This is our first Friday of the month look at one of the booklets that are provided by The Committee on Christian Education of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.
Today’s booklet is, Why Does the OPC Baptize Infants? There are copies of this booklet in the bookcase at the Church building in the foyer if you would like a hard copy, or you can read it online here. http://www.opc.org/cce/eBooks/Why_Baptize_Infants.pdf
If you grew up with a Presbyterian background, you may be familiar with the idea of infant baptism. If your background was more evangelical, it may seem odd to you. As I spent many years of ministry in a Church that was not favorable to infant baptism, I had to do a lot of studying on the topic of baptism.
“The practice of infant baptism is an institution which exists as a fact, and prevails throughout the universal church, with the exception of the modern Baptists, whose origin can be definitely traced to the Anabaptists of Germany, about A. D. 1537.” A. A. Hodge
The introduction to the booklet then states that Hodge quotes many sources to back up his claims about infant baptism. From the apostolic age, in all sections of the ancient church, uninterruptedly to the present time, in every one of the great historical churches of the Reformation, infant baptism was practiced. Now that’s interesting. It’s encouraging. But that’s not why we baptize infants. (booklet)
The introduction gives a five-step explanation of why we baptize infants: 1) The church of the Old Testament and the church of the New Testament are, in essence, the same church. 2) God regards the children of believers as members of this church. 3) In the Old Testament era, the children of believers, because they were church members, were given the covenant sign of circumcision. 4) In the New Testament era, God has taken the sign of circumcision and changed it to baptism. 5) Therefore, in the New Testament era, the children of believers, because they are church members, are to be given the sign of baptism.
In listing these five-steps, I am not giving away the remaining content of the booklet. The remainder of the booklet goes into detail on each of these five steps, with plenty of Scripture references as well. The conclusion gives a call to parents to nurture Christian faith in their children. Covenant children are also encouraged to respond with faith and obedience to the Christ of the covenant. I hope you will take a few minutes and read through this valuable resource.
If you are interested in further reading on the topic of baptism, I highly recommend, The Baptism Debate, by Dr. Leonard J. Coppes. I have read many books and articles on Baptism, and this is by far the best look at Baptism and Scripture that I have found. If you are interested in that resource, let me know and I’ll give you the information on how you can purchase a copy directly from Dr. Coppes.