Paedo-Baptism Answers Seeking wisdom: husband and I differ in baptism conviction

Mrs_soup

Puritan Board Freshman
Hi everyone! Hopefully I’m posting this in the right place. I’m a former credo-baptist who has recently had convictions about paedo-baptism (that formed shortly before my husband and I were married last year). I have gently brought the topic up to him a couple of times and he is open to researching both sides more, but sits pretty firmly in a credo-position as of now.

We are expecting our first child soon, and I’m a little nervous about moving out of step with God’s will. On one hand, I know that I’m called to submit to my husband and trust the Lord to lead him so that he can lead us. On the other hand, are we in sin for preventing our child(ren) from being baptized should my husband remain in that position? Should they not also partake in the covenant? Would I be in sin for going against my convictions?

I just want to be obedient, and I’m hoping someone could weigh in with some biblically sound advice/encouragement. Thank you in advance and God bless you!
 
Dear sister,

First, congratulations on both your marriage and the fruit of you and your husband's love. Praise God!

I'm sorry that you face this difficulty, though. My wife and I were on different pages at one point years ago. We had little ones, and that made the issue more pressing. After much prayer, we both ended up on the same page. Thank God! The call to baptize our children, I believe, is clear. The reformed confessions (Westminster and the Three Forms) are explicit about the importance of baptizing our children and the solemn warning if we withhold that means of grace.

But let me comfort you, sister. Your first responsibility is to submit to your husband. Pray for him and read through materials on the issue. Both of you should approach it in this manner. Your husband is responsible for leading your family and will give an account to the Lord (thankfully, he will do so in Christ, our only hope). Here's the core of the comfort...your child is holy unto the Lord, even if our practice is deficient.

Let me ask some questions, though. Your signature says "PCA." Do y'all attend a PCA? If so, is your husband willing to speak with the minister or other knowledgeable members? How open is he to the conversation (meaning, has he started looking into it)?
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I'll add one more thing. You mentioned the will of God. You are right now doing the will of God by submitting to and praying for your husband. You are doing the will of God by loving him well and showing him respect. God loves you and loves your husband. He calls you both to love one another. Keep doing that! Don't let any bitterness or resentment grow over the issue (or any other, for that matter). It is easier to discern the will of God when you look in the rearview mirror of life. Meaning, you are able to, in your limited way, see how God has led you. So there are two factors involved here when we speak of God's will: first, what he has revealed to us so that we may rightly believe in him and carry out the duties he's given us. Second, where and how he is leading us in our lives. You are responsible to the first and witness the second.

I hope this helps!
 
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Assuming the parents should baptize their children, yet you (for all your personal conviction) are not the head of the house. You are clear of any guilt in this matter. You are called to patience, and to the due use of the ordinary means to which you have full recourse. You can fulfill the vow you would make at your child's baptism, if you only make it in your heart and pray for the power of God to aid you in keeping it. You should pray your spouse comes to share your conviction of what is the proper treatment of his covenant-child, or that he might come to recognize his child as a covenant child in a proper definition of the term.

It is not your job to change your husband's mind on baptism, either. Not that you could, but certainly trying is more apt to be a source of annoyance to anyone who is not of a mind to have you for his teacher, and who is not ordinarily in any such superior-inferior relation to you. Incidental, thoughtful and cogent responses to questions, or references to Bible passages as a matter of course are on the other hand helpful yet demure. If an unbelieving spouse may be "won without a word," surely a godly man will profit greatly from a prudent and respectful wife.

It is the Spirit alone who renews any of our minds. We have never persuaded ourselves of any spiritual truth, and baptism is no exception. Moreover, if your husband never changes his mind, still he is likely to live and behave toward you and your children, and others in his path, with wisdom and grace in a mostly-Reformed manner. This is something for which you should be eternally grateful to God, as it comes to be in the days ahead.
 
Dear sister,

First, congratulations on both your marriage and the fruit of you and your husband's love. Praise God!

I'm sorry that you face this difficulty, though. My wife and I were on different pages at one point years ago. We had little ones, and that made the issue more pressing. After much prayer, we both ended up on the same page. Thank God! The call to baptize our children, I believe, is clear. The reformed confessions (Westminster and the Three Forms) are explicit about the importance of baptizing our children and the solemn warning if we withhold that means of grace.

But let me comfort you, sister. Your first responsibility is to submit to your husband. Pray for him and read through materials on the issue. Both of you should approach it in this manner. Your husband is responsible for leading your family and will give an account to the Lord (thankfully, he will do so in Christ, our only hope). Here's the core of the comfort...your child is holy unto the Lord, even if our practice is deficient.

Let me ask some questions, though. Your signature says "PCA." Do y'all attend a PCA? If so, is your husband willing to speak with the minister or other knowledgeable members? How open is he to the conversation (meaning, has he started looking into it)?
Post automatically merged:

I'll add one more thing. You mentioned the will of God. You are right now doing the will of God by submitting to and praying for your husband. You are doing the will of God by loving him well and showing him respect. God loves you and loves your husband. He calls you both to love one another. Keep doing that! Don't let any bitterness or resentment grow over the issue (or any other, for that matter). It is easier to discern the will of God when you look in the rearview mirror of life. Meaning, you are able to, in your limited way, see how God has led you. So there are two factors involved here when we speak of God's will: first, what he has revealed to us so that we may rightly believe in him and carry out the duties he's given us. Second, where and how he is leading us in our lives. You are responsible to the first and witness the second.

I hope this helps!

Thank you so much for your thoughtful response and well wishes, brother! The Lord has been kind to us. Your exhortation and shared experience has been an encouragement to me.

To answer your questions: we are moving soon and the church we will be attending is reformed presbyterian (WCF). The church is friendly to reformed baptist brothers and sisters though, and does not currently adherence to paedo-baptism for membership. I will say that my husband is newer to reformed theology and is eager to learn, so I don’t doubt he would have conversations with the elders about it. I’m not sure how much reading he has done on it just yet.
 
Assuming the parents should baptize their children, yet you (for all your personal conviction) are not the head of the house. You are clear of any guilt in this matter. You are called to patience, and to the due use of the ordinary means to which you have full recourse. You can fulfill the vow you would make at your child's baptism, if you only make it in your heart and pray for the power of God to aid you in keeping it. You should pray your spouse comes to share your conviction of what is the proper treatment of his covenant-child, or that he might come to recognize his child as a covenant child in a proper definition of the term.

It is not your job to change your husband's mind on baptism, either. Not that you could, but certainly trying is more apt to be a source of annoyance to anyone who is not of a mind to have you for his teacher, and who is not ordinarily in any such superior-inferior relation to you. Incidental, thoughtful and cogent responses to questions, or references to Bible passages as a matter of course are on the other hand helpful yet demure. If an unbelieving spouse may be "won without a word," surely a godly man will profit greatly from a prudent and respectful wife.

It is the Spirit alone who renews any of our minds. We have never persuaded ourselves of any spiritual truth, and baptism is no exception. Moreover, if your husband never changes his mind, still he is likely to live and behave toward you and your children, and others in his path, with wisdom and grace in a mostly-Reformed manner. This is something for which you should be eternally grateful to God, as it comes to be in the days ahead.
Ditto to what both JL and Bruce wrote. And I’m a pastor in the PCA.
 
My wife and I had a bit of an opposite situation. I became paedobaptist and she was credo. She was willing to study the scriptures with me over this. We went over the covenants and what baptism means in scripture. I prayed for myself and for her. It took a while, but we’ll be baptizing our child (toddler) after moving and getting involved with a Presbyterian church. It was a long and slow process, but God grew us both and taught us both much. Seek unity, always be kind and patient, and trust that God will do the necessary work in his heart.
 
I would say that you should also do your due diligence and continue to research your husband's position. You may come to agree with him.
 
I'm not supposed to chime in here, as a credo-baptist, but I'll venture as far as to say that you've limited your possible answers by posting in a paedo-only forum.
If you asked the question where baptists could answer, you might hear another valid perspective.
 
@ the last two comments, I’m sure our sister chose with awareness the forum she wished to post in. As per the rules, no lobbying or commenting otherwise please.
 
I'm not supposed to chime in here, as a credo-baptist, but I'll venture as far as to say that you've limited your possible answers by posting in a paedo-only forum.
If you asked the question where baptists could answer, you might hear another valid perspective.

Brother, I posted this in this forum because I wanted perspectives from others who had the same conviction - it was directed at paedo-baptists.

I would say that you should also do your due diligence and continue to research your husband's position. You may come to agree with him.
Well, of course. I was credo before coming to these convictions, so I’m not unaware of that position.
 
My wife and I had a bit of an opposite situation. I became paedobaptist and she was credo.
My situation was similar to Dan's (I became convinced of the WCF view of baptism before my wife) so I am not sure how helpful advice from someone who is a husband is to someone who is a wife. I am glad my wife and I came into agreement before we had children. I am not sure what I would have done had we had children and not been in agreement.
We are expecting our first child soon, and I’m a little nervous about moving out of step with God’s will. On one hand, I know that I’m called to submit to my husband and trust the Lord to lead him so that he can lead us. On the other hand, are we in sin for preventing our child(ren) from being baptized should my husband remain in that position? Should they not also partake in the covenant? Would I be in sin for going against my convictions?
With all that has been said by way of counsel, take comfort, sister, in the fact that, on the basis of Christ's teaching in the Gospels and Paul's teaching in I Corinthians 7, "children also of the faithful are comprehended in the free covenant of God" (Geneva Bible note on Luke 18.16), and your child will be ἅγιά, holy, set apart, and special in the eyes of God even without the sign and seal of the covenant of grace. Be comforted by the words of the WCF which remind us that "Although it be a great sin to contemn or neglect this ordinance, grace and salvation are not so inseparably annexed unto it, as that no person can be regenerated or saved without [this ordinance]" and that "[t]he efficacy of baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered" (28.5&6).

As to being in sin, I believe Rev. Buchanan has offered sound counsel regarding culpability. I would only add that the wording "contemn or neglect" in WCF 28.5 can be read as referring to the sin of completely opposing baptism at any age - however unwise and unprofitable it might be to delay your child's baptism, I would support the view that the delay itself is not a sin, though I realize others may disagree. It seems that the church you are moving to would agree with the view that delaying baptism is not sin (or else they would not allow for members who do not adhere to paedo-baptism seeing they would be allowing in members who are in "a great sin").
 
My situation was similar to Dan's (I became convinced of the WCF view of baptism before my wife) so I am not sure how helpful advice from someone who is a husband is to someone who is a wife. I am glad my wife and I came into agreement before we had children. I am not sure what I would have done had we had children and not been in agreement.

With all that has been said by way of counsel, take comfort, sister, in the fact that, on the basis of Christ's teaching in the Gospels and Paul's teaching in I Corinthians 7, "children also of the faithful are comprehended in the free covenant of God" (Geneva Bible note on Luke 18.16), and your child will be ἅγιά, holy, set apart, and special in the eyes of God even without the sign and seal of the covenant of grace. Be comforted by the words of the WCF which remind us that "Although it be a great sin to contemn or neglect this ordinance, grace and salvation are not so inseparably annexed unto it, as that no person can be regenerated or saved without [this ordinance]" and that "[t]he efficacy of baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered" (28.5&6).

As to being in sin, I believe Rev. Buchanan has offered sound counsel regarding culpability. I would only add that the wording "contemn or neglect" in WCF 28.5 can be read as referring to the sin of completely opposing baptism at any age - however unwise and unprofitable it might be to delay your child's baptism, I would support the view that the delay itself is not a sin, though I realize others may disagree. It seems that the church you are moving to would agree with the view that delaying baptism is not sin (or else they would not allow for members who do not adhere to paedo-baptism seeing they would be allowing in members who are in "a great sin").
Thank you for this brother! I have been encouraged a lot by that passage in 1 Corinthians, and through that the Lord has calmed my thoughts as to the “what ifs” when it comes to our current differences. I will continue to submit as to the Lord, and faithfully pray for my husband and his convictions as well.
 
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