Baptist


BAPTISTS or ANABAPTISTS. A name improperly assumed by those who deny the validity of Infant Baptism. They were formerly called Anabaptists  because they re-baptized  all who had been baptized in their infancy. The Baptists formed a separate community in England in 1633. They may be looked upon as the successors of the Dutch Anabaptists. Their object in forming themselves into a separate body was (1) for the maintenance of a strictly Calvinistic doctrine; (2) for the exercise of a vigorous and exclusive discipline; (3) for the practice of a literal scriptural ritual, especially in the matter of Baptism. In Church polity they follow the Independents. The Baptists hold that immersion  is essential to the validity of the ordinance. Their leading idea is that the Church must consist of true Christians, and not merely of professing ones.

In 1882 in the United Kingdom there were
                                               Sunday
MinistersMembersChapelsScholars
 1,905. 298,880. 3,502. 401,517.

In addition to these they have numerous congregations abroad, and they raise about L200,000 yearly for missionary and benevolent purposes.

Infant Baptism. The following reasons seem to afford ample proof that the baptism of infants has always been the practice of the Church, notwithstanding all the Baptists allege against it.

Under the Law infants were admitted into covenant with God by circumcision when eight days old. Gen. xvii.10, 14, so, too, when the Jews admitted proselytes into their communion, they not only circumcised all the males, but baptized all, male and female, infant and adult.

Thus, when the Apostles were sent "to make proselytes of all nations, by baptizing them" (Matt, xviii.19, should be so translated) would they not baptize infants as well as adults, seeing that such was the Jewish custom?

Compare John iii.5, "Except a man (Greek, except any one ) be born of water  and of the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God," with Mark x.14, where our Lord says of infants that "of such is the kingdom of God." If so, they must be capable of baptism, both by water and the Spirit.

St. Peter, when speaking of baptism, said the promise was not only to adults, but also to their children, Acts ii.38, 39.

Again, where there no children  among the whole households which were baptized by the apostles, Acts xvi.15, 33, 1 Cor. 1.16?

The early Fathers show that children were baptized in their time, which, in some cases, was less than a century after the Apostles lived. Justin Martyr, for instance, writing A.D. 148 (i.e., 48 years after the death of the last Apostle), speaks of persons 60 and 70 years old, who had been made disciples to Christ in their infancy. How can infants be made disciples, but by baptism? And, if these had been baptized in their infancy, it must have been during the lifetime of the Apostle St. John, and of other apostolic men.