There’s been quite a bit of talk about baptism around the God-blogs. Le Sabot Post-Moderne defends infant baptism from covenantal theology. Jared Wilson , coming from the Southern Baptist tradition, explores the idea of infant baptism “with trepidation”. Rhys Morgan approaches the issue from a pastoral perspective. And Adrian Warnock says “if its not in the bible its not for me”. Which I suppose is fair enough.
A further thought occurred to me as I was supervising my daughter at her friend’s birthday party. There is a case in the New Testament of baptism being offered for those who have not made a profession of faith. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul mounts a robust defence of his belief in the resurrection of the dead. He begins with the resurrection of Jesus (where else?!) , but as his argument progresses he asks: “Now, if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them?” (1 Cor 15:29) We can’t be sure whether or not the New Testament Church baptized its children, but we do know for certain that it practised vicarious baptism on behalf of those who had died. That we no longer follow this practice is hardly germane, though I wonder if Adrian’s church does, since it is clearly in the Bible :). What is important here is that Paul knows of this practice in the Corinthian church and does not condemn it. Baptism is being offered for those who have made no personal profession of faith. Not a conclusive point but, i think, an interesting one.