FRANCIS A. SCHAEFFER: BAPTISM (Infant Baptism - Conclusion)


In conclusion, as we have our babies baptized, let us realize that it is not a matter of magic. As parents, what we do is to covenant with God to be faithful toward the child. It is the parents' work to train the child. It is the parents' privilege in many cases to lead the child to Christ. Christian parents should not depend upon the church's evangelistic services when the child becomes an adolescent, or even a full-grown adult, to lead him to Christ. The little child should learn of Jesus Christ from his parents from his earliest childhood, and in many cases when he is yet a child he should be led to a personal acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior by his father or his mother.

Take advantage of this God-given privilege of infant baptism. The Christian parent's heart, moved and guided by the indwelling Holy Spirit, has a natural urge to bring his child to God. This is so strong that even those who are Baptistic have come to the place of dedication of their children. There is no command for the dedication of children in the New Testament, but the saved parent feels such an urge to this that most Baptistic churches of necessity have dedication services for the children. They are not wrong in this - their only mistake is that they do not go far enough.

Let us not stop short of all that God means us to do and to have as Christian parents. If you are a Christian, your child is a child of the Covenant, and God means him to have the engagement sign of the Covenant. As a born-again parent, it is your privilege to apply it to him.

In the Old Testament, God disciplined those who did not circumcise their children. Moses and Zipporah found this out to their sorrow. God does not deal with His people in this age in this way. We are not killed for picking up sticks on the Lord's Day, but we keep the Lord's Day nevertheless because we love our Lord. We are not killed in this age for not baptizing our children, but we should do it nevertheless because God wants us to. The Baptism of your infants is a part of your privilege as a Christian. Take it with thanksgiving along with the other good things God gives you.

Questions Asked Publicly of Parents Before Infant is Baptized

1. Do you yourselves know that you are saved through faith in Christ, not through anything you have done or ever will do, but simply through your faith in Christ's finished work on Calvary's cross - as He died in space and time, in history?

2. Do you realize that this is not a saving ordinance and that this child will have to accept Christ as his own Saviour when he comes to the age of accountability?

3. Have you covenanted with God to give back this child to Him, so that, if He sees fit in His providence to call this child home to Himself, you will not complain against Him, or if the child grows to adulthood and is called to some form of special Christian service, you will not stand in his way but rather encourage him?

4. Do you realize that this sacrament is not a matter of magic, but that in it you covenant with God to raise this child in the fear and admonition of the Lord, to pray for and with him, to keep him in the house of God and with God's people, to be faithful in your home life for Christ as you live it before him, and to do your utmost personally to lead him to a saving knowledge of Christ at an early age?

*Baptism of Infants, Philip Schaff, Vol. 1, p. 209. Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia.

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