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African Methodist Episcopal Church Review, Vol. 6, Num. 3
272                   CHURCH REVIEW.

extent of being fit candidates for Baptism. Consistency would
require that they cease evangelizing them, if they are not going
to baptize them.  Less than this, is to put asunder rites and
services which God hath joined.
  But Mark is broader than Matthew. With him it is not
"nations," who are to be baptized; but a word is employed so
broad, so all-comprehensive, that the idea of denying its ap-
plication to infants is simply preposterous. A reference to what
 Mark says naturally brings on the argument that belief iliust
always precede Baptism. To this standing argument we re-
ply that if it prove anything, it proves too much--decidedly
more than any sect or church of to-day is willing to accept;
not excepting even the Baptist.  Mark (xvi, 15: 16), records
Christ as saying: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the
 Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized
shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."
We say, again, that if this proves anything, it proves too much;
for if not to believe, if unbelief, or disbelief, as the Revised ver
sion has it, is a bar to Baptism, it is equally a bar to heaven
itself, according to Christ's own words. To present, therefore,
this rule of scriptural interpretation and stand by it, is not
only to shut children out from membership in the Church be-
low, but also from membership in the Church above. The in-
evitable result is the doctrine of infant damnation, which no
body of Christians is now willing to accept and teach.
  As it further relates to the matter of the membership of child-
ren in the Church, for, as Christ said: "of such is the kingdom
of God," that is, of such is the Church, a position so rationally
accorded them from what either Matthew or Mark says-it is
not to be forgotten that their reception into the Church of
God antedated the organization of the Christian phase of the
Church.  The Church of God is one, whether Adamic or Pa-
triarchal, Jewish or Christian. Membership thereto has always
been open to children, and by the same door to which it was
open to adults. What that door was, other than that of simply
calling upon the Name of the Lord, in the first two epochs of
the Church, the Adamic and the Patriarchal, we may not be
able to clearly state, inasmuch as it is not clearly revealed.
As it relates, however, to the Church's third form, supposing it
to have had a form in the others, we can speak with perfect
authority as to the light of children to be received; and re-
ceived, too, as others were received.  By the rite of circuim-
cision, membership in the Jewish Church was reached or ob-
tained; and it was enforced on all alike, male children, aAlult
Jews, persons of Gentile blood.  All must enter by one and
the same door. Now, it is never to be forgotten, that the object
of Christianity is to broaden the operations of the Church-
not to limit them, as would be the case were the rights pre-
viously enjoyed by children taken from them, and they forced
out into the world.  The denial of Baptism  to children, as
might be expected, presents a number of serious questions.


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OHS/National Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center Serial Collection

African Methodist Episcopal Church Review, Vol. 6, Num. 3

Volume:  06
Issue Number:  03
Date:  01/1890


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