Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
January 19th, 2015 by Joel Watts

Quote of the day: Richard Heyduck on free will and infant baptism

One who practices the baptism of infants cannot logically claim the freedom of the will or individual autonomy as the deepest truth about us.


Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).


8 Responses to “Quote of the day: Richard Heyduck on free will and infant baptism”
  1. HRoberson says

    While I think I gather the thrust of the quote, I also think that free will and infant baptism depends on the purpose of the baptism, and one’s view of depravity and original sin.

    I don’t know that I have heard anyone say that free will is the deepest truth about us, so I am somewhat perplexed as to that premise.

  2. Know More Than I Should says

    One could just as easily argue that subjection to Christian indoctrination from early childhood likewise undermines a person’s “freedom of the will or individual autonomy.”

    As a result, perhaps the “opium of the people,” as Marx famously labeled religion, should be kept away from children, even taxed, like alcohol and tobacco – or, the case of Colorado, marijuana.

    On the other hand, society could ban religion. However, as the disastrous Soviet experiment proved, that doesn’t work very well.

  3. Canadian says

    Christ has free human will and was brought into the covenant by infant circumcision, just as all the Jews. The NT says baptism is the circumcision of Christ. We are not saved alone, it is covenantal.

    • Canadian says

      Wait, I think I’m misreading. I think infant baptism smacks down individualism in salvation, but does not negate free will.

      • yes. the practice of infant baptism negates the usual liberal protestant notion of freedom of the will (subjective, what does it mean to me) practice.

  4. It’s not clear to me how anyone who claims “Christ is Lord” (and therefore practices baptism of any sort) can claim that freedom of the will is our deepest truth.

  5. Know More Than I Should says

    Interestingly enough, the free will versus predestination debate in Christianity has a counterpart in the secular world that may have far reaching implications.

    While much of Western law is predicated on failure to obey legal precepts being a choice, neuroscience research is dismantling at least some of those a priori assumptions. Simply put, some people’s brains may be wired differently.

    If nothing arises to disprove the ongoing brain research, the results may completely dismantle the underpinnings of Western civilization.

    in turn, this could have a profound effect on theology. It may turn out that Calvin was right – howbeit for all the wrong reasons.

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