How can Infants Repent??


I was watching EWTN last night and it was showing the Holy Land and while showing the various places it came to where John the Bapstist preached and baptized, however when the narrator was reading from scripture he cited where JTB said “repent and be baptized” well my wife (former calvary chapel) asked “how can infants repent?” at 1st I was stumped but then stated the Catholic view on Baptism and how Baptism means being born again, and how scripture says that whole families were baptised…I didnt think my answer was good enough. What would you have said…thanks:)


Infants can’t repent. Baptism takes away the original sin, which we all inherited from Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God. It is not until the age of reason that a child can understand reasoning. It’s usually the age of 8 that a child learns what is right and what is wrong.


In context he is talking to a bunch of adults. He’s going to tell them to repent and be baptised. If someone was to yell out, “Hey how about my babies”, then he would have answered them, but no one did.


How can infants repent? What on earth would infants have to repent for? Sin requires a conscious act of the will. Infants are incapable of sin. Therefore, infants have no need to repent.

As far as Original Sin, we really need to explain what this is. While many understand OS merely as a stain on my soul. I believe the better understanding is that of an absence of something in my soul. The absence of what? Sanctifying grace, or God’s own divine life. The consequence for OS is that we are born into a fall state, meaning we do not possess sanctifying grace by birth, but rather receive it through baptism.

I think the CCC says it best:


JTB most likely didn’t Baptize infants. They were brought into the people of God by presentation in the Temple and circumcision for male children on the 8th day. As Peter states after Christ Ascended Christian Baptism replaced the Jewish rites. This is why the Church says that infants should be presented in the Church for Baptism ASAP after birth.


Covenant history keeps getting larger not smaller:

Adam - Marriage
Noah - Household
Abram - Tribe
Moses - Nation
David - National Kingdom
Jesus - World

-Taken from 'A Father who keeps his Promises" - Scott Hahn

The new covenant always covered everyone in the old broken covenant and included more people. All the old covenants covered entire families, why would the new and everlasting covenant exclude the children.

Also the faith of the parents is enough to cover the Infant. For examples of this, see Jesus healing the soliders servant based on the Soilders faith and When friends of the lame person lowered himthrough the roof into the tent with Jesus, Jesus said “THEIR faith has healed you”


Neither John nor Peter nor anyone else in the Bible said, “Repent and then be baptized.” It’s not in the text, either in Greek or in English. Repentance and Baptism are both essential, but nowhere does the Bible claim that they must occur in that order.



“Baptism takes away the original sin”

whats your proof of this?


As I have been reading the post of this thread a thought that kept coming to me is in regards to baptism we tend to look at one or two aspects of this sacrament and do not consider the whole (I do not mean that we do not believe in the full rightness of this sacrament but we tend to concentrate our thoughts just on one or two aspects).

I think one aspect of this sacrament, when I think all would agree, is baptism is the sacrament that brings us into the Body of Christ the Church.

But then comes into the picture of the relationship and effects of baptism and Original Sin. And it is here I think we tend to compartmentalize the sacrament too much. Does Baptizm restore God’s life to us, the life lost through the Sin of Adam? Or do does Baptism take away original sin and any other sin we may have committed in our life? Does Baptism restore life or give us new life, through the sharing of Christ Jesus’ Death and Resurrection? Or does it effect all these things? Personally, I think the answer is all the above and thus we need to study the richness of this Sacrament in all its details.

I think for we Roman Catholics, Pope John Paul II’ advise that the West should not cut itself off from the spirituality of the East, but rather as he put it understand the Eastern and Western Tradition as the two lungs of the Body of Christ, would benefit in studying the Eastern Tradition on the effects of Original Sin - which could give us a deeper appreciation of the effects of the Sacrament of Baptism.

One thing aboout Infant Baptism. If we believe that Baptism does restore, a give anew, God’s life lost through the Sin of Adam, then it would make sense that this gift, OF GOD, should be given at the earliest time possible. If I am not mistaken, the Incarnation was an act of God coming to man, as man, and was not man going to God. At the basis of Salvation History is the Revelation that it is God who is acting through our man’s history, it is God who has always made the first move, so to speak, because it is impossible for man to do this. If we believe that the Church, is the Body of Christ that is the Church is the visible actice presence of Christ, who is God Incarnate, then I think it is part of the Church’s natural activity to be the vessel through which God, enters into the life of man.
And, just as the Triune God didn’t wait for man to be worth for God to come to man and draw man to Himself, so to The Church cannot wait until an individual is “ready” or “worthy” of receiving the Gift of God’s Life, the Gift of Faith in God.

But going back to the original question about infants needing to repent, I think common sense and reason would show us that no they do not need to repent, if repent mean having sorrow for an evil one has done. But what they do need is the new life that they can only receive is the Gift of Life, freely given by God to all men through Baptizm


Infants do not need to repent since they are not capable of having committed actual sin. They do need to be baptized, however, to remove the stain of original sin that we all inherited from Adam.


GREAT answers everyone…thanks for the help!


anyone else been here…GREAT SITE!!!:slight_smile:


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