Mark 10: 13-16 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, [color:"0000FF"]put his hands upon them, and blessed them[/color].

Wes, I read your post and wondered what you thought of these verses above. Briefly analyzing the verses, Jesus does not merely touch the children, which in v 13 was the stated purpose of those bringing them to him; He embraces them. Remember in Mark 9:36 Jesus had taken a child into his arms. This embrace IMHO is a public demonstration of children’s acceptance and value in the Kingdom. The passage gets more interesting though as “He blessed [lit. historic present, ‘blesses’] them.” Mark uses the intensive form, “to bless,” which occurs nowhere else in the NT. In the LXX it is found only in Tob 11:1, where Tobias blesses Raguel, and in Tob 11:17, where Tobit blesses his new daughter-in-law Sarah. Then Jesus is seen “laying his hands on them.” Elsewhere Jesus lays hands on persons as well (Mark 5:23, 6:5, 8:23–25), thus, there is precedent for His actions. In Gen 48:15–15 the patriarch Jacob (Israel) lays his hands upon the heads of Ephraim and Manasseh and then blesses their father Joseph.

Though we “really” do not know what blessing Christ gave some have certainly speculated on it. One such speculation was that this was the Aaronic blessing of Numbers 6:24-26:

Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel: ye shall say unto them, Jehovah bless thee, and keep thee: Jehovah make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: Jehovah lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. [color:"0000FF"]So shall they put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them[/color].
Though I do not believe there is substantial evidence that this is what Christ said in Mark 10, the Aaronic blessing does shed some light on another aspect of your question. God placed His name upon the “whole” of Israel and this would have included children (and yes, some were lost, thus we know this is not in reference to salvation, et. al.) . A similar placing of a name appears in the NT as well—Matt 28: 19… “baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

Thus, IMHO the Aaronic blessing sheds new light on the Credo position:

Credo churches have baby dedications—blessings. These dedications are praying down God’s blessings upon the child, its parent(s), etc. They normally even charge the Church with its responsibly. Thus, there appears to be some continuity for Credos with the Aaronic blessing. But, the Aaronic blessing was ONLY given to those who were part of the visible church—we still use it today (continuity). Thus, Credos either have to admit that (a) infants are indeed part of the visible church (I am not saying infants are saved), and thus part of their argument against the paedo view disappears (for non-believers may be blessed), or (b) they must hold that no blessings are being received from God in their dedication (though they normally pray), and thus the dedication is but mere words of encouragement for the family and church. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/scratch1.gif" alt="" />

While I do think Credos mean the "blessing" to be more than a mere encouragement, how do you get there Scripturally? Exactly which Scriptures do Credos now use for evidence of Baby Dedications?

I found J.C. Ryle’s comments on Mark 10 somewhat intriguing here also,

Let us learn from this passage how much encouragement there is to bring young children to be baptized. Of course it is not claimed that there is any mention of baptism, or even any reference to it, in the verses before us. All we mean to say is that the expressions and gestures of our Lord in this passage are a strong indirect argument in favor of infant baptism. It is on this account that the passage occupies a prominent place in the baptismal service of the Church of England.

The subject of infant baptism is undoubtedly a delicate and difficult one. Holy and praying people are unable to see alike on it. Although they read the same Bible, and claim to be led by the same Spirit, they arrive at different conclusions about this sacrament. The great majority of Christians hold that infant baptism is scriptural and right. A comparatively small section of the Protestant church, but one containing many eminent saints among its members, regards infant baptism as unscriptural and wrong. The difference is a sad proof of the blindness and weakness which remain even in the saints of God.

But the difference now referred to must not make members of the Church of England shrink from holding decided opinions on the subject. That church has declared plainly in its Articles that “the baptism of young children is in any wise to be retained, as most agreeable with the institution of Christ.” To this opinion we need not be afraid to adhere.

It is agreed on all sides that infants may be elect and chosen by God for salvation—may be washed in Christ’s blood, born again of the Spirit, have grace, be justified, sanctified and enter heaven. If these things are so, it is hard to see why they may not receive the outward sign of baptism.

It is agreed furthermore than infants are members of Christ’s visible church by virtue of their parents’ Christianity. What else can we make of St. Paul’s words, “as it is, they are holy” (1 Corinthians 7:14)? If this is so, it is difficult to understand why an infant may not receive the outward sign of admission into the church, just as the Jewish child received the outward sign of circumcision.

The objection that baptism ought only to be given to those who are old enough to repent and believe does not appear a convincing one. We read in the New Testament that the “families” of Lydia and Stephanas were baptized (Acts 16:15 and 1 Corinthians 1:16), and that the jailer of Philippi and “all his family” were baptized (Acts 16:33). It is very difficult to suppose that in no one of these three cases were there any children.

The objection that our Lord Jesus Christ himself never directly commanded infants to be baptized is not a weighty one. The church of the Jews, to which he came, had always been accustomed to admit children into the church by the sign of circumcision. The very fact that Jesus says nothing about the age for baptizing goes far to prove that he intended no change to be made.

[In considering the arguments in favor of infant baptism, there are two facts which ought to be duly pondered. They are extra-scriptural facts, and I have therefore purposely omitted them from the thoughts above, but they are weighty facts and may help some minds in coming to a conclusion.

1. One fact is the testimony of history to the almost universal practice of infant baptism in the early church. The proof of this is to be found in Wall’s History of Infant Baptism. If infant baptism is so entirely opposed to the mind of Christ, as some say that it is, it is at least a curious circumstance that the early church should have been so ignorant on the subject.

2. The other fact is the well-known practice of baptizing the infant children of proselytes in the Jewish church. The proof of this is to be found in Lightfoot’s Horae Hebraicae on St. Matthew 3:6. He says, for instance (Works, Pitman ed., Vol. xi, p. 59):

The Anabaptists object, “It is not commanded to baptize infants, therefore they are not to be baptized.” To whom I answer, “It is not forbidden to baptize infants, therefore they are to be baptized.” And the reason is plain. For when paedobaptism in the Jewish church was so known, usual and frequent in the admission of proselytes, there was no need to strengthen it with any precept, when baptism passed into an evangelical sacrament. For Christ took baptism into his own hands, and into evangelical use as he found it; this only added that he might promote it to a worthier end, and larger use. The whole nation knew well enough that little children used to be baptized: there was no need of a precept for that which had ever, by common use, prevailed.
On the other hand, there was need of a plain and open prohibition, that infants and little children should not be baptized, if our Saviour would not have had them baptized. For since it was most common, in all ages foregoing, that little children should be baptized, if Christ had minded to abolish the custom he would have openly forbidden it. Therefore his silence and the silence of Scripture confirms paedobaptism, and continues it unto all ages.]
Any way Wes, what do you think?

Reformed and Always Reforming,