Why Infant Baptism? A Reformation Answer

Dogmatic Joy

Why do the churches which arose directly out of the Reformation (Anglican, Lutheran, Reformed, Presbyterian) baptize the children of Christian believers, rather than waiting for said children to come to faith at a mature age, and baptizing them upon a clearly articulated profession of faith? There are many possible answers to this question, but millions of Christians since the sixteenth century, from Baptists to Pentecostals to Reformed thinkers like Schleiermacher and Barth, have found all of them unconvincing.

There are, of course, peculiarly Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox justifications for infant baptism. The Catholic Church’s strong doctrine of original sin, championed by St. Augustine, was tied to the proclamation that baptism washes away the original sin of infants, sin which, even without being accompanied by personal or actual sin, was sufficient to damn these little ones. (Note well, though, that infant baptism did not arise because of a doctrine of…

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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