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