Baptism and Original Sin

I’m interested in the topic here on the main blog page. (You may want to read the applicable comments, but it may take you a while!) The crux of the issue about whether infants should be baptized is simply this: does Original Sin exist? Before I make my comments, I would like to clarify what I mean by “Original Sin.” I mean the poisonous flaw that has been passed down in sinful humanity from the time of our first ancestors. In my understanding (and, I believe, in the understanding of most Lutherans), Original Sin is that which causes human beings to be unable to choose the good in the sight of God. In the absence of the saving grace of Jesus, we cannot choose in favor of God, nor are we inclined to do anything but evil. Even that which looks good to those around us cannot help but be tainted with sin. Enough definition.
“James” (not “James H”) conceded that if the doctrine of Original Sin is either denied or not true, the rationale for baptizing babies disappears. This is true. If there is no such thing as Original Sin (and there is certainly no limit to the doctrine’s detractors), there is no reason to baptize babies. Of course, if you accept Original Sin and deny infant baptism, the question is begged, “How can babies be saved?”
But if James or others deny Original Sin, they cannot escape the fact that the consequences go far beyond the question of baptizing babies. It goes to the heart of Christianity. (Incidentally, this discussion showcases how interrelated is catholic doctrine. You cannot take one part out and still retain the whole.) Without Original Sin (as Paul describes in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15), the death and resurrection of Christ as our salvation are made unnecessary. Hey, it might be beneficial to help us reach our inner potential or some other gnostic notion (cf. Mormonism), but Christ certainly isn’t necessary for us without our being “dead in our sins.”
But if Original Sin exists (and we could go through the passages), infant baptism is necessary unless someone can come up with another way that infants can be saved. The Bible knows of no such way. (I’m guessing the antipathy comes from how cute babies are and/or an invasion of Enlightenment thinking into Christianity about what “belief” is.) Otherwise, we have to invent things like ages of accountability or some other such nonsense.
By the way, baptizing in the name of anything/one other than the Name of God as He has revealed it, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is an invalid baptism, and that person would need to be rebaptized [see Mr. Piper’s comments here].


2 thoughts on “Baptism and Original Sin

  1. Pingback: Territorial Bloggings

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