For most of the weekend, I find myself at the feet of John Calvin and Louis Berkhof on the issue of infant baptism (not much difference between Berkhof and Horton, for I find the latter to be echoing the former). The end result you might ask? Before I get to that, let me share two reasons why I’ve exerted so much energy on infant baptism:
First, two of my colleagues are Presbyterians. We discuss this matter of infant baptism all the time. Back in California, a fellow pastor and I would discuss the matter oft. So I said to myself that I really need to get a better handle on the matter. Over the years as a Baptist, I’ve dismissed infant baptism a priori, not giving it much thought.
Second, the issue of baptizing our two children came up–our son 8 and our daughter 6, at the time. They have not made professions of faith, and neither do we intend to force such on them. But I was forced to rethink the matter, especially given the fact that my Presbyterian colleagues and I discuss the matter all the time.
On Calvin and Berkhof. Though I’ve studied the matter of infant baptism in the past and have read not a few on the matter, everything seemed to come together while pouring over Calvin and Berkhof: from the continuity of the covenant to the nature of circumcision, the sign and seal of this covenant with Abraham and his offspring (how that it was more than a physical matter and why it was applied to infants apart from a profession of faith, though not the case with Abraham, Rom 4:11; cf. Gen 15:6).
As to the mode of baptism, I was presented the most challenge, given my Baptist mindset of baptism as immersion (even Calvin conceded on this; see Institutes 4.15.19). But alas, I think the matter of mode is inconsequential, whether sprinkling or immersion. And as to texts like Romans 6:3-4 and Colossians 2:11-12, it’s the import and not mode of baptism we should be after, as a closer reminder of context would reveal.
All my objections to infant baptism have been thus removed.
However, what is in my head has not made it to my heart. It’s all cerebral at the moment. I shared the matter with my dear wife. Now the matter is up to the good Lord. I will not force the issue.