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Returning from Baptism

dp818206This engraving was by the well-known French Protestant artist Abraham Bosse (1604-1676). This engraving is interesting because it gives a view into the practice of baptism in Geneva during the Reformation. It was common practice, among both Catholics and Protestants, for mothers not to attend the baptism of their children since they were recovering from giving birth. The ones who generally brought their children to the baptism were the fathers and godparents.

In Geneva it was required for the father to attend the baptism where he would promise to bring the child up in the Christian faith. Godparents who would attend with the father could only be those who were faithful Christians and Reformed, since others could not promise to teach the children the Christian faith. This was against the Roman Catholic church’s practice that only allowed the godparents to bring the baby to baptism.

In one account, two people from Dardagny in November of 1545 were called before the Consistory and reprimanded for their superstitions that a father should not attend his children’s baptism. More should be said on this and I hope will at a later time.

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God Speaks in Baptism

waterThis past week I spent some time with friends and family at a local campsite. It was relaxing after a week at ETS. I began talking with a friend about the ministry. He’s a baptist and is very involved in his church. He’s a faithful lover of the Gospel and intentional about discipling his children in the Lord. We talk often about our differences in baptism, communion, etc. This particular time we talked about baptism.

He asked me “Why baptize a baby when you don’t know if they have faith?” These questions are honest questions that are asked by sincere Christians. I want to take time to explain in this post is the answer that I gave him because I’m sure there are many others who have similar questions. I would recommend for further reading on this subject The Case for Covenantal Infant Baptism(more…)

The Council of Miletus, Baptism, and Confirmation

During the Reformation, among many discussion was the essence and efficacy of the sacraments. Calvin’s polemics against this would focus on the necessity of repeated infusion of grace – ex opere operato – in all sacraments. Calvin writing against confirmation:

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Calvin’s Baptismal Service from Genevan Book of Order

Order of Baptism First note, that forasmuch as it is not permitted by God’s word, that women should preach or minister the sacraments; and it is evident that the sacraments are not ordained of God to be used in private corners as charms or sorceries, but left to the congregation, and necessarily annexed to God’s word as seals of the same;[5] therefore the infant which is to be baptized shall be brought to the church, on the day appointed to common prayer and preaching, accompanied with the father and godfather. So that after the sermon, the child being presented to the minister, he demands this question: Do you present this child to be baptized, earnestly desiring that he may be engrafted in the mystical body of Jesus Christ? The answer: Yes, we require the same.

The minister proceeds: (more…)

The Mexican Reformed Church and Their Misunderstanding of Baptism

Long ago in the history of the church came the famous persecution of the church. An event where of thousands of Christians died. So much that when people were threatened with death they would abandon their faith altogether. One of the problems that arose from this event was the issue of baptism. If you were baptized by a pastor and then he apostatized (left the faith) would you need to be re-baptized? After much debate the church rightly concluded that the validity of the baptism was in the person who actually baptized the Christian. Was it the man that baptized them or was it God? The church rightly understood that baptism is not man speaking but God speaking. Thus, the baptism remains effective irregardless of the faithfulness of the man but based on the faithfulness of God. (more…)