Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Little Children are the Model to Follow

The age of accountability is known. Except we don't know when that really is. People don't need a date to move from innocence to accountability.

The grace of God is greater than our sin, committed or not.

I won't argue about when that is or is not. I have known some people who are middle aged but children at heart. Some who are mentally limited. The age may never come for them.

I have known some who at 10 years old KNEW they had come to that point, needed Jesus, and came to him as a child.

While I have become less legalistic about all this, it does speak to the practice of infant baptism. No debate here, but there seems to be an order to recognition of lostness (accountability), repentance, believing unto salvation and then being born again as Jesus defined in John Chapter 3. The act of Baptism takes all that BEFORE and buries it in an act of obedience and a resurrection takes place.

I know this is a tradition that is deep in much of churchianity.

The truth is the act of Baptism can't, won't, doesn't save you. It's obedience.

This comes up because of a story that reminded me of a couple mothers who killed their children in the last many years. One in southern IL who's 3 children in the car waved bye bye to their mother standing on the shore. Or the mother who hung her little boy with an electric cord in Chicago some years ago. That little guy didn't know until he died that anything was wrong. Smiled just before he dangled to death at his mothers hand.

Those little people none of whom were likely baptised as babies are in heaven by the grace of God. Baptism couldn't save them.

I don't believe that Baptism babies does much for the child, it does more for the parents -- calling off a guilt trip. The spiritual punch card that grandparents impose on their churchless godless children. Not all, but too many.

There are godly parents who as an act of hope and obedience to a doctrine they believe bring their children forward for baptism. It's OK...but there is a problem. The child then has the "One Baptism" curse placed on them. They worry that according to the teaching of their church that if they are baptised as an adult that somehow God will be angered at their obedience. HUH?

This has become an obstacle to consecration in my opinion. Much lukewarmness results in this practice. The church I attend practices Infant Baptism and then later a "Dry Baptism" of Confirmation. I'm concerned that there are too few willing to step into that arena of recommitting and confirmtion. We are "Dry Baptizing about 1 out of every hundred we baby baptize". This isn't working.

We need to revisit the whole idea of Baptism, or re-baptism. I'm not convinced there is a scriptural imperative that we NOT be re-baptized. In fact, perhaps we need to be baptised for real.

The act of being baptised in water and baptised in the Holy Spirit was the point of demarcation for me. We need people to step away from their old lives. They need a line in the sand. Baptism can be that.

We have become too complacent.

One of the saddest things I ever heard was from a grieving mother who had a son who had never set foot in the house of God, rejected Jesus, had no time for anything of Christianity. In his twenties he was killed in a motorcycle accident. Mom then returned to church, but not to Jesus. She said to me, "At least Billy was baptised as a baby so I know he made it to heaven".

I didn't burst her bubble. Perhaps I should have. Her soul was in the balance.

She showed up a few times and then...off the radar.

I may have missed the opportunity to bring truth to her. I have no idea where she is today.

And that is why I cannot embrace infant baptism, even if I tolerate it.

There is nothing useful that happens.

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