Originally published as Baptism part three 3/20/2012
I would remind everyone this is what I teach from what I read in the bible. I’m not trying to start an argument, or offend anyone here. If you have a different point of view, feel free to express it, but please do so in a considerate manner. I hope in posting this series that it will bless someone, or at the least make us all ponder this issue. I appreciate everyone who reads this series and your thoughts on it. My apologies for taking so long getting back into it, I wanted to do some further editing of this and a couple additions to the text before posting it.
When should we be baptized? There is not one instance of infant baptism in the bible, not one. Jesus Himself was baptized at about the age of thirty. (Luke 3:23) Any verses in the New Testament speak of believing in Jesus and confessing, and repenting of sins to be baptized, or confessing and repenting of sins in the case of John the Baptist. So, one needs to be old enough to know they are a sinner in need of Jesus forgiveness. (Mark 1:5) (Luke 3:7,12) (Acts 2:38, 41) There are more verses then this, but the idea is that all the people being baptized knew they were sinners in need of a Savior. Baptism is supposed to be the outward reflection of the inward transaction that has occurred between an individual and Jesus Christ. If this is not the case, then why be baptized? I’m not at all suggesting that anyone who was baptized as an infant, that this was wrong (I was). I’m simply saying that from all the information in the bible, adult, or older child baptism is what is biblical, because then the one being baptized has an understanding of what the baptism actually means, and this is important.
Many people believe in the baptism of infants; there is not one verse in the bible that teaches this. John Calvin taught infant baptism, but this is not taught anywhere in the bible!
An example of a verse used to teach infant baptism is; Mark 16:15-16 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
First notice the above verses say nothing of infants. Next we see that Jesus says to “preach the good news”, you can’t preach the good news to a baby. Then we see that Jesus says, “whoever believes will be saved”, babies don’t “believe” anything about Jesus because even if you told them, the baby would be incapable of understanding!
Another set of verses used to “prove” infant baptism in the bible, Mark 10:13-16 People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”16 And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.
Notice first off that baptism is not mentioned in these verses anywhere. Jesus laid His hands on the children and blessed them. He did not baptize them. Surely if Jesus wanted to baptize the children He would have. It is always stressed that one needs to believe in Jesus to be saved and believe the Gospel message; infants are not capable of this. Yes older children can believe and be baptized, but people use these verses as proof that infants be baptized. In Mark 10:15 Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” This is a reference to child-like innocence, receiving what is spoken to them without doubting like an adult tends to do automatically. Compare Mark 10:15 with Matthew 18:3-4 And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Children are humble, and they are teachable, willing to learn. If the child does not understand, he/she asks questions until they get an answer they can understand. These verses have nothing to do with infant baptism.
Here is another verse used to indicate infant baptism, Acts 16:30-33 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. “All his family were baptized” but look at what is said in verse 31, ”Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved”, an infant is not going to be able to hear the Word of God and believe in Jesus. So the members of the household in view here were adults or adults and older children capable of understanding and believing in Christ. The bible says repeatedly that we need to repent of our sins; confess them to Jesus and believe in Him to obtain eternal life, if this precedes baptism, and it does, then an infant can not be baptized, for they are not capable of doing these things.
Nowhere does the bible ever mention a baby dying and being sent to hell because it was not baptized. That is simply not true, you will not find that in the bible. The bible also does not speak of an un-baptized infant winding up anywhere else either. The bible does not in fact address the issue of infants in relation to baptism at all. Therefore we must look for our answers elsewhere in other teachings of the Word.
Next time we will look at sin, hell, and the role of baptism as it relates to these things.