Saturday, September 01, 2007

Interesting Quote from an Interesting Book on Baptism

I just finished reading the book, The Waters that Divide, by Donald Bridges and David Phypers. Bridge, a Baptist minister in England, and Phypers, and Anglican wrote this book together. They didn't do it in a debate style, but co-wrote it. They presented both sides. While the paedo-baptist position ion this book is more geared to the Anglican view, it does try to cover other paedo-baptist views. (Unfortunately this book seems to be out of print.)

While the Biblical reasons are the most important reasons, their section on hostory is quite interesting and informative. The John Owen quote I provided in the post below this one isn't from this book, but I found it after trying to verify the context of a quote they use from Owen. In fact they compare Owen with Bunyan. And they come out quite similar, despite Bunyan being claimed by Baptists. This is not referred to to "prove" paedobaptism. The chapter is more in relationship to how paedobaptists and credobaptists interact and fellowship. And that is currently an active issue on the internet and in some churches.

Two of the later chapters are titled "Problems for Paedobaptists" and "Problems for Baptists." These chapters are not about problems with either view, but are about problems those with either view could face. The paedobaptist chapter does concern Anglicans more, but contained these words I found quite illuminating. After discussing how there are churches that will baptize any infant that is requested (which they both disagree with-as do I) and lament how baptisms are often done before, after or otherwise separate from the main Sunday service, they write:
If baptism is the means of entry into the church, then it should take place in the presence of the church congregation, not merely on church premises. If paedobaptism involves obligations for the church then as many church members as possible must attend baptisms that they might be aware of the obligations involved in receiving new members into fellowship. If paedobaptism is to mean anything at all to those who are baptized it must constantly nbe dispalyed before them, and its significance explained as they grow in the life of the church, but as long as baptism remains a hole-in-a-corner affair this can never be.

(Bridges, Donald & David Phypers, The Waters that Divide, Inter-Varsity Press, 1977, p. 155)

Good stuff to think about, and part of the reason I am glad our congregation has baptisms during the service and we remind the congregation of the responsibilities and we are reminded of our own baptisms--no matter what age we were baptised at.

(And if you can get a copy of the book, check it out.)

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