Microsoft PowerPoint - Infant Baptism

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Microsoft PowerPoint - Infant Baptism Powered By Docstoc
					‘the infant baptism controversy”

       Rev. Pr. Laurent Cleenewerck

        Sponsored in part by Russ Jones, DDS

Is this relevant?
• The Geert Hofstede analysis for the United States is very similar to other
   World Countries that have their heritage founded in Europe with strong ties
   to the British Isles (see Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand).
   Individualism ranks highest and is a significant factor in the life of U.S.
   Americans. The low ranking of Long-term Orientation reflects a freedom in
   the culture from long-term traditional commitments, which allows greater
   flexibility and the freedom to react quickly to new opportunities.

• There are only seven (7) countries in the Geert Hofstede research that have
   Individualism (IDV) as their highest Dimension: USA (91), Australia (90),
   United Kingdom (89), Netherlands and Canada (80), and Italy (76).

• The high Individualism (IDV) ranking for the United States indicates a
   society with a more individualistic attitude and relatively loose bonds with
   others. The populace is more self-reliant and looks out for themselves and
   their close family members.

Individualism vs…

• Am I my brother’s keeper?
• The Pattern: Family unit
     • Circumcision
     • Passover
• 1 Cor. 15:21 As it was by one man that death
  came, so through one man has come the
  resurrection of the dead. 22 Just as all die in
  Adam, so in Christ all will be brought to life;
From Reformation to Anabaptism
• Sola Scriptura and ‘traditions’
• Bad results? “Dead Wood”
• The Anabaptist tradition then and now:
   –   Baptists
   –   Most Evangelicals and Pentecostals
   –   Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses
   –   But not:
   –   Anglicans, Lutherans or Reformed
• Let them decide…

What is the right question?

• Does the Bible teach or reject
 paedobaptism (oikobaptism)?
• Can a baby understand? Have faith?
• Is that the right question(s)?
• And… What is baptism?

What is baptism?

  – An ordinance (a commandment)
  – A mystery or sacrament (“I unite myself”)
  – Dead and rebirth
  – “for the confession / remission of sins / promise of the Holy
    Spirit” (but <> for Jesus) – Acts 2:38-39
  – Anchored in Christ’s baptism – a rebirth to a new life
  – Why must we be born again? (John 3 / Zizioulas)
  – An event and a process: Mark 10:38 (His death and
    burial); “I die daily” (Col 3:1-5)

To keep in mind

 – Baptized in Moses / Baptized into Christ
    • 1 Co 10:1 I want you to be quite certain, brothers, that our
        ancestors all had the cloud over them and all passed through the
        sea. 2 In the cloud and in the sea they were all baptized into
        Moses; 3 all ate the same spiritual food 4 and all drank the same
        spiritual drink, since they drank from the spiritual rock which
        followed them, and that rock was Christ.
    •   Gal 3:27 = every one of you that has been baptised has been
        clothed in Christ.
    •   Hebrews 1:1-12
    •   Rescued from death and thru dead “in virtue of the power of an
        indestructible life” (Heb. 7:16)

Romans 6
• We have died to sin; how could we go on living in it? 3 You cannot have
   forgotten that all of us, when we were baptized into Christ Jesus, were
   baptized into his death. 4 So by our baptism into his death we were
   buried with him, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the
   Father's glorious power, we too should begin living a new life. 5 If we
   have been joined to him by dying a death like his, so we shall be by a
   resurrection like his; 6 realizing that our former self was crucified with
   him, so that the self which belonged to sin should be destroyed and we
   should be freed from the slavery of sin. 7 Someone who has died, of
   course, no longer has to answer for sin. 8 But we believe that, if we died
   with Christ, then we shall live with him too. 9 We know that Christ has
   been raised from the dead and will never die again. Death has no power
   over him any more. 10 For by dying, he is dead to sin once and for all,
   and now the life that he lives is life with God. 11 In the same way, you
   must see yourselves as being dead to sin but alive for God in Christ Jesus.
   12 That is why you must not allow sin to reign over your mortal bodies
   and make you obey their desires;

How will our children be saved?

• In a covenant of unity…
• In the red sea…
• Passover
• 1 Pet. 3:21

Another way to start…

• The testimony of the “pre-Nicene” era:
   –   Ignatius (110) – no mention
   –   Polycarp (155) – implied
   –   Irenaeus (150) – translation?
   –   Justin Martyr (150) – no mention
   –   Tertullian (200) – opposed – why?
   –   Hippolytus (240) – late discovery
   –   Origen (220) – translation?
   –   Cyprian (250) - clear

Irenaeus (Asia Minor / Gaul)
• "He [Jesus] came to save all through himself; all, I
  say, who through him are reborn in God: infants,
  and children, and youths, and old men. Therefore he
  passed through every age, becoming an infant for
  infants, sanctifying infants; a child for children,
  sanctifying those who are of that age . . . [so that]
  he might be the perfect teacher in all things, perfect
  not only in respect to the setting forth of truth,
  perfect also in respect to relative age"
   – (Against Heresies 2:22:4 [A.D. 189]).

Hippolytus (Rome / Italy)

• "Baptize first the children, and if they can
  speak for themselves let them do so.
  Otherwise, let their parents or other relatives
  speak for them"
  – (The Apostolic Tradition 21:16 [A.D. 215]).

Origen (Egypt / Mediterranean)
• "In the Church, baptism is given for the remission of sins, and,
   according to the usage of the Church, baptism is given even to infants.
   If there were nothing in infants which required the remission of sins
   and nothing in them pertinent to forgiveness, the grace of baptism
   would seem superfluous“
     – (Homilies on Leviticus 8:3 [A.D. 248]).

• "The Church received from the apostles the tradition of giving
   baptism even to infants. The apostles, to whom were committed the
   secrets of the divine sacraments, knew there are in everyone innate
   strains of [original] sin, which must be washed away through water
   and the Spirit"
    – (Commentaries on Romans 5:9 [A.D. 248]).

Cyprian (North Africa)
• "As to what pertains to the case of infants: You [Fidus] said
  that they should not be baptized within the second or third
  day after their birth, that the old law of circumcision must be
  taken into consideration, and that you did not think that
  one should be baptized and sanctified within the eighth day
  after his birth. In our council it seemed to us far otherwise. No
  one agreed to the course which you thought should be
  taken. Rather, we all judge that the mercy and grace of God
  ought to be denied to no one born"
   – (Letters 64:2 [A.D. 253]).

An unexpected evolution…
 What most people think…
 What actually happened:
 Nicene and Post-Nicene;
   Cyril of Jerusalem
   Basil (view of tradition)

Gregory Nazianzen
• "Do you have an infant child? Allow sin no opportunity; rather, let
   the infant be sanctified from childhood. From his most tender age
   let him be consecrated by the Spirit. Do you fear the seal [of
   baptism] because of the weakness of nature? Oh, what a
   pusillanimous mother and of how little faith!" (Oration on Holy
   Baptism 40:7 [A.D. 388]).
   "‘Well enough,’ some will say, ‘for those who ask for baptism, but
   what do you have to say about those who are still children, and
   aware neither of loss nor of grace? Shall we baptize them too?’
   Certainly [I respond], if there is any pressing danger. Better that
   they be sanctified unaware, than that they depart unsealed and
   uninitiated" (ibid., 40:28).

    – (Theme of “assurance”)

John Chrysostom
• "You see how many are the benefits of baptism, and
  some think its heavenly grace consists only in the
  remission of sins, but we have enumerated ten honors
  [it bestows]! For this reason we baptize even infants,
  though they are not defiled by [personal] sins, so that
  there may be given to them holiness, righteousness,
  adoption, inheritance, brotherhood with Christ, and that
  they may be his [Christ’s] members" (Baptismal
  Catecheses in Augustine, Against Julian 1:6:21 [A.D.

Historical Summary
• An apostolic tradition (Origen)
• Associated with “ancestral sin”
• Associated with unction / communion
• A specific understanding of salvation
• Preserved in the Eastern Churches
• What happened in the West?
  – Sola Scriptura
  – Real problem / Wrong Solutions

The biblical data…
• “a draw?”
• Arguments (texts) against:
  – No explicit mention
  – Cannot confess faith
  – Cannot repent
  – Inconsistent: no communion
  – No sprinkling

Arguments in favor
• Already seen: the OT pattern
• Acts 16:15,33; 1 Cor. 1:16 “households”
• Col. 2:11–12 ‘Circumcision fulfilled’
• Acts 2:39 – abused?
• Matt. 19:14 “Let the children come”
• Do we have a choice? To learn (a
  language)? To love our parents? To love
  and serve God?

The real issue?
  An event or life or both?
  A personal or communal / revelatory event?
  “For me or for others?”
  When I see you commune, I know…

 The role of tradition
 A different mindset
 The author is directing his comments toward someone who has made an objection to the church's
 practice of baptizing and communicating infants and young children even though they (the infants and
 children) do not understand either sacrament. The author defends the church with the following words:
 "The fact that children not yet able to understand divine things become recipients
 of the holy rebirth in God [baptism] and the most sacred symbols of the
 supremely divine Communion seems, as you say, to merit the legitimate ridicule
 of the profane, for it is as though the bishops teach divine things to those who
 cannot hear, and in vain hand down the sacred traditions to those who do not
 understand.... not all divine things can be comprehended by our intelligence, but
 many things unknown by us have reasons worthy of their divine character that
 escape us, but are understood by the superior orders. Many things are beyond
 even the most sublime beings and are known distinctly only by the all-wise God,
 the Source of wisdom. Nevertheless, we affirm on this matter what our godlike
 instructors, initiated in ancient tradition, have transmitted to us. "They assert, and
 it is the truth, that infants brought up according to sacred law will contract a
 habit of holiness…The bishop gives the child a share in the sacred symbols in order
 that he may be nourished by them and have no other life than that of always
 contemplating divine things, sharing in them by holy progressions, acquiring a
 holy disposition for them, being educated to holiness by his godlike sponsor."

Questions and Answers