In 21st century Western society, mothers are beset with numerous choices: should I stay home with my children, or should I be employed elsewhere? Should I breastfeed my baby, or is formula an adequate substitute? Public, private, or homeschool? How much “me” time is socially acceptable? Decisions will be made by mothers on these issues, and one would hope that those decisions are carefully thought through rather than chosen by default.
Modern Christian mothers also have decisions to make when it comes to the issue of baptism. If a mother chooses to wade through the arguments put forth by either side of the paedo/credo camp, emotions easily rise up. It can be implied during these debates that because you do not baptize your children, you do not love them as much as those of the paedobaptist persuasion. Gordon J. Keddie in his book Christ’s Covenant and Your Life states that according to the credobaptist position, “Our children today are less blessed than the children of Israel!” Sentiments like these pull at a mother’s heartstrings. Who doesn’t want their children to be part of the covenant? Who doesn’t want their children to be fully blessed? Are you a lesser parent if you withhold your infant from the baptismal font?
Particular Baptist Christian mothers of the 17th century may not have had the same plethora of choices that we do today, but the baptism issue probably weighed heavily on their minds. Greater infant mortality rates at the time may have impacted them as well. While the Westminster Confession and the Savoy do not say that baptism saves a person, the notion of your child being a part of the covenant would be undeniably appealing. The decision to be Baptist would not be an easy one.
According to Dr. Jim Renihian in his talk “The Churches And Their Beliefs” many of these 17th century English Particular Baptist churches were made up of more women than men. Perhaps some of them followed their husbands and fathers to join these churches and didn’t think much about whether their progeny would be baptized. I would like to think, though, that there were those who came to these convictions through searching Scripture. And studying and applying Scripture’s teaching to our lives is one of the best examples of godly living we can give our children.