Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Infant Baptism: The Beginning of a Topic

In my previous post on The Great Triduum, I mentioned that during our main service of Easter Worship at Grace Church of the Nazarene, I had the great privilege of baptizing. The person that I baptized was a nine-month old little boy. His parents, having previously been baptized, also took the opportunity to renew their own baptismal vows.

It was a wonderful and joyous time. The church was packed with people (not a few of whom were family members of the child being baptized)! Of course, there was the cuteness factor! The little boy slept through most of the ritual . . . until the water was poured on his head! Then he awoke with three little sneezes. The congregation laughed and awed.

But beyond the cuteness factor, there was great meaning in that part of worship; meaning for the parents and their extended family; meaning for the congregation, and, indeed, the entire Body of Christ; and meaning for that little nine-month old child. - There was meaning, not only because the people involved filled the event with their own perceived meaning, but there was meaning, because God was there and at work through that Holy Sacrament.

In talking about baptizing that nine-month old, it strikes me that not everyone out there knows why we baptize babies. In fact, it strikes me that there are countless members of my own denomination that don't even know that we do baptize babies (I used to be one of them, prior to college!), because the ritual of Infant Dedication has often replaced the sacrament of Baptism for infants in many Nazarene settings. (A fact which I, personally, lament.) Therefore, I hope to write a series of posts during the upcoming days concerning infant baptism. - I hope to briefly put the practice of Nazarenes baptizing babies in historical context. I will explain why I, and other Wesleyan/Methodist Christians, practice infant Baptism. And I will touch on what I believe is going on in the sacrament of infant Baptism.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good job on your blogging baby steps. How appropriate that they are on infant baptism.

journeyman37 said...

This should be good... I'm very interested in learning more about these developments in the Nazarene branch of the Wesleyan trunk in the great Christian tree...

Peace in Christ,

Taylor Burton-Edwards

Katharine said...

I look forward to these blogs. Being an "infant baptism" convert myself thanks to you I think education is needed so much. I have no regrets. I'm grateful that my children can partake in everything that my husband and I can. There is cuteness for certain when children have their funny reactions to baptism, or when they act like they are going to be feasting on communion wafers and grape juice, but I do believe there is something deep and precious at work.

Fr. Rick Leone said...

I was unaware that Nazarenes baptized the babies. Praise God! I love to baptize the babies! The practice dates back to the earliest days of the Church. Instructions were given to baptize the babies first during those early baptismal services. This is not a "Roman" practice but an ancient "catholic-universal" pratice. Blessings.

Daniel Coutz said...

I'm interested in reading your other posts on this topic, as at the moment I do not agree with infant baptism, but very interested in hearing your reasons for this sacrament.

Pete said...

This is very interesting that you learned of infant Baptism in college,
I presume you did not read or see that Faith comes before Baptism in Scripture. !I concur that a nine month baby would have no means of the accepting of the Gospel and John 3:16. Let us follow the example of the Baptism of Christ Himself.!!