Growing up as a Baptist, I was taught that we were dedicated as babies, and then when we chose to accept Jesus as our Savior when we were older, we would be baptized. I still have the Bible I received as a baby in William's room, and the Bible I received when I was baptized at age 6. I remember it well - I was dunked, wearing my little white gown.
Kyle was baptized as a baby in the Methodist church, having his head sprinkled, and then later went through confirmation in junior high, accepting the faith into which he was baptized into as a baby.
Let me say this before I go forward: I absolutely believe that I am a baptized Christian, and so is my husband.
Staying in the Baptist bubble at Baylor, I heard many times over "If you didn't make a decision BEFORE you were baptized, you weren't a real Christian." Since this is how I had grown up, it didn't phase me, however, I wondered about all the fabulous Christian people I knew that were baptized as infants. Kyle, then an Episcopalian, was told multiple times as a freshman at Baylor that his faith wasn't real and that he was going to hell. It rocked his world and made him seriously question his faith. It hurt him so much to hear others say that his faith that he had grown up believing was not valid.
When we got married, we spent awhile deciding how to marry our two denominations together. We did a lot of talking and a lot of searching. We went to a few different churches, but when the Lutheran church offered me a job, that was it. It fit both of us really well.
So back to infant baptism - the first time I saw an infant baptism was sitting in Kyle's church, singing in the choir, when we were visiting his family. I sat next to Betty Young (wife of the late Dr. Robert Young), and she, knowing my background, wisely leaned over to me and said,
"Do you know why we baptize babies? It's us dedicating them to Christ - saying we will raise them in the church until they go through Confirmation and confirm that this is the faith they want to follow."
Does that sound familiar? It sounds a lot like what Baptists believe! As I started to work in the Lutheran church, I realized we all had the same goal. Dedicate our babies to the Lord, promise to raise them in the church and teach them about the Bible, and when they are older, they will hopefully make the decision to follow Christ in their own lives. So why do we fight? How do we know that one way is right? We all have the same goal!
Tomorrow we will baptize William Preston in the Lutheran church. We will commit to raise him in the church, to teach him about Jesus, to raise him up in the way that he should go, so that when he is old, he will (hopefully) not depart from it.