The Case For Infant Baptism


#1

I noticed in someone’s profile that they asserted that only adults are baptized in the Bible.

I do not believe that is accurate, and here is a good article that explains why.

Infant Baptism (LINK)

Fundamentalists often criticize the Catholic Church’s practice of baptizing infants. According to them, baptism is for adults and older children, because it is to be administered only after one has undergone a “born again” experience—that is, after one has “accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior.” At the instant of acceptance, when he is “born again,” the adult becomes a Christian, and his salvation is assured forever. Baptism follows, though it has no actual salvific value. In fact, one who dies before being baptized, but after “being saved,” goes to heaven anyway.

As Fundamentalists see it, baptism is not a sacrament (in the true sense of the word), but an ordinance. It does not in any way convey the grace it symbolizes; rather, it is merely a public manifestation of the person’s conversion. Since only an adult or older child can be converted, baptism is inappropriate for infants or for children who have not yet reached the age of reason (generally considered to be age seven). Most Fundamentalists say that during the years before they reach the age of reason infants and young children are automatically saved. Only once a person reaches the age of reason does he need to “accept Jesus” in order to reach heaven.

Since the New Testament era, the Catholic Church has always understood baptism differently, teaching that it is a sacrament which accomplishes several things, the first of which is the remission of sin, both original sin and actual sin—only original sin in the case of infants and young children, since they are incapable of actual sin; and both original and actual sin in the case of older persons.

Peter explained what happens at baptism when he said, “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” (Acts 2:38). But he did not restrict this teaching to adults. He added, “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” (2:39). We also read: “Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name” (Acts 22:16). These commands are universal, not restricted to adults. Further, these commands make clear the necessary connection between baptism and salvation, a
connection explicitly stated in 1 Peter 3:21: “Baptism . . . now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Some apparently feel that the early church did not baptize infants, but that can be disproved by reading the historical citations if the following article. Early Teachings of Infant Baptism (Fathers *) and from the very early account of the martyrdom of Polycarp (a disciple and friend of St. John as well as bishop of the Church in Smyrna) in which Polycarp plainly says the following when the proconsul tries to get him to deny Christ because of his old age. He shows that he was infant baptized.

CHAPTER 9 (LINK)

9:1 But to Polycarp, as he entered the arena, there came a voice from heaven, saying, Be strong, and play the man, O Polycarp. And the speaker no man saw; but the voice those of our people who were present heard. And when he was brought in there was a great tumult, when men heard that Polycarp was apprehended.
9:2 Then, when he had been brought in, the proconsul asked him if he was Polycarp. And when he confessed, he would have persuaded him to deny, saying, Have respect unto thine age, and other things like these, as is their custom to say: Swear by the fortunes of Caesar; Repent; Say, Away with the Atheists. But Polycarp, when he had looked with a grave face at all the multitude of lawless heathen in the arena, having beckoned unto them with his hand, sighed, and looking up unto heaven, said, Away with the Atheists!
9:3 And when the proconsul pressed him, and said, Swear, and I will release thee, revile Christ; Polycarp said, Eighty and six years have I served him, and in nothing hath he wronged me; and how, then, can I blaspheme my King, who saved me?
Would you care to discuss this with me?


#2

I found this in my word file and apologize for not being able to cite where it came from. Hope it helps the discussion.

Acts 2:39 Peter answered: "You must reform and be baptized, each of you in the name of Jesus Christ, that your sins may be forgiven; then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. It was to
you and your children that the promise was made …

The New Testament speaks of the baptism of “whole households” which in the normal Greek usage of the time included children.

1 Cor 1:16 Oh, and I (Paul) baptized the household of Stephanas.

Acts 11:13 He (the man who had seen a vision) informed us that he had seen an angel standing in his house and that the angel had said: “Send someone to Joppa and fetch Simon, known also as Peter In the light of what he will tell you, you shall be saved, and all your household.”

Acts 16:15 She (Lydia of Thyatira) already reverenced God, and the Lord opened her heart to accept what Paul was saying. After she and her household had been baptized, she extended us an invitation

Acts 16:31 After a brief interval, he (the jailer) led them (Paul and Silas) out and said, “Men, what must I do to be saved?” Their
answer was, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved,
and all your household.” They proceeded to announce the word of
God to him … then he and his whole household were baptized.

Acts 18:8 Crispus, along with his whole household, put his faith in the Lord.

To the Colossians, Paul paralleled baptism and circumcision. Circumcision was
normally administered to children eight days after birth.

Col 2:11 You were also circumcised in him, not with the circumcision administered by hand but with Christ’s circumcision which strips off the carnal body completely. In baptism you were not only buried with him but also raised to life with him

To the Corinthians, Paul recalled that just as all the Jews of the Exodus
(including children) were baptized into Moses by passing through the Red Sea, they were actually being blessed by Christ.

1 Cor 10:4 Brothers, I want you to remember this: our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; by the cloud and the sea, all of them were baptized into Moses … they
drank from the spiritual rock that was following them, and the
rock was Christ.

In Mark’s Gospel, we have Jesus’ own teaching on children.

Mk 10:13 People were bringing their little children to him to have him touch them, but the disciples were scolding them for this. Jesus became indignant when he noticed it and said to them:
“Let the children come to me and do not hinder them. It is to
such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.”

It is frequently asked by non-believers how an infant is capable of making an act of faith in order to receive baptism. The response of the Catholic Church is to follow the Biblical example of Christ. Jesus accepted the faith of others as an occasion of salvation, forgiveness and healing of another. The Church has always done likewise. In infant baptism, the faith of parents and sponsors is required.

Mk 2:1-5 He (Jesus) came back to Capernaum … some people arrived bringing a paralyzed man to him. The four who carried him were unable to bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they began to open up the roof over the spot where Jesus was. When they made a home, they let the mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “My son, your sins are forgiven.”

Mk 8:5-13 As Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him with this request: “Sir my serving boy is at home in bed paralyzed, suffering painfully.” He said to him, “I will come and cure him.” “Sir,” the centurion said in reply, "I am not worthy to have you under my roof. Just give an order and my boy will get
better. … Jesus showed amazement on hearing this and remarked
to his followers, "I assure you, I have never found this much faith in Israel. … To the centurion Jesus said, “Go home. It
shall be done because you trusted.” That very moment the boy
got better.

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that baptism is necessary for salvationafter the promulgation of the Gospel for everyone, both children and adults.

Jo 3:5 Jesus replied (to Nicodemus): “I solemnly assure you, no one can enter into God’s kingdom without being begotten of water and Spirit.”


#3

I would suggest that since most Protestants don’t hold that baptism conveys Supernatural Grace, they wouldn’t see any purpose of baptizing infants. The few Protestant denominations who do baptize infants, do so only because they believe that baptism in the “new circumcision”, and since the Jews circumcised infants, then they can baptize infants.

From what I can see, they refer to the passages where the new Christians came to belief and then were baptized. But this doesn’t hold too much weight for me, because in the bible, they are all new converts, and of course they would have been adults when they heard Jesus and the Apostles, and then converted, but after the first generation of Christians, I would assume that they would have baptized their children, at a very early age, which is what we see in the early Christian writings.


#4

True

The few Protestant denominations who do baptize infants, do so only because they believe that baptism in the “new circumcision”, and since the Jews circumcised infants, then they can baptize infants.

Yes.

From what I can see, they refer to the passages where the new Christians came to belief and then were baptized. But this doesn’t hold too much weight for me, because in the bible, they are all new converts, and of course they would have been adults when they heard Jesus and the Apostles, and then converted

This is problematic as the NT record covers a time period of about 60 years after the church was born. That leaves tons of convert babies.

Yet nowhere do we ever find a baby being baptised in all 260+ chapters of the NT. Not only that, but nowhere are new believers even instructed to water baptise their babies.

Of the thousands recorded as being water baptised, every one of them was a believer…or for a few it was heavily implied (Lydia’s household).

That testimony of the Holy Spirit should be more than enough: many thousands of believers recorded as baptised, and not one infant ever recorded as baptised…in over a 60 year record.

but after the first generation of Christians, I would assume that they would have baptized their children, at a very early age, which is what we see in the early Christian writings.

Not quite.

That is what we see in some early Christian writings after the Apostolic era. What we must not forget is that not all Christians were baptising their infants…even Saints…nor was there any very early doctrine of the church that all babies were to be baptised.

This is important as it clarifies that the specific command to baptise infants did not come from the Apostles. If it did, it was somehow lost by the church for centuries.


#5

after the church was born. That leaves tons of convert babies.

Yet nowhere do we ever find a baby being baptised in all 260+ chapters of the NT. Not only that, but nowhere are new believers even instructed to water baptise their babies.

Of the thousands recorded as being water baptised, every one of them was a believer…or for a few it was heavily implied (Lydia’s household).

That testimony of the Holy Spirit should be more than enough: many thousands of believers recorded as baptised, and not one infant ever recorded as baptised…in over a 60 year record.

His citations cover the topic quite well.

That is what we see in some

early Christian writings after the Apostolic era. What we must not forget is that not all Christians were baptising their infants…even Saints…nor was there any very early doctrine of the church that all babies were to be baptised.

This is important as it clarifies that the specific command to baptise infants did not come from the Apostles. If it did, it was somehow lost by the church for centuries.Between the scripture above and the historical record there is a better case for infant baptism than the case for rejecting it.

(The doctrine that Baptism is vital to salvation, though tied to the paedobaptism doctrine, is not what we are really discussing. The fact that most n-Cs reject this Biblically supported teaching, however, does unfortunately pave the way for their rejection of this one as well)


#6

You are wrong. Totally wrong.

If it came through the the One True Faith it would have credence as a command because of Jesus’ command to Peter in Matthew 16:19 and the subsequent Apostolic succession.

“I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Mat 16:19

So regardless of any slicing and dicing you want to do to Scripture to prove your feeble arguments, you will still be wrong. And this goes for any of your attacks on the official teachings of the Church.

Without Apostolic succession and adherence to it, you just aren’t living in the full grace of God.


#7

Originally Posted by Atemi
Yet nowhere do we ever find a baby being baptised in all 260+ chapters of the NT. Not only that, but nowhere are new believers even instructed to water baptise their babies.

( it may be that the new testament writers(inspired by the holy spirit) figured that if the people had any qualms they would seek the authority of the church. remember Paul said to hold fast to that taught by epistle and word of mouth. and not all is written down. )

Originally Posted by Atemi
Of the thousands recorded as being water baptised, every one of them was a believer…or for a few it was heavily implied (Lydia’s household).

( what implication? Should not scripture as the final authority be perfectly clear?)

Originally Posted by Atemi
That testimony of the Holy Spirit should be more than enough: many thousands of believers recorded as baptised, and not one infant ever recorded as baptised…in over a 60 year record.

Because those led by the spirit would bring there child into the kingdom as soon as possible. To do this means you believe baptism does some thing. If you believe all it does is declare something publicly and changes nothing in your soul, then sure wait until you are “moved” by the spirit, cause everybody knows God has no power unless we say so. Right?:frowning:


#8

This is from the Early Church Fathers
"And when a child has been born to one of them, they give thanks to God [baptism]; and if moreover it happen to die in childhood, they give thanks to God the more, as for one who as passed through the world without sins." **Aristides, Apology, 15 (A.D. 140). **

“For He came to save all through means of Himself–all, I say, who through Him are born again to God–infants, and children, and boys, and youths, and old men.” **Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 2,22:4 (A.D. 180). **

“And they shall baptise the little children first. And if they can answer for themselves, let them answer. But if they cannot, let their parents answer or someone from their family.” **Hippolytus of Rome, Apostolic Tradition, 21 (c. A.D. 215). **

“[T]herefore children are also baptized.” **Origen, Homily on Luke, XIV (A.D. 233). **

“For this reason, moreover, the Church received from the apostles the tradition of baptizing infants too.” **Origen, Homily on Romans, V:9 (A.D. 244). **

“Baptism is given for the remission of sins; and according to the usage of the Church, Baptism is given even to infants. And indeed if there were nothing in infants which required a remission of sins and nothing in them pertinent to forgiveness, the grace of baptism would seem superfluous.” **Origen, Homily on Leviticus, 8:3 (post A.D. 244). **

“But in respect of the case of the infants, which you say ought not to be baptized within the second or third day after their birth, and that the law of ancient circumcision should be regarded, so that you think one who is just born should not be baptized and sanctified within the eighth day…And therefore, dearest brother, this was our opinion in council, that by us no one ought to be hindered from baptism…we think is to be even more observed in respect of infants and newly-born persons…” **Cyprian, To Fidus, Epistle 58(64):2, 6 (A.D. 251). **

“It shows no crease when infants put it on [the baptismal garment], it is not too scanty for young men, it fits women without alteration.” **Optatus of Mileve, Against Parmenium, 5:10(A.D. 365). **

“Have you an infant child? Do not let sin get any opportunity, but let him be sanctified from his childhood; from his very tenderest age let him be consecrated by the Spirit. Fearest thou the Seal on account of the weakness of nature?” Gregory Nazianzen, Oration on Holy Baptism, 40:17 (A.D. 381).

“Be it so, some will say, in the case of those who ask for Baptism; what have you to say about those who are still children, and conscious neither of the loss nor of the grace? Are we to baptize them too? Certainly, if any danger presses. For it is better that they should be unconsciously sanctified than that they should depart unsealed and uninitiated.” Gregory Nazianzen, Oration on Holy Baptism, 40:28 (A.D. 381).

This around the time that the Catholic Church under Pope Damasus I put the canon together for the New Testament and when our pope had St. Jerome translate Scripture in to the Latin Vulgate

“We do baptize infants, although they are not guilty of any sins.” **John Chrysostom, Ad Neophytos (A.D. 388). **

It wasn’t lost by our church.


#9

lumengentleman.com/content.asp?id=139

I thought that this would be a great article to check out.


#10

Perhaps only adult conversions/baptisms are specifically recorded in the Bible because the Apostles wouldn’t have baptized a child against the will of the parents, as the Church still doesn’t today.
Adults in Scripture are also the only ones who had a previous religious background that required conversion, whereas the infants would have just been baptized after their proper authority.
I’m not sure I’m connecting the dots as they exist in my mind, but we can’t all be great apologists!


#11

For me it’s as simple as “Because Jesus said so”.

"And they brought to him young children, that he might touch them. And the disciples rebuked them that brought them. Whom when Jesus saw, he was much displeased, and saith to them: Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God. Amen I say to you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, shall not enter into it.

And embracing them, and laying his hands upon them, he blessed them."

Mark 10:13-16.

I don’t know how anyone can call himself a Christian and then deliberately ignore the words of Christ.


#12

It seems that you did not address whagt I posted. Instead you chose to merely copy and paste a bunch of quotes that do not answer the question.

Why?


#13

Christ never commanded that babies be baptised and you did not provide any citation where He did.

If you can produce one, I will obey.

,


#14

Hi CM
First of all I believe that Baptism is an essential part of Salvation. I also noticed that the Scripture references that you used requires us to do something that no eight day old I know can do.

Peter explained what happens at baptism when he said, “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” (Acts 2:38). But he did not restrict this teaching to adults. He added, “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” (2:39). We also read: “Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name” (Acts 22:16). These commands are universal, not restricted to adults. Further, these commands make clear the necessary connection between baptism and salvation, a
connection explicitly stated in 1 Peter 3:21: “Baptism . . . now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

No eight day old can “Repent, Rise, or Call on the name of the Lord”.
Repentence is one of the most important commands given to us from our Lord, without it there is no forgivness.


#15

Have you not read the “Healing of the Centurion’s Servant,” Luke 7:1-10?

"When he had finished all his words to the people, he entered Capernaum. Acenturion there had a slave who ws ill and about to die, and he was valuable to him. When he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and save the life of his slave. They approached Jesus and strongly ufged him to come, saying, “He deserves to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation and he built the synagogue for us.” And Jesus went with them, but when he was onlyu a short distance from the house, the centurion sent friends to tell him, "Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof. Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you; buty say the word and let my servant be healed. For I too am a person subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. ANd I say on one, "Go,’ and he goes; and to another, “Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, “Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him and, turning, said to the crowd following him, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” When the messengers returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.”

It seems that the faith of the one in authority is sufficient for Jesus to extend His Grace to those under the authority of him.


#16

None so blind…


#17

Sorry, SFL.

Just jumping up and down and shouting that it is not possible your church could be wrong does not address what I posted.

I understand you are obligated to believe that, but that says nothing about the point I made.


#18

First of all, the servant in question was undoubtedly an adult, not an infant.

What you are basically saying here is that one adult can repent and have faith for another adult and thus they can be initially justified before God.

You are saying that an adult can repent for another adult and they can be saved.

This is not even within the pale of orthodox Christianity as a whole, nevermind that is contradicts RC doctrine.


#19

I will take it that you cannot.

Thank you anyway.


#20

this does not help your case at all.

What you are basically saying here is that one adult can repent and have faith for another adult and thus they can be initially justified before God.

Actually you have incorrectly interpreted what I am saying, as you incorrectly interpret the Scriptures on Baptism excluding infants.

You are saying that an adult can repent for another adult and they can be saved.

No, I’m not saying that, neither is Jesus. What Jesus is saying here is that those who are under the authority of another–y’know, like slaves and children and infants–will benefit from the faith and prayers of those over them, y’know, like parents.

This is not even within the pale of orthodox Christianity as a whole, nevermind that is contradicts RC doctrine.

actually, it is pretty clear that you don’t understand Christian Doctrine.

And the proper name of the Church is simply ‘The Church.’ Or the Catholic Church. You may use Her proper name, please.


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