Article 52 — Baptism of infants
The consistory shall ensure that the covenant of God is sealed by baptism to the children of believers as soon as feasible.
We must say again that the first part of this the sentence is also more or less a repetition of what we confess in the Belgic Confession and our Catechism.
No further comment is needed.
We do not practise the administration of baptism in the family circle or in a special baptismal chapel and therefore in the absence of the congregation. Holy baptism is the ceremony by means of which one is incorporated into the Christian Church (Article 34 BC).
There must be an opportunity to administer the sacrament of baptism in every church service. It shall not be postponed until special ‘baptismal Sundays’.
The clause “as soon as feasible” used to be the cause of some heated discussions between adherers of ‘early baptism’ and ‘late baptism’, as they called each other.
During the first centuries after the Reformation the administration of baptism of infants took place indeed as soon as possible. This was proved by the baptismal questions which were addressed to “the fathers and witnesses”. Later on a different practice came into being.
Here in Australia this is not a cause for friction and debate, since all infants are born in a hospital and as a rule are released together with their mother. Although, an increasing number of parents are opting for home births in care of midwives.