Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bucer on Baptism and the State

Turns out I do have some of David Wright's work on Bucer in the form of Martin Bucer: Reforming Church and Community.

Wright notes that under Bucer's direction, the Strasbourg church ordinance of 1534required that "all children born to citizens must be baptized as infants" (96). Infants were required to be brought within six weeks of birth upon threat of punishment, including banishment, if parents refused. Bucer saw this requirement not merely as a theological necessity but more broadly as essential to the "preservation of the unified Christian community." Even appealing to Plato, Bucer justified the baptism of children of "godless parents" by appealing to the fact that children "belong more to the 'respublica' ('der gemein und stadt') than to their own parents" (97).

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