Thursday, June 16, 2016

Why I Am Not Paedobaptist

For the past few weeks I have been taking a day a week to tell how I have arrived at my various theological convictions. I’ve done this by telling you why I am not what I am not: I am not atheist, Roman Catholic, liberal, or Arminian. Today I want to tell you why I am not paedobaptist. But first, of course, definitions are in order. Read More


J MW said...

Not Anglican at all.

Robin G. Jordan said...

The Anglican Church does have a wing that practices believer baptism. This wing is primarily found in the Church of England and is classically evangelical in its theological outlook. It has adopted a credo-baptist position due to the practice of indiscriminate baptism in a number of English parishes. The classical evangelical view of infant baptism is to liken baptism to circumcision. As circumcision admits the child of Jewish parents to the Old Covenant, baptism admits the child of Christian parents to the New Covenant. Since many parents seeking baptism for their children in post-Christian England are not baptized or if they had been baptized as infants, they are not convictional Christians, this wing concluded that it is best from a pastoral viewpoint to defer baptism to an age when the child himself is capable of making a profession of faith in Christ. Infant baptism, in their view, only makes sense when the parents themselves show clear evidence that their hearts as well as their bodies have been baptized. Cf. Paul's teaching on circumcision of the heart being the mark of a true Jew. In place of infant baptism they use the service of thanksgiving for the birth of a child as a naming and dedication service.

One of the reasons that the Episcopal Church is in its present shape is that many Episcopalians were baptized, catechized, and confirmed but never converted. They are not convictional Christians. Whether they can be viewed as members of the New Covenant is debatable. Rob Smith addresses this problem in Leading Christians to Christ: Evangelizing the Church (Morehouse Publishing, 1990)

My policy is also not to limit myself solely to self-identified "Anglican" writers but to offer a range of views. Tim Challies' article series is interesting in my estimation because he is able to articulate why he adopted a particular theological stance and in doing so, encourages others to give some thought to why they have adopted a particular theological stance.

In the twenty-first century being "Anglican" embraces a broad range of theological viewpoints. There are dozens of definitions of what it means to be an "Anglican." Anglo-Catholics do not agree with evangelicals nor do open evangelicals agree with conservative ones. Some people who identify themselves as "Anglican" are Arminian; others are Reformed. Some subscribe to the doctrine of baptismal regeneration; others reject that doctrine. Some believe in the objective real presence of Christ's body and blood in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper; others believe that Christ is spiritually present in the ordinance but not substantively or otherwise present in the elements. New groups are emerging with their own definition of being "Anglican." At one time the "via media" was the rage. Now it is "three streams, one river."