I think most people would agree that the bible is pretty clear when it comes to salvation that we should believe and be baptised.
However, I was wondering how this plays out with churches who christen babies and toddlers, since they can’t really make the choice or fully comprehend what it is all about.
For example, My parents made the decision to have me christened when I was 1 1/2 or thereabouts, however, they have never been devout Christians and don’t attend church (which I pray and hope will change). In the last 6 months, I have really come to know God and would call myself a devout Christian who loves God, prays, attends church etc… I guess my question is even though I believed in God most of my life and was christened when I was little, does that still hold? or is being baptised now as a believer who practices and is trying to understand, a must?
Oh, I should mention that I was confirmed a year and a half ago, to be honest, I wasn’t too sure what it was all about at the time but it was one of the catalysts for my search over the last year…
Also interested to hear peoples opinions of christening babies in general.
Thanks in advance,
@MoveMountains Baptism does not save us - Jesus does when we place our trust and hope in Him alone. So it is not necessary to be baptized again. Baptism itself does not save anyone. That being said, I think there is Scriptural support for baptism after we truly devote ourselves to God’s Kingdom as a public witness of our commitment to honor Christ with our lives.
Acts 2:38-39 - Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
The thread below briefly discuss infant and adult baptism. In short, infant baptism (or christening) is a way of welcoming a baby into the family of God and giving the Church an opportunity to commit to raise them in the truth. Adult baptism is the public profession of a choice to commit to following Jesus heart, soul, mind and strength. It is perfectly Biblical to be christened and then to be baptized as an adult when you become more serious about your faith.
This passage is Romans is a beautiful exposition of what baptism symbolizes - we have died with Christ and can now live a new life in Him. We have been crucified with Christ and we no longer live but He lives in us.
Romans 6:1-10 - What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
In summary, I do not personally think that baptism can ‘hold’ because baptism does not save us. It is Christ who redeems us and we all must ‘abide in Christ’ to have His life in us (see below passage from John). However, baptism as a public profession of our commitment to Christ is Biblical and good.
John 15:1-4 - “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
What is your family’s belief on christening? How do they view adult baptism after having been christened?
This is a good question, Josephine (@MoveMountains). I do agree with @SeanO that baptism does not save. In your situation, it seems to me that what I understand is that your parents are Christians, and they had you baptized when you were 1 1/2 years old, then you said that you became a Christian.
Assuming that my understanding of your situation is correct, I don’t see a need for you to be baptized again. I would only say that you need to be baptized in the present, if you were baptized as an unbeliever in an unbelieving church.
Baptizing babies are common among the Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Reformed churches. And we consider them as brothers in Christ, which makes your baptism valid.
Though if you ask me about my take on baptism, I have a credobaptist view. I believe that baptism should only be given to those who have in fact begun the Christian life. I don’t take the “covenant” argument of paedobaptists regarding baptism.
Paedobaptists would argue that in the New Testament, the outward sign for you to enter the covenant community is through baptism. This is the reason why baptism is the counterpart of circumcision. If this is the case, then baptism should be done to all infant children of believing parents.
What paedobaptists fail to put into account is that we become part of the body of Christ, not by physical birth (related to circumcision), but by having a saving faith and by being born again. In some senses, yes, we baptize babies — those who are newly born again, but they are unlike the physical, which all babies are born into it, but there is a dissimilarity, where we could see that in the spiritual, those that are born spiritually are those who put their trust in Christ.