Monday, February 13, 2012

Why Infant Baptism is Not an Issue in Simple Church

Jesus Christ gave baptism to his church as a wonderful celebration. He designed it to be an outward act of obedience by believers to show the world and the church that they are in Christ.

Quite sadly, baptism has become a source of great division within Christ's church. Multiple denominations exist as a result of baptism alone. Throughout history, scores of Christians have killed and been killed over this issue. What Jesus meant for beauty has often been reduced to pain.

I'm happy that this is not the case in the simple church. Although my experience is somewhat limited, I'm thrilled that baptism is a source of unity and joy rather than pain and division within house church life.

One of the primary reasons for this is that infant baptism is not an issue in simple church. Only believers are baptized (I realize that exceptions may exist; I'm speaking about the general rule). Why is this?

The reason is simple. It comes down to method of scriptural interpretation. The method is one of following what the bible commands, teaches, and models for us about church life. The bible shows us churches that meet simply in homes for mutual edification. The bible also only shows us believers being baptized.

Christians who are attracted to house church life are also convicted to follow biblical baptism practices. This results from consistency in biblical interpretation (it is certainly possible that some parents within simple church will desire to baptize their infants. If this occurs, my hope is that the local body they are a part of can remain united while finding a way through this disagreement).

In general, infant baptism is not an issue. This allows us to rejoice in baptism without there being any angst about it. For this I am very thankful.


Arthur Sido said...

While I agree with believers baptism as the proper, consistent and biblical I am not sure that it naturally follows that anyone who comes to an understanding of simple/house church will naturally also come to credobaptism.

Eric said...


If they are consistent it seems to me that they will come to both conclusions. If they do not, how do you think they come to their conclusions?

Steve Scott said...


I am one of the exceptions to your rule that Arthur points out. I think you're aware that I hold to participatory church meetings, mutual edification, etc, etc. If you're curious as to my views on baptism and how I reach those I have a series on my blog titled, "Baptism: Another View" that you might want to check out. I hold to neither the paedobaptist nor credobaptist views in any strict sense.

Eric said...


Interesting. I'll try to take a look at what you've written in the next couple of days. Thanks.

Jeffrey said...

I agree with Eric's conclusion, but for another reason. While I completely agree that a natural, unstrained reading of the scriptures, and a simple desire to conform to them, would tend to result in both simple church meetings and believer's baptism, I also think that the distribution of authority, prevalent in most simple churches, tends to defuse issues like this. There tend to be less "we believe" statements in our local body. Since each family is viewed on equal terms, there is more freedom to arrive at Biblical conclusions as the Spirit matures people over time, and less peer presure to conform to pre-packaged statements that a given individual may not yet be equipped to understand.

It's a glorious thing to see someone move from passive observer to gifted contributor over the span of years. Drawing up lines and fighting over issues like baptism just seems a whole lot less interesting than sharing a meal and talking about what God is doing in your life.


Eric said...


That is an excellent point. What a relief that the only "We believe" statements focus on what's most important: the gospel.

After a few years in seminary where we were constantly discussing/arguing over tiny details of the faith, it is now a joy to simply be united in Christ.