Should We Baptize Infants?

A Conversation Between a Baptist and a Presbyterian

Jesus practiced baptism when he allowed John the Baptist to immerse Him in the Jordan River. Now, His church models Christ through baptism. Some churches follow His example and baptize confessing believers. Others see infant baptism as a proper way to obey Jesus. Church leaders Ligon Duncan and Thabiti Anyabwile discuss the different approaches to baptism in the Baptist and Presbyterian traditions. 

Dr. J. Ligon Duncan III is the Chancellor/CEO of Reformed Theological Seminary and the John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology. Thabiti Anyabwile serves as a pastor at Anacostia River Church in the Washington, D.C. area. 

Presbyterians view infant baptism as a sign of the New Covenant in the same way circumcision marked the Israelites under the Old Covenant. Baptists see holes in this approach and only baptize professing Christians. 

Does your church baptize infants? If so, why? If not, who is allowed to be baptized at your church? How does your congregation handle the baptism process?
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Thabiti said in the Baptist tradition, baptism serves as the doorway to the church and its benefits. What do you think of this statement? Do you agree? Why or why not?
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Ligon pointed out that in the Presbyterian tradition, baptism works as a sign of the New Covenant, just as circumcision set the Israelites apart under the Old Covenant. Do you see infant baptism as a sign of the New Covenant? Why or why not?
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Have you been baptized? If so, were you baptized as an infant or after conversion? How has your baptism experience shaped your Christian walk?
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If you haven’t been baptized, what steps could you take toward being baptized this week? If you have been baptized, what could you do this week to reflect on and thank God for your baptism?
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Whether you believe in infant baptism or not, baptism marks Christians as God’s people. The next time your church has a baptism ceremony, reflect back on you Christian walk. Thank God for bringing you into His family. If you haven’t been baptized before, ask the leaders at your church how you can be baptized.  


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