Many churches practice infant baptism. Millions have been ‘christened’ as infants. Infant baptism is performed in the name of the Lord in many ‘Christian’ denominations including the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. But does the Lord authorise it? Is it of human origin or divine? The child has no choice in the matter. Do parents have the right to have their infants baptised? I believe that as we look into this issue, we must ask ourselves ‘What does of the gospel of grace mean in light infant baptism?
In times, past many of us have leaned upon the worldly wisdom and our philosophies. Consequently, we risk being blown about by various winds of doctrines. From these experiences we must learn a valuable lesson:
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
As the Psalmist writes:
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path.
And so let us examine infant baptism in the light of the Word of God. All biblical quotations are taken from the NKJV.
By ‘infant’ we mean a baby or small child who is too young to make a decision. Sprinkling or pouring usually perform infant baptism; sometimes it is done by immersion.
Infant baptism is not of divine origin
I say this without fear of successful contradiction. Jesus said:
Mark 16:16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved
Peter, led by the Holy Spirit, said:
Acts 2:38 “Repent, and let everyone of you is baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins
The truth is always in harmony with truth. Faith and repentance precede scriptural baptism. Neither precedes infant baptism. To practice baptism before there is faith and repentance is to pervert the gospel. Anyone who preaches a different gospel is accursed (Galatians 1:6-9). When one practice infant baptism he is going beyond the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9).
Many would argue that infant baptism was not controversial in the early Church during the first two centuries. Historically speaking, the earliest known records of this practice are dated between the middle of the second century and the middle of the third century, through the writing of Tertullian (c. 155–230) and Origen (185–c. 254). Even still, with the greatest of intentions of these writers and with the supposition of the holiest of lives led by these men, none of their writing were deemed inspired and furthermore it does nothing to prove that the action of infant baptism is correct in the eyes of God. These men were not infallible.
Infant baptism nullifies the law of God
Jesus accused the religious people of His day of “making the Word of God of no effect” through their tradition (Mark 7:13). That is exactly what I believe this man-made practice does. It makes the law of Christ of no effect. Jesus taught that every creature is to believe and be baptized, but they who advocate infant baptism nullify this command of Christ. They supplant it by human law.
Jesus is to be obeyed. This the Scriptures teach:
Hebrews 5:9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,
Everyone who practices and endorses infant baptism is guilty, either wilfully or ignorantly, of supplanting the divine law of believers’ baptism. They are also laying down a religious framework to educate their child that they do not need to be baptised. Thus deceiving the child into disobedience towards one of two ordinances laid down in New Testament writing. (Believers baptism and communion). This is very serious.
Is infant baptism biblical?
Infant baptism is never directly spoken of in the scriptures.
What about household baptisms?
Some try to justify infant baptism by New Testament examples of household baptisms. It is argued that infants must have been included when whole households were baptized.
In most passages, however, where household baptisms are reported, fearing, hearing and believing are also mentioned, which infants are unable to do. Let’s stop and look at these scriptures closely:
o Cornelius was:
o Paul told the Philippian jailer:
Acts 16:31 “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
Did this include infants? Can infants believe? We read further:
Acts 16:32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.
What was the response?
Acts 16:33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.
Those infants were not included is further indicated by what follows:
Acts 16:34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.
o And as for Crispus and the Corinthians:
Acts 18:8 Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized.
To teach that infants were included in household baptisms is going beyond what is written. Furthermore, this human addition to the word of God is clearly contrary to what is written. It is to accuse the apostles of sinning by violating the terms of the Great Commission (Mark 16:16)! God forbid. I believe the ‘household baptism’ argument is a case of a drowning man grasping at a straw. It is not what Peter and Paul are preaching.
Paul tells the Colossians:
Colossians 2:12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
Paul tells us here that we are buried with Christ in baptism and also raised with Him “through faith in the working of God” This shows that the baptism he instructed upon could not have been infant baptism. Again how can an infant have faith?
Some argue that ‘the pattern of the Old Testament covenants formed the framework for the apostolic understanding of the true covenant of Christ, and those covenants included children. They were covenants which were made with a nation, in which every household participated.
According to Peter one becomes a member of the ‘holy nation’ in the following way:
1 Peter 1:2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:
It is not through one’s infant baptism. We must be careful how we use these types careful so as not to formulate doctrine out of type. Israel of the Old Testament and the Church are different. For example, God used Israel of old as the instrument to judge the nations. Is the Church at this time supposed to do likewise? Of course not, many because of this idea would argue yes. Just look at the damage the Catholic Church caused during the great inquisition – it is estimated that up to 60 million people were murdered!
Let the children come
Matthew 19:14 But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
Some say: “Well, it will not hurt them.” It certainly may! Again as I said earlier, they might think they have been baptised when in reality they have only obeyed the command of men and not the command of God.
Is it harmless to take the name of God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit in vain? For that is something which based on my belief is done every time a child is christened. If I do something in a man’s name when he has not authorized it, I am taking his name in vain. How much more serious is it to take Gods name in vain. And to ordain something (as important as baptism) in a manner that is not as per His commands and then sign it with His name! Again I believe this is very serious.
Baptism and circumcision
Figuratively, baptism is compared with circumcision (Colossians 2:11,12). Because infants were circumcised in Old Testament times, some try to justify infant baptism by this comparison. In many points, however, baptism is different than circumcision (again a problem with using type to establish a doctrine). Who was circumcised? Israelites. Do those who practice infant baptism only baptise Israelites? Only boys were circumcised. Do those who practice infant baptism sprinkle only boys? Were not the Jews required to believe and be baptised?
What happens to a child when he or she is baptised?
The Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church states that baptism will wash one’s sin away. Rome specifically states that:
SACRAMENTS NECESSARY FOR SALVATION:
Cat no.1129 The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation. … The fruit of the sacramental life is that the Spirit of adoption makes the faithful partakers in the divine nature by uniting them in a living union with the only Son, the Saviour.
SALVATION THROUGH BAPTISM
Cat no.1263 By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin.
If we are to believe as the Catechism states that baptism will wash away sin, why is it that the scriptures never speak of this? Instead, they speak as follows:
Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
Acts 20:28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His blood.
Romans 3:25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,
Romans 5:9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
Never in any of the books or letters of the New Testament is baptism regarded as the cleansing sin. – It is however spoken of as being through the blood. Through our faith in the blood of Jesus – the cross, which is the vehicle to receive Gods grace and so atonement for our sins:
Romans 5:1-2 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Praise the Lord for His amazing grace! Again I do not deny the importance of baptism. But let us take scriptures in their context. Advocates of infant baptism base their understanding of ‘what happens to an unbelieving infant when he or she is baptized’ on scriptures relating to believer’s baptism, which is as has been demonstrated the scriptural position. I have personally heard advocates apply Romans 6:3-4 to infants who have been baptized.
Romans 6:3-6 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore, we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Thus, what is being preached is that those ‘buried with Christ’ in (infant) baptism will also be ‘raised with Him’ as well. They will be ‘raised with the promise of eternal life’. This is to preach a salvation void of the need of faith and thus contrary to a scriptural position. Where can we find any examples of infant baptism in Scripture? This error consequentially lays a platform for another gospel to be proclaimed (that according to Infant baptism).
If you have trusted in this human practice, I pray that you will renounce this practice and believe in the all-sufficiency of the sacrifice of the Fathers only begotten Son and the redemption in His blood (Ephesians 1:7) and be baptised (1st baptism) into newness of life. Anything else is a gospel of works – whether directly or indirectly. Ones work perhaps towards their child, with that child’s faith being removed from the equation.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
And let us remember the words of Paul:
Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Faith in Christ as the Son of God is only found in those who have first heard the Word of God, and then believed (John 20:31). This is why we are told to preach the gospel to all people, teaching them to obey what has been commanded (Matthew 28:19-20).
Baptism is connected with salvation (1 Peter 3:21), through obedience to His commands and onwards into Holiness of life. I believe that baptism is more than merely a sign. As a man who believed and then in obedience to the word of God was baptised, I can but testify to their being power in this ordinance, God’s power. I know I was a different person when I emerged from the baptismal pool.
Hebrews 12:14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:
Salvation is too important for one to be satisfied with a human substitute that will not save. Let me quote again the language of Jesus upon which I have found peace:
Mark 16:16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned.
May the Lord bless you,