Monday, February 04, 2008

Oyer on Bucer

In an article entitled Bucer Opposes the Anabaptists, John S. Oyer suggests that the early Bucer did not hold to infant baptism primarily for theological or sacramental reasons but rather for social and political motivations. It was the separatism of the Anabaptists that Bucer was primarily in conflict with; infant baptism insisted that all members of society were bound together through the church. Oyer suggests that Bucer sought to build a society with the roles of church and state interwoven and (in places) overlapping. The basis for this societal vision was found in identifying the Old and New Covenants closely. The Anabaptists, on the other hand, insisted that the two covenants were quite distinct and different. The identification of baptism as the New Covenant fulfillment of the Old Covenant sign of circumcision fit this hermeneutic beautifully and was at the same time utterly repugnant to the Anabaptist commitment to the separation of church and state. Oyer says that it was Bucer’s commitment to a unified society that drives his reluctance to give up infant baptism.

No comments: