Help with defending infant baptism

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. :confused:

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.

Look I am Lutheran. Who defined Sola Scriptura. BTW SS does not mean what Protestants think it means.

If you want the single best evidence for infant baptism then give them this one…

Acts 2:36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified." 37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

The phrase in Greek btw way is

ὑμῖν γάρ ἐστιν ἡ ἐπαγγελία καὶ τοῖς τέκνοις ὑμῶν

“unto you for it is the promise and the children to your”

The word in questions is τέκνοις or ‘Teknois’ it means children, sons, daughters, pupils, those for whom you have great affection or responsibility over.

While this does not specifically include babies the clear meaning of the word (if words have meaning) would include infants.

However even if you point this out to your friends they won’t hear you would be my bet because I am guessing they also say that when Jesus said, “This is my body…” what He actually meant was, “This is like my body…” and when Peter said, “Baptism now saves you…” what he meant was, “Baptism does not now or ever will save you…”

The reason why is protestants are conditioned to disbelieve the words of the Bible. Which is why their claim to Sola Scriptura is laughable and insulting.

God Bless

Lev. 12:3 - The circumcision of eight-day old babies was the way of entering into the Old Covenant.

Col. 2:11-12 - Baptism is the new “circumcision” for entering the New Covenant. Therefore, baptism is for babies as well as adults.

Acts. 16:15,33;18:8; 1Cor. 1:16 – Whole households were baptized. Therefore, none who resided in the house were excluded. All, including infants were born-again in Christ.

Eph. 1:1,6:1 - Paul addresses the “saints” of the Church, and among these were the children he exhorted to obedience. Children become saints of the Church only through baptism.

Blind Men and the Elephant
(by John Godfrey Saxe)

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind

The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!”

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, “Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ’tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!”

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a snake!”

The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” quoth he;
“ ‘Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!”

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!”

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a rope!”

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

there was an article posted on facebook about Pope Francis saying that babies of unwed mothers should be baptized because they chose life. This was posted to either or There were many that said babies should not be baptized!

I said Acts: Entire households were baptized after Pentecost. Then I said that Jesus said let the Little Children come to me. I said JESUS loved the little children! I think I also said that Baptism makes you a christian/child of God. The ones who objected were obviously the ones that believe you MUST be able to make a profession of faith and choose to follow Jesus. Where does the bible say that?

You can tell them all day long and they still won’t believe. Let them wallow in their ignorance of Christianity. To them, the real church started with “amazing grace” and the altar call.

militant catholic:thumbsup:

It is true, you can show them by the bible and early church father writings about how infants were baptized and they’ll denied it. I remember my gf’s dad said that no infants were baptized early on. He said its no were in the bible. I remember seeing several passages about how it stated that whole households were baptized. Even in the early church fathers, st. Hippolytus of Rome wrote about it in 250, that everyone should be baptized, from the eldest to youngest. Early Christian inscriptions, theirs writings in infants tombs were it states that they had been baptized.

It’s sad how these ppl try to change religion. They have zero regards for what out early church fathers and martyrs did for Christianity. It’s truly sad.

Repent and be baptized said Peter. Does an 8 day old infant “repent”?

Jesus did say in order to be get to heaven one must be baptized. Granted infants have not committed a sin of their own account. But remember Paul, does say, because of the sin of Adam we all have sinned. That means we all have that original sin. That’s why we need baptism. The reason why Peter says repent, is because a lot of these ppl were adults, Jewish, pagans, so they could understand. So as adults and parents of infants don’t you want to pass that on to them?

Maybe some infants were baptized, but what does it represent? Is it for remission of sins.or is it regenerational,giving the indwelling of the Holy Spirit? Clearly not all that are baptized or in OT circumcised were/are born again.One must address the need for confirmation,and I suppose barhmitzvah in old testament. One can also address proper baptism by full immersion. If that does not matter anymore then how do we know to be so dogmatic on it’s efficacy? Even Paul says I am glad I did not baptize any of you (they were being carnal/boastfull about who baptized them), that his job is to save by preaching the gospel.

Well, in context though it says believe and be baptized. So Jesus says you must believe to go to heaven .He also said you must "eat "Him(Eucharist) to go to heaven. How does an infant qualify then? That is what we are discussing ,just what were those adults to “understand” when Peter preached to them, repent from what, original sin? Were not most Jews, and circumcised?

Well, some have seen the light of "amazing grace’ and obeyed an altar call to great efficacy.They become great Christians.For sure some have been infant baptized and became great Christians. But we both know folks who have done both and it really means nothing spiritually,that is zero fruits, zero spiritual life. Maybe we both know folks who were in the latter group and then have a real encounter with Christ,and are changed forever,with visible fruits.An Epiphany, apart from any rite or sacrament.

I don’t think an infant would need to repent. Adults would, though. However, I wouldn’t make the leap that just because an infant doesn’t need to repent that they can’t be baptized, though.

Again for what purpose ? Are they fully converted thru it ? Are they automatically born again ?

Well, the position of those against infant baptism is just one of many heresies and they are just drinking condemnation for themselves. Christ’s Church has been doing it for almost 2,000 years but they like to think, in their arrogance, that the Church is wrong…

They love to quote Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

And yet they choose to ignore what comes after:

Acts 2:39 For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to him.” 40 And he testified with many other words and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. 42 **And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. **

Imagine that being devoted to the the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship without a Bible…

What a sad condition of a soul to have the audacity to deny a child to come to Christ.

Matthew 19:13 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.”

Matthew 18:5 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

Might be that we have Pelagianism coming back!


Let us therefore give in and yield our assent to the authority of Holy Scripture, which knows not how either to be deceived or to deceive; and as we do not believe that men as yet unborn have done any good or evil for raising a difference in their moral deserts, so let us by no means doubt that all men are under sin, which came into the world by one man and has passed through unto all men; and from which nothing frees us but the grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. [XXIII.] His remedial advent is needed by those that are sick, not by the whole: for He came not to call the righteous, but sinners; and into His kingdom shall enter no one that is not born again of water and the Spirit; nor shall any one attain salvation and eternal life except in His kingdom,—since the man who believes not in the Son, and eats not His flesh, shall not have life, but the wrath of God remains upon him. Now from this sin, from this sickness, from this wrath of God (of which by nature they are children who have original sin, even if they have none of their own on account of their youth), none delivers them, except the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world; except the Physician, who came not for the sake of the sound, but of the sick; except the Saviour, concerning whom it was said to the human race: “Unto you there is born this day a Saviour;”2 except the Redeemer, by whose blood our debt is blotted out. For who would dare to say that Christ is not the Saviour and Redeemer of infants? But from what does He save them, if there is no malady of original sin within them? From what does He redeem them, if through their origin from the first man they are not sold under sin? Let there be then no eternal salvation promised to infants out of our own opinion, without Christ’s baptism; for none is promised in that Holy Scripture which is to be preferred to all human authority and opinion.

Augustine of Hippo. (1887). A Treatise on the Merits and Forgiveness of Sins, and on the Baptism of Infants P. Holmes, Trans.). In P. Schaff (Ed.), A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, First Series, Volume V: Saint Augustin: Anti-Pelagian Writings (P. Schaff, Ed.) (28). New York: Christian Literature Company.

Consider these points:)

  1. Are “children human?” Do they have a SOUL? Do they have Original Sin?

  2. The answers may vary a bit depending on the faith-formation of the people you ask.

  3. ASK: Where in the Bible does it say NOT TO or FORBID IT?

  4. These passages would seem to indicate that it was DONE and IS approved:

[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. & [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.

If this is insufficient they lack FAITH; let it go and pray for them…

God Bless you,

Since the New Covenant surpasses the Old, why would it exclude children of believers when children had formerly been included? The new converts from Judaism would not have seen this an an improvement.

Further, in the ancient world among those societies where circumcision was practiced, it was the Jews alone who circumcised infants, whereas the other societies waited until the boy was about to enter manhood - a rite of passage associated with fertility. For the Jews, though, circumcision (and later Baptism with the Christians) was a sign of a covenant entered into with God from the beginning of a child’s life.

A good parent knows to give what is best for the child; an infant isn’t free to choose milquetoast and jam over mother’s milk. So it is with baptism that the infant’s inclusion in the covenant established by Christ strengthens him or her for its life in Him. God Himself established the pattern with the circumsion of infant Jewish males.

An infant only has the stain of original sin. Not the guilt of it. Therefore there is no repenting, but they still require baptism to cleanse them of original sin. Peter is obviously preaching to those who have also reached the age of reason and therefore have accumulated sins. They need to repent and be baptised

Yes infants are born again by baptism. They are saved by baptism. They are baptized into Christ through Word and Sacrament by the Holy Spirit.

How do you know infants don’t repent? Are you so sure God cannot call the rational soul of an infant to repentance?

Also you should be very careful of word order because yes Jesus does say believe and be Baptized, but He also say Gospel, Baptize and teach (the great commission) and never mentions those who hear, are baptized and taught responding in any fashion at all. If we are making rules from word order or what is not said then are we to understand lack of faith to be the hallmark of the Christian based on Christ’s omission?

Of course not we take the whole sense of Scripture. And Paul (Romans 6 comes to mind) and Peter both make it very clear that Baptism does save and does place us into Christ. Therefore we speak with Scripture (confess) what Scripture teaches and do not make a man’s ability to understand it by Aristotelian Logic or Platonic Abstraction the measure of its truth.

God Bless

Pocohombre, Thank you for your replies and explainations. You bring up good points.
Here is a response to some of your questions.

There are some christian denominations that accept the need for baptism the same as Catholics.

But more often than not, many denominations hold that to enter the kindgdom of Jesus, all one must do is accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour to be saved, and that baptism is not necessary, but that it is only an ordinance, that is only done because it is mentioned in the bible. So the Baptists teach that baptism is not necessary, at least a lot of them.

Since infants can’t take Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour to be saved, then all infants who die cannot be saved by this logic.

In addition the phrase, “accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour to be saved” is nowhere to be found in the bible. But baptism of water and the spirit is specified by Jesus himself to Nichodemous as being “born again”, and necessary to enter the kingdom of God. John 3.

And as someone above mentioned, nowhere in the bible does it say that babies and children cannot be baptised. So why then is it said that they may not be baptised? Because they cannot speak for themselves to ask for it? By that logic, does this mean that they will only receive what they ask for and not be given what they need unless they ask?

Just some thoughts and questions.

“Baptized in water, sealed by the Spirit, cleansed by the blood of Christ our King.” (hymn)

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