A Jagged Contention: Neglecting Baptism

“What are we to say to the fact that most people are still willing, even eager, to have their infants baptized, but are reluctant to let the church have any more to do with them? Could it be, perhaps, that baptism is about the only gospel left in the church the only place left where the church is more or less forced by its own agenda to do what it ought? At any rate, the church would do well first of all to look at itself in these matters before it settles the blame for the sorry state of affairs in baptismal theology and practice on someone else. For a church that has largely neglected or failed in the nurturing task now to think to remedy people’s ignorance of the sacraments by taking them away would certainly be rather cynical.”

-Gerhard Forde, “Something to Believe: A Theological Perspective on Infant Baptism” in The Preached God: Proclamation of Word and Sacrament. Pg. 144



Engage Forde’s questions. Why would people want their children baptized and then be reluctant to continue on at church?


4 thoughts on “A Jagged Contention: Neglecting Baptism

  1. Maybe to them,it’s just a tradition to them. Their parents and grandparents did it,so they do it. Law and Gospel certainly needs to be preached and taught. Scripture and the Small Catechism needs to be taught to and learned,even by adults. The parents,sponsors,and the congregation all bear responsibility in this task.


  2. The efficacy of God’s work is not dependent upon parents or sponsors, not any individual pastor or congregation. Baptism is God’s work. We need to baptize believing that God is making contact with the child, saving that child, forgiving sins, imparting the Holy Spirit, and creating faith. In outreach work, how often do we meet family members, baptized Christians, that we never met before? One’s who have been wandering and lost? One’s never brought to church or taught? This is not because of our outreach. God sowed the seeds and it is God’s work in bringing us together and reuniting His children.

    The particular congregation that I have been in has had successive pastors bold enough to baptize freely and I have seen people, beaten by the world, accused, judged, and lost come in simply recalling that, here, they were baptized and, here, they know they will find Christ. Even if they don’t know what it all means, God is calling them back to the fountain. I have known people to travel overseas, across the country, settle in new areas, and find the Church, there, after doing nothing with church for long stretches of time. I have also seen Christians who, realizing their particular denominations were not serving the truth, come to us rather than leave the church. You think the bonds of baptism are not at work, here, as well?

    Whatever the motivations of those who bring the children in, it comes down to God’s work and His motivations in their lives and their children’s lives. We proclaim the truth and baptize in His name, none of this depends on the faithfulness of anyone other than God. This is His work, His promise, and His commitment to us.


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