Infant Baptism & The Half-Way Covenant -- By: Christopher J. Black
JBTM 6:1 (Spring 2009) p. 45
Infant Baptism & The Half-Way Covenant
Believer’s baptism may be the most prominent of Baptist distinctives, however, during the founding of America, when the Puritans held sway, infant baptism was the norm. The sacramental attitude toward baptism by the Puritans produced a dangerous schism in the American colonies. In
The new covenant was not decided upon easily or quickly. The road to compromise was a long and difficult path. Eventually, however, the vast majority came to realize that the New England Way was no longer viable. Effectively, the result was a new covenant that was a compromise half way between full- and non-membership in the Church. Kenneth Scott Latourette reports that even during the founding generations’ lifetime few people held church membership: “In spite of the part which Christianity had in initiating and shaping the Thirteen Colonies, in
JBTM 6:1 (Spring 2009) p. 46
eighteenth century Colonial leaders were realizing that changes were needed if they were to save their society. The discussion in this article will offer a brief glimpse into the struggles early colonials had over the issue of baptism.
The New England Church
The Puritans, believing in the autonomy of individual churches, instituted a church polity that would provide the freedom they sought. John Cotton dubbed this form of polity ‘Congregational.’ This system was integral to the New England Way.5 However, this new polity did not mean that each church was completely freestanding. The faithful need...
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