After discussing both Credobaptism and Paedobaptism, Michael Bird proposes Dual Baptism:
Although I started out as a credobaptist and progressed on to becoming a paedobaptist, it is this dual-baptism view that I admittedly gravitate to because I think it allows us to hold together two competing theologies on a non-essential matter of the faith. A dual-baptism position enables us to make sure that baptism, a symbol of the gospel, becomes a means of gospel unity, rather than an occasion for division in the already all too much divided churches. (emphasis mined)
According to Bird, this Dual Baptism is a “third position is for churches to permit both views of baptism, credo and paedo, to be practiced side by side.” Bird continues,
This policy of dual baptism is held by the Nazarene Church, American Evangelical Covenant Church, Evangelical Free Church, French Reformed Church, and Presbyterian Church (USA). John Bunyan, the Baptist Puritan and author of Pilgrim’s Progress, accepted paedobaptists into fellowship. As far as I know, most paedobaptist
churches do not force congregants to baptize their children, but only refuse to
re-baptize adults, so they are technically open to believer’s baptism.
Bird then proposes six reasons why Dual Baptism “a defensible and even desirable theological stance” to take. Among these reasons, relying on the author of Hebrews, Bird classifies baptism as “a second tier of elementary Christian beliefs.”
It is this classification that got my attention in light of:
“A dual-baptism position enables us to make sure that baptism, a symbol of the gospel, becomes a means of gospel unity, rather than an occasion for division in the already all too much divided churches.” (emphasis mine)
This Dual Baptism is quite “desirable.”
In fact, since relocating to St. Louis, I’ve found myself in the company of not a few Presbyterian brothers and sisters.