Question: In your book The Seduction of Christianity you said, “If there is not clear teaching in the Bible to support such a practice, it should not be adopted by the church today.” My pastor said that application of this would mean that one could lose salvation for baptizing infants, since that is not “in the Bible.” And he suggested that the statement ought rather to be, “Unless a practice is clearly prohibited or contradicted in the Bible, it may be adopted by the church.” Please explain your position.
Response: It is clear that we have some basic misunderstandings. First, the book Seduction was dealing, at that point, with a specific subject: the introduction of psychological methods for producing a spiritual wholeness for which the Bible claims to have the only and sufficient answer, and the statement you quote (from page 179) must be understood in that context, not as a blanket statement applying to everything and anything. Second, Seduction does not suggest that the adoption of a practice not supported by clear teaching in the Bible will cause anyone to lose his salvation.
Finally, even if applied generally, the Seduction statement is at least safer than the pastor’s. He admits that infant baptism is not in the Bible, so according to his statement it may be adopted, but according to Seduction it should not be. Which is right? Although baptizing an infant will not cause the infant to lose its salvation, it could lead that person later in life to imagine that he is saved because of being baptized as an infant, when in fact he is not. This misconception could then prevent him from ever being saved. We ought not to adopt infant baptism, because it is not supported by Scripture, and its practice undermines the biblical teaching on salvation, whereby baptism does not save and is not for the unsaved, but is only practiced by those who are already saved.