Issues Regarding my Baptism

Discussion in 'Paedo-Baptism Answers' started by TooManySystematics, Jan 9, 2018.

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  1. TooManySystematics

    TooManySystematics Puritan Board Freshman

    'Ello everyone!

    I became a Christian approximately three years ago. My parents are not Christians nor do they profess the faith in any way. However, when I was an infant I was baptized in the United Church of Canada. They did this presumably out of superstition or tradition, clearly not understanding the meaning. I also firmly hold to paedobaptism.

    Since I have come to the faith I have struggled with the legitimacy of my own baptism. As a child of unbelievers I had no right to receive the sign and seal of the covenant which had not been extended to me. This has been a grave issue on my conscious because of my pursuit of pastoral ministry and my ever-increasing involvement in my Church. As of now I have spoken with my Elders about the possibility of me being baptized.

    Am I wrong to think this way? Do I have valid grounds to doubt the legitimacy of my "baptism"? The issues seems to me not about whether I should be re-baptized, but finally be baptized.

  2. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    Did either of your parents profess to be a Christian at the time of your baptism?
  3. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    This is a question ultimately for your elders to undertake with you, of which they already are. This is because they have been ordained at this time to judge your situation and all the details. Submit to what they say, and stop doubting! :) Good question, I think it is just the wrong audience.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018
  4. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

    I was baptized as a professing believer, but I did not understand baptism at that time, being a quite young child. I take great comfort that baptism is "not tied to that moment wherein it is administered." (WCF XXVIII. VI)

    I think cases like this where the parents don't end up being believers, yet still had some seed of faith in them enough to bring forth their child for baptism in a Trinitarian church, shows God's grace in a special way. One of my own elders was baptized as an infant in an Episcopalian church by non-believing parents (who still sometimes attended church), but even from the time he was in that church, he was able to hear services where the Bible was read, despite other errors, which he still remembers today.
  5. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    We will always be subject to doubts if we tie the legitimacy of our baptism to the quality of the faith present at the time, the faithfulness of the church, the right procedures having been followed, etc. You could get re-baptized and still have doubts in years to come about how your current church handled it all. The church has many failings, but we are thankful that the promises of baptism don't depend on the local church. This is one reason the Reformed generally accept baptisms even if, in retrospect, it was probably a mistake at the time to perform them.

    That said, it matters for you to feel good about your baptism. I think you have ample reason to feel good about it already, having been baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit rather than in the name of an apostate church. But if you can't get to that point, I also understand why you would bring up this matter. As has been said earlier, your pastor and elders are in the best place to discuss this with you and determine the best course of action.

    I will say this: I don't think it would be a grave error if you and they end up making the "wrong call" here, whichever way the decision goes. You clearly aren't being either neglectful or rash, but are carefully considering the matter and resolved to do what is right. So consult with your elders and listen to their wisdom. And then, whichever way it goes, be encouraged that God has brought you to this point and made you a faithful follower.
  6. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Whose speech is it, who has the principal voice in a baptism?

    The answer of the Reformers long ago, and the reason they did not dispute their own baptisms were legitimate--though performed by a church sliding into apostasy and burying the gospel under heaps of superstition; whose own parents may not have been more than nominal Christians--was that God was willing to speak, at times even if it must be with the mouth of an ass (ala story of Balaam).

    God marks with his name all property he is willing to claim according to the rule; though he may decline to "know/own it" at some future date. In this case (as with the old Reformers) God used the instrument of a once-vibrant, gone decadent church still to own you his property; and finally in due season to convince YOU that HE was right all along! Praise the Lord for that great mercy.
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  7. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Amen Bruce,
    I was just about to post what you said.
  8. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    Basically, you got something that you should not have received at the time. However, that only renders your baptism irregular; it does not render it invalid. If it did, then that would lead to all sorts of absurdity. The Westminster Confession is adamant that baptism is only to be applied once to any person. There is no biblical warrant for rebaptising someone whom the church should not have baptised as an infant.
  9. Cymro

    Cymro Puritan Board Junior

    If my memory serves me right, Calvin wrote of those who had been baptised by a catholic priest and were concerned about its validity, that they were not baptised inthe name of the priest, but in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
  10. TooManySystematics

    TooManySystematics Puritan Board Freshman

    No, they didn't possess faith nor did they even profess to. They were not members of a local Church either (ANY Church, faithful or not) at any point in their lives. I have currently scheduled a meeting with one of my Church Elders to discuss the issue.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
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