Infant Baptism

by Steve Ray on October 21, 2011

100_1650Infant Baptism is discussed and argued about quite a bit in some circles. I, of course, was raised Baptist and taught that Infant Baptism was a man-made tradition invented by the heretical Catholics who abandoned the Word of God to follow ill-advised tradition.

(Picture: My granddaughter Elizabeth Arabella Rose Ray is baptized.)

But not all Protestants reject Infant Baptism. My favorite theologian during my later years as an Evangelical Protestant was Dr. Francis Schaeffer. He actually wrote a booklet on Infant Baptism. Granted, they do not accept the full Catholic understanding, but they did teach and practice infant baptism. Another author that I read was R. C. Sproul.

Protestant Reformed theologian R. C. Sproul writes, “The first direct mention of infant baptism is around the middle of the second century A.D.  What is noteworthy about this reference is that it assumes infant baptism to be the universal practice of the church.  If infant baptism were not the practice of the first-century church, how and why did this departure from orthodoxy happen so fast and so pervasively?

“Not only was the spread rapid and universal, the extant literature from that time does not reflect any controversy concerning the issue. . . . Those who dispute the validity of infant baptism make it less inclusive with respect to children, despite the absence of any biblical prohibition against infant baptism” (Essential Truths of the Christian Faith, [Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1992], 228).

For my simple article on Infant Baptism, click here. For my blog on Baptism in general, click here. The whole middle section of my book Crossing the Tiber goes into the biblical and early Church teaching and practice of baptism, including that of infants.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Maureen :) January 13, 2009 at 1:54 PM

Chuck Neff! There’s a name from my past. He was a very popular TV news anchor back when I was a teen in St. Louis. He was in our parish. He quit his TV job to make Catholic videos. How cool is that!

Randy January 13, 2009 at 6:53 PM

It is interesting how guys like R. C. Sproul are able to argue from tradition when it suits their cause. But when you make the parallel argument about the Eucharist or apostolic succession then the second century church is dismissed without thought.

STEVE RAY HERE: Brilliant observation!

Pat January 13, 2009 at 9:34 PM

Steve and Randy,
I find the statement by RC Sproul most interesting because I am pretty sure that he does not believe in infant baptismal regeneration. He may use these as evidence for infant baptism but he rejects the regeneration aspect which I believe can be proved from the same exact Church history.

Pat

James 'IgnatiusBenedict' Powell January 14, 2009 at 8:56 AM

So when did the protestants start the ‘dedication’ thing and who thought of it? Dedication: another protestant invention and tradition of man idea.

Brother Ed January 15, 2009 at 6:29 PM

Sproul is a Presbyterian Calvinist. If you read the Westminster Confessions, they indeed do not believe that baptism necessarily regenerates. They consider it more of a promissory note that may be filled either at that time or in the future depending upon whether or not the one being baptized is of the “elect.”

STEVE RAY HERE: Yup, but they still believe in infant baptism, which according to my Baptist tradition was a Catholic invention and perversion of the biblical teaching.

Stephen Geldean February 16, 2009 at 6:04 PM

I was taught in the Bible that where faith is professed baptism is done and where no faith is professed no baptism either.

Jean Basile February 24, 2009 at 3:01 PM

May I ask a question in this regard? Years ago the Catholic Church taught that infants who died without Baptism went to a place called Limbo and would never see God. Do they still believe this?

STEVE RAY HERE: THE CHURCH HAS NEVER TAUGHT LIMBO, THOUGH IT WAS SPECULATED ABOUT BY MANY THEOLOGIANS. THE CHURCH HAS MADE SOME NEW STUDIES OF THIS RECENTLY. I SUGGEST YOU POST THIS QUESTION ON MY DISCUSSION FORUM AT http://WWW.FORUMS.CATHOLICCONVERT.COM.

Reuben Moyana April 18, 2009 at 3:40 PM

I thank God for the Reformation, and my reformed brothers for their commitment to the bible. I just dont see WHY they baptize infants based on deductive covenantal theology thinking, instead of obeying scripture. What ever happened to Sola Scriptura ( Scripture alone). The New testament is so clear on the subject of WHO is to be baptized; Just look at ; Cornelius house (ACTS 10). The jailer house (ACTS 16). Crispus house (ACTS 18), LYDIA, Stephanas; All these people believed and were baptized. We cant assume that infants were baptized as well. Infants dont have the ability to believe what they hear. Even John the Baptist’s baptism was one of repentance. Let’s turn to scripture. Scripture is more true and precious than deductive covenantal theology and tradition. This is an area that indeed still needs reformation. Thoughts anybody????????

STEVE RAY HERE: REUBEN, YOUR PROTESTANT GLASSES AND TRADITION BLUR YOUR THEOLOGY. TAKE OFF THE POOR PRESCRIPTION GLASSES, READ THE BIBLE IN LIGHT OF THE VERY FIRST CHRISTIANS AND YOU WILL UNDERSTAND. THE EARLIEST CHRISTIANS WROTE THAT THEIR INFANTS WERE ALSO BAPTIZED, AS WAS TAUGHT THEM BY THE APOSTLES. ST. AUGUSTINE SAID, WHO WOULD BE SO WICKED AS TO FORBID INFANTS FROM BEING BORN AGAIN THROUGH BAPTISM.

paul chicago October 21, 2011 at 6:52 PM

Steve I feel for you man, these guys like Rueben, i dont know how you have the patients. yes they baptized adults in the bible .we get it. but the fact that all early christians baptized their kids means nothing to you? the people who knew the disciples PERSONALLY baptized their kids! thats a fact. documented in writing after writing! you think those people were”corrupting” the teachings of Jesus? Because the bible(of which was not even put fully together for another 3 and a half centuries) says to only baptize believers(which it does not!) . that is why it is not bible only. You must add tradition to it. get it!!! People can twist passages to their own liking. How on Gods Green Earth could people for 400 yrs before the bible was finalized follow the bible only, since it was not fully around?????????????????

De Maria December 28, 2011 at 1:29 PM

Hi Reuben, thanks for your invitation for a Biblical analysis of your comment.
You ask:
Reuben Moyana April 18, 2009 at 3:40 PM
Thoughts anybody????????

I have a few, yes.

I thank God for the Reformation, and my reformed brothers for their commitment to the bible.

Is it really a commitment to the Bible, Reuben? Or is it a commitment to extra-biblical traditions?

I just dont see WHY they baptize infants based on deductive covenantal theology thinking, instead of obeying scripture.

1. “deductive covenantal theology thinking”?
What is this thing? It sounds like some extra-biblical tradition to me. I don’t see that in the Bible anywhere. But if you do, please point it out.

2. WHY they baptize infants
a. Because Scripture says that Baptism is the circumcision of the heart and infants were circumcized at 8 days of age.
Col 2:
11In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

What ever happened to Sola Scriptura ( Scripture alone).

a. It is an invention of the Protestants.
b. It contradicts Scripture:
2 Thessalonians 2:15
King James Version (KJV)
15Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
c. Unfortunately, it is alive and well outside of Catholic circles.

The New testament is so clear on the subject of WHO is to be baptized; Just look at ; Cornelius house (ACTS 10). The jailer house (ACTS 16). Crispus house (ACTS 18), LYDIA, Stephanas; All these people believed and were baptized.

Along with their entire households.

We cant assume that infants were baptized as well.

We don’t assume. We know that infants were baptized based upon the witness of the Early Church. And you also missed this verse:
Acts 2:39
King James Version (KJV)
39For 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.

God promised the Holy Spirit to all who are baptized. Therefore, we baptize our infants.

Infants dont have the ability to believe what they hear.

Whether they do or not, I have no knowledge. But I do know that Jesus healed according to the faith of the parents:
Matthew 15:28
Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

And I know that Jesus said it was just as easy for Him to heal their soul as to heal their limbs:
Matthew 9:5
King James Version (KJV)
5For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?

Therefore, we present our children to Christ and with all our faith cry out, “We BELIEVE! Heal our children! (Mark 9:22-24)”

Even John the Baptist’s baptism was one of repentance. Let’s turn to scripture. Scripture is more true and precious than deductive covenantal theology and tradition. This is an area that indeed still needs reformation.

Indeed, the reformed theology needs to be reformed again, back to the Fullness of Truth which Jesus teaches through the Pillar and Foundation of Truth, the Catholic Church:
Ephesians 3:10
To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

Sincerely,
De Maria

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