Forde, Gerhard O. The Preached God: Proclamation in Word and Sacrament. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2007. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Chapter 6, “Something to Believe: A Theological Perspective on Infant Baptism” Loc. 1798-1998.
Forde cites the current dispute between those who assert baptism as a work which cannot contribute to salvation and those who assert it as a gift of grace which imparts saving faith (Forde 2007, Loc. 1798). He speculates that some would even need to remove children from all means of grace to be consistent (Forde 2007, Loc. 1806). Forde attempts to frame the question in terms of a need for infants to be included in baptism (Forde 2007, Loc. 1814). He compares Barth’s explanation of baptism, which has a great deal of influence. At the heart of the question is whether baptism is best seen as law or gospel (Forde 2007, Loc. 1828). Forde views baptism as a matter of gospel, thus the questions about it from a standpoint of law are often intended to entrap (Forde 2007, Loc. 1837). If baptism is a gift, then, we ask not who must be baptized but if there is a compelling reason to exclude someone (Forde 2007, Loc. 1856). Forde agrees with Barth that the answer of whether baptism is for children is not specific in the Bible. He therefore looks for an answer based on the meaning and purpose of baptism (Forde 2007, Loc. 1860). If, in fact, baptism is an external thing which directs our faith to the work of God for us (Forde 2007, Loc. 1870), God’s grace alone is recognized and we are genuinely passive recipients of mercy (Forde 2007, Loc. 1879). Baptism thus defends us from claims that we did anything worthy of salvation. It is grace (Forde 2007, Loc. 1888). Any claims that baptism does not save then deny the power of God’s grace. It is a gift which is received by faith in the concrete promise of God (Forde 2007, Loc. 1902). Biblically, faith always receives something outside itself which existed first. Faith does not create reality, but receives it (Forde 2007, Loc. 1912). Forde concludes, “There is, therefore, no overriding theological reason for withholding baptism from infants” (Forde 2007, Loc. 1924).
Forde goes on to discuss how baptism is emblematic for our understanding of how theology in general works (Forde 2007, Loc. 1938). Theology which turns to the inner life, faith, or belief ultimately claims that man is responsible for his salvation and preservation (Forde 2007, Loc. 1946). Forde suggests the cure for this in demonstration of God’s free grace (Forde 2007, Loc. 1960).