Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Guiding Principle of the English Reformation Applied - Infant Baptism

Anglicans believe believers and the infants and young children of believers are proper candidates for Holy Baptism. Part of the reason we believe this is rooted in the guiding principle of the English Reformation.

The English Church of the reformation period received the practice of infant baptism. It had been alive and well in the English Church for a millennium. Thus, the English reformers did not toss out infant baptism because there is no concrete example of an infant being baptized in the New Testament (and there is no example of this). They asked, "Does infant baptism fundamentally contradict the gospel of salvation by grace." There conclusion was that it did not. Additionally, there was no explicit teaching against infant baptism in the Bible and good reasons for retaining it. So, the English Reformers accepted infant baptism as a received practice of the Church Catholic.

Infant baptism did change during the English Reformation. The medieval practice was expunged of elements that the English reformers thought improper. (Google the Latin mass with English translations and compare the baptismal liturgy of the 1162 Book of Common Prayer to see the differences.)


+ simonas said...

Let me guess – exorcism? Could you elaborate on the differences? I am afraid it might take a really long time to compare the two. Maybe not, but by just googling it w/o knowing where to look, it just might. [sheepish look]

Brandon F said...

1162 BCP? I presume you're talking about the 1662 BCP there Fr. Peter.