Standpunkt: Kindertaufe

In seinem Katechese-Buch "Growing in Christ" behandelt Packer kurz die Kindertaufe und nimmt dabei Bezug auf das "Baptismal Office" (Prayer Book, 1662) der Anglikanischen Kirche. Ich beziehe mich auf Kapitel 10 "Baptisms and Infants" und Kapitel 13 "Baptism Improved".

Die beiden Positionen

One of the church's unhappy divisions concerns the subject of baptism. Nobody defends baptizing all infants as such, but most denominations baptize the children of the baptized. Baptists, however, see this as either non-baptism (because infants cannot make the required confession of faith) or as irregular baptism (because, they say, it is not clearly apostolic, nor pastorally wise). Some hold that by not actually commanding infant baptism God in Scripture forbids it; all urge that to postpone baptism till faith is conscious is always in practice best. … On the other side, some have deduced from covenant theology that God commands the baptism of believers' babies after all. Many more maintain that this practice, though fixed by the church, has better theological, historical, and pastoral warrant than the alternative has.

Zwei wesentliche Argumente für die Kindertaufe

Generell: Scripture neither commands nor forbids infant baptism, and we may not assume that the divine Author who guided the human writers meant to do either.

Argument 1: Male infant circumcision by God's command under the old covenant, linked with Paul's insistence that under the new covenant a believer's children are "holy" (dedicated to God and accepted by him) along with their parent(s) (see Genesis 17:9-14; 1 Corinthians 7:14), make infant baptism look right to many Bible-believing Christians.

Argument 2: Moreover, infant baptism was pretty certainly apostolic practice. The "houses" (that is, households, which were extended families) of Lydia, the Philippian jailer, and Stephanas were baptized, the second within hours of the jailer's conversion (Acts 16:15, 33; 1 Corinthians 1:16). It seems only natural to infer that this was standard practice when any head of a home was converted, and that these extended families contained infants.

Drei Einwände

Einwand 1 "Bekenntnis notwendig": (T)he New Testament nowhere says that; it is a question-begging inference from the fact that in the New Testament, as in later practice, adults are not baptized without such a confession.

Einwand 2 "Persönlicher Glaube voraugesetzt": (P)arents and godparents sponsoring infants at baptism commit those infants to genuine personal repentance and faith, compelling them to make their own genuine confession of repentance and faith at age.

Einwand 3 "Kind ist wiedergeboren": (T)hese phrases denote only the ceremonial making over to us of spiritual rights and privileges, which if it is ever to be effectual must be confirmed by faith in Christ.

7 Bedeutungen der Taufe

First, it was a gospel service, in which "the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith" (Romans 1:16) was set forth in symbol.

Second, my baptism was a marriage service, in which I was given away to Jesus my Lord to be his person, his covenant-partner.

Third, my baptism was a burial service, a funeral rite committing the man I was by nature, in Adam, to total destruction.

Fourth, my baptism was an Easter festival, proclaiming both Jesus' resurrection and mine, as a believer, in and with his.

Fifth, my baptism was a birthday celebration: I might say, my official "new-birth-day," for new birth is what co-resurrection with Christ effects.

Sixth, my baptism was an admission ceremony, bringing me into the family of God's adopted children so that I might share the family life of worship, witness, and work for our Father's glory.

Seventh, my baptism was a commissioning service, entering me upon a life wholly given to serve Christ and his cause.