Here recently my wife and I rejoiced over the baptism of our baby daughter, Felicity.
It’s funny how things change. Ten years ago I never would have dreamed of having one of my children baptized as an infant. But alas, I’ve been won over by those pesky Presbyterians. Some would say fooled though. And I understand why. The issue of infant baptism is a charged subject; and no small number of Baptists will moan in agony at the mere mention of the practice.
Here I’m reminded of a little known, but humorous fact. If you have Macarthur’s Study Bible, specifically the 1997 edition, which is the one I own, turn to the topical index and look up “Baptism.” Now scan down the list. There towards the end, under “administered to,” you will read the following,
“Scriptures supporting infant baptism. Prov 30:6.”
Ohh, what is this? Macarthur cites a passage supporting infant baptism? Let’s check it out.
Proverbs 30:6 reads, “Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.”
He must have gotten flack over that, because when I went to show a friend of mine the putdown in his Macarthur Study Bible, which happened to be a later edition, it was gone. They removed it. They should have kept it. It makes me chuckle.
So as I was saying, the debate over infant baptism is an emotionally charged subject? Why? Well, there are many reasons. For one, it’s usually misunderstood and thought to confer salvation, which makes people think we’re playing footsie with Rome. But for those who know better, I think this issue really shows how one puts their Bible together. It sheds light on their overall hermeneutic, their view of the covenants, their eschatological leanings, their ecclesiological presuppositions and their understanding of the sacraments, to just name a few. And that, mind you, will always cause a stir.
Now if you haven’t thought through this issue, you’re in for a real treat. You’re going to be introduced to all kinds of unfamiliar topics and ideas, concepts that are at both daunting in their complexity, but profoundly important.
The best way to wade through this subject is to read. Reading is almost always the best approach. But a good debate can prove helpful as well. So that’s what I’m going to do- recommend debates for your listening pleasure.
Here are some options:
James White vs. William Shisko (This is a good debate): http://inthylight.wordpress.com/2006/12/08/james-white-and-bill-shishko-infant-baptism-debate-mp3s/
Thomas Schreiner vs. David VanDrunen (Schreiner was the better debater in the Q and A):
Fred Malone vs. Robert Strimple (It’s a good debate, but the audio is a bit annoying. It was recorded back in 1999.)
Here I will add one more comment. I have decided to post some of my own thoughts about this issue, specifically, the nature of the new covenant in light of the warnings. I think it is a crucial issue, and it is one that comes up in nearly every paedo/credo baptism debate. Go to the top of the website and click “Theoblogical.”
Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced
Must Listen Factor: Specialized. Only audio scavengers with a strong penchant for theology will want to wade through these.