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On more than one occasion in my Christian life, I've encountered those who are part of Protestantism (Calvinists, Lutherans, Wesleyans, Episcopals, etc.) who reason just like Catholics do for infant baptism. Though there are no Scriptures that show infants being baptized or a command suggesting this, such people have been very vehement at times in trying to force an infant baptism interpretation out from the Scriptures. This is done in two ways:
By trying to compare Old Testament circumcision to New Testament baptism.
By dogmatically insisting that the word household found in Scripture must include infants.
The insistence on trying to use circumcision and household as the basis for infant baptism is damaging enough, but this is compounded by a total disregard for all the other many Scriptures which clearly teach water baptism is only for believers in Christ.
Those who argue for infant baptism as a Christian replacement for Old Covenant Jewish circumcision, somehow see justification for this from the following:
Infant Baptism and CircumcisionIn him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead (Col. 2:11,12).That passage speaks of a circumcision, which Jesus does to a believer (that is, to his heart which occurs at the point of a trusting-submitting faith in Christ). This is very similar to what we read in Romans:A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God (Rom 2:28,29).Only male infants were circumcised when Old Covenant Jewish circumcision was in effect and never females, but that is not how such advocates regard infant baptism. So, that is another problem for them in trying to connect circumcision to infant baptism.
Jesus commissioned his disciples with the following words:
The Believer's Baptism
Can NOT Be Infant BaptismThen Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Mat 28:18-20).Jesus commanded the Eleven to: 1) Go and make disciples, 2) Baptize them [the new disciples] and 3) Teach them [the new disciples, who get baptized] to obey everything the Eleven were commanded to do, which would include this same three step command. The proper Biblical procedure, if followed, forces us to water baptize disciples. [Jesus' disciple is a Christian (Mt. 12:47-50; Lk. 14:26,33; Acts 11:26). Moreover, one must be able to repent of his sins and place his faith in Jesus for salvation to become Christ's disciple (Acts 20:21; 3:19; 26:20; Gal. 5:24; 2 Pet. 3:9; etc.).]
In order for a person to even know that he must repent and place his faith in Jesus for salvation infers that he must be beyond the infant stage. Moreover, it is only such people who can do this that qualify to be baptized, according to Jesus. That clearly destroys the concept of infant baptism. Again, after one becomes a disciple [a Christian] he is to be water baptized and not before.
Notice the Mt. 28:18-20 standard being carried out even before Jesus' death:The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples (John 4:1,2).Jesus' disciples water baptized those who became Jesus' disciples, that is, those who became new Christians through repentance and faith. Isn't this clear? Nowhere do we see in the Scriptures that infants were ever water baptized. That would contradict these Scriptures!
Certainly, one of the chief Scriptures which cites the word household and is referred to by paedobaptism proponents is the following one:
Household NOT Infant BaptismHe then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved - you and your household." Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God - he and his whole family (Acts 16:30-34).The advocates of infant baptism see this as Scriptural proof for their practice, but is it really that or nothing more than a mere assumption based on the word household? Infant baptism people assume the Philippian jailer must have had infants in his family, but there is absolutely no proof of this. Perhaps, his children were all grown and married or maybe he had only one child 15 years of age. We cannot be sure of any details. But this we do know, the ones that were newly water baptized came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ, v.34, which agrees with the Lord's standard criteria for one to receive Christian baptism (Mt. 28:18-20). Therefore, it is impossible for the Philippian jailer to have had infants in his household, since they can't repent and place their faith in Jesus. Acts 16:30-34 is not proof for infant baptism.
Notice another time household is cited, which the proponents of infant baptism will probably never volunteer:Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, "Your son will live." So he and all his household believed (John 4:53).Clearly, everyone in that man's household was old enough to have a personal faith in Jesus, which is needed for salvation. Why then couldn't it be the same way for the Philippian jailer, even apart from Acts 16:34? Moreover, couldn't the same be said about the following household:Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized (Acts 18:8).The entire household of Crispus was old enough to believe in the Lord. It was after this act of faith that they were water baptized. That is household baptism, which cannot be the same as infant baptism.
This is the same truth conveyed elsewhere with the conversion of Cornelius and his household:
Cornelius and Household BaptismAll the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, "Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have." So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days (Acts 10:43-48).The same ones who received forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit were the ones who heard Peter's salvation message and placed their faith in Jesus, which again, an infant cannot do. Also, Acts 10:2 states that these same new Christians feared God, which is also impossible for an infant to do. When Peter recapped what happened in Acts 10 in chapter 11, he stated that Cornelius was informed the following by the angel before he was sent for:He [Peter] will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved (Acts 11:14).So, Peter would bring a verbal message (see Acts 10:43) by which Cornelius and all in his household would: 1) Be saved before and without water baptism, 2) Be able to have faith in Jesus for salvation and 3) That included repentance on their part (Acts 11:18). Again, infants are excluded from this usage of household based on these. That is more undeniable proof that there is no infant baptism.
Next we come to the household of Stephanas, whom Paul baptized:
Stephanus and Household BaptismYes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don't remember if I baptized anyone else (1 Cor 1:16).Later in this epistle Paul referred to these same people again:You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints. I urge you, brothers, to submit to such as these and to everyone who joins in the work, and labors at it (1 Cor 16:15,16).Those included among the household of Stephanas devoted themselves to the service of the saints. Again, with Scripture supplementing Scripture, that is not something an infant can do.
Another Scripture misused for infant baptism is Mt. 19:13-15:
Mt. 19:13-15 is NOT Infant BaptismThen little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.There is no reference here that the little children (infants) were baptized. The children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them, which has no connection with infant baptism.
The Greek word (paidion), which can refer to an infant, has various meanings. Vine writes about this word:
The Greek Word For Infanta diminutive of pais, signifies a little or young child; it is used of an infant just born, John 16:21; of a male child recently born, e.g., Matt. 2:8; Heb. 11:23; of a more advanced child, plural, of children, e.g., Matt. 14:21.(B)From this word alone nothing definite can be stated about the practice of infant baptism. This we do know, however, infants are never shown to be baptized in the New Testament, the Christian's all-sufficient source for teaching (2 Tim. 3:16,17). In contrast, all believers in Christ, which often included full-grown adults, were water baptized. Even Jesus himself was baptized by John the Baptist at the age of 30. Hence, it is irrelevant what any so-called church "father" might have written, including Irenaeus or Origen, about household baptisms. When such a contradiction occurs between Scripture and anyone or anything else including a dream, vision, prophecy, experience, testimony, report or even something written by someone labeled a church father like those men, then the New Testament wins out. (Please know that the so-called ante-Nicean fathers contradicted themselves on many issues, as well as contradicting the Scriptures.)
In conclusion, no Christian should have anything to do with infant baptism for any reason. Infant baptism is not Biblical and therefore not Christian. Furthermore, infant baptism is a baptism in name only. If such a person who was subjected to infant baptism should become a real Christian, he is commanded like all others to undergo true Christian baptism. Moreover, the mode of Christian baptism found in the Bible is immersion, which is also contrary to most infant baptisms. Lastly, infant dedication has been derived by some from Lk. 2:22,23, but this should never be associated in any way with infant baptism. There is no Biblical connection.
The Conclusion About Infant Baptism
(A) John Calvin burnt Michael Servetus at the stake, in part, over his rejection of infant baptism.
(B) W. E. Vine, Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, 1966, Vol. 1, p. 188.
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