THE BAPTISM OF CHILDREN
Our remit as determined by the General Assembly in 1996 was as
follows: "to re-examine the whole issue of Baptism and, in
particular, the practice of Infant Baptism." It should be noted
that in our response to this remit biblical quotations are in general
taken from the NIV except where otherwise stated.
The Panel was aware from its very first meeting that it had been
given a challenging remit, which carried with it a weighty
responsibility. The more we pursued our remit and examined the subject
of baptism the more we came to appreciate how challenging the remit was.
Baptism is a live issue and
for various reasons. There are ever-improving relationships between
churches across denominational barriers resulting in ever-increasing
interaction and activity at local level, including discussion of those
issues which separate us as well as the overriding commitments which
unite us. There is the presence of a new generation ofyoung people
seeking a solid foundation for all that it believes and practises.
Baptism is, therefore, a live issue not only for theologians and
ministers but also for people in the pew. Not surprisingly many are
seeking a better understanding of both the practice of baptism and the
theology behind the practice. One practical matter in this search for a
better understandings the question of where to begin. Some have begun
their search with the origins of the rite of water baptism, some with
the practice of baptism as we have it in the Acts of the Apostles, some
with the development of baptism within the post New Testament Church.
Some have begun with the Great Commission of Jesus as it appears in
Matthew's Gospel, and still others with the idea of Covenant, a major
feature of Reformed theology including Scottish theology. James Walker
has observed that "the old theology of Scotland might be
emphatically described as a covenant theology" The Theology
and Theologians of Scotland, Edinburgh 1888,p 73..
All of these approaches have their advantages and disadvantages.
In compiling our report for the General Assembly we too had to
decide where to begin. "Where shall I begin?" asked the White
Rabbit. The answer of the King of Hearts was appropriately grave,
"Begin at the beginning." The advice is sound. But where is
The Paper is divided in 8 parts. To
see any section simply click on the heading below.
Institution of Baptism
Origins of Water Baptism
Baptism of Children: Old Testament Evidence
Baptism of Children: New Testament Evidence
Baptism of Children: Extra-Biblical Evidence
Proper Subjects for Baptism
Mode of Baptism