My blogging friend Talbot Davis has stirred up a good deal of heat and conversation by writing that he no longer believes in infant baptism.
It’s not complicated, it’s not a spiritual birthmark, it’s not a naming ceremony, it’s not even the New Testament equivalent of circumcision. It’s death to the old life and resurrection to the new. And babies don’t have old lives to die to.
I have written on this issue a few times, and Talbot and I have exchanged views in public and private. He is convinced believer’s baptism is Scriptural. I will point out as well that the pastor of one of the largest United Methodist congregations in my conference is an active proponent of believer’s baptism and infant dedication. So far neither the vortex of hell nor the bishop’s ire has overtaken that pastor.
As you might imagine — given my ‘company man’ and Wesleyan ways — I support the United Methodist law and doctrine on infant baptism, even though I myself was an adult convert to the faith.
Here are two of my posts about infant baptism in the UMC, if you care to read them (the second is more polemical):
And, on a slightly different note, here is one of my favorite John Wesley statements on baptism, in which Father John argues in favor of sprinkling as a valid form of baptism.
It is true, we read of being “buried with Christ in baptism.” But nothing can be inferred from such a figurative expression. Nay, if it held exactly, it would make as much for sprinkling as for plunging; since, in burying, the body is not plunged through the substance of the earth, but rather earth is poured or sprinkled upon it.