How can an infant be saved by baptism without faith in Jesus?


#1

Many Catholics were baptized when they were infants and yet as adults they are not leading Christian lives. Yet the church teaches infants baptized in a Catholic church are born again and are saved? How can someone be saved by water baptism and yet not profess faith in Jesus throughout their lives? :confused:


#2

Because faith is not merely believing but acting on Jesus’ word. Baptism actually does what Jesus said it does, it confers new life on the one receiving it. He never said one must be old enough or informed enough or smart enough to believe in order to be baptized. Should new life in Christ be denied to anyone who cannot be said to knowingly have faith, such as the illiterate and the mentally disabled just so we can be satisfied that they believe?

The reasons there are baptized adults who do not have faith in Christ are many and varied, but none of them can be blamed on infant baptism. Was it infant baptism that didn’t teach them the faith or their parents? Was it infant baptism that tempted them to sin or the world, the flesh and the devil? Was it infant baptism that told them to not take their faith seriously? You know the answers to all of them. It’s no.

Baptism confers new life or as the Church describes it, saving grace. What the person does with that grace afterwards is what they will be judged for. If they chose to have faith that grace will support them, but they are free to reject that grace if they want because God gave us all free will.


#3

Hello justcatholic,

You are confusing faith with the Protestant missunderstanding of “faith”.

Faith, love and obedience are all one in the same. The way people keep faith in God is to do as He tells us to do. The way the baptized break faith with God is through sin. Baptized babies have no way of breaking faith until they come of the age to commit sin.

Jesus tells us that those who believe in and have faith in John the Baptist are entering into heaven. When you understand how one can go to heaven through belief and faith in John the Baptist one can understand what it means to go to heaven through faith and belief in Jesus.

John the Baptist is filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit through John the Baptist preaches a way of holiness to the people. Those who do as the Holy Spirit, through John the Baptist’s voice, tells them to do have faith and belief in God. This is the same way Old Testament people go to heaven though their faith and belief in the God’s words delivered through the prophets.

Jesus tells us that those who hear His words and do not keep them, the word will condemn on the last day. Jesus tells us that He knows that God’s commandments mean eternal life. Jesus tells us it is those who obey Him who have faith and belief in Him.

To do God’s will is to put faith in and believe in Jesus’, John the Baptist and all the prophets words. It is those who obey God, which is faith, who enter into heaven through Jesus.

Please visit Believe Faith

NAB MAT 21:28 Parable of the Two Sons.“What do you think of this case? There was a man who had two sons. He approached the elder and said, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ The son replied, ‘I am on my way, sir’ ; but he never went. Then the man came to his second son and said the same thing. This son said in reply, ‘No, I will not’; but afterward he regretted it and went. Which of the two did what the father wanted?” They said, “The second.” Jesus said to them, “I assure you that tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you. When John came preaching a way of holiness, you put no faith in him; but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did believe in him. Yet even when you saw that, you did not repent and believe in him.”

NAB JOH 12:44

Jesus proclaimed aloud: “Whoever puts faith in me believes not so much in me as in him who sent me; and whoever looks on me is seeing him who sent me. I have come to the world as its light, to keep anyone who **believes **in me from remaining in the dark. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I am not the one to condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save it. Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words already has his judge, namely, the word I have spoken it is that which will condemn him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own; no, the Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to speak. Since I know that his commandment means eternal life, whatever I say is spoken just as he instructed me.” NAB JOH 3:36

Whoever believes in the Son has life eternal. Whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure the wrath of God.NAB LUK 8:13

Those on the rocky ground are the ones who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. They have no root; **they believe **for a while, but fall away in time of temptation.
NAB MAT 7:21

"None of those who cry out, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of God but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
NAB JOH 14:14

"Anything you ask me in my name I will do. If you love me and obey the commands I give you." NAB MAT 21:22

"You will receive all that you pray for, provided you have faith."


#4

[quote=justcatholic]Many Catholics were baptized when they were infants and yet as adults they are not leading Christian lives. Yet the church teaches infants baptized in a Catholic church are born again and are saved? How can someone be saved by water baptism and yet not profess faith in Jesus throughout their lives? :confused:
[/quote]

An infant is Baptized into the Faith of the Church and of their parents and Godparents who speak for them. Remember that in the old covenant and infant only eight days old became a member of God’s chosen people by presentation and circumcision.
An infant is saved by Baptism only up to the time that they are able to discern right from wrong. If at that point they choose wrong they can loose their salvation.


#5

Hi JustCath–,

We must distinguish between justification and salvation.

Through baptism, we are made adopted children of God and heirs to heaven. This is a free gift, and although an adult is expected to make an act of faith before baptism, it is still a free gift and subject to no conditions.

This is justification, called so, because we pass from a situation of “children of wrath” to that of “children of God”,

That is like getting a ticket to a show. The ticket is free, but you have to get to the show by yourself.

In baptism we get a ticket to heaven, but we have to persevere until the end, with the grace of God.

Verbum


#6

Hello JustCatholic (like saying “just lucky”:slight_smile: )

Other four have posted excellent answers for you - definition of faith & baptism, sacred scripture, and baptism being the new circumcision - which is all reason enough. (and don’t forget John 3:3-5 it is also KEY to your question!!!)

Also - why is it, that it’s okay to decide the following for children:

which school to attend
which sunday school to attend
whom and what to believe or trust
day care or not
what to eat, wear
what books to read
which movies to see
etc etc etc…
But to administer Jesus via the sacrament of Baptism?? Ohhh, Noooo, that’s so different. Gotta wait for them to be full adults for something like that! Hold back on the Jesus!

Can you see the Protestant case being just a little contradictory?


#7

Lost & Found

                  Jesus did not say he that is baptized and then later on in life believes will be saved, but rather he that believes and is baptized shall be saved.MK 16:16

                  Also when Jesus commanded the apostles to go out into all the world and preach the gospel. He instructed the apostles to go into the world and "make disciples" (first) by teaching them and then baptizing them.

                 There is no where in scripture where infants were baptized by the apostles. Only those **who believed** on the Lord and the gospel preached to them were baptized.

                  One poster spoke of what faith is necessary for salvation? Certainly a casual reading of the New Testament will show that the faith that saves is a faith that trusts in Jesus Christ for one's salvation. For faith comes by hearing or reading the gospel. One cannot be saved apart from believing the gospel of Christ. Infants are incapable of **that kind** of faith. And that is the kind of faith that truly saves a soul.

#8

So, when the apostles baptized “whole households”, there were no children? I find that VERY hard to believe.

And as far as your original premise: um, plenty of those Christians who do NOT practice infant baptism lead, shall we say, unchristian lives. And this despite “waiting” until adulthood.

What was it St. Paul said, something like, “I do what I do not wish to do, and do NOT do what I SHOULD do”. . .

A baptized WRITER of HOLY SCRIPTURE. . .and he struggled to “work out my salvation with fear and trembling”. …

No, I agree with the earlier poster. Baptism makes one a child of God. . .not an ADULT of God. Children are not perfect (nor are adults for that matter) and every single one of us can only HOPE that we will be with Christ one day. To say that one can NEVER be saved is despair, to say that one is SURE to be saved presumption.


#9

[quote=justcatholic]Lost & Found

                 There is no where in scripture where infants were baptized by the apostles. Only those **who believed** on the Lord and the gospel preached to them were baptized.

[/quote]

While there is no specific verse in scripture supporting infant baptism, there is plenty of evidence to support the practice. The following passages of scripture should be of help in this regard.

Matthew 19:13-14
Then little children were being brought to him in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them; but Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them;

Luke 18:15-16
People were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they sternly ordered them not to do it. But Jesus called for them and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them;

Col 2:11-12
In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision, by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. (i.e.,baptism replaces circumcision and children were circumcised as infants)

Scripture describes entire households that were baptized such as those of the Roman jailer, Lydia, and Stephanes. Scripture does not indicate that children were not included.

Luke 1 :15
The angel Gabriel says that John the Baptist , “even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

Baptism is the sacrament of faith. Faith is a gift. Baptism washes away original sin and the individual receives the Holy Spirit. An infant by baptism is thus predisposed to faith and is freed of original sin which is the barrier between us an God. When this barrier is removed we are justified and in friendship with God. Should the infant die the infant is saved.

Christian practice from the earliest days of the church shows the practice of infant baptism. This is a testimony to the understanding given to the earliest Christians by the apostles in their teaching.

I hope this helps.


#10

[quote=justcatholic]Lost & Found

Jesus did not say he that is baptized and then later on in life believes will be saved, but rather he that believes and is baptized shall be saved.MK 16:16

Also when Jesus commanded the apostles to go out into all the world and preach the gospel. He instructed the apostles to go into the world and “make disciples” (first) by teaching them and then baptizing them.

There is no where in scripture where infants were baptized by the apostles. Only those who believed on the Lord and the gospel preached to them were baptized.

One poster spoke of what faith is necessary for salvation? Certainly a casual reading of the New Testament will show that the faith that saves is a faith that trusts in Jesus Christ for one’s salvation. For faith comes by hearing or reading the gospel. One cannot be saved apart from believing the gospel of Christ. Infants are incapable of that kind of faith. And that is the kind of faith that truly saves a soul.
[/quote]

Please see Br. Rich’s post again. He’s got a great answer there.

Also please read the following from the Catholic Answers library:

catholic.com/library/Infant_Baptism.asp


#11

[quote=justcatholic]Lost & Found



One cannot be saved apart from believing the gospel of Christ. Infants are incapable of that kind of faith. And that is the kind of faith that truly saves a soul.
[/quote]

Do you really believe that the death of an infant means that the infant will be separated from God forever? Scripture says that God desires that all men* be saved.[1 Tim 2:4]*


#12

[quote=justcatholic]Lost & Found

Jesus did not say he that is baptized and then later on in life believes will be saved, but rather he that believes and is baptized shall be saved.MK 16:16

[/quote]

I see, you are also adding the words “in that exact order” to Jesus’s “and” statement. Hey, no problem!

Since you require Jesus’s exact words, JustCatholic (ahem), could you find for me His direct disclaimer in John 3:5 “unless a man is born through water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Using your logic, I’m looking for the next statement to clarify this does not apply to women and children. And do that for yourself, not me, because you’re the one who needs to look at scripture that way.:):slight_smile:


#13

Grace, given to us freely by God, does not come after faith. It’s this grace that powers your faith, whether you realize it or not. The grace given to us via baptism is a renewal of your inner self towards the holiness of God - to actually *be one * with God and his holy people, powers our faith, powers us to do good, to be charitable. To say that a man can “conjur” up faith all of a sudden then decides that he has to be saved and get baptised is contrary to what Scripture says. It’s not by man that one has faith - it’s God, through his gift of grace, that enables us to have it.
:slight_smile:


#14

[quote=Lost&Found]Hello JustCatholic (like saying “just lucky”:slight_smile: )

Also - why is it, that it’s okay to decide the following for children:

which school to attend So they can get the best education possible
which sunday school to attend So they learn about Jesus and his love for them
whom and what to believe or trust To teach them who and what will nurture or hurt them
day care or not If Mom has to work some days
what to eat, wear so their bodies will be warm and nourished
what books to read So they fill their heads with knowledge and not junk
which movies to see Again so they fill their heads with knowledge and not junk
etc etc etc…
But to administer Jesus via the sacrament of Baptism?? Ohhh, Noooo, that’s so different. Gotta wait for them to be full adults for something like that! Hold back on the Jesus!

Or rather wait until an age when they can understand the commitment that they are making. All the things we just listed are in some way a preparation for this. Yes I am a “Born Again” and I remember the day I became a Christian. I remember years later when I was baptized into the church. I also remember my parents preparing me along the way to make those decisions and telling me exactly what they mean. When I made the decision to become a Christian I did so (and continue to do so) of my own free will.

The word “confirmation” seems to denote that one is confirming a decision that has been made, I ask at what point was the individual responsible for the decision. When first baptized? I don’t think so. Keeping in mind that no infant can understand the decision that his parents are making for him why imply this? Moreover why imply that salvation is dependant on another human making a decision on your behalf? A basic understanding of psychology lets one know that we value our own decision over those made for us so why stack the deck against the child?

Here is the clincher for me. My wifes family is Catholic. Her and her siblings were all baptized as infants. She is the only one that is still a practicing Catholic. Part of this I believe is because they never made the choice to take that path. Now their children will be baptized only to please my mother in law and all those decisions mentioned before will be geared to Buddhism or pretty much agnosticism. Looking at the track record I think I’ll stick with teaching my child that the decision is his. Ownership of our faith is a stronger thing than I think you give credit for.

Can you see the Protestant case being just a little contradictory? Not one bit
[/quote]

In closing this is an Anabaptist rebuttal to a Catholic statement and nothing more. I am not trying to convert or imply that one faith is better than another. I welcome discussion.


#15

[quote=Shlemele]In closing this is an Anabaptist rebuttal to a Catholic statement and nothing more. I am not trying to convert or imply that one faith is better than another. I welcome discussion.
[/quote]

So your Anabaptist rebuttal (your label) as to why selective deprivation is all okay, had nothing of Scriptural backing - and the clincher for you, is your anecdotal observation of your wife’s family and your new definition of baptism.
In your rebuttal, you deprived yourself of both Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture.
And to be clear - my selective deprivation argument, though you somehow labeled it “Catholic”, was my own observation - it’s not something you will do a search on and find.
Don’t hold back on Jesus. And whenever a family chooses to do so, don’t blame it on baptism.


#16

How? The Bible tells us that Jesus healed people because of their faith in Him but the Bible also tells us that Jesus healed children and even raised children from the dead because of their parent’s faith in Him.

Consider that Jesus healed the Canaanite/Syrophoenician woman’s daughter because of the woman’s faith in Him (Matthew 15:22-28; Mark 7:24-29), saying to the woman, “‘O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.’ And her daughter was healed instantly.” (Matthew 15:28)

Consider that Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead because of Jairus’ faith in Him (Mark 5:22-42; Luke 8:41-55), saying to Jairus, “Do not fear; only believe, and she shall be well.” (Luke 8:50)

[size=2]Now, if Jesus can heal children and raise them from physical death because of their parent’s faith, is it too much to ask of Jesus to raise infants from the spiritual death in which all come into this world due to Adam’s sin to the new spiritual life of grace conferred in Baptism because of the faith of their parents? Catholics don’t think this is too much to ask of Jesus, especially when the words of Jesus in Luke 18:15-17 are considered.[/size]

[size=2][size=2]There are several reasons why someone baptized as an infant might not later lead a Christian life. For instance, his parents and godparents may have been derelict in fulfilling their vow to see to it that the child was raised in the Christian faith and given the opportunity to make the faith his own by not providing proper instruction or good example to him. Once he reached the age of reason, the child may have used his free-will to choose a life of sin over a life of Christian obedience, like the prodigal son. Jesus gives several example of why a Christian might later choose to fall away in Matthew 13:18-21.[/size][/size]


#17

[quote=justcatholic]Lost & Found

Jesus did not say he that is baptized and then later on in life believes will be saved, but rather he that believes and is baptized shall be saved.MK 16:16

Also when Jesus commanded the apostles to go out into all the world and preach the gospel. He instructed the apostles to go into the world and “make disciples” (first) by teaching them and then baptizing them.

There is no where in scripture where infants were baptized by the apostles. Only those who believed on the Lord and the gospel preached to them were baptized.

One poster spoke of what faith is necessary for salvation? Certainly a casual reading of the New Testament will show that the faith that saves is a faith that trusts in Jesus Christ for one’s salvation. For faith comes by hearing or reading the gospel. One cannot be saved apart from believing the gospel of Christ. Infants are incapable of that kind of faith. And that is the kind of faith that truly saves a soul.
[/quote]


There is no where in scripture where infants were baptized by the apostles. Only those who believed on the Lord and the gospel preached to them were baptized.”

You probably don’t know but when a person converted to the Jewish religion they were required to bring their whole family, including infants and children with them. This is why we find in the Scriptures several instances of “Whole Households” being Baptized. Which would include all the children and infants.
He who believes according to their capacity and is Baptized is saved.

When Christ sent the Disciples into the world the instruction was to Baptize ALL He made no specific distinction that they were to only Baptize adults. God provided a means of infants and children to become members of His Chosen People. Just as with Baptism today He provides a means for infants to become members of His Church, His “Chosen People” today.

The Scriptures indicate no where in them that Baptism is reserved only to adults. Show me where the Scriptures Jesus says Go and Baptize ONLY adults or Baptize ONLY those capable of professing their faith in Me!


#18

The answer is that it is grace that saves. Baptism is the Sacrament of grace and gives the grace of salvation.

Grace always comes before faith. Grace is a free gift, not even earned by faith.
If in the old covenant, 8 day old children were included in the covenant through circumcision, then we would expect that the new covenant would not be more exclusionary but would be more inclusive. Col 2:9-13 speaks of this.


#19

Bro Rich

          When Jesus gave the great commission to his disciples, he didn't just instruct them to go out and baptize everyone. No, if you read carefully his words, our Lord said to go out and preach the gospel and then **teach them** what he taught the apostles. Then after they were taught the word of the gospel, they were to be baptized.

           This command by our Lord to his apostles could not possibly be applied to infants, because they are and were incapable of understanding the gospel message and could not be taught to be disciples.

#20

DAN-MAN

                It is true God saves us by grace, but how is that grace is revealed? Eph 2:8 says we are saved by grace **through** faith. Faith is the means by which God grants us his grace. If men did not have to respond to anything of God's grace, then all would be automatically saved. Hence, universal salvation would then be true, which it is not.

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