Wesley Bros: Let the children come

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In honor of my new son, I thought it was a great time to talk about infant baptism.  Baptism uses water as an outward sign of the inward grace to be born again by God.  Baptizing an infant, or anyone who cannot speak for themselves, is a sign of inclusion in the covenant community of the church, where the church vows to raise this person in the faith.  What United Methodists usually forget to tell beaming, bright-eyed parents is that baptism is not a failsafe.  Should anyone grow up to live a life that essentially rejects their baptism, it’s like the unforgivable sin Jesus talks about—choosing to live a life that rejects God’s forgiveness.  Infants are reborn with baptism, but as they grow, they must nevertheless be born again through repentance. Where there is no repentance, Wesley believed there was no new birth.  Fortunately, choosing to turn to God, you can be born again, and again, and again for God’s grace never fails.  Baptism is a one-time deal, because you only need to make the community covenant once, and the church is forever responsible for calling you back to God’s love.  Wesley is just way more hardcore about all this than the church tends to be today.

 

Charlie Baber

Rev. Charlie Baber is author and illustrator of the weekly web comic: Wesley Bros. When he isn’t finding new ways to mash-up church history with modern culture, he has actual responsibilities as a Deacon serving at Highland UMC in Raleigh, NC. Check out Charlie’s site at www.wesleybros.com.

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
 
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