Oh, a lot of things. I mean, spiritually, people’s affluence, people wanting to be served, consumers moving to urban areas where churches are close enough to where they compete for members, pastors not being taught this. I’m sure any real abuses that happen, and, of course, there were, anytime sinners like you and me are involved, any time abuses happen in church discipline, I’m sure those were repeated endlessly. And so I’m sure those stories would have been used against practicing it at all, because to practice it at all would have been in some way to have been involved in some kind of abuse of it. Now, I’m sure it’s just a combination of things like that. Also I think the theology changed and churches became more and more man-centered. I think people more and more misunderstood what it really meant to be converted. I think our evangelistic practices watered down the gospel. I think we started taking responses very quickly. We started baptizing people at a much younger age.
You know, I’ve been reading a lot of Baptist biographies in the last couple of years and noting baptismal ages. And if you look at all the Baptist leaders in the nineteenth century, they were all baptized at 17, 18, 19, 20, and 21. It’s when they get out of the home, or they have their first job, that’s when they’re baptized. Baptists these days baptize children at 12, or at even 8, or younger. It’s very hard. I mean, I’ve got kids. It’s hard to look at the kids who are pretty obedient, love their parents, and want to have the approval of their parents, it’s hard to know whether or not they’re really born again. I mean, of course they’re being sincere when they tell you something, but people can be sincere and be wrong, and I think we’ve just lost a lot of that subtlety of judgment. It’s not been encouraged among the pastors in our churches.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Mike Dever made an interesting point about Baptism:
So what is your feeling. Is it a good idea to baptize before kids leave the house or not?