TOUGH QUESTIONS AT WHAT AGE SHOULD A CHILD BE BAPTIZED? by Bobby Jamieson
don’t think Scripture provides a black-andwhite answer to this question. On the other hand, I think that baptizing children tends to lead churches to separate what Scripture joins together, like baptism and church membership, and the label “membership” and its inherent responsibilities. So I’d recommend that, in general, churches wait to baptize young believers until they reach something like “functional adulthood.”
identification with the Triune God (Matt. 28:19), which means baptism should be inseparable from entrance into the public people of God on earth, the local church. Baptism is the front door of the church (Acts 2:41). So, except where no church yet exists, Christians should always be baptized into church membership. At whatever age you begin baptizing young believers, baptize them into church membership.
First a word of defense: just about every credobaptist church will “delay” baptism for someone. If your lower limit is age six, what about the exceptionally mature four-year-old who comes to you next week? Or three? Or two?
Some churches that baptize young children do baptize them into church membership, but that status of membership is emptied of most of its responsibilities, such as giving and receiving corrective discipline. This runs the risk of making membership a meaningless label, something we can re-shape at will. So I would discourage churches from developing a “two-stage” membership system for children and adults. Church membership should be a package deal. The privileges and responsibilities come together.
Baptism is a Christian’s public profession of faith in Christ and a church’s affirmation of that profession. So the question is not simply, “Who can profess faith in Christ?” but “Whose profession can the church affirm?” Baptism is a believer’s public 12 | CREDO MAGAZINE | APRIL 2015