In a previous post, I raised the issue of Romans 6 presenting union with Christ as occurring by means of baptism. That obviously raises problems. What about those who profess faith in Christ who were never (or are not yet) baptized? What about justification by faith alone? Are there two categories of Christians: those who are baptized and released from Sin, and those who are regenerate but totally under Sin’s power?
It’s commonly held that baptism is merely a sign. That is, it’s an event where the believer confesses Jesus publicly, with their immersion symbolizing the fact that they died with Jesus, and their appearance from the water displaying their new life and anticipation of the resurrection body. In other words, to put it crudely, baptism doesn’t do anything but represents what has already happened through one’s faith in Jesus. Therefore, it becomes optional for the believer: if it doesn’t do anything, then it isn’t essential. This unfortunately leads to neglect.
As you may know, we had our first daughter in January. What a wild ride that has been! Her presence has been a delight to us but has also raised important questions that we never before thought through. Questions like disciplinary approach, homeschooling vs public schooling, and the degree and timing of her exposure to wider culture. Most of these don’t have to be answered immediately, but this is not so for the question of baptism. Should we follow the practice of many Christians in the past (and present) and baptise her as an infant, since she is a child of new covenant members? Or should we wait until she has professed faith? Being raised in the Calvary Chapel movement, I have always held to believer’s baptism, but had I truly considered the alternative view? Not only that, but why do I hold to believer’s baptism?