Friday, September 30, 2016

"Why do Presbyterians Baptize Children?"

He looked me right in the eye and asked, “Why do Presbyterians baptize children?”

Lutherans, Methodists and Presbyterians all believe in infant baptism. Baptists believe that a person must be mature enough to profess faith in Christ before baptism. Infant baptism (including the Roman Catholic tradition) is a sign that Christian parents believe their children are incorporated in the family of faith.

At the sacrament of baptism, parents vow that they will raise their child in the Christian tradition and the congregation is asked to affirm their support.

We believe that children are included in God’s covenant of grace for Christian believers. In the Old Testament, the covenant was signified by circumcision. In the New Testament, baptism became the new sign of God’s covenant. We are adopted into the family of God. Infant baptism is a sign of incorporation into the body of Christ.

At the “Age of Accountability” (somewhere in the early teens) baptized children are given the opportunity to claim the Christian faith for themselves. This process is called Confirmation. The child is asked to confirm the vows taken for them on behalf of their parents.

Is infant baptism a guarantee of salvation? No, but it is a wonderful reminder of God’s grace in Jesus Christ! Like a child, we are all weak and unable to save ourselves.


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