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What Were the Reformers’ Views on Infant Baptism? – #6 Post of 2010

Post Author: Bill Pratt

baptism What Were the Reformers Views on Infant Baptism?   #6 Post of 2010According to church historian John Hannah, there were four major Protestant streams that developed during the Reformation in the 16th century: Anglicanism, Lutheranism, Calvinism, and Anabaptism.  Each of these streams placed great stress on the idea of salvation by faith alone, yet they did not all agree on what infant baptism means or whether it should even be done.

To my knowledge, all the reformers rejected baptism as the cause of a believer’s salvation; again, salvation is by faith.  An infant obviously cannot believe on her own, so if baptism is only a sign of the faith a person possesses, then why are infants baptized?

First, let’s look briefly at Calvinism.  According to Hannah, “Calvin defended the baptism of infants, believing that children of the godly are born members of the church by virtue of the hereditary nature of the Abrahamic covenant, circumcision having been replaced in the New Covenant with baptism as a sign.”

For Calvin, since infants were circumcised under the Old Covenant, infants should be baptized under the New Covenant.  Infant baptism does not cause regeneration, but it ensures that the child will be taught what she needs to know about Christ when she gets older, so that she can then exercise her own faith.  If she dies before she can exercise her own faith, Calvin believed that God could still save her, as He is not limited to save only those who exercise faith (although that is the normal way).

The Anglicans closely followed Calvin on the issue of infant baptism.

Luther also held very similar views to Calvin.  He believed that infants, who cannot exercise faith, should be baptized because of the faith of their parents and church family.  The faith of the church family could not directly save the infant, but their faith would later help the child to grow in knowledge and receive her own faith from God.  Again, infant baptism signifies the entrance of the child into the church where she can be instructed.

The last group, the Anabaptists, differ greatly from the other three streams.  The Anabaptists believed that a sign should always follow the thing it signifies, not anticipate it.  Hannah explains further Anabaptist views: “People are born into the world lost and need to be regenerated.  One does not enter the church as a citizen as one enters the state.  In the latter one is naturally born into it; in the former one is spiritually born into it.  The state is not the church; the church is not the state.”

The earliest confession of the Anabaptists states: “Baptism shall be given to all those who have learned repentance and amendment of life, and to all those who walk in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and wish to be buried with him in death. . . . This excludes all infant baptism . . . .”

So what do you think?  Should infants be baptized?  Please vote in the poll below.


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Comments

  • http://rericsawyer.wordpress.com R. Eric Sawyer

    Having spent my formative spiritual years as a Baptist, and my parenting (now grandparenting) years as an Anglican, this is an issue that has captured no little attention form me, and I think I have come to some terms with it.

    First, my children were baptized as infants, mostly as an act of submission on my part. I deeply thought, and still think, God had directly called me into the Anglican/Episcopalian church, and not as a missionary. He called me to work in that vineyard, and sit under that teaching. What I have come to understand over the last 30 years is that there is a lot more to our “one-ness” before God than we westerners like to think. I believe there is something real about my children being “in me” in the same way that I was “in Adam” and am “in Christ”; and that my wife and I are “one flesh,” the church is “one body” and the God Himself is “Three in One” Fundamental reality is plural-unity (neither exclusively corporate, nor exclusively individual, but something deeper) and in the things He has made, the more like Himself, the more things exhibit this quality.

    My priest at the time said that, baring a functioning local community (and this was in the Capital C community days in the Episcopal Church) paedo-baptism probably makes no sense.

    It is something I see only dimly, as through a mist, and could well be wrong. But I think that Baptizing infants, in the context of being “one Body” and modeling the family an the Church after what we see in the Holy Trinity is sound.

    My daughter has a simpler take on it: She is a thoroughly evangelical Episcopalian, and her husband, like me, a reformed Baptist. They struggled a great deal with this issue as well, but as my daughter said,
    “why should the only item in my home, not dedicated to the Glory of God, be my son?”

    I think she has a point.

    Blessings!
    -R. Eric Sawyer

  • kay

    Where in the N.T, does it say to baptize infants, or mention that it was done? We are not to add anything to what is said. Are there scriptures that support this idea?

  • http://rericsawyer.wordpress.com R. Eric Sawyer

    Kay, thank you for the challenge! You have asked me to think deeply about an issue that I have had “on the shelf” for many years. It is worth revisiting from time to time.

    You have asked for a defense of paedo-baptism from Holy Scripture (and surprisingly, just from the NT as if only it is the Word of God. That was one of the earliest heresies the Church had to confront), and I will get to that. But first, I would like to present some other avenues: First, there is the reformation point (at least in the English reformation) about how to read Scripture: (From William Whitaker) In his “Disputation on Holy Scripture” He puts eight (if memory serves) points, which I would summarize thus; Read under the cover of prayer, and expect the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Read for the plain sense first, allegorical and metaphorical only in such as they are consistent with the plain. Read as they were intended, historical for history, poetic for poetry, etc. Read as one voice behind the human author. God does not contradict God. If one section seems to contradict, you have not fully understood one or (more likely) both. In like manor, the OT and the NT tell one story, of One God, who “changeth not”. Finally, Read in Community. Others, in this age and in ages past have also wrestled with God’s revelation to us. Learn from them. If you find yourself understanding differently from those you have reason to esteem in the Lord, tread carefully. The example he used was St Augustine. Trust Augustine because he was a Godly and learned (although fallen)man who pointed ultimately to the Scriptures. If from the Scriptures he is wrong, the Word is the primary source. But you should “double-check” your reading. Similarly, “Councils can and have erred…” ; trust God’s Word more than any council. But I mustn’t confuse
    “the Bible says…” with
    “my understanding of the Bible says…”
    one is authoritative, the other not.

    OK, why this long ramble through things I expect you already know? Because there is a tendency in American evangelical Christianity to set up “what I read” as the authority, and disregard what has been called the Vincentian Canon:

    “…take the greatest care to hold that which has been believed everywhere, always and by all.”

    If almost all the church, early, eastern, western, catholic, protestant, have one understanding, then check your work very carefully before disagreeing. Numbers do not, of course, prove truth; if it did, Luther should have been ignored. But if I disagree, not just with Rome; but with Constantinople, Geneva and Canterbury too, there is room to doubt, not God’s word, but myself.
    And such is the case with paedo-baptism.

    As to the Holy Scripture itself, there are several things to consider. As an aside, let me point you towards a couple of articles that do a better job of this than I can – the first is by Gregg Strawbridge, “Baptism in the Bible and Infant Baptism” here http://www.paedobaptism.com/baptisminthebible.pdf

    The other is by Dr. RC Sproul, Jr., one of those men with whom I disagree only with trepidation (and we have a few spots!) here
    http://www.paedobaptism.com/sprouljr.htm

    The “proof-text” portion of the argument, which is often the least reliable, would go something like this. We are nowhere in the NT given explicit instructions to baptize infants. But likewise, we are never given explicit instructions to forbear from such baptisms. Since we cannot argue from silence, we must dig deeper. We are never given an example of a person, having come to faith and being baptized, having children who later came to faith and were baptized themselves. But we are given several examples in the NT of “household baptisms” as well as household conversions. A quick thumbnail would be Cornelius, Lydia’s family in Acts 16:15, The Philippian jailer in Acts 16:33, and Stephanas in I Cor 1:16. In fact, other than the mass conversions as in Acts 2, the accounts of “household baptisms” are roughly the same number as those of purely individual baptisms, particularly if we set aside those like the Ethiopian eunuch and Saul, both of whom were childless, as offering no support in either direction.

    The expected protest to these examples would be that the NT nowhere says that those in the household had not also come to faith. Perhaps Paul baptized the household of Stephanas because they had all confessed Jesus. But that is again arguing from silence, and has no validity unless one already assumes that all baptisms were credo-baptism. The plain reading of these texts does not support that idea.

    At this point, admitting that the NT is still inconclusive, one could look to the nature of Baptism, and consistency with what we have seen of God before. There are two main understandings. One of which is the idea of “Baptismal Regeneration,” or the idea that the Sacrament of Baptism itself is salvific. One can find a verse of two that seems to support that, but I reject any idea that adds to, replaces or modifies in any way salvation by other than faith in Christ Jesus. As I expect you agree with me here, there is no point in elaborating.

    The other idea is that Baptism is the sign (not the substance) of entrance into a covenantal relationship with God. Throughout the OT, whether in Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses or David, the covenant of God was always with a People. Yes, it required individual decision. (choose YOU this day…) but that covenant was for the Generations. Not JUST corporate, but not JUST individual either. (That gets me back to my “Pural-Unity” idea)

    As a final example, Israel was ransomed from Egypt (and note how the progeny of Israel are known by his name, Israel. they are in some way “in him”) by the blood, and through the waters of the red sea. They took their entire household with them. They had to decide to trust God, but they didn’t leave their babies in Egypt until they were old enough to trust God for themselves.

    Of course, these examples are not proofs, either. But they do suggest something of the ways of God, and when taken as a whole with the NT accounts, and the mostly united voice of the Church through (almost) all centuries and in (almost) all places, I think it makes a pretty compelling case that the reluctance I feel for infant baptism lies more in my post-enlightenment and western worship of the individual against the corporate than it does in the truth of the matter.

    Thanks for the opportunity to give this a bit of thought, and I again commend those two articles to you. They make a much more compelling case than I can (but I hate blog posts that simple refer folks to someone else!)

    Blessings!
    -R. Eric Sawyer

  • Daniel Dunlap

    Ulrich Zwingli was certainly NOT the “founder of the Anabaptist movement.” Also, Zwingli affirmed infant baptism.

  • http://rericsawyer.wordpress.com R. Eric Sawyer

    Another minor point, with perhaps a larger one behind it. You sum the ant-infant baptism argument thus:

    “An infant obviously cannot believe on her own, so if baptism is only a sign of the faith a person possesses, then why are infants baptized?”

    If this were so, I think I would have a hard time disagreeing. But I would suggest that there is a false premise here. I would think that baptism is not so much a sign of the faith the person possesses, as it is a sign of what God has done, is doing, and will continue to do.
    Again, part of the “background noise” of our culture is that we are very “me” centered. It took me a long time to get over the idea that a “good” worship service had much to do with what I “got out of it” Worship is not about me, it is not for me. It is about God, about the Lamb who was slain being worthy to receive it. Now, I have found that when I enter worship that way, with a prayer that God grant me to worship Him as He deserves, that I tend to “get more” out of it. (But that is only consistent with he who dies to self will live, etc.)

    Baptism cannot be about MY faith, but God’s faithfulness, and His gift.

    As such, it hardly matters whether “I can believe on my own” -as a matter of fact, even at 20, when I was baptized, or now at 54, I can’t.
    “No one can come to Me, unless the Father draws him.”

  • Pingback: On the Baptism of Infants: « Random Musings

  • Bill Pratt

    Daniel,
    You are correct. Zwingli split with the Swiss Brethren, who were his followers in the early Reformation. I will correct the blog post. Again, thanks for pointing this out.

  • Matt Salmon

    I think that you miss an important point in the argument against infant baptism. The church ought to practice what is most beneficial and the confusion with believer’s baptism becomes a stumbling block for some Christians.
    1) The practice of infant baptism can create a dichotomy between those baptized as children (inside and outside the church) and those not, which is not helpful for church unity.
    2) God saves all children (below the age of accountability) not just the baptized ones. Salvation isn’t physically heritable either. Baptism is a mere symbol.
    3) Baptism should only follow belief so that noone comes to think their infant baptism replaced their baptism as a believer.
    4) infant dedication isn’t controversial

    I’m still open to discussion and correct me if I’m wrong. I got the first two points from reading “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens by the way.

  • http://rericsawyer.wordpress.com R. Eric Sawyer

    Matt, let me take a shot at your four points.
    1) just at the surface, and there is more than that here, you suggest that, in the interest of Church unity, those who practice infant baptism should refrain. I’m all for church unity, and so I take your point seriously. But the question then, is why was infant baptism dropped, thus creating the confusing division you see? And even more to the point, if believer’s baptism “only” is less scriptural, a less accurate symbol, and a newer innovation, why should that be the position the rest of the church adopts for the sake of unity? For that matter, if infant baptism has been the practice of the whole church until pretty modern times, and the practice of the large majority of branches of the church even today, what since would does it make to demand that this large historical majority abandon the classic understanding only for the sake of unity with those who disagree?

    Wesley had a line from Augustine of which he was very fond:

    “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.”

    The rub is in deciding which things are essential. If the issue of Paedo-baptism or Credo-baptism is a non-essential, then we have no reason to get worked up, and could possibly have all embrace infant baptism for the sake of unity (And unity in non-essentials doesn’t matter much). But if it is an essential, then it can’t be changed simply to give a show of unity. It must only be changed out of conviction of truth.

    Also, you are concerned about a dichotomy between the baptized and the unbaptized inside the church as well as outside. I would suggest that a dichotomy is appropriate, but the rejection of infant baptism muddies the issue of who is “inside the church” and who is not. In my earlier days, I would have answered that those who have made a profession of faith are inside the church (and thus baptized as believers) and those who are who have not made such a profession, and followed with baptism, are not. Children would therefore be “outside” the church until the join it by this profession and baptism. But in your statement, you refer to some unbaptized children as “inside the church” This confuses me. Is it that God’s special grace collects the innocent into His church, but pushes them out the door at “the age of accountability” from whence they must re-enter by profession?
    Perhaps mine is the confusion you referenced. I would think it must be one or the other: Children may be included in the church by virtue of the faith of their parents and the church, or they are not included in the church until such time as they can make a profession on their own.

    BTW, one of the gospel accounts that seemed very strange to me is the paralyzed man let down through the roof by his friends. In many of the healings, Jesus says “your faith has made you well,” or similar words. This time it is “and seeing THEIR faith…” whose? the faith of the friends who brought him to Jesus and let him down through the roof? the faith of everybody involved including the patient? But if it was the faith of the whole group, including the patient, why then mention their faith at all, if only the man’s personal faith was relevant? No matter what the faith of the patient was like, the faith of the community of friends was certainly worth noting by Jesus!

    2) I don’t know if God saves all children or not. If He told us, I have missed it.
    I think that is an inference based on what we rightly understand of God’s goodness and mercy. I share that hope, but only He knows the truth, and is sovereign. I do believe that He does all things well, and I trust Him, but I do not trust my wisdom as to “Doing all things well” means. Our reformed friends would tell us that only God knows who are the elect, those predestined to eternal life.

    I agree that Baptism is a symbol (but ‘only’ a symbol?), but the question is, a symbol of what? I discount the idea that it is a symbol of my faith, of my trust. It is that, but even more, I think it is a symbol, ordained by God, as a reminder that He has caused us to pass from death into life, as through the grave, as Israel through the sea. It is not a symbol of what I have done, lest it be only a reminder of ‘my’ work; it is instead a sign and reminder that God has called me out, and has received me as His own.

    The criticism would be of course that we don’t know which child will come to saving faith. How can we baptize them all?
    Most protestants believe (unlike Rome) that there is a difference between the true church, the body of Christ, and the Visible Church. The Church as expressed on membership roles is at best an approximation, or an overlay of the true. We have all known that there are those (baptized at whatever age) who have renounced the Church, renounced Christ, or just faded away. Of the state of their soul, there is some controversy, but God knows.
    Even Simon Magus in Acts was a false “conversion” Believer’s baptism is no safeguard against it.

    3) About Baptism following belief, I have two comments. The first is that Hebrews reminds us of the O.T. saints who trusted God for that which they didn’t know and couldn’t see. They knew nothing of the Christ, of atonement. They only knew that God was, and that He could be trusted. I think the relationship between event and antecedent is more a function of our existence in linear time, than it is a truth in God’s eternity. Think of how many prayers have been answered by the end of a chain of events that must have started before the prayer was even conceived, let alone uttered. I don’t think that is a problem.
    Secondly, you fear lest any “think their infant baptism replaced their baptism as a believer.”
    There is but one Lord, One Faith, One Baptism. If a person has been baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, then he/she is baptized. End of story.
    to say otherwise, or to allow “rebaptism” is to claim that baptism has it’s own efficacy, that it won’t *work* unless we do it in this order. (But we said it was only a symbol?)
    Rebaptism would symbolize that one can, having once been in the household of God, can slip out of His hand, and come back in again. For those who believe in the “Security of the Believer” or the “Perseverance of the Saints” that would be anathema.

    4)You say that infant dedication isn’t controversial.
    Maybe not now –when I was younger, and Baptist, it would have been considered a *very* romish thing to do. It is baptism without the words Jesus gave us, and without the water. It is trying to get the good that the infant baptisers claim, while ignoring how we are told to do it, and I see it as deceptive and false. Think the sons of Aaron, and strange fire.

    BTW, I like Dickens, but I don’t trust him on sound doctrine or theology.

    Blessings!
    -R. Eric Sawyer

  • Daniel Dunlap

    Supporters of infant baptism (at least those of a sacramental leaning) view baptism as our incorporation into Christ, appealing to such passages as Paul’s remarks in Romans 6:3-4 that “all who have been baptized” have been buried with Christ, and Galatians 3:27 where Paul says “for as many of you who have been baptized have put on Christ.” We baptize our children to include them with us (Christian parents) in the Body of Christ, for after all, the “promises are to us and to our children” (Acts 2:38-39).

    Supporters of credo-baptism (i.e., aka believer’s baptism) view baptism as a sign or demonstration of faith, which obviously an infant cannot exhibit. My question to credo-baptists is this: where is the notion or definition of baptism as a “sign or demonstration of faith” supported in Scripture?

  • Bill Rice

    While all of my kids were baptised as infants, all in the catholic church, the last being more for family reasons, as a christian I believe that one has to be aware of the why of baptism, the age of enlightenment so to speak. The other question is do we need the ritual of baptism, as the salvation under the blood of Christ is sufficient, as it was for the thief on the cross.

  • Daniel Dunlap

    The thief on the cross (presumably) was a circumcised Jew. The Great Commission commanding that we make disciples of all nations by baptizing and teaching them came after the cross/resurrection. Hence, the fact that the thief on the cross wasn’t baptized is irrelevant. None of the OT saints were baptized.

    Baptism is the necessary rite of admission into Christian discipleship. The NT knows of no one who ISN’T baptized who can rightly be called a disciple of Christ (i.e. a Christian). My children have been disciples from the earliest age.

  • Matt Salmon

    I think i failed to explain this clearly. We know that of the infants baptized some will move away from the church and others will proceed to join at a later age. Outside the church, the paedo-baptized may believe that their parents’ faith saved them and they don’t need credo-baptism. Within the church (credo-baptized) those paedo-baptized may consider themselves better than those who weren’t as if they weren’t just as saved by grace.
    This age of accountability is tricky and I’m not sure where it’s referenced in the Bible, but it could be similar to pardoning from the insanity plea, i. e. they’re not mature or mentally capable yet of being held responsible for their actions. It also could be similar to the medieval system of punishing the parents for the crimes of their children, i. e. for a child to be saved his parents must be believers and have committed the child to baptism. No, that’s incorrect; if the punishment on a child is placed on his parents then the child would be pardoned and his or her sins punished through the parents.
    I don’t believe there is such a thing as rebaptism, but false baptisms, which do not signify true faith, can happen. Also paedo- baptism commits a child to the fostering of the church, but not to membership. Only acceptance of and surrender to Christ, accompanied by credo- baptism if possible gives one membership in the church.
    What I got from Dickens was just the fact of the times, not any depth of Theology.

  • Daniel Dunlap

    Hey, Matt, where does Scripture teach that baptism “signifies (true) faith”?

  • Greg

    Daniel,

    Mark 16:15-16 states:

    15He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

    Believing is the same as faith. Believing in Christ as Lord is what provides salvation the outward show of that faith is baptism.

    Galations 3:26-27 states:

    26You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ

  • Timogose

    I have read the pdf article cited by Eric Sawyer and is amazed at how the writer assumed the use of the word ‘descendants’ under the New Testament automatically implies infant baptism!

    Truth is baptism is explicitly commanded for believers who have been taught and who are willing to OBEY the gospel. Children are innocent and automatic members of the kingdom of God (Matthew 18:2-3; 19:14), as I discussed in the related thread on baptism. Yes, a man is to lead his family towards the things of God but each must make an individual commitment when able to, we dont have to baptize babies for they have NO sins to be washed away by the blood of Christ. Baptism is the moment (time) and place (where) a sinner receives remission and gets into Christ.

    A quick look at the household conversions reveals that:

    1. Peter preached the gospel to Cornelius “together his kinsmen and near friends.” God poured his Spirit on the believing listeners, the Jews “heard THEM speak with tongues, and magnify God.”
    It follows that one has to read infants into this passage for such is neither stated NOR implied!

    2. On Lydia, Acts 16:13-15 showed Paul’s team met some WOMEN at the river and preached to them. One of them was Lydia and she and her household were baptized there upon believing [the Lord opening the heart] BEFORE she invited them to the house.
    We are not informed that this merchant lady was with a nursing infant at the river. Again proponents of infant baptism are merely reading their wish into the text. Members of her household would not have been baptized against their wish and Paul not only understood Mk. 16:16, he wrote Romans 6 to explain the mode and purpose of baptism. Proponents who argument that the mode of baptism is immaterial (sprinkling, etc.) are teaching heresy for they prefer the traditions of men and reject the inspired word of God.

    3. Acts 16:27-34 tells of the Philipian Jailor’ household. When he was told “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” It simply means they would be saved if they accept the Lordship of Christ by trusting in him and obeying his gospel. It does not mean that ALL of the family would be saved based upon the man’s solitary faith acting as proxy for them. He was to be the link to lead them not to be their mini-messiah.

    Indeed verse 32 shows that in order to know who Christ is and what to believe, the apostles preached NOT only to the jailor but “to all that were in his house.” The resultant baptism of the hosehold was not because he alone believed BUT because they ALL did -vs 33 & 34.

    4. The Corintian households that were baptized was not simply because of the faith of the father in each house, it was because entire households HEARD and BELIEVED the gospel message. Acts 18:8 shows “Crispus… believed on the Lord with all his house.”
    Similarly, the household of Spephanas who “addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints” suggests that rational accountable believers are implied here (1 Cor. 3:5; 16:15).

    —————————————————————-
    If infants and every member of a family are purportedly baptized as imagined,

    a. Why was this not done in Samaria by Philip? Why was the Spirit specific in stating “both men and women”? Simply, because baptism is for those who believe (Mark 16:16, Acts 5:14; 8:12). Belief always precede baptism as in these verses!

    b. What will the proponents make of Matthew 10:32-38, 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 and 1 Peter 3:1?
    These verses shows clearly that salvation is an individual thing. It is not compulsory that households must be baptized after being preached to! When households were baptized it was because entire families heard and believed the gospel. Implicit is that those who are not mature enough to discern and make a choice with full understanding of the gospel and its import, are excluded. Parents can dedicate thier babies to God in prayer and by teaching them the word. It is futile to administer baptism on an infant who has not transgressed God’s law. For one’s baptism to be valid, he must believe, repent and consciously acknowledge Jesus as Christ and Savior.

    Acts 2:38-39  Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

    Peter and the apostles teach that salvation is for all (1 Tim 2:3-6) who will receive the gift by faith. The promise is to the Jews and their descendants just as it is to Gentiles who are afar off (Eph 2:11-19). The Jewish children and descendants are not automatically saved and neither are Gentiles. Rather, salvation is for those who heed the call of God. How does God call people? Individually, via the gospel -2 Thessalonians 2:14, Romans 10:12-17 No more, no less!

  • Timogose

    In the last paragraph above, I meant to write; “The Jewish audience and their descendants are not automatically saved and neither are the Gentiles…”

    In other words, accountable people are not saved based on heredition or affliation but by obeying the gospel call – ‘as many as the Lord our God shall call.’ Little children or infants are sinnless before God. They may suffer the consequences of Adams sins but they do not inherit sins, each accountable person must respond to “whosoever will.”

  • http://www.rericsawyer.wordpress.com R. Eric Sawyer

    Timogose, I apreciate your passionate defence of the practice of witholding baptism from infants. I think I have said everthing I have useful to say on this subject, and am not likely to succede where I have already been found wanting, but in light of your directness and thoughtfulness, I’ll go one more round. 30+ years ago, I would have agreed with you, chapter and verse. What changed it for me was realizing that my, and now your, interpretation was not the position of the whole church, but was in fact a minority position, of fairly late origination. These are not the deterioration of the truth through the midaevil Roman church, but has been the practice in the church in almost all times and places, including the reformers, right down to the present. I had assumed that the way I was taught was the agreed upon standard, and found (as the Church as community and body became more real to me) that it decidedly is not. That does not of course prove it wrong, but it does make it suspect. As I tried to show in my earlier post, your interpretation of the NT stories reflects your starting point. It is only obvious if you are already convinced.

    But you say som other things that I think are relevent that also reflct assumptions not in evidence in some cases, or desputed in others. You say that infants are innocent and without sin. On what grounds can you say that except by sentiment? Surely not by scripture: David asserts that he was a sinner “from my mother’s womb” You also imply that there is no “original sin” that we, and little infants, are not under the curse of Adam, but infact are innocent until we commit actual sin after some infrered “age of accountability” I don’t think this idea can be biblically supported, and is actually contrary to what is there.

    Part of the issue is at what sin do we need to be clensed, or as Paul says in Romans, “who will deliver me…” The issue is whether we are cleansed primarily from our actual sins, great or small, or whether we ar delivered from our state of bondage that renders us powerless over sin and death. Are we reconned sinners, because we commit sins (and need to stop), or do we commit sins because we are in fact sinners, and in bondage to sin (from which bondage we need to be delivered), as is the lot of all the sons of Adam.

    The first idea, which is the only way infants are innocent, leads ulimately to pelagianism. If I can resist the temptation to a sin, then I can resist the temptation to 2 sins, and in fact, it is theoretically possible for me to resist all sins, and thus have no need of the Blood of Christ. Little children and infants would be in this status. Having committed no actual sin, they have no need of Christ, until some age of accountability, whereat they begin to sin and incur the wrath of God. (Why do we bgin to sin?)

    In the second idea, we are “infected” with seperation from God, and a tendency to sin by our status “in Adam.” In infants and children, the disease has not yet become active, but it is still there, latent. If not arrested and removed, it is ultimately fatal. “Who will deliver me from the body of this death?”
    An “age of accountability” as unbiblical as it is, is not so much the issue here, all are under the curse, and all are in need of a saviour.

    I won’t go back over the ground of how this influence baptismal understanding, but this view of sin, combined with a proper view of what the sign of baptism signifies (our faith, or God’s saving work?), and related to co-inherance as informed by our understanding of God as Holy Trinity (and the nature of man has similarly plural-unity) lead me to the almost inescapable conclusion that the bulk of the church through all times and places has been right, and the innovation of witholding baptism is based on faulty and truncated theology.

    Blessings!
    -R. Eric Sawyer

  • Matt Salmon

    My problem with infant baptism is that, if it’s as important as those churches make it out to be, the apostles and other authors failed to write anything specifically about it. Infant baptism could be just a ploy to gain political power as the church became less faithful and more religious during the middle ages in both the Catholic and Orthodox churches. We cannot rely on tradition because the church had a long period in which it was corrupted. If the goal is to get back to the effectiveness of the early church, then why not rely on their writings which we have intact. If there is no record of infant baptism in the early church, then no church should make a huge production out of it. Just because most of the reformers left it in place doesn’t make them right either; it may have been to the advantage of their respective revolutions as well.

  • DiscipleoftheWord

    Allow me to simplify this argument a little tad bit.

    The real issue is whether paedobaptism is a biblical ordinance.

    It is not, and on this point I am adamant.

    This is one of those arguments that marginalize the centrality of the Gospel.

    Justification by Faith alone and salvation through Grace alone.

    Works do not work, and that includes baptism, baptism no more saves an unregenerate than taking a shower saves.
    On the other hand if you want to baptize your children, understanding of course you have in no way secured their salvation, then I sees no biblical prohibition.

  • Dan Dunlap

    DOTW: Your argument betrays a common misunderstanding of the paedobaptist position. Baptism is a work. However, it is NOT our work, but rather God’s work, which is why the sacraments are referred to as “means of grace.” We are utterly passive and receptive in the sacrament of baptism (we are completely passive and receptive in the Supper as well), which is why infant baptism is such poignant sign of grace. The infant brings absolutely nothing, not even faith, to the font. And yet God receives that infant as a child of his own through the waters of baptism, and the church obediently accepts and receives the child as a fellow member. Faith receives that which is already offered and given.

  • DiscipleoftheWord

    I may have betrayed your paedobaptist position.
    But you have yet to show how I have betrayed the Doctrines of Grace and justification by faith alone.
    Baptism is an outward expression of an inward truth,.
    Baptism is performed by man where as regeneration is performed soley by Grace through Jesus Christ.
    You have yet incorporate belief in to your model, are suggesting that baptism precedes regeneration?
    If your perception of baptism holds water then why is it limited to children.
    By your logic and reasoning we could baptize people against there will and secure their salvation and belief.
    Your position is flawed.

  • Dan Dunlap

    DOTW states: “Baptism is an outward expression of an inward truth.”

    Whose “outward expression”? Ours?? The irony of the credo-baptist position is that by making baptism OUR “outward expression” baptism becomes a “work” performed by those who submit to it, albeit a “work” done after salvation, but a “work” nonetheless.

    Scripture is clear that baptism is an outward SIGN of an inward grace; NOT our sign, but God’s sign. Signs are intended to communicate something by the one who gives them. God communicates in baptism the believer’s position in Christ, i.e., our being buried with him in death and raised again in justification, our being clothed with Christ, our adoption as his children, and, yes, our regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.

    DOTW: “You have yet incorporate belief in to your model, are suggesting that baptism precedes regeneration?”

    As I said before, faith receives that which is offered and given in baptism. Baptism is regeneration for those who believe. Indeed, “He saved us, not by works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the WASHING OF REGENERATION and renewal by the Holy Spirit…” (Titus 3:5)

    DOTW: “If your perception of baptism holds water then why is it limited to children.”

    If this is your understanding of the paedobaptist position, then you know very little about it. I have baptized more adults and children who were able to “answer for themselves” then I have infants. “Paedobaptism” is really a misnomer. “Covenant-baptism” is better, but I think “household” baptism is closer to the truth.

    DOTW: “By your logic and reasoning we could baptize people against there will and secure their salvation and belief. Your position is flawed.”

    The only thing flawed here is your understanding of my position. I never said that baptism “causes” faith. Baptism is a gift received by faith.

  • DiscipleoftheWord

    Do Paedobaptist bring their baby’s to participate in the Lord’s Supper…why not?….because Paedobaptist do not permit participation in the Lord’s Supper without a personal, intelligent, confession of faith.
    Then why do you change the ordinance for baptism to include something different,… How do you answer for this inconsistency?

    Dan Dunlap says:”Baptism is a gift received by faith”…

    Who’s faith..The parents?
    Can a child of unregenerate parents have their baby baptized..and if so then by who’s faith is the gift received?

    Dan Dunlap says: “If this is your understanding of the paedobaptist position, then you know very little about it.”

    If there is a reason that I know little about it, it is because it not within the teachings of scripture.
    I know very little about Flying Boeing 707′s too, and that is because my Bible does not teach me how to fly large aircraft.

    Paedobaptist theologians must admit that there is “no express precept” and that all support for infant baptism rests solely upon tradition of men and not Scripture.

  • Dan Dunlap

    My tradition (Anglican) has no minimum age for receiving Holy Communion. As soon as a child can eat solid food and receive on their own, they can partake.

    In fact, the Eastern Orthodox, arguably the oldest continuous living Christian tradition, has always practiced paedo-communion. Withholding Communion from children is an aberration originating in Roman practice which was carried over into some Protestant churches.

    DOTW: “Can a child of unregenerate parents have their baby baptized..and if so then by who’s faith is the gift received?”

    An infant is baptized on account of the Church’s faith, for at baptism a child is received into the Church, the community of faith. The parents and godparents are responsible to raise their children within the Church, the Body of Christ, and take vows to this effect. They (parents and godparents) confess the faith of the Church on behalf of the child, and the presumption is that they themselves affirm the faith. Later, the child must affirm and confess the faith for him/herself.

    DOTW: “If there is a reason that I know little about it, it is because it not within the teachings of scripture. I know very little about Flying Boeing 707’s too, and that is because my Bible does not teach me how to fly large aircraft.”

    I doubt very much that you would presume to inform a pilot of a Boeing 707 how to fly or point out the errors in his technique of flying. And yet you seem quite confident that you can inform Christians as to the errors of paedobaptism though you obviously know little more about this position than you do how to fly an aircraft. Curious.

    As for “express precept”: “Go and make all nations disciples: 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” (Matthew 28:19 – direct translation of the Greek).

    So where does Scripture exclude infants from “nations”?

  • DiscipleoftheWord

    Is the same cost of discipleship placed on babies in your church, can you even begin to pretend that a baby can understand the cost of discipleship?

    Lk 14:26 “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.
    27 “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.

    Do you really need me to go on listing the overwhelming passages that contradict you scripture proofing?

    I’m almost embarrassed for you at this point, you are truly grasping at straws.

    Dan Dunlap says: “I doubt very much that you would presume to inform a pilot of a Boeing 707 how to fly or point out the errors in his technique of flying. And yet you seem quite confident that you can inform Christians as to the errors of paedobaptism though you obviously know little more about this position than you do how to fly an aircraft.”
    How could you miss the point of this illustration?
    But let me make it clear.
    I do not fly planes but I do study scripture and I am a Theologian, a Minister, and a teacher of God’s word.
    Therefore I am quite qualified for instruction on Biblical precepts.
    Biblical precepts are what is being discussed here and not traditions of men that have no biblical precepts.
    Do not allow your anger or your inability to make a sound defense and rational argument for your claims cloud your judgment.

    And again, Can a child of unregenerate parents have their baby baptized..and if so then by who’s faith is the gift received?
    And if they do not continue to raise their children in your church, what becomes of the infants baptism?
    Or do you deny baptism to the babies of unregenerate parents?
    I’m not asking for your churches Faith Position Statement…I am asking you to reasonably answer these questions.

  • Dan Dunlap

    DOTW: “Is the same cost of discipleship placed on babies in your church, can you even begin to pretend that a baby can understand the cost of discipleship?”

    “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belong the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14). By your standard, Mr. “Disciple”, only adults can be disciples. Jesus says differently. I’m rather surprised that so eminent and outstanding a “theologian” as yourself did not anticipate my using this verse.

    God’s gifts and promises are not revoked or made null by our lack of faith. If we fail to receive the gift through lack of faith, we are responsible.

  • DiscipleoftheWord

    Ps 94:8 Pay heed, you senseless among the people; And when will you understand, stupid ones?

    What does this verse have to do with Infant baptism?
    Nothing…just like yours.

    I didn’t anticipate it because it has nothing to do with infant baptism.
    No one is saved through the faith of others, but only through his own. . . . Baptism helps nobody and should be given to no one unless he believes for himself.
    To suggest that children without faith of their own receive grace through baptism is “a dream.”
    To believe that the faith of the church can substitute for the faith of any individual is only the opinion of specious reasoning Sophists and without foundation in the Scriptures.
    A Baptism by which the same presuppositions cannot be made for a child as an adult or in which the child does not receive the same as an adult, is no baptism at all, it’s only a “play and mockery of baptism.”

    Dan Dunlap says: God’s gifts and promises are not revoked or made null by our lack of faith. If we fail to receive the gift through lack of faith, we are responsible.

    And I have no idea how this statement relates to or answers any objections made here.

  • Dan Dunlap

    DOTW: “I didn’t anticipate it because it has nothing to do with infant baptism.”

    But it (Matthew 19:14) has everything to do with discipleship, which in your previous remark you denied to children. If you could only follow an argument, we might actually get somewhere.

    DOTW: “No one is saved through the faith of others, but only through his own.”

    Unless you heard the Gospel from an angel in heaven, I suspect that someone of FAITH shared it with you. So, indeed, the faith of others plays an important, or better, a pivotal role in salvation.

    DOTW: “To suggest that children without faith of their own receive grace through baptism is “a dream.””

    So are you suggesting that children cannot receive grace at all then?

  • DiscipleoftheWord

    Matthew 19:14 has nothing to do with baptismal regeneration.
    Your torturing and eisegisis of scriptuer is proving nothing.
    Faith does indeed have a pivotal roll in evangelizing but again has nothing to to do with baptismal regeneration.
    Grace is a gift of God and God alone.
    Soli Deo Gloria
    Solo Christo
    Not of men, and certainly not of you.

  • Dan Dunlap

    DOTW: “Matthew 19:14 has nothing to do with baptismal regeneration.”

    Who said that it did? You suggested earlier that children could not be disciples. This verse is decidedly against your suggestion. Jesus receives children into his kingdom, for to such belong the kingdom. You contradict Jesus.

  • DiscipleoftheWord

    If an infant can understand the conditions of Dicipleship he or she can indeed be a disciple of Jesus.
    If a person makes a genuine confession of Christ as Lord and Savior he is a disciple.
    There is an order in Matthew 28.
    1.Make disciples
    2.Baptize them
    3.Teach them.

    The disciples were not only to learn, but also to observe and practice what they had learned.
    The truth is obvious: the Gospel was preached to, heard, and believed by people who were able to understand, believe, and obey.

    Let me ask you this, is there anything that would prevent a person from being baptized?

  • Dan Dunlap

    For all your claims to being a theologian, you are not much of a Greek scholar, or even of English. So let me break this down for you:

    The command in Matthew 28:19 is to “Go and make disciples (of all nations).” This is done in two steps: (1) baptizing them, and (2) teaching them. The grammatical sequence is clear in both Greek and English, and not up for debate.

    So, according to Jesus, how do you make disciples? First you baptize them, then you teach them.

  • DiscipleoftheWord

    Go and make “disciples”…
    The first order “make Disciples”.
    I’ll let you answer this one since your the inspired language buff.
    Define “mathêteuô”
    .

  • Dan Dunlap

    Verb meaning “to disciple” (i.e. “to teach as to a disciple”); also, “to make a disciple of.”

    You are mistaken when you insist that this is the “first order.” It is actually the ONLY “order” or command given in this verse, being the only finite verb (aorist imperative, 2nd person, plural). The remaining verbal forms are participles — “baptizing” and “teaching” — which serve to explicate what Jesus means in his command to “disciple all the nations.”

    So, according to Jesus, we are to “disciple all the nations” by (1) baptizing them, and (2) teaching them. Do note the order…

  • DiscipleoftheWord

    Jesus commands that we should indeed make disciples of all nations, and instrumental in that task is the act of baptizing converts.
    Baptism is part of making disciples, no one is arguing otherwise.
    But what it does not teach here is that baptism is necessary for salvation.
    Jesus has also commanded them in same passage to “teach them to observe all that I have commanded you”.
    If we assume that baptism is essential to, and precedes salvation, then by consistent interpretation of the context, we should say that absolute obedience to all of Christ’s commands is also necessary for and proceeds salvation.
    This of course is absolutely contrary to the teaching of Scripture.
    Scripture clearly teaches that no one, not even the Christian is without sin (I John 1:7-2:2 Rom 3:23).
    If we are to say then that believers who do not obey all of Christ’s commands can and will be saved, then we may also, unless some other text clearly teaches otherwise, say that believers who are not baptized may also be saved.

  • Dan Dunlap

    DOTW: “Baptism is part of making disciples, no one is arguing otherwise. But what it does not teach here is that baptism is necessary for salvation.”

    If one defines “salvation” only in terms of personal hell-insurance, then you’re correct. God can and does “save” individuals without baptism. However, if salvation encompasses MORE than just one’s eternal destiny, that is, it encompasses one’s entire life, then, obviously, baptism is required for salvation because (as you admit) it is necessary to enter into DISCIPLESHIP. This is a more holistic, more biblical definition of salvation.

    The deficiency of your position is that you separate salvation (defined by you in terms of eternal destiny) from discipleship. As you see things, salvation is atomistic and solely individual. Thus you lack any discernible doctrine of the Church, apart from a collective of individuals who express similar salvation “experiences.” This is precisely why you have a hard time understanding the paedobaptist position.

  • DiscipleoftheWord

    Let me simplify my position for you.
    Regeneration always precedes faith.
    Discipleship is not the cause of faith but on account of it.
    Regeneration is never accomplished by human works of righteousness and that includes baptism.
    And that is clearly pointed out in one the paedobaptist scripture proofing verses; Titus 3:4…a verse that actually speaks against autonomous human works of righteousness.
    I am not asking questions of you because I do not understand you…I am arguing against your heresy of baptismal regeneration.
    I understand your position perfectly and I perfectly disagree with it.

  • Dan Dunlap

    Let me simplify things for you:

    (1) Your whole argument is based on a definition of regeneration that is theological, rather than biblical. Regeneration (as a term) has a long history of change in meaning. For instance, Calvin employed the term to mean what you, no doubt, ascribe to the term “sanctification.” What you now call “regeneration” is what Calvin in his day simply referred to as “calling” or “quickening.”

    (2) Biblically speaking, regeneration refers to “rebirth,” and is typically associated in Scripture with baptismal imagery. E.g. John 3:5 – “No one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit”; Titus 3:5 – “He saved us through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”

    (3) Baptism is only a human work within a doctrinal system that views it as our “outward expression” of faith (your words above and your position, not mine). Paedobaptists do not agree. Baptism is God’s sign, God’s action, God’s promise, thus God’s work; not ours.

    (4) Faith receives the new life that is offered by God in baptism, both for those who are baptized as children and those who are baptized as adults. The reception of this gift by faith is what constitutes “regeneration” — new life in Christ.

    (5) Regeneration (new life) is attached to Baptism by virtue of the promises of God. This new life is appropriated by faith, though NOT NECESSARILY AT THE TIME OF ADMINISTRATION. The promise being irrevocable, faith may attach itself to the promise at any point before, during or after the actual administration of the sacrament.

    Lastly, I find it amusing that you now claim to understand my position “perfectly,” when only a few posts ago you likened your knowledge of my position to your knowledge of flying a Boeing 707.

  • DiscipleoftheWord

    I do not gather around Calvin, I gather around the teaching of Jesus Christ alone.
    John 3:5 much like your other attempts at eisegesis has nothing to do with water baptism.
    I suppose Jesus was literally talking about water when he spoke with the woman at the well too.
    It’s just another example of your scripture proofing and forcing you opinion into scripture.
    You fail miserably at all hermeneutical approaches to validate your claims.
    You claim my position is theological rather than biblical…prove it.
    As with any single verse or passage, we discern what it teaches by first filtering it through what we know the Bible teaches on the subject. On the case of baptism and salvation, the Bible is very clear that salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not by works of any kind, including baptism (Ephesians 2:8-9). So, any interpretation by you which comes to the conclusion that baptism, or any other human act, is necessary for salvation, is a false interpretation.
    Stop whining about airplanes…you understood my meaning perfectly.

  • Dan Dunlap

    DOTW: “You claim my position is theological rather than biblical…prove it.”

    A man who cannot acknowledge, let alone recognize, his theological assumptions is not worth the effort to debate. Instead, you loudly and brashly assert your dependence on “Jesus Christ alone,” and so implicitly claim a level of infallibility the likes of which would make a Roman Pontiff blush.

    Suffice it to say, any first-year seminarian would be able to recognize that your understanding of “regeneration” is manifestly theological, rather than biblical. In fact, I would seriously question the credibility of any seminary where this was not the case. Unfortunately for you, sophomoric terms like “eisegesis” cannot hide the deficiency in your education.

    You know barely enough theology to make you dangerous — but only minimally so, since I can’t imagine that many people would actually mistake you for a serious “theologian,” let alone a minister.

  • DiscipleoftheWord

    The first sign a man has lost all logical argument within him is when he takes a swing at you.

  • Matt Salmon

    I agree that this argument has turned largely ad hominem. I’ve been following this thread because it keeps sending me emails, but it’s disgusting to have to pick threw your personal attacks and find the real evidence and logic in each of your positions. Let us always remember that opposing ideas do not make us enemies and phrase our comments as diagreements with a position. Rather than use phrases like “you fail..,” it is better say “___ is a weakness in you position” or “this is my intepretation of the text” (making sure you’ve read surrounding verses so as to keep it in context) or say, “I disagree with you…..”

  • Dan Dunlap

    DOTW: “The first sign a man has lost all logical argument within him is when he takes a swing at you.”

    Then obviously you lost many, many posts ago.

  • DiscipleoftheWord

    @Dan
    Let me try Mr. Salmon’s approach.

    I disagree with you. There is a weakness in your position, and that is my interpretation of you argument.

  • Dan Dunlap

    I can live with that.

  • Barry

    No one should be baptized in this Age of Grace. Baptism is a Jewish ritual. Christ was baptized to fulfill prophesy and He was to be the High Priest of Israel which required baptism. But, Paul is the Apostle to the Gentiles and in 1 Corinthians 1:17 says, “Christ sent me NOT to baptize BUT to preach the Gospel..” And the gospel that Paul preached was NOT the gospel that Jesus and the 12 preached. Paul preached grace through faith plus nothing. Jesus and the 12 preached the Kingdom gospel which was repent and be baptized. Peter preached the kingdom gospel on the day of Pentecost. You cannot be saved by the kingdom gospel today.

  • Manny

    The New Covenant form of circumcision is “dedication”. Circumcision is to “set aside” someone for God. A proof that a person is born into a family of God. Likewise dedicating a new born is to set aside the the child for God and as parents we will teach them the ways of Christian life, BUT we cannot induce salvation into them. They have to know the Lord on their own and accept Him on their own. WE CAN NEVER FORCE IT ON THEM. Recently my 11 year old son accepted the Lord. There was an alter call and he responded to the pastor’s call “to believe on the Lord and be saved”. Late in the year 2000 we dedicated him for the Lord, but since he was born to me, a man, he was born a sinner. And it took 11 years for him to learn that he has sin in him and that he need to confess and accept Christ as his Lord. Now we are arranging for him to be baptized as soon as possible. So we need to “Dedicate” a child at birth and leave the “Baptism” to themselves. Baptism is just to symbolize the salvation. Hence Salvation is more important than Baptism. Baptism is just a public act of what you did in private to the Lord (meaning: Confess Christ as Lord)

  • Manny

    Hi Eric

    The whole idea of child baptism is just an “assumption”. You assume that there were children in the “family” and “household”. But I can show numerous verses which says “Believe and be Baptized”. There is also an issue of “act of submission on my part” We can never do anything for the salvation of our children save teach the Word. They have to be saved by believing. Christ died and rose again for them. I did not. A person WILL go to heaven if he confess that Christ is Lord that is it……..nothing more nothing less. And God never calls anyone to be under a “church”. The Church is the body of Christ and not some group of people. You and me are Christ’s Church. God will never call us to form sectarianism.

  • shiraz shahzad

    Child baptism was never denied by reformers even though they burnt, martyrs for their faith .Holy Bible also throw some light on circumcision that turns into baptism.As a believer and Presbyterian i firmly believe this type of baptism which shows Lords grace and mercy upon child via his or her parents faith.

  • Gary

    Baptists and evangelicals are absolutely correct…there is no SPECIFIC mention in the New Testament that the Apostles baptized infants. There are references to entire households being converted and baptized, but we orthodox cannot prove, just from Scripture, that these households had infants, and neither can Baptists and evangelicals prove, just from Scripture, that they did not.

    One interesting point that Baptists/evangelicals should note is that although there is no specific mention of infant baptism in the Bible…neither is there a prohibition of infant baptism in the Bible. Christians are commanded by Christ to go into all the world and preach the Gospel and to baptize all nations. No age restrictions are mentioned. If Christ had intended his followers to understand that infants could not be baptized in the New Covenant, in a household conversion process as was the practice of the Jews of Christ’s day in converting Gentile households to the Covenant of Abraham, it is strange that no mention is made of this prohibition.

    So, the only real way to find out if Infant Baptism was practiced by the Apostles is to look at the writings of the early Christians, some of whom were disciples of the Apostles, such as Polycarp, and see what they said on this issue.

    And here is a key point: Infant Baptism makes absolutely no sense if you believe that sinners can and must make an informed, mature decision to believe in order to be saved. Infants cannot make informed, mature decisions, so if this is the correct Doctrine of Justification/Salvation, Infant Baptism is clearly false teaching. But the (arminian) Baptist/evangelical Doctrine of Justification/Salvation is unscriptural. Being forced to make a decision to obtain a gift, makes the gift no longer free. This is salvation by works.

    Baptism is a command of God. It is not a work of man. God says in plain, simple language, in multiple locations in the Bible, that he saves/forgives sins in Baptism. We orthodox Christians accept God’s literal Word. We take our infants to be baptized because God says to do it. Our infants are not saved because we perform the act of bringing them to the baptismal font…they are saved by the power of God’s Word pronounced at the time of the Baptism. Christians have believed this for 2,000 years!

    There is no evidence that any Christian in the early Church believed that sinners are saved by making a free will decision and then are baptized solely as a public profession of faith. None.

    Gary
    Luther, Baptists, and Evangelicals

  • Gary

    Baptists and evangelicals are absolutely correct…there is no SPECIFIC mention in the New Testament that the Apostles baptized infants. There are references to entire households being converted and baptized, but we orthodox cannot prove, just from Scripture, that these households had infants, and neither can Baptists and evangelicals prove, just from Scripture, that they did not.

    One interesting point that Baptists/evangelicals should note is that although there is no specific mention of infant baptism in the Bible…neither is there a prohibition of infant baptism in the Bible. Christians are commanded by Christ to go into all the world and preach the Gospel and to baptize all nations. No age restrictions are mentioned. If Christ had intended his followers to understand that infants could not be baptized in the New Covenant, in a household conversion process as was the practice of the Jews of Christ’s day in converting Gentile households to the Covenant of Abraham, it is strange that no mention is made of this prohibition.

    So, the only real way to find out if Infant Baptism was practiced by the Apostles is to look at the writings of the early Christians, some of whom were disciples of the Apostles, such as Polycarp, and see what they said on this issue.

    And here is a key point: Infant Baptism makes absolutely no sense if you believe that sinners can and must make an informed, mature decision to believe in order to be saved. Infants cannot make informed, mature decisions, so if this is the correct Doctrine of Justification/Salvation, Infant Baptism is clearly false teaching. But the (arminian) Baptist/evangelical Doctrine of Justification/Salvation is unscriptural. Being forced to make a decision to obtain a gift, makes the gift no longer free. This is salvation by works!

    Baptism is a command of God. It is not a work of man. God says in plain, simple language, in multiple locations in the Bible, that he saves/forgives sins in Baptism. We orthodox Christians accept God’s literal Word. We take our infants to be baptized because God says to do it. Our infants are not saved because we perform the act of bringing them to the baptismal font…they are saved by the power of God’s Word pronounced at the time of the Baptism. Christians have believed this for 2,000 years!

    There is no evidence that any Christian in the early Church believed that sinners are saved by making a free will decision and then are baptized solely as a public profession of faith. None.

    Gary
    Luther, Baptists, and Evangelicals
    http://www.lutherwasnotbornagain.com/2013/06/the-origen-of-baptistevangelical.html

  • Gary

    While reading through the Epistle to the Romans I came across this:

    “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23)

    The fact that children die shows that they are subject to the consequences of sin just like adults. If children are not held responsible by God for the Original Sin inherited from their Grandfather Adam, they would never die until they reach an Age of Accountability, when “their eyes are opened to the knowledge of Good and Evil”.

    But the Bible never mentions an age of accountability. Instead, it teaches that “the whole world (is) held accountable to God” (Romans 3:19), Psalms 51:5, Eph. 2:3.

    Just because something doesn’t seem fair, doesn’t mean it is not true. As Paul says in Romans, who are we the created to question the Creator.

    All human beings, including infants, are born sinners and are in need of a Savior to redeem them from original sin and the penalty of that sin: death…both physical and spiritual.

    Gary
    Luther, Baptists, and Evangelicals

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