Letters to a Christian

Question 7

INFANT BAPTISM

I also read your article on adult exclusive baptism. Nowhere in scripture is adult exclusive baptism taught in fact read Acts 13:24. And  Acts 16:33 speaks of whole families being baptised so it is safe to presume that small children and even infants are included in the description of entire familes. Waiting untill they understand is a nominalistic reasoning since as adults we cannot honestly say that we understand baptism.


BCBSR Response

Sorry I'm not sure what you're referring to. I don't have an article on adult exclusive baptism. In my article on baptism at http://www.bcbsr.com/topics/baptism.html I do mention that "The Bible associates baptism only with those of the faith." If a person has faith in Christ, then they should be baptized. If children make their own personal profession of faith in Christ then they should be baptized. But what is that basis upon which some presume that it is appropriate to baptize those who have made no such confession of faith?

If the strongest argument for infant baptism is simply "well maybe infants were baptized in Acts, even though the Bible never mentions infants being baptized" then it seems to me that is nominalistic reasoning. For there is no substantive factual evidence to base it on. Furthermore it is contrary to what baptism is about. You yourself say, "we cannot honestly say that we understand baptism", meaning rather that you cannot honestly say that you understand baptism. But that doesn't mean that other Christians cannot understand it. Right? Baptism is a symbol of salvation (1Peter 3:21) and that symbol is limited to those who are recognized as being in Christ. Should infants be presumed to be saved apart from faith in Christ, just on the basis of their being infants?

If the idea is that you arbitrarily presume that infants are automatically saved just because they are infants, then why not presume any other arbitrary category of people is saved - like all people who have brown eyes, or all people who are left-handed. Indeed why not also baptize them along with cats and dogs and whatever other arbitrary category of creature you can think of.

On the other hand if you reckon faith in Christ as a prerequisite to baptism - if indeed you reckon anything at all as a prerequisite - then the question is should you presume they believe or should you presume they don't believe? Again an arbitrary choice on your part, there being no factual basis upon which to make such a distinction. Yet in no case in the New Testament is one baptized without identifying themselves with the Christian community. Personal choice is involved in Baptism. In Acts 8 did Philip baptized the Ethiopian before he expressed faith in Christ or after?

Tell me if you were babysitting for a Jewish or Islamic neighbor, would you secretly baptize their children? Afterall if you believe infants should be baptized - if that is your Great Commission - and if indeed is not a matter of their choice, then why don't you abduct them and force them to be baptized?

Lastly if you're into Calvinistic reasoning, then you presume that only children of believers are to be reckoned automatically saved (that is, a member of the New Covenant), and therefore should be baptized. But the children of unbelievers are reckoned unsaved. Such theology is based upon the circumcision of the children of Israel. The idea is salvation through genetics. Paul spoke to such heresy is the book of Galatians. It is not the flesh which justifies. People are not justified through the flesh - whether is being born of a certain flesh, or cutting off a piece of flesh, or getting the flesh wet. People are justified by faith in Christ. If there are those who are in Christ apart from faith, the Bible doesn't speak of such people.



The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Jul 29,2015