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African Methodist Episcopal Church Review, Vol. 6, Num. 3
			
              BAPTISM-AN EXCURSUS.                273

We mention a few: Are children members of the Church?
The Church is the body of Christ; are children members of
this body? If so, how? The new birth, as signified by Baptism,
is the door to the Church, the process of union to Christ,
But they have been denied Baptism. If members, therefore,
at all, of the visible Church, the position has been reached by
some method nowhere mentioned in Scripture. If existing at
all, is it valid? Possibly the most serious question of all, is
the question of their salvation. As we have had occasion to
say, the Church is the body of Christ Is connection with it
necessary to salvation? We may feel authorized to say no.
Our very position, as Protestants, requires such an answer.
But who of us is willing to die outside the Church; and yet,
those who refuse Baptism to their children compel them so
to die; or to climb up some other way.  It is, however, not
with the men of this generation, howsoever learned or christian,
to infallibly settle this matter, so closely akin is it to the
question, as to the nature and intent of Baptism itself. What
was the practice of the Apostles? If it can be conclusively
shown that these baptized children, the matter surely is ended
or ought to be. But can it be so shown? Possibly not What
can be done is, it can be reasonably shown that the Apostles
did baptize children; and in all such cases, a reasonable cer-
tainty takes the place of an absolute one.  That the Apostles
baptized whole households is more than once declared.  The
a priori? assumption is, that there were children among them.
Take for instance the case of the Roman, Cornelius (Acts x,
2:4). Of this centurion, "with all his house," Peter asked:
"Can any man forbid water, that THESE should not be bap-
tized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?" And
they were baptized. Take the case of Lydia. She was "bap-
tized, and her household," by Paul (Acts xvi, 15). In the same
chapter we have an account of the conversion and baptism of
the Phillippian jailor, "he and all his" (ver. 33). In Acts, also,
we are told of the conversion of "Crispus, the chief ruler of
the synagogue * * * with all his house." While the fact
of their baptism is not recorded as it is in the case of the
others, we may know that it immediately followed. Here are
four households mentioned, of whom it is said "all" were bap-
tized. To say that there were no children among them, is but to
beg the question, while to deny their baptism, granting they
were present, is to deny what Scripture plainly declares.
    18




			
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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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