Infant baptism represents yet another controversial subject among many of those who regard themselves as being steadfastly of the Christian faith. It has continued to be divisive and a cause of much confusion ever since it started developing as a Christian sacrament over the first few hundred years of church history.
Infant baptism is sometimes referred to as, or can be confused with, a christening ceremony in which the baby is named and welcomed into the congregation. In certain instances the ceremonies are private and held between family members and close friends, but often it involves entire congregations and can be a very public affair. Christenings and infant baptisms generally require the infant to be sprinkled with water or to be bodily immersed in water. Neither of these are the same as the non-sacramental ceremony of baby dedication, in which salvation is not implied and is not the subject of this poll.
In some circles infant baptism is regarded as being a cleansing from original sin, as infants are incapable of understanding sin or the need they have to be cleansed from it. Those who represent another school of thought, regard it as a heretical practice and yet others adopt a neutral stance toward it stating that, as there is no biblical prohibition of the practice, it can be deemed acceptable.
This adds a further dimension to the issue, one which poses the question as to whether “christening” is acceptable only as a naming ceremony and a dedication of the infant to the church congregation, or whether it also constitutes a biblical baptism from sin, when performed as a part of a baptismal ceremony. Can infant baptism be regarded as a fulfillment of the command Jesus gave to His disciples in Mathew 28 to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…”
The diversity of opinion regarding infant baptism can serve as a source of confusion about what biblical baptism entails. The practice of infant baptism is not mentioned in the Scriptures, yet neither do the Scriptures speak out against it. Many people are dedicated followers of their church traditions and are therefore reluctant to question those traditions, which seem to be binding on their faith and which might include or exclude infant baptism.
The result of infant baptism can have one of, at least, two possible outcomes. On the one hand, people can be left believing that, because they were baptized or christened as infants, they have already been set right before God. If, however, that presumption is false, they can unknowingly be lost to the kingdom of God due to their lifelong unrepentant and unsaved state. On the other hand, they can truly be among those who will be saved because their parents were sufficiently conscientious to have had them baptized as infants. If infant baptism does in fact lead to salvation, they can inherit the kingdom of God.
Where do you stand on the issue of infant baptism? Your vote and your comments are, as always, greatly appreciated.
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