Why do some churches baptise babies?

In my article about children and baptism I commented that:

“… a few years back, there was a big fuss about something called “The Federal Vision.” It was strong among some Presbyterians and Anglicans. It was an attempt to recover a high view of baptism for paedo-baptist evangelicals. They wanted to say that baptism for babies was more than just getting the baby wet and more than a naming ceremony.”[1]

One respondent on twitter wanted to point out that the choice for paedo-baptist evangelicals was not a binary one between the Federal Vision position and the confused “wet dedication” position. He was right of course, there is a long tradition going back to the Reformers of what he called a “strong” view of baptism. The point I was making in that statement was not that other views/approaches didn’t exist (note the use of the word ‘recover’) but rather that the Federal Visionist debate arose partly out of a concern that paedo-baptists had lost their way a little. Certainly, my experience up until about 10 years ago was that Anglican Evangelicals I encountered were generally uncertain about why they baptised babies – on the back foot as it were.  Since then we have seen a more robust defence of the position among paedo-baptists -even a more, front foot, on the attack seeking to challenge the baptistic” position.   Continue reading

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Should children take communion

From time to time I get asked this question and as we’ve been working through a believing and belonging series looking at things like membership, baptism and communion recently I thought it might be helpful to share a few thoughts.

I want to suggest that there are four questions you might want to ask.

  1. Why is the child taking communion?
  2. What is your approach to baptism and communion?
  3. What is your approach to children and baptism?
  4. Do you practice an “open” or a “closed” table.

Let me explain -you will see that they are interlinked. Continue reading