Sunday, June 19, 2016

A Thought On Baptism, And Scripture Alone

Let me be direct, and brief: you can't settle the question of whether to baptize infants or not from Scripture alone. Strictly speaking, Scripture doesn't "say" anything. All appeals to Scripture are appeals to an interpretation of Scripture. Once you get past all the impressive citations of particular passages, it's an unwinnable argument, from either side. Bad faith and theological-dogmatic relativism are the most obvious results.

This is very simply why we have a Magisterium in holy mother Church, and why said Church claims to be the one Christ founded, because it is. It is reasonable to believe such because that which all Christians hold in common despite their divisions cannot be accounted for without the authority of the Catholic Church. And such an authority, so visible, and so constant through these many centuries, must be divine, if we grant that God has spoken at all.

There does need to be an acknowledgment that the paedobaptist--despite his efforts to distance himself from that Church he denies--is reliant on her teachings and practices, even unwittingly. In saying this, I do not intend to indicate that I think credobaptism is correct; on the contrary. Baptize your babies as soon as you can, and the Church is happy to help. I simply want the baby-baptizer to admit when he is relying upon apostolic tradition. (Or Tradition.)

For my part, paedobaptism doesn't fit in a monergistic system at all. That is, a system where only one actor does the work. It is a relic of sacramentality, of enchantment, you might say. A good Presbyterian may add whatever qualifications he likes, or denials. When he baptizes his infant children, he harkens back to his Catholic roots. Also, the very nature of a sacrament, while testifying to divine gratuity, also testifies to co-operation as strongly. The consistency of the radicals in their total rejection of all things Roman Catholic, bears witness to that.

Perhaps some attempt to carve out middle positions that never existed, because the sting of "heretic" is too much to bear.

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