Dear Friends,

How is it that some “Bible-believing” Christians believe that the Bible allows the baptism of infants? This is my fifth blog on this question. Today I will focus on what Baptists believe “happens” in baptism and what baptism signifies.

Baptists believe that there is only one biblical pattern. Someone who is old enough to make a decision (an “adult”) repents of their sin and believes the Gospel. After their conversion, they are baptized by full immersion.

Baptism is, in effect, an act of obedience and witness. It is an act of obedience because Jesus commended us to be baptized after we believe the Gospel and are saved. Baptism is also an act of witness to the world that we are now Christians.

By the way, Baptists and Anglicans agree that we do not baptize ourselves. We must be baptized by another person – a person who themselves is baptized. Mindful of this, it is still fair to say that for Baptists, when I am baptized as an adult, it is my act of witness to the Gospel. God does nothing in the baptism. It is my act of witness.

Baptists believe that baptism signifies that by faith we are united to Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection. It is a symbolic act alone, but the symbolism is important. Because the symbolism is important, the baptism, to be valid, must be by full immersion and it must be done in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Friends, this is great stuff! If the reader is expecting me to begin tearing into the Baptist position, you will be disappointed. There is lots of important truth to agree with and rejoice in. I am thankful for being raised in baptistic fellowships and I am thankful for my ongoing friendship and fellowship with Baptist believers. I hope our bonds of affection with Gospel-hearted Baptists will grow. We differ on a second order issue. As a second-order issue it will affect how a local church is structured, but it should not affect us being co-labourers in prayer and evangelism.

The issue will be a consistent, coherent and full reading of the Bible. We are to seek, Baptists and Anglicans together, to know every text in the Bible and then understand each text in light of all the other texts. We are to seek together to not read one part of the Bible in such a way that another part of the Bible is wrong in what it teaches. How do we listen to all of the texts in an “ordered” manner, capturing all of the teaching and all of the nuances? We will start to look at these questions next week. Please pray for me.
George +