CHURCHES WITH INFANT BAPTISM HAVE A PROBLEM!
I’m convinced that churches which practice infant baptism have a problem. And it’s not a problem they are usually aware of.
Let me be clear. I believe in infant baptism. I believe the church should practice it. I thrilled when I baptized my sons. It’s the precious sign of the covenant. So I’ve always loved it when I could baptize infants.
But there’s still a problem.
It seems to me that people who are baptized as adults find their baptism to be a very stirring and memorable moment. Especially those who are immersed. They can never erase that experience from their minds. They always go back to it for encouragement (or correction). It’s a forming and shaping experience permanently, more or less.
But I was baptized as an infant, and I was too young to know about it. I have no memory of it. Neither do my sons have any memory of their actual baptisms. I’ve told them. We have pictures of it. But their personal memory contains no page in the album called “my baptism”.
There’s the problem.
So how can an infant baptism shape the faith formation of someone who only knows second hand that it happened? I’m not suggesting that we do away with infant baptism. Never! But I wonder, how could we overcome this problem of a “distant event that I don’t remember.”
What can we do to make our baptisms more real, more memorable, more life-giving, and more faith-forming?
I’ll be leading a sectional at the Symposium on Worship in January, 2011, on “Remembering our Baptisms” and I’d love to get some help from you.
How can we overcome this problem? What do you think? What have you experienced?
What have you done? I’d love it if you’d let me know.