The Rev Professor G T Thomson, BD, Aberdeen

The article addresses a perceived confusion among clergy about the meaning and value of Baptism, and a perfunctory approach to its celebration.  The doctrine of the Church is outlined. Revelation is from Person to person, issuing in regeneration and rebirth.  The sacraments take their place alongside general revelation and through the hearing of the Word, through which the same gift is offered, namely all the benefits obtained through Christ.  They are not absolutely indispensable but they are exceedingly valuable and never to be despised.  They are equal to the Word, the one unconditional means of grace, to those who receive them in faith.  They are not a representation, but are themselves the message.  They do not work ex opere operato but rely on faith, not to create the gift given but as a condition of the giving.   In this understanding we do not need to attribute any special potency to the symbols.   It is not merely a human way of making the divine promise vivid.  There is no authority for Infant Baptism in the New Testament but the Church has been guided by the Spirit towards this. God acts on every person the same way, even as a child.   Baptism guarantees the possibility of gaining faith in the future.  The role of the Church in bringing this consummation is discussed, and Baptism should take place in the face of the members.  In the Book of Common Order the so-called warrant for Infant Baptism should be removed.

Volume 03 1930-31, p48
PDF icon Baptism6.94 MB