I am wondering what is a good way to defend infant baptism when speaking to a Protestant. I remember getting into a discussion online with a few Protestants and all of them denied infant baptism. One of them told me that infant/child baptism was not practiced in the early Church even after I used biblical evidence stating it was. I guess the concept of not baptizing an infant is completely foreign to me now that I am a practicing Catholic again…why wouldn’t any Christian baptize their young child?
I guess right now I am looking for scriptural evidence. Here’s what I have so far:
“13 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people; 14 but Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And he laid his hands on them and went away.” -Matthew 19: 13-15 (RSV: CE)
"15 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God." -Luke 18: 15-16 (RSV: CE)
Now I know that there is no such “baptism” spoken of in those verses, but if Jesus wants infants/children to follow him, shouldn’t they also be baptized? After all, we can clearly see from these verses that Jesus does not like when we turn away infants/children; could this be the same for baptism as well?
Then there are the following verses which describe entire households being baptized:
“15** And when she was baptized, with her household**, she besought us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.” -Acts 16: 15 (RSV: CE)
“32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all that were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their wounds, and he was baptized at once, with all his family.” -Acts 16: 32-33 (RSV: CE)
“16 (I did baptize also the household of Steph′anas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any one else.)” -1 Corinthians 1: 16 (RSV: CE)
From what I know, entire “households” included parents, relatives(?), children, and slaves. So even though there are no infants/children being described in those verses, why would that rule out the fact that infants/children were baptized?
Jesus even says this: “19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” -Matthew 28: 19 (RSV: CE)
Does this mean that infants and young children are excluded from baptism?
I guess this is just confusing for me. For people who cling to Sola Scriptura “doctrines” they sure seem to have contradictory ideas about baptism.
Can someone help me formulate a better response than what I have? Extrabiblical sources are welcome too (I do have a book about early Christian extra-biblical epistles which I have not read yet) but remember what kinds of people I am responding to. I guess historical/archaeological and other epigraphic evidence just isn’t good enough for people who appear narrow-minded.