Billions of people every year are victimized by religion. Millions of these victims are infants who are abused by religionists. These religionists do it to control families for power and/or money. Some sixty percent of so-called Christian religions practice infant baptism.
This reply is for those who wonder about the Biblical teaching on infant baptism. It is for those who are asking:
Does infant baptism save a person?
When a person later becomes a believer, does he have to be baptized again?
Is sprinkling or pouring just as pleasing to God as immersion?
Am I a member of a church I did not choose because of my infant baptism
This reply is for those who are sincere in their practice of infant baptism. They may have inherited the practice by tradition. They may have accepted the teachings justifying it. Hopefully, they will reject the traditions of men. Hopefully, they will turn to obeying the living God.
This reply is for all who really want to know what the Bible says about infant baptism.
The Bible never teaches or commands infant baptism. It is amazing that men will not leave it at that. They admit the Bible does not teach or command infant baptism. Then, they attempt to justify it anyway.
One writer who believes infants should be baptized said the Bible makes no clear statement for or against infant baptism (J.O.Y. Mante in Why Infant Baptism?). It is true there is no commandment saying, “You shall (or shall not) baptize infants.”
However, the same writer contends that baptism of the Israelites in the Red Sea and under the cloud must have included the children (I Corinthians 10:1-2). If he can clearly conclude that from one verse, surely he can conclude that every person mentioned in the New Testament who was baptized was a believer. This is one scripture that has been misinterpreted to endorse infant baptism.
Not until Paul wrote I Corinthians 10:1-2 did any Israelite understand that Israel passing through the Red Sea had anything at all to do with baptism. Neither Jew nor Greek thought Paul was discussing the baptism of individual men, women, or children. They understood him to be speaking metaphorically or symbolically. The reason they knew this was Paul's use of the word fathers. “Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and the sea” (I Corinthians 10:1-2).
The word fathers in the Jewish and Greek mind in this case did not mean one's ancestors. It meant the Law of Moses, native customs and practices, tradition, national characteristics, the soil of Palestine, the language, or the constitution. It was a common word in Attic (Greek) prose to express inherited customs, habits, and institutions (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Friedrich, editor, Volume V, page 1015, paragraph 3).
Paul is arguing from the authority of Biblical history. He is not arguing for baptism at all. He shows that Israel came out of Egypt
and across the Red Sea, but not all of Israel remained saved (I Corinthians 5:5-13). He warns Christians they could return to sin and lose their salvation. Just as all who were saved from Egypt could be lost, so all who are saved from sin can be lost. The fathers is a symbol of that nation. It is not a term describing individuals and certainly not infants being baptized.
Those who justify infant baptism on this basis make an even more basic error. They assume that what was commanded in the days of Moses is commanded to us today. Such is not the case. Christ brought all of that to an end.
“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4).
“Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands—that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace” (Ephesians 2:11–15).
Furthermore, such commandments and ordinances were for the Jews only until Christ came. Moses was speaking to the new Israelite nation just out of Egypt when he said, “For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the Lord our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him? And what great nation is there that has such statues and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day?” (Deuteronomy 4:7-8).
“For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all
peoples; but because the Lord loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments, and He repays those who hate Him to their face, to destroy them. He will not be slack with him who hates Him; He will repay him to his face” (Deuteronomy 7:6–10).
All of the above italics are the author’s. It is to show you how exclusive the Law of Moses was. The Law of Moses was for the Jews only and never for the Gentiles.
Also, a close look at I Corinthians 10:1–2 reveals those people baptized in the Red Sea were baptized “into Moses.” They were not baptized “into Christ.” Salvation today is not in Moses but in Christ.
“Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands before you whole. This is the stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone. Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:10–12).
Therefore, the only scripture which supposedly mentions infant baptism really does not.
The infants of Christians have never been eligible for baptism. Those who teach infant baptism say, since there was no clear Bible statement that children of Christians were allowed to grow up and become believers before they were baptized, they must have been baptized before they believed. That makes as much sense as saying I do not have money in my pocket, therefore I must have money in my pocket. With this reasoning, you can add anything you want to what the Bible says as long as the Bible does not already mention it. There are warnings against those who would do such things (Revelation 22:18–19).
J.O.Y. Mante, in his booklet Why Baptize Infants, tries to add such teachings to the Bible. He writes: “The requirement to believe and be baptized was only for adult heathens the early Christians were attempting to evangelize, not for people who were already members of Christian families.”
But, the apostle Peter said just the opposite. He told the Jews on the Day of Pentecost what to do to be saved. These were not adult heathens, yet they had to repent and be baptized (Acts 2:38). Then, Peter added in the very next verse that if their children and the Gentiles were to be saved, they would also have to repent and be baptized: “For the promise is to you and your children, and to all who are afar off ...” (Acts 2:39).
The New Testament accounts of baptism show that all who were baptized were believers. In Acts 2:41, they gladly received his word and were baptized. In Acts 8:36–37, a man desires baptism and the preacher tells him he may be baptized, “If you believe.”
In Acts 10:34–35, Peter states that God accepts those who fear him and work righteousness. Obviously, these people would be believers. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved ...” Jesus said in Mark 16:16.
So, the baptism of the infants of Christians is not mentioned in the Bible. That's because the baptism of believers excludes infants not yet able to believe.
To say that infant baptism is implied in the scriptures is to misinterpret the scriptures. There are eleven instances of baptism mentioned in the New Testament. Three are certainly whole households and, most probably, five in which the whole household was baptized.
Some argue there had to be infants in some of them. Others argue, as possibly in the case of Cornelius (Acts 10), it is not probable infants were present to hear Peter speak. The infants, if any, were elsewhere and, therefore, not affected by the event. Both arguments are based on guesswork and have no solid foundation in scripture.
What is found in scripture are the requirements for baptism. Jesus says in Mark 16:16 that the candidate must be a believer. The Lord also says in Matthew 28:19–20 that those to be baptized had to have had the word of God preached to them. In other words, they had to hear, understand, and believe before they were baptized.
In Peter's Holy Spirit directed sermon on Pentecost (Acts 2), Peter says in verse 38 that candidates for baptism need to repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins. So, the candidates for baptism must have been capable of sin, must have sinned, and must have been capable of repentance (turning away) from sin. They also must have been capable of submitting to baptism as an act of personal will. It says, “be baptized,” be indicating willingness; baptized meaning immersion done to someone by someone else, thereby indicating personal submission. Actually, the Greek can be translated, “allow yourself to willingly submit to someone immersing you.”
All of these acts are activities which an infant cannot do. Therefore, infants may have been present when the Gospel was preached, but they were incapable of receiving and obeying the Gospel requirements. Only older children with capability would have willingly submitted themselves to baptism. There is no possibility whatsoever of infant baptism having occurred in any New Testament example of whole households coming to the Lord.
Infant baptism is not the New Testament equivalent of circumcision. Circumcision of the heart is the equivalent.
Those who argue for infant baptism contend it brings a child of a believing husband and wife into covenant relationship with God. They argue it is like circumcision which brought Jewish children into the Abramhamic covenant to enjoy the benefits of being a part of God's people.
Some argue this is necessary to save the infant's soul from hell should he die before adulthood. Others say infant baptism is necessary because the child is already holy and should be baptized because it is holy.
The holiness or unholiness of infants will be dealt with in Reply 5. Here, consider circumcision. Circumcision was a requirement of God upon Abraham. Later, God had the Israelites use circumcision as a sign of their agreement to His covenant. Infant males were circumcised to bring them into the covenant of God. Non-Jewish adult males converted to the law of Moses were also circumcised.
First of all, circumcision was commanded under a set of God's laws no longer required of men. See Reply One.
Secondly, the Law of Moses was a “shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of those things ...” (Hebrews 10:1).
So, the reality of New Testament circumcision must be explained in New Testament terms and not Old Testament practice. Indeed, Paul states in Romans 2:28–29: “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not from men, but from God.”
Paul further writes in I Corinthians 7:17–19: “But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all the churches. Was anyone called while
circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Was anyone called while uncircumcised? Let him not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters.”
Paul also said in Galatians 5:6: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.”
Since circumcision in the Christian system is of the heart (mind, emotions, and will of man) and in the spirit, then this covenanting is the act of a free, rational adult, not a child.
Infant baptism is not the New Testament equivalent of circumcision. The circumcision of the heart is the New Testament equivalent.
According to the Bible, all people have been and will be born sinless.
One of the most hideous doctrines of infant baptism condemns children to hell. It says that should a child die without having been baptized, he will suffer eternal punishment with the devil and his angels.
The truth is that those who teach such things are in danger of hell.
There is no Biblical basis for this doctrine of eternal depravity—being born a sinner condemned from birth. In fact, the Bible clearly teaches the opposite doctrine.
But, some will say, “Did David not write that he was born in sin?” Well, let us consider that passage: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity: and in sin my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5).
David is certainly bemoaning the fact that as an adult he was a sinner. He says one reason he committed sin was the sinful influence into which he was born.
Notice, he does not say he was born a sinner. He says he was “brought forth” (formed) in iniquity. He does not say he was conceived a sinner, but was conceived during the time his mother was in sin, not him. In other words, the people who were around him after he was born tempted, influenced, and persuaded him to sin.
David's situation was like Adam and Eve's. They were created sinless. It was through the persuasion of the devil that they chose to sin. So, it is with every individual. One is born innocent into the world, but it is a world made up of sinners. It is a world of sinners persuading others to sin with them.
The idea that a person is born a sinner and inherits the sins of generations before him is foreign to scripture. Note what Ezekiel says in Ezekiel 18:19-20: “Yet you say, ‘Why should the son not bear the guilt of the father?’ Because the son has done what is lawful
and right, and has kept all My statues and observed them, he shall surely live. The soul who sins will die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, not the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.”
The Bible teaches all people are born sinless. Well, then, should infants be baptized because they are holy? In reply, I ask, why?
Baptism is not administered because someone is holy. It is administered because of sin. Baptism is for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). Since infants do not have sins, they do not need baptism.
The belief that the early church fathers taught infant baptism is a misinterpretation of statements which actually show their disapproval of infant baptism.
Those who would baptize infants admit the “early church fathers,” those who wrote in the second century, never mentioned infant baptism. So, the false teachers argue, “Since the teaching of infant baptism is not found in the teachings of the early church fathers, they must have taught it.” This is the same illogic they use to prove that the Bible taught infant baptism. What stupidity! What self-deception! (See Reply Two.)
Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, The Epistle of Barnabas, The Shepherd of Hermas, the Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians, and the epistles of Ignatius and of Clement of Rome do not mention infant baptism.
Those who teach infant baptism argue: since it was not mentioned by these writers, infant baptism must have been so widely accepted there was no need for them to mention it.
Someone else can argue just as well: since it was not mentioned by these writers, it must not have been practiced or even been considered for practice by the second century Christians. Neither argument is very logical because it assumes something not in evidence.
This reasoning could be applied this way: “Since faith in Jesus Christ was so widely accepted among the Christians, there was no need for these writers to ever mention it. So, they never did.” The fact is that faith in Jesus Christ was widely accepted among Christians. These writers wrote about it. If infant baptism had been widely accepted among the second century Christians, they could have written about it as well. The fact is—they did not!
We do not know why they did not mention it. It could be they did not believe in it, practice it, or even know about it. However, some so called scholars argue that Irenaeus mentions infant baptism in one of his remarks. It reads, concerning Jesus, “For he came to
save all by himself: all I say, who through him are born again unto God—infants, and little children, and boys and old men.” They argue that Irenaeus' phrase “born again” implies baptism. They fail to recognize Irenaeus' use of hyperbole (exaggeration in the service of truth). He uses it to say that through Jesus everyone can be saved. He may not be mentioning baptism at all.
But, let us assume he is mentioning infant baptism. Let us assume, sometime before the second century, some so-called Christians were beginning to consider or practice infant baptism. Are we, today, going to practice what men teach or what the Bible teaches? Notice, Irenaeus says, “I say ...,” not “God says.” Did the early church fathers die for our sins or did Jesus? Did the apostles have the authority to write what the Holy Spirit told them to write or did the early church fathers?
Let us do what God says, what Jesus taught, and what the Holy Spirit had the apostles to write. Let us not do what a man born some 35 years after the last apostle died happened to write.
The earliest explicit mention of infant baptism is found in Tertullian's De Baptismo written in A.D. 202. He says, “Therefore, according to every one's conditions and disposition, and also their age, the delaying of baptism is more profitable, especially in the case of little children. For what need is there that the godfathers should be brought into danger? Because they may either fail of their promises by death, or they may be deceived by a child's proving of a wicked disposition. Our Lord says indeed, ‘Do not forbid them to come to me,’ therefore let them come when they understand, when they are instructed whither they are to come. Let them become Christians when they are able to know Christ. Why should their innocent age make haste to the forgiveness of sin?” Tertullian is clearly opposed to infant baptism.
Yet, what do the teachers of infant baptism say about this? “It is to be noted that he does not oppose the baptism of infants on the ground of its being an innovation [something new, a change from accepted practice], and not of apostolic origin, but on the ground of its not being profitable or expedient. If he could have spoken of it as an innovation, it is quite certain from the nature of the case, and from his frequent use of this argument in other matters, that he would have done so.
If it were a frequent practice at that time, it must have been regarded as legitimately involved in apostolic teaching and tradition” (Cyclopedia of Biblical Theological, and Elllesiastical Literature by John McClintock and James Strong, Baker Book House).
Notice again the argument of “since Tertullian did not say it, he must have said it.” (See Reply TWO.)
It could be the people to whom he was writing had clearly rejected the authority of the apostles by their unbiblical practice. So. Tertullian tries to persuade them. He uses an argument they might accept: that there is no benefit to the children to baptize them. But, instead of arguing from what Tertullian did or did not say, let us look at what he did say.
Any one of Tertullian's reasons is enough to show infant baptism is wrong. Yet, he states several reasons. Tertullian clearly opposed infant baptism on the basis of the apostles teaching. He clearly showed that infant baptism was new and innovative. More importantly, he taught it was wrong.
Infant baptism is so completely wrong. It is foreign to the Bible. It was unknown by the early Christians. Its advocates contradicted each other and themselves. To try to justify such nonsense by saying early church fathers believed in it, is lying. They did not believe in it.
Infant baptism in the Roman and Protestant churches is a practice contradictory to other practice. The Cyclopedia of Biblical Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature by McClintock and Strong, Volume Vii, page 576, says, “Notwithstanding the apostle's direction, ‘Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup’ (I Corinthians 11:28) which so clearly points to a mature age when man is capable of self-examination as a requisite to those who approach the Lord's table, we find infants admitted to holy communion as early as the third century.
“This practice of infant communion was undoubtedly connected with infant baptism, and as a reason for it. Augustine lays down the principle that, unless we partake of the Supper of the Lord, to which no one can be regularly admitted who is not baptized, we can have no life in us (John 6:53); and this, he maintains, applies as well to children as to men. ... The same reasons are given by his contemporary, Innocent I, bishop of Rome (416).”
This was in the fifth century. “Still in the twelfth century, we find Radulphus Ardens saying ... that it is prescribed that children should receive communion, at least with the cup, soon after being baptized, so that they might not be in danger of dying without that necessary sacrament. ...” Then, in the sixteenth century, “The Council of Trent” (of the Roman Catholic Church) “condemns the principle of the necessity of infant communion, saying that the practice arose in the circumstances of the early ages, and that the fathers had sufficient grounds for introducing it in their days, without its being made a necessity of salvation; wherefore, the usage could lawfully be altered and dropped.”
“In the Greek church” (which still upholds infant communion) “we find passages of some theologians, which in their exposition of the doctrine of baptism would seem to imply that they rejected this necessity of infant communion based on John 6:53.”
“The Roman Church and all Protestant churches now agree in rejecting infant communion. ...”
All of the above show the inconsistency of churches over the centuries. On one hand, they say
all people must partake of the communion on the same basis all people must undergo baptism. On the other hand, they make an exception. Infants who are baptized do not have to partake of the communion. The point is the same reason for allowing infants not to partake of the communion will allow infants not to be baptized.
If infants need not partake of the communion like adult believers, they need not be baptized like adult believers. If baptized infants need not partake of the communion, baptized adults need not partake of the communion.
The fact is both infant baptism and infant communion are unnecessary for the same reason. The Bible does not authorize either one.
What does the Bible teach about infants, adults, and baptism?
Please understand. Your infants and children are in no danger of condemnation by God. They are innocent of all sin. Only people consciously capable of choosing a life of righteousness or a life of sin need to review their salvation. Do not let anyone use infant baptism as a means of deceiving you into their religious power for their own ungodly motives. Please understand. If you were “baptized” as an infant, you need to be baptized as an adult for the remission of your sins. Your infant baptism did you no good in the eyes of God.
Do this and God will add you to His church. You will not need to be concerned with being a member of any church whose membership is determined by men (Acts 2:47). Understanding these things, I urge you to obey God rather than men.