Volume 2 July 1, 2003 Issue 10

A Study on the Baptism of Infants

Point One
Question: According to the Scriptures, who may be baptized?
Answer: The teachable, the believer, the repented, and one who has confessed.

First, the teachable — (more discussion included in Point Four)

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you..." (Matt. 28:19 & 20)

Second, the believer — (more discussion included in Point Four)

"Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned". (Mark 16: 16)

Third, the repented —

"Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38)

Fourth, one who has confessed —

"And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." (Acts 8:37) — this verse is excluded in the NIV translation

"For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." (Romans 10:10)

"Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven." (Matt. 10:32)

The great commission is to make disciples, baptize and teach to obey. A disciple is a follower of Christ. An infant can't possibly have any idea whether or not s/he is a follower of Christ. It's impossible for an infant to be taught to the point of becoming a believer. Yet it clearly says "whoever believes...." The faculties required for such a commitment are obviously not developed until later in life.

If your telephone number is 460-5096, we can reach you by dialing that number. We cannot however reach you by dialing 460-0965 (even though all of the digits are there, just in some other order). The digits must be dialed in the correct order or we won't reach the desired destination. Even one digit out of the specified order voids the success of the call. Neither can an infant be baptized and simply "add on" the rest later — whenever s/he is old enough to understand.

Re-arranging the order of events that lead to salvation is simply not an option that we have if we intend to reach the final destination. We can't do it with salvation any more than we can do it with the digits of a phone number. The Bible is very clear that certain requirements must be met before baptism. One who is to be baptized must be taught, must believe, must repent and must confess that Jesus is the Son of God according to these verses above. All of these steps are necessary to be baptized and an infant doesn't have the ability to do any of them.

Point Two
An infant who has been baptized by pouring water over the forehead has no emblem of a burial with Christ.

"We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection." (Romans 6:4 & 5)

Christ died was buried in a tomb rose on the 3rd day to live again

We die to sin are buried in a watery grave (baptism) rise to a new life

Point Three
Philip baptized only men and women — no children or infants were included.

"But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women." (Acts 8:12)

Point Four
An infant cannot believe, therefore s/he should not be baptized (Mark 16:16). An infant cannot come to God because s/he cannot believe. One must believe in order to have faith in God.

"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." (Hebrews 11:6)

"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ." (Romans 10:17)

Summary of Points One Through Four
An infant is baptized without faith. (Point Four — Hebrews. 11:6)
An infant is baptized without repentance. (Point One, third — Acts 2:38)
An infant is baptized without confession. (Point One, fourth — Acts 8:37; Romans 10:10; and Matthew 10:32)
An infant is baptized with no emblem of a burial (Point Two — Romans 6:4-5)
Conclusion: According to the inspired Word of God, the baptizing of an infant is not and can not be a valid baptism. There is absolutely no reason to baptize an infant. But some may say: "what about Original Sin?" See Point Seven on Page 4 for further discussion concerning this question.

Point Five
Question: Is salvation before or after baptism?
Answer: After — consider the following four reasons.

Reason One — If salvation is before baptism, it is before forgiveness of sins.

"Peter replied, 'Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'" (Acts 2:38)

First — "repent" — an action.
Second — "baptized" — an action.
Third — "forgiveness of your sins" — a result of taking the previous actions.

Reason Two — A "religious experience" does not mean that one is saved.

"And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name." (Acts 22:16)

Paul definitely had the ultimate "religious experience" on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-9). Yet the verse above clearly states that his sins had not yet been forgiven until his baptism. If salvation is possible before baptism, then death between the time of salvation and baptism would mean that sin is allowed in heaven. That cannot be so. Therefore a "religious experience" is certainly not proof that one is saved. Paul clearly had sins up until his act of baptism.

Reason Three — Baptism is the act that saves us because it is the act that connects us with the resurrection of Christ (see Part Two on previous page of this issue).

"...In it (Noah's Ark) only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also — not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ," (I Peter 3:20-21)

Reason Four — The "telephone number" analogy beginning at the bottom of page one of this issue is very applicable to this point also. Salvation is, without a doubt, after baptism. And baptism cannot be valid unless the individual has faculties exceeding that of an infant.

Point Six — Additional Thought On Baptism
Just one more additional point concerning baptism and the fact that it must be by immersion — rather than by pouring water over the head. Baptism is a burial. We have already noted by the chart in Point Two of this issue that a valid baptism must have the emblem of a burial. That can only be accomplished by full immersion — as illustrated by the chart and these verses.

Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin — because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus." (Romans 6:3-11)

For a more complete study on "pouring" or "immersion" see Volume 2 Issue 9.

Point Seven — What About Original Sin?
Question: If a baby is born with Original Sin doesn't s/he need to be baptized a.s.a.p. in case s/he dies before reaching the age of reason?
Answer: Children are not born in Original Sin.

"People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. 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. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." (Mark 10:13-15)

If "the kingdom of God belongs to such as these" then Jesus said that they are innocent enough to be in heaven. If they are born with Original Sin then He would not have considered them to be innocent since there is absolutely no mention in the Scriptures of any child ever being baptized. If they were not already innocent, Jesus' statement then would have meant that the early death of one of those children would place a soul stained with Original Sin into heaven. We know that's not the case.

"Diligence" is a privately funded publication of:
Dennis and Sherri Owens — Cincinnati, Ohio