"BAPTISM" What About Infant Baptism? INTRODUCTION 1. In the previous studies we have seen that baptism... a. Is essential to: 1) SALVATION - Mk 16:16 ; Ac 2:38 ; 22:16 2) BECOMING DISCIPLES OF CHRIST - Mt 28:19-20 ; Ga 3:27 b. Is immersion, for: 1) The Greek words can only mean immersion 2) Pouring and sprinkling do not fit with figures used to describe baptism in the N.T. 3) Scholars are unanimous in pointing out that immersion was the practice in the Bible and early church 2. Two more questions remain which are often in the minds of people: a. Should infants be baptized? b. Is there ever a need to be "re-baptized?" [This study shall consider the question "What about infant baptism?" My first point is to suggest that...] I. "INFANT BAPTISM" IS NOT BIBLE BAPTISM A. BIBLE BAPTISM REQUIRES IMMERSION... 1. We have seen that pouring or sprinkling is not baptism 2. Therefore "infant baptism" as commonly practiced is really a misnomer a. "Infant pouring" or "infant sprinkling" would be a more accurate description b. Only if the infant is immersed could it be called "infant baptism" -- Of course, immersion is not the only thing which constitutes Bible baptism... B. BIBLE BAPTISM REQUIRES CERTAIN PREREQUISITES... 1. Bible baptism requires FAITH - Ac 8:35-38 a. Notice the eunuch's question, and Philip's response 1) "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" 2) "If you believe with all your heart, you may." -- If one believes, they may be baptized - cf. Mk 16:16 b. Infants, however, are incapable of belief! 2. Bible baptism requires REPENTANCE - Ac 2:38 a. If one is a penitent believer, they may be baptized b. But infants are incapable of repentance! [The first thing to realize about "infant baptism" is that it is not baptism in the strict sense of the word; nor is it the baptism spoken of in the N.T., which was only for those who possessed faith and a penitent heart. Another point to consider is...] II. "INFANT BAPTISM" IS NOT NECESSARY A. THE RISE OF INFANT BAPTISM IN CHURCH HISTORY... 1. Even those who later approved of infant baptism admit that one could not prove it from the Scriptures... a. "It cannot be proved by the sacred Scriptures that infant baptism was instituted by Christ, or begun by the first Christians after the apostles." (MARTIN LUTHER, On Rebaptism) b. "Infant baptism was established neither by Christ nor the apostles. In all places where we find the necessity of baptism notified, either in a dogmatic or historical point of view, it is evident that it was only meant for those who were capable of comprehending the word preached, and of being converted to Christ by an act of their own will." (JACOBI, Article on Baptism in Kitto's Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature, Vol. I, p. 287) 2. If this is true, when did the practice of "infant baptism" begin? a. The earliest mention of infant baptism is around 200 A.D. b. The practice began only after the doctrine of "original sin" had been developed 1) "The early theological development of the doctrine of original sin contributed to the importance of infant baptism." (Christianity Through The Centuries, p. 160) 2) The whole basis of "infant baptism", therefore, lies in the assumption that infants are born in sin B. ARE BABIES BORN IN SIN? 1. Of course, the doctrine of "original sin" means different things to different people a. Some understand it to refer only to inheriting the "fallen nature" of Adam, and not any personal guilt of his b. But the common conception includes the idea of inheriting the guilt of Adam's sin as well, meaning that babies are born in sin and guilty of sin c. It is this latter understanding that led to the practice of infant baptism 2. People are not held accountable for the guilt of their forefathers! a. God has clearly said that He does not hold the child guilty for the sins of the father - Ezek 18:20 b. Paul described a time in his life when we was alive before he became a sinner - Ro 7:7-11 1) According to the common idea of original sin, this would have been impossible! 2) But not if children are born free from the guilt of sin and remain so until they reach an age of accountability 3. Consider also the nature of the NEW COVENANT - He 8:6-13 a. One of the notable features about the new covenant is: 1) "None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying 'Know the Lord'..." 2) "For all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them." -- In other words, no one enters into this new covenant without already knowing the Lord! b. Unlike the OLD COVENANT... 1) Where people entered the covenant by virtue of birth into the family (Israel) 2) Where males entered the covenant by virtue of circumcision when eight days old 3) Where as they grew older they had to be taught to know the Lord! c. When "infant baptism" is practiced, this distinctive feature of the new covenant is no longer present! 1) Children, who have supposedly entered a covenant relationship with the Lord, still need to be taught as they get older 2) They have to be taught to know the Lord! d. This distinctive feature of the new covenant is true only when: 1) Baptism (the means by which we enter a covenant relationship with the Lord today) is administered to penitent believers 2) Those who enter the covenant have already been taught about the Lord (via the gospel of Christ) CONCLUSION 1. Should infants be baptized? The answer is "yes" if we can show... a. One example in the N.T. where infants were baptized b. That they meet the prerequisites of faith and repentance required of all those baptized in the N.T. c. That they can know the Lord somehow before they enter into the relationship baptism places them, and so do not need to be taught to know the Lord 2. But the Biblical facts are... a. There is not one case of "infant baptism" in the N.T.! b. Only those who believe and have repented may be baptized! c. To baptize infants would make the point of He 8:11 without meaning! 3. The logical conclusion from the Biblical evidence is that babies... a. Are born into this world without the personal guilt of their ancestors b. Are not lost and in need of salvation c. Are "safe" (not "saved," for they were never "lost") d. Remain safe until they reach an accountable age where they become guilty of their sins, and in need of salvation 4. What if you were "baptized" as an infant? a. Most likely you were not actually baptized (immersed), simply "sprinkled" b. Even if immersed, it was not "Bible baptism", which requires faith and repentance -- Thus you are still in need of obeying the Word of the Lord! Don't place your faith in the traditions of men, or in the doctrines of some church; place your faith in God's Word, and obey it accordingly!