infants to be baptised.

i think she was addressing the question to our resident baptist friend...
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« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2012, 05:21:27 PM »

For example, does your church allow people of limited mental capacity to be baptized?
Yes it does. For example, the RCC allows infants to be baptised.

i think she was addressing the question to our resident baptist friend...
I still say he's a spy for the EP.....unless ther's a Baptodox church that we're all unaware of.

PP
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« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2012, 05:52:11 PM »

For example, does your church allow people of limited mental capacity to be baptized?
Yes it does. For example, the RCC allows infants to be baptised.

i think she was addressing the question to our resident baptist friend...
I still say he's a spy for the EP.....unless ther's a Baptodox church that we're all unaware of.

PP

there's at least this guy...

http://baptodox.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2012, 05:57:28 PM »

at what age do you draw the line, then, and what criteria do you use to decide whether understanding has dawned sufficiently for someone to be baptized?
For example, does your church allow people of limited mental capacity to be baptized?

To the last question, yes. To the first question, there isn't a particular age as defined in months or years.

The middle question is really the heart of the matter. I have never been in a position to find out, as all the people I have baptised have been from their teens to their 40s or 50s. A child's ability to express some commitment to Jesus Christ must surely vary from child to child, and it would take a counsellor or pastor with greater child-related gifts than mine to handle that matter. I do not think it often arises in real situations, but I am sure it must do occasionally. If I ever found myself in that situation, I would need to seek advice from someone of greater wisdom or experience in such a matter.
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« Reply #20 on: March 07, 2012, 06:01:18 PM »

we do not believe that the receiving of God's grace is solely dependant upon our own cognitive awareness.

I'd go along with that, and it would be interesting to ponder in what situations it might apply. But for baptism, the person needs to ask to be baptised, and must therefore have some "cognitive awareness". Receiving God's grace and being baptised are not coterminous.
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« Reply #21 on: March 07, 2012, 06:07:51 PM »

we do not believe that the receiving of God's grace is solely dependant upon our own cognitive awareness.

I'd go along with that, and it would be interesting to ponder in what situations it might apply. But for baptism, the person needs to ask to be baptised, and must therefore have some "cognitive awareness". Receiving God's grace and being baptised are not coterminous.

You would be right certainly in the case of an adult. However, in the case of an infant, why are we insisting that the same standards should apply? We have the example in the Scriptures and the experience of the Apostolic Church that infants were indeed baptized. Was the baptism of all of these babies in vain? For so many centuries? The mind boggles to think that Christians did not come do their senses until the Anabaptists finally broke the code! Cheesy
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« Reply #22 on: March 07, 2012, 06:13:31 PM »

i went to an orthodox baptism on sunday. as the baby (2 1/2 months) went under for the 3rd time, there appeared the most amazing peaceful smile on his face. it lasted for most of the service. at one stage he was sleeping and then stirred in his sleep and gave us the biggest smile i ever saw on a little kid. his aunt is sure he saw angels and i agree with her.
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« Reply #23 on: March 07, 2012, 06:22:47 PM »

David Young, in your opposition to infant baptism, have you not considered this?

Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?


And where and when did Christ utter those words?
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« Reply #24 on: March 07, 2012, 06:25:57 PM »

And we know from scripture that people were bringing infants to Christ for blessings. The apostles tried to hinder them, but Jesus rebuked the apostles and said bring them to me. Why bring them to Christ if they are unable to understand or ask for what they are receiving? Obviously because this is not a prerequisite for receiving God's grace. In addition, I think we do not give infants enough credit; i think they understand a lot more than we realize, especially in terms of God and his grace. Christ used infants and their faith as role models several times and told us not to hinder them in coming to Him. I don't see how we could do otherwise but to allow them to come to Christ in the waters of baptism and through the eucharist.
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« Reply #25 on: March 07, 2012, 08:25:47 PM »

For example, does your church allow people of limited mental capacity to be baptized?
Yes it does. For example, the RCC allows infants to be baptised.

i think she was addressing the question to our resident baptist friend...
Sorry. I thought it was a general question.
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« Reply #26 on: March 07, 2012, 09:30:14 PM »

we do not believe that the receiving of God's grace is solely dependant upon our own cognitive awareness.

I'd go along with that, and it would be interesting to ponder in what situations it might apply. But for baptism, the person needs to ask to be baptised, and must therefore have some "cognitive awareness". Receiving God's grace and being baptised are not coterminous.

Have to feel real sorry for those people who suffer brain injury or other brain ailments who lose "cognitive awareness."  Not only have the lost the ability to be baptized, but have also lost the capability to have faith.
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« Reply #27 on: March 07, 2012, 09:48:10 PM »

we do not believe that the receiving of God's grace is solely dependant upon our own cognitive awareness.

I'd go along with that, and it would be interesting to ponder in what situations it might apply. But for baptism, the person needs to ask to be baptised, and must therefore have some "cognitive awareness". Receiving God's grace and being baptised are not coterminous.

Have to feel real sorry for those people who suffer brain injury or other brain ailments who lose "cognitive awareness."  Not only have the lost the ability to be baptized, but have also lost the capability to have faith.

To add, those born with intellectual impairment or having suffered permanent cognitive impairment at birth or shortly afterwards would also be denied baptism according to those criteria.

What say you, David Young? Are such folks, truly and completely innocent, to be denied baptism? And, if it is permitted to baptize such folks, then why shouldn't "normal" infants be baptized?
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« Reply #28 on: March 08, 2012, 04:05:16 AM »

people were bringing infants to Christ for blessings.

As do we. It is customary, when a couple have a new baby, for the baby to be brought to church and brought to the front where the minister will take him/her in his arms and ask for God's blessing on the new person and the life that has just begun. It is often called a "dedication", in which the parents also promise to bring up the child in the fear and admonition of the Lord.
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« Reply #29 on: March 08, 2012, 04:16:06 AM »

those born with intellectual impairment or having suffered permanent cognitive impairment at birth or shortly afterwards would also be denied baptism according to those criteria.

What say you, David Young? Are such folks, truly and completely innocent, to be denied baptism?

Quote
people who suffer brain injury or other brain ailments who lose "cognitive awareness."  Not only have the lost the ability to be baptized, but have also lost the capability to have faith

The question in the second quotation is easier to address than the earlier one. It seems to me that we all "lose the ability to be baptised" at some point, usually of course at death - unless you're a Mormon! Tragically, such people will have sinned away their day of opportunity in a life of thoughtlessness about God, not unlike those who were swept away by the flood in the story of Noah. (I assume you are referring to people who suffer such accidents in later life, and that their ability to understand and respond is completely obliterated.)

In re the former question, you are, I think, trying to peer into matters which God has not revealed. People often speculate as to what happens to children who die in infancy, and the usual tack is to refer to David, whose baby died and who said the child would not return to him, but he would go to it. But in the final analysis, the scriptures are given to us to make us wise to salvation, that is, to teach us how we may know and serve God in this world. They are not given to take away all need to trust that "the Judge of all the earth will do right", answering our curiosity, however pressing the questions may be for those whose families are affected by tragedy. The call is to trust God, not to share his unrevealed knowledge. Beyond that I cannot go: there are some things God has chosen not to tell us.
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« Reply #30 on: March 08, 2012, 04:20:49 AM »

I used to be strongly against infant baptism due to my Pentecostal upbringing. Then I started to think of salvation of infants. Since Bible says that no one can be saved without faith and nobody teaches that all infants are going to Hell I figured out that of all available doctrines in Christendom there are more or less two options:

1) Infants have faith so they can be baptized.
2) Infants are not automatically saved so they must be baptized in order to save them.

On both counts infants can be baptized. Of course we can speculate that infants share the same positions that those pagans who have never heard the gospel. But I don't think any denomination teaches that.
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« Reply #31 on: March 08, 2012, 04:59:46 AM »

Infants are not automatically saved so they must be baptized in order to save them.

This only works, of course, once you believe that baptism in and of itself effects salvation.
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« Reply #32 on: March 08, 2012, 06:30:39 AM »

Infants are not automatically saved so they must be baptized in order to save them.

This only works, of course, once you believe that baptism in and of itself effects salvation.

Of course but I was talking about available options that there is. Since all believe that infants can be saved and that we can't be saved without faith there must be some way through which they can be saved. For most of the Christendom baptism is that way.

My childhood's Pentecostalism couldn't answer how infants are saved. It automatically assumed that they are saved but didn't properly answer the question how they are saved. I wonder if Baptists have any better answers?
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« Reply #33 on: March 08, 2012, 09:06:34 AM »

Quote
My childhood's Pentecostalism couldn't answer how infants are saved. It automatically assumed that they are saved but didn't properly answer the question how they are saved. I wonder if Baptists have any better answers?
I was taught that children before a certian age are not responsible for their sin. however, once they know right from wrong, they are responsible. Gotta love such ambiguity. laugh

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« Reply #34 on: March 08, 2012, 09:23:03 AM »

infants ... It automatically assumed that they are saved but didn't properly answer the question how they are saved. I wonder if Baptists have any better answers?

Yes: ones like me say we don't know.

But others make the same assumption as your Pentecostal acquaintances, which, I agree, is quite unsatisfactory. I think it is better to say that the hidden things belong to God, and that at present we see through a glass darkly on some matters. There is no need for us to know the answer, and I believe God has deliberately left it so, perhaps so that we may learn better to trust his love and justice. Eve's temptation in the Garden was to reach out for knowledge that, for the time being at least, was not intended for her.

There are of course many such questions to which we have no answer. As Primuspilus's post says (following yours), it can lead to ambiguity. Especially, I cannot see how an Augustinian view of original sin can be reconciled to the salvation of infants. Better to confess ignorance, but many of my Evangelical comrades cannot bear not to have all the answers.
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« Reply #35 on: March 08, 2012, 09:24:29 AM »

children before a certian age are not responsible for their sin. however, once they know right from wrong, they are responsible.

You are right: that is what they say, but I have not seen it in the Bible.
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« Reply #36 on: March 08, 2012, 09:34:31 AM »

children before a certian age are not responsible for their sin. however, once they know right from wrong, they are responsible.

You are right: that is what they say, but I have not seen it in the Bible.
I think it talks about age of accountability in the OT, but I do not think that it is referencing salvation, as the parents were responsible (circumsicison, etc)

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« Reply #37 on: March 08, 2012, 09:52:58 AM »

those born with intellectual impairment or having suffered permanent cognitive impairment at birth or shortly afterwards would also be denied baptism according to those criteria.

What say you, David Young? Are such folks, truly and completely innocent, to be denied baptism?

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people who suffer brain injury or other brain ailments who lose "cognitive awareness."  Not only have the lost the ability to be baptized, but have also lost the capability to have faith

The question in the second quotation is easier to address than the earlier one. It seems to me that we all "lose the ability to be baptised" at some point, usually of course at death - unless you're a Mormon! Tragically, such people will have sinned away their day of opportunity in a life of thoughtlessness about God, not unlike those who were swept away by the flood in the story of Noah. (I assume you are referring to people who suffer such accidents in later life, and that their ability to understand and respond is completely obliterated.)

In re the former question, you are, I think, trying to peer into matters which God has not revealed. People often speculate as to what happens to children who die in infancy, and the usual tack is to refer to David, whose baby died and who said the child would not return to him, but he would go to it. But in the final analysis, the scriptures are given to us to make us wise to salvation, that is, to teach us how we may know and serve God in this world. They are not given to take away all need to trust that "the Judge of all the earth will do right", answering our curiosity, however pressing the questions may be for those whose families are affected by tragedy. The call is to trust God, not to share his unrevealed knowledge. Beyond that I cannot go: there are some things God has chosen not to tell us.

You have skirted the question.  Do you baptize people of limited mental capacity?
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« Reply #38 on: March 08, 2012, 10:04:04 AM »

Yes: ones like me say we don't know.

Thank you for honesty. I have hard time understanding a concept where God incarnated in order to tell people how to get saved but left most of the humankind i.e infants and young children out of the plan he told us but that's an honest answer if nothing else.
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« Reply #39 on: March 08, 2012, 10:15:52 AM »

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You have skirted the question.  Do you baptize people of limited mental capacity?
Because of the belief of "Believer's Baptism" it does not matter really if one is baptised or not. So I think that if they were unable to understand what was happening, they would not be.

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« Reply #40 on: March 08, 2012, 10:45:23 AM »

Several things occur to me as I read this thread.
1. There is evidence, both historical and from the Fathers, that infant baptism was practiced from the earliest days.
2. There is Scriptural evidence, at least inferred ("households" etc.) and nowhere is baptism of infants prohibited.
3. For the Church to have gotten such a basic practice wrong (i.e. infant baptism) would mean that she was already apostate in the lifetime of disciples of the Apostles.
4. "Age of reason" for baptism is un-Scriptural, and indeed even people who espouse this concept cannot define it or put a limit on it. David has said that he does not know how young someone can be - so why not infants?
So-called "believer's baptism" has always seemed to me to limit God's grace to people who are able to cognitively have a particular kind of religious experience. What happens to everyone else?

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« Reply #41 on: March 08, 2012, 12:13:07 PM »

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My childhood's Pentecostalism couldn't answer how infants are saved. It automatically assumed that they are saved but didn't properly answer the question how they are saved. I wonder if Baptists have any better answers?
I was taught that children before a certian age are not responsible for their sin. however, once they know right from wrong, they are responsible. Gotta love such ambiguity. laugh

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As far as I know, Orthodoxy teaches this...
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« Reply #42 on: March 08, 2012, 12:14:47 PM »

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My childhood's Pentecostalism couldn't answer how infants are saved. It automatically assumed that they are saved but didn't properly answer the question how they are saved. I wonder if Baptists have any better answers?
I was taught that children before a certian age are not responsible for their sin. however, once they know right from wrong, they are responsible. Gotta love such ambiguity. laugh

PP

As far as I know, Orthodoxy teaches this...

Source?
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« Reply #43 on: March 08, 2012, 12:23:24 PM »

Quote
My childhood's Pentecostalism couldn't answer how infants are saved. It automatically assumed that they are saved but didn't properly answer the question how they are saved. I wonder if Baptists have any better answers?
I was taught that children before a certian age are not responsible for their sin. however, once they know right from wrong, they are responsible. Gotta love such ambiguity. laugh

PP

As far as I know, Orthodoxy teaches this...

Source?

I've read it in several books, one by St. Theophan, where he talks about raising children. "Path to Salvation", I believe. We don't teach that people inherit the guilt of sin from their fathers. How can a child that is not aware of their sins (know right from wrong) be held accountable for such? I've always heard that babies/infants are blameless in the eyes of the Lord. I was taught that once a child gradually becomes aware, and at that point they should start practicing confession. Anyhow, I'll look for more sources...(if anyone still disagrees)

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« Reply #44 on: March 08, 2012, 01:01:43 PM »

Several things occur to me as I read this thread.
1. There is evidence, both historical and from the Fathers, that infant baptism was practiced from the earliest days.
2. There is Scriptural evidence, at least inferred ("households" etc.) and nowhere is baptism of infants prohibited.
3. For the Church to have gotten such a basic practice wrong (i.e. infant baptism) would mean that she was already apostate in the lifetime of disciples of the Apostles.
4. "Age of reason" for baptism is un-Scriptural, and indeed even people who espouse this concept cannot define it or put a limit on it. David has said that he does not know how young someone can be - so why not infants?
So-called "believer's baptism" has always seemed to me to limit God's grace to people who are able to cognitively have a particular kind of religious experience. What happens to everyone else?



Superb summation. May I add one consideration? Regarding the conversion of the entire household, the Scriptures have many citations:

The promise of the angel to the gentile man in Acts 11:13-14: "13 He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house and say, ‘Send to pa for Simon who is called Peter. 14 He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.’ "

Lydia and her household in Acts 16:14-15: "14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us."

The jailer and his household in Acts 16:29-34:  "29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household."

Stephanas and his household in 1 Corinthians 16:  "16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.)"

It seems to me that we can look at this from the perspective of the household, rather than any individual member of the household. I think that those household members, who did not have the cognitive functions that seem to be required amongst Baptists--like infants, mentally or intellectually impaired folks, were baptized as part of the group, with the expectation that the group would be responsible for their spiritual growth and welfare. Indeed, I have heard many an Orthodox priest who instructs the parents of an infant to be diligent in bringing them up in the Church.
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