Friday, December 15, 2017

Why Infant Baptism is Not Scriptural

Water sprinkled on infant in the Catholic Church
There are many errors of the Roman Catholic Church that have been carried over into other churches, which many people do not realize and simply take for granted. One of those is infant baptism, which has been adopted by the Orthodox Church, as well as many Protestant churches, such as the Anglicans (Episcopals), Lutherans, Presbyterians, Congregationals, other Reformed denominations, Methodists, some Nazarenes, and the Moravian Church. Since the Word of God is our sole rule of faith, any practice we engage in for the sake of Christ must have its foundation in Scripture, and baptism is no exception. Please allow me to explain.

Original Sin
In my article, Where Will You Go When You Die?, in the section where I debunked the false doctrine of limbo, I stated:

"In Catholic theology, it has been taught that babies must be baptized...The notion that babies must be baptized in order to be saved comes from the false notion that God will not allow them into heaven due to the stain of Adam’s original sin on their souls. The ancient Catholic theologians thought that these babies were not pure enough to go to heaven but would not go to hell, since they had never committed any sins of their own. But as I said, this is foreign to Scripture."

First the premise for infant baptism is the belief that babies are born with the "original sin" of Adam. This is not taught in Scripture. The apostle Paul taught that in Adam all die. He stated, "Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned." (Rom 5:12, NIV).

It's true that sin entered the world through Adam, and he eventually died because of his sin. In this way death came to the human race, because all sinned. This is a general statement about all people, so we must be careful not to incorrectly apply it to babies. Paul taught that the reason death came to all people was that "all sinned." We know that all people are mortal and have to die sometime, including babies. It is appointed to each man once to die, but then comes the judgment (Heb 9:27). However, since babies have not yet committed any sin, there is nothing they could be judged for that would deem them unfit for heaven.

A person must first reach the age of accountability, before God holds them accountable for sin. And while the age of accountability is probably a lot younger these days than it was thousands of years ago, due to various societal factors in most cultures, babies have certainly not yet reached the age of accountability. They do not know right from wrong yet.

The concept of original sin began with a theologian named Augustine and became an important Catholic doctrine. However, we must realize that while every human being is born with a natural tendency or urge to sin, they cannot be held accountable for sin until they have reached the age of accountability, when they know right from wrong. Therefore, babies are not guilty of Adam's sin or any sin at all before God. They are innocent! This is explicitly stated in Scripture. Ezekiel prophesied that the Lord declares:

"For everyone belongs to me, the parent as well as the child—both alike belong to me. The one who sins is the one who will die." (Ez 18:4, NIV).

The Lord said that a righteous man "will not die for his father’s sin; he will surely live. But his father will die for his own sin." (Ez 18:17b-18a). If that is true of a man, how much more does it apply to an innocent baby!

In the natural sense, Adam is the father of us all, including every baby born into the world. And the Lord declares: "The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them." (Ez 18:20, NIV, 1978). A baby will not share in the guilt of its father, its grandfather, or any of its forefathers all the back to and including Adam. That's a fact, and you have God's Word on it. It is only the one who sins who will perish.

Once you understand that babies are completely innocent, you realize that when they die they go straight to heaven. There is no such thing as limbo. That term and that concept is not found any place in Scripture. So there is no reason to baptize infants, since it is completely unnecessary and provides no assistance for babies in reaching heaven. It serves no purpose, but is merely a superstitious practice.

No Infant Baptism in Scripture
In my article, Where Will You Go When You Die?, I further stated that infant baptism is completely foreign to Scripture, where we never see babies baptized but only those who have made a commitment to follow Christ. There is not one single instance in Scripture of infant baptism. It simply doesn't exist.  I wrote:

"Jesus always welcomed little children and blessed them. He never pronounced one warning or rebuke to a child, although He rebuked the people who tried to keep the children from coming to Him. Jesus said you must become like children in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. Then He said the kingdom of heaven is such as these. And He said that God has ordained praise from the mouths of babes. So if we go by what the Word of God says, we will never find anything but complete acceptance in God’s heart for little children. He would never turn away one of these little ones."

Let me also add that when Jesus was baptized, He was not a little baby. Joseph and Mary didn't take Him to be baptized as an infant. Rather He was baptized as a fully grown adult in order to fulfill all righteousness. He knew what He was doing, but a baby does not know what he is doing. We are to follow the example of Christ and walk as Jesus did, so we should not baptize infants.

Only for Disciples of Christ
As I stated in my article, Holy Washings I, water baptism is an outward sign of what we have already demonstrated by our repentance and faith in Christ. In fact, you must be baptized after you repent and give your life to Jesus.  The Lord commanded it when He gave the Great Commission to His disciples:

"And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 'Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'" (Mat 28:18-20)

We see that the apostles and other disciples who preached the gospel followed this pattern. Notice the sequence. The Lord commanded them to go and first make disciples, and then baptize them, as well as teach them to observe everything that Jesus commanded the first apostles. He did not commission them to first baptize people, then make them disciples of Christ. Neither did he tell them to first teach people everything He commanded them before baptizing them.

The Ethiopian eunuch
When the Ethiopian eunuch got saved, he was baptized immediately afterward when they came to some water (Ac 8:36-28). He had asked Philip if there was anything to prevent him from being baptized, and the only condition that Philip had given him was, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." Once the eunuch confessed his genuine faith in Jesus Christ, then he was baptized into Christ.

There are also other examples of disciples being baptized after they first experienced repentance and faith in Christ.

Peter's Listeners at Pentecost
One such example is the people to whom Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, who became convicted by the Holy Spirit of their sin at the preaching of the gospel.

"When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, 'Brothers, what shall we do?' 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.'" (Ac 2:37-38, NIV).

Samaritan Believers
Another example is the people of Samaria who were saved at the preaching of Philip:

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

Saul of Tarsus
Then we have the example of the apostle Paul himself. It was only after he, who was then known as Saul of Tarsus, personally met Christ and was converted that he was baptized.

"But the Lord said to Ananias, 'Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.' Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, 'Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.' Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized." (Ac 9:15-18, NIV).

Notice that the Lord already considered Saul His chosen instrument and Ananias acknowledged that, when he referred to him as "Brother Saul."

Cornelius and His Household
Yet another example is Cornelius and his household, who were baptized in water after they received the gift of the Holy Spirit, proving that they already belonged to Christ.

"While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, 'Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.' So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ." (Ac 10:44-48, NIV).

Furthermore, we can learn even more from the explanation Peter gave to the elders of Jerusalem for his actions in the home of Cornelius. He explained:

"'So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?' When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, 'So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.'”  (Ac 11:17-18, NIV).

The elders understood that God had granted these Gentiles repentance that leads to life and they had come to believe in Christ. The elders also understood that repentance must precede baptism.

The Philippian jailer
The Philippian jailer is another example.

"The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?' They replied, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.' Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized." (Ac 16:29-33, NIV).

First there was the jailer's conviction for sin and repentance, then his question how to be saved, followed by the answer that he must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved. And after preaching the Word to him and his household, the apostles saw his faith expressed in love as he washed their wounds. Immediately after that, they baptized him and his household in water.

The Ephesian Disciples
There is also the instance when Paul found some disciples in Ephesus, who had only received the baptism of John, and after explaining things to them, he baptized them into Christ.

"Paul said, 'John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.' On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus."

The fact that they had received John's baptism was evidence of their repentance. And once Paul explained that John taught his disciples to put their faith in Christ, the necessary requirements of repentance and faith in Christ were met, so that the disciples could be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Putting it All Together
There is a clear order in Scripture regarding the timing when baptism should take place. It is taught explicitly and demonstrated practically in the Bible. The Lord commanded us to go and first make disciples, and then baptize them, as well as teach them to observe everything that Jesus commanded. There is no basis in Scripture for any other order, nor is there any evidence of such.

Since the Bible is our sole rule of faith, we must go by what is written in it. That is why a true Bible- believing Christian should know that infant baptism is not something God requires or condones. In fact it is a hindrance to the gospel, because it gives people the false sense of security that they were saved when they were baptized as a baby, even though they had never repented or put their trust in Christ to save them. They may say, "I've been a Christian all my life." This false sense of security has led many to think they are going to heaven, and that they are true Christians, even though they have never been born again according to Scripture.

Attribution notice: Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, NIV. Photo of infant baptism from Wikipedia and used per the Fair Use Act for educational and commentary purposes only.

Author's note: If you enjoyed this article, I recommend also reading The Unbiblical Practices of the Catholic ChurchHoly Washings - Part IYou Must Be Born Again, Scripture Alone, Entering the Kingdom of God, and Do You Want to Know Jesus?

I strongly recommend viewing the videos I have posted on my Eternal Destinations blog about a young Ecuadorean girl who has visited hell twice.  She testifies to some things about the Catholic Church that she saw in hell.  Don't miss Angelica Zambrano's First Visit to Hell, Angelica Zambrano's Second Visit to Hell, Messages from the Lord for Catholics Worshipping Idols, Former Pope in Hell Declared a Saint, and Pagan Symbols of the Popes.You may also like the other posts in this blog, such as Exposing Heresy, Accurately Handling the Word of Truth, Tradition vs. Truth, and Pope Frances Supports Homosexuality. You may access more of my articles on the Main Directory of this blog, as well as my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission.

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