Andrew Heard on baptism

Sam Hilton linked to this article months ago and I have been meaning to link to it ever since.

There's some really good comments here to help infant and believer-baptism people understand one another, and admit the weaknesses of their own view:

I think it is important to note from the start that both sides of this debate are faced with very few NT statements that support one view or the other.
Believer's baptists might find it an extraordinary thing to lump them in with infant baptists at this point. Baptists make much of the fact that infant baptism is not commanded anywhere in Scripture and so is apparently lacking in any biblical support. It is certainly true that there is no command to baptise infants but the point that needs to be strongly
stated on the other side is that it is equally true that there is not one single NT verse that says we are to wait for the infants of believers to reach a certain age before baptising them. Not one.
It may be said in reply that there are many statements concerning baptism that strongly imply we ought to wait until a child reaches adulthood before baptising. Perhaps so, but it must be acknowledge that these statements at best may only 'imply' such a practice and don't actually command it. Therefore they need to be applied with caution. This is especially so because of the context they are given in.
Consider a very popular starting point in the debate, the words of Peter at Pentecost. "Repent and be baptised everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins" (Acts 2:38)... His context is the missionary situation surrounded by Jewish adults who had yet to make a first response to Christ. It goes beyond his intent and his focus to insist that he was here deliberately laying down a principle that must be applied to a completely new situation – the situation of what to do with children born to those who have responded to the gospel....

The fact is, there is no scripture that says we are to wait until the infants of believers get to a certain age before we baptise them, not one scripture at all. If we insist on only baptising children when they reach a certain age we do it without any explicit and direct statement from the Bible on it. The same of course can be said with the baptism of
infants. There is no direct statement that says we are to baptise infants. My point is simply this - the Scriptures are silent both ways. Any practice we develop therefore will necessarily be based on principles drawn from texts written for other situations. We are wise therefore to apply them and hold them with humility.
I believe far better relationships between godly Baptists and godly infant baptists would be encouraged if everyone were to acknowledge this simple point.

I'm a cautious advocate of infant baptism for these kinds of reasons. It seems arbitrary to delay baptism until later, it seems misleading to somehow think of kids born to Christians as not part of the church in some sense, it seems important to acknowledge that their rejection of the gospel is different to the rejection of someone hearing it for the first time as an adult...

Slightly different note (and making for a slightly longer post): This article is one example of why I reckon Andrew Heard is such a great asset to The Geneva Push. The guy is very sharp and theologically insightful. He's not just a surfy guy with a big church (although it's sad that we love listening to Americans tell us about their big churches, but get a little annoyed when Australians start doing it!). Andrew is able to provide a strong and deep theological mind for the Geneva network, which is a major bonus, I reckon.