Infant Baptism

Many denominations practice infant baptism, also known as “christening” among such circles as the Catholic and Lutheran churches. By taking their baby to a baptism ceremony and having a member of the clergy sprinkle water on the child’s head, many parents believe that they are saving their baby’s soul — that it is automatically going to heaven no matter when it dies.

This practice has absolutely no basis in scripture. Philip told the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8, “If you believe with all your heart, you may [be baptized].” To which the eunuch replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Only then did Philip baptize him.

Notice that Philip was very clear that he would only baptize the eunuch once he confessed his belief in Jesus. An infant has no knowledge of Jesus, and thus cannot believe in something it does not know exists, let alone confess that belief. Jesus says in Mark 16:16, “He who has believed and been baptized shall be saved.” He does not say, “He who has been baptized shall be saved.” He says, “He who has believed AND been baptized shall be saved.”

In Acts 2:38, when the multitude asks what they must do, Peter tells them to repent and be baptized. He makes it clear that, along with belief (faith), one must repent. What sins has in infant committed of which to repent? None! The child hasn’t figured out how to talk or even mastered half of its motor skills. All it can do is lie there and cry for mama. At what point has that child sinned?

Some use the case of the Philippian jailer to justify infant baptism, quoting Acts 16:31-33:

They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house. And he [the jailer] took them that very night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household.

“See?” some say. “It says, ‘he and all his household’. You can’t tell me there weren’t infants in the jailer’s household.”

Can’t I? Well, first, there is no Scriptural indication that there WERE infants in the jailer’s household, so it is a huge assumption, not to mention adding to God’s Word, to say there were. Second, Paul told the jailer, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Later, it says the jailer was baptized, “he and all his household.” So if he and all his household believed AND were baptized (and we consider that Philip would not have baptized the eunuch if he had not believed), that does seem to rule out infants, since, as stated before, infants are incapable of believing in something they do not know exist.

The clincher rests in verse 34, which states, And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household. After reading this, there is no way to prove that the phrase “his whole household” included infants — because INFANTS CANNOT BELIEVE IN SOMETHING THEY DO NOT KNOW EXISTS!

I Peter 3:21 adds to this:

The like figure whereunto [the flood] even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ . . . (KJV)

If baptism saves us as the answer of a good conscience toward God, then how can baptism save an infant? Can baptism be the infant’s answer of a good conscience toward God? Of course not! All the infant is probably thinking while getting its head wet is how hungry it is at the moment.

Yes, Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 18:16) He is not saying anywhere that children should be baptized. He also is not saying that they need salvation. As a matter of fact, He is making specific mention of their innocence: “The kingdom of heaven belongs to SUCH AS THESE.” The kingdom of heaven belongs to those with the purity and innocence of little children. He even continues to say (verse 17), “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” If children are in need of baptism and salvation, He would not have told adults to be like children to enter the kingdom of God. It would have been a poor analogy at best.

The concept of infant baptism rests on shaky ground. A casual, objective study of Scripture can prove this beyond refutation. It is nothing more than a tradition of men, a rite invented and carried on by human beings, with no sanction whatsoever from God.

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