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Infantile Baptism

Yesterday afternoon my son and I sat down to watch a DVD called Reformation Overview. It is a 6-part presentation covering some of the most important contributors to the Protestant Reformation, and yesterday we watched the segment on the Anabaptists. My son seemed to enjoy it, though I had to distract him from a scene where they showed the torture and death of Michael Sattler (and then described how his wife, Margaretha Sattler, was drowned the next day). Incidentally, while the detail was blessedly toned-down, this is the torture and death Sattler endured after being captured by the Roman Catholic authorities and charged with heresy: “In the case of the Governor of his Imperial Majesty versus Michael Sattler, judgment is passed, that Michael Sattler shall be delivered to the executioner, who shall lead him to the place of execution, and cut out his tongue; then throw him upon a wagon, and there tear his body twice with red hot tongs; and after he has been brought without the gate, he shall be pinched five times in the same manner.” But that was not all. “His mangled body was tied to a ladder. He prayed again for his persecutors while the ladder was placed upon the stake. He had promised his friends to give them a sign from the burning stake, to show that he remained steadfast to the end, enduring it all willingly for Christ. The fire having severed the cords wherewith he was bound, he lifted up his hand for a sign to them. Soon it was noticed that his spirit had taken its flight to be with Him whom he had steadfastly confessed under the most excruciating torture, a true hero of the faith.”

But I digress. My son watched the segment on Sattler and we had opportunity to discuss why people would want to kill a person who loved God. He pondered these things a little bit before finding some toys and turning his mind to other matters.

Later in the evening we put the kids in the tub. My son is five and my daughter two, so we still bathe them together. Shortly after we put them in the tub my wife and I were talking just outside the bathroom door when we heard, “I baptize you in the name of the LORD!” We peeked past the partially-open door just in time to see my son pouring water over his sister’s head in perfect imitation of what Sattler had done to new converts in the movie (apparently immersion was not a requirement of being a “good Baptist” in those days).

So there we have it - indisputible evidence that children imitate what they learn on television! What we are unsure of is whether my son adheres to infant or believer’s baptism…