Baptists are forever insisting that only those who can articulate their confession of Christ are to be Baptized. John MacArthur gives us one such example,
“The significance of Baptism is unmistakably clear. In our day, an open solemn confession of the crucified risen Lord is necessary. All who experience the reality of the power of the risen Savior should give this public testimony to His glory as an act of obedience. In biblical Baptism in the New Testament manner, believers not only give testimony to their union with Christ…listen to this…they give testimony to their thoughtful, careful, submissive obedience to the holy Scripture in which nothing could be treated as unimportant.”
Since infants can’t give what MacArthur’s requires therefore infants are not to be recipients of Baptism as a means of Grace. Indeed, the genuine Baptist doesn’t even like calling Baptism a “means of Grace” since to speak like that is putting the emphasis on what God is doing in Baptism as opposed to the Baptist emphasis that Baptism is about what we are doing by being Baptized.
This is Baptist thinking. Children of Christians are not to be Baptized until they can name for themselves their own religious identity as Christian.
This thinking of the sovereign child, who can only be Christian in the context of their own self understanding is now bleeding off into other areas that make perfect sense given the Baptist premise of, “a child cannot choose their religious identity until they are epistemoligcally self conscious about what identity they want to choose.”
Think about it.
What is the difference between Baptist parents insisting that their children have to be epistemoligcally self conscious about what religious identity they want to choose and Modern parents now who are insisting that their children have to be epistemologically self conscious about what sexual identity those children want to choose? What we are saying here is that there is a harmony found in Baptist parents refusing to baptize their children and many modern parents today refusing to “baptize” their children into a predetermined gender believing, just as the Baptists believe, that their children should be able to have a say in the matter of what gender they will have.
Modern parents insisting that children must choose their own sexual identity is just the logical extension of Baptist parents insisting that children must choose their own religious identity.
The point here isn’t that there is an exact one to one correspondence on this matter. The point here is that when you start with the sovereign individual who must be consulted before covenantal realities are determined apart from his or her approval the end result, naturally enough, is sovereign individuals who must be consulted before any number of realities are determined apart from zhis or zhers approval.
Consistent Baptist thinking lends itself to the atomized individual and once the individual is atomized then he or she is free to be self determinate in every area of life from religion to sexuality to who knows where else.
Some will protest that this isn’t a fair analogy since baptism signifies a supernatural event whereas sex is a natural given. But to protest such as this is to miss the point of the analogy. The point of the analogy is not supernatural vs. natural. The point of the analogy is the sovereign individual choosing all. When it is realized that this is the point of the analogy then all protestations of my creating a “straw man” here lose their power.
Let me also add here that both in God’s covenantal ordering and in sexuality both Baptism and gender are objective categories. When one is birthed to Christian parents one is, objectively speaking, a member of the covenant and so is Baptized just as one is, objectively speaking, either male or female. There is a givenness in both being a member of the covenant and in our gender that is objective. That givenness may be twisted but it can never be changed.