Baptismal Divide

Bethlehem Baptist Church is proposing a change to their constitution to admit for membership those who have been baptized as infants and believe that their baptism was valid. This does not mean that BBC will begin baptizing infants or change their position on baptism. It does seek to allow the conscience of an individual dictate whether their baptism was valid or not.

BBC will continue to teach and preach believers?-only baptism. If a person who was baptized as an infant and believes that baptism was valid is willing to
submit to that preaching and teaching, they are welcome to be members.

From the announcement:

The central issue at stake is: How should we define the membership of the church? That is, what degree of biblical understanding and agreement should a person have in order to belong to a local church? Or to put it another way: Should the door to membership in the local church be roughly the same size as the door to the universal church? If so, what is the basic set of beliefs that a person should be willing to affirm? or at least not deny?in order to give good evidence that he is born again into the family of God and a follower of

I support this change. I’m not a Baptist, though I am baptisitic in my view of the sacraments. What they?re saying is that a person must be baptized to be a member of the church. What they are changing is how they decide what a valid baptism is. They are not changing their definition of it but they are allowing for a persons’ convictions about infant baptism.

This makes sense to me. Good people have disagreed on this issue since the early 1600s (at least). I am well versed in both sides of the argument and recognize valid points for each camp. If I could not convince someone that my position is correct, and they are orthodox on every other point of doctrine, must I tell them that they cannot be a member of my church? I would rather err on the side of charity.

Others (here and here) disagree with Bethlehem on this. To my surprise, paedobaptists have been critical too.

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