Help me defend infant baptism!


#1

How does one go about defending infant baptism scripturally?

This is my grandmother (independant baptist) who proclaims it invalid, so the argument needs to be solid and meaty.


#2

[quote=St.Curious]How does one go about defending infant baptism scripturally?

This is my grandmother (independant baptist) who proclaims it invalid, so the argument needs to be solid and meaty.
[/quote]

You begin with the Old Testament showing that ALL infants were presented in the Temple on the eighth day after birth. That Baptism replaces circumsicion as a means of entry into the people of God. etc, etc.

Next ask specifically where in Scripture does it forbid the Baptizing of infants in the New Testament?


#3

I would try going through Acts & finding all the times it says someone was baptized with “all his household”. There are some other places, but Acts is easy to navigate & there are several references.
Why would it say “all the household” if it were just a few people? It says all!!
Well, all includes the children. Even babies.


#4

[quote=Zooey]I would try going through Acts & finding all the times it says someone was baptized with “all his household”. There are some other places, but Acts is easy to navigate & there are several references.
Why would it say “all the household” if it were just a few people? It says all!!
Well, all includes the children. Even babies.
[/quote]

In addition, it obviously gives a parent the Biblical right (and most likely an obligation) to have all in their house Baptized.

Where does it exclude anyone from that list?


#5

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]You begin with the Old Testament showing that ALL infants were presented in the Temple on the eighth day after birth. That Baptism replaces circumsicion as a means of entry into the people of God. etc, etc.

Next ask specifically where in Scripture does it forbid the Baptizing of infants in the New Testament?
[/quote]

Yeah, unfortunately that argument’s not likely to hold. I’ve checked the Bible and it NEVER equates infant baptism as a substitute for OT circumcision.

As for the issue of where in the NT is infant baptism forbidden, you won’t see the Bible come out and say, “Infant baptism is forbidden.” What you WILL see, however, is a sort of qualification process for lack of a better term. The apostles didn’t baptize you until they were certain that you understood the significance of what it meant to be baptized.

In the Bible, only believers who had placed their faith in Christ were baptized. This was done as a public testimony of their faith and identification with Him, but if they didn’t fully understand what the significance of baptism entailed, they were refused. A good example of this can be found in 1 Corinthians 1:10-15. The Apostle Paul, seeing that people were already getting confused about who they were following, set the record straight in his letter and even expressed relief that, out of the lot, he only baptized two people (Verse 14).

Another good place to review is in Acts 8 as much of that chapter deals with baptism. In verse twelve on Acts 8, it reads: *"*But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women." Acts 8:12 (bold and italics mine)
**
Only adults were baptized and all had to believe beforehand. By the time you reach verse 26, you come to the story of the eunuch. Philip is led to the Ethiopian eunuch who is seated and trying to understand the significance of prophetic verses (concerning Jesus). Philip asked the eunuch if he understood what he was reading. He responded by hinting that he could use a little help, so Philip explained the verses to him. Once he understood that it was referring to Jesus, the eunuch asked Philip a question:

Verse 36 - And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
Verse 37 - And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Verse 38 - And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

The few times I’ve ever heard the Catholic church try to justify infant baptism, they use the “household” argument; that being that a couple of times in scripture, mention is made of a certain household being baptized. They assume that an infant must be in these households. Unfortunately, this is a very reckless assumption to make (my household consists of myself, my wife and my mother and father-in-law who are staying over for a few months as they’re from another country). We have a household, but no infant.

An infant obviously can’t UNDERSTAND anything about the Kingdom of God and an infant can’t make the CHOICE to ACCEPT the truth about Jesus.

This probably wasn’t what you were looking for, but there’s no sense in denying what scripture says about the matter. Anyway, I hope this helped elucidate the true significance of a baptism. :slight_smile:


#6

this article from Faith Facts on the Catholics United for the Faith website may help - the footnotes give the scripture references, so read the whole thing.

cuf.org/Faithfacts/details_view.asp?ffID=17


#7

Throughout the history of Christianity, except for certain heretics, infants were baptized. It wasn’t until around the time of the reformation that the revisionist theology was adopted to deny infants baptism. :thumbsup:

This is a superb article:
goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article7067.asp


#8

Neither can the severely mentally handicapped. Should baptism be denied them also?


#9

The section of John Salza’s “Scripture Catholic” site that discusses baptism has the references: scripturecatholic.com/baptism.html


#10

Baptists will go on and on and on about how grace is a free gift and then they turn around and say God won’t give that gift to a baby because one must be old enough to *do *something to receive grace:rolleyes:


#11

Joshua 5:2-7 - God punished Israel because the people had not circumcised their children. This was based on the parent’s faith. The parents play a critical role in their child’s salvation.

1 Cor. 7:14 – Paul says that children are sanctified by God through the belief of only one of their parents.

(much more here…)

scripturecatholic.com/baptism.html#baptism-III


#12

What if the Early Church baptized children? There are crypts with childrens names on them showing that they were baptized when they were less than 6 months old dating back to around 85AD and 91AD. Would this type of information help?

NotWorthy

P.S. I survived “Rita”!!!


#13

[quote=ChristianWAB]Yeah, unfortunately that argument’s not likely to hold. I’ve checked the Bible and it NEVER equates infant baptism as a substitute for OT circumcision.

As for the issue of where in the NT is infant baptism forbidden, you won’t see the Bible come out and say, “Infant baptism is forbidden.”
[/quote]

Try Col 2:11-12 where Circumcision is compared to Baptism. Circumcision was the means of entry into the people of God, Baptism is now the New Testament means of incorporating all into the Body of Christ. Without it one is not a member of Christ.(Gal 3: 27)
If it’s not forbidden in the Scriptures then it’s not against Scripture, now is it.

The rest that your post is in reference to adults. Any adult who is capable of understanding and professing faith must do so before Baptism. Those who are incapable are Baptized into the faith of the Church, including infants.


#14

Jesus also says let the infants come to Him. Baptism is how we first come to Jesus and become incorporated in His body. Do you think if when Jesus was walking around and someone brought Him and infant and asked if He would encorporate the child into His mysticsal body, He would say, “nope, I said not to hinder the little ones from coming to me, but forget that, I’m going to hinder them myself. You can’t come to me until you’re old enough to make a mature decision.” Doubtful;)


#15

[quote=Genesis315]Baptists will go on and on and on about how grace is a free gift and then they turn around and say God won’t give that gift to a baby because one must be old enough to *do *something to receive grace:rolleyes:
[/quote]

It’s also interesting to note that Baptists Baptized infants up until the Anti-Pedobaptist movement. They also continue to “Re-Baptize” adults against the Scriptures where St. Paul says that there is ONE Baptism. This is why the Catholic Church holds that a person can only be Baptized once and only once.

It’s also important to note that when Christ commissioned the Apostles He didn’t say Go and Baptize ADULTS. He placed no qualifiers on who they were to Baptize.


#16

Yet, interestingly, John the Baptist leapt in his mother’s womb as the Holy Virgin approached Elisabeth.

Fiat


#17

The verses you point out say nothing about Paul or any of the other apostles refusing to baptize people because they “didn’t truly understand what the significance of baptism entailed.” The thrust of Paul’s argument is simply that there is only One baptism, and that it is not the minister of the sacrament in whose name we are baptized, but in the name of Jesus Christ.
Fiat


#18

How much “understanding” is required? Apparently, even in the womb, John the Baptist was capable of recognizing the Lord, since he “leaped for joy.”

Lk 1:41 & 44. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit [and said] For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy.

So “faith” must mean something other than pure intellectual consent.

The sub-apostolic Church accepted infant baptism as having been received from the apostles, viz. Irenaeus, *Against Heresies *2:22:4 (ca. 189 A.D.) The earliest recorded controversy over infant baptism appears in a council (sorry; don’t have the reference here) around 250 A.D. in which the “controversy” is whether baptism should be withheld until the 8th day (thus linking baptism with circumcision in the mind of the early Church).


#19

[quote=Fiat]Yet, interestingly, John the Baptist leapt in his mother’s womb as the Holy Virgin approached Elisabeth.

Fiat
[/quote]

Yo! Fiat! That’s *my *line! :thumbsup: But it requires kind of a contemplative reading of Scripture.


#20

Here’s what I think is the most effective argument that I have used. Shuts them up pretty quickly :slight_smile: . Baptism precedes Christianity and, even today, is used by Jews if one was to convert to Judaism. Just to be clear here, a child who is born a Jew wouldn’t be baptized because he is Jewish by birth. But a child who is adopted from Gentile parents or is a part of a family converting would be baptized as an infant. They don’t call it baptism but that’s what it is.

So the question isn’t “Where does the bible stipulate that children should be baptized?” but the question is “where does the bible indicate a change in the tradition of baptizing infants–restricting baptism to only adults?”

Here’s a reference to the Jewish custom of infant baptism or immersion for when Jewish parents adopt a child (from a Jewish site):

*"Immersion is a requirement for both boys and girls. The immersion is done in a “mikvah,” or Jewish ritual bath. Usually the immersion takes place as soon as the infant is old enough so that there is no physical danger. Six months is the age preferred by many rabbis. Yet it is permitted any time until “Bar” or “Bat Mitzvah.” *

Got it from starsofdavid.org/stories/adopjew.htm


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