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Infant Baptism and the Boundaries of Christian Fellowship

Ralph K. Hawkins
Calhoun Community College
Huntsville, Alabama

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Abstract

Those within Churches of Christ (a cappella) and Christian Churches (independent) who want to widen their circle of fellowship must cope with the issue of infant baptism. Opening the discussion involves how believer’s baptism came to be practiced in the early Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement, noting that the introduction of adult immersion was, to some degree, a culturally conditioned response, a “sensible pledge,” in the face of the mourner’s bench theology of conversion that abounded in the nineteenth century. Adult, believer’s baptism, which became “the point of salvation,” has caused most within Churches of Christ (a cappella) and Christian Church (independent) who hold this view to be uncomfortable with the idea of considering people who practice infant baptism fellow Christians. Some of the arguments for the practice of infant baptism, such as the concept of prevenient grace, the baptism of households, the meaning of baptizo, and baptism’s analogy to the rite of circumcision, deserve honest consideration. The two views of baptism are not so exclusive as often thought, sharing the same purpose and similar dangers.

 
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Volume 23 Issue 1

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VOLUME 23, No. 1
Spring 2020

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