This page is dedicated to collating posts that deal with arguments about the proper subjects of baptism. Please read this brief introduction which will contextualize, I hope, any posts found below.
Polemical theology must be handled delicately. Great, now you’re thinking about the Wicked Witch of the West. You weren’t? Great, now you are. Anyway, as we were saying, polemical theology must be handled delicately. The purpose must not be to triumph over an adversary, but to win a brother. It must not be an “us vs. them” scenario. And the authority and force of the arguments must come not from personality or pressure but from the soundness of the reasons provided.
As a Reformed Baptist, confessing the Second London Baptist Confession my closest theological family, friends, and allies are those of the Reformed tradition. Their theology and practice are closest to my own. Their theologians and their theological literature are precious and valuable to me.
So, please read any posts below keeping in mind that it is from a spirit of brotherly love and regard for my closest theological family that I offer some criticisms of the paedobaptism that they believe and practice. And if you regard these criticisms as being untruthful, then perhaps at least the love with which they are offered will preserve a spirit of unity and fraternity between us.
Before initiating such criticisms, let it be remembered that the Reformed Baptist and the Reformed paedobaptist share the theology and practice of credobaptism. What I mean is, both groups baptize those who turn to Christ in their riper years and profess faith in him. For the paedobaptist, such a person was not baptized as an infant.
The baptism of infants, therefore, is in the words of William Cunningham,
to be regarded as a peculiar, subordinate, supplemental,
exceptional thing, which stands indeed firmly based on its own distinct
and special grounds (The Reformers and the Theology of the Reformation)
These criticisms are not aimed at the Reformed doctrine of baptism in general, therefore, but to the grounds of infant baptism in particular.
In light of my intentional effort to engage my paedobaptist brethren in this manner, I have entitled this page “Irenics.” The word “polemics” derives from the Greek word for war, “πόλεμος.” Irenics derives from the Greek word for peace, “εἰρήνη.”