Today, four generations of British monarchs will pose for a royal portrait for the first time since Queen Victoria did that with her son, grandson, and great grandson (on his christening day). I guess British queens just live the longest of anyone, don’t they? I am sure Queen Elizabeth II is very much looking forward to this day and to her portrait with Prince Charles, Prince William, and little Prince George.
Today, Prince George will be christened, or infant baptized and welcomed into the community of believers in Christ.
There are two extreme beliefs about this type of event.
One extreme believes that Prince George will become a Christian today, a believer in Jesus, even though he is well below the age of accountability or even the age when he could understand such an abstract concept as salvation.
But the other extreme believes that baptism, when it occurs to a person who has reached the age of accountability and has professed Christ as Saviour, is very much an individual identification with Jesus, not a corporate identification with Christ’s Body on earth (the church).
Biblically, the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Salvation is individual but baptism, at whatever age, does signal our entry into the community of believers. If it occurs before the age of accountability, it makes those who are already accountable in that community of believers responsible for raising that young child so that he or she has the greatest opportunity to make an individual decision for Christ later!
I don’t believe in infant baptism, but I do understand the above viewpoint, and I respect those who hold it.
Blood bought believers in Christ tend to go to war with each other over this issue, which is truly secondary if we all believe we are saved “by grace through faith” (Ephesians 2:8,9).
And, to be crystalline about the tendency all humans have to go to excessive lengths in our beliefs, I see my own denomination, the independent fundamental Baptists, as being far too independent in relation to the fact that Christ stated He died for the church (as well as individuals). We tend to not teach identification with a community in baptism, whether that is the local church, the universal church, or both.
I think we were historically separated from that orthodox Christian belief when circuit riding preachers reached out across vast areas of the U.S. to disciple people who lived far away from any neighbors or community.
However, that is history. Theology teaches that Christ valued the church as a corporate entity enough to die for it. We have to come to peace with that idea or we are in rebellion against God’s very Word.
Only goes to show that there is no perfect church nor denomination on earth. If there were, we would not need Heaven someday, and our Lord’s sufficiency to get there!