Infant Baptism

Baptism confers the grace of forgiveness of all sin both eternal and temporal. Jesus told Nicodemas (John 3:3-8) that he must be born again of water and the spirit. So through baptism we are born again unto eternal life. We have examples in Sacred Scripture of adults being baptized and whole households (presumably including children) receiving baptism.. There is nothing in Scripture ithat prohibits infant baptism or commands baptism only after the age of reason.

Catholics believe that baptism actually confers the grace of initial salvation. Therefore we give our children this advantage. Many Protestants deny this and for them baptism is only a public witness of their faith in obedience to Christ. So they see no need to baptize infants. But, Presbyterians and Anglicans for example do baptize infants.

I Pet. 3:21
“…baptism now saves you”

Baptism in the New Covenant corresponds to infant circumcision for the Old Covenant.

Baptism is not the only requirement for salvation once one reaches the age of reason and begins to be culpable for sin. Then we have contrition, repentance and confession as a remedy for sin and Eucharist in order to obtain eternal life.

Jn 6:53 So Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you. 54 But anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person at the last day.

8 Responses

  1. There is much confusion about baptism in the various Christian denominations. However, this is not a result of the Bible presenting a confusing message on baptism. The Bible is abundantly clear of what baptism is, who it is for, and what it accomplishes. In the Bible, only believers who had placed their faith in Christ were baptized – as a public testimony of their faith and identification with Him (Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3-4). Water baptism by immersion is a step of obedience after faith in Christ. It is a proclamation of faith in Christ, a statement of submission to Him, and an identification with His death, burial, and resurrection.

    With this in view, infant baptism is not a Biblical practice. An infant cannot place his or her faith in Christ. An infant cannot make a conscious decision to obey Christ. An infant cannot understand what water baptism symbolizes. The Bible does not record any infants being baptized. Infant baptism is the origin of the sprinkling and pouring methods of baptism – as it is unwise and unsafe to immerse an infant under water. Even the method of infant baptism fails to agree with the Bible. How does pouring or sprinkling illustrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ?

    Many Christians who practice infant baptism do so because they understand infant baptism as the new covenant equivalent of circumcision. In this view, just as circumcision joined a Hebrew to the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants, so baptism joined a person to the New Covenant of salvation through Jesus Christ. This view is unbiblical. The New Testament nowhere describes baptism as the New Covenant replacement for Old Covenant circumcision. The New Testament nowhere describes baptism as a sign of the New Covenant. It is faith in Jesus Christ that enables a person to enjoy the blessings of the New Covenant (1 Corinthians 11:25; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Hebrews 9:15).

    Baptism does not save a person. It does not matter if you were baptized by immersion, pouring, or sprinkling – if you have not first trusted in Christ for salvation, baptism (no matter the method) is meaningless and useless. Water baptism by immersion is a step of obedience to be done after salvation as a public profession of faith in Christ and identification with Him. Infant baptism does not fit the Biblical definition of baptism or the Biblical method of baptism. If Christian parents wish to dedicate their child to Christ, then a baby dedication service is entirely appropriate. However, even if infants are dedicated to the Lord, when they grow up they will still have to make a personal decision to believe in Jesus Christ in order to be saved.

  2. Jeronie,

    All of your arguments are based on a false premise. That premise is that all Christian truth can be found in Sacred Scripture and ONLY sacred scripture. The irony is that this Protestant Doctrine of Scripture Alone or Sola Scriptura cannot be found anywhere in Scripture.

    You base your beliefs and criticism of the Catholic doctrine on Protestant interpretation of scripture which is actually Protestant Tradition.

    Click the links for more posts on Catholic TRADITION and BAPTISM

  3. If baptism is necessary for salvation, why should we exclude infants from that? I mean, really? Not let them receive what is necessary for salvation because they’re too young?
    Also, baptizing infants is an imitation of Christ, who said, “Let the children come to me.”
    It is also modeled after the Old Testament initiation of circumcision, which was especially for infants.
    Finally, Catholic Tradition has always advocated infant baptism. The Council of Carthage said that baptism should be performed less than eight days after the birth of a child.
    The fact that baptism is necessary for salvation is the reason that, in extraordinary circumstances, anyone with the proper intent can baptize someone.

  4. I truly like following your blog as the posts are so easy to interpret and follow. Excellent. Please keep up the good work. Cheers.

  5. Am someone who went to cotholic boarding school.and am amazed and thankful to have read this article…a= THE ONLY way to pray if you are a christian is to the Father through Jesus Christ…no other name..not the blessed Mary no dead or alive saints,no angels…acts .4v12…john 1vi-14…mark 16v14-18,v17 clearly says in jesuss name ,14v6 .CHRIST IS THE WAY:…..when christ was tempted He the saviour refered to scriptuers…nowhere has the desciples written that we should use other name… exodus 20v4-5,,,Roman catholic was not the first church ..Catholic church headed by followers of Christ was the first….Is it so difficult for you to use only(christ,s name?)whats wrong with your minds you must repent God loves you and come back to the only Mediator Christ Jesus,, stop defending wrong doctrine…lastly read carefuly 2John1v9- 1john5v20-21 and john 3v16,john15v16:::::

    • Dear Mirriam,

      You may have gone to Catholic school but if you are under 65 you were not taught much about the Catholic Faith, perhaps. It is really a very adult religion although children can grasp the basics of it. But after Vatican II catechesis was abysmal at many Catholic Schools and CCD programs. You say:

      mirriam THE ONLY way to pray if you are a christian is to the Father through Jesus Christ…

      Bread From Heaven Of course, if I pray to the Father directly I pray though Jesus Christ. But sometimes I ask my friends to pray to the Father for me also. Then I am going through my friends, in way. I can ask my best friend to pray for me or I can ask my friends in Heaven to pray for me. There is nothing in Scripture that admonishes us not to ask for intercessory prayer of friends on Earth or in Heaven.

      mirriam no other name..not the blessed Mary no dead or alive saints,no angels…acts4v12…john 1vi-14…

      Bread From Heaven You have left a lot out in your quotes above. Let’s look at least at the whole passage.

      Acts 4:12 12 And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

      This passage is talking about SALVATION not prayers. And here is the passage in John:

      John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

      6 There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. 8 [f] He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.

      9 There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His [h]own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were [i]born, not of [j]blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

      14 And the Word became flesh, and [k] dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of [l]the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

      I totally love this passage. Not sure how you thought it refuted Catholic teaching, but I can tell you that it does not contradict anything we believe.

      mirriam mark 16v14-18,v17 clearly says in jesuss name ,14v6 .CHRIST IS THE WAY:…..when christ was tempted He the saviour refered to scriptuers…

      Bread From Heaven

      Not sure what mark 16v14-18,v17 means exactly. Maybe?

      Mark 16:14-18

      14 Afterward He appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table; and He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen. 15 And He said to them, “ Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. 17 These [a]signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

      We totally agree with this verse too.

      mirriam nowhere has the desciples written that we should use other name… exodus 20v4-5,,,

      Bread From Heaven We don’t use another name for this sort of thing. We only ask Mary and the Saints in Heaven to pray for us to the Lord Our God.

      mirriam Roman catholic was not the first church ..Catholic church headed by followers of Christ was the first….

      Bread From HeavenThe Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same. In the year 111 AD St. Ignatius wrote this:

      See that you all follow the Bishop, as Christ does the Father, and the presbyterium as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as a command of God. Let no one do anything connected with the Church without the Bishop. Let that be considered a certain [βεβαια, “valid”] eucharist which is under the leadership of the Bishop, or one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the Bishop appears, there let the multitude of the people be; just as where Christ Jesus is, there is the catholic church [ἡ καθολικὴ ἐκκλησία]. It is not permitted with the Bishop either to baptize or to celebrate an agape; but whatever he shall approve of, that is well-pleasing alos to God, so that everything that is done may be assured and certain [βέβαιον].

      —St. Ignatius of Antioch, c. 111 AD, Letter to the Smyrneans 8

      The British attached Roman to designate it as a foreign church and it was a denigrating term. We don’t really own the epithet Roman except as an effort to defuse it’s negativity. We are the Catholic Church, so called as early as 111AD and probably earlier since he seems to take it for granted his readers will know what he means by Catholic Church.

      mirriam Is it so difficult for you to use only(christ,s name?)whats wrong with your minds

      Bread From Heaven Our minds are very well thank you. But the Catholic Church has been around for longer than any of the Protestant Churches and so we just do not take orders from Protestants. After all our church was founded by Jesus Christ and He is our head and the one we take orders from through the Pope and magesterium.

      mirriam you must repent God loves you and come back to the only Mediator Christ Jesus,, stop defending wrong doctrine…

      Bread From Heaven We defend our doctrine that has not changed for 2000 years. Why do you think any of it is wrong. You have failed make your case here, so far.

  6. Bread from Heaven, thank you for your words and defense of our Church. I see that some of the hater of the Catholic Church are full of pride and cannot accept the Church as Jesus left it. Pride was the first sin and it will be the downfall of all who practice in it. Very sad it has come to this. May God have mercy on us all and join together what man has divided.

  7. Why is the New Testament silent on Infant Baptism?

    Baptist/evangelical response:

    The reason there is no mention of infant baptism in the New Testament is because this practice is a Catholic invention that developed two to three centuries after the Apostles. The Bible states that sinners must believe and repent before being baptized. Infants do not have the mental maturity to believe or to make a decision to repent. If God had wanted infants to be baptized he would have specifically mentioned it in Scripture. Infant baptism is NOT scriptural.

    Lutheran response:

    When God made his covenant with Abraham, God included everyone in Abraham’s household in the covenant:

    1. Abraham, the head of the household.
    2. His wife.
    3. His children: teens, toddlers, and infants
    4. His servants and their wives and children.
    5. His slaves and their wives and children.

    Genesis records that it was not just Abraham who God required to be circumcised. His son, his male servants, and his male slaves were all circumcised; more than 300 men and boys.

    Did the act of circumcision save all these people and give them an automatic ticket into heaven? No. Just as in the New Covenant, it is not the sign that saves, it is God’s declaration that saves, received in faith. If these men and boys grew in faith in God, they would be saved. If they later rejected God by living a life of willful sin, they would perish.

    This pattern of including the children of believers in God’s covenant continued for several thousand years until Christ’s resurrection. There is no mention in the OT that the children of the Hebrews were left out of the covenant until they reached an Age of Accountability, at which time they were required to make a decision: Do I want to be a member of the covenant or not? And only if they made an affirmative decision were they then included into God’s covenant. Hebrew/Jewish infants and toddlers have ALWAYS been included in the covenant. There is zero evidence from the OT that says otherwise.

    Infants WERE part of the covenant. If a Hebrew infant died, he was considered “saved”.

    However, circumcision did NOT “save” the male Hebrew child. It was the responsibility of the Hebrew parents to bring up their child in the faith, so that when he was older “he would not depart from it”. The child was born a member of the covenant. Then, as he grew up, he would have the choice: do I want to continue placing my faith in God, or do I want to live in willful sin? If he chose to live by faith, he would be saved. If he chose to live a life of willful sin and never repented, and then died, he would perish.

    When Christ established the New Covenant, he said nothing explicit in the New Testament about the salvation of infants and small children; neither do the Apostles nor any of the writers of the New Testament. Isn’t that odd? If the new Covenant no longer automatically included the children of believers, why didn’t Christ, one of the Apostles, or one of the writers of the NT mention this profound change?

    Why is there no mention in the NT of any adult convert asking this question: “But what about my little children? Are you saying that I have to wait until my children grow up and make a decision for themselves, before I will know if they will be a part of the new faith? What happens if my child dies before he has the opportunity to make this decision?” But no, there is no record in Scripture that any of these questions are made by new converts to the new faith. Isn’t that really, really odd??? As a parent of small children, the FIRST question I would ask would be, “What about my little children?”

    But the New Testament is completely silent on the issue of the salvation or safety of the infants and toddlers of believers. Another interesting point is this: why is there no mention of any child of believers “accepting Christ” when he is an older child (8-12 years old) or as a teenager and then, being baptized? Not one single instance and the writing of the New Testament occurred over a period of 30 years, approximately thirty years after Christ’s death: So over a period of 60 years, not one example of a believer’s child being saved as a teenager and then receiving “Believers Baptism”. Why???

    So isn’t it quite likely that the reason God does not explicitly state in the NT that infants should be baptized, is because everyone in first century Palestine would know that infants and toddlers are included in a household conversion. That fact that Christ and the Apostles did NOT forbid infant baptism was understood to indicate that the pattern of household conversion had not changed: the infants and toddlers of believers are still included in this new and better covenant.

    Circumcision nor Baptism was considered a “Get-into-heaven-free” card. It was understood under both Covenants that the child must be raised in the faith, and that when he was older, he would need to decide for himself whether to continue in the faith and receive everlasting life, or choose a life of sin, breaking the covenant relationship with God, and forfeiting the gift of salvation.

    Which of these two belief systems seems to be most in harmony with Scripture and the writings of the Early Christians?

    Luther, Baptists, and Evangelicals

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