Tomorrow, I will present my three children for baptism. Its a watershed moment for this newly-minted Anglican. Am I 100% convinced that paedo-baptism is definitively normative from a scriptural perspective? No, but I am convinced that not only does scripture allow for it, it is certainly more philosophical congruent with other theological convictions I hold.
One of the profound difficulties I have with modern evangelicalism, in which I include most pentecostal and charismatic churches, is its humanistic orientation. There is a subtle shift in the narrative which puts me at the center of the story, at worst relegating God to the periphery and at best giving him a supporting role in the drama that is my life.
You see it in the entire evangelical church service apparatus. Sermon series’ that show me how to live my best life now. Worship experiences that in lowered lights and loud music make me comfortable enough to sing a few bars of songs that, more often than not, feature me and God’s love for me.
Perhaps my disdain for it lies in my complicity. If I were to ask who was the central character in the drama of ultimate reality, I might cognitively answer Jesus in my best Sunday school-ese. But in my heart of hearts, I think I really believe I am the star and Jesus/God/Christianity/religion is the vehicle to satisfy my existential angst.
Now, don’t get me wrong…I know God loves us, and me. But that is only good news if I am not the god of my story.
I think Chesterton is on to something here. The difficulty for those who would follow Christ in our time is to step out of the limelight, and into the supporting cast. The narrative is not ours ultimately; it is Christ’s and we join him. Not the other way around. We join him in baptism. Not he in ours. Its the paradox that finding satisfaction in our faith lies in our abandoning satisfaction as our primary modus operandi.
So as I take part in the baptizing of my kids tomorrow, I will do so in awe and wonder that God has seen fit to bring our little family into his…that he is allowing us to join him in the waters, that we might join him in a glorious resurrection.