March 30: Schaeffer on Baptism

An Early Tract of Francis Schaeffer


Pictured at right is an early tract, or rather, a printed sermon by the Rev. Francis A. Schaeffer. This sermon was part of a series titled “What We Believe,” a series preached in the early months of 1947. In fact, this sermon can be dated exactly, as there is a statement on the inside front cover of the publication, stating that it was a message preached in St. Louis on 30 March 1947.  Given the length of the tract, it must have been a long sermon, or perhaps more likely, it may have been revised for publication.

The date of the sermon is also interesting, in that it would be one of the last sermons preached there in St. Louis by Rev. Schaeffer, for he very soon began began a tour of Europe, in preparation for his later move to Switzerland. The original purpose in moving there was to plant churches and to establish chapters of Children For Christ, a ministry which Schaeffer had begun in St. Louis just a few years earlier.

The outline of Dr. Schaeffer’s argument for infant baptism is as follows:

• Baptistic Arguments
• Salvation by Faith Alone
• Covenant Is Immutable
• Covenant Is Primarily Spiritual
• The Outward Sign
• Sign Applied to Infants
• New Testament Practice
• Church History
• Baptistic Arguments
Questions Asked Publicly of Parents Before Infant Is Baptized

While this message was not included in the five volume Works of Dr. Schaeffer, still this title has remained in print and is currently available in a nicely reformatted edition from the PCA Bookstore. The content of that edition remains the same, but for the deletion of an opening statement by Dr. Schaeffer, and that statement provides the historical context of the sermon as originally delivered:

In the almost three and a half years that I have been your Pastor, I have not preached on the subject of Baptism, but now we come to this subject in our series of sermons on “What We Believe.”

Words to Live By:

Faithful pastors seek to equip their congregations with what they need to live the Christian life in an humble, yet purposeful way, always seeking to honor our Savior, living lives that are a reflection of the holiness of God. Sound doctrine, which is simply the teaching of Scripture, is an integral and necessary part of that equipping that we so clearly need.

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
–Ephesians 6:13-18


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